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Olympus E-5 vs Panasonic L10

The Olympus E-5 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC- L10 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2010 and August 2007. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 10 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Olympus E-5
versus
Panasonic L10
Olympus E-5   Panasonic L10
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Four Thirds lenses Four Thirds lenses
12.2 MP – Four Thirds sensor 10 MP – Four Thirds sensor
720/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-6,400 ISO 100-1,600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD – 920k dots 3.0" LCD – 207k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationLens stabilization only
Weathersealed bodynot weather sealed
750 shots per battery charge450 shots per battery charge
142 x 117 x 75 mm, 873 g 135 x 96 x 78 mm, 556 g
Olympus E-5:
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Panasonic L10:
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus E-5 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC- L10? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Olympus E-5 and the Panasonic L10 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Olympus E-5 vs Panasonic L10
Compare E-5 versus L10 top
Comparison E-5 or L10 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic L10 is notably smaller (22 percent) than the Olympus E-5. Moreover, the L10 is substantially lighter (36 percent) than the E-5. It is worth mentioning in this context that the E-5 is splash and dust resistant, while the L10 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Olympus E-5 142 mm 117 mm 75 mm 873 g 750 Y Sep 2010 1,699i
2.
 
Panasonic L10 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599i
3.
 
Olympus E-PL1 115 mm 72 mm 42 mm 334 g 290 n Feb 2010 599i
4.
 
Olympus E-600 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 535 g 500 n Aug 2009 449i
5.
 
Olympus E-620 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 521 g 500 n Feb 2009 699i
6.
 
Olympus E-P1 121 mm 70 mm 36 mm 355 g 300 n Jun 2009 799i
7.
 
Olympus E-P2 121 mm 70 mm 36 mm 355 g 300 n Nov 2009 799i
8.
 
Olympus E-30 142 mm 108 mm 75 mm 701 g 750 n Nov 2008 1,299i
9.
 
Olympus E-420 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2008 599i
10.
 
Olympus E-520 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 535 g 750 n May 2008 699i
11.
 
Olympus E-3 142 mm 116 mm 75 mm 876 g 750 Y Oct 2007 1,699i
12.
 
Olympus E-410 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Mar 2007 699i
13.
 
Olympus E-510 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 538 g 750 n Mar 2007 799i
14.
 
Olympus E-1 141 mm 104 mm 81 mm 738 g 750 Y Jun 2003 1,699i
15.
 
Panasonic G10 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 n Mar 2010 499i
16.
 
Panasonic L1 146 mm 87 mm 64 mm 606 g 750 n Feb 2006 999i
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The L10 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 65 percent) than the E-5, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a Four Thirds sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Olympus E-5 and Panasonic L10 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the E-5 offers a higher resolution of 12.2 megapixels, compared with 10 MP of the L10. This megapixels advantage translates into a 11 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the E-5 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.29μm versus 4.74μm for the L10). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the E-5 is much more recent (by 3 years) than the L10, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The resolution advantage of the Olympus E-5 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the E-5 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20.2 x 15.1 inches or 51.2 x 38.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16.1 x 12.1 inches or 41 x 30.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.4 x 10.1 inches or 34.1 x 25.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic L10 are 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Olympus E-5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC- L10 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

E-5 versus L10 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Olympus E-5 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.610.551956
2.
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955
3.
 
Olympus E-PL1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.148754
4.
 
Olympus E-600 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.510.354155
5.
 
Olympus E-620 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.353655
6.
 
Olympus E-P1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.453655
7.
 
Olympus E-P2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.450556
8.
 
Olympus E-30 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.453055
9.
 
Olympus E-420 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.452756
10.
 
Olympus E-520 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.410.454855
11.
 
Olympus E-3 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.610.557156
12.
 
Olympus E-410 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.110.049451
13.
 
Olympus E-510 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.210.044252
14.
 
Olympus E-1 Four Thirds 4.9 2560 1920none20.09.7-14544
15.
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
16.
 
Panasonic L1 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none20.810.48052
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The E-5 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the L10 does not. The highest resolution format that the E-5 can use is 720/30p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The E-5 and the L10 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the E-5 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the L10 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the E-5 has a higher magnification (0.58x vs 0.46x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Olympus E-5 and Panasonic L10 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Olympus E-5optical Y3.0 / 920 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0/s Y Y
2.
 
Panasonic L10optical n2.5 / 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
3.
 
Olympus E-PL1optional n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0/s Y Y
4.
 
Olympus E-600optical n2.7 / 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y Y
5.
 
Olympus E-620optical n2.7 / 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y Y
6.
 
Olympus E-P1none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s n Y
7.
 
Olympus E-P2optional n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s n Y
8.
 
Olympus E-30optical Y2.7 / 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0/s Y Y
9.
 
Olympus E-420optical n2.7 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5/s Y n
10.
 
Olympus E-520optical n2.7 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5/s Y Y
11.
 
Olympus E-3optical Y2.5 / 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0/s Y Y
12.
 
Olympus E-410optical n2.5 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
13.
 
Olympus E-510optical n2.5 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y Y
14.
 
Olympus E-1optical Y1.8 / 134 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s n n
15.
 
Panasonic G10202 n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6/s Y n
16.
 
Panasonic L1optical n2.5 / 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One feature that is present on the E-5, but is missing on the L10 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.

The E-5 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or xD Picture cards, while the L10 uses SDHC cards. The E-5 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the L10 only has one slot.

Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Olympus E-5 and Panasonic Lumix DMC- L10 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Olympus E-5Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
2.
 
Panasonic L10Y- / ----2.0---
3.
 
Olympus E-PL1Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
4.
 
Olympus E-600Y- / ----2.0---
5.
 
Olympus E-620Y- / ----2.0---
6.
 
Olympus E-P1Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
7.
 
Olympus E-P2Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
8.
 
Olympus E-30Y- / ----2.0---
9.
 
Olympus E-420Y- / ----2.0---
10.
 
Olympus E-520Y- / ----2.0---
11.
 
Olympus E-3Y- / ----2.0---
12.
 
Olympus E-410Y- / ----2.0---
13.
 
Olympus E-510Y- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Olympus E-1Y- / ----2.0---
15.
 
Panasonic G10Ymono / ---mini2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic L1Y- / ----2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Olympus E-5 (unlike the L10) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the E-5 and the L10 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. Neither of the two has a direct successor, so they represent the end of the respective camera lines from Olympus and Panasonic. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus and Panasonic websites.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus E-5 and the Panasonic L10? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Olympus E-5:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (12.2 vs 10MP) with a 11% higher linear resolution.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 720/30p movies.
  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.58x vs 0.46x).
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 207k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 450) on a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years of technical progress since the L10 launch.

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Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC- L10:

  • More compact: Is smaller (135x96mm vs 142x117mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 317g or 36 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (65 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2007).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-5 is the clear winner of the match-up (15 : 4 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

E-5 15:04 L10

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-5 and the Panasonic L10 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the E-5 and the L10 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Olympus E-54/5....75/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,699i
2.
 
Panasonic L10..85/100..+3.5/54/5 Aug 2007 599i
3.
 
Olympus E-PL1..86/100..69/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 599i
4.
 
Olympus E-600..........4.5/5 Aug 2009 449i
5.
 
Olympus E-6203/588/100..72/1004.5/55/5 Feb 2009 699i
6.
 
Olympus E-P1..+..66/1004/54.5/5 Jun 2009 799i
7.
 
Olympus E-P23/5+..69/1004/54.5/5 Nov 2009 799i
8.
 
Olympus E-30......71/1004.5/54/5 Nov 2008 1,299i
9.
 
Olympus E-420..85/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Mar 2008 599i
10.
 
Olympus E-520..87/100..+ +4.5/54.5/5 May 2008 699i
11.
 
Olympus E-3..88/100..+ +o4/5 Oct 2007 1,699i
12.
 
Olympus E-410..86/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Mar 2007 699i
13.
 
Olympus E-510..89/100..+ +3.5/54.5/5 Mar 2007 799i
14.
 
Olympus E-1......+o.. Jun 2003 1,699i
15.
 
Panasonic G103/5....70/1004/54/5 Mar 2010 499i
16.
 
Panasonic L1..85/100..+..3.5/5 Feb 2006 999i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Olympus E-5:
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Panasonic L10:
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Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Olympus E-5 vs Panasonic L10

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Olympus E-5 Panasonic L10
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Four Thirds lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date September 2010 August 2007
    Launch Price USD 1,699 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Olympus E-5 Panasonic L10
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Four Thirds Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 17.3 x 13.0 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 224.9 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 21.6 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 2.0x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4032 x 3024 pixels 3648 x 2736 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.29 μm 4.74 μm
    Pixel Density 5.42 MP/cm2 4.44 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 720/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    Image Processor TruePic V+ Venus
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 56 55
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.6 21.3
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.5 10.8
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 519 429
    Screen Specs Olympus E-5 Panasonic L10
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.58x 0.46x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots 207k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Olympus E-5 Panasonic L10
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationLens stabilization only
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF or XD cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Olympus E-5 Panasonic L10
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket no PC Sync
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Olympus E-5 Panasonic L10
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodynot weather sealed
    Battery Type BLM-5 DMW-BLA13
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge450 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 142 x 117 x 75 mm
    (5.6 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
    135 x 96 x 78 mm
    (5.3 x 3.8 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 873 g (30.8 oz) 556 g (19.6 oz)
    Olympus E-5:
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    Panasonic L10:
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