PW

Olympus E-500 versus Olympus E-400

The Olympus Evolt E-500 and the Olympus E-400 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2005 and September 2006. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The E-500 has a resolution of 8 megapixel, whereas the E-400 provides 10 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Olympus E-500 vs Olympus E-400

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-500 and the Olympus E-400. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the E-500 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Olympus E-500 vs Olympus E-400
Compare E-500 versus E-400 top
Compare E-500 and E-400 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-400 is somewhat smaller (4 percent) than the Olympus E-500. Moreover, the E-400 is markedly lighter (9 percent) than the E-500. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-500 nor the E-400 are weather-sealed.

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 find an overview of suitable optics in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the E-500 gets 750 shots out of its BLM-1 battery, while the E-400 can take 500 images on a single charge of its BLS-1 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Olympus E-500» 130 mm 95 mm 66 mm 479 g 750 n Sep 2005 599- i Olympus E-500
Olympus E-400« 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Sep 2006 699- i Olympus E-400
Olympus E-450« » 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2009 499- i Olympus E-450
Olympus E-420« » 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2008 599- i Olympus E-420
Olympus E-520« » 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 535 g 750 n May 2008 699- i Olympus E-520
Olympus E-410« » 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Mar 2007 699- i Olympus E-410
Olympus E-510« » 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 538 g 750 n Mar 2007 799- i Olympus E-510
Olympus E-330« » 140 mm 87 mm 72 mm 637 g 750 n Jan 2006 999- i Olympus E-330
Olympus E-300« » 147 mm 85 mm 64 mm 624 g 750 n Sep 2004 799- i Olympus E-300
Panasonic L10« » 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599- i Panasonic L10
Panasonic L1« » 146 mm 87 mm 64 mm 606 g 750 n Feb 2006 999- i Panasonic L1

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 E-500 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 14 percent) than the E-400, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Olympus E-500 vs Olympus E-400

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better 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-500 and Olympus E-400 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the E-400 offers a higher resolution of 10 megapixel, compared with 8 MP of the E-500. This megapixel advantage translates into a 12 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the E-400 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.74μm versus 5.30μm for the E-500). However, it should be noted that the E-400 is a somewhat more recent model (by 11 months) than the E-500, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

E-500 versus E-400 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Olympus E-500» Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448-----Olympus E-500
Olympus E-400« Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-----Olympus E-400
Olympus E-450« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.510.551256Olympus E-450
Olympus E-420« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.510.452756Olympus E-420
Olympus E-520« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.410.454855Olympus E-520
Olympus E-410« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.110.049451Olympus E-410
Olympus E-510« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.210.044252Olympus E-510
Olympus E-330« » Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352-----Olympus E-330
Olympus E-300« » Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448-----Olympus E-300
Panasonic L10« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.310.842955Panasonic L10
Panasonic L1« » Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352-----Panasonic L1
Neither the E-500 nor the E-400 offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison: Olympus E-500 vs Olympus E-400

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The E-500 and the E-400 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus E-500, the Olympus E-400, and comparable cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Olympus E-500»optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Olympus E-500
Olympus E-400«optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Olympus E-400
Olympus E-450« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y n Olympus E-450
Olympus E-420« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y n Olympus E-420
Olympus E-520« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y Y Olympus E-520
Olympus E-410« »optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Olympus E-410
Olympus E-510« »optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-510
Olympus E-330« »optical n 2.5 215 tilting n 4000 3.0 Y n Olympus E-330
Olympus E-300« »optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Olympus E-300
Panasonic L10« »optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 4000 3.0 Y n Panasonic L10
Panasonic L1« »optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Panasonic L1

Both the E-500 and the E-400 write their imaging data to Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Olympus E-500»Y-----2.0---Olympus E-500
Olympus E-400«Y-----2.0---Olympus E-400
Olympus E-450« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-450
Olympus E-420« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-420
Olympus E-520« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-520
Olympus E-410« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-410
Olympus E-510« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-510
Olympus E-330« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-330
Olympus E-300« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-300
Panasonic L10« »Y-----2.0---Panasonic L10
Panasonic L1« »Y-----2.0---Panasonic L1

Both the E-500 and the E-400 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-500 was replaced by the Olympus E-510, while the E-400 was followed by the Olympus E-410.

Review summary: Olympus E-500 vs Olympus E-400

So what is the bottom line? Is the Olympus E-500 better than the Olympus E-400 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Arguments in favor of the Olympus Evolt E-500:

  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 500) on a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (14 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2005).


Reasons to prefer the Olympus E-400:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (10 vs 8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 12%.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (11 months) more recently.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (3 points each). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.

E-500 03:03 E-400

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the E-500 or the E-400 handle or perform in practice. 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. This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Olympus E-500»76/100HiRec--- Sep 2005 599- i Olympus E-500
Olympus E-400«85/100-4/5-4/5 Sep 2006 699- i Olympus E-400
Olympus E-450« »--4/5-4/5 Mar 2009 499- i Olympus E-450
Olympus E-420« »85/100HiRec4/5rev4.5/5 Mar 2008 599- i Olympus E-420
Olympus E-520« »87/100HiRec4.5/54/54.5/5 May 2008 699- i Olympus E-520
Olympus E-410« »86/100HiRec4/5rev4.5/5 Mar 2007 699- i Olympus E-410
Olympus E-510« »89/100HiRec3.5/5rev4.5/5 Mar 2007 799- i Olympus E-510
Olympus E-330« »-Recrev3.5/5- Jan 2006 999- i Olympus E-330
Olympus E-300« »-Recrevrev4.5/5 Sep 2004 799- i Olympus E-300
Panasonic L10« »85/100Rec3.5/5rev4/5 Aug 2007 599- i Panasonic L10
Panasonic L1« »85/100Rec-rev3.5/5 Feb 2006 999- i Panasonic L1

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

 

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. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please send me an email, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

~

    You are here  »   »