Olympus E-500 vs Panasonic FZ1000
The Olympus Evolt E-500 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2005 and June 2014. The E-500 is a DSLR, while the FZ1000 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (E-500) and an one-inch (FZ1000) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 8 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 20 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus Evolt E-500 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000? 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.
The physical size and weight of the Olympus E-500 and the Panasonic FZ1000 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic FZ1000 is notably larger (10 percent) than the Olympus E-500. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-500 nor the FZ1000 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the FZ1000 has a lens built in, whereas the E-500 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the E-500 and their specifications in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Olympus E-500||130 mm||95 mm||66 mm||479 g||750||n||Sep 2005||599|
|2.||Panasonic FZ1000||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||n||Jun 2014||899|
|3.||Canon G3 X||123 mm||77 mm||105 mm||733 g||300||Y||Jun 2015||999|
|4.||Olympus E-450||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2009||499|
|5.||Olympus E-420||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2008||599|
|6.||Olympus E-520||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||535 g||750||n||May 2008||699|
|7.||Olympus E-410||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Mar 2007||699|
|8.||Olympus E-510||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||538 g||750||n||Mar 2007||799|
|9.||Olympus E-330||140 mm||87 mm||72 mm||637 g||750||n||Jan 2006||999|
|10.||Olympus E-400||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Sep 2006||699|
|11.||Olympus E-300||147 mm||85 mm||64 mm||624 g||750||n||Sep 2004||799|
|12.||Panasonic LX100||115 mm||66 mm||55 mm||393 g||300||n||Sep 2014||899|
|13.||Panasonic L10||135 mm||96 mm||78 mm||556 g||450||n||Aug 2007||599|
|14.||Panasonic L1||146 mm||87 mm||64 mm||606 g||750||n||Feb 2006||999|
|15.||Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
|16.||Sony RX100 III||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799|
|17.||Sony RX100 II||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||350||n||Jun 2013||749|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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.
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.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus E-500 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Panasonic FZ1000 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the FZ1000 is 48 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 2.7. The sensor in the E-500 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the FZ1000 offers a 3:2 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the FZ1000 offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixels, compared with 8 MP of the E-500. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 2.41μm versus 5.30μm for the E-500). However, it should be noted that the FZ1000 is much more recent (by 8 years and 8 months) than the E-500, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Panasonic FZ1000 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the FZ1000 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-500 are 16.3 x 12.2 inches or 41.5 x 31.1 cm for good quality, 13.1 x 9.8 inches or 33.2 x 24.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.9 x 8.2 inches or 27.6 x 20.7 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Olympus Evolt E-500 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 400, which can be extended to ISO 100-1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 are ISO 125 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-25600.
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.
| DXO |
|1.||Olympus E-500||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..|
|3.||Canon G3 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.4||12.3||521||63|
|4.||Olympus E-450||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.5||512||56|
|5.||Olympus E-420||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.4||527||56|
|6.||Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55|
|7.||Olympus E-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51|
|8.||Olympus E-510||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.2||10.0||442||52|
|9.||Olympus E-330||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
|10.||Olympus E-400||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||..||..||..||..|
|11.||Olympus E-300||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..|
|12.||Panasonic LX100||Four Thirds||12.7||4112||3088||4K/30p||22.3||12.5||553||67|
|13.||Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55|
|14.||Panasonic L1||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
|15.||Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|16.||Sony RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
|17.||Sony RX100 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The FZ1000 indeed provides for movie recording, while the E-500 does not. The highest resolution format that the FZ1000 can use is 4K/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the FZ1000 has an electronic viewfinder (2359k dots), while the E-500 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The viewfinder in the FZ1000 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the E-500 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the FZ1000 has a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.45x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus E-500, the Panasonic FZ1000, and comparable cameras.
|3.||Canon G3 X||optional||n||3.2||1620||tilting||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony RX100 II||optional||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the FZ1000 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Panasonic FZ1000 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The E-500 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or xD Picture cards, while the FZ1000 uses SDXC cards. The E-500 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the FZ1000 only has one slot.
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 Evolt E-500 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|3.||Canon G3 X||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony RX100 III||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony RX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the FZ1000 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the E-500 does not provide wifi capability.
Both the E-500 and the FZ1000 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-500 was replaced by the Olympus E-510, while the FZ1000 was followed by the Panasonic FZ2500. 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.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus E-500 and the Panasonic FZ1000? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Olympus Evolt E-500:
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 360) on a single battery charge.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2005).
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 61%.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 4K/30p video.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- 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 (0.70x vs 0.45x).
- 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 (921k vs 215k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the E-500 requires a separate lens.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More modern: Reflects 8 years and 8 months of technical progress since the E-500 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the FZ1000 is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 5 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-500 and the Panasonic FZ1000 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Superzoom Camera listings 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the E-500 or the FZ1000. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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.
|1.||Olympus E-500||..||76/100||+ +||..||..||Sep 2005||599|
|2.||Panasonic FZ1000||4/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899|
|3.||Canon G3 X||3.5/5||+||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||999|
|4.||Olympus E-450||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Mar 2009||499|
|5.||Olympus E-420||..||85/100||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2008||599|
|6.||Olympus E-520||..||87/100||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2008||699|
|7.||Olympus E-410||..||86/100||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699|
|8.||Olympus E-510||..||89/100||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||799|
|9.||Olympus E-330||..||..||+||o||..||Jan 2006||999|
|10.||Olympus E-400||..||85/100||..||4/5||4/5||Sep 2006||699|
|11.||Olympus E-300||..||..||+||o||4.5/5||Sep 2004||799|
|12.||Panasonic LX100||5/5||+ +||85/100||5/5||5/5||Sep 2014||899|
|13.||Panasonic L10||..||85/100||+||3.5/5||4/5||Aug 2007||599|
|14.||Panasonic L1||..||85/100||+||..||3.5/5||Feb 2006||999|
|15.||Sony RX100 IV||4.5/5||+ +||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|16.||Sony RX100 III||5/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799|
|17.||Sony RX100 II||5/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||749|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Olympus E-500 vs Panasonic FZ1000
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 Model||Olympus E-500||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Four Thirds lenses||25-400mm f/2.8-4.0|
|Launch Date||September 2005||June 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 899|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-500||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||8 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3264 x 2448 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.30 μm||2.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.55 MP/cm2||17.18 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 400 ISO||125 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 1,600 ISO||80 - 25,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||64|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||22.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||11.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||517|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-500||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2359k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||215k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-500||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||2.5 shutter flaps/s||12 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or XD cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus E-500||Panasonic FZ1000|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-500||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||360 shots per charge|
130 x 95 x 66 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 2.6 in)
137 x 99 x 131 mm
(5.4 x 3.9 x 5.2 in)
|Camera Weight||479 g (16.9 oz)||831 g (29.3 oz)|
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