Olympus E-500 vs Panasonic FZ150
The Olympus Evolt E-500 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2005 and August 2011. The E-500 is a DSLR, while the FZ150 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (E-500) and a 1/2.3-inch (FZ150) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 8 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 12 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-FZ150? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-500 and the Panasonic FZ150 is provided 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 dimensions 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 FZ150 is notably smaller (18 percent) than the Olympus E-500. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-500 nor the FZ150 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the FZ150 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 FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||499|
|3.||Canon SX50||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429|
|4.||Canon SX40||123 mm||92 mm||108 mm||600 g||380||n||Sep 2011||429|
|5.||Olympus E-450||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2009||499|
|6.||Olympus E-620||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||521 g||500||n||Feb 2009||699|
|7.||Olympus E-420||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2008||599|
|8.||Olympus E-520||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||535 g||750||n||May 2008||699|
|9.||Olympus E-410||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Mar 2007||699|
|10.||Olympus E-510||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||538 g||750||n||Mar 2007||799|
|11.||Olympus E-330||140 mm||87 mm||72 mm||637 g||750||n||Jan 2006||999|
|12.||Olympus E-400||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Sep 2006||699|
|13.||Olympus E-300||147 mm||85 mm||64 mm||624 g||750||n||Sep 2004||799|
|14.||Panasonic FZ200||125 mm||87 mm||110 mm||588 g||540||n||Jul 2012||599|
|15.||Panasonic FZ100||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||540 g||410||n||Jul 2010||499|
|16.||Panasonic LX5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Jul 2010||499|
|17.||Panasonic L10||135 mm||96 mm||78 mm||556 g||450||n||Aug 2007||599|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The FZ150 was launched at a lower price than the E-500, despite having a lens built in. 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 imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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 FZ150 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the FZ150 is 88 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 5.6. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the FZ150 offers a higher resolution of 12 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 1.53μm versus 5.30μm for the E-500). However, it should be noted that the FZ150 is much more recent (by 5 years and 11 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. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the FZ150 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Panasonic FZ150 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the FZ150 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 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-FZ150 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-6400.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). 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||..||..||..||..|
|5.||Olympus E-450||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.5||512||56|
|6.||Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55|
|7.||Olympus E-420||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.4||527||56|
|8.||Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55|
|9.||Olympus E-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51|
|10.||Olympus E-510||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.2||10.0||442||52|
|11.||Olympus E-330||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
|12.||Olympus E-400||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Olympus E-300||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..|
|17.||Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The FZ150 indeed provides for movie recording, while the E-500 does not. The highest resolution format that the FZ150 can use is 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the FZ150 has an electronic viewfinder (202k 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus E-500, the Panasonic FZ150, and comparable cameras.
The E-500 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or xD Picture cards, while the FZ150 uses SDXC cards. The E-500 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the FZ150 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-FZ150 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
Both the E-500 and the FZ150 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-500 was replaced by the Olympus E-510, while the FZ150 was followed by the Panasonic FZ200. 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? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-500 or the Panasonic FZ150 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Olympus Evolt E-500:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 410) 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).
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (12 vs 8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 23%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- 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 (460k 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.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the E-500 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (124x82mm vs 130x95mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 5 years and 11 months of technical progress since the E-500 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the FZ150 emerges as the winner of the match-up (14 : 11 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 FZ150 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the E-500 or the FZ150 perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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 FZ150||3/5||+ +||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499|
|3.||Canon SX50||3/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429|
|4.||Canon SX40||..||+||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2011||429|
|5.||Olympus E-450||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Mar 2009||499|
|6.||Olympus E-620||3/5||88/100||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2009||699|
|7.||Olympus E-420||..||85/100||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2008||599|
|8.||Olympus E-520||..||87/100||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2008||699|
|9.||Olympus E-410||..||86/100||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699|
|10.||Olympus E-510||..||89/100||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||799|
|11.||Olympus E-330||..||..||+||o||..||Jan 2006||999|
|12.||Olympus E-400||..||85/100||..||4/5||4/5||Sep 2006||699|
|13.||Olympus E-300||..||..||+||o||4.5/5||Sep 2004||799|
|14.||Panasonic FZ200||3/5||+ +||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||599|
|15.||Panasonic FZ100||..||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|16.||Panasonic LX5||4/5||+||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|17.||Panasonic L10||..||85/100||+||3.5/5||4/5||Aug 2007||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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 use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Olympus E-500 vs Panasonic FZ150
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 FZ150|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Four Thirds lenses||25-600mm f/2.8-5.2|
|Launch Date||September 2005||August 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-500||Panasonic FZ150|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||8 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3264 x 2448 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.30 μm||1.53 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.55 MP/cm2||42.74 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 400 ISO||100 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic||Venus FHD|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||40|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||19.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.9|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||132|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-500||Panasonic FZ150|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||202k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||215k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-500||Panasonic FZ150|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||2.5 shutter flaps/s||12 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-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 FZ150|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-500||Panasonic FZ150|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||410 shots per charge|
130 x 95 x 66 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 2.6 in)
124 x 82 x 92 mm
(4.9 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
|Camera Weight||479 g (16.9 oz)||528 g (18.6 oz)|
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