Olympus E-500 vs Panasonic GX7
The Olympus Evolt E-500 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2005 and August 2013. The E-500 is a DSLR, while the GX7 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 8 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 15.8 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-GX7? 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 GX7 is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The GX7 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the E-500 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GX7 is notably smaller (29 percent) than the Olympus E-500. Moreover, the GX7 is markedly lighter (16 percent) than the E-500. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-500 nor the GX7 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. Both cameras have similarly sized sensors, but DSLRs have a larger flange-to-focal plane distance than mirrorless cameras, which imposes contraints on the optical engineering process and generally leads to bigger and heavier lenses. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-500) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (GX7). Mirrorless cameras, such as the GX7, have moreover the advantage that they can use many lenses from other systems via adapters, as they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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 GX7||123 mm||71 mm||55 mm||402 g||350||n||Aug 2013||999|
|3.||Olympus E-M10||119 mm||82 mm||46 mm||396 g||320||n||Jan 2014||699|
|4.||Olympus E-PL7||115 mm||67 mm||38 mm||357 g||350||n||Aug 2014||599|
|5.||Olympus E-P5||122 mm||69 mm||37 mm||420 g||330||n||May 2013||999|
|6.||Olympus E-450||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2009||499|
|7.||Olympus E-620||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||521 g||500||n||Feb 2009||699|
|8.||Olympus E-420||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2008||599|
|9.||Olympus E-520||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||535 g||750||n||May 2008||699|
|10.||Olympus E-410||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Mar 2007||699|
|11.||Olympus E-510||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||538 g||750||n||Mar 2007||799|
|12.||Olympus E-330||140 mm||87 mm||72 mm||637 g||750||n||Jan 2006||999|
|13.||Olympus E-400||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Sep 2006||699|
|14.||Olympus E-300||147 mm||85 mm||64 mm||624 g||750||n||Sep 2004||799|
|15.||Panasonic GX85||122 mm||71 mm||44 mm||426 g||290||n||Apr 2016||799|
|16.||Panasonic GH2||124 mm||90 mm||76 mm||442 g||330||n||Sep 2010||899|
|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.|
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 E-500 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 40 percent) than the GX7, which puts it into a different market segment. 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. 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. 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras 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.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the GX7 offers a higher resolution of 15.8 megapixels, compared with 8 MP of the E-500. This megapixels advantage translates into a 41 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the GX7 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.77μm versus 5.30μm for the E-500). However, it should be noted that the GX7 is much more recent (by 7 years and 10 months) than the E-500, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.
The resolution advantage of the Panasonic GX7 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the GX7 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23 x 17.2 inches or 58.3 x 43.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.7 x 35 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.3 x 11.5 inches or 38.9 x 29.2 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-GX7 are ISO 125 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Olympus E-500||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..|
|2.||Panasonic GX7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.6||12.2||718||70|
|3.||Olympus E-M10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||884||72|
|4.||Olympus E-PL7||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.4||873||72|
|5.||Olympus E-P5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.4||895||72|
|6.||Olympus E-450||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.5||512||56|
|7.||Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55|
|8.||Olympus E-420||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.4||527||56|
|9.||Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55|
|10.||Olympus E-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51|
|11.||Olympus E-510||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.2||10.0||442||52|
|12.||Olympus E-330||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Olympus E-400||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||..||..||..||..|
|14.||Olympus E-300||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..|
|15.||Panasonic GX85||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||22.9||12.6||662||71|
|16.||Panasonic GH2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||21.2||11.3||655||60|
|17.||Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The GX7 indeed provides for movie recording, while the E-500 does not. The highest resolution format that the GX7 can use is 1080/60p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the GX7 has an electronic viewfinder (2760k 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 GX7 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 GX7 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 GX7, and comparable cameras.
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The GX7 has a touchscreen, while the E-500 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
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 GX7 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 GX7 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 GX7 uses SDXC cards. The E-500 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the GX7 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-GX7 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
It is notable that the GX7 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 GX7 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-500 was replaced by the Olympus E-510, while the GX7 was followed by the Panasonic GX85. 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 how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-500 or the Panasonic GX7 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Olympus Evolt E-500:
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 350) on a single battery charge.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (40 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2005).
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (15.8 vs 8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 41%.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p 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 (1040k vs 215k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 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.
- More compact: Is smaller (123x71mm vs 130x95mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 77g or 16 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- 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 7 years and 10 months of technical progress since the E-500 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GX7 is the clear winner of the contest (20 : 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 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 GX7 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the E-500 or the GX7. 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 adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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 GX7||4/5||+||79/100||5/5||5/5||Aug 2013||999|
|3.||Olympus E-M10||4/5||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Jan 2014||699|
|4.||Olympus E-PL7||4/5||+||..||5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||599|
|5.||Olympus E-P5||5/5||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2013||999|
|6.||Olympus E-450||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Mar 2009||499|
|7.||Olympus E-620||3/5||88/100||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2009||699|
|8.||Olympus E-420||..||85/100||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2008||599|
|9.||Olympus E-520||..||87/100||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2008||699|
|10.||Olympus E-410||..||86/100||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699|
|11.||Olympus E-510||..||89/100||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||799|
|12.||Olympus E-330||..||..||+||o||..||Jan 2006||999|
|13.||Olympus E-400||..||85/100||..||4/5||4/5||Sep 2006||699|
|14.||Olympus E-300||..||..||+||o||4.5/5||Sep 2004||799|
|15.||Panasonic GX85||4.5/5||+ +||82/100||5/5||5/5||Apr 2016||799|
|16.||Panasonic GH2||5/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2010||899|
|17.||Panasonic L10||..||85/100||+||3.5/5||4/5||Aug 2007||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Olympus E-500 vs Panasonic GX7
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 GX7|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Four Thirds lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2005||August 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 999|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-500||Panasonic GX7|
|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|
|Sensor Resolution||8 Megapixels||15.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3264 x 2448 pixels||4592 x 3448 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.30 μm||3.77 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.55 MP/cm2||7.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 400 ISO||125 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 1,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||70|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||22.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||718|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-500||Panasonic GX7|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2760k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||215k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-500||Panasonic GX7|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||2.5 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/8000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|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 GX7|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-500||Panasonic GX7|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||350 shots per charge|
130 x 95 x 66 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 2.6 in)
123 x 71 x 55 mm
(4.8 x 2.8 x 2.2 in)
|Camera Weight||479 g (16.9 oz)||402 g (14.2 oz)|
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