Olympus E-500 vs Sony RX0 II
The Olympus Evolt E-500 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX0II are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2005 and March 2019. The E-500 is a DSLR, while the RX0 II is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (E-500) and an one-inch (RX0 II) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 8 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 15.4 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX0II? 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 Sony RX0 II 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX0 II is considerably smaller (80 percent) than the Olympus E-500. It is noteworthy in this context that the RX0 II is splash and dust-proof, while the E-500 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing. More than that, the RX0 II is water-proof up to 10m and can, thus, be used for underwater photography.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX0 II 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.
Concerning battery life, the E-500 gets 750 shots out of its BLM-1 battery, while the RX0 II can take 240 images on a single charge of its NP-BJ1 power pack. The power pack in the RX0 II can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
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||ebay.com|
|2.||Sony RX0 II||59 mm||41 mm||35 mm||132 g||240||Y||Mar 2019||699||amazon.com|
|3.||Olympus E-450||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2009||499||ebay.com|
|4.||Olympus E-420||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2008||599||ebay.com|
|5.||Olympus E-520||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||535 g||750||n||May 2008||699||ebay.com|
|6.||Olympus E-410||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Mar 2007||699||ebay.com|
|7.||Olympus E-510||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||538 g||750||n||Mar 2007||799||ebay.com|
|8.||Olympus E-330||140 mm||87 mm||72 mm||637 g||750||n||Jan 2006||999||ebay.com|
|9.||Olympus E-400||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Sep 2006||699||ebay.com|
|10.||Olympus E-300||147 mm||85 mm||64 mm||624 g||750||n||Sep 2004||799||ebay.com|
|11.||Panasonic L10||135 mm||96 mm||78 mm||556 g||450||n||Aug 2007||599||ebay.com|
|12.||Panasonic L1||146 mm||87 mm||64 mm||606 g||750||n||Feb 2006||999||ebay.com|
|13.||Ricoh WG-60||123 mm||62 mm||30 mm||193 g||300||Y||Oct 2018||279||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony HX99||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||449||amazon.com|
|15.||Sony HX95||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||429||amazon.com|
|16.||Sony WX800||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||233 g||370||n||Oct 2018||399||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony RX0||59 mm||41 mm||30 mm||110 g||240||Y||Aug 2017||699||ebay.com|
|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. 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. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus E-500 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Sony RX0 II an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX0 II 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 RX0 II offers a 3:2 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the RX0 II offers a higher resolution of 15.4 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 2.74μm versus 5.30μm for the E-500). However, it should be noted that the RX0 II is much more recent (by 13 years and 6 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 Sony RX0 II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX0 II for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.2 x 12.8 inches or 48.8 x 32.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16 x 10.7 inches or 40.6 x 27.1 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX0II are ISO 80 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
In terms of underlying technology, the E-500 is build around a CCD sensor, while the RX0 II uses a CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|1.||Olympus E-500||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||20.7||10.3||45||51|
|2.||Sony RX0 II||1-inch||15.4||4800||3200||4K/30p||22.1||12.4||555||65|
|3.||Olympus E-450||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.5||512||56|
|4.||Olympus E-420||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.4||527||56|
|5.||Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55|
|6.||Olympus E-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51|
|7.||Olympus E-510||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.2||10.0||442||52|
|8.||Olympus E-330||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||20.8||10.4||73||52|
|9.||Olympus E-400||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.0||10.6||127||53|
|10.||Olympus E-300||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||20.4||10.1||-40||48|
|11.||Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55|
|12.||Panasonic L1||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||20.8||10.4||80||52|
|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 RX0 II indeed provides for movie recording, while the E-500 does not. The highest resolution format that the RX0 II can use is 4K/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the E-500 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the RX0 II relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus E-500, the Sony RX0 II, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Olympus E-500||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|2.||Sony RX0 II||none||n||1.5 / 230||tilting||n||..||5.5/s||n||n|
|3.||Olympus E-450||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||Y||n|
|4.||Olympus E-420||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||Y||n|
|5.||Olympus E-520||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Olympus E-410||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Olympus E-510||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Olympus E-330||optical||n||2.5 / 215||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Olympus E-400||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Olympus E-300||optical||n||1.8 / 134||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|11.||Panasonic L10||optical||n||2.5 / 207||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Panasonic L1||optical||n||2.5 / 207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Ricoh WG-60||none||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Sony HX99||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony HX95||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony WX800||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony RX0||none||n||1.5 / 230||fixed||n||..||5.5/s||n||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The E-500 has one, while the RX0 II does not. While the built-in flash of the E-500 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The RX0 II has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the E-500 does not have a selfie-screen.
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 RX0 II only has 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 E-500 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or xD Picture cards, while the RX0 II uses micro SDXC or Memory Stick Micro cards. The E-500 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the RX0 II 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX0II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Olympus E-500||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Sony RX0 II||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|3.||Olympus E-450||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Olympus E-420||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Olympus E-520||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Olympus E-410||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Olympus E-510||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Olympus E-330||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Olympus E-400||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Olympus E-300||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Panasonic L10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Panasonic L1||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Ricoh WG-60||-||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Sony HX99||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony HX95||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony WX800||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony RX0||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
It is notable that the E-500 has a hotshoe, while the RX0 II does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
The RX0 II is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the E-500 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on ebay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the E-500 was succeeded by the Olympus E-510. Further information on the features and operation of the E-500 and RX0 II can be found, respectively, in the Olympus E-500 Manual (free pdf) or the online Sony RX0 II Manual.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Olympus E-500 better than the Sony RX0 II or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Olympus Evolt E-500:
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.5" vs 1.5") for image review and settings control.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 240) on a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX0II:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (15.4 vs 8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 41%.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 4K/30p video.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.5 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the E-500 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (59x41mm vs 130x95mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the E-500).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Water-proof: Is rugged and sealed and can thus be used for underwater photography (up to 10m).
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More modern: Reflects 13 years and 6 months of technical progress since the E-500 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the RX0 II is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 8 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 Sony RX0 II place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the E-500 and the RX0 II in practical situations. 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 expert reviews 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], 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.
|1.||Olympus E-500||..||76/100||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2005||599||ebay.com|
|2.||Sony RX0 II||..||..||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Mar 2019||699||amazon.com|
|3.||Olympus E-450||..||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Mar 2009||499||ebay.com|
|4.||Olympus E-420||..||85/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2008||599||ebay.com|
|5.||Olympus E-520||..||87/100||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2008||699||ebay.com|
|6.||Olympus E-410||..||86/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699||ebay.com|
|7.||Olympus E-510||..||89/100||..||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||799||ebay.com|
|8.||Olympus E-330||..||..||..||+||o||..||Jan 2006||999||ebay.com|
|9.||Olympus E-400||..||85/100||..||..||4/5||4/5||Sep 2006||699||ebay.com|
|10.||Olympus E-300||..||..||..||+||o||4.5/5||Sep 2004||799||ebay.com|
|11.||Panasonic L10||..||85/100||..||+||3.5/5||4/5||Aug 2007||599||ebay.com|
|12.||Panasonic L1||..||85/100||..||+||..||3.5/5||Feb 2006||999||ebay.com|
|13.||Ricoh WG-60||..||..||..||..||..||..||Oct 2018||279||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony HX99||..||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||449||amazon.com|
|15.||Sony HX95||..||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2018||429||amazon.com|
|16.||Sony WX800||..||..||..||..||..||..||Oct 2018||399||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony RX0||..||..||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Aug 2017||699||ebay.com|
|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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. 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 use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 2000D vs Olympus E-500
- Canon 500D vs Olympus E-500
- Canon XT vs Olympus E-500
- Fujifilm XP120 vs Sony RX0 II
- Nikon Z9 vs Sony RX0 II
- Olympus E-1 vs Olympus E-500
- Olympus E-450 vs Sony RX0 II
- Olympus E-500 vs Sony A99 II
- Olympus E-500 vs Sony RX100 II
- Panasonic G95 vs Sony RX0 II
- Pentax K-S1 vs Sony RX0 II
- Sigma fp vs Sony RX0 II
Specifications: Olympus E-500 vs Sony RX0 II
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||Sony RX0 II|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Four Thirds lenses||24mm f/4.0|
|Launch Date||September 2005||March 2019|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 699|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-500||Sony RX0 II|
|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||15.4 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3264 x 2448 pixels||4800 x 3200 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.30 μm||2.74 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.55 MP/cm2||13.22 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 400 ISO||80 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 1,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||TruePic||BIONZ X|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-500||Sony RX0 II|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||1.5inch|
|LCD Resolution||215k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-500||Sony RX0 II|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||..|
|Continuous Shooting||2.5 shutter flaps/s||5.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/32000s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or XD cards||mMS or mSDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus E-500||Sony RX0 II|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|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|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-500||Sony RX0 II|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Waterproof body (10m)|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||240 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
130 x 95 x 66 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 2.6 in)
59 x 41 x 35 mm
(2.3 x 1.6 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||479 g (16.9 oz)||132 g (4.7 oz)|
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