Olympus E-510 vs Panasonic LX100
The Olympus E-510 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in March 2007 and September 2014. The E-510 is a DSLR, while the LX100 is a fixed lens compact. Both cameras are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 12.7 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 E-510 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-510 and the Panasonic LX100. 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 LX100 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the E-510 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 LX100 is considerably smaller (39 percent) than the Olympus E-510. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-510 nor the LX100 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the LX100 has a lens built in, whereas the E-510 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-510 and their specifications in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
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-510||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||538 g||750||n||Mar 2007||799|
|2.||Panasonic LX100||115 mm||66 mm||55 mm||393 g||300||n||Sep 2014||899|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|4.||Olympus E-P3||122 mm||69 mm||34 mm||369 g||330||n||Jun 2011||799|
|5.||Olympus E-600||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||535 g||500||n||Aug 2009||449|
|6.||Olympus E-620||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||521 g||500||n||Feb 2009||699|
|7.||Olympus E-P1||121 mm||70 mm||36 mm||355 g||300||n||Jun 2009||799|
|8.||Olympus E-30||142 mm||108 mm||75 mm||701 g||750||n||Nov 2008||1,299|
|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-400||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Sep 2006||699|
|12.||Olympus E-500||130 mm||95 mm||66 mm||479 g||750||n||Sep 2005||599|
|13.||Panasonic LX100 II||115 mm||66 mm||65 mm||392 g||300||n||Aug 2018||999|
|14.||Panasonic FZ1000||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||n||Jun 2014||899|
|15.||Panasonic G6||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|16.||Panasonic GM1||99 mm||55 mm||30 mm||204 g||230||n||Oct 2013||749|
|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 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. 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. 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, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the LX100 is 18 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 2.0 (E-510) and 2.2. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3. The LX100 has the particularity of featuring a switch that allows to toggle between multiple aspect ratios, while maintaining the same field of view and full image resolution.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the LX100 offers a higher resolution of 12.7 megapixels, compared with 10 MP of the E-510. 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 3.82μm versus 4.74μm for the E-510). However, it should be noted that the LX100 is much more recent (by 7 years and 6 months) than the E-510, 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 LX100 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the LX100 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20.6 x 15.4 inches or 52.2 x 39.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16.4 x 12.4 inches or 41.8 x 31.4 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.7 x 10.3 inches or 34.8 x 26.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-510 are 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Olympus E-510 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 are ISO 200 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the LX100 offers substantially better image quality than the E-510 (overall score 15 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.1 bits higher color depth, 2.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. 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-510||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.2||10.0||442||52|
|2.||Panasonic LX100||Four Thirds||12.7||4112||3088||4K/30p||22.3||12.5||553||67|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|4.||Olympus E-P3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.8||10.1||536||51|
|5.||Olympus E-600||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.5||10.3||541||55|
|6.||Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55|
|7.||Olympus E-P1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.4||536||55|
|8.||Olympus E-30||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.4||530||55|
|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-400||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||..||..||..||..|
|12.||Olympus E-500||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Panasonic LX100 II||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|15.||Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|16.||Panasonic GM1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||22.3||11.7||660||66|
|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 LX100 indeed provides for movie recording, while the E-510 does not. The highest resolution format that the LX100 can use is 4K/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the LX100 has an electronic viewfinder (2764k dots), while the E-510 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 LX100 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the E-510 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the LX100 has a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.46x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Olympus E-510 and Panasonic LX100 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2||Y||Y|
|13.||Panasonic LX100 II||2764||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The E-510 has one, while the LX100 does not. While the built-in flash of the E-510 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
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 LX100 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 LX100 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-510 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or xD Picture cards, while the LX100 uses SDXC cards. The E-510 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the LX100 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 E-510 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|13.||Panasonic LX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
It is notable that the LX100 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the E-510 does not provide wifi capability.
The LX100 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Panasonic. In contrast, the E-510 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the E-510 was succeeded by the Olympus E-520. 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 the Olympus E-510 better than the Panasonic LX100 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Olympus E-510:
- 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 300) on a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- 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 March 2007).
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (12.7 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 13%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (15 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.1 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.5 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.3 stops ISO advantage).
- Flexible image proportions: Has a multi-aspect sensor that allows for alternative image shapes.
- 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 0.46x).
- 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).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 3 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-510 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (115x66mm vs 136x92mm) 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-510).
- 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 6 months of technical progress since the E-510 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the LX100 is the clear winner of the contest (21 : 6 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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-510 and the Panasonic LX100 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Travel-Zoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the E-510 and the LX100 in practical situations. 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 why expert reviews are important. 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-510||..||89/100||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||799|
|2.||Panasonic LX100||5/5||+ +||85/100||5/5||5/5||Sep 2014||899|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||3/5||+||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799|
|4.||Olympus E-P3||..||83/100||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||799|
|5.||Olympus E-600||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||Aug 2009||449|
|6.||Olympus E-620||3/5||88/100||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2009||699|
|7.||Olympus E-P1||..||+||66/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2009||799|
|8.||Olympus E-30||..||..||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2008||1,299|
|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-400||..||85/100||..||4/5||4/5||Sep 2006||699|
|12.||Olympus E-500||..||76/100||+ +||..||..||Sep 2005||599|
|13.||Panasonic LX100 II||4.5/5||+||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||999|
|14.||Panasonic FZ1000||4/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899|
|15.||Panasonic G6||4/5||+ +||..||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599|
|16.||Panasonic GM1||3/5||+||78/100||5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||749|
|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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, 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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Olympus E-510 vs Panasonic LX100
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-510||Panasonic LX100|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Four Thirds lenses||24-75mm f/1.7-2.8|
|Launch Date||March 2007||September 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 899|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-510||Panasonic LX100|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||15.7 x 11.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||185.26 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||19.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10 Megapixels||12.7 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3648 x 2736 pixels||4112 x 3088 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.74 μm||3.82 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.44 MP/cm2||6.85 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||200 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic III||Venus|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||52||67|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.2||22.3|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.0||12.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||442||553|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-510||Panasonic LX100|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2764k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||215k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-510||Panasonic LX100|
|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||3 shutter flaps/s||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens-based stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or XD cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus E-510||Panasonic LX100|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-510||Panasonic LX100|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||300 shots per charge|
136 x 92 x 68 mm
(5.4 x 3.6 x 2.7 in)
115 x 66 x 55 mm
(4.5 x 2.6 x 2.2 in)
|Camera Weight||538 g (19.0 oz)||393 g (13.9 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.