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Olympus E-600 vs E-P1

The Olympus E-600 and the Olympus PEN E-P1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2009 and June 2009. The E-600 is a DSLR, while the E-P1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 12.2 megapixels.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Olympus E-600   Olympus E-P1
Olympus E-600 Olympus E-P1
Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
12.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 12.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video 720/30p Video
ISO 100-3200 ISO 100-6400
Optical viewfinder No viewfinder, LCD framing
2.7" LCD, 230k dots 3.0" LCD, 230k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
4 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
500 shots per battery charge300 shots per battery charge
130 x 94 x 60 mm, 535 g 121 x 70 x 36 mm, 355 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus E-600 and the Olympus PEN E-P1? 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.

Body comparison: Olympus E-600 vs E-P1

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-600 and the Olympus E-P1 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.

The E-P1 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, white), while the E-600 is only available in black.

Size Olympus E-600 vs Olympus E-P1
Compare E-600 versus E-P1 top
Comparison E-600 or E-P1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-P1 is considerably smaller (31 percent) than the Olympus E-600. Moreover, the E-P1 is markedly lighter (34 percent) than the E-600. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-600 nor the E-P1 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-600) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-P1). Mirrorless cameras, such as the E-P1, 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 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, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-600» 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.4 in 18.9 oz 500 n Aug 2009 449- i Olympus E-600
 
Olympus E-P1« 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.4 in 12.5 oz 300 n Jun 2009 799- i Olympus E-P1
 
Olympus E-P3« » 4.8 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.0 oz 330 n Jun 2011 799- i Olympus E-P3
 
Olympus E-PL2« » 4.5 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 12.8 oz 280 n Jan 2011 599- i Olympus E-PL2
 
Olympus E-PL3« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.5 in 11.0 oz 300 n Jun 2011 599- i Olympus E-PL3
 
Olympus E-PM1« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.3 in 9.3 oz 330 n Jun 2011 499- i Olympus E-PM1
 
Olympus E-PL1« » 4.5 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 11.8 oz 290 n Feb 2010 599- i Olympus E-PL1
 
Olympus E-450« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.5 oz 500 n Mar 2009 499- i Olympus E-450
 
Olympus E-620« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.4 in 18.4 oz 500 n Feb 2009 699- i Olympus E-620
 
Olympus E-P2« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.4 in 12.5 oz 300 n Nov 2009 799- i Olympus E-P2
 
Olympus E-30« » 5.6 in 4.3 in 3.0 in 24.7 oz 750 n Nov 2008 1,299- i Olympus E-30
 
Olympus E-420« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.5 oz 500 n Mar 2008 599- i Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-520« » 5.4 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 18.9 oz 750 n May 2008 699- i Olympus E-520
 
Olympus E-510« » 5.4 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 19.0 oz 750 n Mar 2007 799- i Olympus E-510
 
Panasonic GH1« » 4.9 in 3.5 in 1.8 in 13.6 oz 300 n Mar 2009 899- i Panasonic GH1
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as 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 E-600 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 44 percent) than the E-P1, 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Olympus E-600 vs E-P1

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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.

Technology-wise, the E-P1 uses a more advanced image processing engine (TruePic V) than the E-600 (TruePic III+), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Olympus E-600 and Olympus E-P1 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 12.2 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the E-600 and the E-P1 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. Moreover, the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation.

The Olympus E-600 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus PEN E-P1 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

E-600 versus E-P1 MP

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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-600» Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.510.354155Olympus E-600
 
Olympus E-P1« Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.453655Olympus E-P1
 
Olympus E-P3« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.810.153651Olympus E-P3
 
Olympus E-PL2« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.257355Olympus E-PL2
 
Olympus E-PL3« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.910.349952Olympus E-PL3
 
Olympus E-PM1« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i21.010.349952Olympus E-PM1
 
Olympus E-PL1« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.148754Olympus E-PL1
 
Olympus E-450« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.510.551256Olympus E-450
 
Olympus E-620« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.310.353655Olympus E-620
 
Olympus E-P2« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.450556Olympus E-P2
 
Olympus E-30« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.310.453055Olympus E-30
 
Olympus E-420« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.510.452756Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-520« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.410.454855Olympus E-520
 
Olympus E-510« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.210.044252Olympus E-510
 
Panasonic GH1« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/24p21.611.677264Panasonic GH1

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The E-P1 indeed provides for movie recording, while the E-600 does not. The highest resolution format that the E-P1 can use is 720/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Olympus E-600 vs E-P1

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the E-600 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-P1 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-600, the Olympus E-P1, and comparable cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-600»optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y Y Olympus E-600
 
Olympus E-P1«- n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n Y Olympus E-P1
 
Olympus E-P3« »- n 3.0 614 fixed Y 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-P3
 
Olympus E-PL2« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-PL2
 
Olympus E-PL3« »- n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 n Y Olympus E-PL3
 
Olympus E-PM1« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 n Y Olympus E-PM1
 
Olympus E-PL1« »- n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-PL1
 
Olympus E-450« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n Olympus E-450
 
Olympus E-620« »optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y Y Olympus E-620
 
Olympus E-P2« »- n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n Y Olympus E-P2
 
Olympus E-30« »optical Y 2.7 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y Olympus E-30
 
Olympus E-420« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-520« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y Y Olympus E-520
 
Olympus E-510« »optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-510
 
Panasonic GH1« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic GH1

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The E-600 has one, while the E-P1 does not. While the built-in flash of the E-600 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The E-600 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the E-P1 does not have a selfie-screen.

The E-600 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or xD Picture cards, while the E-P1 uses SDHC cards. The E-600 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the E-P1 only has one slot.

 

Connectivity comparison: Olympus E-600 vs E-P1

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-600 and Olympus PEN E-P1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-600»Y-----2.0---Olympus E-600
 
Olympus E-P1«Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-P1
 
Olympus E-P3« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-P3
 
Olympus E-PL2« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-PL2
 
Olympus E-PL3« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-PL3
 
Olympus E-PM1« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus E-PM1
 
Olympus E-PL1« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-PL1
 
Olympus E-450« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-450
 
Olympus E-620« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-620
 
Olympus E-P2« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-P2
 
Olympus E-30« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-30
 
Olympus E-420« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-520« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-520
 
Olympus E-510« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-510
 
Panasonic GH1« »Ystereo-Y-mini2.0---Panasonic GH1

Both the E-600 and the E-P1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-P1 was replaced by the Olympus E-P2, while the E-600 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus website.


Review summary: Olympus E-600 vs E-P1

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-600 or the Olympus E-P1 – 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 E-600:

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • More flexible LCD: Has 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 (4 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (500 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 affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (44 percent cheaper at launch).


Reasons to prefer the Olympus PEN E-P1:

  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (TruePic V vs TruePic III+).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 720/30p video.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
  • More compact: Is smaller (121x70mm vs 130x94mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 180g or 34 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the E-600 emerges as the winner of the contest (8 : 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 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.

E-600 08:06 E-P1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-600 and the Olympus E-P1 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 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-600 or the E-P1 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.

Expert reviews: Olympus E-600 vs E-P1

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 (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-600»----4.5/5 Aug 2009 449- i Olympus E-600
 
Olympus E-P1«+66/1004/54/54.5/5 Jun 2009 799- i Olympus E-P1
 
Olympus E-P3« »83/10074/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2011 799- i Olympus E-P3
 
Olympus E-PL2« »83/10071/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 599- i Olympus E-PL2
 
Olympus E-PL3« »+ +72/1004.5/5-4/5 Jun 2011 599- i Olympus E-PL3
 
Olympus E-PM1« »86/10071/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Jun 2011 499- i Olympus E-PM1
 
Olympus E-PL1« »86/10069/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2010 599- i Olympus E-PL1
 
Olympus E-450« »--4/5-4/5 Mar 2009 499- i Olympus E-450
 
Olympus E-620« »88/10072/1004.5/5o5/5 Feb 2009 699- i Olympus E-620
 
Olympus E-P2« »+69/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2009 799- i Olympus E-P2
 
Olympus E-30« »-71/1004.5/5-4/5 Nov 2008 1,299- i Olympus E-30
 
Olympus E-420« »85/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Mar 2008 599- i Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-520« »87/100+ +4.5/54/54.5/5 May 2008 699- i Olympus E-520
 
Olympus E-510« »89/100+ +3.5/5o4.5/5 Mar 2007 799- i Olympus E-510
 
Panasonic GH1« »+ +72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 899- i Panasonic GH1
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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Olympus E-600:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-P1:
Check Ebay offers

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.

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    Specifications: Olympus E-600 vs Olympus E-P1

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Olympus E-600 Olympus E-P1
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date August 2009 June 2009
    Launch Price USD 449 USD 799
    Sensor Specs Olympus E-600 Olympus E-P1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    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
    Crop Factor 2.0x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4032 x 3024 pixels 4032 x 3024 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.29 μm 4.29 μm
    Pixel Density 5.42 MP/cm2 5.42 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 720/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100-3200 ISO 100-6400 ISO
    Image Processor TruePic III+ TruePic V
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 55 55
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.5 21.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.3 10.4
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 541 536
    Screen Specs Olympus E-600 Olympus E-P1
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder No viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.48x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.7 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Olympus E-600 Olympus E-P1
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 4 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF or XD cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Olympus E-600 Olympus E-P1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Olympus E-600 Olympus E-P1
    Battery Type BLS-1 power pack BLS-1 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)500 shots per charge300 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 130 x 94 x 60 mm
    (5.1 x 3.7 x 2.4 in)
    121 x 70 x 36 mm
    (4.8 x 2.8 x 1.4 in)
    Camera Weight 535 g (18.9 oz) 355 g (12.5 oz)

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