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Olympus E-600 vs Pentax Q

The Olympus E-600 and the Pentax Q are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2009 and June 2011. The E-600 is a DSLR, while the Pentax Q is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (E-600) and a 1/2.3-inch (Pentax Q) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 12 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Olympus E-600
versus
Pentax Q
Olympus E-600   Pentax Q
Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
Four Thirds lenses Pentax Q mount lenses
12.2 MP – Four Thirds sensor 12 MP – 1/2.3" sensor
no Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-3,200 ISO 125-6,400
Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
2.7" LCD – 230k dots 3.0" LCD – 460k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
4 shutter flaps per second 1.5 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
500 shots per battery charge230 shots per battery charge
130 x 94 x 60 mm, 535 g 98 x 57 x 31 mm, 180 g
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus E-600 and the Pentax Q? 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

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-600 and the Pentax Q. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The Pentax Q can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the E-600 is only available in black.

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

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax Q is considerably smaller (54 percent) than the Olympus E-600. Moreover, the Pentax Q is substantially lighter (66 percent) than the E-600. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-600 nor the Pentax Q 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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Olympus E-600 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 535 g 500 n Aug 2009 449ebay.com
2.
 
Pentax Q 98 mm 57 mm 31 mm 180 g 230 n Jun 2011 649ebay.com
3.
 
Olympus XZ-2 113 mm 65 mm 48 mm 346 g 340 n Sep 2012 599ebay.com
4.
 
Olympus E-PL2 114 mm 72 mm 42 mm 362 g 280 n Jan 2011 599ebay.com
5.
 
Olympus E-PL3 110 mm 64 mm 37 mm 313 g 300 n Jun 2011 599ebay.com
6.
 
Olympus E-PM1 110 mm 64 mm 34 mm 265 g 330 n Jun 2011 499ebay.com
7.
 
Olympus E-PL1 115 mm 72 mm 42 mm 334 g 290 n Feb 2010 599ebay.com
8.
 
Olympus E-450 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2009 499ebay.com
9.
 
Olympus E-620 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 521 g 500 n Feb 2009 699ebay.com
10.
 
Olympus E-P1 121 mm 70 mm 36 mm 355 g 300 n Jun 2009 799ebay.com
11.
 
Olympus E-P2 121 mm 70 mm 36 mm 355 g 300 n Nov 2009 799ebay.com
12.
 
Olympus E-30 142 mm 108 mm 75 mm 701 g 750 n Nov 2008 1,299ebay.com
13.
 
Olympus E-420 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2008 599ebay.com
14.
 
Olympus E-520 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 535 g 750 n May 2008 699ebay.com
15.
 
Olympus E-510 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 538 g 750 n Mar 2007 799ebay.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. The E-600 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 31 percent) than the Pentax Q, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sensor comparison

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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus E-600 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Pentax Q a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the Pentax Q 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.

Olympus E-600 and Pentax Q sensor measures

With 12.2MP, the E-600 offers a slightly higher resolution than the Pentax Q (12MP), but the E-600 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.29μm versus 1.53μm for the Pentax Q) due to its larger sensor. However, the Pentax Q is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 9 months) than the E-600, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The Olympus E-600 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax Q are ISO 125 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

E-600 versus Pentax Q MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 review, the E-600 has a notably higher overall DXO score than the Pentax Q (overall score 8 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 1.3 bits higher color depth, 0.8 EV of lower dynamic range, and 1.5 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Olympus E-600 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.510.354155
2.
 
Pentax Q 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.211.118947
3.
 
Olympus XZ-2 1/1.7 11.8 3968 29761080/30p20.411.321649
4.
 
Olympus E-PL2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.257355
5.
 
Olympus E-PL3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.910.349952
6.
 
Olympus E-PM1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i21.010.349952
7.
 
Olympus E-PL1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.148754
8.
 
Olympus E-450 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.551256
9.
 
Olympus E-620 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.353655
10.
 
Olympus E-P1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.453655
11.
 
Olympus E-P2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.450556
12.
 
Olympus E-30 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.453055
13.
 
Olympus E-420 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.452756
14.
 
Olympus E-520 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.410.454855
15.
 
Olympus E-510 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.210.044252

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The Pentax Q indeed provides for movie recording, while the E-600 does not. The highest resolution format that the Pentax Q can use is 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the E-600 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the Pentax Q relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the Pentax Q can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the O-VF1. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Olympus E-600 and Pentax Q along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Olympus E-600optical n2.7 / 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y Y
2.
 
Pentax Qoptional n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/2000s 1.5/s Y Y
3.
 
Olympus XZ-2optional n3.0 / 920 tilting Y 1/2000s 5.0/s Y Y
4.
 
Olympus E-PL2optional n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y Y
5.
 
Olympus E-PL3optional n3.0 / 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5/s n Y
6.
 
Olympus E-PM1optional n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5/s n Y
7.
 
Olympus E-PL1optional n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0/s Y Y
8.
 
Olympus E-450optical n2.7 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5/s Y n
9.
 
Olympus E-620optical n2.7 / 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y Y
10.
 
Olympus E-P1none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s n Y
11.
 
Olympus E-P2optional n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s n Y
12.
 
Olympus E-30optical Y2.7 / 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0/s Y Y
13.
 
Olympus E-420optical n2.7 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5/s Y n
14.
 
Olympus E-520optical n2.7 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5/s Y Y
15.
 
Olympus E-510optical n2.5 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y Y
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.
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 Pentax Q does not have a selfie-screen.

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

Connectivity comparison

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 Pentax Q and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Olympus E-600Y- / ----2.0---
2.
 
Pentax QYmono / mono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Olympus XZ-2Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
4.
 
Olympus E-PL2Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
5.
 
Olympus E-PL3Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
6.
 
Olympus E-PM1Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Olympus E-PL1Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
8.
 
Olympus E-450Y- / ----2.0---
9.
 
Olympus E-620Y- / ----2.0---
10.
 
Olympus E-P1Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
11.
 
Olympus E-P2Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
12.
 
Olympus E-30Y- / ----2.0---
13.
 
Olympus E-420Y- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Olympus E-520Y- / ----2.0---
15.
 
Olympus E-510Y- / ----2.0---

Both the E-600 and the Pentax Q have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The Pentax Q was replaced by the Pentax Q10, 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 and Pentax websites.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-600 or the Pentax Q – 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.

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Arguments in favor of the Olympus E-600:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (8 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.3 bits more color depth).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.5 stops ISO advantage).
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • 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 shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (500 versus 230) 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 (31 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2009).

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Advantages of the Pentax Q:

  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.8 EV of extra DR).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 230k dots).
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • More compact: Is smaller (98x57mm vs 130x94mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 355g or 66 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 9 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the E-600 emerges as the winner of the contest (12 : 9 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

E-600 12:09 Pentax Q

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-600 and the Pentax Q 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the E-600 or the Pentax Q 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

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], 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Olympus E-600..........4.5/5 Aug 2009 449ebay.com
2.
 
Pentax Q3/5......4/53.5/5 Jun 2011 649ebay.com
3.
 
Olympus XZ-24/5+....4.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599ebay.com
4.
 
Olympus E-PL23/583/100..71/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 599ebay.com
5.
 
Olympus E-PL33/5+ +..72/1004.5/54/5 Jun 2011 599ebay.com
6.
 
Olympus E-PM1..86/100..71/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2011 499ebay.com
7.
 
Olympus E-PL1..86/100..69/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 599ebay.com
8.
 
Olympus E-450........4/54/5 Mar 2009 499ebay.com
9.
 
Olympus E-6203/588/100..72/1004.5/55/5 Feb 2009 699ebay.com
10.
 
Olympus E-P1..+..66/1004/54.5/5 Jun 2009 799ebay.com
11.
 
Olympus E-P23/5+..69/1004/54.5/5 Nov 2009 799ebay.com
12.
 
Olympus E-30......71/1004.5/54/5 Nov 2008 1,299ebay.com
13.
 
Olympus E-420..85/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Mar 2008 599ebay.com
14.
 
Olympus E-520..87/100..+ +4.5/54.5/5 May 2008 699ebay.com
15.
 
Olympus E-510..89/100..+ +3.5/54.5/5 Mar 2007 799ebay.com
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. 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. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

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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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Olympus E-600 vs Pentax Q

    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 Pentax Q
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Four Thirds lenses Pentax Q mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2009 June 2011
    Launch Price USD 449 USD 649
    Sensor Specs Olympus E-600 Pentax Q
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    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
    Crop Factor 2.0x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4032 x 3024 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.29 μm 1.53 μm
    Pixel Density 5.42 MP/cm2 42.74 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 3,200 ISO 125 - 6,400 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 55 47
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.5 20.2
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.3 11.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 541 189
    Screen Specs Olympus E-600 Pentax Q
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.48x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.7inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Olympus E-600 Pentax Q
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 4 shutter flaps/s 1.5 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF or XD cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Olympus E-600 Pentax Q
    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 Pentax Q
    Battery Type BLS-1 D-LI68
    Battery Life (CIPA)500 shots per charge230 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 130 x 94 x 60 mm
    (5.1 x 3.7 x 2.4 in)
    98 x 57 x 31 mm
    (3.9 x 2.2 x 1.2 in)
    Camera Weight 535 g (18.9 oz) 180 g (6.3 oz)
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    Check Pentax Q offers at
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