Olympus E-600 vs Sony HX99
The Olympus E-600 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2009 and August 2018. The E-600 is a DSLR, while the HX99 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (E-600) and a 1/2.3-inch (HX99) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 18 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-600 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99? 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-600 and the Sony HX99. 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 dimensions 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 HX99 is considerably smaller (52 percent) than the Olympus E-600. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-600 nor the HX99 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the HX99 has a lens built in, whereas the E-600 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-600 and their specifications in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the E-600 gets 500 shots out of its BLS-1 battery, while the HX99 can take 370 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The power pack in the HX99 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Olympus E-600||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||535 g||500||n||Aug 2009||449|
|2.||Sony HX99||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||449|
|3.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|4.||Olympus E-PM1||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||265 g||330||n||Jun 2011||499|
|5.||Olympus E-PL1||115 mm||72 mm||42 mm||334 g||290||n||Feb 2010||599|
|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-P1||121 mm||70 mm||36 mm||355 g||300||n||Jun 2009||799|
|9.||Olympus E-P2||121 mm||70 mm||36 mm||355 g||300||n||Nov 2009||799|
|10.||Olympus E-30||142 mm||108 mm||75 mm||701 g||750||n||Nov 2008||1,299|
|11.||Olympus E-420||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2008||599|
|12.||Olympus E-520||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||535 g||750||n||May 2008||699|
|13.||Olympus E-510||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||538 g||750||n||Mar 2007||799|
|14.||Sony HX95||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||429|
|15.||Sony WX800||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||233 g||370||n||Oct 2018||399|
|16.||Sony HX90V||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||360||n||Apr 2015||429|
|17.||Sony HX400V||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||660 g||300||n||Feb 2014||499|
|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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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. 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. 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus E-600 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Sony HX99 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the HX99 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.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the HX99 offers a higher resolution of 18 megapixels, compared with 12.2 MP of the E-600. 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 1.25μm versus 4.29μm for the E-600). However, it should be noted that the HX99 is much more recent (by 9 years) than the E-600, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the HX99 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony HX99 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the HX99 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.5 x 18.4 inches or 62.2 x 46.6 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.6 x 14.7 inches or 49.7 x 37.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.3 x 12.2 inches or 41.5 x 31.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-600 are 20.2 x 15.1 inches or 51.2 x 38.4 cm for good quality, 16.1 x 12.1 inches or 41 x 30.7 cm for very good quality, and 13.4 x 10.1 inches or 34.1 x 25.6 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Olympus E-600 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-6400.
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"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Olympus E-600||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.5||10.3||541||55|
|4.||Olympus E-PM1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||21.0||10.3||499||52|
|5.||Olympus E-PL1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.1||487||54|
|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-P1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.4||536||55|
|9.||Olympus E-P2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.4||505||56|
|10.||Olympus E-30||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.4||530||55|
|11.||Olympus E-420||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.4||527||56|
|12.||Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55|
|13.||Olympus E-510||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.2||10.0||442||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 HX99 indeed provides for movie recording, while the E-600 does not. The highest resolution format that the HX99 can use is 4K/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the HX99 has an electronic viewfinder (638k dots), while the E-600 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus E-600, the Sony HX99, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Olympus E-600||optical||n||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||Y|
|2.||Sony HX99||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon SX730||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y|
|4.||Olympus E-PM1||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||Y|
|5.||Olympus E-PL1||optional||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||3.0||Y||Y|
|6.||Olympus E-450||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n|
|7.||Olympus E-620||optical||n||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||Y|
|8.||Olympus E-P1||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||Y|
|9.||Olympus E-P2||optional||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||Y|
|10.||Olympus E-30||optical||Y||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||Y|
|11.||Olympus E-420||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n|
|12.||Olympus E-520||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||Y|
|13.||Olympus E-510||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony HX95||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony WX800||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony HX90V||638||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony HX400V||210||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The HX99 has a touchscreen, while the E-600 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.
The E-600 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or xD Picture cards, while the HX99 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The E-600 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the HX99 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-600 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Olympus E-600||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Sony HX99||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon SX730||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Olympus E-PM1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Olympus E-PL1||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Olympus E-450||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Olympus E-620||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Olympus E-P1||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Olympus E-P2||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Olympus E-30||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Olympus E-420||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Olympus E-520||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Olympus E-510||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Sony HX95||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony WX800||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony HX90V||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony HX400V||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the E-600 has a hotshoe, while the HX99 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
The HX99 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the E-600 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the E-600 from Olympus. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus and Sony websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Olympus E-600 better than the Sony HX99 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Olympus E-600:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (500 versus 370) on a single battery charge.
- 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 August 2009).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (18 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 21%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 4K/30p video.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- 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 (922k vs 230k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the E-600 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 130x94mm) 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-600).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- 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.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More modern: Reflects 9 years of technical progress since the E-600 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the HX99 emerges as the winner of the match-up (16 : 13 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-600 and the Sony HX99 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Superzoom 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the E-600 or the HX99 perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
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], 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-600||..||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||Aug 2009||449|
|2.||Sony HX99||..||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||449|
|3.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|4.||Olympus E-PM1||..||86/100||..||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||499|
|5.||Olympus E-PL1||..||86/100||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||599|
|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-P1||..||+||..||66/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2009||799|
|9.||Olympus E-P2||3/5||+||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Nov 2009||799|
|10.||Olympus E-30||..||..||..||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2008||1,299|
|11.||Olympus E-420||..||85/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2008||599|
|12.||Olympus E-520||..||87/100||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2008||699|
|13.||Olympus E-510||..||89/100||..||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||799|
|14.||Sony HX95||..||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2018||429|
|15.||Sony WX800||..||..||..||..||..||..||Oct 2018||399|
|16.||Sony HX90V||4/5||+ +||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||429|
|17.||Sony HX400V||4/5||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon SX40 vs Sony HX99
- Canon SX60 vs Sony HX99
- Canon XTi vs Olympus E-600
- Fujifilm X-A1 vs Sony HX99
- Leica V-LUX 3 vs Olympus E-600
- Nikon D4S vs Sony HX99
- Nikon P1000 vs Olympus E-600
- Nikon Z6 vs Sony HX99
- Olympus E-520 vs Olympus E-600
- Olympus E-600 vs Olympus E-P2
- Olympus E-600 vs Sony RX100 VII
- Panasonic GH4 vs Sony HX99
Specifications: Olympus E-600 vs Sony HX99
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-600||Sony HX99|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Four Thirds lenses||24-720mm f/3.5-6.4|
|Launch Date||August 2009||August 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 449||USD 449|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-600||Sony HX99|
|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|
|Sensor Resolution||12.2 Megapixels||18 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4032 x 3024 pixels||4896 x 3672 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.29 μm||1.25 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.42 MP/cm2||64.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80 - 6,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic III+||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||55||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.5||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.3||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||541||..|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-600||Sony HX99|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||638k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.7inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-600||Sony HX99|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens-based stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or XD cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus E-600||Sony HX99|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|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|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-600||Sony HX99|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||500 shots per charge||370 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
130 x 94 x 60 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 2.4 in)
102 x 58 x 36 mm
(4.0 x 2.3 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||535 g (18.9 oz)||242 g (8.5 oz)|
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