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Olympus E-M1 vs Pentax K-1

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 and the Pentax K-1 are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2013 and February 2016. The E-M1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the K-1 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (E-M1) and a full frame (K-1) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 36.2 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Olympus E-M1   Pentax K-1
Olympus E-M1 Pentax K-1
Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
Micro Four Thirds lenses Pentax K mount lenses
15.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 36.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 100-25600 ISO 100-204800
Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots) Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD, 1037k dots 3.2" LCD, 1037k dots
Tilting touchscreen Fully flexible screen (no touchscreen)
10 shutter flaps per second 4.4 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
350 shots per battery charge760 shots per battery charge
130 x 94 x 63 mm, 497 g 137 x 110 x 86 mm, 1010 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and the Pentax K-1? 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-M1 vs Pentax K-1

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-M1 and the Pentax K-1 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.

Both cameras are available in two different colors (black, silver).

Size Olympus E-M1 vs Pentax K-1
Compare E-M1 versus K-1 top
Comparison E-M1 or K-1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax K-1 is notably larger (23 percent) than the Olympus E-M1. Moreover, the K-1 is substantially heavier (103 percent) than the E-M1. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

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.

Concerning battery life, the E-M1 gets 350 shots out of its BLN-1 battery, while the K-1 can take 760 images on a single charge of its D-LI90 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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-M1» 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 17.5 oz 350 Y Sep 2013 1,399- i Olympus E-M1
 
Pentax K-1« 5.4 in 4.3 in 3.4 in 35.6 oz 760 Y Feb 2016 1,799- i Pentax K-1
 
Canon 5D Mark IV« » 5.9 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 31.4 oz 900 Y Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
 
Nikon D500« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 30.3 oz 1240 Y Jan 2016 1,999 i i Nikon D500
 
Olympus E-M1 II« » 5.3 in 3.6 in 2.6 in 20.2 oz 440 Y Sep 2016 1,999 i i Olympus E-M1 II
 
Olympus PEN-F« » 4.9 in 2.8 in 1.5 in 15.1 oz 330 n Jan 2016 1,199 i i Olympus PEN-F
 
Olympus E-M5 II« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 1.8 in 16.5 oz 310 Y Feb 2015 1,099 i i Olympus E-M5 II
 
Olympus E-PL7« » 4.5 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 12.6 oz 350 n Aug 2014 599- i Olympus E-PL7
 
Olympus E-P5« » 4.8 in 2.7 in 1.5 in 14.8 oz 330 n May 2013 999- i Olympus E-P5
 
Olympus E-M5« » 4.8 in 3.5 in 1.7 in 15.0 oz 360 Y Feb 2012 1,299- i Olympus E-M5
 
Olympus E-PL5« » 4.4 in 2.5 in 1.5 in 11.5 oz 360 n Sep 2012 599- i Olympus E-PL5
 
Olympus E-PM2« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.3 in 9.5 oz 360 n Sep 2012 499- i Olympus E-PM2
 
Panasonic GH4« » 5.2 in 3.7 in 3.3 in 19.8 oz 500 Y Feb 2014 1,499- i Panasonic GH4
 
Panasonic GH3« » 5.2 in 3.7 in 3.2 in 19.4 oz 540 Y Sep 2012 1,299- i Panasonic GH3
 
Pentax K-1 II« » 5.4 in 4.3 in 3.4 in 35.6 oz 670 Y Feb 2018 1,999 i i Pentax K-1 II
 
Sony A99 II« » 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 29.9 oz 490 Y Sep 2016 3,199 i i Sony A99 II
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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-M1 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 22 percent) than the K-1, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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-M1 vs Pentax K-1

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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus E-M1 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Pentax K-1 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the K-1 is 283 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.0. The sensor in the E-M1 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the K-1 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Olympus E-M1 and Pentax K-1 sensor measures

With 36.2MP, the K-1 offers a higher resolution than the E-M1 (15.9MP), but the K-1 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.88μm versus 3.76μm for the E-M1) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the K-1 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 5 months) than the E-M1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Pentax K-1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the K-1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 36.8 x 24.6 inch or 93.5 x 62.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 29.4 x 19.6 inch or 74.8 x 49.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 24.5 x 16.4 inch or 62.3 x 41.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-M1 are 23 x 17.3 inch or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inch or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inch or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.

The E-M1 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

Unlike the E-M1, the K-1 has the capacity to capture high quality composite images by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax K-1 are ISO 100 to ISO 204800 (no boost).

E-M1 versus K-1 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 consideration, the K-1 offers substantially better image quality than the E-M1 (overall score 23 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.4 bits higher color depth, 1.9 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2.1 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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-M1» Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p23.012.775773Olympus E-M1
 
Pentax K-1« Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60i25.414.6328096Pentax K-1
 
Canon 5D Mark IV« » Full Frame 30.1 6720 44804K/30p24.813.6299591Canon 5D Mark IV
 
Nikon D500« » APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.014.0132483Nikon D500
 
Olympus E-M1 II« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.712.8131280Olympus E-M1 II
 
Olympus PEN-F« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38881080/60p23.112.489474Olympus PEN-F
 
Olympus E-M5 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.012.584273Olympus E-M5 II
 
Olympus E-PL7« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.487372Olympus E-PL7
 
Olympus E-P5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.489572Olympus E-P5
 
Olympus E-M5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i22.812.382671Olympus E-M5
 
Olympus E-PL5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388972Olympus E-PL5
 
Olympus E-PM2« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.293272Olympus E-PM2
 
Panasonic GH4« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p23.212.879174Panasonic GH4
 
Panasonic GH3« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p22.712.481271Panasonic GH3
 
Pentax K-1 II« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60i----Pentax K-1 II
 
Sony A99 II« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p25.413.4231792Sony A99 II

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the K-1 provides a faster frame rate than the E-M1. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Olympus E-M1 vs Pentax K-1

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the E-M1 has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), while the K-1 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the E-M1 has a higher magnification than the one of the K-1 (0.74x vs 0.70x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus E-M1, the Pentax K-1, 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-M1»2360 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y Olympus E-M1
 
Pentax K-1«optical Y 3.2 1037 full-flex n 1/8000s 4.4 n Y Pentax K-1
 
Canon 5D Mark IV« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 1/8000s 7.0 n n Canon 5D Mark IV
 
Nikon D500« »optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n Nikon D500
 
Olympus E-M1 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 18.0 n Y Olympus E-M1 II
 
Olympus PEN-F« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y Olympus PEN-F
 
Olympus E-M5 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y Olympus E-M5 II
 
Olympus E-PL7« »- n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y Olympus E-PL7
 
Olympus E-P5« »- n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0 Y Y Olympus E-P5
 
Olympus E-M5« »1440 n 3.0 610 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0 n Y Olympus E-M5
 
Olympus E-PL5« »- n 3.0 460 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y Olympus E-PL5
 
Olympus E-PM2« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y Olympus E-PM2
 
Panasonic GH4« »2359 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 1/8000s 12.0 Y n Panasonic GH4
 
Panasonic GH3« »1746 n 3.0 614 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Panasonic GH3
 
Pentax K-1 II« »optical Y 3.2 1037 full-flex n 1/8000s 4.4 n Y Pentax K-1 II
 
Sony A99 II« »2400 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 1/8000s 12.0 n Y Sony A99 II

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The E-M1 has a touchscreen, while the K-1 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The Olympus E-M1 and the Pentax K-1 both have 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.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the E-M1 and the K-1 write their files to SDXC cards. The K-1 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the E-M1 only has one slot. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.

 

Connectivity comparison: Olympus E-M1 vs Pentax K-1

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 OM-D E-M1 and Pentax K-1 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-M1»YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Olympus E-M1
 
Pentax K-1«YstereomonoYYmicro2.0Y--Pentax K-1
 
Canon 5D Mark IV« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0YY-Canon 5D Mark IV
 
Nikon D500« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0YYYNikon D500
 
Olympus E-M1 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.0Y--Olympus E-M1 II
 
Olympus PEN-F« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus PEN-F
 
Olympus E-M5 II« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Olympus E-M5 II
 
Olympus E-PL7« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus E-PL7
 
Olympus E-P5« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus E-P5
 
Olympus E-M5« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus E-M5
 
Olympus E-PL5« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus E-PL5
 
Olympus E-PM2« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus E-PM2
 
Panasonic GH4« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Panasonic GH4
 
Panasonic GH3« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y--Panasonic GH3
 
Pentax K-1 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0Y--Pentax K-1 II
 
Sony A99 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYYSony A99 II

It is notable that the K-1 has a headphone jack, which makes it possible to attach external headphones and monitor the quality of sound during the recording process. The E-M1 lacks such a headphone port.

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

Both the E-M1 and the K-1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-M1 was replaced by the Olympus E-M1 II, while the K-1 was followed by the Pentax K-1 II. 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: Olympus E-M1 vs Pentax K-1

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus E-M1 and the Pentax K-1? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Olympus OM-D E-M1:

  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.74x vs 0.70x).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 4.4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (130x94mm vs 137x110mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 513g or 51 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (22 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2013).

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Reasons to prefer the Pentax K-1:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (36.2 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 54%.
  • High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (23 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.4 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.9 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (2.1 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i versus 1080/30p).
  • Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More flexible LCD: Has full-flex screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (760 versus 350) out of a single battery charge.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 5 months of technical progress since the E-M1 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the K-1 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 10 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 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-M1 10:15 K-1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-M1 and the Pentax K-1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the E-M1 and the K-1 in practical situations. 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.

Expert reviews: Olympus E-M1 vs Pentax K-1

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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-M1»+ +84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 1,399- i Olympus E-M1
 
Pentax K-1«-84/1005/54.5/55/5 Feb 2016 1,799- i Pentax K-1
 
Canon 5D Mark IV« »+ +87/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
 
Nikon D500« »+ +91/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 1,999 i i Nikon D500
 
Olympus E-M1 II« »+ +85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2016 1,999 i i Olympus E-M1 II
 
Olympus PEN-F« »-82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jan 2016 1,199 i i Olympus PEN-F
 
Olympus E-M5 II« »+ +81/1005/54.5/55/5 Feb 2015 1,099 i i Olympus E-M5 II
 
Olympus E-PL7« »+-5/54.5/54/5 Aug 2014 599- i Olympus E-PL7
 
Olympus E-P5« »+ +78/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2013 999- i Olympus E-P5
 
Olympus E-M5« »+ +80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2012 1,299- i Olympus E-M5
 
Olympus E-PL5« »+ +-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599- i Olympus E-PL5
 
Olympus E-PM2« »-77/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499- i Olympus E-PM2
 
Panasonic GH4« »+ +85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2014 1,499- i Panasonic GH4
 
Panasonic GH3« »+ +79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2012 1,299- i Panasonic GH3
 
Pentax K-1 II« »-79/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Feb 2018 1,999 i i Pentax K-1 II
 
Sony A99 II« »-85/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 3,199 i i Sony A99 II
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Olympus E-M1:
Check Ebay offers
Pentax K-1:
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. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Olympus E-M1 vs Pentax K-1

    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-M1 Pentax K-1
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses Pentax K mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2013 February 2016
    Launch Price USD 1399 USD 1799
    Sensor Specs Olympus E-M1 Pentax K-1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Four Thirds Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 17.3 x 13.0 mm 35.9 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 224.9 mm2 861.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 21.6 mm 43.2 mm
    Crop Factor 2.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 15.9 Megapixels 36.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 7360 x 4912 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.76 μm 4.88 μm
    Pixel Density 7.08 MP/cm2 4.20 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 100-25600 ISO 100-204800 ISO
    Image Processor TruePIC VII PRIME IV
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 73 96
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.0 25.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.7 14.6
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 757 3280
    Screen Specs Olympus E-M1 Pentax K-1
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.74x 0.70x
    Viewfinder Resolution 2360k dots
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.2 inch
    LCD Resolution 1037k dots 1037k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Fully flexible screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Olympus E-M1 Pentax K-1
    Autofocus System On-Sensor Phase-detect Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/8000/s 1/8000/s
    Continuous Shooting 10 shutter flaps/s 4.4 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy150 000 actuations300 000 actuations
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    UHS card support UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Olympus E-M1 Pentax K-1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI micro HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port External MIC port
    Headphone Socket no Headphone port Headphone port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Geotagging GPS built-in
    Body Specs Olympus E-M1 Pentax K-1
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type BLN-1 power pack D-LI90 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)350 shots per charge760 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 130 x 94 x 63 mm
    (5.1 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
    137 x 110 x 86 mm
    (5.4 x 4.3 x 3.4 in)
    Camera Weight 497 g (17.5 oz) 1010 g (35.6 oz)

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