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Olympus E-M10 II vs E-PL8

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II and the Olympus PEN E-PL8 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2015 and September 2016. Both the E-M10 II and the E-PL8 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 15.9 megapixels.

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

Headline Specifications
Olympus E-M10 II
versus
Olympus E-PL8
Olympus E-M10 II   Olympus E-PL8
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
15.9 MP – Four Thirds sensor 15.9 MP – Four Thirds sensor
1080/60p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 200-25,600 ISO 200-6,400 (100 - 25,600)
Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots) Viewfinder optional
3.0" LCD – 1040k dots 3.0" LCD – 1037k dots
Tilting touchscreen Tilting touchscreen
8 shutter flaps per second 8 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
320 shots per battery charge350 shots per battery charge
120 x 83 x 47 mm, 390 g 115 x 67 x 38 mm, 357 g
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II and the Olympus PEN E-PL8? 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 physical size and weight of the Olympus E-M10 II and the Olympus E-PL8 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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 E-M10 II can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, brown), while the E-PL8 is also available in three color-versions, but different ones (black, brown, white).

Size Olympus E-M10 II vs Olympus E-PL8
Compare E-M10 II versus E-PL8 top
Comparison E-M10 II or E-PL8 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-PL8 is notably smaller (23 percent) than the Olympus E-M10 II. Moreover, the E-PL8 is markedly lighter (8 percent) than the E-M10 II. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-M10 II nor the E-PL8 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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog. Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.

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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-M10 II 120 mm 83 mm 47 mm 390 g 320 n Aug 2015 649ebay.com
2.
 
Olympus E-PL8 115 mm 67 mm 38 mm 357 g 350 n Sep 2016 549ebay.com
3.
 
Olympus E-PL9 117 mm 68 mm 39 mm 380 g 350 n Feb 2018 599ebay.com
4.
 
Olympus E-M10 III 122 mm 84 mm 50 mm 410 g 330 n Aug 2017 649ebay.com
5.
 
Olympus PEN-F 125 mm 72 mm 37 mm 427 g 330 n Jan 2016 1,199ebay.com
6.
 
Olympus E-M5 II 124 mm 85 mm 45 mm 469 g 310 Y Feb 2015 1,099ebay.com
7.
 
Olympus E-M10 119 mm 82 mm 46 mm 396 g 320 n Jan 2014 699ebay.com
8.
 
Olympus E-PL7 115 mm 67 mm 38 mm 357 g 350 n Aug 2014 599ebay.com
9.
 
Olympus E-P5 122 mm 69 mm 37 mm 420 g 330 n May 2013 999ebay.com
10.
 
Olympus E-PL6 111 mm 64 mm 38 mm 325 g 360 n May 2013 599ebay.com
11.
 
Olympus E-PL5 111 mm 64 mm 38 mm 325 g 360 n Sep 2012 599ebay.com
12.
 
Panasonic GX80 122 mm 71 mm 44 mm 426 g 290 n Apr 2016 799 amazon.com
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The E-PL8 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 15 percent) than the E-M10 II, 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. 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 sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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.

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.

Olympus E-M10 II and Olympus E-PL8 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 15.9 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the E-M10 II and the E-PL8 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the E-PL8 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year) than the E-M10 II, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the E-M10 II has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus PEN E-PL8 are ISO 200 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.

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-M10 II versus E-PL8 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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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-M10 II Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273
2.
 
Olympus E-PL8 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p23.012.6103073
3.
 
Olympus E-PL9 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p23.112.8116274
4.
 
Olympus E-M10 III Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p23.112.8112074
5.
 
Olympus PEN-F Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38881080/60p23.112.489474
6.
 
Olympus E-M5 II Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.012.584273
7.
 
Olympus E-M10 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472
8.
 
Olympus E-PL7 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.487372
9.
 
Olympus E-P5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.489572
10.
 
Olympus E-PL6 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.512.071768
11.
 
Olympus E-PL5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388972
12.
 
Panasonic GX80 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.912.666271
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the E-M10 II provides a higher frame rate than the E-PL8. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the E-PL8 is limited to 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the E-M10 II has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-PL8 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the E-PL8 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-4. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Olympus E-M10 II and Olympus E-PL8 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-M10 II2360 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s Y Y
2.
 
Olympus E-PL8optional n3.0 / 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s n Y
3.
 
Olympus E-PL9none n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.6/s Y Y
4.
 
Olympus E-M10 III2360 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.6/s Y Y
5.
 
Olympus PEN-F2360 n3.0 / 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0/s n Y
6.
 
Olympus E-M5 II2360 n3.0 / 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0/s n Y
7.
 
Olympus E-M101440 n3.0 / 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s Y Y
8.
 
Olympus E-PL7optional n3.0 / 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s n Y
9.
 
Olympus E-P5optional n3.0 / 1037 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0/s Y Y
10.
 
Olympus E-PL6optional n3.0 / 460 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s n Y
11.
 
Olympus E-PL5optional n3.0 / 460 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s n Y
12.
 
Panasonic GX802765 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s Y Y
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The E-M10 II has one, while the E-PL8 does not. While the built-in flash of the E-M10 II is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The E-PL8 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the E-M10 II does not have a selfie-screen.

The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the E-M10 II is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).

The Olympus E-M10 II and the Olympus E-PL8 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-M10 II and the E-PL8 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.

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 OM-D E-M10 Mark II and Olympus PEN E-PL8 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-M10 IIYstereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
2.
 
Olympus E-PL8Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
3.
 
Olympus E-PL9Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y-Y
4.
 
Olympus E-M10 IIIYstereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
5.
 
Olympus PEN-FYstereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
6.
 
Olympus E-M5 IIYstereo / monoY-micro2.0Y--
7.
 
Olympus E-M10Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
8.
 
Olympus E-PL7Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
9.
 
Olympus E-P5Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
10.
 
Olympus E-PL6Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Olympus E-PL5Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
12.
 
Panasonic GX80Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--

Both the E-M10 II and the E-PL8 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The E-M10 II was replaced by the Olympus E-M10 III, while the E-PL8 was followed by the Olympus E-PL9. Further information on the features and operation of the E-M10 II and E-PL8 can be found, respectively, in the Olympus E-M10 II Manual (free pdf) or the online Olympus E-PL8 Manual.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-M10 II or the Olympus E-PL8 – 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.


Arguments in favor of the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2015).


Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PL8:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • More compact: Is smaller (115x67mm vs 120x83mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (15 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the E-M10 II comes out slightly ahead of the E-PL8 (6 : 5 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-M10 II 06:05 E-PL8

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-M10 II and the Olympus E-PL8 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the E-M10 II and the E-PL8 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

This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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-M10 II4.5/5+ +..80/1005/55/5 Aug 2015 649ebay.com
2.
 
Olympus E-PL8........4.5/54/5 Sep 2016 549ebay.com
3.
 
Olympus E-PL9..+....4.5/54/5 Feb 2018 599ebay.com
4.
 
Olympus E-M10 III..+5/580/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2017 649ebay.com
5.
 
Olympus PEN-F....4/582/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2016 1,199ebay.com
6.
 
Olympus E-M5 II5/5+ +4.5/581/1005/55/5 Feb 2015 1,099ebay.com
7.
 
Olympus E-M104/5....80/1005/55/5 Jan 2014 699ebay.com
8.
 
Olympus E-PL74/5+....5/54/5 Aug 2014 599ebay.com
9.
 
Olympus E-P55/5+ +..78/1004.5/55/5 May 2013 999ebay.com
10.
 
Olympus E-PL6............ May 2013 599ebay.com
11.
 
Olympus E-PL53/5+ +....4.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599ebay.com
12.
 
Panasonic GX804.5/5+ +..82/1005/55/5 Apr 2016 799 amazon.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

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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. 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-M10 II vs Olympus E-PL8

    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-M10 II Olympus E-PL8
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date August 2015 September 2016
    Launch Price USD 649 USD 549
    Sensor Specs Olympus E-M10 II Olympus E-PL8
    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 15.9 Megapixels 15.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 4608 x 3456 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.76 μm 3.76 μm
    Pixel Density 7.08 MP/cm2 7.08 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 25,600 ISO 200 - 6,400 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25,600 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    Image Processor TruePic VII TruePic VII
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 73 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.1 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.5 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 842 ..
    Screen Specs Olympus E-M10 II Olympus E-PL8
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.62x
    Viewfinder Resolution 2360k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 1037k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Olympus E-M10 II Olympus E-PL8
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 8 shutter flaps/s 8 shutter flaps/s
    Electronic Shutterup to 1/16000sno E-Shutter
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Olympus E-M10 II Olympus E-PL8
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Body Specs Olympus E-M10 II Olympus E-PL8
    Battery Type BLS-50 BLS-50
    Battery Life (CIPA)320 shots per charge350 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 120 x 83 x 47 mm
    (4.7 x 3.3 x 1.9 in)
    115 x 67 x 38 mm
    (4.5 x 2.6 x 1.5 in)
    Camera Weight 390 g (13.8 oz) 357 g (12.6 oz)
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    Check E-PL8 offers at
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