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Olympus E-M10 II versus Panasonic GM5

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2015 and September 2014. Both the E-M10 II and the GM5 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 15.9 megapixel, whereas the Panasonic provides 15.8 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Olympus E-M10 II vs Panasonic GM5

The physical size and weight of the Olympus E-M10 II and the Panasonic GM5 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the E-M10 II – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Olympus E-M10 II vs Panasonic GM5
Compare E-M10 II versus GM5 top
Compare E-M10 II and GM5 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GM5 is considerably smaller (40 percent) than the Olympus E-M10 II. Moreover, the GM5 is substantially lighter (46 percent) than the E-M10 II. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-M10 II nor the GM5 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 find an overview of suitable optics 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.

Concerning battery life, the E-M10 II gets 320 shots out of its BLS-50 battery, while the GM5 can take 220 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLH7 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Olympus E-M10 II» 4.7 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 13.8 oz 320 n Aug 2015 799- i
Panasonic GM5« 3.9 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 7.4 oz 220 n Sep 2014 749- i
Olympus E-M10 III« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.0 in 14.5 oz 330 n Aug 2017 649 i i
Olympus PEN-F« » 4.9 in 2.8 in 1.5 in 15.1 oz 330 n Jan 2016 1,199 i i
Olympus E-PL8« » 4.5 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 12.6 oz 350 n Sep 2016 549- i
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-PL7« » 4.5 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 12.6 oz 350 n Aug 2014 599- i
Olympus E-M10« » 4.7 in 3.2 in 1.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jan 2014 699- i
Olympus E-P5« » 4.8 in 2.7 in 1.5 in 14.8 oz 330 n May 2013 999- i
Olympus E-PL5« » 4.4 in 2.5 in 1.5 in 11.5 oz 360 n Sep 2012 599- i
Panasonic G85« » 5.0 in 3.5 in 2.9 in 17.8 oz 330 Y Sep 2016 899 i i
Panasonic GX85« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 15.0 oz 290 n Apr 2016 799 i i
Panasonic G7« » 4.9 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 14.5 oz 350 n May 2015 649- i
Panasonic G6« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 n Apr 2013 599- i
Panasonic GM1« » 3.9 in 2.2 in 1.2 in 7.2 oz 230 n Oct 2013 749- i
Ricoh GR II« » 4.6 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 8.9 oz 320 n Jun 2015 699- i
Ricoh GR« » 4.6 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 8.6 oz 290 n Apr 2013 799- i

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The GM5 was somewhat cheaper (by 6 percent) than the E-M10 II at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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: Olympus E-M10 II vs Panasonic GM5

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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and 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 Panasonic GM5 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the E-M10 II offers a slightly higher resolution of 15.9 megapixel, compared with 15.8 MP of the GM5. This megapixel advantage translates into a 0.3 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the E-M10 II has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.76μm versus 3.77μm for the GM5). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the E-M10 II is a somewhat more recent model (by 11 months) than the GM5, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size. 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.

E-M10 II versus GM5 MP

For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under review, the E-M10 II has a notably higher overall DXO score than the GM5 (overall score 7 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 1 bits higher color depth, 0.8 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.2 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 Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Olympus E-M10 II» Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273
Panasonic GM5« Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.111.772166
Olympus E-M10 III« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p----
Olympus PEN-F« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38881080/60p23.112.489474
Olympus E-PL8« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p----
Olympus E-M5 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.012.584273
Olympus E-PL7« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.487372
Olympus E-M10« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472
Olympus E-P5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.489572
Olympus E-PL5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388972
Panasonic G85« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.812.565671
Panasonic GX85« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.912.666271
Panasonic G7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p----
Panasonic G6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961
Panasonic GM1« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i22.311.766066
Ricoh GR II« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.7107880
Ricoh GR« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.597278

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).

 

Feature comparison: Olympus E-M10 II vs Panasonic GM5

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the E-M10 II offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the GM5 (2360k vs 1166k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Olympus E-M10 II and Panasonic GM5 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Olympus E-M10 II»2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y
Panasonic GM5«1166 n 3.0 921 fixed Y 500 5.8 n n
Olympus E-M10 III« »2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.6 Y Y
Olympus PEN-F« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Olympus E-PL8« »- n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 4000 8.0 n Y
Olympus E-M5 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Olympus E-PL7« »- n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 4000 8.0 n Y
Olympus E-M10« »1440 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y
Olympus E-P5« »- n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 8000 9.0 Y Y
Olympus E-PL5« »- n 3.0 460 tilting Y 4000 8.0 n Y
Panasonic G85« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 9.0 Y Y
Panasonic GX85« »2765 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y
Panasonic G7« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n
Panasonic G6« »1440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n
Panasonic GM1« »- n 3.0 1036 fixed Y 500 5.0 Y n
Ricoh GR II« »- n 3.0 1230 fixed n 4000 4.0 Y n
Ricoh GR« »- n 3.0 1230 fixed n 4000 4.0 Y n

Both the E-M10 II and the GM5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GM5 was replaced by the .., while the E-M10 II was followed by the Olympus E-M10 III.

Review summary: Olympus E-M10 II vs Panasonic GM5

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-M10 II or the Panasonic GM5 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages 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 image quality: Scores markedly higher (7 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.8 EV of extra DR).
  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2360k vs 1166k dots).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 921k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 500/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 5.8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (320 versus 220) on a single battery charge.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization build-in.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 11 months after the GM5).

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Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • More compact: Is smaller (99x60mm vs 120x83mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 179g or 46 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2014).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-M10 II is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 4 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.

E-M10 II 12:04 GM5

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the E-M10 II and the GM5 in practical situations. 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. This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Olympus E-M10 II»HiRec80/1005/55/55/5 Aug 2015 799- i
Panasonic GM5«Rec77/1005/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 749- i
Olympus E-M10 III« »Rec80/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Aug 2017 649 i i
Olympus PEN-F« »-82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jan 2016 1,199 i i
Olympus E-PL8« »--4.5/5-4/5 Sep 2016 549- i
Olympus E-M5 II« »HiRec81/1005/54.5/55/5 Feb 2015 1,099 i i
Olympus E-PL7« »Rec-5/54.5/54/5 Aug 2014 599- i
Olympus E-M10« »-80/1005/54.5/55/5 Jan 2014 699- i
Olympus E-P5« »HiRec78/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2013 999- i
Olympus E-PL5« »HiRec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599- i
Panasonic G85« »HiRec84/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 899 i i
Panasonic GX85« »HiRec82/1005/54.5/55/5 Apr 2016 799 i i
Panasonic G7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/54.5/5 May 2015 649- i
Panasonic G6« »HiRec-5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 599- i
Panasonic GM1« »Rec78/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 749- i
Ricoh GR II« »--4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 699- i
Ricoh GR« »-79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 799- i

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please send me an email, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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