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Olympus E-M10 III vs E-PL7

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III and the Olympus PEN E-PL7 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2017 and August 2014. Both the E-M10 III and the E-PL7 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 III   Olympus E-PL7
Olympus E-M10 III Olympus E-PL7
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
4K/30p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 200-25600 ISO 200-25600
Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots) Viewfinder optional
3.0" LCD, 1040k dots 3.0" LCD, 1037k dots
Tilting touchscreen Tilting touchscreen
8.6 shutter flaps per second 8 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
330 shots per battery charge350 shots per battery charge
122 x 84 x 50 mm, 410 g 115 x 67 x 38 mm, 357 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III and the Olympus PEN E-PL7? 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-M10 III vs E-PL7

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-M10 III and the Olympus E-PL7. 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.

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

Size Olympus E-M10 III vs Olympus E-PL7
Compare E-M10 III versus E-PL7 top
Comparison E-M10 III or E-PL7 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-PL7 is notably smaller (25 percent) than the Olympus E-M10 III. Moreover, the E-PL7 is markedly lighter (13 percent) than the E-M10 III. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-M10 III nor the E-PL7 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 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)
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-M10 III» 122 mm 84 mm 50 mm 410 g 330 n Aug 2017 649 i i Olympus E-M10 III
 
Olympus E-PL7« 115 mm 67 mm 38 mm 357 g 350 n Aug 2014 599- i Olympus E-PL7
 
Olympus E-PL9« » 117 mm 68 mm 39 mm 380 g 350 n Feb 2018 549 i i Olympus E-PL9
 
Olympus E-PL8« » 115 mm 67 mm 38 mm 357 g 350 n Sep 2016 549- i Olympus E-PL8
 
Olympus PEN-F« » 125 mm 72 mm 37 mm 427 g 330 n Jan 2016 1,199 i i Olympus PEN-F
 
Olympus E-M10 II« » 120 mm 83 mm 47 mm 390 g 320 n Aug 2015 649- i Olympus E-M10 II
 
Olympus E-M10« » 119 mm 82 mm 46 mm 396 g 320 n Jan 2014 699- i Olympus E-M10
 
Olympus E-P5« » 122 mm 69 mm 37 mm 420 g 330 n May 2013 999- i Olympus E-P5
 
Olympus E-PL6« » 111 mm 64 mm 38 mm 325 g 360 n May 2013 599- i Olympus E-PL6
 
Olympus E-PL5« » 111 mm 64 mm 38 mm 325 g 360 n Sep 2012 599- i Olympus E-PL5
 
Panasonic GX80« » 122 mm 71 mm 44 mm 426 g 290 n Apr 2016 799 i i Panasonic GX80
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

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 E-PL7 was somewhat cheaper (by 8 percent) than the E-M10 III at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 III vs E-PL7

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 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.

In terms of chip-set technology, the E-M10 III uses a more advanced image processing engine (TruePic VIII) than the E-PL7 (TruePic VII), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Olympus E-M10 III and Olympus E-PL7 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 III and the E-PL7 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the E-M10 III is much more recent (by 3 years) than the E-PL7, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the E-M10 III has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The Olympus PEN E-PL7 offers exactly the same ISO settings.

E-M10 III versus E-PL7 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"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar 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-M10 III» Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p----Olympus E-M10 III
 
Olympus E-PL7« Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.487372Olympus E-PL7
 
Olympus E-PL9« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p----Olympus E-PL9
 
Olympus E-PL8« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p----Olympus E-PL8
 
Olympus PEN-F« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38881080/60p23.112.489474Olympus PEN-F
 
Olympus E-M10 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273Olympus E-M10 II
 
Olympus E-M10« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472Olympus E-M10
 
Olympus E-P5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.489572Olympus E-P5
 
Olympus E-PL6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p----Olympus E-PL6
 
Olympus E-PL5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388972Olympus E-PL5
 
Panasonic GX80« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.912.666271Panasonic GX80

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the E-M10 III provides a higher video resolution than the E-PL7. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the E-PL7 is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Olympus E-M10 III vs E-PL7

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the E-M10 III has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-PL7 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the E-PL7 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-4. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus E-M10 III, the Olympus E-PL7, 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-M10 III»2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.6 Y Y Olympus E-M10 III
 
Olympus E-PL7«- n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y Olympus E-PL7
 
Olympus E-PL9« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.6 Y Y Olympus E-PL9
 
Olympus E-PL8« »- n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y Olympus E-PL8
 
Olympus PEN-F« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y Olympus PEN-F
 
Olympus E-M10 II« »2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y Olympus E-M10 II
 
Olympus E-M10« »1440 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y Olympus E-M10
 
Olympus E-P5« »- n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0 Y Y Olympus E-P5
 
Olympus E-PL6« »- n 3.0 460 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y Olympus E-PL6
 
Olympus E-PL5« »- n 3.0 460 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y Olympus E-PL5
 
Panasonic GX80« »2765 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y Panasonic GX80

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The E-M10 III has one, while the E-PL7 does not. While the built-in flash of the E-M10 III is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The E-PL7 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 III does not have a selfie-screen.

The Olympus E-M10 III and the Olympus E-PL7 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 III and the E-PL7 write their files to SDXC cards. The E-M10 III supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the E-PL7 can use UHS-I cards (up to 104 MB/s).

 

Connectivity comparison: Olympus E-M10 III vs E-PL7

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 III and Olympus PEN E-PL7 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-M10 III»Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus E-M10 III
 
Olympus E-PL7«Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus E-PL7
 
Olympus E-PL9« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y-YOlympus E-PL9
 
Olympus E-PL8« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus E-PL8
 
Olympus PEN-F« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus PEN-F
 
Olympus E-M10 II« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus E-M10 II
 
Olympus E-M10« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus E-M10
 
Olympus E-P5« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus E-P5
 
Olympus E-PL6« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus E-PL6
 
Olympus E-PL5« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus E-PL5
 
Panasonic GX80« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic GX80

The E-M10 III is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Olympus. In contrast, the E-PL7 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the E-PL7 was succeeded by the Olympus E-PL8. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus website.


Review summary: Olympus E-M10 III vs E-PL7

So how do things add up? Is the Olympus E-M10 III better than the Olympus E-PL7 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Reasons to prefer the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (TruePic VIII vs TruePic VII).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years of technical progress since the E-PL7 launch.


Arguments in favor of the Olympus PEN E-PL7:

  • 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 122x84mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 53g or 13 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2014).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-M10 III emerges as the winner of the contest (7 : 5 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

E-M10 III 07:05 E-PL7

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-M10 III and the Olympus E-PL7 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 remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the E-M10 III or the E-PL7 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: Olympus E-M10 III vs E-PL7

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 (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-M10 III»+80/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Aug 2017 649 i i Olympus E-M10 III
 
Olympus E-PL7«+-5/54.5/54/5 Aug 2014 599- i Olympus E-PL7
 
Olympus E-PL9« »+-4.5/5-4/5 Feb 2018 549 i i Olympus E-PL9
 
Olympus E-PL8« »--4.5/5-4/5 Sep 2016 549- i Olympus E-PL8
 
Olympus PEN-F« »-82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jan 2016 1,199 i i Olympus PEN-F
 
Olympus E-M10 II« »+ +80/1005/55/55/5 Aug 2015 649- i Olympus E-M10 II
 
Olympus E-M10« »-80/1005/54.5/55/5 Jan 2014 699- i Olympus E-M10
 
Olympus E-P5« »+ +78/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2013 999- i Olympus E-P5
 
Olympus E-PL6« »----- May 2013 599- i Olympus E-PL6
 
Olympus E-PL5« »+ +-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599- i Olympus E-PL5
 
Panasonic GX80« »+ +82/1005/54.5/55/5 Apr 2016 799 i i Panasonic GX80
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.

Olympus E-M10 III:
Check Amazon price
Olympus E-PL7:
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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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Olympus E-M10 III vs Olympus E-PL7

    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 III Olympus E-PL7
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date August 2017 August 2014
    Launch Price USD 649 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Olympus E-M10 III Olympus E-PL7
    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 4K/30p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 200-25600 ISO 200-25600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-25600 ISO 100-25600 ISO
    Image Processor TruePic VIII TruePic VII
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 72
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 22.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 12.4
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 873
    Screen Specs Olympus E-M10 III Olympus E-PL7
    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 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 1037k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Olympus E-M10 III Olympus E-PL7
    Autofocus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000/s 1/4000/s
    Continuous Shooting 8.6 shutter flaps/s 8 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-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-II UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Olympus E-M10 III Olympus E-PL7
    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 III Olympus E-PL7
    Battery Type BLS-50 power pack BLS-50 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)330 shots per charge350 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 122 x 84 x 50 mm
    (4.8 x 3.3 x 2.0 in)
    115 x 67 x 38 mm
    (4.5 x 2.6 x 1.5 in)
    Camera Weight 410 g (14.5 oz) 357 g (12.6 oz)

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