Olympus E-M10 III vs E-PL8
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III and the Olympus PEN E-PL8 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2017 and September 2016. Both the E-M10 III 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.
|Olympus E-M10 III||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|
|4K/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO 200-25600||ISO 200-6400 (100-25600)|
|Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots)||No viewfinder, LCD framing|
|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 stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|330 shots per battery charge||350 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-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.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-M10 III and the Olympus E-PL8. 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 III can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the E-PL8 is available in three color-versions (black, brown, white).
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 (25 percent) than the Olympus E-M10 III. Moreover, the E-PL8 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-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 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.
|Olympus E-M10 III»||4.8 in||3.3 in||2.0 in||14.5 oz||330||n||Aug 2017||649||Olympus E-M10 III|
|Olympus E-PL8«||4.5 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||12.6 oz||350||n||Sep 2016||549||-||Olympus E-PL8|
|Olympus E-PL9« »||4.6 in||2.7 in||1.5 in||13.4 oz||350||n||Feb 2018||549||Olympus E-PL9|
|Olympus PEN-F« »||4.9 in||2.8 in||1.5 in||15.1 oz||330||n||Jan 2016||1,199||Olympus PEN-F|
|Olympus E-M10 II« »||4.7 in||3.3 in||1.9 in||13.8 oz||320||n||Aug 2015||649||-||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-M10« »||4.7 in||3.2 in||1.8 in||14.0 oz||320||n||Jan 2014||699||-||Olympus E-M10|
|Olympus E-PL7« »||4.5 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||12.6 oz||350||n||Aug 2014||599||-||Olympus E-PL7|
|Olympus E-PL6« »||4.4 in||2.5 in||1.5 in||11.5 oz||360||n||May 2013||599||-||Olympus E-PL6|
|Olympus E-PL5« »||4.4 in||2.5 in||1.5 in||11.5 oz||360||n||Sep 2012||599||-||Olympus E-PL5|
|Olympus E-PL2« »||4.5 in||2.8 in||1.7 in||12.8 oz||280||n||Jan 2011||599||-||Olympus E-PL2|
|Panasonic GX85« »||4.8 in||2.8 in||1.7 in||15.0 oz||290||n||Apr 2016||799||Panasonic GX85|
|Panasonic G7« »||4.9 in||3.4 in||3.0 in||14.5 oz||350||n||May 2015||649||-||Panasonic G7|
|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-PL8 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 15 percent) than the E-M10 III, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.
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-PL8 (TruePic VII), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
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-PL8 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the E-M10 III is a somewhat more recent model (by 11 months) than the E-PL8, 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 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 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.
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.
|Olympus E-M10 III»||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||-||-||-||-||Olympus E-M10 III|
|Olympus E-PL8«||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||-||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL8|
|Olympus E-PL9« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||-||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL9|
|Olympus PEN-F« »||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||23.1||12.4||894||74||Olympus PEN-F|
|Olympus E-M10 II« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-M10« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||884||72||Olympus E-M10|
|Olympus E-PL7« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.4||873||72||Olympus E-PL7|
|Olympus E-PL6« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||-||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL6|
|Olympus E-PL5« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||889||72||Olympus E-PL5|
|Olympus E-PL2« »||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.2||573||55||Olympus E-PL2|
|Panasonic GX85« »||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||22.9||12.6||662||71||Panasonic GX85|
|Panasonic G7« »||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||-||-||-||-||Panasonic G7|
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-PL8. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the E-PL8 is limited to 1080/30p.
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-PL8 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus E-M10 III, the Olympus E-PL8, and comparable cameras.
|Olympus E-M10 III»||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6||Y||Y||Olympus E-M10 III|
|Olympus E-PL8«||-||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y||Olympus E-PL8|
|Olympus E-PL9« »||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6||Y||Y||Olympus E-PL9|
|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-PL7« »||-||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y||Olympus E-PL7|
|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|
|Olympus E-PL2« »||-||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-PL2|
|Panasonic GX85« »||2765||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y||Panasonic GX85|
|Panasonic G7« »||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n||Panasonic G7|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The E-M10 III has one, while the E-PL8 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-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 III 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 III 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 III 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 III and the E-PL8 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-PL8 can use UHS-I cards (up to 104 MB/s).
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-PL8 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Olympus E-M10 III»||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-M10 III|
|Olympus E-PL8«||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-PL8|
|Olympus E-PL9« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Olympus E-PL9|
|Olympus PEN-F« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus PEN-F|
|Olympus E-M10 II« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-M10« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-M10|
|Olympus E-PL7« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-PL7|
|Olympus E-PL6« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL6|
|Olympus E-PL5« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL5|
|Olympus E-PL2« »||Y||stereo||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL2|
|Panasonic GX85« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Panasonic GX85|
|Panasonic G7« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Panasonic G7|
The E-M10 III is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Olympus. In contrast, the E-PL8 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the E-PL8 was succeeded by the Olympus E-PL9. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus website.
So how do things add up? Is the Olympus E-M10 III better than the Olympus E-PL8 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 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.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 11 months after the E-PL8).
Arguments in favor 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 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 affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (15 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2016).
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 (8 : 6 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-M10 III 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 remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the E-M10 III or the E-PL8 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.
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.
|Olympus E-M10 III»||+||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2017||649||Olympus E-M10 III|
|Olympus E-PL8«||-||-||4.5/5||-||4/5||Sep 2016||549||-||Olympus E-PL8|
|Olympus E-PL9« »||+||-||4.5/5||-||4/5||Feb 2018||549||Olympus E-PL9|
|Olympus PEN-F« »||-||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,199||Olympus PEN-F|
|Olympus E-M10 II« »||+ +||80/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Aug 2015||649||-||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-M10« »||-||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2014||699||-||Olympus E-M10|
|Olympus E-PL7« »||+||-||5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||599||-||Olympus E-PL7|
|Olympus E-PL6« »||-||-||-||-||-||May 2013||599||-||Olympus E-PL6|
|Olympus E-PL5« »||+ +||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599||-||Olympus E-PL5|
|Olympus E-PL2« »||83/100||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||599||-||Olympus E-PL2|
|Panasonic GX85« »||+ +||82/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Apr 2016||799||Panasonic GX85|
|Panasonic G7« »||+ +||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2015||649||-||Panasonic G7|
|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.
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.
- Canon 550D vs Olympus E-M10 III
- Canon 5D Mark II vs Olympus E-M10 III
- Canon T6i vs Olympus E-M10 III
- Fujifilm X-A3 vs Olympus E-M10 III
- Leica M8 vs Olympus E-M10 III
- Nikon D5000 vs Olympus E-M10 III
- Nikon L840 vs Olympus E-PL8
- Olympus E-M10 III vs Panasonic GX9
- Olympus E-M10 III vs Sony A99 II
- Olympus E-M10 III vs Sony RX100 III
- Olympus E-PL8 vs Sony A6300
- Olympus E-PL8 vs Sony RX0 II
Specifications: Olympus E-M10 III 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 Model||Olympus E-M10 III||Olympus E-PL8|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2017||September 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 649||USD 549|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-M10 III||Olympus E-PL8|
|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|
|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||200-6400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-25600 ISO||100-25600 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic VIII||TruePic VII|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-M10 III||Olympus E-PL8|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||No viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|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|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-M10 III||Olympus E-PL8|
|Autofocus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000/s||1/4000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||8.6 shutter flaps/s||8 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||In-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-PL8|
|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-PL8|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||330 shots per charge||350 shots per charge|
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)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.