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Olympus E-M10 III versus Panasonic GX850

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX850 (labelled Panasonic GX800 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2017 and January 2017. Both the E-M10 III and the GX850 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 III vs Panasonic GX850

The physical size and weight of the Olympus E-M10 III and the Panasonic GX850 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. 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 side – the E-M10 III – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Olympus E-M10 III vs Panasonic GX850
Compare E-M10 III versus GX850 top
Compare E-M10 III and GX850 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GX850 is considerably smaller (32 percent) than the Olympus E-M10 III. Moreover, the GX850 is markedly lighter (34 percent) than the E-M10 III. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-M10 III nor the GX850 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 III gets 330 shots out of its BLS-50 battery, while the GX850 can take 210 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 III» 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.0 in 14.5 oz 330 n Aug 2017 649 i i
Panasonic GX850« 4.2 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.5 oz 210 n Jan 2017 549 i i
Olympus E-PL9« » 4.6 in 2.7 in 1.5 in 13.4 oz 350 n Feb 2018 549 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-M10 II« » 4.7 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 13.8 oz 320 n Aug 2015 799- 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-PL6« » 4.4 in 2.5 in 1.5 in 11.5 oz 360 n May 2013 599- i
Olympus E-PL5« » 4.4 in 2.5 in 1.5 in 11.5 oz 360 n Sep 2012 599- i
Olympus E-PL2« » 4.5 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 12.8 oz 280 n Jan 2011 599- 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 GF7« » 4.2 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.4 oz 230 n Jan 2015 499- i
Panasonic GF6« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.4 oz 340 n Apr 2013 499- i
Panasonic G6« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 n Apr 2013 599- i
Panasonic GX1« » 4.6 in 2.7 in 1.5 in 11.2 oz 320 n Nov 2011 949- 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 GX850 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. 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 III vs Panasonic GX850

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.

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 III and Panasonic GX850 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the E-M10 III offers a slightly higher resolution of 15.9 megapixel, compared with 15.8 MP of the GX850. 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 III 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 GX850). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the E-M10 III is a somewhat more recent model (by 7 months) than the GX850, 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 neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.

E-M10 III versus GX850 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. 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"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Olympus E-M10 III» Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p----
Panasonic GX850« Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p23.213.358673
Olympus E-PL9« » 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-M10 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273
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-PL6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p----
Olympus E-PL5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388972
Olympus E-PL2« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.257355
Panasonic GX85« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.912.666271
Panasonic G7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p----
Panasonic GF7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p----
Panasonic GF6« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254
Panasonic G6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961
Panasonic GX1« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p20.810.670355

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 (4K/30p).

 

Feature comparison: Olympus E-M10 III vs Panasonic GX850

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety 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 GX850 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Olympus E-M10 III and Panasonic GX850 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, 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 III»2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.6 Y Y
Panasonic GX850«- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 500 10.0 Y n
Olympus E-PL9« »- 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-M10 II« »2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y 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-PL6« »- n 3.0 460 tilting Y 4000 8.0 n Y
Olympus E-PL5« »- n 3.0 460 tilting Y 4000 8.0 n Y
Olympus E-PL2« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 3.0 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 GF7« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 500 5.8 Y n
Panasonic GF6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n
Panasonic G6« »1440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n
Panasonic GX1« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 4000 4.2 Y n

Both the E-M10 III and the GX850 are current models that good online retailers will have in stock. You can check the latest prices, for example, at amazon. The GX850 replaced the earlier Panasonic GF7, while the E-M10 III followed on from the Olympus E-M10 II.

Review summary: Olympus E-M10 III vs Panasonic GX850

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Olympus E-M10 III better than the Panasonic GX850 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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

  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 500/sec) to freeze action.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (330 versus 210) on a single battery charge.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization build-in.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 7 months after the GX850).

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Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX850:

  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 8.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (107x65mm vs 122x84mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 141g or 34 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 January 2017).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (5 points each). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera.

E-M10 III 05:05 GX850

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the E-M10 III and the GX850 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. This is why hands-on reviews by experts 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 III»Rec80/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Aug 2017 649 i i
Panasonic GX850«Rec76/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2017 549 i i
Olympus E-PL9« »--4.5/5-4/5 Feb 2018 549 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-M10 II« »HiRec80/1005/55/55/5 Aug 2015 799- 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-PL6« »----- May 2013 599- i
Olympus E-PL5« »HiRec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599- i
Olympus E-PL2« »83/10071/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 599- 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 GF7« »Rec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2015 499- i
Panasonic GF6« »HiRec-4.5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 499- i
Panasonic G6« »HiRec-5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 599- i
Panasonic GX1« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2011 949- i

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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.

 

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. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please send me an email, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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