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Olympus E-M10 IV vs E-PL9

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV and the Olympus PEN E-PL9 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2020 and February 2018. Both the E-M10 IV and the E-PL9 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The E-M10 IV has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, whereas the E-PL9 provides 15.9 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Olympus E-M10 IV
versus
Olympus E-PL9
Olympus E-M10 IV   Olympus E-PL9
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
20.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 15.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
4K/30p Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 200-25,600 ISO 200-6,400 (100 - 25,600)
Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots) No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 1040k dots 3.0 LCD, 1040k dots
Tilting touchscreen Tilting touchscreen
15 shutter flaps per second 8.6 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
360 shots per battery charge350 shots per battery charge
122 x 84 x 49 mm, 383 g 117 x 68 x 39 mm, 380 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV and the Olympus PEN E-PL9? 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-M10 IV and the Olympus E-PL9 is provided 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The E-M10 IV can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the E-PL9 is available in four color-versions (black, brown, blue, white).

Size Olympus E-M10 IV vs Olympus E-PL9
Compare E-M10 IV versus E-PL9 top
Comparison E-M10 IV or E-PL9 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-PL9 is notably smaller (22 percent) than the Olympus E-M10 IV. Moreover, the E-PL9 is slightly lighter (1 percent) than the E-M10 IV. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-M10 IV nor the E-PL9 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 power pack in the E-M10 IV can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.

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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 IV 122 mm 84 mm 49 mm 383 g 360 n Aug 2020 699 i
2.
 
Olympus E-PL9 117 mm 68 mm 39 mm 380 g 350 n Feb 2018 599i
3.
 
Olympus E-P7 118 mm 69 mm 38 mm 337 g 360 n Jun 2021 799 i
4.
 
Olympus E-M5 III 125 mm 85 mm 50 mm 414 g 310 Y Oct 2019 1,199 i
5.
 
Olympus E-PL10 117 mm 68 mm 39 mm 380 g 350 n Oct 2019 599 i
6.
 
Olympus E-M10 III 122 mm 84 mm 50 mm 410 g 330 n Aug 2017 649i
7.
 
Olympus E-PL8 115 mm 67 mm 38 mm 357 g 350 n Sep 2016 549i
8.
 
Olympus PEN-F 125 mm 72 mm 37 mm 427 g 330 n Jan 2016 1,199i
9.
 
Olympus E-M10 II 120 mm 83 mm 47 mm 390 g 320 n Aug 2015 649i
10.
 
Olympus E-M10 119 mm 82 mm 46 mm 396 g 320 n Jan 2014 699i
11.
 
Olympus E-PL7 115 mm 67 mm 38 mm 357 g 350 n Aug 2014 599i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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-PL9 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 14 percent) than the E-M10 IV, 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.

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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.

Olympus E-M10 IV and Olympus E-PL9 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the E-M10 IV offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 15.9 MP of the E-PL9. This megapixels advantage translates into a 13 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the E-M10 IV has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.34μm versus 3.76μm for the E-PL9). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the E-M10 IV is much more recent (by 2 years and 5 months) than the E-PL9, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the E-M10 IV has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Olympus E-M10 IV implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the E-M10 IV for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-PL9 are 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV 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-PL9 are ISO 200 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.

E-M10 IV versus E-PL9 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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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 IV Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
2.
 
Olympus E-PL9 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p........
3.
 
Olympus E-P7 Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
4.
 
Olympus E-M5 III Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
5.
 
Olympus E-PL10 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p........
6.
 
Olympus E-M10 III Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p........
7.
 
Olympus E-PL8 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
8.
 
Olympus PEN-F Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38881080/60p23.112.489474
9.
 
Olympus E-M10 II Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273
10.
 
Olympus E-M10 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472
11.
 
Olympus E-PL7 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.487372

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the E-M10 IV has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-PL9 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 IV and Olympus E-PL9 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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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)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Olympus E-M10 IV2360 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 15.0 Y Y
2.
 
Olympus E-PL9none n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.6 Y Y
3.
 
Olympus E-P7none n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.7 Y Y
4.
 
Olympus E-M5 III2360 n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
5.
 
Olympus E-PL10none n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.6 Y Y
6.
 
Olympus E-M10 III2360 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.6 Y Y
7.
 
Olympus E-PL8optional n3.0 / 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y
8.
 
Olympus PEN-F2360 n3.0 / 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
9.
 
Olympus E-M10 II2360 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
10.
 
Olympus E-M101440 n3.0 / 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
11.
 
Olympus E-PL7optional n3.0 / 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y
Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.

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, both cameras under consideration feature an 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 IV and the Olympus E-PL9 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 IV and the E-PL9 write their files to SDXC cards. The E-M10 IV supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the E-PL9 can use UHS-I cards (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 IV and Olympus PEN E-PL9 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 IVYstereo / mono--micro2.0Y-Y
2.
 
Olympus E-PL9Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y-Y
3.
 
Olympus E-P7Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y-Y
4.
 
Olympus E-M5 IIIYstereo / monoY-micro2.0Y-Y
5.
 
Olympus E-PL10Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y-Y
6.
 
Olympus E-M10 IIIYstereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
7.
 
Olympus E-PL8Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
8.
 
Olympus PEN-FYstereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
9.
 
Olympus E-M10 IIYstereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
10.
 
Olympus E-M10Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
11.
 
Olympus E-PL7Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--

The E-M10 IV is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Olympus. In contrast, the E-PL9 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the E-PL9 was succeeded by the Olympus E-PL10. 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

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus E-M10 IV and the Olympus E-PL9? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


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

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.2 vs 15.9MP) with a 13% higher linear resolution.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (15 vs 8.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 5 months of technical progress since the E-PL9 launch.


Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PL9:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • More compact: Is smaller (117x68mm vs 122x84mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (14 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2018).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-M10 IV emerges as the winner of the contest (7 : 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. 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 IV 07:04 E-PL9

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-M10 IV and the Olympus E-PL9 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 IV or the E-PL9 perform in practice. 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 where reviews by experts come in. 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 IV4.5/5..5/581/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2020 699 i
2.
 
Olympus E-PL9..+....4.5/54/5 Feb 2018 599i
3.
 
Olympus E-P7....4.5/5...... Jun 2021 799 i
4.
 
Olympus E-M5 III5/5+5/582/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2019 1,199 i
5.
 
Olympus E-PL10....4/577/100..4/5 Oct 2019 599 i
6.
 
Olympus E-M10 III..+5/580/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2017 649i
7.
 
Olympus E-PL8........4.5/54/5 Sep 2016 549i
8.
 
Olympus PEN-F....4/582/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2016 1,199i
9.
 
Olympus E-M10 II4.5/5+ +..80/1005/55/5 Aug 2015 649i
10.
 
Olympus E-M104/5....80/1005/55/5 Jan 2014 699i
11.
 
Olympus E-PL74/5+....5/54/5 Aug 2014 599i
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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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.

Olympus E-M10 IV:
Check Amazon price
Olympus E-PL9:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. 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 IV vs Olympus E-PL9

    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 IV Olympus E-PL9
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date August 2020 February 2018
    Launch Price USD 699 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Olympus E-M10 IV Olympus E-PL9
    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 20.2 Megapixels 15.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3888 pixels 4608 x 3456 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.34 μm 3.76 μm
    Pixel Density 8.96 MP/cm2 7.08 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 4K/30p Video 4K/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 VIII TruePic VIII
    Screen Specs Olympus E-M10 IV Olympus E-PL9
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder no viewfinder
    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 1040k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Olympus E-M10 IV Olympus E-PL9
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 15 shutter flaps/s 8.6 shutter flaps/s
    Electronic Shutterup to 1/16000sup to 1/16000s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in 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 IV Olympus E-PL9
    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
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Olympus E-M10 IV Olympus E-PL9
    Battery Type BLS-50 BLS-50
    Battery Life (CIPA)360 shots per charge350 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging no USB charging
    Body Dimensions 122 x 84 x 49 mm
    (4.8 x 3.3 x 1.9 in)
    117 x 68 x 39 mm
    (4.6 x 2.7 x 1.5 in)
    Camera Weight 383 g (13.5 oz) 380 g (13.4 oz)

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