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Olympus E-M10 vs E-PL6

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 and the Olympus PEN E-PL6 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2014 and May 2013. Both the E-M10 and the E-PL6 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
versus
Olympus E-PL6
Olympus E-M10   Olympus E-PL6
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
1080/30p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 200-25,600 ISO 200-25,600
Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots) Viewfinder optional
3.0" LCD – 1037k dots 3.0" LCD – 460k dots
Tilting touchscreen Tilting touchscreen
8 shutter flaps per second 8 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
320 shots per battery charge360 shots per battery charge
119 x 82 x 46 mm, 396 g 111 x 64 x 38 mm, 325 g
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus OM-D E-M10 and the Olympus PEN E-PL6? 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

The physical size and weight of the Olympus E-M10 and the Olympus E-PL6 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The E-M10 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the E-PL6 is available in four color-versions (black, silver, red, white).

Size Olympus E-M10 vs Olympus E-PL6
Compare E-M10 versus E-PL6 top
Comparison E-M10 or E-PL6 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-PL6 is notably smaller (27 percent) than the Olympus E-M10. Moreover, the E-PL6 is markedly lighter (18 percent) than the E-M10. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-M10 nor the E-PL6 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 adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons 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 119 mm 82 mm 46 mm 396 g 320 n Jan 2014 699ebay.com
2.
 
Olympus E-PL6 111 mm 64 mm 38 mm 325 g 360 n May 2013 599ebay.com
3.
 
Olympus E-M10 III 122 mm 84 mm 50 mm 410 g 330 n Aug 2017 649ebay.com
4.
 
Olympus E-PL8 115 mm 67 mm 38 mm 357 g 350 n Sep 2016 549ebay.com
5.
 
Olympus E-M5 II 124 mm 85 mm 45 mm 469 g 310 Y Feb 2015 1,099ebay.com
6.
 
Olympus E-M10 II 120 mm 83 mm 47 mm 390 g 320 n Aug 2015 649ebay.com
7.
 
Olympus E-PL7 115 mm 67 mm 38 mm 357 g 350 n Aug 2014 599ebay.com
8.
 
Olympus E-P5 122 mm 69 mm 37 mm 420 g 330 n May 2013 999ebay.com
9.
 
Olympus E-PL5 111 mm 64 mm 38 mm 325 g 360 n Sep 2012 599ebay.com
10.
 
Olympus E-PM2 110 mm 64 mm 34 mm 269 g 360 n Sep 2012 499ebay.com
11.
 
Panasonic GX80 122 mm 71 mm 44 mm 426 g 290 n Apr 2016 799 amazon.com
12.
 
Panasonic G6 122 mm 85 mm 71 mm 390 g 340 n Apr 2013 599ebay.com
13.
 
Panasonic GX7 123 mm 71 mm 55 mm 402 g 350 n Aug 2013 999ebay.com
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The E-PL6 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 14 percent) than the E-M10, 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 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. 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 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 uses a more advanced image processing engine (TruePic VII) than the E-PL6 (TruePic VI), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Olympus E-M10 and Olympus E-PL6 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 and the E-PL6 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the E-M10 is a somewhat more recent model (by 8 months) than the E-PL6, 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 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The Olympus PEN E-PL6 offers exactly the same ISO settings.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

E-M10 versus E-PL6 MP

For many 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"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-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 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472
2.
 
Olympus E-PL6 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.512.071768
3.
 
Olympus E-M10 III Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p23.112.8112074
4.
 
Olympus E-PL8 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p23.012.6103073
5.
 
Olympus E-M5 II Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.012.584273
6.
 
Olympus E-M10 II Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273
7.
 
Olympus E-PL7 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.487372
8.
 
Olympus E-P5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.489572
9.
 
Olympus E-PL5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388972
10.
 
Olympus E-PM2 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.293272
11.
 
Panasonic GX80 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.912.666271
12.
 
Panasonic G6 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961
13.
 
Panasonic GX7 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.612.271870
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the E-M10 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-PL6 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the E-PL6 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-3. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Olympus E-M10 and Olympus E-PL6 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)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Olympus E-M101440 n3.0 / 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s Y Y
2.
 
Olympus E-PL6optional n3.0 / 460 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s n Y
3.
 
Olympus E-M10 III2360 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.6/s Y Y
4.
 
Olympus E-PL8optional n3.0 / 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s n Y
5.
 
Olympus E-M5 II2360 n3.0 / 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0/s n Y
6.
 
Olympus E-M10 II2360 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s Y Y
7.
 
Olympus E-PL7optional n3.0 / 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s n Y
8.
 
Olympus E-P5optional n3.0 / 1037 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0/s Y Y
9.
 
Olympus E-PL5optional n3.0 / 460 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s n Y
10.
 
Olympus E-PM2optional n3.0 / 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 8.0/s n Y
11.
 
Panasonic GX802765 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s Y Y
12.
 
Panasonic G61440 n3.0 / 1036 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0/s Y n
13.
 
Panasonic GX72760 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/8000s 5.0/s Y Y
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The E-M10 has one, while the E-PL6 does not. While the built-in flash of the E-M10 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The E-PL6 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 does not have a selfie-screen.

The Olympus E-M10 and the Olympus E-PL6 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 and the E-PL6 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of 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 and Olympus PEN E-PL6 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-M10Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
2.
 
Olympus E-PL6Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Olympus E-M10 IIIYstereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
4.
 
Olympus E-PL8Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
5.
 
Olympus E-M5 IIYstereo / monoY-micro2.0Y--
6.
 
Olympus E-M10 IIYstereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
7.
 
Olympus E-PL7Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
8.
 
Olympus E-P5Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
9.
 
Olympus E-PL5Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Olympus E-PM2Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Panasonic GX80Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
12.
 
Panasonic G6Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
13.
 
Panasonic GX7Ystereo / mono--mini2.0YY-

It is notable that the E-M10 offers wifi support, while the E-PL6 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

Both the E-M10 and the E-PL6 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The E-PL6 was replaced by the Olympus E-PL7, while the E-M10 was followed by the Olympus E-M10 II. Further information on the features and operation of the E-M10 and E-PL6 can be found, respectively, in the Olympus E-M10 Manual (free pdf) or the online Olympus E-PL6 Manual.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-M10 or the Olympus E-PL6 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Advantages of the Olympus OM-D E-M10:

  • 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 VII vs TruePic VI).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 460k dots).
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 8 months after the E-PL6).


Reasons to prefer the Olympus PEN E-PL6:

  • 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 (111x64mm vs 119x82mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 71g or 18 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (360 versus 320) out of a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (14 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in May 2013).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (7 points each). 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 07:07 E-PL6

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-M10 and the Olympus E-PL6 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the E-M10 and the E-PL6 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.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera 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-M104/5....80/1005/55/5 Jan 2014 699ebay.com
2.
 
Olympus E-PL6............ May 2013 599ebay.com
3.
 
Olympus E-M10 III..+5/580/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2017 649ebay.com
4.
 
Olympus E-PL8........4.5/54/5 Sep 2016 549ebay.com
5.
 
Olympus E-M5 II5/5+ +4.5/581/1005/55/5 Feb 2015 1,099ebay.com
6.
 
Olympus E-M10 II4.5/5+ +..80/1005/55/5 Aug 2015 649ebay.com
7.
 
Olympus E-PL74/5+....5/54/5 Aug 2014 599ebay.com
8.
 
Olympus E-P55/5+ +..78/1004.5/55/5 May 2013 999ebay.com
9.
 
Olympus E-PL53/5+ +....4.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599ebay.com
10.
 
Olympus E-PM23/5....77/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499ebay.com
11.
 
Panasonic GX804.5/5+ +..82/1005/55/5 Apr 2016 799 amazon.com
12.
 
Panasonic G64/5+ +....5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 599ebay.com
13.
 
Panasonic GX74/5+..79/1005/55/5 Aug 2013 999ebay.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

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.

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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.

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    Specifications: Olympus E-M10 vs Olympus E-PL6

    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 Olympus E-PL6
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date January 2014 May 2013
    Launch Price USD 699 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Olympus E-M10 Olympus E-PL6
    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 1080/30p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 25,600 ISO 200 - 25,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25,600 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    Image Processor TruePic VII TruePic VI
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 72 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.8 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.3 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 884 ..
    Screen Specs Olympus E-M10 Olympus E-PL6
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.58x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1440k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1037k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Olympus E-M10 Olympus E-PL6
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peakingno Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 8 shutter flaps/s 8 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Single or Dual Card Slots Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Olympus E-M10 Olympus E-PL6
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Body Specs Olympus E-M10 Olympus E-PL6
    Battery Type BLS-5 BLS-5
    Battery Life (CIPA)320 shots per charge360 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 119 x 82 x 46 mm
    (4.7 x 3.2 x 1.8 in)
    111 x 64 x 38 mm
    (4.4 x 2.5 x 1.5 in)
    Camera Weight 396 g (14.0 oz) 325 g (11.5 oz)
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