Olympus E-M10 vs E-PL9
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 and the Olympus PEN E-PL9 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2014 and February 2018. Both the E-M10 and the E-PL9 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||Olympus E-PL9|
|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||4K/30p Video|
|ISO 200-25600||ISO 200-6400 (100-25600)|
|Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)||No viewfinder, LCD framing|
|3.0" LCD, 1037k dots||3.0" LCD, 1040k dots|
|Tilting touchscreen||Tilting touchscreen|
|8 shutter flaps per second||8.6 shutter flaps per second|
|In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|320 shots per battery charge||350 shots per battery charge|
|119 x 82 x 46 mm, 396 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 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-M10 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 views from the front, the top, and the rear side 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-PL9 is available in four color-versions (black, brown, blue, white).
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 (18 percent) than the Olympus E-M10. Moreover, the E-PL9 is slightly lighter (4 percent) than the E-M10. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-M10 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 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»||4.7 in||3.2 in||1.8 in||14.0 oz||320||n||Jan 2014||699||-||Olympus E-M10|
|Olympus E-PL9«||4.6 in||2.7 in||1.5 in||13.4 oz||350||n||Feb 2018||549||Olympus E-PL9|
|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-M5 II« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||1.8 in||16.5 oz||310||Y||Feb 2015||1,099||Olympus E-M5 II|
|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-PL7« »||4.5 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||12.6 oz||350||n||Aug 2014||599||-||Olympus E-PL7|
|Olympus E-P5« »||4.8 in||2.7 in||1.5 in||14.8 oz||330||n||May 2013||999||-||Olympus E-P5|
|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-PM2« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.3 in||9.5 oz||360||n||Sep 2012||499||-||Olympus E-PM2|
|Panasonic GX85« »||4.8 in||2.8 in||1.7 in||15.0 oz||290||n||Apr 2016||799||Panasonic GX85|
|Panasonic G6« »||4.8 in||3.3 in||2.8 in||13.8 oz||340||n||Apr 2013||599||-||Panasonic G6|
|Panasonic GX7« »||4.8 in||2.8 in||2.2 in||14.2 oz||350||n||Aug 2013||999||-||Panasonic GX7|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as 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 21 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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.
Technology-wise, the E-PL9 uses a more advanced image processing engine (TruePic VIII) than the E-M10 (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 and the E-PL9 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the E-PL9 is much more recent (by 4 years) than the E-M10, 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 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 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.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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.
|Olympus E-M10»||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||884||72||Olympus E-M10|
|Olympus E-PL9«||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||-||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL9|
|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-M5 II« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73||Olympus E-M5 II|
|Olympus E-M10 II« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-PL7« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.4||873||72||Olympus E-PL7|
|Olympus E-P5« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.4||895||72||Olympus E-P5|
|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-PM2« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.2||932||72||Olympus E-PM2|
|Panasonic GX85« »||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||22.9||12.6||662||71||Panasonic GX85|
|Panasonic G6« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61||Panasonic G6|
|Panasonic GX7« »||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.6||12.2||718||70||Panasonic GX7|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the E-PL9 provides a better video resolution than the E-M10. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the E-M10 is limited to 1080/30p.
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-PL9 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Olympus E-M10 and Olympus E-PL9 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Olympus E-M10»||1440||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-M10|
|Olympus E-PL9«||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6||Y||Y||Olympus E-PL9|
|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-M5 II« »||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y||Olympus E-M5 II|
|Olympus E-M10 II« »||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-PL7« »||-||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y||Olympus E-PL7|
|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|
|Olympus E-PM2« »||-||n||3.0||460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y||Olympus E-PM2|
|Panasonic GX85« »||2765||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y||Panasonic GX85|
|Panasonic G6« »||1440||n||3.0||1036||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n||Panasonic G6|
|Panasonic GX7« »||2760||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/8000s||5.0||Y||Y||Panasonic GX7|
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-PL9 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 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 and the E-PL9 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.
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-PL9 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Olympus E-M10»||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-M10|
|Olympus E-PL9«||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Olympus E-PL9|
|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-M5 II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-M5 II|
|Olympus E-M10 II« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-PL7« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-PL7|
|Olympus E-P5« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-P5|
|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-PM2« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PM2|
|Panasonic GX85« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Panasonic GX85|
|Panasonic G6« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Panasonic G6|
|Panasonic GX7« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Panasonic GX7|
The E-PL9 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Olympus. In contrast, the E-M10 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the E-M10 was succeeded by the Olympus E-M10 II. 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? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-M10 or the Olympus E-PL9 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Olympus OM-D E-M10:
- 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.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2014).
Arguments in favor of the Olympus PEN E-PL9:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- 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).
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (117x68mm vs 119x82mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (21 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 4 years of technical progress since the E-M10 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-PL9 is the clear winner of the contest (9 : 3 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports 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 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the E-M10 and the E-PL9 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.
This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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»||-||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2014||699||-||Olympus E-M10|
|Olympus E-PL9«||+||-||4.5/5||-||4/5||Feb 2018||549||Olympus E-PL9|
|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-M5 II« »||+ +||81/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2015||1,099||Olympus E-M5 II|
|Olympus E-M10 II« »||+ +||80/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Aug 2015||649||-||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-PL7« »||+||-||5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||599||-||Olympus E-PL7|
|Olympus E-P5« »||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||May 2013||999||-||Olympus E-P5|
|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-PM2« »||-||77/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499||-||Olympus E-PM2|
|Panasonic GX85« »||+ +||82/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Apr 2016||799||Panasonic GX85|
|Panasonic G6« »||+ +||-||5/5||-||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599||-||Panasonic G6|
|Panasonic GX7« »||+||79/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2013||999||-||Panasonic GX7|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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, 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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 10D vs Olympus E-M10 II
- Canon G1 X vs Olympus E-PL9
- Canon R vs Olympus E-M10 III
- Canon S120 vs Olympus E-M10 III
- Canon SX70 vs Olympus E-M10 II
- Fujifilm GFX 50R vs Olympus E-M10 III
- Leica X Vario vs Olympus E-M10 II
- Nikon D7200 vs Olympus E-M10
- Nikon Z7 vs Olympus E-M10 III
- Olympus E-PL9 vs Panasonic TZ100
- Olympus E-PL9 vs Sony A77
- Olympus E-PL9 vs Sony NEX-3
Specifications: Olympus E-M10 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 Model||Olympus E-M10||Olympus E-PL9|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2014||February 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 699||USD 549|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-M10||Olympus E-PL9|
|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||1080/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||200-25600 ISO||200-6400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-25600 ISO||100-25600 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic VII||TruePic VIII|
|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-PL9|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||No viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1037k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-M10||Olympus E-PL9|
|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 shutter flaps/s||8.6 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus E-M10||Olympus E-PL9|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-M10||Olympus E-PL9|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||320 shots per charge||350 shots per charge|
119 x 82 x 46 mm
(4.7 x 3.2 x 1.8 in)
117 x 68 x 39 mm
(4.6 x 2.7 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||396 g (14.0 oz)||380 g (13.4 oz)|
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