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Olympus E-M5 vs Panasonic FZ1000

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2012 and June 2014. The E-M5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the FZ1000 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (E-M5) and an one-inch (FZ1000) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 20 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Olympus E-M5   Panasonic FZ1000
Olympus E-M5 Panasonic FZ1000
Mirrorless system camera Fixed lens compact camera
Micro Four Thirds lenses 25-400mm f/2.8-4.0
15.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 20 MP, 1" Sensor
1080/60i Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 200-25600 ISO 125-12800 (80-25600)
Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots) Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots)
3.0" LCD, 610k dots 3.0" LCD, 921k dots
Tilting touchscreen Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
9 shutter flaps per second 12 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationLens-based stabilization
Weathersealed bodyNot weather sealed
360 shots per battery charge360 shots per battery charge
122 x 89 x 43 mm, 425 g 137 x 99 x 131 mm, 831 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000? 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: Olympus E-M5 vs Panasonic FZ1000

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-M5 and the Panasonic FZ1000. 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-M5 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the FZ1000 is only available in black.

Size Olympus E-M5 vs Panasonic FZ1000
Compare E-M5 versus FZ1000 top
Comparison E-M5 or FZ1000 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic FZ1000 is notably larger (25 percent) than the Olympus E-M5. It is worth mentioning in this context that the E-M5 is splash and dust resistant, while the FZ1000 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the FZ1000 has a lens built in, whereas the E-M5 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the E-M5 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

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)
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-M5» 4.8 in 3.5 in 1.7 in 15.0 oz 360 Y Feb 2012 1,299- i Olympus E-M5
 
Panasonic FZ1000« 5.4 in 3.9 in 5.2 in 29.3 oz 360 n Jun 2014 899- i Panasonic FZ1000
 
Canon G3 X« » 4.8 in 3.0 in 4.1 in 25.9 oz 300 Y Jun 2015 999 i i Canon G3 X
 
Olympus PEN-F« » 4.9 in 2.8 in 1.5 in 15.1 oz 330 n Jan 2016 1,199 i i Olympus PEN-F
 
Olympus E-M5 II« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 1.8 in 16.5 oz 310 Y Feb 2015 1,099 i i Olympus E-M5 II
 
Olympus E-PL7« » 4.5 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 12.6 oz 350 n Aug 2014 599- i Olympus E-PL7
 
Olympus E-M1« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 17.5 oz 350 Y Sep 2013 1,399- i Olympus E-M1
 
Olympus E-P5« » 4.8 in 2.7 in 1.5 in 14.8 oz 330 n May 2013 999- i Olympus E-P5
 
Olympus E-PL5« » 4.4 in 2.5 in 1.5 in 11.5 oz 360 n Sep 2012 599- i Olympus E-PL5
 
Olympus E-PM2« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.3 in 9.5 oz 360 n Sep 2012 499- i Olympus E-PM2
 
Panasonic FZ1000 II« » 5.4 in 3.8 in 5.2 in 28.6 oz 350 n Feb 2019 899 i i Panasonic FZ1000 II
 
Panasonic GX8« » 5.2 in 3.1 in 2.5 in 17.2 oz 330 Y Jul 2015 1,199- i Panasonic GX8
 
Panasonic GX7« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 2.2 in 14.2 oz 350 n Aug 2013 999- i Panasonic GX7
 
Panasonic GH3« » 5.2 in 3.7 in 3.2 in 19.4 oz 540 Y Sep 2012 1,299- i Panasonic GH3
 
Sony RX100 IV« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 280 n Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
 
Sony RX100 III« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.2 oz 320 n May 2014 799- i Sony RX100 III
 
Sony RX100 II« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.9 oz 350 n Jun 2013 749- i Sony RX100 II
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 FZ1000 was launched at a lower price than the E-M5, despite having a lens built in. 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-M5 vs Panasonic FZ1000

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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus E-M5 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Panasonic FZ1000 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the FZ1000 is 48 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 2.7. The sensor in the E-M5 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the FZ1000 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Olympus E-M5 and Panasonic FZ1000 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the FZ1000 offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixels, compared with 15.9 MP of the E-M5. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 2.41μm versus 3.76μm for the E-M5). However, it should be noted that the FZ1000 is much more recent (by 2 years and 4 months) than the E-M5, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

The resolution advantage of the Panasonic FZ1000 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the FZ1000 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.4 x 18.2 inch or 69.5 x 46.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.9 x 14.6 inch or 55.6 x 37.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.2 inch or 46.3 x 30.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-M5 are 23 x 17.3 inch or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inch or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 in