Olympus E-M5 vs Panasonic G7
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2012 and May 2015. Both the E-M5 and the G7 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 15.8 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
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-G7? 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-M5 and the Panasonic G7 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
Both cameras are available in two different colors (black, silver).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-M5 and the Panasonic G7 are of equal size. However, the G7 is slightly lighter (4 percent) than the E-M5. It is worth mentioning in this context that the E-M5 is splash and dust resistant, while the G7 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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 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.
|1.||Olympus E-M5||122 mm||89 mm||43 mm||425 g||360||Y||Feb 2012||1,299|
|2.||Panasonic G7||125 mm||86 mm||77 mm||410 g||350||n||May 2015||649|
|3.||Fujifilm X-E2S||129 mm||75 mm||37 mm||350 g||350||n||Jan 2016||699|
|4.||Olympus PEN-F||125 mm||72 mm||37 mm||427 g||330||n||Jan 2016||1,199|
|5.||Olympus E-M5 II||124 mm||85 mm||45 mm||469 g||310||Y||Feb 2015||1,099|
|6.||Olympus E-M10 II||120 mm||83 mm||47 mm||390 g||320||n||Aug 2015||649|
|7.||Olympus E-M10||119 mm||82 mm||46 mm||396 g||320||n||Jan 2014||699|
|8.||Olympus E-PL7||115 mm||67 mm||38 mm||357 g||350||n||Aug 2014||599|
|9.||Olympus E-M1||130 mm||94 mm||63 mm||497 g||350||Y||Sep 2013||1,399|
|10.||Olympus E-P5||122 mm||69 mm||37 mm||420 g||330||n||May 2013||999|
|11.||Panasonic G80||128 mm||89 mm||74 mm||505 g||330||Y||Sep 2016||899|
|12.||Panasonic GX8||133 mm||78 mm||63 mm||487 g||330||Y||Jul 2015||1,199|
|13.||Panasonic GM5||99 mm||60 mm||36 mm||211 g||220||n||Sep 2014||749|
|14.||Panasonic G6||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|15.||Panasonic GX7||123 mm||71 mm||55 mm||402 g||350||n||Aug 2013||999|
|16.||Panasonic G5||120 mm||83 mm||71 mm||396 g||320||n||Jul 2012||599|
|17.||Panasonic G3||115 mm||84 mm||47 mm||336 g||270||n||May 2011||599|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 G7 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 50 percent) than the E-M5, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.
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 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. 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 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.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the E-M5 offers a slightly higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 15.8 MP of the G7. This megapixels advantage translates into a 0.3 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the E-M5 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 G7). Moreover, it should be noted that the G7 is much more recent (by 3 years and 3 months) than the E-M5, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of individual pixels.
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 are ISO 160 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|1.||Olympus E-M5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||22.8||12.3||826||71|
|2.||Panasonic G7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|4.||Olympus PEN-F||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||23.1||12.4||894||74|
|5.||Olympus E-M5 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73|
|6.||Olympus E-M10 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73|
|7.||Olympus E-M10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||884||72|
|8.||Olympus E-PL7||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.4||873||72|
|9.||Olympus E-M1||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||23.0||12.7||757||73|
|10.||Olympus E-P5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.4||895||72|
|11.||Panasonic G80||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||22.8||12.5||656||71|
|12.||Panasonic GX8||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.5||12.6||806||75|
|13.||Panasonic GM5||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.1||11.7||721||66|
|14.||Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|15.||Panasonic GX7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.6||12.2||718||70|
|16.||Panasonic G5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|17.||Panasonic G3||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21.0||10.6||667||56|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the G7 provides a better video resolution than the E-M5. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/60i.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the G7 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the E-M5 (2360k vs 1440k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus E-M5, the Panasonic G7, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Olympus E-M5||1440||n||3.0 / 610||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0||n||Y|
|2.||Panasonic G7||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n|
|3.||Fujifilm X-E2S||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n|
|4.||Olympus PEN-F||2360||n||3.0 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|5.||Olympus E-M5 II||2360||n||3.0 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|6.||Olympus E-M10 II||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|7.||Olympus E-M10||1440||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|8.||Olympus E-PL7||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y|
|9.||Olympus E-M1||2360||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|10.||Olympus E-P5||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/8000s||9.0||Y||Y|
|11.||Panasonic G80||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||9.0||Y||Y|
|12.||Panasonic GX8||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|13.||Panasonic GM5||1166||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||Y||1/500s||5.8||n||n|
|14.||Panasonic G6||1440||n||3.0 / 1036||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n|
|15.||Panasonic GX7||2760||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/8000s||5.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Panasonic G5||1440||n||3.0 / 920||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|17.||Panasonic G3||1440||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||Y||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
One feature that differentiates the E-M5 and the G7 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-M5 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the G7 offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.The G7 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-M5 does not have a selfie-screen.
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 G7 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 Panasonic G7 has 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-M5 and the G7 write their files to SDXC cards. The G7 supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the E-M5 can use UHS-I cards (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-M5 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Olympus E-M5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Panasonic G7||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Fujifilm X-E2S||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|4.||Olympus PEN-F||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|5.||Olympus E-M5 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Olympus E-M10 II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Olympus E-M10||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Olympus E-PL7||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|9.||Olympus E-M1||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|10.||Olympus E-P5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|11.||Panasonic G80||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|12.||Panasonic GX8||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|13.||Panasonic GM5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|14.||Panasonic G6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Panasonic GX7||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Panasonic G5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Panasonic G3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the G7 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the E-M5 does not provide wifi capability.
Both the E-M5 and the G7 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-M5 was replaced by the Olympus E-M5 II, while the G7 was followed by the Panasonic G85. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus and Panasonic websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus E-M5 and the Panasonic G7? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Olympus OM-D E-M5:
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (9 vs 7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2012).
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7:
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60i).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2360k vs 1440k dots).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.58x).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 610k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- 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.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (50 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 3 months of technical progress since the E-M5 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G7 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 4 points). 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. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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-M5 and the Panasonic G7 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the E-M5 or the G7. 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.
|1.||Olympus E-M5||4/5||+ +||..||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||1,299|
|2.||Panasonic G7||4/5||+ +||..||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||May 2015||649|
|3.||Fujifilm X-E2S||4.5/5||..||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||699|
|4.||Olympus PEN-F||..||..||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,199|
|5.||Olympus E-M5 II||5/5||+ +||4.5/5||81/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2015||1,099|
|6.||Olympus E-M10 II||4.5/5||+ +||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Aug 2015||649|
|7.||Olympus E-M10||4/5||..||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Jan 2014||699|
|8.||Olympus E-PL7||4/5||+||..||..||5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||599|
|9.||Olympus E-M1||5/5||+ +||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||1,399|
|10.||Olympus E-P5||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2013||999|
|11.||Panasonic G80||..||+ +||..||84/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||899|
|12.||Panasonic GX8||5/5||+||..||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2015||1,199|
|13.||Panasonic GM5||3.5/5||+||..||77/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||749|
|14.||Panasonic G6||4/5||+ +||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599|
|15.||Panasonic GX7||4/5||+||..||79/100||5/5||5/5||Aug 2013||999|
|16.||Panasonic G5||3/5||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||599|
|17.||Panasonic G3||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2011||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes 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.
- Canon 1D Mark II vs Olympus E-M5
- Canon 40D vs Olympus E-M5
- Canon T3 vs Panasonic G7
- Fujifilm X-A3 vs Olympus E-M5
- Fujifilm X-Pro2 vs Olympus E-M5
- Leica X-U Typ 113 vs Olympus E-M5
- Nikon D3300 vs Panasonic G7
- Nikon D70s vs Panasonic G7
- Nikon Z6 II vs Olympus E-M5
- Olympus E-520 vs Panasonic G7
- Olympus XZ-2 vs Panasonic G7
- Panasonic G7 vs Samsung NX1
Specifications: Olympus E-M5 vs Panasonic G7
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-M5||Panasonic G7|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2012||May 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 1,299||USD 649|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-M5||Panasonic G7|
|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||15.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||4592 x 3448 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.76 μm||3.77 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.08 MP/cm2||7.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 25,600 ISO||160 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic VI||Venus|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||71||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.8||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.3||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||826||..|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-M5||Panasonic G7|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots||2360k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||610k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-M5||Panasonic G7|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||9 shutter flaps/s||7 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens stabilization only|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus E-M5||Panasonic G7|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-M5||Panasonic G7|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||360 shots per charge||350 shots per charge|
122 x 89 x 43 mm
(4.8 x 3.5 x 1.7 in)
125 x 86 x 77 mm
(4.9 x 3.4 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||425 g (15.0 oz)||410 g (14.5 oz)|
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