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Olympus E-P1 versus Olympus E-M10 II

The Olympus PEN E-P1 and the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 2009 and August 2015. Both the E-P1 and the E-M10 II are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The E-P1 has a resolution of 12.2 megapixel, whereas the E-M10 II provides 15.9 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Olympus E-P1 vs Olympus E-M10 II

The physical size and weight of the Olympus E-P1 and the Olympus E-M10 II are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the E-P1 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Olympus E-P1 vs Olympus E-M10 II
Compare E-P1 versus E-M10 II top
Compare E-P1 and E-M10 II rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-M10 II is notably larger (18 percent) than the Olympus E-P1. Moreover, the E-M10 II is markedly heavier (10 percent) than the E-P1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-P1 nor the E-M10 II 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 find an overview of suitable optics 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.

Concerning battery life, the E-P1 gets 300 shots out of its BLS-1 battery, while the E-M10 II can take 320 images on a single charge of its BLS-50 power pack.

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)
Olympus E-P1» 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.4 in 12.5 oz 300 n Jun 2009 799- i
Olympus E-M10 II« 4.7 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 13.8 oz 320 n Aug 2015 799- i
Olympus E-M10 III« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.0 in 14.5 oz 330 n Aug 2017 649 i i
Olympus E-PL8« » 4.5 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 12.6 oz 350 n Sep 2016 549- i
Olympus E-PL7« » 4.5 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 12.6 oz 350 n Aug 2014 599- i
Olympus E-M10« » 4.7 in 3.2 in 1.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jan 2014 699- i
Olympus E-PL3« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.5 in 11.0 oz 300 n Jun 2011 599- i
Olympus E-PL2« » 4.5 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 12.8 oz 280 n Jan 2011 599- i
Olympus E-P3« » 4.8 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.0 oz 330 n Jun 2011 799- i
Olympus E-PL1« » 4.5 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 11.8 oz 290 n Feb 2010 599- i
Olympus E-P2« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.4 in 12.5 oz 300 n Nov 2009 799- i
Olympus E-620« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.4 in 18.4 oz 500 n Feb 2009 699- i
Olympus E-520« » 5.4 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 18.9 oz 750 n May 2008 699- i
Olympus E-30« » 5.6 in 4.3 in 3.0 in 24.7 oz 750 n Nov 2008 1,299- i
Olympus E-510« » 5.4 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 19.0 oz 750 n Mar 2007 799- i
Panasonic GX85« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 15.0 oz 290 n Apr 2016 799 i i
Panasonic GF1« » 4.7 in 2.8 in 1.4 in 13.6 oz 380 n Sep 2009 749- i

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 two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Olympus E-P1 vs Olympus E-M10 II

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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.

Olympus E-P1 and Olympus E-M10 II sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the E-M10 II offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixel, compared with 12.2 MP of the E-P1. This megapixel advantage translates into a 14 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the E-M10 II has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.76μm versus 4.29μm for the E-P1). However, it should be noted that the E-M10 II is much more recent (by 6 years and 2 months) than the E-P1, 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 II has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

E-P1 versus E-M10 II MP

For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the E-M10 II offers substantially better image quality than the E-P1 (overall score 18 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.7 bits higher color depth, 2.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.7 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Olympus E-P1» Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.453655
Olympus E-M10 II« Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273
Olympus E-M10 III« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p----
Olympus E-PL8« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p----
Olympus E-PL7« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.487372
Olympus E-M10« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472
Olympus E-PL3« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.910.349952
Olympus E-PL2« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.257355
Olympus E-P3« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.810.153651
Olympus E-PL1« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.148754
Olympus E-P2« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.450556
Olympus E-620« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.310.353655
Olympus E-520« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.410.454855
Olympus E-30« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.310.453055
Olympus E-510« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.210.044252
Panasonic GX85« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.912.666271
Panasonic GF1« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.351354

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the E-M10 II provides a better video resolution than the E-P1. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the E-P1 is limited to 720/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Olympus E-P1 vs Olympus E-M10 II

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the E-M10 II has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-P1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Olympus E-P1 and Olympus E-M10 II in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Olympus E-P1»- n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 n Y
Olympus E-M10 II«2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y
Olympus E-M10 III« »2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.6 Y Y
Olympus E-PL8« »- n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 4000 8.0 n Y
Olympus E-PL7« »- n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 4000 8.0 n Y
Olympus E-M10« »1440 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y
Olympus E-PL3« »- n 3.0 460 tilting n 4000 5.5 n Y
Olympus E-PL2« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y Y
Olympus E-P3« »- n 3.0 614 fixed Y 4000 3.0 Y Y
Olympus E-PL1« »- n 2.7 230 fixed n 2000 3.0 Y Y
Olympus E-P2« »- n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 n Y
Olympus E-620« »optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 4000 4.0 Y Y
Olympus E-520« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y Y
Olympus E-30« »optical Y 2.7 230 swivel n 8000 5.0 Y Y
Olympus E-510« »optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y Y
Panasonic GX85« »2765 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y
Panasonic GF1« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n

Both the E-P1 and the E-M10 II have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-P1 was replaced by the Olympus E-P2, while the E-M10 II was followed by the Olympus E-M10 III.

Review summary: Olympus E-P1 vs Olympus E-M10 II

So how do things add up? Is the Olympus E-P1 better than the Olympus E-M10 II or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Reasons to prefer the Olympus PEN E-P1:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • More compact: Is smaller (121x70mm vs 120x83mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in June 2009).


Arguments in favor of the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (15.9 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 14%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (18 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.7 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.1 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.7 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60p vs 720/30p).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 230k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More modern: Reflects 6 years and 2 months of technical progress since the E-P1 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-M10 II is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 3 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.

E-P1 03:14 E-M10 II

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 handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the E-P1 or the E-M10 II. 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 rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Olympus E-P1»Rec66/1004/54/54.5/5 Jun 2009 799- i
Olympus E-M10 II«HiRec80/1005/55/55/5 Aug 2015 799- i
Olympus E-M10 III« »Rec80/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Aug 2017 649 i i
Olympus E-PL8« »--4.5/5-4/5 Sep 2016 549- i
Olympus E-PL7« »Rec-5/54.5/54/5 Aug 2014 599- i
Olympus E-M10« »-80/1005/54.5/55/5 Jan 2014 699- i
Olympus E-PL3« »HiRec72/1004.5/5-4/5 Jun 2011 599- i
Olympus E-PL2« »83/10071/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 599- i
Olympus E-P3« »83/10074/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2011 799- i
Olympus E-PL1« »86/10069/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2010 599- i
Olympus E-P2« »Rec69/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2009 799- i
Olympus E-620« »88/10072/1004.5/5rev5/5 Feb 2009 699- i
Olympus E-520« »87/100HiRec4.5/54/54.5/5 May 2008 699- i
Olympus E-30« »-71/1004.5/5-4/5 Nov 2008 1,299- i
Olympus E-510« »89/100HiRec3.5/5rev4.5/5 Mar 2007 799- i
Panasonic GX85« »HiRec82/1005/54.5/55/5 Apr 2016 799 i i
Panasonic GF1« »85/10069/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2009 749- i

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. 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? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If the camera you are interested in is not available, kindly get in touch, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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