Olympus E-P1 vs Sony A68
The Olympus PEN E-P1 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A68 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in June 2009 and November 2015. The E-P1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the A68 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (E-P1) and an APS-C (A68) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Olympus E-P1||Sony A68|
|Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Micro Four Thirds lenses||Sony A mount lenses|
|12.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor||24 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|720/30p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO 100-6400||ISO 100-25600|
|No viewfinder, LCD framing||Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)|
|3.0" LCD, 230k dots||2.7" LCD, 460k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|3 shutter flaps per second||8 shutter flaps per second|
|In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|300 shots per battery charge||540 shots per battery charge|
|121 x 70 x 36 mm, 355 g||143 x 104 x 81 mm, 610 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus PEN E-P1 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A68? 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-P1 and the Sony A68 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The E-P1 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, white), while the A68 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A68 is considerably larger (76 percent) than the Olympus E-P1. Moreover, the A68 is substantially heavier (72 percent) than the E-P1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-P1 nor the A68 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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Olympus E-P1»||4.8 in||2.8 in||1.4 in||12.5 oz||300||n||Jun 2009||799||Olympus E-P1|
|Sony A68«||5.6 in||4.1 in||3.2 in||21.5 oz||540||n||Nov 2015||699||Sony A68|
|Olympus E-P3« »||4.8 in||2.7 in||1.3 in||13.0 oz||330||n||Jun 2011||799||Olympus E-P3|
|Olympus E-PL2« »||4.5 in||2.8 in||1.7 in||12.8 oz||280||n||Jan 2011||599||Olympus E-PL2|
|Olympus E-PL3« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.5 in||11.0 oz||300||n||Jun 2011||599||Olympus E-PL3|
|Olympus E-PL1« »||4.5 in||2.8 in||1.7 in||11.8 oz||290||n||Feb 2010||599||Olympus E-PL1|
|Olympus E-620« »||5.1 in||3.7 in||2.4 in||18.4 oz||500||n||Feb 2009||699||Olympus E-620|
|Olympus E-P2« »||4.8 in||2.8 in||1.4 in||12.5 oz||300||n||Nov 2009||799||Olympus E-P2|
|Olympus E-520« »||5.4 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||18.9 oz||750||n||May 2008||699||Olympus E-520|
|Panasonic ZS100« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||11.0 oz||300||n||Jan 2016||699||Panasonic ZS100|
|Panasonic G10« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||13.7 oz||380||n||Mar 2010||499||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic GF1« »||4.7 in||2.8 in||1.4 in||13.6 oz||380||n||Sep 2009||749||Panasonic GF1|
|Panasonic GH1« »||4.9 in||3.5 in||1.8 in||13.6 oz||300||n||Mar 2009||899||Panasonic GH1|
|Sony A77 II« »||5.6 in||4.1 in||3.2 in||22.8 oz||480||Y||May 2014||1,199||Sony A77 II|
|Sony A6000« »||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.8 in||12.1 oz||360||n||Feb 2014||599||Sony A6000|
|Sony A58« »||5.1 in||3.7 in||3.1 in||17.4 oz||690||n||Feb 2013||599||Sony A58|
|Sony A77« »||5.6 in||4.1 in||3.2 in||25.8 oz||470||Y||Aug 2011||1,399||Sony A77|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as 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 A68 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 13 percent) than the E-P1, 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better 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.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus E-P1 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Sony A68 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the A68 is 63 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.5. The sensor in the E-P1 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the A68 offers a 3:2 aspect.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
With 24MP, the A68 offers a higher resolution than the E-P1 (12.2MP), but the A68 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 4.29μm for the E-P1). Yet, the A68 is a much more recent model (by 6 years and 4 months) than the E-P1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A68 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A68 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inch or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inch or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inch or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-P1 are 20.2 x 15.1 inch or 51.2 x 38.4 cm for good quality, 16.1 x 12.1 inch or 41 x 30.7 cm for very good quality, and 13.4 x 10.1 inch or 34.1 x 25.6 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Olympus PEN E-P1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha SLT-A68 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 A68 offers substantially better image quality than the E-P1 (overall score 24 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.7 bits higher color depth, 3.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.4 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Olympus E-P1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.4||536||55||Olympus E-P1|
|Sony A68||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60i||24.1||13.5||701||79||Sony A68|
|Olympus E-P3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.8||10.1||536||51||Olympus E-P3|
|Olympus E-PL2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.2||573||55||Olympus E-PL2|
|Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52||Olympus E-PL3|
|Olympus E-PL1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.1||487||54||Olympus E-PL1|
|Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55||Olympus E-620|
|Olympus E-P2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.4||505||56||Olympus E-P2|
|Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55||Olympus E-520|
|Panasonic ZS100||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.5||559||70||Panasonic ZS100|
|Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic GF1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||513||54||Panasonic GF1|
|Panasonic GH1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/24p||21.6||11.6||772||64||Panasonic GH1|
|Sony A77 II||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Sony A77 II|
|Sony A6000||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||13.1||1347||82||Sony A6000|
|Sony A58||APS-C||19.8||5456||3632||1080/60i||23.3||12.5||753||74||Sony A58|
|Sony A77||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.0||13.2||801||78||Sony A77|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the A68 provides a better video resolution than the E-P1. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Olympus is limited to 720/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A68 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus E-P1, the Sony A68, and comparable cameras.
|Olympus E-P1||none||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||Y||Olympus E-P1|
|Sony A68||1440||Y||2.7||460||tilting||n||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y||Sony A68|
|Olympus E-P3||optional||n||3.0||614||fixed||Y||1/4000s||3.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-P3|
|Olympus E-PL2||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-PL2|
|Olympus E-PL3||optional||n||3.0||460||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||Y||Olympus E-PL3|
|Olympus E-PL1||optional||n||2.7||230||fixed||n||1/2000s||3.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-PL1|
|Olympus E-620||optical||n||2.7||230||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-620|
|Olympus E-P2||optional||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||Y||Olympus E-P2|
|Olympus E-520||optical||n||2.7||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||Y||Olympus E-520|
|Panasonic ZS100||1166||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Panasonic ZS100|
|Panasonic G10||202||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic GF1||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Panasonic GF1|
|Panasonic GH1||1440||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Panasonic GH1|
|Sony A77 II||2359||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||Y||Y||Sony A77 II|
|Sony A6000||1440||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6000|
|Sony A58||1440||n||2.7||460||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||Y||Sony A58|
|Sony A77||2359||Y||3.0||921||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||Y||Y||Sony A77|
One feature that is present on the A68, but is missing on the E-P1 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
The E-P1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the A68 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A68 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the E-P1 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
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 PEN E-P1 and Sony Alpha SLT-A68 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Olympus E-P1||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-P1|
|Sony A68||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A68|
|Olympus E-P3||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-P3|
|Olympus E-PL2||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL2|
|Olympus E-PL3||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL3|
|Olympus E-PL1||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL1|
|Olympus E-620||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-620|
|Olympus E-P2||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-P2|
|Olympus E-520||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-520|
|Panasonic ZS100||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Panasonic ZS100|
|Panasonic G10||Y||mono||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic GF1||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GF1|
|Panasonic GH1||Y||stereo||none||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GH1|
|Sony A77 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A77 II|
|Sony A6000||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A6000|
|Sony A58||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A58|
|Sony A77||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A77|
It is notable that the A68 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The E-P1 does not feature such a mic input.
Both the E-P1 and the A68 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-P1 was replaced by the Olympus E-P2, while the A68 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus and Sony websites.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-P1 or the Sony A68 – 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.
Arguments in favor of the Olympus PEN E-P1:
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
- More compact: Is smaller (121x70mm vs 143x104mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 255g or 42 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in June 2009).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha SLT-A68:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 43%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (24 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.7 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (3.1 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60i vs 720/30p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 230k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (540 versus 300) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (13 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 6 years and 4 months of technical progress since the E-P1 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A68 is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 5 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-P1 and the Sony A68 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the E-P1 or the A68. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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.
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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 your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Olympus E-P1 vs Sony A68
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-P1||Sony A68|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||Sony A mount lenses|
|Launch Date||June 2009||November 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 699|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-P1||Sony A68|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12.2 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4032 x 3024 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.29 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.42 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||720/30p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100-6400 ISO||100-25600 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic V||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||55||79|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.4||24.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.4||13.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||536||701|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-P1||Sony A68|
|Viewfinder Type||No viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||2.7 inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-P1||Sony A68|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||No Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000/s||1/4000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||8 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus E-P1||Sony A68|
|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||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-P1||Sony A68|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||300 shots per charge||540 shots per charge|
121 x 70 x 36 mm
(4.8 x 2.8 x 1.4 in)
143 x 104 x 81 mm
(5.6 x 4.1 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||355 g (12.5 oz)||610 g (21.5 oz)|
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