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Olympus E-P2 versus Olympus E-P5

The Olympus PEN E-P2 and the Olympus PEN E-P5 are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in November 2009 and May 2013. Both the E-P2 and the E-P5 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The E-P2 has a resolution of 12.2 megapixel, whereas the E-P5 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-P2 vs Olympus E-P5

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-P2 and the Olympus E-P5. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the E-P2 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Olympus E-P2 vs Olympus E-P5
E-P2 versus E-P5 top view
E-P2 and E-P5 rear side
Body view (E-P2 on the left)

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-P2 and the Olympus E-P5are of equal size. However, the E-P5 is markedly heavier (18 percent) than the E-P2. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-P2 nor the E-P5 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-P2 gets 300 shots out of its BLS-1 battery, while the E-P5 can take 330 images on a single charge of its BLN-1 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 Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Olympus E-P2 (⇒ rgt) 121 mm 70 mm 36 mm 355 g 300 no 2009 799discont. check
Olympus E-P5 (⇒ lft) 122 mm 69 mm 37 mm 420 g 330 no 2013 999discont. check
Olympus PEN-F (⇒ lft | rgt) 125 mm 72 mm 37 mm 427 g 330 no 2016 1,199 latest check
Olympus E-M10 II (⇒ lft | rgt) 120 mm 83 mm 47 mm 390 g 320 no 2015 799discont. check
Olympus E-PL7 (⇒ lft | rgt) 115 mm 67 mm 38 mm 357 g 350 no 2014 599discont. check
Olympus E-M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 119 mm 82 mm 46 mm 396 g 320 no 2014 699discont. check
Olympus E-M1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 130 mm 94 mm 63 mm 497 g 350 YES 2013 1,399discont. check
Olympus E-PL3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 110 mm 64 mm 37 mm 313 g 300 no 2011 599discont. check
Olympus E-PL2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 114 mm 72 mm 42 mm 362 g 280 no 2011 599discont. check
Olympus E-P3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 122 mm 69 mm 34 mm 369 g 330 no 2011 799discont. check
Olympus E-PL1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 115 mm 72 mm 42 mm 334 g 290 no 2010 599discont. check
Olympus E-P1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 121 mm 70 mm 36 mm 355 g 300 no 2009 799discont. check
Olympus E-620 (⇒ lft | rgt) 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 521 g 500 no 2009 699discont. check
Olympus E-520 (⇒ lft | rgt) 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 535 g 750 no 2008 699discont. check
Olympus E-30 (⇒ lft | rgt) 142 mm 108 mm 75 mm 701 g 750 no 2008 1,299discont. check
Olympus E-510 (⇒ lft | rgt) 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 538 g 750 no 2007 799discont. check
Panasonic GF1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 119 mm 71 mm 36 mm 385 g 380 no 2009 749discont. check

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 E-P2 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 20 percent) than the E-P5, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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-P2 vs Olympus E-P5

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 more expensive and 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-P2 and Olympus E-P5 sensor measures
Sensor size

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the E-P5 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixel, compared with 12.2 MP of the E-P2. This megapixel advantage translates into a 14 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the E-P5 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-P2). However, it should be noted that the E-P5 is much more recent (by 3 years and 6 months) than the E-P2, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.

E-P2 versus E-P5 MP
Sensor resolution

For most 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. Of the two cameras under consideration, the E-P5 offers substantially better image quality than the E-P2 (overall score 16 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.3 bits higher color depth, 2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.8 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Olympus E-P2 (⇒ rgt) Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024 720/30p 21.5 10.4 505 56
Olympus E-P5 (⇒ lft) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/30p 22.8 12.4 895 72
Olympus PEN-F (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 20.2 5184 3888 1080/60p 23.1 12.4 894 74
Olympus E-M10 II (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/60p 23.1 12.5 842 73
Olympus E-PL7 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/30p 22.7 12.4 873 72
Olympus E-M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/30p 22.8 12.3 884 72
Olympus E-M1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/30p 23.0 12.7 757 73
Olympus E-PL3 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024 1080/60i 20.9 10.3 499 52
Olympus E-PL2 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024 720/30p 21.4 10.2 573 55
Olympus E-P3 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024 1080/60i 20.8 10.1 536 51
Olympus E-PL1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024 720/30p 21.5 10.1 487 54
Olympus E-P1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024 720/30p 21.4 10.4 536 55
Olympus E-620 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024 no 21.3 10.3 536 55
Olympus E-520 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736 no 21.4 10.4 548 55
Olympus E-30 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024 no 21.3 10.4 530 55
Olympus E-510 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736 no 21.2 10.0 442 52
Panasonic GF1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 720/30p 21.2 10.3 513 54

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the E-P5 provides a better video resolution than the E-P2. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/30p, while the E-P2 is limited to 720/30p.

Feature comparison: Olympus E-P2 vs Olympus E-P5

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The E-P2 and the E-P5 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Olympus E-P2 and Olympus E-P5 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. 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
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Olympus E-P2 (⇒ rgt) no no 3.0 230 fixed no 4000 3.0 no YES
Olympus E-P5 (⇒ lft) no no 3.0 1037 tilting YES 8000 9.0 7 YES
Olympus PEN-F (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1037 swivel YES 8000 10.0 no YES
Olympus E-M10 II (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 8.0 5.8 YES
Olympus E-PL7 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1037 tilting YES 4000 8.0 no YES
Olympus E-M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 1037 tilting YES 4000 8.0 5.8 YES
Olympus E-M1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1037 tilting YES 8000 10.0 no YES
Olympus E-PL3 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 460 tilting no 4000 5.5 no YES
Olympus E-PL2 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 460 fixed no 4000 3.0 10 YES
Olympus E-P3 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 614 fixed YES 4000 3.0 10 YES
Olympus E-PL1 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 2.7 230 fixed no 2000 3.0 10 YES
Olympus E-P1 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 230 fixed no 4000 3.0 no YES
Olympus E-620 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 2.7 230 swivel no 4000 4.0 12 YES
Olympus E-520 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 2.7 215 fixed no 4000 3.5 12 YES
Olympus E-30 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 2.7 230 swivel no 8000 5.0 13 YES
Olympus E-510 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 2.5 215 fixed no 4000 3.0 12 YES
Panasonic GF1 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 460 fixed no 4000 3.0 6.0 no

Both the E-P2 and the E-P5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-P2 was replaced by the Olympus E-P3, while the E-P5 was followed by the ...

Review summary: Olympus E-P2 vs Olympus E-P5

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus E-P2 and the Olympus E-P5? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-P2:

  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 65g or 15 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (20 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in November 2009).

Arguments in favor of the Olympus PEN E-P5:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (15.9 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 14%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (16 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.3 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.8 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/30p vs 720/30p).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k 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 shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (9 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 3 years and 6 months of technical progress since the E-P2 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-P5 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 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-P2 03:13 E-P5

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the E-P2 or the E-P5. 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 table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites. The detailed reviews can be accessed, respectively, on the websites of cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
.com
dp
review
.com
ephoto
zine
.com
imaging
resource
.com
photography
blog
.com
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Olympus E-P2 (⇒ rgt) 83/100 Rec 69/100 Silver 4/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2009 799discont. check
Olympus E-P5 (⇒ lft) HiRec 78/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2013 999discont. check
Olympus PEN-F (⇒ lft | rgt) - 82/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2016 1,199 latest check
Olympus E-M10 II (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 80/100 Silver 5/5 5/5 5/5 2015 799discont. check
Olympus E-PL7 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec - 5/5 4.5/5 4/5 2014 599discont. check
Olympus E-M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 80/100 Gold 5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2014 699discont. check
Olympus E-M1 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 84/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2013 1,399discont. check
Olympus E-PL3 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 72/100 Silver 4.5/5 - 4/5 2011 599discont. check
Olympus E-PL2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 83/100 71/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2011 599discont. check
Olympus E-P3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 83/100 74/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2011 799discont. check
Olympus E-PL1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 86/100 69/100 Silver 4/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2010 599discont. check
Olympus E-P1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 83/100 Rec 66/100 4/5 4/5 4.5/5 2009 799discont. check
Olympus E-620 (⇒ lft | rgt) 88/100 72/100 HiRec 4.5/5 reviewed 5/5 2009 699discont. check
Olympus E-520 (⇒ lft | rgt) 87/100 HiRec 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2008 699discont. check
Olympus E-30 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 71/100 HiRec 4.5/5 - 4/5 2008 1,299discont. check
Olympus E-510 (⇒ lft | rgt) 89/100 HiRec 3.5/5 reviewed 4.5/5 2007 799discont. check
Panasonic GF1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 85/100 69/100 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2009 749discont. check

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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. 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. 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, please send me an email, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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