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Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic G1

The Olympus PEN E-P2 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in November 2009 and September 2008. Both the E-P2 and the G1 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 12 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Olympus E-P2
versus
Panasonic G1
Olympus E-P2   Panasonic G1
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
12.2 MP – Four Thirds sensor 12 MP – Four Thirds sensor
720/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-6,400 ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200)
Viewfinder optional Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)
3.0" LCD – 230k dots 3.0" LCD – 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationLens stabilization only
300 shots per battery charge410 shots per battery charge
121 x 70 x 36 mm, 355 g 124 x 84 x 45 mm, 360 g
Olympus E-P2:
Check Ebay offers
Panasonic G1:
Check Ebay offers

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus PEN E-P2 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1? 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

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-P2 and the Panasonic G1. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The E-P2 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, white), while the G1 is only available in black.

Size Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic G1
Compare E-P2 versus G1 top
Comparison E-P2 or G1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic G1 is notably larger (23 percent) than the Olympus E-P2. Moreover, the G1 is slightly heavier (1 percent) than the E-P2. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-P2 nor the G1 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 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.

Concerning battery life, the E-P2 gets 300 shots out of its BLS-1 battery, while the G1 can take 410 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLB13 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Olympus E-P2 121 mm 70 mm 36 mm 355 g 300 n Nov 2009 799i
2.
 
Panasonic G1 124 mm 84 mm 45 mm 360 g 410 n Sep 2008 599i
3.
 
Olympus E-M10 119 mm 82 mm 46 mm 396 g 320 n Jan 2014 699i
4.
 
Olympus E-P3 122 mm 69 mm 34 mm 369 g 330 n Jun 2011 799i
5.
 
Olympus E-PL2 114 mm 72 mm 42 mm 362 g 280 n Jan 2011 599i
6.
 
Olympus E-PL3 110 mm 64 mm 37 mm 313 g 300 n Jun 2011 599i
7.
 
Olympus E-PL1 115 mm 72 mm 42 mm 334 g 290 n Feb 2010 599i
8.
 
Olympus E-620 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 521 g 500 n Feb 2009 699i
9.
 
Olympus E-P1 121 mm 70 mm 36 mm 355 g 300 n Jun 2009 799i
10.
 
Olympus E-520 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 535 g 750 n May 2008 699i
11.
 
Panasonic G10 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 n Mar 2010 499i
12.
 
Panasonic G2 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 428 g 360 n Mar 2010 599i
13.
 
Panasonic GF2 113 mm 68 mm 33 mm 310 g 300 n Nov 2010 549i
14.
 
Panasonic GF1 119 mm 71 mm 36 mm 385 g 380 n Sep 2009 749i
15.
 
Panasonic GH1 124 mm 90 mm 45 mm 385 g 300 n Mar 2009 899i
Note: 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 G1 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 25 percent) than the E-P2, 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.

Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.

Olympus E-P2 and Panasonic G1 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the E-P2 offers a slightly higher resolution of 12.2 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the G1. This megapixels advantage translates into a 0.8 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the E-P2 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.29μm versus 4.33μm for the G1). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the E-P2 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 1 month) than the G1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The Olympus PEN E-P2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200.

E-P2 versus G1 MP

For many 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. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Olympus E-P2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.450556
2.
 
Panasonic G1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000none21.110.346353
3.
 
Olympus E-M10 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472
4.
 
Olympus E-P3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.810.153651
5.
 
Olympus E-PL2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.257355
6.
 
Olympus E-PL3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.910.349952
7.
 
Olympus E-PL1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.148754
8.
 
Olympus E-620 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.353655
9.
 
Olympus E-P1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.453655
10.
 
Olympus E-520 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.410.454855
11.
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
12.
 
Panasonic G2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353
13.
 
Panasonic GF2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.210.350654
14.
 
Panasonic GF1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.351354
15.
 
Panasonic GH1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/24p21.611.677264

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The E-P2 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the G1 does not. The highest resolution format that the E-P2 can use is 720/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the G1 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-P2 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the E-P2 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-2. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Olympus E-P2 and Panasonic G1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Olympus E-P2optional n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s n Y
2.
 
Panasonic G11440 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
3.
 
Olympus E-M101440 n3.0 / 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s Y Y
4.
 
Olympus E-P3optional n3.0 / 614 fixed Y 1/4000s 3.0/s Y Y
5.
 
Olympus E-PL2optional n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y Y
6.
 
Olympus E-PL3optional n3.0 / 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5/s n Y
7.
 
Olympus E-PL1optional n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0/s Y Y
8.
 
Olympus E-620optical n2.7 / 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y Y
9.
 
Olympus E-P1none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s n Y
10.
 
Olympus E-520optical n2.7 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5/s Y Y
11.
 
Panasonic G10202 n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6/s Y n
12.
 
Panasonic G21440 n3.0 / 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 2.6/s Y n
13.
 
Panasonic GF2optional n3.0 / 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 2.6/s Y n
14.
 
Panasonic GF1optional n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
15.
 
Panasonic GH11440 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One feature that differentiates the E-P2 and the G1 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-P2 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the G1 offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.

The G1 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-P2 does not have a selfie-screen.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the E-P2 and the G1 write their files to SDHC cards.

Connectivity comparison

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-P2 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Olympus E-P2Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
2.
 
Panasonic G1Y- / ---mini2.0---
3.
 
Olympus E-M10Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
4.
 
Olympus E-P3Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
5.
 
Olympus E-PL2Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
6.
 
Olympus E-PL3Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
7.
 
Olympus E-PL1Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
8.
 
Olympus E-620Y- / ----2.0---
9.
 
Olympus E-P1Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
10.
 
Olympus E-520Y- / ----2.0---
11.
 
Panasonic G10Ymono / ---mini2.0---
12.
 
Panasonic G2Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
13.
 
Panasonic GF2Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
14.
 
Panasonic GF1Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
15.
 
Panasonic GH1Ystereo / -Y-mini2.0---

Both the E-P2 and the G1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G1 was replaced by the Panasonic G2, while the E-P2 was followed by the Olympus E-P3. 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.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Olympus E-P2 better than the Panasonic G1 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-P2:

  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 720/30p movies.
  • More compact: Is smaller (121x70mm vs 124x84mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 1 month after the G1).

ilogo

Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1:

  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 230k 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.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (410 versus 300) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (25 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2008).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G1 is the clear winner of the contest (8 : 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 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.

E-P2 04:08 G1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-P2 and the Panasonic G1 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the E-P2 or the G1 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Olympus E-P23/5+..69/1004/54.5/5 Nov 2009 799i
2.
 
Panasonic G1..+ +..70/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2008 599i
3.
 
Olympus E-M104/5....80/1005/55/5 Jan 2014 699i
4.
 
Olympus E-P3..83/100..74/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2011 799i
5.
 
Olympus E-PL23/583/100..71/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 599i
6.
 
Olympus E-PL33/5+ +..72/1004.5/54/5 Jun 2011 599i
7.
 
Olympus E-PL1..86/100..69/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 599i
8.
 
Olympus E-6203/588/100..72/1004.5/55/5 Feb 2009 699i
9.
 
Olympus E-P1..+..66/1004/54.5/5 Jun 2009 799i
10.
 
Olympus E-520..87/100..+ +4.5/54.5/5 May 2008 699i
11.
 
Panasonic G103/5....70/1004/54/5 Mar 2010 499i
12.
 
Panasonic G2......72/1004/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599i
13.
 
Panasonic GF23/582/100..70/1004.5/54.5/5 Nov 2010 549i
14.
 
Panasonic GF1..85/100..69/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2009 749i
15.
 
Panasonic GH1..+ +..72/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 899i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Olympus E-P2:
Check Ebay offers
Panasonic G1:
Check Ebay offers

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 use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic G1

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Olympus E-P2 Panasonic G1
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date November 2009 September 2008
    Launch Price USD 799 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Olympus E-P2 Panasonic G1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    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
    Crop Factor 2.0x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4032 x 3024 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.29 μm 4.33 μm
    Pixel Density 5.42 MP/cm2 5.34 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 720/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 3,200 ISO
    Image Processor TruePic V Venus HD
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 56 53
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.5 21.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.4 10.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 505 463
    Screen Specs Olympus E-P2 Panasonic G1
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1440k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Olympus E-P2 Panasonic G1
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationLens stabilization only
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Olympus E-P2 Panasonic G1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Olympus E-P2 Panasonic G1
    Battery Type BLS-1 DMW-BLB13
    Battery Life (CIPA)300 shots per charge410 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 121 x 70 x 36 mm
    (4.8 x 2.8 x 1.4 in)
    124 x 84 x 45 mm
    (4.9 x 3.3 x 1.8 in)
    Camera Weight 355 g (12.5 oz) 360 g (12.7 oz)
    Olympus E-P2:
    Check Ebay offers
    Panasonic G1:
    Check Ebay offers

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