Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1
The Olympus PEN E-P2 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in November 2009 and September 2009. Both the E-P2 and the GF1 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.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus PEN E-P2 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1? 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.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-P2 and the Panasonic GF1. 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The E-P2 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, white), while the GF1 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 Olympus E-P2 and the Panasonic GF1 are of equal size. However, the GF1 is markedly heavier (8 percent) than the E-P2. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-P2 nor the GF1 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.
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-P2||121 mm||70 mm||36 mm||355 g||300||n||Nov 2009||799||ebay.com|
|2.||Panasonic GF1||119 mm||71 mm||36 mm||385 g||380||n||Sep 2009||749||ebay.com|
|3.||Olympus E-P3||122 mm||69 mm||34 mm||369 g||330||n||Jun 2011||799||ebay.com|
|4.||Olympus E-PL2||114 mm||72 mm||42 mm||362 g||280||n||Jan 2011||599||ebay.com|
|5.||Olympus E-PL3||110 mm||64 mm||37 mm||313 g||300||n||Jun 2011||599||ebay.com|
|6.||Olympus E-PL1||115 mm||72 mm||42 mm||334 g||290||n||Feb 2010||599||ebay.com|
|7.||Olympus E-620||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||521 g||500||n||Feb 2009||699||ebay.com|
|8.||Olympus E-P1||121 mm||70 mm||36 mm||355 g||300||n||Jun 2009||799||ebay.com|
|9.||Olympus E-520||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||535 g||750||n||May 2008||699||ebay.com|
|10.||Panasonic GX1||116 mm||68 mm||39 mm||318 g||320||n||Nov 2011||699||ebay.com|
|11.||Panasonic G10||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||388 g||380||n||Mar 2010||499||ebay.com|
|12.||Panasonic G2||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||n||Mar 2010||599||ebay.com|
|13.||Panasonic GH1||124 mm||90 mm||45 mm||385 g||300||n||Mar 2009||899||ebay.com|
|14.||Panasonic G1||124 mm||84 mm||45 mm||360 g||410||n||Sep 2008||599||ebay.com|
|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 retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The GF1 was somewhat cheaper (by 6 percent) than the E-P2 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 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.
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 GF1. 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 GF1). It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation.
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-GF1 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (no boost).
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|1.||Olympus E-P2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.4||505||56|
|2.||Panasonic GF1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||513||54|
|3.||Olympus E-P3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.8||10.1||536||51|
|4.||Olympus E-PL2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.2||573||55|
|5.||Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52|
|6.||Olympus E-PL1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.1||487||54|
|7.||Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55|
|8.||Olympus E-P1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.4||536||55|
|9.||Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55|
|10.||Panasonic GX1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55|
|11.||Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|12.||Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|13.||Panasonic GH1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/24p||21.6||11.6||772||64|
|14.||Panasonic G1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||none||21.1||10.3||463||53|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (720/30p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The E-P2 and the GF1 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. However, optional viewfinders – the VF-2 for the E-P2 and the DMW-LVF1 for the GF1 – are available as accessories. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Olympus E-P2 and Panasonic GF1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Olympus E-P2||optional||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||n||Y|
|2.||Panasonic GF1||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|3.||Olympus E-P3||optional||n||3.0 / 614||fixed||Y||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Olympus E-PL2||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Olympus E-PL3||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5/s||n||Y|
|6.||Olympus E-PL1||optional||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||3.0/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Olympus E-620||optical||n||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Olympus E-P1||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||n||Y|
|9.||Olympus E-520||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Panasonic GX1||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.2/s||Y||n|
|11.||Panasonic G10||202||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.6/s||Y||n|
|12.||Panasonic G2||1440||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||Y||1/4000s||2.6/s||Y||n|
|13.||Panasonic GH1||1440||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Panasonic G1||1440||n||3.0 / 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 GF1 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-P2 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the GF1 offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the E-P2 and the GF1 write their files to SDHC 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-P2 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Olympus E-P2||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Panasonic GF1||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Olympus E-P3||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Olympus E-PL2||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Olympus E-PL3||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Olympus E-PL1||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Olympus E-620||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Olympus E-P1||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Olympus E-520||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Panasonic GX1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Panasonic G10||Y||mono / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Panasonic G2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Panasonic GH1||Y||stereo / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Panasonic G1||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
Both the E-P2 and the GF1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The GF1 was replaced by the Panasonic DMC-GF2, while the E-P2 was followed by the Olympus E-P3. Further information on the features and operation of the E-P2 and GF1 can be found, respectively, in the Olympus E-P2 Manual (free pdf) or the online Panasonic GF1 Manual.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus E-P2 and the Panasonic GF1? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-P2:
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1:
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 230k dots).
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (380 versus 300) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the GF1 emerges as the winner of the match-up (3 : 1 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports 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-P2 and the Panasonic GF1 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the E-P2 and the GF1 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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-P2||3/5||+||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Nov 2009||799||ebay.com|
|2.||Panasonic GF1||..||85/100||..||69/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||749||ebay.com|
|3.||Olympus E-P3||..||83/100||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||799||ebay.com|
|4.||Olympus E-PL2||3/5||83/100||..||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||599||ebay.com|
|5.||Olympus E-PL3||3/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599||ebay.com|
|6.||Olympus E-PL1||..||86/100||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||599||ebay.com|
|7.||Olympus E-620||3/5||88/100||..||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2009||699||ebay.com|
|8.||Olympus E-P1||..||+||..||66/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2009||799||ebay.com|
|9.||Olympus E-520||..||87/100||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2008||699||ebay.com|
|10.||Panasonic GX1||3/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2011||699||ebay.com|
|11.||Panasonic G10||3/5||..||..||70/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2010||499||ebay.com|
|12.||Panasonic G2||..||..||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599||ebay.com|
|13.||Panasonic GH1||..||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||899||ebay.com|
|14.||Panasonic G1||..||+ +||..||70/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2008||599||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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 make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 5DS vs Olympus E-P2
- Canon T4i vs Panasonic GF1
- Canon XS vs Panasonic GF1
- Leica CL vs Panasonic GF1
- Leica V-LUX 3 vs Olympus E-P2
- Nikon D2Xs vs Panasonic GF1
- Nikon D5600 vs Olympus E-P2
- Nikon D610 vs Olympus E-P2
- Olympus E-P2 vs Pentax K-3 II
- Olympus E-P2 vs Sony A6300
- Panasonic GF1 vs Panasonic ZS80
- Panasonic GF1 vs Sony A5100
Specifications: Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1
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-P2||Panasonic GF1|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||November 2009||September 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 749|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-P2||Panasonic GF1|
|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||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||720/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 3,200 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic V||Venus HD|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||56||54|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.5||21.2|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.4||10.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||505||513|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-P2||Panasonic GF1|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-P2||Panasonic GF1|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens stabilization only|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||SDHC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus E-P2||Panasonic GF1|
|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 GF1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||300 shots per charge||380 shots per charge|
121 x 70 x 36 mm
(4.8 x 2.8 x 1.4 in)
119 x 71 x 36 mm
(4.7 x 2.8 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||355 g (12.5 oz)||385 g (13.6 oz)|
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