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Olympus E-P3 versus Olympus E-M10

The Olympus PEN E-P3 and the Olympus OM-D E-M10 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 2011 and January 2014. Both the E-P3 and the E-M10 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The E-P3 has a resolution of 12.2 megapixel, whereas the E-M10 provides 15.9 MP.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Olympus E-P3 and the Olympus E-M10 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures 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 – the E-P3 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Olympus E-P3 vs Olympus E-M10 front
E-P3 versus E-M10 top view
E-P3 and E-M10 rear side
Body view (E-P3 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-M10 is notably larger (16 percent) than the Olympus E-P3. Moreover, the E-M10 is slightly heavier (7 percent) than the E-P3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-P3 nor the E-M10 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.

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 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-P3 (⇒ rgt) 122 mm 69 mm 34 mm 369 g 330 no 2011 799discont. check
Olympus E-M10 (⇒ lft) 119 mm 82 mm 46 mm 396 g 320 no 2014 699discont. check
Canon G1 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 117 mm 81 mm 65 mm 534 g 250 no 2012 799discont. check
Olympus E-M10 III (⇒ lft | rgt) 122 mm 84 mm 50 mm 410 g 330 no 2017 649 latest check
Olympus E-M10 II (⇒ lft | rgt) 120 mm 83 mm 47 mm 390 g 320 no 2015 799discont. check
Olympus E-M5 II (⇒ lft | rgt) 124 mm 85 mm 45 mm 469 g 310 YES 2015 1,099 latest check
Olympus E-M1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 130 mm 94 mm 63 mm 497 g 350 YES 2013 1,399discont. check
Olympus E-P5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 122 mm 69 mm 37 mm 420 g 330 no 2013 999discont. check
Olympus E-5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 142 mm 117 mm 75 mm 873 g 750 YES 2010 1,699discont. check
Olympus E-P2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 121 mm 70 mm 36 mm 355 g 300 no 2009 799discont. 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-510 (⇒ lft | rgt) 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 538 g 750 no 2007 799discont. check

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The E-M10 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 13 percent) than the E-P3, 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

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies 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-P3 and Olympus E-M10 sensor measures
Sensor size
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Sensor size

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the E-M10 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixel, compared with 12.2 MP of the E-P3. This megapixel advantage translates into a 14 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the E-M10 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-P3). However, it should be noted that the E-M10 is much more recent (by 2 years and 7 months) than the E-P3, 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 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

E-P3 versus E-M10 MP
Sensor resolution
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Sensor resolution

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 offers substantially better image quality than the E-P3 (overall score 21 points higher). The advantage is based on 2 bits higher color depth, 2.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.7 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-P3 (⇒ rgt) Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024 1080/60i 20.8 10.1 536 51
Olympus E-M10 (⇒ lft) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/30p 22.8 12.3 884 72
Canon G1 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 3264 1080/24p 21.7 10.8 644 60
Olympus E-M10 III (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 4K/30p .. .. .. ..
Olympus E-M10 II (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/60p 23.1 12.5 842 73
Olympus E-M5 II (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/60p 23.0 12.5 842 73
Olympus E-M1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/30p 23.0 12.7 757 73
Olympus E-P5 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/30p 22.8 12.4 895 72
Olympus E-5 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024 720/30p 21.6 10.5 519 56
Olympus E-P2 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024 720/30p 21.5 10.4 505 56
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-510 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736 no 21.2 10.0 442 52

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the E-P3 provides a higher frame rate than the E-M10. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60i, while the E-M10 is limited to 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the E-M10 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-P3 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Olympus E-P3 and Olympus E-M10 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

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-P3 (⇒ rgt) no no 3.0 614 fixed YES 4000 3.0 10 YES
Olympus E-M10 (⇒ lft) 1440 no 3.0 1037 tilting YES 4000 8.0 5.8 YES
Canon G1 X (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 922 Swivel no 4000 1.9 7 no
Olympus E-M10 III (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 8.6 5.8 YES
Olympus E-M10 II (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 8.0 5.8 YES
Olympus E-M5 II (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1037 swivel YES 8000 10.0 no YES
Olympus E-M1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1037 tilting YES 8000 10.0 no YES
Olympus E-P5 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1037 tilting YES 8000 9.0 7 YES
Olympus E-5 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.0 920 swivel no 8000 5.0 13 YES
Olympus E-P2 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 230 fixed no 4000 3.0 no 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-510 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 2.5 215 fixed no 4000 3.0 12 YES

Both the E-P3 and the E-M10 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The E-P3 was replaced by the Olympus E-P5, while the E-M10 was followed by the Olympus E-M10 II.

Summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Olympus E-P3 better than the Olympus E-M10 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Arguments in favor of the Olympus PEN E-P3:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i vs 1080/30p).
  • More compact: Is smaller (122x69mm vs 119x82mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in June 2011).

Reasons to prefer the Olympus OM-D E-M10:

  • 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 (21 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.2 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.7 stops ISO advantage).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 614k 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.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (13 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 7 months of technical progress since the E-P3 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the E-M10 is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 4 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.

E-P3 04:12 E-M10

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-P3 or the E-M10. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites. The full reviews are available, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
dp
review
ephoto
zine
imaging
resource
photography
blog
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Olympus E-P3 (⇒ rgt) 83/100 74/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2011 799discont. check
Olympus E-M10 (⇒ lft) - 80/100 Gold 5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2014 699discont. check
Canon G1 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 79/100 Rec 76/100 Silver 4/5 4/5 4.5/5 2012 799discont. check
Olympus E-M10 III (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 80/100 4.5/5 .. 4.5/5 2017 649 latest check
Olympus E-M10 II (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 80/100 Silver 5/5 5/5 5/5 2015 799discont. check
Olympus E-M5 II (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 81/100 Silver 5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2015 1,099 latest 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-P5 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 78/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2013 999discont. check
Olympus E-5 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 75/100 4/5 - 4.5/5 2010 1,699discont. check
Olympus E-P2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 83/100 Rec 69/100 Silver 4/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2009 799discont. 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-510 (⇒ lft | rgt) 89/100 HiRec 3.5/5 reviewed 4.5/5 2007 799discont. check

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. 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 comparisons

If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please send me an email, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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