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Olympus E-P5 vs E-PL6

The Olympus PEN E-P5 and the Olympus PEN E-PL6 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced in May 2013. Both the E-P5 and the E-PL6 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 15.9 megapixels.

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

Headline Specifications
Olympus E-P5   Olympus E-PL6
Olympus E-P5 Olympus E-PL6
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
15.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 15.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 200-25600 ISO 200-25600
Viewfinder optional Viewfinder optional
3.0" LCD, 1037k dots 3.0" LCD, 460k dots
Tilting touchscreen Tilting touchscreen
9 shutter flaps per second 8 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
330 shots per battery charge360 shots per battery charge
122 x 69 x 37 mm, 420 g 111 x 64 x 38 mm, 325 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus PEN E-P5 and the Olympus PEN E-PL6? 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: Olympus E-P5 vs E-PL6

The physical size and weight of the Olympus E-P5 and the Olympus E-PL6 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The E-P5 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, white), while the E-PL6 is available in four color-versions (black, silver, red, white).

Size Olympus E-P5 vs Olympus E-PL6
Compare E-P5 versus E-PL6 top
Comparison E-P5 or E-PL6 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-PL6 is notably smaller (16 percent) than the Olympus E-P5. Moreover, the E-PL6 is markedly lighter (23 percent) than the E-P5. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-P5 nor the E-PL6 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-P5 gets 330 shots out of its BLN-1 battery, while the E-PL6 can take 360 images on a single charge of its BLS-5 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, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-P5» 4.8 in 2.7 in 1.5 in 14.8 oz 330 n May 2013 999- i Olympus E-P5
 
Olympus E-PL6« 4.4 in 2.5 in 1.5 in 11.5 oz 360 n May 2013 599- i Olympus E-PL6
 
Olympus PEN-F« » 4.9 in 2.8 in 1.5 in 15.1 oz 330 n Jan 2016 1,199 i i Olympus PEN-F
 
Olympus E-M10 II« » 4.7 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 13.8 oz 320 n Aug 2015 649- i Olympus E-M10 II
 
Olympus E-M10« » 4.7 in 3.2 in 1.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jan 2014 699- i Olympus E-M10
 
Olympus E-PL7« » 4.5 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 12.6 oz 350 n Aug 2014 599- i Olympus E-PL7
 
Olympus E-M1« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 17.5 oz 350 Y Sep 2013 1,399- i Olympus E-M1
 
Olympus E-M5« » 4.8 in 3.5 in 1.7 in 15.0 oz 360 Y Feb 2012 1,299- i Olympus E-M5
 
Olympus E-PL5« » 4.4 in 2.5 in 1.5 in 11.5 oz 360 n Sep 2012 599- i Olympus E-PL5
 
Olympus E-PM2« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.3 in 9.5 oz 360 n Sep 2012 499- i Olympus E-PM2
 
Olympus E-P3« » 4.8 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.0 oz 330 n Jun 2011 799- i Olympus E-P3
 
Panasonic GX7« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 2.2 in 14.2 oz 350 n Aug 2013 999- i Panasonic GX7
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as 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 E-PL6 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 40 percent) than the E-P5, which puts it into a different market segment. 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-P5 vs E-PL6

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.

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-P5 and Olympus E-PL6 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 15.9 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the E-P5 and the E-PL6 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. Moreover, the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation.

The Olympus PEN E-P5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The Olympus PEN E-PL6 offers exactly the same ISO settings.

E-P5 versus E-PL6 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 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
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-P5» Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.489572Olympus E-P5
 
Olympus E-PL6« Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p----Olympus E-PL6
 
Olympus PEN-F« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38881080/60p23.112.489474Olympus PEN-F
 
Olympus E-M10 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273Olympus E-M10 II
 
Olympus E-M10« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472Olympus E-M10
 
Olympus E-PL7« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.487372Olympus E-PL7
 
Olympus E-M1« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p23.012.775773Olympus E-M1
 
Olympus E-M5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i22.812.382671Olympus E-M5
 
Olympus E-PL5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388972Olympus E-PL5
 
Olympus E-PM2« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.293272Olympus E-PM2
 
Olympus E-P3« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.810.153651Olympus E-P3
 
Panasonic GX7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.612.271870Panasonic GX7

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).

 

Feature comparison: Olympus E-P5 vs E-PL6

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The E-P5 and the E-PL6 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-4 for the E-P5 and the VF-3 for the E-PL6 – are available as accessories. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Olympus E-P5 and Olympus E-PL6 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-P5»- n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0 Y Y Olympus E-P5
 
Olympus E-PL6«- n 3.0 460 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y Olympus E-PL6
 
Olympus PEN-F« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y Olympus PEN-F
 
Olympus E-M10 II« »2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y Olympus E-M10 II
 
Olympus E-M10« »1440 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y Olympus E-M10
 
Olympus E-PL7« »- n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y Olympus E-PL7
 
Olympus E-M1« »2360 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y Olympus E-M1
 
Olympus E-M5« »1440 n 3.0 610 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0 n Y Olympus E-M5
 
Olympus E-PL5« »- n 3.0 460 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y Olympus E-PL5
 
Olympus E-PM2« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y Olympus E-PM2
 
Olympus E-P3« »- n 3.0 614 fixed Y 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-P3
 
Panasonic GX7« »2760 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y Panasonic GX7

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The E-P5 has one, while the E-PL6 does not. While the built-in flash of the E-P5 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The E-PL6 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-P5 does not have a selfie-screen.

The Olympus E-P5 and the Olympus E-PL6 both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the E-P5 and the E-PL6 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.

 

Connectivity comparison: Olympus E-P5 vs E-PL6

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-P5 and Olympus PEN E-PL6 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-P5»Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus E-P5
 
Olympus E-PL6«Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus E-PL6
 
Olympus PEN-F« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus PEN-F
 
Olympus E-M10 II« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus E-M10 II
 
Olympus E-M10« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus E-M10
 
Olympus E-PL7« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus E-PL7
 
Olympus E-M1« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Olympus E-M1
 
Olympus E-M5« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus E-M5
 
Olympus E-PL5« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus E-PL5
 
Olympus E-PM2« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus E-PM2
 
Olympus E-P3« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-P3
 
Panasonic GX7« »Ystereomono--mini2.0YY-Panasonic GX7

It is notable that the E-P5 offers wifi support, while the E-PL6 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

Both the E-P5 and the E-PL6 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-PL6 was replaced by the Olympus E-PL7, while the E-P5 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 website.


Review summary: Olympus E-P5 vs E-PL6

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-P5 or the Olympus E-PL6 – 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-P5:

  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 460k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (9 vs 8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.


Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PL6:

  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • More compact: Is smaller (111x64mm vs 122x69mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 95g or 23 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (40 percent cheaper at launch).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-P5 comes out slightly ahead of the E-PL6 (5 : 4 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 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-P5 05:04 E-PL6

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-P5 and the Olympus E-PL6 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the E-P5 and the E-PL6 in practical situations. 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: Olympus E-P5 vs E-PL6

This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-P5»+ +78/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2013 999- i Olympus E-P5
 
Olympus E-PL6«----- May 2013 599- i Olympus E-PL6
 
Olympus PEN-F« »-82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jan 2016 1,199 i i Olympus PEN-F
 
Olympus E-M10 II« »+ +80/1005/55/55/5 Aug 2015 649- i Olympus E-M10 II
 
Olympus E-M10« »-80/1005/54.5/55/5 Jan 2014 699- i Olympus E-M10
 
Olympus E-PL7« »+-5/54.5/54/5 Aug 2014 599- i Olympus E-PL7
 
Olympus E-M1« »+ +84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 1,399- i Olympus E-M1
 
Olympus E-M5« »+ +80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2012 1,299- i Olympus E-M5
 
Olympus E-PL5« »+ +-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599- i Olympus E-PL5
 
Olympus E-PM2« »-77/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499- i Olympus E-PM2
 
Olympus E-P3« »83/10074/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2011 799- i Olympus E-P3
 
Panasonic GX7« »+79/1005/54.5/55/5 Aug 2013 999- i Panasonic GX7
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-P5:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-PL6:
Check Ebay offers

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.

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    Specifications: Olympus E-P5 vs Olympus E-PL6

    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-P5 Olympus E-PL6
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date May 2013 May 2013
    Launch Price USD 999 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Olympus E-P5 Olympus E-PL6
    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 15.9 Megapixels 15.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 4608 x 3456 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.76 μm 3.76 μm
    Pixel Density 7.08 MP/cm2 7.08 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 200-25600 ISO 200-25600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-25600 ISO 100-25600 ISO
    Image Processor TruePic VI TruePic VI
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 72 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.8 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.4 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 895 ..
    Screen Specs Olympus E-P5 Olympus E-PL6
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Viewfinder optional
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 1037k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Olympus E-P5 Olympus E-PL6
    Autofocus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingNo Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 9 shutter flaps/s 8 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Olympus E-P5 Olympus E-PL6
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Body Specs Olympus E-P5 Olympus E-PL6
    Battery Type BLN-1 power pack BLS-5 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)330 shots per charge360 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 122 x 69 x 37 mm
    (4.8 x 2.7 x 1.5 in)
    111 x 64 x 38 mm
    (4.4 x 2.5 x 1.5 in)
    Camera Weight 420 g (14.8 oz) 325 g (11.5 oz)

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