Olympus E-PL1 vs Sony H300
The Olympus PEN E-PL1 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H300 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2010 and February 2014. The E-PL1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the H300 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (E-PL1) and a 1/2.3-inch (H300) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 19.9 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-PL1 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H300? 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-PL1 and the Sony H300. 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The E-PL1 can be obtained in four different colors (black, blue, yellow, white), while the H300 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 Sony H300 is notably larger (38 percent) than the Olympus E-PL1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-PL1 nor the H300 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the H300 has a lens built in, whereas the E-PL1 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the E-PL1 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
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, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Olympus E-PL1||115 mm||72 mm||42 mm||334 g||290||n||Feb 2010||599|
|2.||Sony H300||128 mm||89 mm||92 mm||590 g||350||n||Feb 2014||219|
|3.||Canon SX610||105 mm||61 mm||27 mm||191 g||270||n||Jan 2015||249|
|4.||Olympus E-PL9||117 mm||68 mm||39 mm||380 g||350||n||Feb 2018||599|
|5.||Olympus E-P3||122 mm||69 mm||34 mm||369 g||330||n||Jun 2011||799|
|6.||Olympus E-PL2||114 mm||72 mm||42 mm||362 g||280||n||Jan 2011||599|
|7.||Olympus E-PL3||110 mm||64 mm||37 mm||313 g||300||n||Jun 2011||599|
|8.||Olympus E-PM1||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||265 g||330||n||Jun 2011||499|
|9.||Olympus E-620||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||521 g||500||n||Feb 2009||699|
|10.||Olympus E-P1||121 mm||70 mm||36 mm||355 g||300||n||Jun 2009||799|
|11.||Olympus E-P2||121 mm||70 mm||36 mm||355 g||300||n||Nov 2009||799|
|12.||Panasonic G10||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||388 g||380||n||Mar 2010||499|
|13.||Panasonic GF2||113 mm||68 mm||33 mm||310 g||300||n||Nov 2010||549|
|14.||Sony HX90V||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||360||n||Apr 2015||429|
|15.||Sony HX400V||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||660 g||300||n||Feb 2014||499|
|16.||Sony H400||130 mm||95 mm||122 mm||628 g||300||n||Feb 2014||319|
|17.||Sony H200||123 mm||83 mm||87 mm||530 g||240||n||Jan 2013||249|
|Notes: 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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The H300 was launched at a lower price than the E-PL1, despite having a lens built in. 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.
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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus E-PL1 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Sony H300 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the H300 is 88 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 5.6. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the H300 offers a higher resolution of 19.9 megapixels, compared with 12.2 MP of the E-PL1. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.19μm versus 4.29μm for the E-PL1). However, it should be noted that the H300 is much more recent (by 4 years) than the E-PL1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the H300 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony H300 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the H300 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.8 x 19.3 inches or 65.4 x 49.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.6 x 15.5 inches or 52.3 x 39.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.2 x 12.9 inches or 43.6 x 32.7 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-PL1 are 20.2 x 15.1 inches or 51.2 x 38.4 cm for good quality, 16.1 x 12.1 inches or 41 x 30.7 cm for very good quality, and 13.4 x 10.1 inches or 34.1 x 25.6 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Olympus PEN E-PL1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H300 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200 (no boost).
For many 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"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|1.||Olympus E-PL1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.1||487||54|
|4.||Olympus E-PL9||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|5.||Olympus E-P3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.8||10.1||536||51|
|6.||Olympus E-PL2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.2||573||55|
|7.||Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52|
|8.||Olympus E-PM1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||21.0||10.3||499||52|
|9.||Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55|
|10.||Olympus E-P1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.4||536||55|
|11.||Olympus E-P2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.4||505||56|
|12.||Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|13.||Panasonic GF2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.2||10.3||506||54|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. 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 (720/30p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The E-PL1 and the H300 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. That said, the E-PL1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-2. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus E-PL1, the Sony H300, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Olympus E-PL1||optional||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||3.0||Y||Y|
|2.||Sony H300||none||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/1500s||0.8||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon SX610||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/2000s||2.5||Y||Y|
|4.||Olympus E-PL9||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6||Y||Y|
|5.||Olympus E-P3||optional||n||3.0 / 614||fixed||Y||1/4000s||3.0||Y||Y|
|6.||Olympus E-PL2||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||Y|
|7.||Olympus E-PL3||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||Y|
|8.||Olympus E-PM1||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||Y|
|9.||Olympus E-620||optical||n||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||Y|
|10.||Olympus E-P1||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||Y|
|11.||Olympus E-P2||optional||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||Y|
|12.||Panasonic G10||202||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n|
|13.||Panasonic GF2||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n|
|14.||Sony HX90V||638||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony HX400V||210||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony H400||210||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/2000s||0.7||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony H200||none||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/1500s||0.8||Y||Y|
The E-PL1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the H300 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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-PL1 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H300 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Olympus E-PL1||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Sony H300||-||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon SX610||-||- / -||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Olympus E-PL9||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Olympus E-P3||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Olympus E-PL2||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Olympus E-PL3||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Olympus E-PM1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Olympus E-620||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Olympus E-P1||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Olympus E-P2||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Panasonic G10||Y||mono / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Panasonic GF2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Sony HX90V||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Sony HX400V||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony H400||-||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|17.||Sony H200||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the E-PL1 has a hotshoe, while the H300 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
The H300 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the E-PL1 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the E-PL1 was succeeded by the Olympus E-PL2. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus and Sony websites.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-PL1 or the Sony H300 – 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.
Reasons to prefer the Olympus PEN E-PL1:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/2000s vs 1/1500s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 0.8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- More compact: Is smaller (115x72mm vs 128x89mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2010).
Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H300:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (19.9 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 28%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 230k dots).
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the E-PL1 necessitates an extra lens.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (350 versus 290) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years of technical progress since the E-PL1 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-PL1 emerges as the winner of the contest (12 : 9 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 when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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-PL1 and the Sony H300 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Superzoom Camera listings 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 remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the E-PL1 or the H300 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.
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-PL1||..||86/100||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||599|
|2.||Sony H300||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2014||219|
|3.||Canon SX610||..||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2015||249|
|4.||Olympus E-PL9||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2018||599|
|5.||Olympus E-P3||..||83/100||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||799|
|6.||Olympus E-PL2||3/5||83/100||..||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||599|
|7.||Olympus E-PL3||3/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|8.||Olympus E-PM1||..||86/100||..||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||499|
|9.||Olympus E-620||3/5||88/100||..||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2009||699|
|10.||Olympus E-P1||..||+||..||66/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2009||799|
|11.||Olympus E-P2||3/5||+||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Nov 2009||799|
|12.||Panasonic G10||3/5||..||..||70/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2010||499|
|13.||Panasonic GF2||3/5||82/100||..||70/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2010||549|
|14.||Sony HX90V||4/5||+ +||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||429|
|15.||Sony HX400V||4/5||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||499|
|16.||Sony H400||..||o||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2014||319|
|17.||Sony H200||..||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jan 2013||249|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted 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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods 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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, 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.
- Canon 400D vs Sony H300
- Canon SX730 vs Sony H300
- Canon T5i vs Olympus E-PL1
- Fujifilm X-E3 vs Sony H300
- Fujifilm XF10 vs Olympus E-PL1
- Fujifilm XP140 vs Sony H300
- Kodak AZ901 vs Olympus E-PL1
- Nikon D300 vs Olympus E-PL1
- Nikon D500 vs Olympus E-PL1
- Olympus E-P1 vs Sony H300
- Olympus E-PL1 vs Panasonic ZS80
- Ricoh WG-60 vs Sony H300
Specifications: Olympus E-PL1 vs Sony H300
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-PL1||Sony H300|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||25-875mm f/3.4-6.5|
|Launch Date||February 2010||February 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 219|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-PL1||Sony H300|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12.2 Megapixels||19.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4032 x 3024 pixels||5152 x 3864 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.29 μm||1.19 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.42 MP/cm2||70.91 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||720/30p Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 3,200 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|Image Processor||Truepic V||BIONZ|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||54||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.5||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.1||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||487||..|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-PL1||Sony H300|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||no viewfinder|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.7inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-PL1||Sony H300|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||0.8 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens-based stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus E-PL1||Sony H300|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-PL1||Sony H300|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||290 shots per charge||350 shots per charge|
115 x 72 x 42 mm
(4.5 x 2.8 x 1.7 in)
128 x 89 x 92 mm
(5.0 x 3.5 x 3.6 in)
|Camera Weight||334 g (11.8 oz)||590 g (20.8 oz)|
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