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Olympus E-PL2 vs Sony H400

The Olympus PEN E-PL2 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2011 and February 2014. The E-PL2 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the H400 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (E-PL2) and a 1/2.3-inch (H400) 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.

Headline Specifications
Olympus E-PL2 versus Sony H400
Olympus E-PL2 Sony H400
Mirrorless system camera Fixed lens compact camera
Micro Four Thirds lenses 24.5-1550mm f/3.4-6.5
12.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 19.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
720/30p Video 720/30p Video
ISO 200-6,400 ISO 80-3,200
Viewfinder optional Electronic viewfinder (210k dots)
3.0 LCD, 460k dots 3.0 LCD, 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 0.7 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationLens-based stabilization
280 shots per battery charge300 shots per battery charge
114 x 72 x 42 mm, 362 g 130 x 95 x 122 mm, 628 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus PEN E-PL2 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400? 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 physical size and weight of the Olympus E-PL2 and the Sony H400 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-PL2 can be obtained in four different colors (black, silver, red, white), while the H400 is only available in black.

Size Olympus E-PL2 vs Sony H400
Compare E-PL2 versus H400 top
Comparison E-PL2 or H400 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony H400 is considerably larger (50 percent) than the Olympus E-PL2. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-PL2 nor the H400 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the H400 has a lens built in, whereas the E-PL2 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-PL2 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

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.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Olympus E-PL2 114 mm 72 mm 42 mm 362 g 280 n Jan 2011 599i
 
Sony H400 130 mm 95 mm 122 mm 628 g 300 n Feb 2014 319 i
 
Leica Q Typ 116 130 mm 80 mm 93 mm 640 g 300 n Jun 2015 4,249i
 
Olympus XZ-2 113 mm 65 mm 48 mm 346 g 340 n Sep 2012 599i
 
Olympus E-P3 122 mm 69 mm 34 mm 369 g 330 n Jun 2011 799i
 
Olympus E-PL3 110 mm 64 mm 37 mm 313 g 300 n Jun 2011 599i
 
Olympus E-PM1 110 mm 64 mm 34 mm 265 g 330 n Jun 2011 499i
 
Olympus E-PL1 115 mm 72 mm 42 mm 334 g 290 n Feb 2010 599i
 
Olympus E-P1 121 mm 70 mm 36 mm 355 g 300 n Jun 2009 799i
 
Olympus E-P2 121 mm 70 mm 36 mm 355 g 300 n Nov 2009 799i
 
Panasonic G10 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 n Mar 2010 499i
 
Panasonic G2 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 428 g 360 n Mar 2010 599i
 
Panasonic GF2 113 mm 68 mm 33 mm 310 g 300 n Nov 2010 549i
 
Sony RX100 IV 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 298 g 280 n Jun 2015 999i
 
Sony HX400V 130 mm 93 mm 103 mm 660 g 300 n Feb 2014 499 i
 
Sony H300 128 mm 89 mm 92 mm 590 g 350 n Feb 2014 219 i
 
Sony H200 123 mm 83 mm 87 mm 530 g 240 n Jan 2013 249 i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

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 H400 was launched at a lower price than the E-PL2, 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.

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus E-PL2 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Sony H400 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the H400 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.

Olympus E-PL2 and Sony H400 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the H400 offers a higher resolution of 19.9 megapixels, compared with 12.2 MP of the E-PL2. 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-PL2). However, it should be noted that the H400 is much more recent (by 3 years and 1 month) than the E-PL2, 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 H400 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Sony H400 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the H400 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-PL2 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-PL2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200 (no boost).

E-PL2 versus H400 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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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
 
Olympus E-PL2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.257355
 
Sony H400 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........
 
Leica Q Typ 116 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.7222185
 
Olympus XZ-2 1/1.7 11.8 3968 29761080/30p20.411.321649
 
Olympus E-P3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.810.153651
 
Olympus E-PL3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.910.349952
 
Olympus E-PM1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i21.010.349952
 
Olympus E-PL1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.148754
 
Olympus E-P1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.453655
 
Olympus E-P2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.450556
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
 
Panasonic G2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353
 
Panasonic GF2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.210.350654
 
Sony RX100 IV 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170
 
Sony HX400V 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Sony H300 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........
 
Sony H200 1/2.3 15.2 5184 2930720/30p........

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (720/30p).

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the H400 has an electronic viewfinder (210k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-PL2 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the E-PL2 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-2. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Olympus E-PL2 and Sony H400 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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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
 
Olympus E-PL2optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
 
Sony H400210 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/2000s 0.7 Y Y
 
Leica Q Typ 1163680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 n Y
 
Olympus XZ-2optional n 3.0 920 tilting Y 1/2000s 5.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-P3optional n 3.0 614 fixed Y 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-PL3optional n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 n Y
 
Olympus E-PM1optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 n Y
 
Olympus E-PL1optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-P1none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n Y
 
Olympus E-P2optional n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n Y
 
Panasonic G10202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
 
Panasonic G21440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
 
Panasonic GF2optional n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
 
Sony RX100 IV2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 1/2000s 16.0 Y Y
 
Sony HX400V210 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Sony H300none n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8 Y Y
 
Sony H200none n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8 Y Y

The E-PL2 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the H400 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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-PL2 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 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
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Olympus E-PL2Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Sony H400-monomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Leica Q Typ 116Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Olympus XZ-2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-P3Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-PL3Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-PM1Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-PL1Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-P1Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-P2Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Panasonic G10Ymono---mini2.0---
 
Panasonic G2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic GF2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Sony RX100 IV-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony HX400VYstereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony H300-monomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Sony H200-monomono---2.0---

It is notable that the E-PL2 has a hotshoe, while the H400 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

The H400 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the E-PL2 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the E-PL2 was succeeded by the Olympus E-PL3. 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.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-PL2 or the Sony H400 – 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.

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Arguments in favor of the Olympus PEN E-PL2:

  • 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.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 0.7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
  • More compact: Is smaller (114x72mm vs 130x95mm) 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 January 2011).

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Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400:

  • 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.
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the E-PL2 necessitates an extra lens.
  • 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 3 years and 1 month of technical progress since the E-PL2 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-PL2 is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 7 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-PL2 11:07 H400

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-PL2 and the Sony H400 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the E-PL2 and the H400 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

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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Olympus E-PL283/10071/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 599i
 
Sony H400o..3.5/5..3.5/5 Feb 2014 319 i
 
Leica Q Typ 116..80/1004.5/5..4.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249i
 
Olympus XZ-2+..4.5/54/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599i
 
Olympus E-P383/10074/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2011 799i
 
Olympus E-PL3+ +72/1004.5/5..4/5 Jun 2011 599i
 
Olympus E-PM186/10071/1004.5/5..4.5/5 Jun 2011 499i
 
Olympus E-PL186/10069/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2010 599i
 
Olympus E-P1+66/1004/54/54.5/5 Jun 2009 799i
 
Olympus E-P2+69/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2009 799i
 
Panasonic G10..70/1004/5..4/5 Mar 2010 499i
 
Panasonic G2..72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599i
 
Panasonic GF282/10070/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2010 549i
 
Sony RX100 IV+ +85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999i
 
Sony HX400V+ +..4/5..4/5 Feb 2014 499 i
 
Sony H300+..4.5/5..4/5 Feb 2014 219 i
 
Sony H200....3.5/5..3.5/5 Jan 2013 249 i
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-PL2:
Check Ebay offers
Sony H400:
Check Amazon price

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-PL2 vs Sony H400

    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-PL2 Sony H400
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses 24.5-1550mm f/3.4-6.5
    Launch Date January 2011 February 2014
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 319
    Sensor Specs Olympus E-PL2 Sony H400
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    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
    Crop Factor 2.0x 5.6x
    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 - 6,400 ISO 80 - 3,200 ISO
    Image Processor Truepic V BIONZ
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 55 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.4 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.2 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 573 ..
    Screen Specs Olympus E-PL2 Sony H400
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification
    Viewfinder Resolution 210k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 460k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Olympus E-PL2 Sony H400
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 0.7 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationLens-based stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-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-PL2 Sony H400
    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-PL2 Sony H400
    Battery Type BLS-5 NP-BX1
    Battery Life (CIPA)280 shots per charge300 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 114 x 72 x 42 mm
    (4.5 x 2.8 x 1.7 in)
    130 x 95 x 122 mm
    (5.1 x 3.7 x 4.8 in)
    Camera Weight 362 g (12.8 oz) 628 g (22.2 oz)

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