Olympus E-PL2 vs Sony HX400V
The Olympus PEN E-PL2 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2011 and February 2014. The E-PL2 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the HX400V is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (E-PL2) and a 1/2.3-inch (HX400V) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 20.2 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-PL2 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V? 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 physical size and weight of the Olympus E-PL2 and the Sony HX400V are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. 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 HX400V 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 HX400V is considerably larger (47 percent) than the Olympus E-PL2. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-PL2 nor the HX400V are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the HX400V 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.
Concerning battery life, the E-PL2 gets 280 shots out of its BLS-5 battery, while the HX400V can take 300 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack.
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-PL2||114 mm||72 mm||42 mm||362 g||280||n||Jan 2011||599||ebay.com|
|2.||Sony HX400V||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||660 g||300||n||Feb 2014||499||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549||ebay.com|
|4.||Olympus E-PL5||111 mm||64 mm||38 mm||325 g||360||n||Sep 2012||599||ebay.com|
|5.||Olympus XZ-2||113 mm||65 mm||48 mm||346 g||340||n||Sep 2012||599||ebay.com|
|6.||Olympus E-P3||122 mm||69 mm||34 mm||369 g||330||n||Jun 2011||799||ebay.com|
|7.||Olympus E-PL3||110 mm||64 mm||37 mm||313 g||300||n||Jun 2011||599||ebay.com|
|8.||Olympus E-PM1||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||265 g||330||n||Jun 2011||499||ebay.com|
|9.||Olympus E-PL1||115 mm||72 mm||42 mm||334 g||290||n||Feb 2010||599||ebay.com|
|10.||Olympus E-P1||121 mm||70 mm||36 mm||355 g||300||n||Jun 2009||799||ebay.com|
|11.||Olympus E-P2||121 mm||70 mm||36 mm||355 g||300||n||Nov 2009||799||ebay.com|
|12.||Panasonic G10||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||388 g||380||n||Mar 2010||499||ebay.com|
|13.||Panasonic GF2||113 mm||68 mm||33 mm||310 g||300||n||Nov 2010||549||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony HX350||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||652 g||300||n||Dec 2016||449||ebay.com|
|15.||Sony HX90V||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||360||n||Apr 2015||429||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony H400||130 mm||95 mm||122 mm||628 g||300||n||Feb 2014||319||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony H300||128 mm||89 mm||92 mm||590 g||350||n||Feb 2014||219||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The HX400V 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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 tend to be more expensive and 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 HX400V a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the HX400V 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 HX400V offers a higher resolution of 20.2 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 1.18μm versus 4.29μm for the E-PL2). However, it should be noted that the HX400V 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 HX400V has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony HX400V implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the HX400V for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 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-HX400V are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-12800.
In terms of underlying technology, the E-PL2 is build around a CMOS sensor, while the HX400V uses a BSI-CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|1.||Olympus E-PL2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.2||573||55|
|4.||Olympus E-PL5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||889||72|
|6.||Olympus E-P3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.8||10.1||536||51|
|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-PL1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.1||487||54|
|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|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the HX400V provides a better video resolution than the E-PL2. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Olympus is limited to 720/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the HX400V 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus E-PL2, the Sony HX400V, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Olympus E-PL2||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Sony HX400V||210||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon SX60||922||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||6.4/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Olympus E-PL5||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||n||Y|
|5.||Olympus XZ-2||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||Y||1/2000s||5.0/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Olympus E-P3||optional||n||3.0 / 614||fixed||Y||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Olympus E-PL3||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5/s||n||Y|
|8.||Olympus E-PM1||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5/s||n||Y|
|9.||Olympus E-PL1||optional||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||3.0/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Olympus E-P1||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||n||Y|
|11.||Olympus E-P2||optional||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||n||Y|
|12.||Panasonic G10||202||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.6/s||Y||n|
|13.||Panasonic GF2||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||2.6/s||Y||n|
|14.||Sony HX350||202||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony HX90V||638||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony H400||210||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/2000s||0.7/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony H300||none||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/1500s||0.8/s||Y||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
The E-PL2 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the HX400V 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-PL2 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Olympus E-PL2||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Sony HX400V||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon SX60||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Olympus E-PL5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Olympus XZ-2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Olympus E-P3||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-PL1||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||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 HX350||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Sony HX90V||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony H400||-||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|17.||Sony H300||-||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the HX400V offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the E-PL2 does not provide wifi capability.
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the HX400V has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
Both the E-PL2 and the HX400V have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The E-PL2 was replaced by the Olympus E-PL3, while the HX400V does not have a direct successor. Further information on the features and operation of the E-PL2 and HX400V can be found, respectively, in the Olympus E-PL2 Manual (free pdf) or the online Sony HX400V Manual.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus E-PL2 and the Sony HX400V? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer 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.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- More compact: Is smaller (114x72mm vs 130x93mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2011).
Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20.2 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 29%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60p vs 720/30p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 460k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the E-PL2 necessitates an extra lens.
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- 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 HX400V is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 8 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-PL2 and the Sony HX400V 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the E-PL2 and the HX400V 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-PL2||3/5||83/100||..||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||599||ebay.com|
|2.||Sony HX400V||4/5||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||499||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549||ebay.com|
|4.||Olympus E-PL5||3/5||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599||ebay.com|
|5.||Olympus XZ-2||4/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599||ebay.com|
|6.||Olympus E-P3||..||83/100||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||799||ebay.com|
|7.||Olympus E-PL3||3/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599||ebay.com|
|8.||Olympus E-PM1||..||86/100||..||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||499||ebay.com|
|9.||Olympus E-PL1||..||86/100||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||599||ebay.com|
|10.||Olympus E-P1||..||+||..||66/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2009||799||ebay.com|
|11.||Olympus E-P2||3/5||+||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Nov 2009||799||ebay.com|
|12.||Panasonic G10||3/5||..||..||70/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2010||499||ebay.com|
|13.||Panasonic GF2||3/5||82/100||..||70/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2010||549||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony HX350||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Dec 2016||449||ebay.com|
|15.||Sony HX90V||4/5||+ +||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||429||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony H400||..||o||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2014||319||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony H300||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2014||219||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
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Specifications: Olympus E-PL2 vs Sony HX400V
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-PL2||Sony HX400V|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||24-1200mm f/2.8-6.3|
|Launch Date||January 2011||February 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-PL2||Sony HX400V|
|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||20.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4032 x 3024 pixels||5184 x 3888 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.29 μm||1.18 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.42 MP/cm2||71.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||720/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 6,400 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||Truepic V||BIONZ X|
|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 HX400V|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||210k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-PL2||Sony HX400V|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||10 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|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus E-PL2||Sony HX400V|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Geotagging||no internal GPS||GPS built-in|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-PL2||Sony HX400V|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||280 shots per charge||300 shots per charge|
114 x 72 x 42 mm
(4.5 x 2.8 x 1.7 in)
130 x 93 x 103 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 4.1 in)
|Camera Weight||362 g (12.8 oz)||660 g (23.3 oz)|
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