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Olympus E-PL5 vs Panasonic G5

The Olympus PEN E-PL5 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2012 and July 2012. Both the E-PL5 and the G5 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-PL5 versus Panasonic G5
Olympus E-PL5 Panasonic G5
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 1080/60p Video
ISO 200-25,600 ISO 160-12,800
Viewfinder optional Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)
3.0 LCD, 460k dots 3.0 LCD, 920k dots
Tilting touchscreen Swivel touchscreen
8 shutter flaps per second 6 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationLens stabilization only
360 shots per battery charge320 shots per battery charge
111 x 64 x 38 mm, 325 g 120 x 83 x 71 mm, 396 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus PEN E-PL5 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5? 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-PL5 and the Panasonic G5 is provided 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The E-PL5 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, white), while the G5 is available in two color-versions (black, silver).

Size Olympus E-PL5 vs Panasonic G5
Compare E-PL5 versus G5 top
Comparison E-PL5 or G5 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic G5 is notably larger (40 percent) than the Olympus E-PL5. Moreover, the G5 is markedly heavier (22 percent) than the E-PL5. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-PL5 nor the G5 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-PL5 gets 360 shots out of its BLS-5 battery, while the G5 can take 320 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLC12 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Olympus E-PL5 111 mm 64 mm 38 mm 325 g 360 n Sep 2012 599i
2.
 
Panasonic G5 120 mm 83 mm 71 mm 396 g 320 n Jul 2012 599i
3.
 
Olympus E-PL9 117 mm 68 mm 39 mm 380 g 350 n Feb 2018 599i
4.
 
Olympus E-PL8 115 mm 67 mm 38 mm 357 g 350 n Sep 2016 549i
5.
 
Olympus E-M10 II 120 mm 83 mm 47 mm 390 g 320 n Aug 2015 649i
6.
 
Olympus E-M10 119 mm 82 mm 46 mm 396 g 320 n Jan 2014 699i
7.
 
Olympus E-PL7 115 mm 67 mm 38 mm 357 g 350 n Aug 2014 599i
8.
 
Olympus E-P5 122 mm 69 mm 37 mm 420 g 330 n May 2013 999i
9.
 
Olympus E-PL6 111 mm 64 mm 38 mm 325 g 360 n May 2013 599i
10.
 
Olympus E-PM2 110 mm 64 mm 34 mm 269 g 360 n Sep 2012 499i
11.
 
Olympus E-PL3 110 mm 64 mm 37 mm 313 g 300 n Jun 2011 599i
12.
 
Panasonic G7 125 mm 86 mm 77 mm 410 g 350 n May 2015 649i
13.
 
Panasonic G6 122 mm 85 mm 71 mm 390 g 340 n Apr 2013 599i
14.
 
Panasonic GF6 111 mm 65 mm 38 mm 323 g 340 n Apr 2013 499i
15.
 
Panasonic G3 115 mm 84 mm 47 mm 336 g 270 n May 2011 599i
16.
 
Panasonic GX1 116 mm 68 mm 39 mm 318 g 320 n Nov 2011 699i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same 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.

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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 more expensive and 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.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.

Olympus E-PL5 and Panasonic G5 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-PL5 and the G5 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-PL5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 are ISO 160 to ISO 12800 (no boost).

E-PL5 versus G5 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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.

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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
1.
 
Olympus E-PL5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388972
2.
 
Panasonic G5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p........
3.
 
Olympus E-PL9 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p........
4.
 
Olympus E-PL8 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
5.
 
Olympus E-M10 II Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273
6.
 
Olympus E-M10 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472
7.
 
Olympus E-PL7 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.487372
8.
 
Olympus E-P5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.489572
9.
 
Olympus E-PL6 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
10.
 
Olympus E-PM2 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.293272
11.
 
Olympus E-PL3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.910.349952
12.
 
Panasonic G7 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p........
13.
 
Panasonic G6 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961
14.
 
Panasonic GF6 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254
15.
 
Panasonic G3 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756
16.
 
Panasonic GX1 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p20.810.670355

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 G5 provides a faster frame rate than the E-PL5. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/30p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the G5 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-PL5 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the E-PL5 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-3. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Olympus E-PL5 and Panasonic G5 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
1.
 
Olympus E-PL5optional n 3.0 460 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y
2.
 
Panasonic G51440 n 3.0 920 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
3.
 
Olympus E-PL9none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.6 Y Y
4.
 
Olympus E-PL8optional n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y
5.
 
Olympus E-M10 II2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
6.
 
Olympus E-M101440 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
7.
 
Olympus E-PL7optional n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y
8.
 
Olympus E-P5optional n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0 Y Y
9.
 
Olympus E-PL6optional n 3.0 460 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y
10.
 
Olympus E-PM2optional n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y
11.
 
Olympus E-PL3optional n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 n Y
12.
 
Panasonic G72360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y n
13.
 
Panasonic G61440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y n
14.
 
Panasonic GF6none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n
15.
 
Panasonic G31440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
16.
 
Panasonic GX1optional n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n

One feature that differentiates the E-PL5 and the G5 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-PL5 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the G5 offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.

Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the E-PL5 and the G5 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.

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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-PL5 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 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
1.
 
Olympus E-PL5Ystereomono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Panasonic G5Ystereomono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Olympus E-PL9Ystereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
4.
 
Olympus E-PL8Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
5.
 
Olympus E-M10 IIYstereomono--micro2.0Y--
6.
 
Olympus E-M10Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
7.
 
Olympus E-PL7Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
8.
 
Olympus E-P5Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
9.
 
Olympus E-PL6Ystereomono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Olympus E-PM2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Olympus E-PL3Ystereo---mini2.0---
12.
 
Panasonic G7YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
13.
 
Panasonic G6YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
14.
 
Panasonic GF6-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
15.
 
Panasonic G3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic GX1Ystereomono--mini2.0---

Both the E-PL5 and the G5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G5 was replaced by the Panasonic G6, while the E-PL5 was followed by the Olympus E-PL6. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus and Panasonic websites.

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Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Olympus E-PL5 better than the Panasonic G5 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Olympus PEN E-PL5:

  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (111x64mm vs 120x83mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 71g or 18 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (360 versus 320) on a single battery charge.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.

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Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5:

  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 460k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (5 points each). 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

E-PL5 05:05 G5

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-PL5 and the Panasonic G5 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the E-PL5 or the G5 perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Olympus E-PL53/5+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599i
2.
 
Panasonic G53/5+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599i
3.
 
Olympus E-PL9..+..4.5/54/5 Feb 2018 599i
4.
 
Olympus E-PL8......4.5/54/5 Sep 2016 549i
5.
 
Olympus E-M10 II4.5/5+ +80/1005/55/5 Aug 2015 649i
6.
 
Olympus E-M104/5..80/1005/55/5 Jan 2014 699i
7.
 
Olympus E-PL74/5+..5/54/5 Aug 2014 599i
8.
 
Olympus E-P55/5+ +78/1004.5/55/5 May 2013 999i
9.
 
Olympus E-PL6.......... May 2013 599i
10.
 
Olympus E-PM23/5..77/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
11.
 
Olympus E-PL33/5+ +72/1004.5/54/5 Jun 2011 599i
12.
 
Panasonic G74/5+ +80/1005/54.5/5 May 2015 649i
13.
 
Panasonic G64/5+ +..5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 599i
14.
 
Panasonic GF6..+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 499i
15.
 
Panasonic G33/5+ +75/1004.5/55/5 May 2011 599i
16.
 
Panasonic GX13/5+77/1004.5/54.5/5 Nov 2011 699i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated 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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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.

Olympus E-PL5:
Check Ebay offers
Panasonic G5:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. 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-PL5 vs Panasonic G5

    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-PL5 Panasonic G5
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date September 2012 July 2012
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Olympus E-PL5 Panasonic G5
    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 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 25,600 ISO 160 - 12,800 ISO
    Image Processor TruePic VI Venus VII FHD
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 72 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.8 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.3 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 889 ..
    Screen Specs Olympus E-PL5 Panasonic G5
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1440k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 460k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Swivel screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Olympus E-PL5 Panasonic G5
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 8 shutter flaps/s 6 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationLens stabilization only
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Build-in 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-PL5 Panasonic G5
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Olympus E-PL5 Panasonic G5
    Battery Type BLS-5 DMW-BLC12
    Battery Life (CIPA)360 shots per charge320 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 111 x 64 x 38 mm
    (4.4 x 2.5 x 1.5 in)
    120 x 83 x 71 mm
    (4.7 x 3.3 x 2.8 in)
    Camera Weight 325 g (11.5 oz) 396 g (14.0 oz)

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