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Olympus E-PL6 vs Panasonic G5

The Olympus PEN E-PL6 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in May 2013 and July 2012. Both the E-PL6 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-PL6
versus
Panasonic G5
Olympus E-PL6 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-PL6 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-PL6 and the Panasonic G5 is provided 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The E-PL6 can be obtained in four different colors (black, silver, red, white), while the G5 is available in two color-versions (black, silver).

Size Olympus E-PL6 vs Panasonic G5
Compare E-PL6 versus G5 top
Comparison E-PL6 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-PL6. Moreover, the G5 is markedly heavier (22 percent) than the E-PL6. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-PL6 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-PL6 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 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.

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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-PL6 111 mm 64 mm 38 mm 325 g 360 n May 2013 599 i
2.
 
Panasonic G5 120 mm 83 mm 71 mm 396 g 320 n Jul 2012 599 i
3.
 
Kodak S-1 116 mm 68 mm 36 mm 290 g 410 n Jan 2012 299 i
4.
 
Olympus E-PL10 117 mm 68 mm 39 mm 380 g 350 n Oct 2019 599 i
5.
 
Olympus E-PL9 117 mm 68 mm 39 mm 380 g 350 n Feb 2018 599 i
6.
 
Olympus E-PL8 115 mm 67 mm 38 mm 357 g 350 n Sep 2016 549 i
7.
 
Olympus E-M10 II 120 mm 83 mm 47 mm 390 g 320 n Aug 2015 649 i
8.
 
Olympus E-M10 119 mm 82 mm 46 mm 396 g 320 n Jan 2014 699 i
9.
 
Olympus E-PL7 115 mm 67 mm 38 mm 357 g 350 n Aug 2014 599 i
10.
 
Olympus E-PL5 111 mm 64 mm 38 mm 325 g 360 n Sep 2012 599 i
11.
 
Olympus E-PM2 110 mm 64 mm 34 mm 269 g 360 n Sep 2012 499 i
12.
 
Panasonic G7 125 mm 86 mm 77 mm 410 g 350 n May 2015 649 i
13.
 
Panasonic G6 122 mm 85 mm 71 mm 390 g 340 n Apr 2013 599 i
14.
 
Panasonic G3 115 mm 84 mm 47 mm 336 g 270 n May 2011 599 i
15.
 
Panasonic GX1 116 mm 68 mm 39 mm 318 g 320 n Nov 2011 699 i
16.
 
Panasonic G10 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 n Mar 2010 499 i
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 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.

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Sensor comparison

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.

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.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Olympus E-PL6 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-PL6 and the G5 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the E-PL6 is a somewhat more recent model (by 9 months) than the G5, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

The Olympus PEN E-PL6 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 are ISO 160 to ISO 12800 (no boost).

E-PL6 versus G5 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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.

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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-PL6 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p...... ..
2.
 
Panasonic G5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p...... ..
3.
 
Kodak S-1 Four Thirds 16.1 4640 34801080/30p...... ..
4.
 
Olympus E-PL10 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p...... ..
5.
 
Olympus E-PL9 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p...... ..
6.
 
Olympus E-PL8 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p...... ..
7.
 
Olympus E-M10 II Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.5842 73
8.
 
Olympus E-M10 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.3884 72
9.
 
Olympus E-PL7 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.4873 72
10.
 
Olympus E-PL5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.3889 72
11.
 
Olympus E-PM2 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.2932 72
12.
 
Panasonic G7 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p...... ..
13.
 
Panasonic G6 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.5639 61
14.
 
Panasonic G3 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.6667 56
15.
 
Panasonic GX1 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p20.810.6703 55
16.
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.1411 52

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the G5 provides a faster frame rate than the E-PL6. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/30p.

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Feature comparison

Beyond 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-PL6 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the E-PL6 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-3. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Olympus E-PL6 and Panasonic G5 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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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-PL6optional 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.
 
Kodak S-1none n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 4.0 n Y
4.
 
Olympus E-PL10none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.6 Y Y
5.
 
Olympus E-PL9none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.6 Y Y
6.
 
Olympus E-PL8optional n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y
7.
 
Olympus E-M10 II2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
8.
 
Olympus E-M101440 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
9.
 
Olympus E-PL7optional n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y
10.
 
Olympus E-PL5optional n 3.0 460 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y
11.
 
Olympus E-PM2optional n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 8.0 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 G31440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
15.
 
Panasonic GX1optional n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n
16.
 
Panasonic G10202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6 Y n

One feature that differentiates the E-PL6 and the G5 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-PL6 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.

The Olympus E-PL6 has 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-PL6 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-PL6 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-PL6Ystereomono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Panasonic G5Ystereomono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Kodak S-1Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
4.
 
Olympus E-PL10Ystereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
5.
 
Olympus E-PL9Ystereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
6.
 
Olympus E-PL8Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
7.
 
Olympus E-M10 IIYstereomono--micro2.0Y--
8.
 
Olympus E-M10Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
9.
 
Olympus E-PL7Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
10.
 
Olympus E-PL5Ystereomono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Olympus E-PM2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
12.
 
Panasonic G7YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
13.
 
Panasonic G6YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
14.
 
Panasonic G3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
15.
 
Panasonic GX1Ystereomono--mini2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic G10Ymono---mini2.0---

Both the E-PL6 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-PL6 was followed by the Olympus E-PL7. 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 how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus E-PL6 and the Panasonic G5? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Reasons to prefer the Olympus PEN E-PL6:

  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • 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.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 9 months after the G5).

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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.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in July 2012).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-PL6 comes out slightly ahead of the G5 (7 : 6 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-PL6 07:06 G5

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-PL6 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 comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the E-PL6 or the G5. 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 hands-on reviews by experts 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-PL6.......... May 2013 599 i
2.
 
Panasonic G53/5+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599 i
3.
 
Kodak S-1......4/54/5 Jan 2012 299 i
4.
 
Olympus E-PL10....77/100..4/5 Oct 2019 599 i
5.
 
Olympus E-PL9..+..4.5/54/5 Feb 2018 599 i
6.
 
Olympus E-PL8......4.5/54/5 Sep 2016 549 i
7.
 
Olympus E-M10 II4.5/5+ +80/1005/55/5 Aug 2015 649 i
8.
 
Olympus E-M104/5..80/1005/55/5 Jan 2014 699 i
9.
 
Olympus E-PL74/5+..5/54/5 Aug 2014 599 i
10.
 
Olympus E-PL53/5+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599 i
11.
 
Olympus E-PM23/5..77/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499 i
12.
 
Panasonic G74/5+ +80/1005/54.5/5 May 2015 649 i
13.
 
Panasonic G64/5+ +..5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 599 i
14.
 
Panasonic G33/5+ +75/1004.5/55/5 May 2011 599 i
15.
 
Panasonic GX13/5+77/1004.5/54.5/5 Nov 2011 699 i
16.
 
Panasonic G103/5..70/1004/54/5 Mar 2010 499 i
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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Olympus E-PL6:
Check Ebay offers
Panasonic G5:
Check Ebay offers

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 use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Olympus E-PL6 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-PL6 Panasonic G5
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date May 2013 July 2012
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Olympus E-PL6 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
    ISO Boost 100 - 25,600 ISO no Enhancement
    Image Processor TruePic VI Venus VII FHD
    Screen Specs Olympus E-PL6 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-PL6 Panasonic G5
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 8 shutter flaps/s 6 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inno Intervalometer
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationLens stabilization only
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Built-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-PL6 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-PL6 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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