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Olympus E-PL6 versus Panasonic GM1

The Olympus PEN E-PL6 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in May 2013 and October 2013. Both the E-PL6 and the GM1 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 15.9 megapixel, whereas the Panasonic provides 15.8 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Olympus E-PL6 vs Panasonic GM1

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-PL6 and the Panasonic GM1 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. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the E-PL6 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Olympus E-PL6 vs Panasonic GM1
Compare E-PL6 versus GM1 top
Compare E-PL6 and GM1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GM1 is notably smaller (23 percent) than the Olympus E-PL6. Moreover, the GM1 is substantially lighter (37 percent) than the E-PL6. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-PL6 nor the GM1 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 find an overview of suitable optics 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 GM1 can take 230 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLH7 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Olympus E-PL6» 4.4 in 2.5 in 1.5 in 11.5 oz 360 n May 2013 599- i Olympus E-PL6
Panasonic GM1« 3.9 in 2.2 in 1.2 in 7.2 oz 230 n Oct 2013 749- i Panasonic GM1
Kodak S-1« » 4.6 in 2.7 in 1.4 in 10.2 oz 410 n Jan 2012 299 i i Kodak S-1
Olympus E-PL9« » 4.6 in 2.7 in 1.5 in 13.4 oz 350 n Feb 2018 549 i i Olympus E-PL9
Olympus E-PL8« » 4.5 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 12.6 oz 350 n Sep 2016 549- i Olympus E-PL8
Olympus E-M10« » 4.7 in 3.2 in 1.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jan 2014 699- i Olympus E-M10
Olympus E-PL7« » 4.5 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 12.6 oz 350 n Aug 2014 599- i Olympus E-PL7
Olympus E-PL5« » 4.4 in 2.5 in 1.5 in 11.5 oz 360 n Sep 2012 599- i Olympus E-PL5
Olympus E-PM2« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.3 in 9.5 oz 360 n Sep 2012 499- i Olympus E-PM2
Olympus E-PL2« » 4.5 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 12.8 oz 280 n Jan 2011 599- i Olympus E-PL2
Panasonic GM5« » 3.9 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 7.4 oz 220 n Sep 2014 749- i Panasonic GM5
Panasonic LX100« » 4.5 in 2.6 in 2.2 in 13.9 oz 300 n Sep 2014 899 i i Panasonic LX100
Panasonic G6« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 n Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6
Panasonic GF6« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.4 oz 340 n Apr 2013 499- i Panasonic GF6
Panasonic GX7« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 2.2 in 14.2 oz 350 n Aug 2013 999- i Panasonic GX7
Panasonic G5« » 4.7 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jul 2012 599- i Panasonic G5
Panasonic GH3« » 5.2 in 3.7 in 3.2 in 19.4 oz 540 Y Sep 2012 1,299- i Panasonic GH3

The camera’s price is obviously a critical decision-making factor. 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 E-PL6 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 20 percent) than the GM1, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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: Olympus E-PL6 vs Panasonic GM1

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better 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 GM1 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the E-PL6 offers a slightly higher resolution of 15.9 megapixel, compared with 15.8 MP of the GM1. This megapixel advantage translates into a 0.3 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the E-PL6 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.76μm versus 3.77μm for the GM1). Moreover, it should be noted that the GM1 is a somewhat more recent model (by 5 months) than the E-PL6, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of individual pixels.

E-PL6 versus GM1 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Olympus E-PL6» Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p----Olympus E-PL6
Panasonic GM1« Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i22.311.766066Panasonic GM1
Kodak S-1« » Four Thirds 16.1 4640 34801080/30p----Kodak S-1
Olympus E-PL9« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p----Olympus E-PL9
Olympus E-PL8« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p----Olympus E-PL8
Olympus E-M10« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472Olympus E-M10
Olympus E-PL7« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.487372Olympus E-PL7
Olympus E-PL5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388972Olympus E-PL5
Olympus E-PM2« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.293272Olympus E-PM2
Olympus E-PL2« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.257355Olympus E-PL2
Panasonic GM5« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.111.772166Panasonic GM5
Panasonic LX100« » Four Thirds 12.7 4112 30884K/30p22.312.555367Panasonic LX100
Panasonic G6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961Panasonic G6
Panasonic GF6« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254Panasonic GF6
Panasonic GX7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.612.271870Panasonic GX7
Panasonic G5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p----Panasonic G5
Panasonic GH3« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p22.712.481271Panasonic GH3

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the GM1 provides a faster frame rate than the E-PL6. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Olympus E-PL6 vs Panasonic GM1

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The E-PL6 and the GM1 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-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 GM1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or in the dpreview camera hub.

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)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Olympus E-PL6»- n 3.0 460 tilting Y 4000 8.0 n Y Olympus E-PL6
Panasonic GM1«- n 3.0 1036 fixed Y 500 5.0 Y n Panasonic GM1
Kodak S-1« »- n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 4.0 n Y Kodak S-1
Olympus E-PL9« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.6 Y Y Olympus E-PL9
Olympus E-PL8« »- n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 4000 8.0 n Y Olympus E-PL8
Olympus E-M10« »1440 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y Olympus E-M10
Olympus E-PL7« »- n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 4000 8.0 n Y Olympus E-PL7
Olympus E-PL5« »- n 3.0 460 tilting Y 4000 8.0 n Y Olympus E-PL5
Olympus E-PM2« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 4000 8.0 n Y Olympus E-PM2
Olympus E-PL2« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-PL2
Panasonic GM5« »1166 n 3.0 921 fixed Y 500 5.8 n n Panasonic GM5
Panasonic LX100« »2764 n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 11.0 n Y Panasonic LX100
Panasonic G6« »1440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n Panasonic G6
Panasonic GF6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n Panasonic GF6
Panasonic GX7« »2760 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 8000 5.0 Y Y Panasonic GX7
Panasonic G5« »1440 n 3.0 920 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n Panasonic G5
Panasonic GH3« »1746 n 3.0 614 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n Panasonic GH3

One feature that differentiates the E-PL6 and the GM1 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-PL6 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the GM1 has to rely on optical image stabilization in OIS-equipped lenses to achieve the same effect.

The reported shutter speed and shutter burst refer to the use of the mechanical shutter. In addition, the GM1 features an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (flickering).

Both the E-PL6 and the GM1 write their imaging data to SDXC cards.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Olympus E-PL6»Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus E-PL6
Panasonic GM1«-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic GM1
Kodak S-1« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Kodak S-1
Olympus E-PL9« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y-YOlympus E-PL9
Olympus E-PL8« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus E-PL8
Olympus E-M10« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus E-M10
Olympus E-PL7« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus E-PL7
Olympus E-PL5« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus E-PL5
Olympus E-PM2« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus E-PM2
Olympus E-PL2« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-PL2
Panasonic GM5« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic GM5
Panasonic LX100« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Panasonic LX100
Panasonic G6« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Panasonic G6
Panasonic GF6« »-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Panasonic GF6
Panasonic GX7« »Ystereomono--mini2.0YY-Panasonic GX7
Panasonic G5« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic G5
Panasonic GH3« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y--Panasonic GH3

Both the E-PL6 and the GM1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-PL6 was replaced by the Olympus E-PL7, while the GM1 was followed by the Panasonic GM5.

Review summary: Olympus E-PL6 vs Panasonic GM1

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus E-PL6 and the Panasonic GM1? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Reasons to prefer the Olympus PEN E-PL6:

  • More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 500/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (360 versus 230) on a single battery charge.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization build-in.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (20 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in May 2013).

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Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1:

  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i versus 1080/30p).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1036k vs 460k dots).
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • More compact: Is smaller (99x55mm vs 111x64mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 121g or 37 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi build in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (5 months) more recently.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-PL6 comes out slightly ahead of the GM1 (9 : 8 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.

E-PL6 09:08 GM1

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-PL6 or the GM1 handle or perform in practice. 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 summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Olympus E-PL6»----- May 2013 599- i Olympus E-PL6
Panasonic GM1«Rec78/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 749- i Panasonic GM1
Kodak S-1« »--4/5-4/5 Jan 2012 299 i i Kodak S-1
Olympus E-PL9« »Rec-4.5/5-4/5 Feb 2018 549 i i Olympus E-PL9
Olympus E-PL8« »--4.5/5-4/5 Sep 2016 549- i Olympus E-PL8
Olympus E-M10« »-80/1005/54.5/55/5 Jan 2014 699- i Olympus E-M10
Olympus E-PL7« »Rec-5/54.5/54/5 Aug 2014 599- i Olympus E-PL7
Olympus E-PL5« »HiRec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599- i Olympus E-PL5
Olympus E-PM2« »-77/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499- i Olympus E-PM2
Olympus E-PL2« »83/10071/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 599- i Olympus E-PL2
Panasonic GM5« »Rec77/1005/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 749- i Panasonic GM5
Panasonic LX100« »HiRec85/1005/54/55/5 Sep 2014 899 i i Panasonic LX100
Panasonic G6« »HiRec-5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6
Panasonic GF6« »HiRec-4.5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 499- i Panasonic GF6
Panasonic GX7« »Rec79/1005/54.5/55/5 Aug 2013 999- i Panasonic GX7
Panasonic G5« »HiRec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599- i Panasonic G5
Panasonic GH3« »HiRec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2012 1,299- i Panasonic GH3

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 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.

 

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. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If the camera you are interested in is not available, kindly get in touch, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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