Olympus E-PL8 vs Pentax Q
The Olympus PEN E-PL8 and the Pentax Q are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2016 and June 2011. Both the E-PL8 and the Pentax Q are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on a Four Thirds (E-PL8) and a 1/2.3-inch (Pentax Q) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 12 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Olympus E-PL8||Pentax Q|
|Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Micro Four Thirds lenses||Pentax Q mount lenses|
|15.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor||12 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor|
|1080/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO 200-6400 (100-25600)||ISO 125-6400|
|No viewfinder, LCD framing||Viewfinder optional|
|3.0" LCD, 1037k dots||3.0" LCD, 460k dots|
|Tilting touchscreen||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|8 shutter flaps per second||1.5 shutter flaps per second|
|In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|350 shots per battery charge||230 shots per battery charge|
|115 x 67 x 38 mm, 357 g||98 x 57 x 31 mm, 180 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus PEN E-PL8 and the Pentax Q? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-PL8 and the Pentax Q 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-PL8 can be obtained in three different colors (black, brown, white), while the Pentax Q is available in two color-versions (black, white).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax Q is notably smaller (28 percent) than the Olympus E-PL8. Moreover, the Pentax Q is substantially lighter (50 percent) than the E-PL8. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-PL8 nor the Pentax Q 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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
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, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Olympus E-PL8»||4.5 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||12.6 oz||350||n||Sep 2016||549||Olympus E-PL8|
|Pentax Q«||3.9 in||2.2 in||1.2 in||6.3 oz||230||n||Jun 2011||649||Pentax Q|
|Olympus E-PL10« »||4.6 in||2.7 in||1.5 in||13.4 oz||350||n||Oct 2019||599||Olympus E-PL10|
|Olympus E-PL9« »||4.6 in||2.7 in||1.5 in||13.4 oz||350||n||Feb 2018||599||Olympus E-PL9|
|Olympus E-M10 III« »||4.8 in||3.3 in||2.0 in||14.5 oz||330||n||Aug 2017||649||Olympus E-M10 III|
|Olympus E-M10 II« »||4.7 in||3.3 in||1.9 in||13.8 oz||320||n||Aug 2015||649||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-PL7« »||4.5 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||12.6 oz||350||n||Aug 2014||599||Olympus E-PL7|
|Olympus E-PL6« »||4.4 in||2.5 in||1.5 in||11.5 oz||360||n||May 2013||599||Olympus E-PL6|
|Olympus E-PL5« »||4.4 in||2.5 in||1.5 in||11.5 oz||360||n||Sep 2012||599||Olympus E-PL5|
|Olympus E-PM2« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.3 in||9.5 oz||360||n||Sep 2012||499||Olympus E-PM2|
|Olympus XZ-2« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.9 in||12.2 oz||340||n||Sep 2012||599||Olympus XZ-2|
|Olympus E-PL2« »||4.5 in||2.8 in||1.7 in||12.8 oz||280||n||Jan 2011||599||Olympus E-PL2|
|Olympus E-PL3« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.5 in||11.0 oz||300||n||Jun 2011||599||Olympus E-PL3|
|Olympus E-PL1« »||4.5 in||2.8 in||1.7 in||11.8 oz||290||n||Feb 2010||599||Olympus E-PL1|
|Olympus E-620« »||5.1 in||3.7 in||2.4 in||18.4 oz||500||n||Feb 2009||699||Olympus E-620|
|Panasonic GX85« »||4.8 in||2.8 in||1.7 in||15.0 oz||290||n||Apr 2016||799||Panasonic GX85|
|Panasonic G7« »||4.9 in||3.4 in||3.0 in||14.5 oz||350||n||May 2015||649||Panasonic G7|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as 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 E-PL8 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 15 percent) than the Pentax Q, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus E-PL8 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Pentax Q a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the Pentax Q 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.
With 15.9MP, the E-PL8 offers a higher resolution than the Pentax Q (12MP), but the E-PL8 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.76μm versus 1.53μm for the Pentax Q) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the E-PL8 is a much more recent model (by 5 years and 2 months) than the Pentax Q, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Olympus E-PL8 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the E-PL8 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23 x 17.3 inch or 58.5 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 13.8 inch or 46.8 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.4 x 11.5 inch or 39 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Pentax Q are 20 x 15 inch or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inch or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inch or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Olympus PEN E-PL8 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax Q are ISO 125 to ISO 6400 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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.
|Olympus E-PL8||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-PL8|
|Pentax Q||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/30p||20.2||11.1||189||47||Pentax Q|
|Olympus E-PL10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-PL10|
|Olympus E-PL9||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-PL9|
|Olympus E-M10 III||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-M10 III|
|Olympus E-M10 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-PL7||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.4||873||72||Olympus E-PL7|
|Olympus E-PL6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-PL6|
|Olympus E-PL5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||889||72||Olympus E-PL5|
|Olympus E-PM2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.2||932||72||Olympus E-PM2|
|Olympus XZ-2||1/1.7||11.8||3968||2976||1080/30p||20.4||11.3||216||49||Olympus XZ-2|
|Olympus E-PL2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.2||573||55||Olympus E-PL2|
|Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52||Olympus E-PL3|
|Olympus E-PL1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.1||487||54||Olympus E-PL1|
|Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55||Olympus E-620|
|Panasonic GX85||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||22.9||12.6||662||71||Panasonic GX85|
|Panasonic G7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Panasonic G7|
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, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The E-PL8 and the Pentax Q 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 Pentax Q can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the O-VF1. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus E-PL8, the Pentax Q, and comparable cameras.
|Olympus E-PL8||none||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y||Olympus E-PL8|
|Pentax Q||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/2000s||1.5||Y||Y||Pentax Q|
|Olympus E-PL10||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6||Y||Y||Olympus E-PL10|
|Olympus E-PL9||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6||Y||Y||Olympus E-PL9|
|Olympus E-M10 III||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6||Y||Y||Olympus E-M10 III|
|Olympus E-M10 II||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-PL7||optional||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y||Olympus E-PL7|
|Olympus E-PL6||optional||n||3.0||460||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y||Olympus E-PL6|
|Olympus E-PL5||optional||n||3.0||460||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y||Olympus E-PL5|
|Olympus E-PM2||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y||Olympus E-PM2|
|Olympus XZ-2||optional||n||3.0||920||tilting||Y||1/2000s||5.0||Y||Y||Olympus XZ-2|
|Olympus E-PL2||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-PL2|
|Olympus E-PL3||optional||n||3.0||460||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||Y||Olympus E-PL3|
|Olympus E-PL1||optional||n||2.7||230||fixed||n||1/2000s||3.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-PL1|
|Olympus E-620||optical||n||2.7||230||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-620|
|Panasonic GX85||2765||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y||Panasonic GX85|
|Panasonic G7||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n||Panasonic G7|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The E-PL8 has a touchscreen, while the Pentax Q has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The E-PL8 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the Pentax Q does not have a selfie-screen.
The Olympus E-PL8 and the Pentax Q both have 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-PL8 and the Pentax Q write their files to SDXC cards. The E-PL8 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the Pentax Q cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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-PL8 and Pentax Q and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Olympus E-PL8||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-PL8|
|Pentax Q||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Pentax Q|
|Olympus E-PL10||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Olympus E-PL10|
|Olympus E-PL9||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Olympus E-PL9|
|Olympus E-M10 III||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-M10 III|
|Olympus E-M10 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-PL7||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-PL7|
|Olympus E-PL6||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL6|
|Olympus E-PL5||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL5|
|Olympus E-PM2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PM2|
|Olympus XZ-2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus XZ-2|
|Olympus E-PL2||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL2|
|Olympus E-PL3||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL3|
|Olympus E-PL1||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL1|
|Olympus E-620||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-620|
|Panasonic GX85||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Panasonic GX85|
|Panasonic G7||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Panasonic G7|
It is notable that the E-PL8 offers wifi support, while the Pentax Q does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the E-PL8 and the Pentax Q have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The Pentax Q was replaced by the Pentax Q10, while the E-PL8 was followed by the Olympus E-PL9. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus and Pentax websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus E-PL8 and the Pentax Q? 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-PL8:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (15.9 vs 12MP) with a 15% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 460k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (350 versus 230) on a single battery charge.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (15 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 5 years and 2 months of technical progress since the Pentax Q launch.
Arguments in favor of the Pentax Q:
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- More compact: Is smaller (98x57mm vs 115x67mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 177g or 50 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 2011).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-PL8 is the clear winner of the match-up (16 : 5 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-PL8 and the Pentax Q 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-PL8 or the Pentax Q 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.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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.
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. 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 make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon SX520 vs Pentax Q
- Canon XS vs Olympus E-PL8
- Canon XS vs Pentax Q
- Leica M9 vs Olympus E-PL8
- Leica X Typ 113 vs Olympus E-PL8
- Nikon 1 J5 vs Olympus E-PL8
- Nikon D5000 vs Olympus E-PL8
- Nikon D5100 vs Pentax Q
- Olympus E-M1X vs Pentax Q
- Olympus E-PL8 vs Panasonic ZS70
- Olympus E-PL8 vs Sony NEX-5T
- Panasonic LX100 II vs Pentax Q
Specifications: Olympus E-PL8 vs Pentax Q
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-PL8||Pentax Q|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||Pentax Q mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2016||June 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 549||USD 649|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-PL8||Pentax Q|
|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||15.9 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.76 μm||1.53 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.08 MP/cm2||42.74 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||200-6400 ISO||125-6400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-25600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||47|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||20.2|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||11.1|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||189|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-PL8||Pentax Q|
|Viewfinder Type||No viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1037k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-PL8||Pentax Q|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||No Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||8 shutter flaps/s||1.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|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||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus E-PL8||Pentax Q|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-PL8||Pentax Q|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||350 shots per charge||230 shots per charge|
115 x 67 x 38 mm
(4.5 x 2.6 x 1.5 in)
98 x 57 x 31 mm
(3.9 x 2.2 x 1.2 in)
|Camera Weight||357 g (12.6 oz)||180 g (6.3 oz)|
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