Olympus E-PL9 vs Panasonic ZS70
The Olympus PEN E-PL9 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70 (labelled Panasonic TZ90 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2018 and April 2017. The E-PL9 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the ZS70 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (E-PL9) and a 1/2.3-inch (ZS70) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 20.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Olympus E-PL9||Panasonic ZS70|
|Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Micro Four Thirds lenses||24-720mm f/3.3-6.4|
|15.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor||20.2 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO 200-6,400 (100 - 25,600)||ISO 80-3,200 (80 - 6,400)|
|No viewfinder, LCD framing||Electronic viewfinder (1166k dots)|
|3.0 LCD, 1040k dots||3.0 LCD, 1040k dots|
|Tilting touchscreen||Tilting touchscreen|
|8.6 shutter flaps per second||10 shutter flaps per second|
|In-body stabilization||Lens-based stabilization|
|350 shots per battery charge||380 shots per battery charge|
|117 x 68 x 39 mm, 380 g||112 x 67 x 41 mm, 322 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus PEN E-PL9 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-PL9 and the Panasonic ZS70. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The E-PL9 can be obtained in four different colors (black, brown, blue, white), while the ZS70 is available in two color-versions (black, silver).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic ZS70 is notably smaller (6 percent) than the Olympus E-PL9. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-PL9 nor the ZS70 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the ZS70 has a lens built in, whereas the E-PL9 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-PL9 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the E-PL9 gets 350 shots out of its BLS-50 battery, while the ZS70 can take 380 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLG10 power pack. The power pack in the ZS70 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Olympus E-PL9||117 mm||68 mm||39 mm||380 g||350||n||Feb 2018||599|
|Panasonic ZS70||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|Canon SX720||110 mm||64 mm||36 mm||270 g||250||n||Feb 2016||379|
|Olympus E-PL10||117 mm||68 mm||39 mm||380 g||350||n||Oct 2019||599|
|Olympus E-M10 III||122 mm||84 mm||50 mm||410 g||330||n||Aug 2017||649|
|Olympus E-PL8||115 mm||67 mm||38 mm||357 g||350||n||Sep 2016||549|
|Olympus E-M10 II||120 mm||83 mm||47 mm||390 g||320||n||Aug 2015||649|
|Olympus E-M10||119 mm||82 mm||46 mm||396 g||320||n||Jan 2014||699|
|Olympus E-PL7||115 mm||67 mm||38 mm||357 g||350||n||Aug 2014||599|
|Olympus E-P5||122 mm||69 mm||37 mm||420 g||330||n||May 2013||999|
|Olympus E-PL6||111 mm||64 mm||38 mm||325 g||360||n||May 2013||599|
|Olympus E-PL5||111 mm||64 mm||38 mm||325 g||360||n||Sep 2012||599|
|Olympus E-PM2||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||269 g||360||n||Sep 2012||499|
|Panasonic ZS80||112 mm||69 mm||42 mm||327 g||380||n||Feb 2019||449|
|Panasonic FZ80||130 mm||94 mm||119 mm||616 g||330||n||Jan 2017||399|
|Panasonic FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||499|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
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 ZS70 was launched at a lower price than the E-PL9, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus E-PL9 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Panasonic ZS70 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the ZS70 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 ZS70 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 15.9 MP of the E-PL9. 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 3.76μm for the E-PL9). Moreover, it should be noted that the E-PL9 is a somewhat more recent model (by 9 months) than the ZS70, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the ZS70 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Panasonic ZS70 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the ZS70 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-PL9 are 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Olympus PEN E-PL9 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 Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-6400.
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.
|Olympus E-PL9||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Olympus E-PL10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Olympus E-M10 III||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Olympus E-PL8||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Olympus E-M10 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73|
|Olympus E-M10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||884||72|
|Olympus E-PL7||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.4||873||72|
|Olympus E-P5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.4||895||72|
|Olympus E-PL6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Olympus E-PL5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||889||72|
|Olympus E-PM2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.2||932||72|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the ZS70 has an electronic viewfinder (1166k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-PL9 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Olympus E-PL9 and Panasonic ZS70 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Olympus E-M10 III||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6||Y||Y|
|Olympus E-M10 II||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y|
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, both cameras under consideration feature an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Olympus E-PL9 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-PL9 and the ZS70 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.
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-PL9 and Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Olympus E-M10 III||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|Olympus E-M10 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the E-PL9 has a hotshoe, while the ZS70 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
The E-PL9 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Olympus. In contrast, the ZS70 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the ZS70 was succeeded by the Panasonic ZS80. 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.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-PL9 or the Panasonic ZS70 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PL9:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- 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.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 9 months after the ZS70).
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20.2 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 13%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 8.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the E-PL9 necessitates an extra lens.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the E-PL9).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2017).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-PL9 emerges as the winner of the contest (11 : 8 points). 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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-PL9 and the Panasonic ZS70 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 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-PL9 or the ZS70. 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 why expert reviews are important. 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.
|Olympus E-PL9||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2018||599|
|Panasonic ZS70||+ +||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|Canon SX730||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|Canon SX720||+||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379|
|Olympus E-PL10||..||77/100||..||..||4/5||Oct 2019||599|
|Olympus E-M10 III||+||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2017||649|
|Olympus E-PL8||..||..||4.5/5||..||4/5||Sep 2016||549|
|Olympus E-M10 II||+ +||80/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Aug 2015||649|
|Olympus E-M10||..||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2014||699|
|Olympus E-PL7||+||..||5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||599|
|Olympus E-P5||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||May 2013||999|
|Olympus E-PL6||..||..||..||..||..||May 2013||599|
|Olympus E-PL5||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599|
|Olympus E-PM2||..||77/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|Panasonic ZS80||+ +||..||4.5/5||..||..||Feb 2019||449|
|Panasonic FZ80||+ +||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Jan 2017||399|
|Panasonic FZ150||+ +||76/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon D30 vs Panasonic ZS70
- Canon D60 vs Olympus E-PL9
- Canon S120 vs Olympus E-PL9
- Canon SX510 vs Panasonic ZS70
- Fujifilm X-T2 vs Panasonic ZS70
- Fujifilm X100V vs Olympus E-PL9
- Leica X1 vs Panasonic ZS70
- Nikon D3100 vs Panasonic ZS70
- Nikon W300 vs Olympus E-PL9
- Olympus E-M10 II vs Olympus E-PL9
- Olympus E-PL10 vs Panasonic ZS70
- Olympus E-PL9 vs Sony A6000
Specifications: Olympus E-PL9 vs Panasonic ZS70
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-PL9||Panasonic ZS70|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||24-720mm f/3.3-6.4|
|Launch Date||February 2018||April 2017|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 449|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-PL9||Panasonic ZS70|
|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||20.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||5184 x 3888 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.76 μm||1.18 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.08 MP/cm2||71.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 6,400 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||80 - 6,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic VIII||Venus|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||36|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||19.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||106|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-PL9||Panasonic ZS70|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1166k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-PL9||Panasonic ZS70|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/2000s|
|Continuous Shooting||8.6 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens-based stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in 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-PL9||Panasonic ZS70|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-PL9||Panasonic ZS70|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||350 shots per charge||380 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
117 x 68 x 39 mm
(4.6 x 2.7 x 1.5 in)
112 x 67 x 41 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.6 in)
|Camera Weight||380 g (13.4 oz)||322 g (11.4 oz)|
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