Olympus E-PM2 vs XZ-1
The Olympus PEN E-PM2 and the Olympus XZ-1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2012 and January 2011. The E-PM2 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the XZ-1 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (E-PM2) and a 1/1.7-inch (XZ-1) sensor. The E-PM2 has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the XZ-1 provides 10.1 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Olympus E-PM2||Olympus XZ-1|
|Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Micro Four Thirds lenses||28-112mm f/1.8-2.5|
|15.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor||10.1 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor|
|1080/30p Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO 100-25600||ISO 100-6400|
|Viewfinder optional||Viewfinder optional|
|3.0" LCD, 460k dots||3.0" LCD, 614k dots|
|Fixed touchscreen||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|8 shutter flaps per second||2 shutter flaps per second|
|In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|360 shots per battery charge||320 shots per battery charge|
|110 x 64 x 34 mm, 269 g||111 x 65 x 42 mm, 275 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus PEN E-PM2 and the Olympus XZ-1? 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-PM2 and the Olympus XZ-1. 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The E-PM2 can be obtained in four different colors (black, silver, red, white), while the XZ-1 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 Olympus XZ-1 is somewhat larger (2 percent) than the Olympus E-PM2. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-PM2 nor the XZ-1 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the XZ-1 has a lens built in, whereas the E-PM2 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-PM2 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
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-PM2»||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.3 in||9.5 oz||360||n||Sep 2012||499||Olympus E-PM2|
|Olympus XZ-1«||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||9.7 oz||320||n||Jan 2011||499||Olympus XZ-1|
|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-PL8« »||4.5 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||12.6 oz||350||n||Sep 2016||549||Olympus E-PL8|
|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-P5« »||4.8 in||2.7 in||1.5 in||14.8 oz||330||n||May 2013||999||Olympus E-P5|
|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 XZ-2« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.9 in||12.2 oz||340||n||Sep 2012||599||Olympus XZ-2|
|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-PM1« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.3 in||9.3 oz||330||n||Jun 2011||499||Olympus E-PM1|
|Olympus E-PL1« »||4.5 in||2.8 in||1.7 in||11.8 oz||290||n||Feb 2010||599||Olympus E-PL1|
|Panasonic GX850« »||4.2 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||9.5 oz||210||n||Jan 2017||549||Panasonic GX850|
|Panasonic LX5« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||9.6 oz||400||n||Jul 2010||499||Panasonic LX5|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. 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 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus E-PM2 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Olympus XZ-1 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the XZ-1 is 80 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 4.4. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
In terms of chip-set technology, the E-PM2 uses a more advanced image processing engine (TruePic VI) than the XZ-1 (TruePic V), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
With 15.9MP, the E-PM2 offers a higher resolution than the XZ-1 (10.1MP), but the E-PM2 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.76μm versus 2.13μm for the XZ-1) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the E-PM2 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 8 months) than the XZ-1, and its sensor might 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-PM2 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the E-PM2 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 Olympus XZ-1 are 18.3 x 13.8 inch or 46.5 x 35 cm for good quality, 14.7 x 11 inch or 37.2 x 28 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.2 inch or 31 x 23.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Olympus PEN E-PM2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus XZ-1 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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. Of the two cameras under review, the E-PM2 provides substantially higher image quality than the XZ-1, with an overall score that is 38 points higher. This advantage is based on 3.9 bits higher color depth, 1.8 EV in additional dynamic range, and 3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Olympus E-PM2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.2||932||72||Olympus E-PM2|
|Olympus XZ-1||1/1.7||10.1||3664||2752||720/30p||18.8||10.4||117||34||Olympus XZ-1|
|Olympus E-PL9||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-PL9|
|Olympus E-PL8||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-PL8|
|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-P5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.4||895||72||Olympus E-P5|
|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 XZ-2||1/1.7||11.8||3968||2976||1080/30p||20.4||11.3||216||49||Olympus XZ-2|
|Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52||Olympus E-PL3|
|Olympus E-PM1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||21.0||10.3||499||52||Olympus E-PM1|
|Olympus E-PL1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.1||487||54||Olympus E-PL1|
|Panasonic GX850||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||23.2||13.3||586||73||Panasonic GX850|
|Panasonic LX5||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||720/60p||19.6||10.8||132||41||Panasonic LX5|
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 E-PM2 provides a higher video resolution than the XZ-1. It can shoot video footage at 1080/30p, while the XZ-1 is limited to 720/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The E-PM2 and the XZ-1 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. However, optional viewfinders – the VF-4 for the E-PM2 and the VF-2 for the XZ-1 – are available as accessories. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Olympus E-PM2 and Olympus XZ-1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Olympus E-PM2||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y||Olympus E-PM2|
|Olympus XZ-1||optional||n||3.0||614||fixed||n||1/2000s||2.0||Y||Y||Olympus XZ-1|
|Olympus E-PL9||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6||Y||Y||Olympus E-PL9|
|Olympus E-PL8||none||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y||Olympus E-PL8|
|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-P5||optional||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/8000s||9.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-P5|
|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 XZ-2||optional||n||3.0||920||tilting||Y||1/2000s||5.0||Y||Y||Olympus XZ-2|
|Olympus E-PL3||optional||n||3.0||460||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||Y||Olympus E-PL3|
|Olympus E-PM1||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||Y||Olympus E-PM1|
|Olympus E-PL1||optional||n||2.7||230||fixed||n||1/2000s||3.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-PL1|
|Panasonic GX850||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/500s||10.0||Y||n||Panasonic GX850|
|Panasonic LX5||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||Y||Panasonic LX5|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The E-PM2 has a touchscreen, while the XZ-1 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The Olympus XZ-1 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-PM2 and the XZ-1 write their files to SDXC cards. The E-PM2 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the XZ-1 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-PM2 and Olympus XZ-1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Olympus E-PM2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PM2|
|Olympus XZ-1||Y||mono||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus XZ-1|
|Olympus E-PL9||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Olympus E-PL9|
|Olympus E-PL8||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-PL8|
|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-P5||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-P5|
|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 XZ-2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus XZ-2|
|Olympus E-PL3||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL3|
|Olympus E-PM1||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PM1|
|Olympus E-PL1||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL1|
|Panasonic GX850||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Panasonic GX850|
|Panasonic LX5||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic LX5|
Both the E-PM2 and the XZ-1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The XZ-1 was replaced by the Olympus XZ-2, while the E-PM2 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus website.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus E-PM2 and the Olympus XZ-1? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PM2:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (15.9 vs 10.1MP) with a 26% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (38 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (3.9 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.8 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (3 stops ISO advantage).
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (TruePic VI vs TruePic V).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/30p vs 720/30p).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (360 versus 320) on a single battery charge.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 8 months after the XZ-1).
Arguments in favor of the Olympus XZ-1:
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (614k vs 460k dots).
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the E-PM2 necessitates an extra lens.
- 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 January 2011).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-PM2 is the clear winner of the match-up (14 : 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 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-PM2 and the Olympus XZ-1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Travel-Zoom Camera listings 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the E-PM2 or the XZ-1. 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 adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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 were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, 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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 60D vs Olympus XZ-1
- Canon G5 X Mark II vs Olympus E-PM2
- Canon M6 Mark II vs Olympus XZ-1
- Leica D-LUX 5 vs Olympus XZ-1
- Leica M8 vs Olympus XZ-1
- Leica V-LUX 2 vs Olympus XZ-1
- Nikon D3400 vs Olympus E-PM2
- Nikon D3X vs Olympus XZ-1
- Olympus E-PM2 vs Olympus TG-5
- Olympus E-PM2 vs Sony A7R
- Olympus E-PM2 vs Sony A7R III
- Olympus XZ-1 vs Sony HX90V
Specifications: Olympus E-PM2 vs Olympus XZ-1
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-PM2||Olympus XZ-1|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||28-112mm f/1.8-2.5|
|Launch Date||September 2012||January 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 499||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-PM2||Olympus XZ-1|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||1/1.7" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||7.85 x 5.89 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||46.2365 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||9.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||10.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||3664 x 2752 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.76 μm||2.13 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.08 MP/cm2||21.81 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-25600 ISO||100-6400 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic VI||TruePic V|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||72||34|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.7||18.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.2||10.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||932||117|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-PM2||Olympus XZ-1|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||614k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-PM2||Olympus XZ-1|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||8 shutter flaps/s||2 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||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-PM2||Olympus XZ-1|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-PM2||Olympus XZ-1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||360 shots per charge||320 shots per charge|
110 x 64 x 34 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.3 in)
111 x 65 x 42 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||269 g (9.5 oz)||275 g (9.7 oz)|
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