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Olympus E-PM2 vs Panasonic GF7

The Olympus PEN E-PM2 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF7 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2012 and January 2015. Both the E-PM2 and the GF7 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 15.8 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Olympus E-PM2 versus Panasonic GF7
Olympus E-PM2 Panasonic GF7
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
15.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 15.8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-25,600 ISO 200-25,600
Viewfinder optional No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 460k dots 3.0 LCD, 1040k dots
Fixed touchscreen Tilting touchscreen
8 shutter flaps per second 5.8 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationLens stabilization only
360 shots per battery charge230 shots per battery charge
110 x 64 x 34 mm, 269 g 107 x 65 x 33 mm, 266 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus PEN E-PM2 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF7? 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

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-PM2 and the Panasonic GF7. 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 GF7 is available in two color-versions (black, pink).

Size Olympus E-PM2 vs Panasonic GF7
Compare E-PM2 versus GF7 top
Comparison E-PM2 or GF7 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GF7 is somewhat smaller (1 percent) than the Olympus E-PM2. Moreover, the GF7 is slightly lighter (1 percent) than the E-PM2. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-PM2 nor the GF7 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-PM2 gets 360 shots out of its BLS-5 battery, while the GF7 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.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Olympus E-PM2 110 mm 64 mm 34 mm 269 g 360 n Sep 2012 499i
 
Panasonic GF7 107 mm 65 mm 33 mm 266 g 230 n Jan 2015 499i
 
Canon M10 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 301 g 255 n Oct 2015 499i
 
Olympus E-M10 II 120 mm 83 mm 47 mm 390 g 320 n Aug 2015 649i
 
Olympus E-M10 119 mm 82 mm 46 mm 396 g 320 n Jan 2014 699i
 
Olympus E-PL7 115 mm 67 mm 38 mm 357 g 350 n Aug 2014 599i
 
Olympus E-M1 130 mm 94 mm 63 mm 497 g 350 Y Sep 2013 1,399i
 
Olympus E-P5 122 mm 69 mm 37 mm 420 g 330 n May 2013 999i
 
Olympus E-PL6 111 mm 64 mm 38 mm 325 g 360 n May 2013 599i
 
Olympus E-PL5 111 mm 64 mm 38 mm 325 g 360 n Sep 2012 599i
 
Olympus E-PL3 110 mm 64 mm 37 mm 313 g 300 n Jun 2011 599i
 
Olympus E-PM1 110 mm 64 mm 34 mm 265 g 330 n Jun 2011 499i
 
Panasonic GX800 107 mm 65 mm 33 mm 269 g 210 n Jan 2017 549 i
 
Panasonic G7 125 mm 86 mm 77 mm 410 g 350 n May 2015 649i
 
Panasonic G6 122 mm 85 mm 71 mm 390 g 340 n Apr 2013 599i
 
Panasonic GF6 111 mm 65 mm 38 mm 323 g 340 n Apr 2013 499i
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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. 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.

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies 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.

Olympus E-PM2 and Panasonic GF7 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the E-PM2 offers a slightly higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 15.8 MP of the GF7. This megapixels advantage translates into a 0.3 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the E-PM2 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 GF7). Moreover, it should be noted that the GF7 is much more recent (by 2 years and 4 months) than the E-PM2, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of individual pixels.

The Olympus PEN E-PM2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF7 are ISO 200 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.

E-PM2 versus GF7 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). 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
 
Olympus E-PM2 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.293272
 
Panasonic GF7 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p........
 
Canon M10 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365
 
Olympus E-M10 II Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273
 
Olympus E-M10 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472
 
Olympus E-PL7 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.487372
 
Olympus E-M1 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p23.012.775773
 
Olympus E-P5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.489572
 
Olympus E-PL6 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
 
Olympus E-PL5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388972
 
Olympus E-PL3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.910.349952
 
Olympus E-PM1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i21.010.349952
 
Panasonic GX800 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p23.213.358673
 
Panasonic G7 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p........
 
Panasonic G6 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961
 
Panasonic GF6 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the GF7 provides a faster frame rate than the E-PM2. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The E-PM2 and the GF7 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-PM2 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-4. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Olympus E-PM2 and Panasonic GF7 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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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
 
Olympus E-PM2optional n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y
 
Panasonic GF7none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/500s 5.8 Y n
 
Canon M10none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.6 Y n
 
Olympus E-M10 II2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-M101440 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-PL7optional n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y
 
Olympus E-M12360 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
 
Olympus E-P5optional n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-PL6optional n 3.0 460 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y
 
Olympus E-PL5optional n 3.0 460 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y
 
Olympus E-PL3optional n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 n Y
 
Olympus E-PM1optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 n Y
 
Panasonic GX800none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/500s 10.0 Y n
 
Panasonic G72360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y n
 
Panasonic G61440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y n
 
Panasonic GF6none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n

One feature that differentiates the E-PM2 and the GF7 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-PM2 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the GF7 offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.

The GF7 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the E-PM2 does not have a selfie-screen.

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, the GF7 is one of those camera that have an additional 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).

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the E-PM2 and the GF7 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.

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-PM2 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF7 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
 
Olympus E-PM2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic GF7-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon M10-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Olympus E-M10 IIYstereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Olympus E-M10Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Olympus E-PL7Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Olympus E-M1YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
 
Olympus E-P5Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Olympus E-PL6Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-PL5Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-PL3Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-PM1Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic GX800-stereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Panasonic G7YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
 
Panasonic G6YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Panasonic GF6-stereomono--mini2.0YY-

It is notable that the E-PM2 has a hotshoe, while the GF7 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

Both the E-PM2 and the GF7 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GF7 was replaced by the Panasonic GX850, 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 and Panasonic websites.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-PM2 or the Panasonic GF7 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Arguments in favor of the Olympus PEN E-PM2:

  • More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/500s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 5.8 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 built-in.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2012).

ilogo

Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF7:

  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 460k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 4 months of technical progress since the E-PM2 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GF7 emerges as the winner of the match-up (9 : 7 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-PM2 07:09 GF7

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-PM2 and the Panasonic GF7 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the E-PM2 and the GF7 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Olympus E-PM2..77/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
 
Panasonic GF7+..4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2015 499i
 
Canon M10......o4/5 Oct 2015 499i
 
Olympus E-M10 II+ +80/1005/55/55/5 Aug 2015 649i
 
Olympus E-M10..80/1005/54.5/55/5 Jan 2014 699i
 
Olympus E-PL7+..5/54.5/54/5 Aug 2014 599i
 
Olympus E-M1+ +84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 1,399i
 
Olympus E-P5+ +78/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2013 999i
 
Olympus E-PL6.......... May 2013 599i
 
Olympus E-PL5+ +..4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599i
 
Olympus E-PL3+ +72/1004.5/5..4/5 Jun 2011 599i
 
Olympus E-PM186/10071/1004.5/5..4.5/5 Jun 2011 499i
 
Panasonic GX800+76/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2017 549 i
 
Panasonic G7+ +80/1005/54.5/54.5/5 May 2015 649i
 
Panasonic G6+ +..5/5..4.5/5 Apr 2013 599i
 
Panasonic GF6+ +..4.5/5..4.5/5 Apr 2013 499i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Olympus E-PM2:
Check Ebay offers
Panasonic GF7:
Check Ebay offers

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.

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    Specifications: Olympus E-PM2 vs Panasonic GF7

    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-PM2 Panasonic GF7
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date September 2012 January 2015
    Launch Price USD 499 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Olympus E-PM2 Panasonic GF7
    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 15.8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 4592 x 3448 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.76 μm 3.77 μm
    Pixel Density 7.08 MP/cm2 7.04 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 25,600 ISO 200 - 25,600 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 25,600 ISO
    Image Processor TruePic VI Venus
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 72 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.7 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.2 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 932 ..
    Screen Specs Olympus E-PM2 Panasonic GF7
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 460k dots 1040k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Olympus E-PM2 Panasonic GF7
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/500s
    Continuous Shooting 8 shutter flaps/s 5.8 shutter flaps/s
    Electronic Shutterno E-Shutterup to 1/16000s
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationLens stabilization only
    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 UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Olympus E-PM2 Panasonic GF7
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication no NFC NFC built-in
    Body Specs Olympus E-PM2 Panasonic GF7
    Battery Type BLS-5 DMW-BLH7
    Battery Life (CIPA)360 shots per charge230 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 110 x 64 x 34 mm
    (4.3 x 2.5 x 1.3 in)
    107 x 65 x 33 mm
    (4.2 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
    Camera Weight 269 g (9.5 oz) 266 g (9.4 oz)

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