Olympus E-PM2 vs YI M1
The Olympus PEN E-PM2 and the YI M1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2012 and September 2016. Both the E-PM2 and the M1 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the YI provides 20.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus PEN E-PM2 and the YI M1? 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 YI M1. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The E-PM2 can be obtained in four different colors (black, silver, red, white), while the M1 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 YI M1 is somewhat larger (4 percent) than the Olympus E-PM2. Moreover, the M1 is slightly heavier (4 percent) than the E-PM2. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-PM2 nor the M1 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.
The power pack in the M1 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
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, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Olympus E-PM2||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||269 g||360||n||Sep 2012||499|
|2.||YI M1||114 mm||64 mm||34 mm||281 g||450||n||Sep 2016||349|
|3.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|4.||Canon SX420||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||195||n||Jan 2016||299|
|5.||Canon SX710||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||230||n||Jan 2015||349|
|6.||Fujifilm X-A3||117 mm||67 mm||40 mm||339 g||410||n||Aug 2016||399|
|7.||Nikon 1 J5||98 mm||60 mm||32 mm||231 g||250||n||Apr 2015||399|
|8.||Olympus E-M10 II||120 mm||83 mm||47 mm||390 g||320||n||Aug 2015||649|
|9.||Olympus E-M10||119 mm||82 mm||46 mm||396 g||320||n||Jan 2014||699|
|10.||Olympus E-PL7||115 mm||67 mm||38 mm||357 g||350||n||Aug 2014||599|
|11.||Olympus E-M1||130 mm||94 mm||63 mm||497 g||350||Y||Sep 2013||1,399|
|12.||Olympus E-P5||122 mm||69 mm||37 mm||420 g||330||n||May 2013||999|
|13.||Olympus E-PL6||111 mm||64 mm||38 mm||325 g||360||n||May 2013||599|
|14.||Olympus E-PL5||111 mm||64 mm||38 mm||325 g||360||n||Sep 2012||599|
|15.||Olympus E-PL3||110 mm||64 mm||37 mm||313 g||300||n||Jun 2011||599|
|16.||Olympus E-PM1||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||265 g||330||n||Jun 2011||499|
|17.||Panasonic G6||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The M1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 30 percent) than the E-PM2, which puts it into a different 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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.
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.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the M1 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 15.9 MP of the E-PM2. This megapixels advantage translates into a 13 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the M1 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.34μm versus 3.76μm for the E-PM2). However, it should be noted that the M1 is much more recent (by 4 years) than the E-PM2, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.
The resolution advantage of the YI M1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M1 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-PM2 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-PM2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. The YI M1 offers exactly the same ISO settings.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|1.||Olympus E-PM2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.2||932||72|
|2.||YI M1||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|7.||Nikon 1 J5||1-inch||20.7||5568||3712||4K/15p||21.1||12.0||479||65|
|8.||Olympus E-M10 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73|
|9.||Olympus E-M10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||884||72|
|10.||Olympus E-PL7||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.4||873||72|
|11.||Olympus E-M1||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||23.0||12.7||757||73|
|12.||Olympus E-P5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.4||895||72|
|13.||Olympus E-PL6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|14.||Olympus E-PL5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||889||72|
|15.||Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52|
|16.||Olympus E-PM1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||21.0||10.3||499||52|
|17.||Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
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, but the M1 provides a better video resolution than the E-PM2. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The E-PM2 and the M1 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 YI M1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Olympus E-PM2||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y|
|2.||YI M1||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0||n||n|
|3.||Canon SX730||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon SX420||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon SX710||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||6.0||Y||Y|
|6.||Fujifilm X-A3||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|7.||Nikon 1 J5||none||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|8.||Olympus E-M10 II||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|9.||Olympus E-M10||1440||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|10.||Olympus E-PL7||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y|
|11.||Olympus E-M1||2360||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|12.||Olympus E-P5||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/8000s||9.0||Y||Y|
|13.||Olympus E-PL6||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y|
|14.||Olympus E-PL5||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y|
|15.||Olympus E-PL3||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||Y|
|16.||Olympus E-PM1||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||Y|
|17.||Panasonic G6||1440||n||3.0 / 1036||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n|
One feature that differentiates the E-PM2 and the M1 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-PM2 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the M1 offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.
The YI M1 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 M1 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 M1 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 YI M1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Olympus E-PM2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||YI M1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|3.||Canon SX730||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon SX420||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon SX710||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Fujifilm X-A3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Nikon 1 J5||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Olympus E-M10 II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|9.||Olympus E-M10||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|10.||Olympus E-PL7||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|11.||Olympus E-M1||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|12.||Olympus E-P5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|13.||Olympus E-PL6||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Olympus E-PL5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Olympus E-PL3||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Olympus E-PM1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Panasonic G6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the M1 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the E-PM2 does not provide wifi capability.
The M1 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of YI. In contrast, the E-PM2 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the E-PM2 from Olympus. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus and YI websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Olympus E-PM2 better than the YI M1 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PM2:
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2012).
Arguments in favor of the YI M1:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20.2 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 13%.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 460k dots).
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (450 versus 360) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (30 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 4 years of technical progress since the E-PM2 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M1 is the clear winner of the contest (10 : 5 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 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-PM2 and the YI M1 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 comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the E-PM2 and the M1 in practical situations. 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Olympus E-PM2||3/5||..||..||77/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|2.||YI M1||..||..||..||69/100||..||..||Sep 2016||349|
|3.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|4.||Canon SX420||..||..||..||..||..||3/5||Jan 2016||299|
|5.||Canon SX710||..||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349|
|6.||Fujifilm X-A3||..||..||..||74/100||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2016||399|
|7.||Nikon 1 J5||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||399|
|8.||Olympus E-M10 II||4.5/5||+ +||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Aug 2015||649|
|9.||Olympus E-M10||4/5||..||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Jan 2014||699|
|10.||Olympus E-PL7||4/5||+||..||..||5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||599|
|11.||Olympus E-M1||5/5||+ +||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||1,399|
|12.||Olympus E-P5||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2013||999|
|13.||Olympus E-PL6||..||..||..||..||..||..||May 2013||599|
|14.||Olympus E-PL5||3/5||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599|
|15.||Olympus E-PL3||3/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|16.||Olympus E-PM1||..||86/100||..||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||499|
|17.||Panasonic G6||4/5||+ +||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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 would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Olympus E-PM2 vs YI M1
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||YI M1|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2012||September 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 499||USD 349|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-PM2||YI M1|
|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|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||20.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||5184 x 3888 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.76 μm||3.34 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.08 MP/cm2||8.96 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|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||YI M1|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||no viewfinder|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-PM2||YI M1|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||8 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens stabilization only|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board 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||YI M1|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-PM2||YI M1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||360 shots per charge||450 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
110 x 64 x 34 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.3 in)
114 x 64 x 34 mm
(4.5 x 2.5 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||269 g (9.5 oz)||281 g (9.9 oz)|
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