Olympus XZ-1 vs Sony A5000
The Olympus XZ-1 and the Sony Alpha A5000 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2011 and January 2014. The XZ-1 is a fixed lens compact, while the A5000 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (XZ-1) and an APS-C (A5000) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 10.1 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 19.8 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 XZ-1 and the Sony Alpha A5000? 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 XZ-1 and the Sony A5000 is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 XZ-1 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the A5000 is available in three color-versions (black, silver, white).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A5000 is somewhat smaller (4 percent) than the Olympus XZ-1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the XZ-1 nor the A5000 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 A5000 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 A5000 and their specifications in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog.
The power pack in the A5000 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, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Olympus XZ-1||111 mm||65 mm||42 mm||275 g||320||n||Jan 2011||499||ebay.com|
|2.||Sony A5000||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||269 g||420||n||Jan 2014||449||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon M10||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||301 g||255||n||Oct 2015||499||ebay.com|
|4.||Olympus TG-5||113 mm||66 mm||32 mm||250 g||340||Y||May 2017||449||ebay.com|
|5.||Olympus E-PM2||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||269 g||360||n||Sep 2012||499||ebay.com|
|6.||Olympus XZ-2||113 mm||65 mm||48 mm||346 g||340||n||Sep 2012||599||ebay.com|
|7.||Olympus E-PL3||110 mm||64 mm||37 mm||313 g||300||n||Jun 2011||599||ebay.com|
|8.||Olympus E-PM1||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||265 g||330||n||Jun 2011||499||ebay.com|
|9.||Olympus E-PL1||115 mm||72 mm||42 mm||334 g||290||n||Feb 2010||599||ebay.com|
|10.||Panasonic FZ200||125 mm||87 mm||110 mm||588 g||540||n||Jul 2012||599||ebay.com|
|11.||Panasonic LX7||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||499||ebay.com|
|12.||Panasonic FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||499||ebay.com|
|13.||Panasonic LX5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Jul 2010||499||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999||ebay.com|
|15.||Sony A5100||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||283 g||400||n||Aug 2014||549||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony NEX-3N||110 mm||62 mm||35 mm||269 g||480||n||Feb 2013||499||ebay.com|
|Note: 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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus XZ-1 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Sony A5000 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the A5000 is 676 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.4 and 1.5. The sensor in the XZ-1 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the A5000 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 19.8MP, the A5000 offers a higher resolution than the XZ-1 (10.1MP), but the A5000 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.25μm versus 2.13μm for the XZ-1) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the A5000 is a much more recent model (by 3 years) than the XZ-1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A5000 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A5000 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.3 x 18.2 inches or 69.3 x 46.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.8 x 14.5 inches or 55.4 x 36.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.1 inches or 46.2 x 30.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus XZ-1 are 18.3 x 13.8 inches or 46.5 x 35 cm for good quality, 14.7 x 11 inches or 37.2 x 28 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.2 inches or 31 x 23.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Olympus XZ-1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A5000 are ISO 100 to ISO 16000 (no boost).
In terms of underlying technology, the XZ-1 is build around a CCD sensor, while the A5000 uses a CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the A5000 offers substantially better image quality than the XZ-1 (overall score 45 points higher). The advantage is based on 5 bits higher color depth, 2.6 EV in additional dynamic range, and 3.2 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.
|5.||Olympus E-PM2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.2||932||72|
|7.||Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52|
|8.||Olympus E-PM1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||21.0||10.3||499||52|
|9.||Olympus E-PL1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.1||487||54|
|14.||Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
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 A5000 provides a better video resolution than the XZ-1. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Olympus is limited to 720/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The XZ-1 and the A5000 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 XZ-1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-2. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Olympus XZ-1 and Sony A5000 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Olympus XZ-1||optional||n||3.0 / 614||fixed||n||1/2000s||2.0/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Sony A5000||none||n||3.0 / 461||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon M10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.6/s||Y||n|
|4.||Olympus TG-5||none||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/2000s||20.0/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Olympus E-PM2||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||n||Y|
|6.||Olympus XZ-2||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||Y||1/2000s||5.0/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Olympus E-PL3||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5/s||n||Y|
|8.||Olympus E-PM1||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5/s||n||Y|
|9.||Olympus E-PL1||optional||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||3.0/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Panasonic FZ200||1312||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Panasonic LX7||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Panasonic FZ150||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|13.||Panasonic LX5||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0 / 1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony A5100||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|16.||Sony A6000||1440||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0/s||Y||n|
|17.||Sony NEX-3N||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
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.
The XZ-1 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A5000 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A5000 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 XZ-1 and Sony Alpha A5000 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Olympus XZ-1||Y||mono / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Sony A5000||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon M10||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Olympus TG-5||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|5.||Olympus E-PM2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Olympus XZ-2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Olympus E-PL3||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Olympus E-PM1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Olympus E-PL1||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Panasonic FZ200||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Panasonic LX7||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Panasonic FZ150||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Panasonic LX5||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Sony A5100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony A6000||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony NEX-3N||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the XZ-1 has a hotshoe, while the A5000 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Both the XZ-1 and the A5000 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The XZ-1 was replaced by the Olympus XZ-2, while the A5000 was followed by the Sony A5100. Further information on the features and operation of the XZ-1 and A5000 can be found, respectively, in the Olympus XZ-1 Manual (free pdf) or the online Sony A5000 Manual.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus XZ-1 and the Sony A5000? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Olympus XZ-1:
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (614k vs 461k dots).
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the A5000 requires a separate lens.
- 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 January 2011).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A5000:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (19.8 vs 10.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 43%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (45 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (5 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.6 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (3.2 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60i vs 720/30p).
- 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.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.5 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (420 versus 320) 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 device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 3 years of technical progress since the XZ-1 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A5000 is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 7 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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 XZ-1 and the Sony A5000 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the XZ-1 or the A5000 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 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 XZ-1||4/5||..||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||499||ebay.com|
|2.||Sony A5000||3/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||449||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon M10||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Oct 2015||499||ebay.com|
|4.||Olympus TG-5||..||+ +||4.5/5||..||4/5||4/5||May 2017||449||ebay.com|
|5.||Olympus E-PM2||3/5||..||..||77/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499||ebay.com|
|6.||Olympus XZ-2||4/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599||ebay.com|
|7.||Olympus E-PL3||3/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599||ebay.com|
|8.||Olympus E-PM1||..||86/100||..||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||499||ebay.com|
|9.||Olympus E-PL1||..||86/100||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||599||ebay.com|
|10.||Panasonic FZ200||3/5||+ +||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||599||ebay.com|
|11.||Panasonic LX7||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499||ebay.com|
|12.||Panasonic FZ150||3/5||+ +||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499||ebay.com|
|13.||Panasonic LX5||4/5||+||..||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony RX100 IV||4.5/5||+ +||..||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999||ebay.com|
|15.||Sony A5100||4.5/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2014||549||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony A6000||5/5||+||4.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony NEX-3N||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 10D vs Olympus XZ-1
- Canon 50D vs Sony A5000
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Sony A5000
- Canon G1 X vs Olympus XZ-1
- Canon T5i vs Sony A5000
- Fujifilm X-E1 vs Sony A5000
- Leica M Typ 240 vs Olympus XZ-1
- Leica Q Typ 116 vs Sony A5000
- Leica X-U Typ 113 vs Sony A5000
- Nikon D4S vs Olympus XZ-1
- Nikon D5300 vs Olympus XZ-1
- Olympus XZ-1 vs Sony RX10 II
Specifications: Olympus XZ-1 vs Sony A5000
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 XZ-1||Sony A5000|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||28-112mm f/1.8-2.5||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2011||January 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 499||USD 449|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus XZ-1||Sony A5000|
|Sensor Format||1/1.7" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||7.85 x 5.89 mm||23.2 x 15.4 mm|
|Sensor Area||46.2365 mm2||357.28 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||9.8 mm||27.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10.1 Megapixels||19.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3664 x 2752 pixels||5456 x 3632 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.13 μm||4.25 μm|
|Pixel Density||21.81 MP/cm2||5.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||720/30p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 16,000 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic V||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||34||79|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||18.8||23.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.4||13.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||117||1089|
|Screen Specs||Olympus XZ-1||Sony A5000|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||no viewfinder|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||614k dots||461k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus XZ-1||Sony A5000|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||2 shutter flaps/s||3.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens stabilization only|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus XZ-1||Sony A5000|
|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 XZ-1||Sony A5000|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||320 shots per charge||420 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
111 x 65 x 42 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
110 x 63 x 36 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||275 g (9.7 oz)||269 g (9.5 oz)|
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