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Panasonic G1 versus Olympus E-450

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 and the Olympus E-450 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2008 and March 2009. The G1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the E-450 is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 12 megapixel, whereas the Olympus provides 10 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Panasonic G1 vs Olympus E-450

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic G1 and the Olympus E-450 is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the G1 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Panasonic G1 vs Olympus E-450
Compare G1 versus E-450 top
Compare G1 and E-450 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-450 is notably larger (14 percent) than the Panasonic G1. Moreover, the E-450 is markedly heavier (22 percent) than the G1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G1 nor the E-450 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. Both cameras have similarly sized sensors, but DSLRs have a larger flange-to-focal plane distance than mirrorless cameras, which imposes contraints on the optical engineering process and generally leads to bigger and heavier lenses. You can find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (G1) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-450). Mirrorless cameras, such as the Panasonic G1, have moreover the advantage that they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance and can thus use many lenses from other systems via adapters.

Concerning battery life, the G1 gets 410 shots out of its DMW-BLB13 battery, while the E-450 can take 500 images on a single charge of its BLS-1 power pack.

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.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Panasonic G1» 4.9 in 3.3 in 1.8 in 12.7 oz 410 n Sep 2008 599- i
Olympus E-450« 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.5 oz 500 n Mar 2009 499- i
Olympus E-620« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.4 in 18.4 oz 500 n Feb 2009 699- i
Olympus E-600« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.4 in 18.9 oz 500 n Aug 2009 449- i
Olympus E-420« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.5 oz 500 n Mar 2008 599- i
Olympus E-520« » 5.4 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 18.9 oz 750 n May 2008 699- i
Olympus E-410« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.3 oz 500 n Mar 2007 699- i
Panasonic GF6« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.4 oz 340 n Apr 2013 499- i
Panasonic GF5« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 9.4 oz 360 n Apr 2012 499- i
Panasonic GF3« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.3 oz 300 n Jun 2011 549- i
Panasonic G3« » 4.5 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 11.9 oz 270 n May 2011 599- i
Panasonic GF2« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 10.9 oz 300 n Nov 2010 549- i
Panasonic G2« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 15.1 oz 360 n Mar 2010 599- i
Panasonic G10« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 13.7 oz 380 n Mar 2010 499- i
Panasonic GF1« » 4.7 in 2.8 in 1.4 in 13.6 oz 380 n Sep 2009 749- i
Panasonic GH1« » 4.9 in 3.5 in 1.8 in 13.6 oz 300 n Mar 2009 1,499- i
Panasonic L10« » 5.3 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 450 n Aug 2007 599- i

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 E-450 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 17 percent) than the G1, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Panasonic G1 vs Olympus E-450

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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.

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.

Panasonic G1 and Olympus E-450 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the G1 offers a higher resolution of 12 megapixel, compared with 10 MP of the E-450. This megapixel advantage translates into a 10 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the G1 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.33μm versus 4.74μm for the E-450). Moreover, it should be noted that the E-450 is a somewhat more recent model (by 6 months) than the G1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of individual pixels.

G1 versus E-450 MP

For most 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. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Panasonic G1» Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000-21.110.346353
Olympus E-450« Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.510.551256
Olympus E-620« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.310.353655
Olympus E-600« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.510.354155
Olympus E-420« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.510.452756
Olympus E-520« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.410.454855
Olympus E-410« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.110.049451
Panasonic GF6« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254
Panasonic GF5« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.411.661861
Panasonic GF3« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.610.045849
Panasonic G3« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756
Panasonic GF2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.210.350654
Panasonic G2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353
Panasonic G10« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
Panasonic GF1« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.351354
Panasonic GH1« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/24p21.611.677264
Panasonic L10« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.310.842955
Both the G1 and the E-450 offer Live View, so that they make it possible to use the rear screen for framing. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison: Panasonic G1 vs Olympus E-450

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the G1 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), while the E-450 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Panasonic G1 and Olympus E-450 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Panasonic G1»1440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4001 3.0 Y n
Olympus E-450«optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y n
Olympus E-620« »optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 4000 4.0 Y Y
Olympus E-600« »optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 4000 4.0 Y Y
Olympus E-420« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y n
Olympus E-520« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y Y
Olympus E-410« »optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n
Panasonic GF6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n
Panasonic GF5« »- n 3.0 920 fixed Y 4000 4.0 Y n
Panasonic GF3« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 4000 3.2 Y n
Panasonic G3« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 4.0 Y n
Panasonic GF2« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 4000 2.6 Y n
Panasonic G2« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 2.6 Y n
Panasonic G10« »202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 2.6 Y n
Panasonic GF1« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n
Panasonic GH1« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4000 3.0 Y n
Panasonic L10« »optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 4000 3.0 Y n

Both the G1 and the E-450 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G1 was replaced by the Panasonic G2, while the E-450 does not have a direct successor.

Review summary: Panasonic G1 vs Olympus E-450

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic G1 or the Olympus E-450 – has the upper hand? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (12 vs 10MP) with a 10% higher linear resolution.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 215k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4001/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • More compact: Is smaller (124x84mm vs 130x91mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 80g or 18 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2008).

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Arguments in favor of the Olympus E-450:

  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (500 versus 410) out of a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (17 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (6 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the G1 is the clear winner of the match-up (10 : 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.

G1 10:05 E-450

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the G1 or the E-450 handle or 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 why expert reviews are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Panasonic G1»HiRec70/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2008 599- i
Olympus E-450«--4/5-4/5 Mar 2009 499- i
Olympus E-620« »88/10072/1004.5/5rev5/5 Feb 2009 699- i
Olympus E-600« »----4.5/5 Aug 2009 449- i
Olympus E-420« »85/100HiRec4/5rev4.5/5 Mar 2008 599- i
Olympus E-520« »87/100HiRec4.5/54/54.5/5 May 2008 699- i
Olympus E-410« »86/100HiRec4/5rev4.5/5 Mar 2007 699- i
Panasonic GF6« »HiRec-4.5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 499- i
Panasonic GF5« »--4.5/54/54.5/5 Apr 2012 499- i
Panasonic GF3« »82/10071/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Jun 2011 549- i
Panasonic G3« »HiRec75/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2011 599- i
Panasonic GF2« »82/10070/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2010 549- i
Panasonic G2« »-72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599- i
Panasonic G10« »-70/1004/5-4/5 Mar 2010 499- i
Panasonic GF1« »85/10069/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2009 749- i
Panasonic GH1« »HiRec72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 1,499- i
Panasonic L10« »85/100Rec3.5/5rev4/5 Aug 2007 599- i

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, kindly get in touch, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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