Panasonic G2 versus Olympus E-450
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 and the Olympus E-450 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in March 2010 and March 2009. The G2 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 G2 vs Olympus E-450
The physical size and weight of the Panasonic G2 and the Olympus E-450 are illustrated 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 G2 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).
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 G2. Moreover, the E-450 is slightly heavier (3 percent) than the G2. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G2 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 (G2) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-450). Mirrorless cameras, such as the Panasonic G2, 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.
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|
|Panasonic G2»||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||15.1 oz||360||n||Mar 2010||599||-|
|Olympus E-450«||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.5 oz||500||n||Mar 2009||499||-|
|Olympus E-620« »||5.1 in||3.7 in||2.4 in||18.4 oz||500||n||Feb 2009||699||-|
|Olympus E-600« »||5.1 in||3.7 in||2.4 in||18.9 oz||500||n||Aug 2009||449||-|
|Olympus E-420« »||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.5 oz||500||n||Mar 2008||599||-|
|Olympus E-520« »||5.4 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||18.9 oz||750||n||May 2008||699||-|
|Olympus E-410« »||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.3 oz||500||n||Mar 2007||699||-|
|Panasonic GF5« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||9.4 oz||360||n||Apr 2012||499||-|
|Panasonic GF3« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||9.3 oz||300||n||Jun 2011||549||-|
|Panasonic G3« »||4.5 in||3.3 in||1.9 in||11.9 oz||270||n||May 2011||599||-|
|Panasonic GF2« »||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.3 in||10.9 oz||300||n||Nov 2010||549||-|
|Panasonic GH2« »||4.9 in||3.5 in||3.0 in||15.6 oz||330||n||Sep 2010||1,499||-|
|Panasonic G10« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||13.7 oz||380||n||Mar 2010||499||-|
|Panasonic GF1« »||4.7 in||2.8 in||1.4 in||13.6 oz||380||n||Sep 2009||749||-|
|Panasonic GH1« »||4.9 in||3.5 in||1.8 in||13.6 oz||300||n||Mar 2009||1,499||-|
|Panasonic G1« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||1.8 in||12.7 oz||410||n||Sep 2008||599||-|
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 G2, 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 G2 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 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. 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.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the G2 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 G2 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). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the G2 is a somewhat more recent model (by 11 months) than the E-450, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Panasonic G2»||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|Olympus E-450«||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||21.5||10.5||512||56|
|Olympus E-620« »||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||-||21.3||10.3||536||55|
|Olympus E-600« »||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||-||21.5||10.3||541||55|
|Olympus E-420« »||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||21.5||10.4||527||56|
|Olympus E-520« »||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||21.4||10.4||548||55|
|Olympus E-410« »||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||21.1||10.0||494||51|
|Panasonic GF5« »||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.4||11.6||618||61|
|Panasonic GF3« »||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||20.6||10.0||458||49|
|Panasonic G3« »||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21.0||10.6||667||56|
|Panasonic GF2« »||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.2||10.3||506||54|
|Panasonic GH2« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||21.2||11.3||655||60|
|Panasonic G10« »||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|Panasonic GF1« »||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||513||54|
|Panasonic GH1« »||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/24p||21.6||11.6||772||64|
|Panasonic G1« »||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||-||21.1||10.3||463||53|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The G2 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the E-450 does not. The highest resolution format that the G2 can use is 720/30p.
Feature comparison: Panasonic G2 vs Olympus E-450
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the G2 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 G2 and Olympus E-450 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.
|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 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 GH2« »||1534||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||4000||3.0||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 G1« »||1440||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||4001||3.0||Y||n|
Both the G2 and the E-450 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G2 was replaced by the Panasonic G3, while the E-450 does not have a direct successor.
Review summary: Panasonic G2 vs Olympus E-450
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic G2 and the Olympus E-450? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (12 vs 10MP) with a 10% higher linear resolution.
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 720/30p movies.
- 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.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More compact: Is smaller (124x84mm vs 130x91mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 11 months after the E-450).
Advantages 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 2.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (500 versus 360) out of a single battery charge.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (17 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in March 2009).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G2 is the clear winner of the match-up (10 : 5 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.
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 G2 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.
|Panasonic G2»||-||72/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599||-|
|Olympus E-450«||-||-||4/5||-||4/5||Mar 2009||499||-|
|Olympus E-620« »||88/100||72/100||4.5/5||rev||5/5||Feb 2009||699||-|
|Olympus E-600« »||-||-||-||-||4.5/5||Aug 2009||449||-|
|Olympus E-420« »||85/100||HiRec||4/5||rev||4.5/5||Mar 2008||599||-|
|Olympus E-520« »||87/100||HiRec||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||May 2008||699||-|
|Olympus E-410« »||86/100||HiRec||4/5||rev||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699||-|
|Panasonic GF5« »||-||-||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||499||-|
|Panasonic GF3« »||82/100||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||549||-|
|Panasonic G3« »||HiRec||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||May 2011||599||-|
|Panasonic GF2« »||82/100||70/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2010||549||-|
|Panasonic GH2« »||HiRec||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2010||1,499||-|
|Panasonic G10« »||-||70/100||4/5||-||4/5||Mar 2010||499||-|
|Panasonic GF1« »||85/100||69/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||749||-|
|Panasonic GH1« »||HiRec||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||1,499||-|
|Panasonic G1« »||HiRec||70/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2008||599||-|
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. 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, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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