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Panasonic G2 versus Olympus E-620

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 and the Olympus E-620 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in March 2010 and February 2009. The G2 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the E-620 is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 12 megapixel, whereas the Olympus provides 12.2 MP.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Panasonic G2 and the Olympus E-620. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button 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).

Panasonic G2 vs Olympus E-620 front
G2 versus E-620 top view
G2 and E-620 rear side
Body view (G2 on the left)

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-620 is notably larger (17 percent) than the Panasonic G2. Moreover, the E-620 is markedly heavier (22 percent) than the G2. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G2 nor the E-620 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-620). 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.

Concerning battery life, the G2 gets 360 shots out of its DMW-BLB13 battery, while the E-620 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 comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
Camera Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Panasonic G2 (⇒ rgt) 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 428 g 360 no 2010 599discont. check
Olympus E-620 (⇒ lft) 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 521 g 500 no 2009 699discont. check
Olympus E-450 (⇒ lft | rgt) 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 no 2009 499discont. check
Olympus E-600 (⇒ lft | rgt) 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 535 g 500 no 2009 449discont. check
Olympus E-420 (⇒ lft | rgt) 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 no 2008 599discont. check
Olympus E-520 (⇒ lft | rgt) 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 535 g 750 no 2008 699discont. check
Olympus E-30 (⇒ lft | rgt) 142 mm 108 mm 75 mm 701 g 750 no 2008 1,299discont. check
Olympus E-510 (⇒ lft | rgt) 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 538 g 750 no 2007 799discont. check
Panasonic GF5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 108 mm 67 mm 37 mm 267 g 360 no 2012 499discont. check
Panasonic GF3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 108 mm 67 mm 32 mm 264 g 300 no 2011 549discont. check
Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 115 mm 84 mm 47 mm 336 g 270 no 2011 599discont. check
Panasonic GF2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 113 mm 68 mm 33 mm 310 g 300 no 2010 549discont. check
Panasonic GH2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 124 mm 90 mm 76 mm 442 g 330 no 2010 1,499discont. check
Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 no 2010 499discont. check
Panasonic GF1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 119 mm 71 mm 36 mm 385 g 380 no 2009 749discont. check
Panasonic GH1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 124 mm 90 mm 45 mm 385 g 300 no 2009 1,499discont. check
Panasonic G1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 124 mm 84 mm 45 mm 360 g 410 no 2008 599discont. check

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The G2 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 14 percent) than the E-620, 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

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

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 G2 and Olympus E-620 sensor measures
Sensor size

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the E-620 offers a slightly higher resolution of 12.2 megapixel, compared with 12 MP of the G2. This megapixel advantage translates into a 0.8 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the E-620 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.29μm versus 4.33μm for the G2). Moreover, it should be noted, that the G2 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year) than the E-620, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of individual pixels.

G2 versus E-620 MP
Sensor resolution

For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Panasonic G2 (⇒ rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 720/30p 21.2 10.3 493 53
Olympus E-620 (⇒ lft) Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024 no 21.3 10.3 536 55
Olympus E-450 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736 no 21.5 10.5 512 56
Olympus E-600 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024 no 21.5 10.3 541 55
Olympus E-420 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736 no 21.5 10.4 527 56
Olympus E-520 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736 no 21.4 10.4 548 55
Olympus E-30 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024 no 21.3 10.4 530 55
Olympus E-510 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736 no 21.2 10.0 442 52
Panasonic GF5 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 1080/60i 21.4 11.6 618 61
Panasonic GF3 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 1080/60i 20.6 10 458 49
Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 1080/60i 21 10.6 667 56
Panasonic GF2 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 1080/60i 21.2 10.3 506 54
Panasonic GH2 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/60i 21.2 11.3 655 60
Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 720/30p 21.2 10.1 411 52
Panasonic GF1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 720/30p 21.2 10.3 513 54
Panasonic GH1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 1080/24p 21.6 11.6 772 64
Panasonic G1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 no 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-620 does not. The highest resolution format that the G2 can use is 720/30p.

Feature comparison

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-620 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic G2 and Olympus E-620 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Panasonic G2 (⇒ rgt) 1440 no 3.0 460 swivel YES 4000 2.6 11 no
Olympus E-620 (⇒ lft) optical no 2.7 230 swivel no 4000 4.0 12 YES
Olympus E-450 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 2.7 215 fixed no 4000 3.5 12 no
Olympus E-600 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 2.7 230 swivel no 4000 4.0 12 YES
Olympus E-420 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 2.7 215 fixed no 4000 3.5 12 no
Olympus E-520 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 2.7 215 fixed no 4000 3.5 12 YES
Olympus E-30 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 2.7 230 swivel no 8000 5.0 13 YES
Olympus E-510 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 2.5 215 fixed no 4000 3.0 12 YES
Panasonic GF5 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 920 fixed YES 4000 4.0 6.3 no
Panasonic GF3 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 460 fixed YES 4000 3.2 6.3 no
Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 460 swivel YES 4000 4.0 11 no
Panasonic GF2 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 460 fixed YES 4000 2.6 6.0 no
Panasonic GH2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1534 no 3.0 460 swivel no 4000 3.0 15.6 no
Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 202 no 3.0 460 fixed no 4000 2.6 11 no
Panasonic GF1 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 460 fixed no 4000 3.0 6.0 no
Panasonic GH1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 460 swivel no 4000 3.0 10.5 no
Panasonic G1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 460 swivel no 4001 3.0 10.5 no

Both the G2 and the E-620 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The E-620 was replaced by the Olympus E-600, while the G2 was followed by the Panasonic G3.

Summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic G2 or the Olympus E-620 – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


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Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2:

  • 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 230k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • More compact: Is smaller (124x84mm vs 130x94mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 93g 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 affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (14 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year after the E-620).

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Reasons to prefer the Olympus E-620:

  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 2.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (500 versus 360) out of a single battery charge.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2009).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the G2 is the clear winner of the match-up (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.

G2 10:05 E-620

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the G2 or the E-620 handle or perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites. You can find the full text of the reviews, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
dp
review
ephoto
zine
imaging
resource
photography
blog
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Panasonic G2 (⇒ rgt) - 72/100 Silver 4/5 4/5 4.5/5 2010 599discont. check
Olympus E-620 (⇒ lft) 88/100 72/100 HiRec 4.5/5 reviewed 5/5 2009 699discont. check
Olympus E-450 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4/5 - 4/5 2009 499discont. check
Olympus E-600 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - - - 4.5/5 2009 449discont. check
Olympus E-420 (⇒ lft | rgt) 85/100 HiRec 4/5 reviewed 4.5/5 2008 599discont. check
Olympus E-520 (⇒ lft | rgt) 87/100 HiRec 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2008 699discont. check
Olympus E-30 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 71/100 HiRec 4.5/5 - 4/5 2008 1,299discont. check
Olympus E-510 (⇒ lft | rgt) 89/100 HiRec 3.5/5 reviewed 4.5/5 2007 799discont. check
Panasonic GF5 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2012 499discont. check
Panasonic GF3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 82/100 71/100 4.5/5 4.5/5 4/5 2011 549discont. check
Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 88/100 HiRec 75/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2011 599discont. check
Panasonic GF2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 82/100 70/100 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2010 549discont. check
Panasonic GH2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 86/100 HiRec 79/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2010 1,499discont. check
Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 70/100 4/5 - 4/5 2010 499discont. check
Panasonic GF1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 85/100 69/100 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2009 749discont. check
Panasonic GH1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 89/100 HiRec 72/100 HiRec 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2009 1,499discont. check
Panasonic G1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 88/100 HiRec 70/100 HiRec 4/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2008 599discont. check

The review scores listed above should be treated 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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.

Other comparisons

In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu 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, please contact me, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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