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Panasonic G5 versus Olympus E-P1

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 and the Olympus PEN E-P1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in July 2012 and June 2009. Both the G5 and the E-P1 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 15.9 megapixel, whereas the Olympus provides 12.2 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 G5 vs Olympus E-P1

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Panasonic G5 and the Olympus E-P1. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures 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 G5 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Panasonic G5 vs Olympus E-P1
Compare G5 versus E-P1 top
Compare G5 and E-P1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-P1 is notably smaller (15 percent) than the Panasonic G5. Moreover, the E-P1 is markedly lighter (10 percent) than the G5. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G5 nor the E-P1 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 find an overview of suitable optics 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.

Concerning battery life, the G5 gets 320 shots out of its DMW-BLC12 battery, while the E-P1 can take 300 images on a single charge of its BLS-1 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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)
Camera
Model
Panasonic G5» 4.7 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jul 2012 599- i Panasonic G5
Olympus E-P1« 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.4 in 12.5 oz 300 n Jun 2009 799- i Olympus E-P1
Olympus E-PL6« » 4.4 in 2.5 in 1.5 in 11.5 oz 360 n May 2013 599- i Olympus E-PL6
Olympus E-PL5« » 4.4 in 2.5 in 1.5 in 11.5 oz 360 n Sep 2012 599- i Olympus E-PL5
Olympus E-P3« » 4.8 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.0 oz 330 n Jun 2011 799- i Olympus E-P3
Olympus E-PL1« » 4.5 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 11.8 oz 290 n Feb 2010 599- i Olympus E-PL1
Olympus E-620« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.4 in 18.4 oz 500 n Feb 2009 699- i Olympus E-620
Olympus E-P2« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.4 in 12.5 oz 300 n Nov 2009 799- i Olympus E-P2
Olympus E-520« » 5.4 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 18.9 oz 750 n May 2008 699- i Olympus E-520
Panasonic G7« » 4.9 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 14.5 oz 350 n May 2015 649- i Panasonic G7
Panasonic G6« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 n Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6
Panasonic GF6« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.4 oz 340 n Apr 2013 499- i Panasonic GF6
Panasonic GF5« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 9.4 oz 360 n Apr 2012 499- i Panasonic GF5
Panasonic G3« » 4.5 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 11.9 oz 270 n May 2011 599- i Panasonic G3
Panasonic GF3« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.3 oz 300 n Jun 2011 549- i Panasonic GF3
Panasonic GX1« » 4.6 in 2.7 in 1.5 in 11.2 oz 320 n Nov 2011 949- i Panasonic GX1
Panasonic G10« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 13.7 oz 380 n Mar 2010 499- i Panasonic G10

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 G5 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 25 percent) than the E-P1, 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 G5 vs Olympus E-P1

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.

Panasonic G5 and Olympus E-P1 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the G5 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixel, compared with 12.2 MP of the E-P1. This megapixel advantage translates into a 14 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the G5 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.76μm versus 4.29μm for the E-P1). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the G5 is much more recent (by 3 years and 1 month) than the E-P1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.

G5 versus E-P1 MP

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 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
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Panasonic G5» Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p----Panasonic G5
Olympus E-P1« Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.453655Olympus E-P1
Olympus E-PL6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p----Olympus E-PL6
Olympus E-PL5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388972Olympus E-PL5
Olympus E-P3« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.810.153651Olympus E-P3
Olympus E-PL1« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.148754Olympus E-PL1
Olympus E-620« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.310.353655Olympus E-620
Olympus E-P2« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.450556Olympus E-P2
Olympus E-520« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.410.454855Olympus E-520
Panasonic G7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p----Panasonic G7
Panasonic G6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961Panasonic G6
Panasonic GF6« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254Panasonic GF6
Panasonic GF5« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.411.661861Panasonic GF5
Panasonic G3« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756Panasonic G3
Panasonic GF3« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.610.045849Panasonic GF3
Panasonic GX1« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p20.810.670355Panasonic GX1
Panasonic G10« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152Panasonic G10

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the G5 provides a higher video resolution than the E-P1. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Olympus is limited to 720/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Panasonic G5 vs Olympus E-P1

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the G5 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-P1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic G5 and Olympus E-P1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
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
Camera
Model
Panasonic G5»1440 n 3.0 920 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n Panasonic G5
Olympus E-P1«- n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 n Y Olympus E-P1
Olympus E-PL6« »- n 3.0 460 tilting Y 4000 8.0 n Y Olympus E-PL6
Olympus E-PL5« »- n 3.0 460 tilting Y 4000 8.0 n Y Olympus E-PL5
Olympus E-P3« »- n 3.0 614 fixed Y 4000 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-P3
Olympus E-PL1« »- n 2.7 230 fixed n 2000 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-PL1
Olympus E-620« »optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 4000 4.0 Y Y Olympus E-620
Olympus E-P2« »- n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 n Y Olympus E-P2
Olympus E-520« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y Y Olympus E-520
Panasonic G7« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n Panasonic G7
Panasonic G6« »1440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n Panasonic G6
Panasonic GF6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n Panasonic GF6
Panasonic GF5« »- n 3.0 920 fixed Y 4000 4.0 Y n Panasonic GF5
Panasonic G3« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 4.0 Y n Panasonic G3
Panasonic GF3« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 4000 3.2 Y n Panasonic GF3
Panasonic GX1« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 4000 4.2 Y n Panasonic GX1
Panasonic G10« »202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 2.6 Y n Panasonic G10

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The G5 has one, while the E-P1 does not. While the build-in flash of the G5 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The G5 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the E-P1 uses SDHC cards.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Panasonic G5»Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic G5
Olympus E-P1«Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-P1
Olympus E-PL6« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus E-PL6
Olympus E-PL5« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus E-PL5
Olympus E-P3« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-P3
Olympus E-PL1« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-PL1
Olympus E-620« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-620
Olympus E-P2« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-P2
Olympus E-520« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-520
Panasonic G7« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Panasonic G7
Panasonic G6« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Panasonic G6
Panasonic GF6« »-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Panasonic GF6
Panasonic GF5« »-stereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GF5
Panasonic G3« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic G3
Panasonic GF3« »-stereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GF3
Panasonic GX1« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GX1
Panasonic G10« »Ymono---mini2.0---Panasonic G10

Both the G5 and the E-P1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-P1 was replaced by the Olympus E-P2, while the G5 was followed by the Panasonic G6.

Review summary: Panasonic G5 vs Olympus E-P1

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Panasonic G5 better than the Olympus E-P1 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (15.9 vs 12.2MP) with a 14% higher linear resolution.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60p vs 720/30p).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 230k 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.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (25 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 1 month of technical progress since the E-P1 launch.

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Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-P1:

  • More compact: Is smaller (121x70mm vs 120x83mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 2009).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the G5 is the clear winner of the match-up (10 : 3 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.

G5 10:03 E-P1

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the G5 and the E-P1 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. 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). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Panasonic G5»HiRec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599- i Panasonic G5
Olympus E-P1«Rec66/1004/54/54.5/5 Jun 2009 799- i Olympus E-P1
Olympus E-PL6« »----- May 2013 599- i Olympus E-PL6
Olympus E-PL5« »HiRec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599- i Olympus E-PL5
Olympus E-P3« »83/10074/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2011 799- i Olympus E-P3
Olympus E-PL1« »86/10069/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2010 599- i Olympus E-PL1
Olympus E-620« »88/10072/1004.5/5rev5/5 Feb 2009 699- i Olympus E-620
Olympus E-P2« »Rec69/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2009 799- i Olympus E-P2
Olympus E-520« »87/100HiRec4.5/54/54.5/5 May 2008 699- i Olympus E-520
Panasonic G7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/54.5/5 May 2015 649- i Panasonic G7
Panasonic G6« »HiRec-5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6
Panasonic GF6« »HiRec-4.5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 499- i Panasonic GF6
Panasonic GF5« »--4.5/54/54.5/5 Apr 2012 499- i Panasonic GF5
Panasonic G3« »HiRec75/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2011 599- i Panasonic G3
Panasonic GF3« »82/10071/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Jun 2011 549- i Panasonic GF3
Panasonic GX1« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2011 949- i Panasonic GX1
Panasonic G10« »-70/1004/5-4/5 Mar 2010 499- i Panasonic G10

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 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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please contact me, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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