Panasonic LX100 versus Olympus PEN-F
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 and the Olympus PEN-F are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2014 and January 2016. The LX100 is a fixed lens compact, while the PEN-F is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 12.7 megapixel, whereas the Olympus provides 20.2 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 LX100 vs Olympus PEN-F
The physical size and weight of the Panasonic LX100 and the Olympus PEN-F are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth 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 side – the LX100 – represents the basis for the calculations 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 PEN-F is notably larger (19 percent) than the Panasonic LX100. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the LX100 nor the PEN-F are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the LX100 has a lens build in, whereas the PEN-F is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can find an overview of optics for the PEN-F and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
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 LX100»||4.5 in||2.6 in||2.2 in||13.9 oz||300||n||Sep 2014||899|
|Olympus PEN-F«||4.9 in||2.8 in||1.5 in||15.1 oz||330||n||Jan 2016||1,199|
|Canon G5 X« »||4.4 in||3.0 in||1.7 in||12.5 oz||210||n||Oct 2015||799|
|Canon G1 X Mark II« »||4.6 in||2.9 in||2.6 in||19.5 oz||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|Canon G1 X« »||4.6 in||3.2 in||2.6 in||18.8 oz||250||n||Jan 2012||799||-|
|Fujifilm X30« »||4.7 in||2.8 in||2.4 in||14.9 oz||470||n||Aug 2014||599|
|Olympus E-M1 II« »||5.3 in||3.6 in||2.6 in||20.2 oz||440||Y||Sep 2016||1,999|
|Olympus E-M10 II« »||4.7 in||3.3 in||1.9 in||13.8 oz||320||n||Aug 2015||799||-|
|Olympus E-M5 II« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||1.8 in||16.5 oz||310||Y||Feb 2015||1,099|
|Olympus E-M10« »||4.7 in||3.2 in||1.8 in||14.0 oz||320||n||Jan 2014||699||-|
|Panasonic FZ1000« »||5.4 in||3.9 in||5.2 in||29.3 oz||360||n||Jun 2014||899||-|
|Panasonic GM5« »||3.9 in||2.4 in||1.4 in||7.4 oz||220||n||Sep 2014||749||-|
|Panasonic GM1« »||3.9 in||2.2 in||1.2 in||7.2 oz||230||n||Oct 2013||749||-|
|Sony RX100 IV« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||280||n||Jun 2015||999||-|
|Sony RX100 III« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.6 in||10.2 oz||320||n||May 2014||799||-|
|Sony RX100 II« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.5 in||9.9 oz||350||n||Jun 2013||749||-|
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 LX100 was launched at a lower price than the PEN-F, despite having a lens build in. 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 LX100 vs Olympus PEN-F
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. 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 PEN-F offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixel, compared with 12.7 MP of the LX100. This megapixel advantage translates into a 26 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the PEN-F has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.34μm versus 4.21μm for the LX100). However, it should be noted that the PEN-F is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 4 months) than the LX100, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the PEN-F has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
Unlike the LX100, the PEN-F has the capacity to capture high quality composite images (40MP) by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).
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 PEN-F has a markedly higher DXO score than the LX100 (overall score 7 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.8 bits higher color depth, 0.1 EV of lower dynamic range, and 0.7 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Panasonic LX100»||Four Thirds||12.7||4112||3088||4K/30p||22.3||12.5||553||67|
|Olympus PEN-F«||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||23.1||12.4||894||74|
|Canon G5 X« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||-||-||-||-|
|Canon G1 X Mark II« »||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|Canon G1 X« »||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
|Fujifilm X30« »||2/3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||-||-||-||-|
|Olympus E-M1 II« »||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.7||12.8||1312||80|
|Olympus E-M10 II« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73|
|Olympus E-M5 II« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73|
|Olympus E-M10« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||884||72|
|Panasonic FZ1000« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.1||11.7||517||64|
|Panasonic GM5« »||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.1||11.7||721||66|
|Panasonic GM1« »||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||22.3||11.7||660||66|
|Sony RX100 IV« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|Sony RX100 III« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
|Sony RX100 II« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the LX100 provides a higher video resolution than the PEN-F. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/60p.
Feature comparison: Panasonic LX100 vs Olympus PEN-F
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the LX100 offers a higher resolution than the one in the PEN-F (2764k vs 2360k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Panasonic LX100 and Olympus PEN-F along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.
|Canon G5 X« »||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||2000||5.9||Y||Y|
|Canon G1 X Mark II« »||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||4000||5.2||Y||Y|
|Canon G1 X« »||optical||n||3.0||922||Swivel||n||4000||1.9||Y||Y|
|Fujifilm X30« »||2360||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||4000||12.0||Y||Y|
|Olympus E-M1 II« »||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||8000||18.0||n||Y|
|Olympus E-M10 II« »||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||4000||8.0||Y||Y|
|Olympus E-M5 II« »||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||8000||10.0||n||Y|
|Olympus E-M10« »||1440||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||4000||8.0||Y||Y|
|Panasonic FZ1000« »||2359||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||4000||12.0||Y||Y|
|Panasonic GM5« »||1166||n||3.0||921||fixed||Y||500||5.8||n||n|
|Panasonic GM1« »||-||n||3.0||1036||fixed||Y||500||5.0||Y||n|
|Sony RX100 IV« »||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||2000||16.0||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 III« »||1440||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||2000||10.0||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 II« »||-||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||2000||10.0||Y||Y|
Both the LX100 and the PEN-F are current models that good online retailers will have in stock. You can check the latest prices, for example, at amazon. Neither of the two has a direct predecessor, so perhaps they will constitute the origins of new camera lines for Panasonic and Olympus.
Review summary: Panasonic LX100 vs Olympus PEN-F
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Panasonic LX100 better than the Olympus PEN-F or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2764k vs 2360k dots).
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens build-in, whereas the PEN-F requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (115x66mm vs 125x72mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a build-in lens (unlike the PEN-F).
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a build-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2014).
Arguments in favor of the Olympus PEN-F:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20.2 vs 12.7MP), which boosts linear resolution by 26%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (7 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.7 stops ISO advantage).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 921k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 4 months) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the PEN-F emerges as the winner of the match-up (11 : 8 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 LX100 or the PEN-F 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 table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known 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 LX100»||HiRec||85/100||5/5||4/5||5/5||Sep 2014||899|
|Olympus PEN-F«||-||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,199|
|Canon G5 X« »||HiRec||78/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799|
|Canon G1 X Mark II« »||Rec||77/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799|
|Canon G1 X« »||Rec||76/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||799||-|
|Fujifilm X30« »||-||76/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2014||599|
|Olympus E-M1 II« »||HiRec||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||1,999|
|Olympus E-M10 II« »||HiRec||80/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Aug 2015||799||-|
|Olympus E-M5 II« »||HiRec||81/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2015||1,099|
|Olympus E-M10« »||-||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2014||699||-|
|Panasonic FZ1000« »||HiRec||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899||-|
|Panasonic GM5« »||Rec||77/100||5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||749||-|
|Panasonic GM1« »||Rec||78/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||749||-|
|Sony RX100 IV« »||HiRec||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999||-|
|Sony RX100 III« »||HiRec||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799||-|
|Sony RX100 II« »||HiRec||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||749||-|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, kindly get in touch, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.
- Canon 1D vs Canon T6i
- Canon 350D vs Canon 1D
- Canon 500D vs Canon 7D
- Canon 550D vs Canon 6D Mark II
- Canon 5DS R vs Canon M100
- Canon 77D vs Canon G1 X
- Leica CL vs Panasonic LX10
- Leica M9 vs Canon 1D X Mark II
- Leica S2 vs Olympus PEN-F
- Nikon D3 vs Olympus PEN-F
- Nikon D3100 vs Nikon D3000
- Panasonic GX85 vs Fujifilm X-T20