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Compared to... Olympus E-620

The E-P1 may not have much in the way of direct competitors (the only thing that even comes close are the Sigma DP1 or DP2), but it's priced - and targeted - at the kind of user who wants SLR image quality, albeit in a more portable package. We'll start by looking at how the E-P1 compares with its nearest equivalent in the 'full size' Four Thirds camp, the Olympus E-620. The E-620 has a broadly similar feature set, has the same sensor (or at least a close relation) and is the smallest camera in its class.

Studio scene comparison (JPEG)

This is our standard studio scene comparison shot taken from exactly the same tripod position. Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI. Crops are 100%. Ambient temperature was approximately 22°C (~72°F).

Olympus E-P1 vs. Olympus E-620

Camera settings:

  • Olympus E-P1: Olympus 50 mm F2 Macro lens, Aperture Priority, ISO 100
    JPEG Large/SHQ, Manual WB, Default Parameters (Standard), Self-Timer

  • Olympus E-620: Olympus 50 mm F2 Macro lens, Aperture Priority, ISO 100
    JPEG Large/SHQ, Manual WB, Default Parameters (Standard), Self-Timer
Olympus E-P1

Olympus E-620

7.4 MB JPEG (4032 x 3024)
7.1 MB JPEG (4032 x 3024)

Not surprisingly given the family ties (and the fact it's the same lens), the output is very, very similar, with color, contrast and saturation almost identical. Look a bit closer and you can see - even in a JPEG - that there are some differences. The most obvious is the EP-1's visibly better pixel-level sharpness (thanks to a lighter anti-alias / low pass filter), though we also noticed that the highlight roll-off is a little harsher than the E-620 (something confirmed in our dynamic range testing) - it's better at ISO 200, but still not as good as the E-620. Overall though, it's great to see that Olympus hasn't just delivered on its promise to match SLR quality - it's actually surpassed it.

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