Olympus Pen E PL7 vs OMD EM10 Mark II

A Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera is a convenient solution for photographers who travel a lot. It is much more compact and lightweight than its DSLR cousins. Olympus, in particular, is famous for their Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras and lenses. We are going to compare their most popular products in the category, Olympus Pen E PL7 vs OMD EM10 Mark II.

After reading our discussion below, you will understand better everything about:

  • The design and dimensions of Olympus Pen E PL7 and Olympus OMD EM10 Mark II
  • Why the lack of a built-in viewfinder on Olympus Pen E PL7 can be a major disadvantage
  • How Olympus OMD EM10 Mark II provides better usability and versatility with its features
  • The image quality of Olympus Pen E PL7 vs OMD EM10 Mark II
  • Which Olympus camera is better for video recording
  • Whether you should go for Olympus Pen E PL7 or Olympus OMD EM10 Mark II

Olympus Pen E PL7 vs OMD EM10 Mark II: Design

Olympus Pen E PL7 measures 4.5 x 2.6 x 1.5 inches. Without a lens, it has a weight of only 10.9 ounces. Hence, it is incredibly portable and easy to carry around. People who are anxious about getting a DSLR camera due to the bulky and heavy body will find Olympus Pen E PL7 to be very attractive. Read also: Olympus Pen E PL7 vs Sony A6000.

The Pen E PL7 is available in three color choices: white and beige, vintage silver, and classic black. It looks stylish with the faux leather finish, which also helps to ensure solid handling. On the top, there is only a single control dial, which may feel a bit clunky to use compared to the dual control dials on the OMD EM10 Mark II. Nevertheless, this is not a big issue if you mainly use the Auto mode.

On the rear, there is a tilting touchscreen that swings downward. This is a good design to ensure that a flash add-on or an external EVF won’t get in the way when taking selfies. Flipping the display will automatically activate a 1-second timer and, when a power zoom lens is attached, set the lens to the wide angle.

Olympus OMD EM10 Mark II only increases the dimensions a little bit to 4.7 x 3.3 x 1.8 inches and 13.7 ounces. However, it is able to add a built-in flash and EVF into the camera, while still being compact and lightweight. These two features are not available in Olympus Pen E PL7, and are some of the major advantages of Olympus OMD EM10 Mark II.

In terms of appearance, Olympus OMD EM10 Mark II also has a retro look with a faux leather finish, and is available in silver-and-black and all-black. Controls are really good. On the left of the EVF, there is a three-stage power switch that also triggers the built-in flash to pop up. On the right of the EVF, there are three dials with different heights so that they are very easy to access.

Having separate dials for everything will allow you to adjust settings like EV compensation, shutter speed, and aperture very quickly and easily. This is very convenient for shooting in the Manual mode.

Olympus Pen E PL7OMD EM10 Mark II
Product Dimensions4.53 x 1.5 x 2.64 inches
4.7 x 2.8 x 3.3 inches
Shipping Weight12.6 ounces
1.1 pounds
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Olympus Pen E PL7 vs OMD EM10 Mark II: Viewfinder

As mentioned above, Olympus Pen E PL7 does not have a viewfinder. Although the rear display works well most of the time, it can be somewhat difficult to see when shooting under bright sunlight. You can purchase an external EVF for Olympus Pen E PL7, which can be placed on the hotshoe, but the external EVF is quite expensive.

Not to mention that Olympus Pen E PL7 can’t use an external flash and the EVF at the same time. The camera fortunately includes the clip-on flash, but this accessory is designed to be placed on the hotshoe as well. So, you will have to choose between using a flash or an EVF, which is very inconvenient.

Olympus OMD EM10 Mark II comes with a built-in flash and EVF, so it doesn’t have any issue like the one faced by Olympus Pen E PL7 above. You can use the flash and the EVF at the same time. Also, you are free to use the standard hot shoe for an additional accessory like a more powerful external flash or an external mic.

Olympus OMD EM10 Mark II works really well with the EVF. It has an eye sensor, so it will immediately switch to the EVF when you put your eye on. Furthermore, the eye sensor is automatically disabled when the display screen is tilted, which is very nice for preventing an accidental switch when you are actually using the display screen. The EVF is sharp, bright, and provides large magnification.

Olympus Pen E PL7 vs OMD EM10 Mark II: Features

Olympus Pen E PL7 is the first low-cost model in its family that comes with Wi-Fi. This enables the camera to be controlled remotely via the Olympus Image Share mobile app. You can tap on your smartphone to set a focus point, change modes, access full manual control, and activate the image filters. The mobile app also provides some editing tools and geotagging for photos and videos that you have transferred to your smartphone.

The mobile app allows photo and video transfer, but it can’t transfer RAW files. Hence, you need to take out the memory card if you want to transfer RAW files. Another notable feature of Olympus Pen E PL7 is the 3-axis in-body image stabilization. This is an amazing feature for a low-cost camera, which is greatly beneficial for compensating shakes that may happen when shooting without a tripod.

Olympus OMD EM10 Mark II has a more advanced feature set. It also has Wi-Fi, but the pairing process can be much quicker here as you only need to scan a QR code on the rear display with your smartphone. Nevertheless, it also uses the Olympus Image Share mobile app.

Olympus OMD EM10 Mark II comes with two additional modes for long exposure shots. First, there is a Live Bulb mode, which shows the developing exposure on the display screen and is very handy for taking landscape shots at night. Second, there is a Live Composite mode, which captures the initial exposure and then records the changes in light, creating beautiful light trails. It is great for shooting light painting, fireworks, and stars.

Last but not least, Olympus OMD EM10 Mark II comes with a 5-axis in-body image stabilization. This is an even more effective stabilization that can compensate greater shakes and vibrations. In use, the improvement from 3-axis stabilization to 5-axis stabilization is quite significant. The results are consistently sharper.

Olympus Pen E PL7 vs OMD EM10 Mark II: Performance

Olympus Pen E PL7 is able to deliver very good performance despite being a budget-friendly model. It has a fairly fast autofocus, which can lock within 0.1 seconds in bright light and within 0.8 seconds in dim light. It is also capable of 8.5 fps continuous shooting with a locked focus and 7.3 fps with subject tracking. The buffer can take 15 RAW+JPEG shots, 18 RAW-only shots, or 31 JPEG-only shots before slowing.

The noise reduction performance is good. You can use ISO 6400 with very minimal noise. However, it can be a bit aggressive, as there is some noticeable loss of sharpness and detail starting from ISO 3200 upwards. Olympus Pen E PL7 also has a tendency to under-expose. Still, the overall image quality is satisfying. For video recording, the camera can shoot in 1080p at 30 fps. Videos look crisp, but not very smooth.

Olympus OMD EM10 Mark II is significantly better in terms of performance. The autofocus is much faster, able to lock within 0.05 seconds in bright light and within 0.35 seconds in very dim light. This is really impressive. Furthermore, although the maximum continuous shooting speed is not much better at 8.6 fps, it is able to keep that speed with the subject tracking enabled. The buffer capacity is quite similar.

The ISO performance is generally better, too. Even when using ISO 12800, noise is still kept at very low levels. The noise reduction is also a bit aggressive, as you will notice some degree of smudging on fine lines at ISO 6400. But you can retain a lot of fine details by switching to the RAW mode.

For video recording, Olympus OMD EM10 Mark II is also limited to the 1080p maximum resolution. However, you get the option to shoot at 60, 50, 30, 25, and 24 fps. Additionally, you can create slow-motion videos by shooting in 480p at 120 fps. Videos look crisp and highly detailed. The autofocus system works really well in tracking subjects. Movements look smooth and lifelike.

Olympus Pen E PL7 vs OMD EM10 Mark II

- 16MP Live MOS Sensor
- 3-Axis In-Body Image Stabilization
- Built-In Wi-Fi
- 81 Point FAST AF with Small Target AF
- Builtin 5Axis image stabilization for sharper images
- 2.3 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder with 0.62X magnification
- Silent mode (disables all shutter sounds)
- 8.5 frames per second burst shooting;AF system type high speed image AF (contrast detection / on chip phase difference detection)

Conclusion

All in all, Olympus OMD EM10 Mark II is the better camera in every aspect. It has a built-in flash and EVF; these two features alone already make Olympus OMD EM10 Mark II worth getting. However, it also offers 5-axis in-body image stabilization, superior autofocus performance, and better overall image quality. It also comes with useful additional features, like the Live Bulb and Live Composite modes.

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