posted on Dec 31, 2009 at 7:23AM
Head-2-Head Digital Camera Review: Olympus E-P1 vs. Olympus E-620
Testing & PerformanceBy Emily Raymond & Alex Burack
The E-P1 shows better definition in the vertical lines on the resolution chart. Its smaller kit lens, however, exhibited more chromatic aberration than the DSLR's optic, showing as orange-colored lines that creep in where black should be.
The two cameras performed similarly on the horizontal lines in the resolution chart. At higher ISOs though, JPEGs from the Olympus E-620 show splotches of smoothed pixels; this can be seen when you magnify the chart to 100%. The smoothing is less apparent in RAW files, but it is still more pronounced than similar shots from the E-P1.
As you can see, the E-620’s colors are significantly paler in the samples. Interestingly, the opposite is true for RAW files. Below are shots of an X-Rite ColorChecker chart, photographed by the Olympus E-P1 and Olympus E-620 in RAW, then processed neutrally in Adobe Camera RAW):
Next, is the same chart photographed by the Olympus E-620 (also shot in RAW, processed neutrally in Adobe Camera RAW):
In the following graphics, we can see that when the white point is set on both files in Adobe Camera RAW, the E-620 offers the slightly more saturated mapping. In these illustrations, the squares correlate to the 24 tiles of the X-Rite ColorChecker chart, while the circles represent the actual depiction by the Olympus cameras. The longer the tether between the two shapes, the greater the color error.
The tethers tying the E-P1’s colors are longer, and thus more inaccurate, than the E-620’s. This will make a slight difference when shooting JPEGs (as evident in the hydrangeas above) and other common subjects, but isn't significant enough to sway opinion in either direction.
Below is a further breakdown examining how the cameras reproduce common subjects. In every situation, the E-P1 offered a stronger, more saturated reproduction.
Generally speaking, shooters looking for punchy colors straight out of the camera will be more pleased with the E-P1. Conventional editors, however, may prefer the E-620's faithful reproduction.
The E-620 has another advantage. It has two continuous shooting modes: high and low. The high is set for 4 fps, but the low can be set between 1-3 fps. For its versatility and speed, the E-620 wins the sprint.
The E-620's AF advantage also plays into a much faster shooting experience using the DSLR.
Both cameras also include Picture Modes (such as “Vivid” and "Muted") to adjust the 'look' of the reproduction in-camera.
Noise & Dynamic Range
The lower noise levels in the RAW files help the the E-P1 realize a bit more overall dynamic range. The graph below shows the Olympus E-P1 offers about a tenth of an EV stop more than the E-620 at base settings.