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Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mirrorless Vs Sony Alpha A58 DSLR

Olympus OM-D E-M10 vs Sony Alpha A58 - Can the compact Olympus deliver Digital SLR quality at a fraction of the size and weight?

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Olympus OM D E M10 Vs DSLR Sony Alpha A58 (2)

We decided to compare the Olympus OM-D E-M10 compact system camera, with a Digital SLR camera to see what differences there are in size and performance, as well as see how image quality compares between a smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor found in the Olympus camera, and an APS-C sensor found in the Digital SLR. 

Olympus OM-D E-M10 vs Sony Alpha A58 Features

Olympus OM D E M10 Vs DSLR Sony Alpha A58 (14)

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 is one of the smallest mirrorless cameras with a built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF). With a Micro Four Thirds sensor, it offers a number of compact lenses which are often noticeably smaller than DSLR equivalents, making it a very compact system, even with a number of lenses included.

Olympus OM D E M10 Vs DSLR Sony Alpha A58 (1)

The Sony Alpha A58 is of an average size compared to other Digital SLRs, but differs from other DSLRs as it also uses an electronic viewfinder. In theory, with a larger sensor, the Sony Alpha A58 should deliver better image quality, but will this be the case? 

Both cameras are the latest model in their range, and offer high speed continuous shooting, built in image stabilisation (sensor-shift image stabilisation is in both), a tilting rear screen, and high resolution (1.44m dot) electronic viewfinders. A run down of the features can be found below:

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Sony Alpha A58
16.1 megapixel Micro Four Thirds Live MOS sensor 20.1 megapixel APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor
3inch 1037k dot tilting touch-screen 2.7inch 460k dot tilting screen
1,440k dot electronic viewfinder, 1.15x 1,440k dot electronic viewfinder, 0.88x 
3-axis image stabilisation, upto 3.5EV (CIPA) SteadyShot Inside (IS Sensor), Approx. 2.5 to 4.5 steps in shutter speeds *Varies according to shooting conditions and lens used
81-point AF system 15-point AF system with 3 cross sensors
-2 to 20EV focus detection range -1 to 18EV focus sensitivity range
8fps continuous shooting (full resolution) 5fps continuous shooting (full resolution)
ISO100 to ISO25600 ISO100 to ISO16000
FullHD video with stereo sound, 30p FullHD video with stereo sound, 30p
IS active during video recording IS active during video recording
1/4000s to 60s, plus bulb (upto 30mins) 1/4000s to 30s, plus bulb
+/-5 exposure compensation +/-3 exposure compensation
Focus peaking Focus peaking
Wi-Fi built in N/A
320 shot battery life 690 shot battery life
Magnesium Alloy body, 350g body only Plastic body, 492g body only
119.1 x 82.3 x 45.9mm 128.6 x 95.5 x 77.7mm

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 weighs just 396g with battery and memory card, which is nearly 100g lighter than the Sony Alpha A58 without the battery and memory card. 

Many Digital SLRs give you a limited choice of aspect ratios for your photos, for example the Sony Alpha A58 lets you choose from 3:2 (the native ratio of the sensor), and 16:9 (popular due to wide-screen TVs, monitors etc). The Olympus OM-D E-M10 lets you choose from 4:3 (the native ratio of the sensor), 16:9, 3:2, 1:1 and even 3:4. 

Olympus OM D E M10 Vs DSLR Sony Alpha A58 (18)

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 uses contrast detection autofocus with 81 focus points, which cover the majority of the image area, and Olympus has spent many years working on focus to make it as quick as possible. The Sony Alpha A58 uses a 15-point phase-detection AF system with 3 cross sensors, which are centred near the middle of the viewfinder. 

Olympus OM-D E-M10 vs Sony Alpha A58 Handling

Olympus OM D E M10 Vs DSLR Sony Alpha A58 (12)

If you have larger hands and would like to have a larger grip on the Olympus OM-D E-M10, an optional hand-grip is available, that improves the handgrip noticeably, whilst keeping the camera relatively small, certainly much smaller than a Digital SLR. 

Olympus OM D E M10 Vs DSLR Sony Alpha A58 (5)

As you can see in the photos, the Olympus camera is significantly smaller (and also lighter) than the DSLR, and in addition, the compact kit lens is significantly smaller than the kit lens for the Sony DSLR, with no collapsable zoom lenses available for the Sony Alpha range.

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 features dual control dials, one at the front and one at the back, this lets you set the shutter and aperture when in manual mode. The Sony Alpha A58, and a lot of entry level DSLRs, only have one control dial making it more difficult to set the shutter and aperture in manual mode.

Olympus OM D E M10 With Lenses Sony DSLR Lenses (9)

The weight of the equipment shown is:

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Body   350g 492g Sony Alpha A58 Body
Olympus 14-42mm EZ Lens   93g 222g Sony 18-55mm II Lens
Olympus 25mm f/1.8 Lens   137g 182g Minolta 50mm f/1.7 Lens
Olympus 40-150mm Lens   190g 460g Sony 75-300mm Lens
Total weight of Olympus kit   770g 1,356g Total weight of Sony kit

The Micro Four Thirds system not only benefits from smaller camera bodies, but also smaller and lighter lenses, making a complete set of camera and lenses much easier to carry around. You can also benefit from using a much smaller bag, and here we've shown two different bags, with the larger bag containing the DSLR kit, with space for extras, and the smaller bag containing the Olympus kit, with ample space for extras. If you just wanted to take the camera with one lens attached the Olympus OM-D E-M10 with the compact 14-42mm EZ lens fits into a jacket pocket comfortably, whereas fitting a DSLR and lens in a pocket is simply not possible. 

Mirrorless Bag Vs Dslr Bag

The Olympus shoots at 8fps at full resolution, the Sony Alpha A58 will shoot at 8fps at a reduced resolution, and like many other entry level DSLRs will shoot at a slower 5fps when shooting full size images.
Olympus OM D E M10 Vs DSLR Sony Alpha A58 (10)

Continuous shooting on the Olympus OM-D E-M10 lets you shoot up to 20 frames, when shooting raw, and up to the memory card's capacity when shooting JPEG (Large Normal mode), using a UHS-I card. Continuous shooting on the Sony Alpha A58 allows 7 JPEG images (Fine), 8 JPEG images (Standard), and 6 raw images.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 vs Sony Alpha A58 Performance

We thought it would be interesting to see how these two camera systems compare when used out and about in a number of different shooting situations and scenarios, and have taken a number of photos from both cameras at the same time. 

Flash Portrait | 1/80 sec | f/5.0 | 29.0 mm | ISO 200 Sony Alpha A58 Flash Portrait DSC00043 | 1/60 sec | f/5.0 | 35.0 mm | ISO 100
Olympus Flash Portrait | 1/80 sec | f/5.0 | 29.0 mm | ISO 200 Sony Alpha A58 Flash Portrait | 1/60 sec | f/5.0 | 35.0 mm | ISO 100

How do they compare? The white balance performance of the Olympus is particularly impressive, and the camera gives the choice of either keeping the warm colour under tungsten light or not. The portrait photo taken with flash has focused on the eyes of the model thanks to Olympus' face and eye detection feature, which can be set to focus on the eyes. The Sony Alpha A58 has struggled to focus correctly on the eyes, which makes them appear a softer than they should be. 

On the Sony in low light, the screen becomes very grainy, loses colour, and focus slows noticeably. On many DSLRs the live view is even slower. On the OM-D E-M10 the screen stays reasonably bright and with the ability to focus from -2EV focus remains good, even in low light.

Drive Normal | 1/320 sec | f/8.0 | 14.0 mm | ISO 200 Sony Alpha A58 Drive DSC00012 | 1/200 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Olympus Drive | 1/320 sec | f/8.0 | 14.0 mm | ISO 200 Sony Alpha A58 Drive | 1/200 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Closest Focus 14-42mm EZ | 1/200 sec | f/8.0 | 42.0 mm | ISO 200 Sony Alpha A58 Macro 18 55mm II DSC00021 | 1/200 sec | f/8.0 | 55.0 mm | ISO 100
Olympus Macro | 1/200 sec | f/8.0 | 42.0 mm | ISO 200 Sony Alpha A58 Macro | 1/200 sec | f/8.0 | 55.0 mm | ISO 100
R8 25mm | 1/640 sec | f/5.0 | 25.0 mm | ISO 200 Sony Alpha A58 Audi R8 DSC00023 | 1/250 sec | f/9.0 | 30.0 mm | ISO 100
Olympus 25mm | 1/640 sec | f/5.0 | 25.0 mm | ISO 200 Sony Alpha A58 | 1/250 sec | f/9.0 | 30.0 mm | ISO 100

How do they compare? Outdoors the Olympus OM-D E-M10 delivers sharp, detailed photos, with bright saturated colours, and the images are slightly warmer than the images from the DSLR. The E-M10 also gives better detail into the corners. The first image from the DSLR looks quite soft in comparison when viewed at full size. 


ISO performance and image quality from the Olympus OM-D E-M10 camera is equal, if not better, than the performance of the Digital SLR, with the Olympus OM-D E-M10 going up to ISO25600 compared to the Sony Alpha A58's ISO16000. Due to better noise control, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 is showing more detail at high ISO settings of ISO3200 and ISO12800, despite the A58 being a higher megapixel count camera.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 vs Sony Alpha A58 Verdict

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 offers a number of benefits over a larger bulkier Digital SLR, whilst delivering excellent image quality. The Olympus OM-D E-M10 is part of the Micro Four Thirds camera system, and as a result there are a wide variety of lenses available including a number of compact lenses, such as the collapsable 14-42mm kit lens, the 9mm Fisheye lens, and a number of compact prime lenses. 

We asked if the Olympus OM-D E-M10 could deliver Digital SLR quality, or whether the DSLR, with a larger sensor would deliver better image quality? However, we found that the Olympus OM-D E-M10 delivers better noise performance, as well as an extended ISO range compared to the Digital SLR, whilst also delivering sharp detailed images. The Olympus OM-D E-M10 is capable of delivering detailed images, even as the ISO setting is increased, and despite having a 16 megapixel sensor, compared to the 20 megapixel sensor in the DSLR, is actually able to deliver more detail when using high ISO settings due to the excellent image processing of the Olympus camera along with great performance from the kit lens. 

Olympus OM D E M10 With 25mm 9mm 14 42mm MCON P02
Olympus OM-D E-M10 with 25mm, 9mm Fisheye, 14-42mm, and MCON P02 Macro converter.

Pros of the Olympus OM-D E-M10 and Micro Four Thirds system:
  • Smaller and lighter camera body
  • Smaller and lighter lens options, including more compact options
  • Metal body with high quality construction
  • Classic retro styling
  • In-camera image stabilisation
  • High speed live view and focusing (not the case with most DSLRs)
  • High speed continuous shooting at full resolution
  • Very good noise performance
  • Wide range of aspect ratios
  • 81 focus points spread across a wide-area of the frame
  • Dual control dials for shutter/aperture etc
  • Touch screen
  • Built in Wi-Fi
Read our full Olympus OM-D E-M10 review

Comparison Table

Olympus OM-D E-M10Sony Alpha A58
Effective MagnificationNo Data1.5x
Image Sensor
Pixels16.1Mp (Megapixels)20.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)46085456
Pixels (H)34563632
Sensor TypeCMOSExmor CMOS
Sensor SizeMicro / Four ThirdsAPS-C
Sensor Size (width)17.3mm23.5mm
Sensor Size (height)13mm15.6mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in2.7in
Screen resolution1037k dots460k
Touch ScreenYesNo
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Touch AF
  • Spot
  • Multi
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Face Detection
  • Spot
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest60sec30sec
Bulb modeYesYes
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
  • Centre-weighted - Average
ISO sensitivity100 - 25600100 - 16000
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Shade
  • Flash
  • Underwater
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Bracket
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-5+/-3
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting8fps5fps
Movie modeYesYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS3050p, 50i, 25p
Stereo SoundYesYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYesYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYesYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
  • Memory Stick (Sony)
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeBLS‑5 Li‑Ion batteryInfolithium NP-FM500H
Battery Life (CIPA rating)320shots690shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo DataLens cap, Micro USB cable, Body cap, SAL-18552, rechargeable battery, Eyepiece cup, battery charger, shoulder strap, power cable
View Full DetailsView Full Details

View Directory Page : Olympus UK

Photographs taken using the Olympus OM-D E-M10

Happy DogsFerry CrossingSaw LeavesMary's ShellCornish WallMrs DuckMr DuckBamburgh Castle Version 2Game BirdWinter gardensLedley

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