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Canon 100D versus Olympus E-M1

The Canon EOS 100D (called Canon SL1 in some regions) and the Olympus OM-D E-M1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in March 2013 and September 2013. The 100D is a DSLR, while the E-M1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (100D) and a Four Thirds (E-M1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 17.9 megapixel, whereas the Olympus provides 15.9 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: Canon 100D vs Olympus E-M1

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 100D and the Olympus E-M1. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display 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 100D – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Canon 100D vs Olympus E-M1
Compare 100D versus E-M1 top
Compare 100D and E-M1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-M1 is notably larger (15 percent) than the Canon 100D. Moreover, the E-M1 is markedly heavier (22 percent) than the 100D. It is noteworthy in this context that the E-M1 is splash and dust-proof, while the 100D does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (100D) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-M1). Mirrorless cameras, such as the E-M1, have moreover the advantage that they can use many lenses from other systems via adapters, as they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance.

Concerning battery life, the 100D gets 380 shots out of its LP-E12 battery, while the E-M1 can take 350 images on a single charge of its BLN-1 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon 100D» 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 n Mar 2013 549- i Canon 100D
Olympus E-M1« 130 mm 94 mm 63 mm 497 g 350 Y Sep 2013 1,399- i Olympus E-M1
Canon 4000D« » 129 mm 102 mm 77 mm 436 g 500 n Feb 2018 399 i i Canon 4000D
Canon 200D« » 122 mm 93 mm 70 mm 453 g 650 n Jun 2017 549 i i Canon 200D
Canon 7D II« » 149 mm 112 mm 78 mm 910 g 670 Y Sep 2014 1,799 i i Canon 7D II
Canon 1200D« » 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 n Feb 2014 449- i Canon 1200D
Canon 700D« » 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649- i Canon 700D
Canon G16« » 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
Canon 650D« » 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849- i Canon 650D
Canon M« » 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 n Jul 2012 599- i Canon M
Canon 600D« » 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599- i Canon 600D
Olympus E-M1 II« » 134 mm 91 mm 67 mm 574 g 440 Y Sep 2016 1,999 i i Olympus E-M1 II
Olympus E-M5 II« » 124 mm 85 mm 45 mm 469 g 310 Y Feb 2015 1,099 i i Olympus E-M5 II
Olympus E-P5« » 122 mm 69 mm 37 mm 420 g 330 n May 2013 999- i Olympus E-P5
Olympus E-M5« » 122 mm 89 mm 43 mm 425 g 360 Y Feb 2012 1,299- i Olympus E-M5
Panasonic GH4« » 133 mm 93 mm 84 mm 560 g 500 Y Feb 2014 1,499- i Panasonic GH4
Panasonic G6« » 122 mm 85 mm 71 mm 390 g 340 n Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6

The camera’s price is obviously a critical decision-making factor. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The 100D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 61 percent) than the E-M1, which puts it into a different market segment. 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: Canon 100D vs Olympus E-M1

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 100D features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-M1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-M1 is 32 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 2.0. The sensor in the 100D has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-M1 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Canon 100D and Olympus E-M1 sensor measures

With 17.9MP, the 100D offers a higher resolution than the E-M1 (15.9MP), but the 100D nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.31μm versus 3.76μm for the E-M1) due to its larger sensor. However, the E-M1 is a somewhat more recent model (by 5 months) than the 100D, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the E-M1 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

100D versus E-M1 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the E-M1 has a markedly higher DXO score than the 100D (overall score 10 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 1.2 bits higher color depth, 1.4 EV in additional dynamic range, 0.2 stops of reduced 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.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Canon 100D» APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363Canon 100D
Olympus E-M1« Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p23.012.775773Olympus E-M1
Canon 4000D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.469563Canon 4000D
Canon 200D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179Canon 200D
Canon 7D II« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.411.8108270Canon 7D II
Canon 1200D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463Canon 1200D
Canon 700D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161Canon 700D
Canon G16« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054Canon G16
Canon 650D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262Canon 650D
Canon M« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765Canon M
Canon 600D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365Canon 600D
Olympus E-M1 II« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.712.8131280Olympus E-M1 II
Olympus E-M5 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.012.584273Olympus E-M5 II
Olympus E-P5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.489572Olympus E-P5
Olympus E-M5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i22.812.382671Olympus E-M5
Panasonic GH4« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p23.212.879174Panasonic GH4
Panasonic G6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961Panasonic G6

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).

 

Feature comparison: Canon 100D vs Olympus E-M1

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the E-M1 has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), while the 100D has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 100D, the Olympus E-M1, and comparable cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Canon 100D»optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 4.9 Y n Canon 100D
Olympus E-M1«2360 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n Y Olympus E-M1
Canon 4000D« »optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon 4000D
Canon 200D« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon 200D
Canon 7D II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 8000 10.0 Y n Canon 7D II
Canon 1200D« »optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon 1200D
Canon 700D« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon 700D
Canon G16« »optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 2.2 Y Y Canon G16
Canon 650D« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon 650D
Canon M« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 4.3 n n Canon M
Canon 600D« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 4000 3.7 Y n Canon 600D
Olympus E-M1 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 18.0 n Y Olympus E-M1 II
Olympus E-M5 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y Olympus E-M5 II
Olympus E-P5« »- n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 8000 9.0 Y Y Olympus E-P5
Olympus E-M5« »1440 n 3.0 610 tilting Y 4000 9.0 n Y Olympus E-M5
Panasonic GH4« »2359 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 8000 12.0 Y n Panasonic GH4
Panasonic G6« »1440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n Panasonic G6

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The 100D has one, while the E-M1 does not. While the build-in flash of the 100D is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

Both the 100D and the E-M1 write their imaging data to SDXC cards.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Canon 100D»YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 100D
Olympus E-M1«YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Olympus E-M1
Canon 4000D« »Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-Canon 4000D
Canon 200D« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon 200D
Canon 7D II« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0---Canon 7D II
Canon 1200D« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Canon 1200D
Canon 700D« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 700D
Canon G16« »Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--Canon G16
Canon 650D« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 650D
Canon M« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon M
Canon 600D« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 600D
Olympus E-M1 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.0Y--Olympus E-M1 II
Olympus E-M5 II« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Olympus E-M5 II
Olympus E-P5« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus E-P5
Olympus E-M5« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus E-M5
Panasonic GH4« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Panasonic GH4
Panasonic G6« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Panasonic G6

Both the 100D and the E-M1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 100D was replaced by the Canon 200D, while the E-M1 was followed by the Olympus E-M1 II.

Review summary: Canon 100D vs Olympus E-M1

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 100D and the Olympus E-M1? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 100D:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (17.9 vs 15.9MP) with a 8% higher linear resolution.
  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • More compact: Is smaller (117x91mm vs 130x94mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 90g or 18 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (61 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in March 2013).

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Reasons to prefer the Olympus OM-D E-M1:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (10 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.2 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.4 EV of extra DR).
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 4.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi build in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (5 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the E-M1 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 8 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.

100D 08:13 E-M1

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the 100D and the E-M1 in practical situations. 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 adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon 100D»Rec78/1004/54/54/5 Mar 2013 549- i Canon 100D
Olympus E-M1«HiRec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 1,399- i Olympus E-M1
Canon 4000D« »rev-3.5/5-3.5/5 Feb 2018 399 i i Canon 4000D
Canon 200D« »HiRec78/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549 i i Canon 200D
Canon 7D II« »Rec84/1004/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 1,799 i i Canon 7D II
Canon 1200D« »Rec-4/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449- i Canon 1200D
Canon 700D« »-76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649- i Canon 700D
Canon G16« »Rec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
Canon 650D« »HiRec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849- i Canon 650D
Canon M« »Rec-4/53.5/54/5 Jul 2012 599- i Canon M
Canon 600D« »rev77/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599- i Canon 600D
Olympus E-M1 II« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2016 1,999 i i Olympus E-M1 II
Olympus E-M5 II« »HiRec81/1005/54.5/55/5 Feb 2015 1,099 i i Olympus E-M5 II
Olympus E-P5« »HiRec78/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2013 999- i Olympus E-P5
Olympus E-M5« »HiRec80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2012 1,299- i Olympus E-M5
Panasonic GH4« »HiRec85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2014 1,499- i Panasonic GH4
Panasonic G6« »HiRec-5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If the camera you are interested in is not available, kindly get in touch, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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