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Canon 100D versus Olympus E-M5 II

The Canon EOS 100D (called Canon SL1 in some regions) and the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in March 2013 and February 2015. The 100D is a DSLR, while the E-M5 II is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (100D) and a Four Thirds (E-M5 II) 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-M5 II

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 100D and the Olympus E-M5 II is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. 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 – the 100D – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Canon 100D vs Olympus E-M5 II
Compare 100D versus E-M5 II top
Compare 100D and E-M5 II rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-M5 II is somewhat smaller (1 percent) than the Canon 100D. However, the E-M5 II is markedly heavier (15 percent) than the 100D. It is noteworthy in this context that the E-M5 II 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-M5 II). Mirrorless cameras, such as the E-M5 II, 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-M5 II can take 310 images on a single charge of its BLN-1 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons 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)
Canon 100D» 4.6 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 14.4 oz 380 n Mar 2013 549- i
Olympus E-M5 II« 4.9 in 3.3 in 1.8 in 16.5 oz 310 Y Feb 2015 1,099 i i
Canon 4000D« » 5.1 in 4.0 in 3.0 in 15.4 oz 500 n Feb 2018 399 i i
Canon 200D« » 4.8 in 3.7 in 2.8 in 16.0 oz 650 n Jun 2017 549 i i
Canon 1200D« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 16.9 oz 500 n Feb 2014 449- i
Canon 700D« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.5 oz 440 n Mar 2013 649- i
Canon G16« » 4.3 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.6 oz 360 n Aug 2013 549 i i
Canon M« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 10.5 oz 230 n Jul 2012 599- i
Canon 650D« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.3 oz 440 n Jun 2012 849- i
Canon 600D« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.1 oz 440 n Feb 2011 599- i
Canon 500D« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.3 oz 400 n Mar 2009 799- i
Olympus E-M1 II« » 5.3 in 3.6 in 2.6 in 20.2 oz 440 Y Sep 2016 1,999 i i
Olympus E-M10 II« » 4.7 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 13.8 oz 320 n Aug 2015 799- i
Olympus E-M10« » 4.7 in 3.2 in 1.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jan 2014 699- i
Olympus E-M1« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 17.5 oz 350 Y Sep 2013 1,399- i
Olympus E-M5« » 4.8 in 3.5 in 1.7 in 15.0 oz 360 Y Feb 2012 1,299- i
Panasonic G6« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 n Apr 2013 599- i

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The 100D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 50 percent) than the E-M5 II, 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-M5 II

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better 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-M5 II a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-M5 II 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-M5 II offers a 4:3 aspect.

Canon 100D and Olympus E-M5 II sensor measures

With 17.9MP, the 100D offers a higher resolution than the E-M5 II (15.9MP), but the 100D nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.31μm versus 3.76μm for the E-M5 II) due to its larger sensor. However, the E-M5 II is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 10 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.

Unlike the 100D, the E-M5 II has the capacity to capture high quality composite images (40MP) by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).

100D versus E-M5 II MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under consideration, the E-M5 II 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, 1.2 EV in additional dynamic range, 0 stops of reduced low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Canon 100D» APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
Olympus E-M5 II« Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.012.584273
Canon 4000D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.469563
Canon 200D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179
Canon 1200D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463
Canon 700D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
Canon G16« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
Canon M« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765
Canon 650D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
Canon 600D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
Canon 500D« » APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
Olympus E-M1 II« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.712.8131280
Olympus E-M10 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273
Olympus E-M10« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472
Olympus E-M1« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p23.012.775773
Olympus E-M5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i22.812.382671
Panasonic G6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961

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, but the E-M5 II provides a faster frame rate than the 100D. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon 100D vs Olympus E-M5 II

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the E-M5 II 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-M5 II, and comparable cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
  Camera 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
Canon 100D»optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 4.9 Y n
Olympus E-M5 II«2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Canon 4000D« »optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n
Canon 200D« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon 1200D« »optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n
Canon 700D« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon G16« »optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 2.2 Y Y
Canon M« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 4.3 n n
Canon 650D« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon 600D« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 4000 3.7 Y n
Canon 500D« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 3.4 Y n
Olympus E-M1 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 18.0 n Y
Olympus E-M10 II« »2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y
Olympus E-M10« »1440 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y
Olympus E-M1« »2360 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Olympus E-M5« »1440 n 3.0 610 tilting Y 4000 9.0 n Y
Panasonic G6« »1440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n

The E-M5 II is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the 100D has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the 100D was succeeded by the Canon 200D.

Review summary: Canon 100D vs Olympus E-M5 II

So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon 100D better than the Olympus E-M5 II or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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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.
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 62g or 13 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (380 versus 310) on a single battery charge.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (50 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-M5 Mark II:

  • High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
  • 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 (1.2 EV of extra DR).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or 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.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 10 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-M5 II is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 7 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.

100D 07:13 E-M5 II

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the 100D and the E-M5 II in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Canon 100D»Rec78/1004/54/54/5 Mar 2013 549- i
Olympus E-M5 II«HiRec81/1005/54.5/55/5 Feb 2015 1,099 i i
Canon 4000D« »rev---3.5/5 Feb 2018 399 i i
Canon 200D« »HiRec78/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549 i i
Canon 1200D« »Rec-4/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449- i
Canon 700D« »-76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649- i
Canon G16« »Rec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i i
Canon M« »Rec-4/53.5/54/5 Jul 2012 599- i
Canon 650D« »HiRec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849- i
Canon 600D« »rev77/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599- i
Canon 500D« »HiRec74/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799- i
Olympus E-M1 II« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2016 1,999 i i
Olympus E-M10 II« »HiRec80/1005/55/55/5 Aug 2015 799- i
Olympus E-M10« »-80/1005/54.5/55/5 Jan 2014 699- i
Olympus E-M1« »HiRec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 1,399- i
Olympus E-M5« »HiRec80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2012 1,299- i
Panasonic G6« »HiRec-5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 599- i

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please send me an email, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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