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Canon 10D vs Olympus E-5

The Canon EOS 10D and the Olympus E-5 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2003 and September 2010. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (10D) and a Four Thirds (E-5) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 6.3 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 12.2 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon 10D versus Olympus E-5
Canon 10D Olympus E-5
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
6.3 MP, APS-C Sensor 12.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video 720/30p Video
ISO 100-3,200 ISO 100-6,400
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
1.8 LCD, 118k dots 3.0 LCD, 920k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
Lens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
not weather sealedWeathersealed body
500 shots per battery charge750 shots per battery charge
150 x 107 x 75 mm, 850 g 142 x 117 x 75 mm, 873 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 10D and the Olympus E-5? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 10D and the Olympus E-5 is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon 10D vs Olympus E-5
Compare 10D versus E-5 top
Comparison 10D or E-5 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-5 is somewhat larger (4 percent) than the Canon 10D. Moreover, the E-5 is slightly heavier (3 percent) than the 10D. It is noteworthy in this context that the E-5 is splash and dust-proof, while the 10D 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 compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (10D) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-5).

Concerning battery life, the 10D gets 500 shots out of its BP-511 battery, while the E-5 can take 750 images on a single charge of its BLM-5 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon 10D 5.9 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 30.0 oz 500 n Feb 2003 1,999i
 
Olympus E-5 5.6 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 30.8 oz 750 Y Sep 2010 1,699i
 
Canon T5 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 16.9 oz 500 n Feb 2014 449i
 
Canon SL1 4.6 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 14.4 oz 380 n Mar 2013 549i
 
Canon T4i 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.3 oz 440 n Jun 2012 849i
 
Canon 7D 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 30.3 oz 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699i
 
Canon 40D 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 750 n Aug 2007 1,299i
 
Canon 30D 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.9 in 27.7 oz 750 n Feb 2006 1,399i
 
Canon 20D 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 700 n Aug 2004 1,499i
 
Canon Rebel 5.6 in 3.9 in 2.8 in 22.9 oz 400 n Aug 2003 899i
 
Canon D60 5.9 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 30.2 oz 620 n Feb 2002 2,999i
 
Nikon D100 5.7 in 4.6 in 3.2 in 27.5 oz 370 n Feb 2002 1,999i
 
Olympus E-30 5.6 in 4.3 in 3.0 in 24.7 oz 750 n Nov 2008 1,299i
 
Olympus E-520 5.4 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 18.9 oz 750 n May 2008 699i
 
Olympus E-3 5.6 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 30.9 oz 750 Y Oct 2007 1,699i
 
Olympus E-510 5.4 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 19.0 oz 750 n Mar 2007 799i
 
Olympus E-1 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.2 in 26.0 oz 750 Y Jun 2003 1,699i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The E-5 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 15 percent) than the 10D, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 10D features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-5 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-5 is 34 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 10D has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-5 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Canon 10D and Olympus E-5 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the E-5 offers a higher resolution of 12.2 megapixels, compared with 6.3 MP of the 10D. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.29μm versus 7.38μm for the 10D). However, it should be noted that the E-5 is much more recent (by 7 years and 6 months) than the 10D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

The resolution advantage of the Olympus E-5 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the E-5 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20.2 x 15.1 inches or 51.2 x 38.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16.1 x 12.1 inches or 41 x 30.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.4 x 10.1 inches or 34.1 x 25.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 10D are 15.4 x 10.2 inches or 39 x 26 cm for good quality, 12.3 x 8.2 inches or 31.2 x 20.8 cm for very good quality, and 10.2 x 6.8 inches or 26 x 17.3 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS 10D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus E-5 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

10D versus E-5 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Canon 10D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.110.957157
 
Olympus E-5 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.610.551956
 
Canon T5 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463
 
Canon SL1 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
 
Canon 7D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364
 
Canon 30D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.510.873659
 
Canon 20D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.911.072162
 
Canon Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
 
Canon D60 APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none........
 
Nikon D100 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none........
 
Olympus E-30 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.453055
 
Olympus E-520 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.410.454855
 
Olympus E-3 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.610.557156
 
Olympus E-510 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.210.044252
 
Olympus E-1 Four Thirds 4.9 2560 1920none........

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The E-5 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 10D does not. The highest resolution format that the E-5 can use is 720/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 10D and the E-5 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the E-5 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the 10D (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the E-5 has a higher magnification (0.58x vs 0.55x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 10D and Olympus E-5 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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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)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Canon 10Doptical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Olympus E-5optical Y 3.0 920 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y
 
Canon T5optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon SL1optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9 Y n
 
Canon T4ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon 7Doptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 Y n
 
Canon 40Doptical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n
 
Canon 30Doptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon 20Doptical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon Rebeloptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Canon D60optical Y 1.8 114 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D100optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Olympus E-30optical Y 2.7 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-520optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y Y
 
Olympus E-3optical Y 2.5 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-510optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-1optical Y 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n

One feature that differentiates the E-5 and the 10D is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-5 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the 10D offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.

The E-5 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the 10D does not have a selfie-screen.

The 10D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the E-5 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-5 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the 10D only has one slot.

Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 10D and Olympus E-5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Canon 10DY-----1.1---
 
Olympus E-5Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Canon T5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon SL1YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon T4iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon 7DYmono-Y-mini2.0---
 
Canon 40DY-----2.0---
 
Canon 30DY-----2.0---
 
Canon 20DY-----1.1---
 
Canon RebelY-----1.1---
 
Canon D60Y-----1.1---
 
Nikon D100Y-----1.1---
 
Olympus E-30Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-520Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-3Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-510Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-1Y-----2.0---

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

Both the 10D and the E-5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 10D was replaced by the Canon 20D, while the E-5 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Olympus websites.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 10D and the Olympus E-5? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 10D:

  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2003).

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Advantages of the Olympus E-5:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12.2 vs 6.3MP), which boosts linear resolution by 37%.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 720/30p video.
  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.58x vs 0.55x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 118k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (750 versus 500) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.1).
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (15 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 7 years and 6 months of technical progress since the 10D launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-5 is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 1 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. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

10D 01:17 E-5

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 10D and the Olympus E-5 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 10D and the E-5 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon 10D..+ +..o.. Feb 2003 1,999i
 
Olympus E-5..75/1004/5..4.5/5 Sep 2010 1,699i
 
Canon T5+..4/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449i
 
Canon SL1+78/1004/54/54/5 Mar 2013 549i
 
Canon T4i+ +77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
 
Canon 7D+ +84/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699i
 
Canon 40D+ ++ +4.5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299i
 
Canon 30D+ ++ +oo.. Feb 2006 1,399i
 
Canon 20D..+ +..o.. Aug 2004 1,499i
 
Canon Rebel..+ +..o.. Aug 2003 899i
 
Canon D60..+ +o.... Feb 2002 2,999i
 
Nikon D100..+ +oo.. Feb 2002 1,999i
 
Olympus E-30..71/1004.5/5..4/5 Nov 2008 1,299i
 
Olympus E-52087/100+ +4.5/54/54.5/5 May 2008 699i
 
Olympus E-388/100+ +oo4/5 Oct 2007 1,699i
 
Olympus E-51089/100+ +3.5/5o4.5/5 Mar 2007 799i
 
Olympus E-1..+oo.. Jun 2003 1,699i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon 10D:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-5:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon 10D vs Olympus E-5

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 10D Olympus E-5
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date February 2003 September 2010
    Launch Price USD 1,999 USD 1,699
    Sensor Specs Canon 10D Olympus E-5
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.7 x 15.1 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 342.77 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 27.3 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 6.3 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3072 x 2048 pixels 4032 x 3024 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.38 μm 4.29 μm
    Pixel Density 1.84 MP/cm2 5.42 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 720/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 3,200 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC TruePic V+
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 57 56
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.1 21.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.9 10.5
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 571 519
    Screen Specs Canon 10D Olympus E-5
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.55x 0.58x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 1.8inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 118k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 10D Olympus E-5
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationLens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF or XD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Canon 10D Olympus E-5
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 1.1 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 10D Olympus E-5
    Environmental Sealingnot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type BP-511 BLM-5
    Battery Life (CIPA)500 shots per charge750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 150 x 107 x 75 mm
    (5.9 x 4.2 x 3.0 in)
    142 x 117 x 75 mm
    (5.6 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 850 g (30.0 oz) 873 g (30.8 oz)

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