Canon 1200D vs Olympus E-PM2
The Canon EOS 1200D (called Canon T5 in some regions) and the Olympus PEN E-PM2 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2014 and September 2012. The 1200D is a DSLR, while the E-PM2 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (1200D) and a Four Thirds (E-PM2) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 17.9 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 15.9 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Canon 1200D||Olympus E-PM2|
|Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Canon EF mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor||15.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|1080/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO 100-6400 (100-12800)||ISO 100-25600|
|Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|3.0" LCD, 460k dots||3.0" LCD, 460k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed touchscreen|
|3 shutter flaps per second||8 shutter flaps per second|
|Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|500 shots per battery charge||360 shots per battery charge|
|130 x 100 x 78 mm, 480 g||110 x 64 x 34 mm, 269 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 1200D and the Olympus PEN E-PM2? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 1200D and the Olympus E-PM2 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The E-PM2 can be obtained in four different colors (black, silver, red, white), while the 1200D is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-PM2 is considerably smaller (46 percent) than the Canon 1200D. Moreover, the E-PM2 is substantially lighter (44 percent) than the 1200D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 1200D nor the E-PM2 are weather-sealed.
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 (1200D) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-PM2). Mirrorless cameras, such as the E-PM2, 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.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.
|Canon 1200D»||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||n||Feb 2014||449||Canon 1200D|
|Olympus E-PM2«||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||269 g||360||n||Sep 2012||499||Olympus E-PM2|
|Canon 4000D« »||129 mm||102 mm||77 mm||436 g||500||n||Feb 2018||399||Canon 4000D|
|Canon 1300D« »||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||485 g||500||n||Mar 2016||449||Canon 1300D|
|Canon 750D« »||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749||Canon 750D|
|Canon 760D« »||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649||Canon 760D|
|Canon G9 X« »||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||209 g||220||n||Oct 2015||529||Canon G9 X|
|Canon M10« »||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||301 g||255||n||Oct 2015||499||Canon M10|
|Canon 100D« »||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549||Canon 100D|
|Canon 700D« »||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||580 g||440||n||Mar 2013||649||Canon 700D|
|Canon 650D« »||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849||Canon 650D|
|Canon 1100D« »||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449||Canon 1100D|
|Olympus E-PL7« »||115 mm||67 mm||38 mm||357 g||350||n||Aug 2014||599||Olympus E-PL7|
|Olympus E-P5« »||122 mm||69 mm||37 mm||420 g||330||n||May 2013||999||Olympus E-P5|
|Olympus E-PL6« »||111 mm||64 mm||38 mm||325 g||360||n||May 2013||599||Olympus E-PL6|
|Olympus E-PL5« »||111 mm||64 mm||38 mm||325 g||360||n||Sep 2012||599||Olympus E-PL5|
|Olympus E-PM1« »||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||265 g||330||n||Jun 2011||499||Olympus E-PM1|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 1200D was somewhat cheaper (by 10 percent) than the E-PM2 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 1200D features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-PM2 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-PM2 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 1200D has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-PM2 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 17.9MP, the 1200D offers a higher resolution than the E-PM2 (15.9MP), but the 1200D nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.31μm versus 3.76μm for the E-PM2) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the 1200D is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 4 months) than the E-PM2, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Canon 1200D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 1200D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 17.3 inch or 65.8 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 13.8 inch or 52.7 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 11.5 inch or 43.9 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-PM2 are 23 x 17.3 inch or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inch or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inch or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS 1200D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus PEN E-PM2 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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-PM2 has a markedly higher DXO score than the 1200D (overall score 9 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.8 bits higher color depth, 0.9 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.4 stops in additional 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.
|Canon 1200D||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.9||11.3||724||63||Canon 1200D|
|Olympus E-PM2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.2||932||72||Olympus E-PM2|
|Canon 4000D||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.9||11.4||695||63||Canon 4000D|
|Canon 1300D||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Canon 1300D|
|Canon 750D||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/30p||22.7||12.0||919||71||Canon 750D|
|Canon 760D||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/30p||22.6||12.0||915||70||Canon 760D|
|Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63||Canon G9 X|
|Canon M10||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.2||11.4||753||65||Canon M10|
|Canon 100D||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.8||11.3||843||63||Canon 100D|
|Canon 700D||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.7||11.2||681||61||Canon 700D|
|Canon 650D||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.7||11.2||722||62||Canon 650D|
|Canon 1100D||APS-C||12.2||4272||2848||720/30p||21.9||11.0||755||62||Canon 1100D|
|Olympus E-PL7||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.4||873||72||Olympus E-PL7|
|Olympus E-P5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.4||895||72||Olympus E-P5|
|Olympus E-PL6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-PL6|
|Olympus E-PL5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||889||72||Olympus E-PL5|
|Olympus E-PM1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||21.0||10.3||499||52||Olympus E-PM1|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the 1200D has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-PM2 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the E-PM2 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-4. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 1200D and Olympus E-PM2 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Canon 1200D||optical||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon 1200D|
|Olympus E-PM2||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y||Olympus E-PM2|
|Canon 4000D||optical||n||2.7||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon 4000D|
|Canon 1300D||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon 1300D|
|Canon 750D||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon 750D|
|Canon 760D||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon 760D|
|Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0||Y||Y||Canon G9 X|
|Canon M10||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.6||Y||n||Canon M10|
|Canon 100D||optical||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.9||Y||n||Canon 100D|
|Canon 700D||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon 700D|
|Canon 650D||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon 650D|
|Canon 1100D||optical||n||2.7||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon 1100D|
|Olympus E-PL7||optional||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y||Olympus E-PL7|
|Olympus E-P5||optional||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/8000s||9.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-P5|
|Olympus E-PL6||optional||n||3.0||460||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y||Olympus E-PL6|
|Olympus E-PL5||optional||n||3.0||460||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y||Olympus E-PL5|
|Olympus E-PM1||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||Y||Olympus E-PM1|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The 1200D has one, while the E-PM2 does not. While the built-in flash of the 1200D is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the 1200D and the E-PM2 write their files to SDXC cards. The E-PM2 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the 1200D cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
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 1200D and Olympus PEN E-PM2 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon 1200D||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1200D|
|Olympus E-PM2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PM2|
|Canon 4000D||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon 4000D|
|Canon 1300D||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon 1300D|
|Canon 750D||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon 750D|
|Canon 760D||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon 760D|
|Canon G9 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon G9 X|
|Canon M10||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon M10|
|Canon 100D||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 100D|
|Canon 700D||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 700D|
|Canon 650D||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 650D|
|Canon 1100D||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1100D|
|Olympus E-PL7||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-PL7|
|Olympus E-P5||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-P5|
|Olympus E-PL6||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL6|
|Olympus E-PL5||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL5|
|Olympus E-PM1||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PM1|
Both the 1200D and the E-PM2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 1200D was replaced by the Canon 1300D, while the E-PM2 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.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon 1200D better than the Olympus E-PM2 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 1200D:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (17.9 vs 15.9MP) with a 8% higher linear resolution.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (500 versus 360) on a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 4 months after the E-PM2).
Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PM2:
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (9 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.9 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (110x64mm vs 130x100mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 211g or 44 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2012).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-PM2 is the clear winner of the contest (11 : 5 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 1200D and the Olympus E-PM2 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 1200D and the E-PM2 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.
This is why expert reviews are important. 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.
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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods 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? 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.
- Canon 1200D vs Fujifilm X-T1
- Canon 1200D vs Leica T
- Canon 1200D vs Nikon D3S
- Canon 1200D vs Nikon D4S
- Canon 1200D vs Panasonic GH2
- Canon 1200D vs Panasonic TZ95
- Canon 1200D vs Sony H300
- Canon SX740 vs Olympus E-PM2
- Leica TL2 vs Olympus E-PM2
- Leica X2 vs Olympus E-PM2
- Olympus E-M1 vs Olympus E-PM2
- Olympus E-PM2 vs Panasonic GX800
Specifications: Canon 1200D vs Olympus E-PM2
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 Model||Canon 1200D||Olympus E-PM2|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2014||September 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 449||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 1200D||Olympus E-PM2|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||17.9 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3456 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.31 μm||3.76 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.39 MP/cm2||7.08 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-6400 ISO||100-25600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-12800 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||TruePic VI|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||63||72|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.9||22.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.3||12.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||724||932|
|Screen Specs||Canon 1200D||Olympus E-PM2|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 1200D||Olympus E-PM2|
|Autofocus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||8 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 1200D||Olympus E-PM2|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 1200D||Olympus E-PM2|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||500 shots per charge||360 shots per charge|
130 x 100 x 78 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
110 x 64 x 34 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||480 g (16.9 oz)||269 g (9.5 oz)|
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