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Canon 300D vs Olympus E-510

The Canon EOS 300D (called Canon Rebel in some regions) and the Olympus E-510 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2003 and March 2007. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (300D) and a Four Thirds (E-510) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 6.3 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 10 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon 300D versus Olympus E-510
Canon 300D Olympus E-510
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
6.3 MP, APS-C Sensor 10 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 100-1,600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
1.8 LCD, 118k dots 2.5 LCD, 215k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2.5 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
Lens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
400 shots per battery charge750 shots per battery charge
142 x 99 x 72 mm, 649 g 136 x 92 x 68 mm, 538 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 300D and the Olympus E-510? 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

The physical size and weight of the Canon 300D and the Olympus E-510 are illustrated 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 300D vs Olympus E-510
Compare 300D versus E-510 top
Comparison 300D or E-510 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-510 is notably smaller (11 percent) than the Canon 300D. Moreover, the E-510 is markedly lighter (17 percent) than the 300D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 300D nor the E-510 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 (300D) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-510).

Concerning battery life, the 300D gets 400 shots out of its BP-511 battery, while the E-510 can take 750 images on a single charge of its BLM-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.

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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 300D 5.6 in 3.9 in 2.8 in 22.9 oz 400 n Aug 2003 899i
 
Olympus E-510 5.4 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 19.0 oz 750 n Mar 2007 799i
 
Canon 77D 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 19.0 oz 600 n Feb 2017 899 i
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 4.6 in 2.9 in 2.6 in 19.5 oz 240 n Feb 2014 799i
 
Canon 700D 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.5 oz 440 n Mar 2013 649i
 
Canon 650D 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.3 oz 440 n Jun 2012 849i
 
Canon G1 X 4.6 in 3.2 in 2.6 in 18.8 oz 250 n Jan 2012 799i
 
Canon 400D 5.0 in 3.3 in 2.6 in 19.6 oz 370 n Aug 2006 799i
 
Canon 350D 5.0 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 19.0 oz 400 n Feb 2005 899i
 
Canon 20D 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 700 n Aug 2004 1,499i
 
Canon 10D 5.9 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 30.0 oz 500 n Feb 2003 1,999i
 
Nikon D70 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 400 n Jan 2004 999i
 
Olympus E-620 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.4 in 18.4 oz 500 n Feb 2009 699i
 
Olympus E-520 5.4 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 18.9 oz 750 n May 2008 699i
 
Olympus E-410 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.3 oz 500 n Mar 2007 699i
 
Olympus E-400 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.3 oz 500 n Sep 2006 699i
 
Olympus E-500 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.6 in 16.9 oz 750 n Sep 2005 599i
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.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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-510 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 11 percent) than the 300D, 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 generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 300D features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-510 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-510 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 300D has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-510 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Canon 300D and Olympus E-510 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the E-510 offers a higher resolution of 10 megapixels, compared with 6.3 MP of the 300D. 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 4.74μm versus 7.38μm for the 300D). However, it should be noted that the E-510 is much more recent (by 3 years and 6 months) than the 300D, 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-510 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the E-510 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 300D 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 300D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The Olympus E-510 offers exactly the same ISO settings.

300D versus E-510 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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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 300D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
 
Olympus E-510 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.210.044252
 
Canon 77D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.397178
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158
 
Canon 700D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
 
Canon 650D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
 
Canon G1 X 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460
 
Canon 400D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
 
Canon 350D APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
 
Canon 20D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.911.072162
 
Canon 10D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.110.957157
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
 
Olympus E-620 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.353655
 
Olympus E-520 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.410.454855
 
Olympus E-410 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.110.049451
 
Olympus E-400 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none........
 
Olympus E-500 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........
The E-510 offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The 300D lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 300D and the E-510 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), but the viewfinder of the 300D has a higher magnification than the one of the E-510 (0.55x vs 0.46x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 300D, the Olympus E-510, and comparable cameras.

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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 300Doptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Olympus E-510optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
 
Canon 77Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIoptional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 5.2 Y Y
 
Canon 700Doptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon 650Doptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon G1 Xoptical n 3.0 922 Swivel n 1/4000s 1.9 Y Y
 
Canon 400Doptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon 350Doptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon 20Doptical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon 10Doptical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
 
Olympus E-620optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-520optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y Y
 
Olympus E-410optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Olympus E-400optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Olympus E-500optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n

One feature that differentiates the E-510 and the 300D is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-510 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the 300D offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.

The 300D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the E-510 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-510 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the 300D 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 300D and Olympus E-510 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 300DY-----1.1---
 
Olympus E-510Y-----2.0---
 
Canon 77DYstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIYstereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon 700DYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon 650DYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon G1 XYstereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon 400DY-----2.0---
 
Canon 350DY-----2.0---
 
Canon 20DY-----1.1---
 
Canon 10DY-----1.1---
 
Nikon D70Y-----1.0---
 
Olympus E-620Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-520Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-410Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-400Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-500Y-----2.0---

Both the 300D and the E-510 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 300D was replaced by the Canon 350D, while the E-510 was followed by the Olympus E-520. 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 how do things add up? Is the Canon 300D better than the Olympus E-510 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 300D:

  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.8 EV of extra DR).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.55x vs 0.46x).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2003).

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Reasons to prefer the Olympus E-510:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (10 vs 6.3MP), which boosts linear resolution by 24%.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.5" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (215k vs 118k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (136x92mm vs 142x99mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 111g or 17 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (750 versus 400) out of a single battery charge.
  • 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 (11 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 6 months of technical progress since the 300D launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-510 is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 3 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

300D 03:12 E-510

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 300D and the Olympus E-510 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 300D and the E-510 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.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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 300D..+ +..o.. Aug 2003 899i
 
Olympus E-51089/100+ +3.5/5o4.5/5 Mar 2007 799i
 
Canon 77D..82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 899 i
 
Canon G1 X Mark II+77/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799i
 
Canon 700D..76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649i
 
Canon 650D+ +77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
 
Canon G1 X+76/1004/54/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799i
 
Canon 400D+ ++ +o4.5/54/5 Aug 2006 799i
 
Canon 350D80/100+ +oo.. Feb 2005 899i
 
Canon 20D..+ +..o.. Aug 2004 1,499i
 
Canon 10D..+ +..o.. Feb 2003 1,999i
 
Nikon D70..+ +..o.. Jan 2004 999i
 
Olympus E-62088/10072/1004.5/5o5/5 Feb 2009 699i
 
Olympus E-52087/100+ +4.5/54/54.5/5 May 2008 699i
 
Olympus E-41086/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Mar 2007 699i
 
Olympus E-40085/100..4/5..4/5 Sep 2006 699i
 
Olympus E-50076/100+ +...... Sep 2005 599i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon 300D:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-510:
Check Ebay offers

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.

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    Specifications: Canon 300D vs Olympus E-510

    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 300D Olympus E-510
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date August 2003 March 2007
    Launch Price USD 899 USD 799
    Sensor Specs Canon 300D Olympus E-510
    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 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3072 x 2048 pixels 3648 x 2736 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.38 μm 4.74 μm
    Pixel Density 1.84 MP/cm2 4.44 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC TruePic III
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 55 52
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.0 21.2
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.8 10.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 544 442
    Screen Specs Canon 300D Olympus E-510
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.55x 0.46x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 1.8inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 118k dots 215k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 300D Olympus E-510
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2.5 shutter flaps/s 3 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 300D Olympus E-510
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 1.1 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 300D Olympus E-510
    Battery Type BP-511 BLM-1
    Battery Life (CIPA)400 shots per charge750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 142 x 99 x 72 mm
    (5.6 x 3.9 x 2.8 in)
    136 x 92 x 68 mm
    (5.4 x 3.6 x 2.7 in)
    Camera Weight 649 g (22.9 oz) 538 g (19.0 oz)

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