PW

Canon 350D versus Olympus E-420

The Canon EOS 350D (called XT in some regions) and the Olympus E-420 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2005 and March 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (350D) and a Four Thirds (E-420) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 8 megapixel, whereas the Olympus provides 10 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 350D vs Olympus E-420

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 350D and the Olympus E-420 is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button 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 350D – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Canon 350D vs Olympus E-420
Compare 350D versus E-420 top
Compare 350D and E-420 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 350D and the Olympus E-420are of equal size. However, the E-420 is markedly lighter (19 percent) than the 350D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 350D nor the E-420 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 find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (350D) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-420).

Concerning battery life, the 350D gets 400 shots out of its NB-2LH battery, while the E-420 can take 500 images on a single charge of its BLS-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)
Camera
Model
Canon 350D» 5.0 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 19.0 oz 400 n Feb 2005 899- i Canon 350D
Olympus E-420« 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.5 oz 500 n Mar 2008 599- i Olympus E-420
Canon 77D« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 19.0 oz 600 n Feb 2017 899 i i Canon 77D
Canon 750D« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 440 n Feb 2015 749- i Canon 750D
Canon 760D« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.9 oz 440 n Feb 2015 849- i Canon 760D
Canon 650D« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.3 oz 440 n Jun 2012 849- i Canon 650D
Canon 500D« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.3 oz 400 n Mar 2009 799- i Canon 500D
Canon 450D« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.5 oz 500 n Jan 2008 799- i Canon 450D
Canon 30D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.9 in 27.7 oz 750 n Feb 2006 1,399- i Canon 30D
Canon 400D« » 5.0 in 3.3 in 2.6 in 19.6 oz 370 n Aug 2006 799- i Canon 400D
Canon 20D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 700 n Aug 2004 1,499- i Canon 20D
Canon 300D« » 5.6 in 3.9 in 2.8 in 22.9 oz 400 n Aug 2003 899- i Canon 300D
Olympus E-450« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.5 oz 500 n Mar 2009 499- i Olympus E-450
Olympus E-520« » 5.4 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 18.9 oz 750 n May 2008 699- i Olympus E-520
Olympus E-410« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.3 oz 500 n Mar 2007 699- i Olympus E-410
Olympus E-400« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.3 oz 500 n Sep 2006 699- i Olympus E-400
Panasonic L10« » 5.3 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 450 n Aug 2007 599- i Panasonic L10

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 E-420 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 33 percent) than the 350D, 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 350D vs Olympus E-420

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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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 350D features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-420 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-420 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 350D has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-420 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Canon 350D and Olympus E-420 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the E-420 offers a higher resolution of 10 megapixel, compared with 8 MP of the 350D. This megapixel 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 6.41μm for the 350D). However, it should be noted that the E-420 is much more recent (by 3 years) than the 350D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

350D versus E-420 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many 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 review, the 350D has a notably higher overall DXO score than the E-420 (overall score 4 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.3 bits higher color depth, 0.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.3 stops in additional 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 350D» APS-C 8.0 3456 2304-21.810.863760Canon 350D
Olympus E-420« Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.510.452756Olympus E-420
Canon 77D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.397178Canon 77D
Canon 750D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p22.712.091971Canon 750D
Canon 760D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570Canon 760D
Canon 650D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262Canon 650D
Canon 500D« » APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363Canon 500D
Canon 450D« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2848-21.910.869261Canon 450D
Canon 30D« » APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.510.873659Canon 30D
Canon 400D« » APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.066462Canon 400D
Canon 20D« » APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.911.072162Canon 20D
Canon 300D« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.010.854455Canon 300D
Olympus E-450« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.510.551256Olympus E-450
Olympus E-520« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.410.454855Olympus E-520
Olympus E-410« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.110.049451Olympus E-410
Olympus E-400« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-----Olympus E-400
Panasonic L10« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.310.842955Panasonic L10
The E-420 offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The 350D lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison: Canon 350D vs Olympus E-420

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 350D and the E-420 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 350D, the Olympus E-420, and comparable cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

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 350D»optical n 1.8 115 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon 350D
Olympus E-420«optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y n Olympus E-420
Canon 77D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n Canon 77D
Canon 750D« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon 750D
Canon 760D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon 760D
Canon 650D« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon 650D
Canon 500D« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 3.4 Y n Canon 500D
Canon 450D« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y n Canon 450D
Canon 30D« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Canon 30D
Canon 400D« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon 400D
Canon 20D« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Canon 20D
Canon 300D« »optical n 1.8 118 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Canon 300D
Olympus E-450« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y n Olympus E-450
Olympus E-520« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y Y Olympus E-520
Olympus E-410« »optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Olympus E-410
Olympus E-400« »optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Olympus E-400
Panasonic L10« »optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 4000 3.0 Y n Panasonic L10

Both the 350D and the E-420 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 350D was replaced by the Canon 400D, while the E-420 does not have a direct successor.

Review summary: Canon 350D vs Olympus E-420

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 350D and the Olympus E-420? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

ilogo

Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 350D:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (4 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2005).

ilogo

Arguments in favor of the Olympus E-420:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (10 vs 8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.7" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (215k vs 115k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 100g or 19 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (500 versus 400) out of a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (33 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years of technical progress since the 350D launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-420 is the clear winner of the contest (8 : 2 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.

350D 02:08 E-420

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 350D or the E-420 handle or perform in practice. 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 where reviews by experts come in. 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
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon 350D»80/100HiRecrevrev- Feb 2005 899- i Canon 350D
Olympus E-420«85/100HiRec4/5rev4.5/5 Mar 2008 599- i Olympus E-420
Canon 77D« »-82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 899 i i Canon 77D
Canon 750D« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749- i Canon 750D
Canon 760D« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 849- i Canon 760D
Canon 650D« »HiRec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849- i Canon 650D
Canon 500D« »HiRec74/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799- i Canon 500D
Canon 450D« »HiRecHiRec4/55/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799- i Canon 450D
Canon 30D« »HiRecHiRecrevrev- Feb 2006 1,399- i Canon 30D
Canon 400D« »HiRecHiRecrev4.5/54/5 Aug 2006 799- i Canon 400D
Canon 20D« »-HiRec-rev- Aug 2004 1,499- i Canon 20D
Canon 300D« »-HiRec-rev- Aug 2003 899- i Canon 300D
Olympus E-450« »--4/5-4/5 Mar 2009 499- i Olympus E-450
Olympus E-520« »87/100HiRec4.5/54/54.5/5 May 2008 699- i Olympus E-520
Olympus E-410« »86/100HiRec4/5rev4.5/5 Mar 2007 699- i Olympus E-410
Olympus E-400« »85/100-4/5-4/5 Sep 2006 699- i Olympus E-400
Panasonic L10« »85/100Rec3.5/5rev4/5 Aug 2007 599- i Panasonic L10

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.

 

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 make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please send me an email, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

vs

    You are here  »   »