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Canon G1 X Mark II versus Olympus E-P1

The Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II and the Olympus PEN E-P1 are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2014 and June 2009. The G1X Mark II is a fixed lens compact, while the E-P1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an 1.5-inch (G1X Mark II) and a Four Thirds (E-P1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 13 megapixel, whereas the Olympus provides 12.2 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 G1 X Mark II vs Olympus E-P1

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon G1 X Mark II and the Olympus E-P1 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 size dimensions 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 side – the G1X Mark II – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Canon G1 X Mark II vs Olympus E-P1
Compare G1X Mark II versus E-P1 top
Compare G1X Mark II and E-P1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-P1 is somewhat smaller (1 percent) than the Canon G1 X Mark II. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G1X Mark II nor the E-P1 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G1X Mark II has a lens build in, whereas the E-P1 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can find an overview of optics for the E-P1 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the G1X Mark II gets 240 shots out of its NB-12L battery, while the E-P1 can take 300 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 G1 X Mark II» 4.6 in 2.9 in 2.6 in 19.5 oz 240 n Feb 2014 799 i i Canon G1 X Mark II
Olympus E-P1« 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.4 in 12.5 oz 300 n Jun 2009 799- i Olympus E-P1
Canon G5 X« » 4.4 in 3.0 in 1.7 in 12.5 oz 210 n Oct 2015 799 i i Canon G5 X
Canon T6i« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 440 n Feb 2015 749- i Canon T6i
Canon T6s« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.9 oz 440 n Feb 2015 849- i Canon T6s
Canon XC10« » 4.9 in 4.0 in 4.8 in 36.7 oz .. n Apr 2015 2,499- i Canon XC10
Canon SX60« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 4.5 in 22.9 oz 340 n Sep 2014 549- i Canon SX60
Canon G16« » 4.3 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.6 oz 360 n Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
Canon G1 X« » 4.6 in 3.2 in 2.6 in 18.8 oz 250 n Jan 2012 799- i Canon G1 X
Canon T1i« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.3 oz 400 n Mar 2009 799- i Canon T1i
Canon XSi« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.5 oz 500 n Jan 2008 799- i Canon XSi
Olympus E-P3« » 4.8 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.0 oz 330 n Jun 2011 799- i Olympus E-P3
Olympus E-PL1« » 4.5 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 11.8 oz 290 n Feb 2010 599- i Olympus E-PL1
Olympus E-620« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.4 in 18.4 oz 500 n Feb 2009 699- i Olympus E-620
Olympus E-P2« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.4 in 12.5 oz 300 n Nov 2009 799- i Olympus E-P2
Olympus E-520« » 5.4 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 18.9 oz 750 n May 2008 699- i Olympus E-520
Panasonic LX100« » 4.5 in 2.6 in 2.2 in 13.9 oz 300 n Sep 2014 899 i i Panasonic LX100

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. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon G1 X Mark II vs Olympus E-P1

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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon G1 X Mark II features an 1.5-inch sensor and the Olympus E-P1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-P1 is 14 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.85 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Canon G1 X Mark II and Olympus E-P1 sensor measures

With 13MP, the G1X Mark II offers a slightly higher resolution than the E-P1 (12.2MP), but the G1X Mark II nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.49μm versus 4.29μm for the E-P1) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the G1X Mark II is a somewhat more recent model (by 4 years and 7 months) than the E-P1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

G1X Mark II versus E-P1 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 image quality. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar 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 G1 X Mark II» 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158Canon G1 X Mark II
Olympus E-P1« Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.453655Olympus E-P1
Canon G5 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----Canon G5 X
Canon T6i« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p22.712.091971Canon T6i
Canon T6s« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570Canon T6s
Canon XC10« » 1-inch 12.0 4000 30004K/30p----Canon XC10
Canon SX60« » 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739Canon SX60
Canon G16« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054Canon G16
Canon G1 X« » 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460Canon G1 X
Canon T1i« » APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363Canon T1i
Canon XSi« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2848-21.910.869261Canon XSi
Olympus E-P3« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.810.153651Olympus E-P3
Olympus E-PL1« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.148754Olympus E-PL1
Olympus E-620« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.310.353655Olympus E-620
Olympus E-P2« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.450556Olympus E-P2
Olympus E-520« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.410.454855Olympus E-520
Panasonic LX100« » Four Thirds 12.7 4112 30884K/30p22.312.555367Panasonic LX100

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 G1X Mark II provides a higher video resolution than the E-P1. It can shoot video footage at 1080/30p, while the Olympus is limited to 720/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon G1 X Mark II vs Olympus E-P1

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The G1X Mark II and the E-P1 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. That said, the G1X Mark II can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF-DC1. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon G1 X Mark II and Olympus E-P1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

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 G1 X Mark II»- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 5.2 Y Y Canon G1 X Mark II
Olympus E-P1«- n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 n Y Olympus E-P1
Canon G5 X« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 2000 5.9 Y Y Canon G5 X
Canon T6i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon T6i
Canon T6s« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon T6s
Canon XC10« »- n 3.0 1030 tilting Y 2000 3.8 n Y Canon XC10
Canon SX60« »922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 2000 6.4 Y Y Canon SX60
Canon G16« »optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 2.2 Y Y Canon G16
Canon G1 X« »optical n 3.0 922 Swivel n 4000 1.9 Y Y Canon G1 X
Canon T1i« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 3.4 Y n Canon T1i
Canon XSi« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y n Canon XSi
Olympus E-P3« »- n 3.0 614 fixed Y 4000 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-P3
Olympus E-PL1« »- n 2.7 230 fixed n 2000 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-PL1
Olympus E-620« »optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 4000 4.0 Y Y Olympus E-620
Olympus E-P2« »- n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 n Y Olympus E-P2
Olympus E-520« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y Y Olympus E-520
Panasonic LX100« »2764 n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 11.0 n Y Panasonic LX100

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The G1X Mark II has one, while the E-P1 does not. While the build-in flash of the G1X Mark II is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The G1X Mark II writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the E-P1 uses SDHC cards.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Canon G1 X Mark II»Ystereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon G1 X Mark II
Olympus E-P1«Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-P1
Canon G5 X« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Canon G5 X
Canon T6i« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon T6i
Canon T6s« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon T6s
Canon XC10« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Canon XC10
Canon SX60« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon SX60
Canon G16« »Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--Canon G16
Canon G1 X« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon G1 X
Canon T1i« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Canon T1i
Canon XSi« »Y----mini2.0---Canon XSi
Olympus E-P3« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-P3
Olympus E-PL1« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-PL1
Olympus E-620« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-620
Olympus E-P2« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-P2
Olympus E-520« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-520
Panasonic LX100« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Panasonic LX100

The G1X Mark II is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the E-P1 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the E-P1 was succeeded by the Olympus E-P2.

Review summary: Canon G1 X Mark II vs Olympus E-P1

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon G1 X Mark II or the Olympus E-P1 – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Advantages of the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II:

  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/30p vs 720/30p).
  • More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 230k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.2 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens build-in, whereas the E-P1 requires a separate lens.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi build in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 7 months of technical progress since the E-P1 launch.

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Arguments in favor of the Olympus PEN E-P1:

  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (300 versus 240) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 2009).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G1X Mark II is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 3 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.

G1X Mark II 11:03 E-P1

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the G1X Mark II and the E-P1 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. This is why expert reviews 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
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon G1 X Mark II»Rec77/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799 i i Canon G1 X Mark II
Olympus E-P1«Rec66/1004/54/54.5/5 Jun 2009 799- i Olympus E-P1
Canon G5 X« »HiRec78/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799 i i Canon G5 X
Canon T6i« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749- i Canon T6i
Canon T6s« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 849- i Canon T6s
Canon XC10« »-80/100--- Apr 2015 2,499- i Canon XC10
Canon SX60« »HiRec75/1004/5-4.5/5 Sep 2014 549- i Canon SX60
Canon G16« »Rec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
Canon G1 X« »Rec76/1004/54/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799- i Canon G1 X
Canon T1i« »HiRec74/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799- i Canon T1i
Canon XSi« »HiRecHiRec4/55/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799- i Canon XSi
Olympus E-P3« »83/10074/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2011 799- i Olympus E-P3
Olympus E-PL1« »86/10069/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2010 599- i Olympus E-PL1
Olympus E-620« »88/10072/1004.5/5rev5/5 Feb 2009 699- i Olympus E-620
Olympus E-P2« »Rec69/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2009 799- i Olympus E-P2
Olympus E-520« »87/100HiRec4.5/54/54.5/5 May 2008 699- i Olympus E-520
Panasonic LX100« »HiRec85/1005/54/55/5 Sep 2014 899 i i Panasonic LX100

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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.

 

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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, kindly get in touch, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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