Canon G1 X Mark II vs Olympus E-PL3
The Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II and the Olympus PEN E-PL3 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2014 and June 2011. The G1X Mark II is a fixed lens compact, while the E-PL3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an 1.5-inch (G1X Mark II) and a Four Thirds (E-PL3) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 13 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.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II and the Olympus PEN E-PL3? 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 G1 X Mark II and the Olympus E-PL3 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The E-PL3 can be obtained in four different colors (black, silver, red, white), while the G1X Mark II 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-PL3 is notably smaller (18 percent) than the Canon G1 X Mark II. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G1X Mark II nor the E-PL3 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 built in, whereas the E-PL3 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the E-PL3 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Canon G1 X Mark II||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|2.||Olympus E-PL3||110 mm||64 mm||37 mm||313 g||300||n||Jun 2011||599|
|3.||Canon 760D||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|4.||Canon XC10||125 mm||102 mm||122 mm||1040 g||370||n||Apr 2015||2,499|
|5.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|6.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|7.||Canon S120||100 mm||59 mm||29 mm||217 g||230||n||Aug 2013||449|
|8.||Canon G1 X||117 mm||81 mm||65 mm||534 g||250||n||Jan 2012||799|
|9.||Canon 500D||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|10.||Canon 450D||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799|
|11.||Olympus Stylus 1||116 mm||87 mm||57 mm||402 g||410||n||Oct 2013||699|
|12.||Olympus E-PL5||111 mm||64 mm||38 mm||325 g||360||n||Sep 2012||599|
|13.||Olympus E-P3||122 mm||69 mm||34 mm||369 g||330||n||Jun 2011||799|
|14.||Olympus E-PL2||114 mm||72 mm||42 mm||362 g||280||n||Jan 2011||599|
|15.||Olympus E-PM1||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||265 g||330||n||Jun 2011||499|
|16.||Olympus E-PL1||115 mm||72 mm||42 mm||334 g||290||n||Feb 2010||599|
|17.||Panasonic LX100||115 mm||66 mm||55 mm||393 g||300||n||Sep 2014||899|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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. 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.
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. 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 more expensive and 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-PL3 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-PL3 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.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
With 13MP, the G1X Mark II offers a slightly higher resolution than the E-PL3 (12.2MP), but the G1X Mark II nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.49μm versus 4.29μm for the E-PL3) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the G1X Mark II is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 7 months) than the E-PL3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus PEN E-PL3 are ISO 200 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 review, the G1X Mark II has a notably higher overall DXO score than the E-PL3 (overall score 6 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.6 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.2 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.
| DXO |
|1.||Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|2.||Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52|
|8.||Canon G1 X||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
|11.||Olympus Stylus 1||1/1.7||11.8||3968||2976||1080/30p||20.7||11.6||179||51|
|12.||Olympus E-PL5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||889||72|
|13.||Olympus E-P3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.8||10.1||536||51|
|14.||Olympus E-PL2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.2||573||55|
|15.||Olympus E-PM1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||21.0||10.3||499||52|
|16.||Olympus E-PL1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.1||487||54|
|17.||Panasonic LX100||Four Thirds||12.7||4112||3088||4K/30p||22.3||12.5||553||67|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the E-PL3 provides a faster frame rate than the G1X Mark II. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Canon is limited to 1080/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The G1X Mark II and the E-PL3 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. However, optional viewfinders – the EVF-DC1 for the G1X Mark II and the VF-2 for the E-PL3 – are available as accessories. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon G1 X Mark II and Olympus E-PL3 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon G1 X||optical||n||3.0||922||Swivel||n||1/4000s||1.9||Y||Y|
|11.||Olympus Stylus 1||1440||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||7.0||Y||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The G1X Mark II has one, while the E-PL3 does not. While the built-in flash of the G1X Mark II is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.
The Canon G1 X Mark II has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the G1X Mark II and the E-PL3 write their files to SDXC cards. The G1X Mark II supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the E-PL3 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 PowerShot G1 X Mark II and Olympus PEN E-PL3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Canon G1 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Olympus Stylus 1||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the G1X Mark II offers wifi support, while the E-PL3 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the G1X Mark II and the E-PL3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-PL3 was replaced by the Olympus E-PL5, while the G1X Mark II was followed by the Canon G1 X Mark III. 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 how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon G1 X Mark II and the Olympus E-PL3? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II:
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (6 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 460k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the E-PL3 requires a separate lens.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 7 months of technical progress since the E-PL3 launch.
Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PL3:
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i versus 1080/30p).
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- More compact: Is smaller (110x64mm vs 116x74mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- 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 2011).
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 (10 : 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 G1 X Mark II and the Olympus E-PL3 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the G1X Mark II or the E-PL3. 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Canon G1 X Mark II||3/5||+||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799|
|2.||Olympus E-PL3||3/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|3.||Canon 760D||5/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|4.||Canon XC10||..||..||80/100||..||..||Apr 2015||2,499|
|5.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|6.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|7.||Canon S120||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||449|
|8.||Canon G1 X||5/5||+||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||799|
|9.||Canon 500D||..||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|10.||Canon 450D||..||+ +||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799|
|11.||Olympus Stylus 1||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||699|
|12.||Olympus E-PL5||3/5||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599|
|13.||Olympus E-P3||..||83/100||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||799|
|14.||Olympus E-PL2||3/5||83/100||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||599|
|15.||Olympus E-PM1||..||86/100||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||499|
|16.||Olympus E-PL1||..||86/100||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||599|
|17.||Panasonic LX100||5/5||+ +||85/100||5/5||5/5||Sep 2014||899|
|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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
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Specifications: Canon G1 X Mark II vs Olympus E-PL3
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 G1 X Mark II||Olympus E-PL3|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||24-120mm f/2.0-3.9||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2014||June 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Canon G1 X Mark II||Olympus E-PL3|
|Sensor Format||1.5" Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||18.7 x 14.0 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||261.8 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||23.4 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||13 Megapixels||12.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4160 x 3120 pixels||4032 x 3024 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.49 μm||4.29 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.96 MP/cm2||5.42 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,800 ISO||200 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||Truepic VI|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||58||52|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.5||20.9|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.8||10.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||581||499|
|Screen Specs||Canon G1 X Mark II||Olympus E-PL3|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon G1 X Mark II||Olympus E-PL3|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||5.2 shutter flaps/s||5.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon G1 X Mark II||Olympus E-PL3|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Canon G1 X Mark II||Olympus E-PL3|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||240 shots per charge||300 shots per charge|
116 x 74 x 66 mm
(4.6 x 2.9 x 2.6 in)
110 x 64 x 37 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||553 g (19.5 oz)||313 g (11.0 oz)|
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