Canon G1 X Mark II versus Olympus PEN-F
The Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II and the Olympus PEN-F are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2014 and January 2016. The G1X Mark II is a fixed lens compact, while the PEN-F is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an 1.5-inch (G1X Mark II) and a Four Thirds (PEN-F) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 13 megapixel, whereas the Olympus provides 20.2 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 PEN-F
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon G1 X Mark II and the Olympus PEN-F. 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. 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 side – the G1X Mark II – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus PEN-F is somewhat larger (5 percent) than the Canon G1 X Mark II. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G1X Mark II nor the PEN-F 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 PEN-F 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 PEN-F and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
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
|Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ rgt)||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||no||2014||799||latest||check|
|Olympus PEN-F (⇒ lft)||125 mm||72 mm||37 mm||427 g||330||no||2016||1,199||latest||check|
|Canon XC10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||125 mm||102 mm||122 mm||1040 g||..||no||2015||2,499||discont.||check|
|Canon T6s (⇒ lft | rgt)||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||no||2015||849||discont.||check|
|Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||no||2015||799||latest||check|
|Canon SX60 (⇒ lft | rgt)||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||no||2014||549||latest||check|
|Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||no||2014||699||discont.||check|
|Canon G16 (⇒ lft | rgt)||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||no||2013||549||latest||check|
|Canon G1 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||117 mm||81 mm||65 mm||534 g||250||no||2012||799||discont.||check|
|Canon T1i (⇒ lft | rgt)||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||no||2009||799||discont.||check|
|Canon XSi (⇒ lft | rgt)||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||no||2008||799||discont.||check|
|Olympus E-M1 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||134 mm||91 mm||67 mm||574 g||440||YES||2016||1,999||latest||check|
|Olympus E-M10 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||120 mm||83 mm||47 mm||390 g||320||no||2015||799||discont.||check|
|Olympus E-M5 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||124 mm||85 mm||45 mm||469 g||310||YES||2015||1,099||latest||check|
|Olympus E-M10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||119 mm||82 mm||46 mm||396 g||320||no||2014||699||discont.||check|
|Panasonic LX100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||115 mm||66 mm||55 mm||393 g||300||no||2014||899||latest||check|
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt)||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||no||2015||999||discont.||check|
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 G1X Mark II was launched at a lower price than the PEN-F, despite having a lens build in. 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 G1 X Mark II vs Olympus PEN-F
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 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 PEN-F a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the PEN-F 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.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the PEN-F offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixel, compared with 13 MP of the G1X Mark II. 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 3.34μm versus 4.49μm for the G1X Mark II). However, it should be noted that the PEN-F is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 11 months) than the G1X Mark II, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the PEN-F has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
Unlike the G1X Mark II, the PEN-F has the capacity to capture high quality composite images (40MP) by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).
For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the PEN-F offers substantially better image quality than the G1X Mark II (overall score 16 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.6 bits higher color depth, 1.6 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.6 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.
|Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ rgt)||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|Olympus PEN-F (⇒ lft)||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||23.1||12.4||894||74|
|Canon XC10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||12.0||4000||3000||4K/30p||-||-||-||-|
|Canon T6s (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/30p||22.6||12.0||915||70|
|Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||-||-||-||-|
|Canon SX60 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1/2.3||14.2||4608||3072||1080/60p||19.2||10.8||127||39|
|Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|Canon G16 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1/1.7||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||21.0||11.7||230||54|
|Canon G1 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
|Canon T1i (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||15.1||4752||3168||1080/20p||21.7||11.5||663||63|
|Canon XSi (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||12.2||4272||2848||no||21.9||10.8||692||61|
|Olympus E-M1 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.7||12.8||1312||80|
|Olympus E-M10 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73|
|Olympus E-M5 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73|
|Olympus E-M10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||884||72|
|Panasonic LX100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||12.7||4112||3088||4K/30p||22.3||12.5||553||67|
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the PEN-F provides a faster frame rate than the G1X Mark II. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/30p.
Feature comparison: Canon G1 X Mark II vs Olympus PEN-F
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the PEN-F has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the G1X Mark II relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon G1 X Mark II, the Olympus PEN-F, and comparable cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ rgt)||no||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||4000||5.2||6.8||YES|
|Olympus PEN-F (⇒ lft)||2360||no||3.0||1037||swivel||YES||8000||10.0||no||YES|
|Canon XC10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1030||tilting||YES||2000||3.8||no||YES|
|Canon T6s (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||4000||5.0||12||no|
|Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||2360||no||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||2000||5.9||7||YES|
|Canon SX60 (⇒ lft | rgt)||922||no||3.0||922||swivel||no||2000||6.4||5.5||YES|
|Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||2000||6.5||7||YES|
|Canon G16 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||922||fixed||no||4000||2.2||7||YES|
|Canon G1 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||922||Swivel||no||4000||1.9||7||YES|
|Canon T1i (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||920||fixed||no||4000||3.4||13||no|
|Canon XSi (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||230||fixed||no||4000||3.5||13||no|
|Olympus E-M1 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||2360||no||3.0||1037||swivel||YES||8000||18.0||no||YES|
|Olympus E-M10 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||2360||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||4000||8.0||5.8||YES|
|Olympus E-M5 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||2360||no||3.0||1037||swivel||YES||8000||10.0||no||YES|
|Olympus E-M10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1440||no||3.0||1037||tilting||YES||4000||8.0||5.8||YES|
|Panasonic LX100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2764||no||3.0||921||fixed||no||4000||11.0||no||YES|
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt)||2359||no||3.0||1228||tilting||no||2000||16.0||10.2||YES|
Both the G1X Mark II and the PEN-F are current models that good online retailers will have in stock. You can check the latest prices, for example, at amazon. The G1X Mark II replaced the earlier Canon G1 X, while the PEN-F does not have a direct predecessor.
Review summary: Canon G1 X Mark II vs Olympus PEN-F
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon G1 X Mark II and the Olympus PEN-F? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens build-in, whereas the PEN-F requires a separate lens.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a build-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2014).
Reasons to prefer the Olympus PEN-F:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20.2 vs 13MP), which boosts linear resolution by 25%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (16 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.6 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.6 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.6 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (330 versus 240) out of a single battery charge.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 11 months) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the PEN-F is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 5 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.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the G1X Mark II or the PEN-F. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. 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. The full reviews are available, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.
|Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ rgt)||Rec||77/100 Silver||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||2014||799||latest||check|
|Olympus PEN-F (⇒ lft)||-||82/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||2016||1,199||latest||check|
|Canon XC10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||80/100||-||-||-||2015||2,499||discont.||check|
|Canon T6s (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||77/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2015||849||discont.||check|
|Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||78/100 Silver||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||2015||799||latest||check|
|Canon SX60 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||75/100||4/5||-||4.5/5||2014||549||latest||check|
|Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||77/100 Silver||4.5/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||2014||699||discont.||check|
|Canon G16 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2013||549||latest||check|
|Canon G1 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||79/100 Rec||76/100 Silver||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||2012||799||discont.||check|
|Canon T1i (⇒ lft | rgt)||88/100 HiRec||74/100 HiRec||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2009||799||discont.||check|
|Canon XSi (⇒ lft | rgt)||88/100 HiRec||HiRec||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||2008||799||discont.||check|
|Olympus E-M1 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||85/100 Gold||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2016||1,999||latest||check|
|Olympus E-M10 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||80/100 Silver||5/5||5/5||5/5||2015||799||discont.||check|
|Olympus E-M5 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||81/100 Silver||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||2015||1,099||latest||check|
|Olympus E-M10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||80/100 Gold||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||2014||699||discont.||check|
|Panasonic LX100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||85/100 Gold||5/5||4/5||5/5||2014||899||latest||check|
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||85/100 Gold||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2015||999||discont.||check|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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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. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, kindly get in touch, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.
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