Canon G1 X Mark II vs Olympus XZ-2
The Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II and the Olympus XZ-2 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2014 and September 2012. Both the G1X Mark II and the XZ-2 are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on an 1.5-inch (G1X Mark II) and a 1/1.7-inch (XZ-2) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 13 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 11.8 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 XZ-2? 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.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon G1 X Mark II and the Olympus XZ-2. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus XZ-2 is notably smaller (14 percent) than the Canon G1 X Mark II. Moreover, the XZ-2 is substantially lighter (37 percent) than the G1X Mark II. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G1X Mark II nor the XZ-2 are weather-sealed.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon G1 X Mark II||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|2.||Olympus XZ-2||113 mm||65 mm||48 mm||346 g||340||n||Sep 2012||599|
|3.||Canon T6s||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 T1i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|10.||Canon XSi||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-PL2||114 mm||72 mm||42 mm||362 g||280||n||Jan 2011||599|
|13.||Olympus E-PL3||110 mm||64 mm||37 mm||313 g||300||n||Jun 2011||599|
|14.||Olympus XZ-1||111 mm||65 mm||42 mm||275 g||320||n||Jan 2011||499|
|15.||Panasonic LX100||115 mm||66 mm||55 mm||393 g||300||n||Sep 2014||899|
|16.||Pentax MX-1||122 mm||61 mm||51 mm||391 g||290||n||Jan 2013||499|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The XZ-2 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 25 percent) than the G1X Mark II, 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon G1 X Mark II features an 1.5-inch sensor and the Olympus XZ-2 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the XZ-2 is 84 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.85 and 4.4. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
With 13MP, the G1X Mark II offers a higher resolution than the XZ-2 (11.8MP), but the G1X Mark II nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.49μm versus 1.91μm for the XZ-2) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the G1X Mark II is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 4 months) than the XZ-2, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Canon G1 X Mark II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the G1X Mark II for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20.8 x 15.6 inches or 52.8 x 39.6 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16.6 x 12.5 inches or 42.3 x 31.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.9 x 10.4 inches or 35.2 x 26.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus XZ-2 are 19.8 x 14.9 inches or 50.4 x 37.8 cm for good quality, 15.9 x 11.9 inches or 40.3 x 30.2 cm for very good quality, and 13.2 x 9.9 inches or 33.6 x 25.2 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800. The Olympus XZ-2 offers exactly the same ISO settings.
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. Of the two cameras under review, the G1X Mark II has a notably higher overall DXO score than the XZ-2 (overall score 9 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 1.1 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV of lower dynamic range, and 1.4 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|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-PL2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.2||573||55|
|13.||Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52|
|15.||Panasonic LX100||Four Thirds||12.7||4112||3088||4K/30p||22.3||12.5||553||67|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The G1X Mark II and the XZ-2 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 XZ-2 – are available as accessories. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon G1 X Mark II and Olympus XZ-2 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|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|
The Canon G1 X Mark II and the Olympus XZ-2 both have 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.
Both the G1X Mark II and the XZ-2 have zoom lenses built in. The G1X Mark II has a 24-120mm f/2.0-3.9 optic and the XZ-2 offers a 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Canon provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Olympus. The XZ-2 offers the faster maximum aperture.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the G1X Mark II and the XZ-2 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 XZ-2 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 XZ-2 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 XZ-2 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 XZ-2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G1X Mark II was replaced by the Canon G1 X Mark III, while the XZ-2 does not have a direct successor. 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 what is the bottom line? Is the Canon G1 X Mark II better than the Olympus XZ-2 or vice versa? 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:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (13 vs 11.8MP) with a 5% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (9 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.1 bits more color depth).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.4 stops ISO advantage).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 920k dots).
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
- More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
- 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: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 4 months after the XZ-2).
Advantages of the Olympus XZ-2:
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.8 vs f/2.0).
- More compact: Is smaller (113x65mm vs 116x74mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 207g or 37 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (340 versus 240) out of a single battery charge.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (25 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2012).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the G1X Mark II is the clear winner of the match-up (13 : 6 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon G1 X Mark II and the Olympus XZ-2 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom 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 remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the G1X Mark II or the XZ-2 perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
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 XZ-2||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599|
|3.||Canon T6s||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 T1i||..||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|10.||Canon XSi||..||+ +||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799|
|11.||Olympus Stylus 1||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||699|
|12.||Olympus E-PL2||3/5||83/100||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||599|
|13.||Olympus E-PL3||3/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|14.||Olympus XZ-1||4/5||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||499|
|15.||Panasonic LX100||5/5||+ +||85/100||5/5||5/5||Sep 2014||899|
|16.||Pentax MX-1||3/5||..||74/100||4/5||4/5||Jan 2013||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
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Specifications: Canon G1 X Mark II vs Olympus XZ-2
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 XZ-2|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||24-120mm f/2.0-3.9||28-112mm f/1.8-2.5|
|Launch Date||February 2014||September 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Canon G1 X Mark II||Olympus XZ-2|
|Sensor Format||1.5" Sensor||1/1.7" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||18.7 x 14.0 mm||7.6 x 5.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||261.8 mm2||43.32 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||23.4 mm||9.5 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||13 Megapixels||11.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4160 x 3120 pixels||3968 x 2976 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.49 μm||1.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.96 MP/cm2||27.26 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||TruePic VI|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||58||49|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.5||20.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.8||11.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||581||216|
|Screen Specs||Canon G1 X Mark II||Olympus XZ-2|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon G1 X Mark II||Olympus XZ-2|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||5.2 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in 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 XZ-2|
|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 XZ-2|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||240 shots per charge||340 shots per charge|
116 x 74 x 66 mm
(4.6 x 2.9 x 2.6 in)
113 x 65 x 48 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.9 in)
|Camera Weight||553 g (19.5 oz)||346 g (12.2 oz)|
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