Canon G1 X versus Olympus PEN-F
The Canon PowerShot G1 X and the Olympus PEN-F are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2012 and January 2016. The G1X 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) and a Four Thirds sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 14.2 megapixel, whereas the Olympus provides 20.2 MP.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon G1 X and the Olympus PEN-F is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the G1X – represents 100 percent 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 smaller (5 percent) than the Canon G1 X. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G1X nor the PEN-F are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G1X 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 comparisons there.
|Camera Body Specifications
|Canon G1 X (⇒ rgt)||117 mm||81 mm||65 mm||534 g||250||no||2012||799||discont.||check|
|Olympus PEN-F (⇒ lft)||125 mm||72 mm||37 mm||427 g||330||no||2016||1,199||latest||check|
|Canon T6i (⇒ lft | rgt)||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||no||2015||749||discont.||check|
|Canon T6s (⇒ lft | rgt)||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||no||2015||849||discont.||check|
|Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||no||2014||799||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 T4i (⇒ lft | rgt)||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||no||2012||849||discont.||check|
|Canon T3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||no||2011||449||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 GM1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||99 mm||55 mm||30 mm||204 g||230||no||2013||749||discont.||check|
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt)||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||no||2015||999||discont.||check|
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The G1X 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.
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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better 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 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 14.2 MP of the G1X. 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 4.30μm for the G1X). However, it should be noted that the PEN-F is much more recent (by 4 years) than the G1X, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. 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, 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).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 (overall score 14 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.4 bits higher color depth, 1.6 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.5 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Canon G1 X (⇒ rgt)||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
|Olympus PEN-F (⇒ lft)||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||23.1||12.4||894||74|
|Canon T6i (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||22.7||12.0||919||71|
|Canon T6s (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/30p||22.6||12.0||915||70|
|Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|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 T4i (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.7||11.2||722||62|
|Canon T3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||12.2||4272||2848||720/30p||21.9||11.0||755||62|
|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 GM1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||22.3||11.7||660||66|
|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. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the PEN-F provides a faster frame rate than the G1X. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/24p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the PEN-F has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), while the G1X has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon G1 X and Olympus PEN-F along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Canon G1 X (⇒ rgt)||optical||no||3.0||922||Swivel||no||4000||1.9||7||YES|
|Olympus PEN-F (⇒ lft)||2360||no||3.0||1037||swivel||YES||8000||10.0||no||YES|
|Canon T6i (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||4000||5.0||12||no|
|Canon T6s (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||4000||5.0||12||no|
|Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||4000||5.2||6.8||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 T4i (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3||1040||swivel||YES||4000||5.0||13||no|
|Canon T3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||2.7||230||fixed||no||4000||3.0||9.2||no|
|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 GM1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1036||fixed||YES||500||5.0||4||no|
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt)||2359||no||3.0||1228||tilting||no||2000||16.0||10.2||YES|
The PEN-F is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the G1X has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on ebay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the G1X was succeeded by the Canon G1X Mark II.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon G1 X or the Olympus PEN-F – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Canon PowerShot G1 X:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- 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 available for much longer (launched in January 2012).
Arguments in favor of the Olympus PEN-F:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20.2 vs 14.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 19%.
- 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 (14 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.4 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 (0.5 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p vs 1080/24p).
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 922k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 1.9 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 250) out of a single battery charge.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years of technical progress since the G1X launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the PEN-F is the clear winner of the contest (18 : 6 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.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the G1X or the PEN-F handle or 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 where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known 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 (⇒ rgt)||79/100 Rec||76/100 Silver||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||2012||799||discont.||check|
|Olympus PEN-F (⇒ lft)||-||82/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||2016||1,199||latest||check|
|Canon T6i (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2015||749||discont.||check|
|Canon T6s (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||77/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2015||849||discont.||check|
|Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||77/100 Silver||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||2014||799||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 T4i (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||77/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2012||849||discont.||check|
|Canon T3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||80/100||69/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||2011||449||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 GM1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||78/100 Gold||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2013||749||discont.||check|
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||85/100 Gold||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2015||999||discont.||check|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please send me an email, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.
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