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Canon G15 vs Olympus E-P1

The Canon PowerShot G15 and the Olympus PEN E-P1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2012 and June 2009. The G15 is a fixed lens compact, while the E-P1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (G15) and a Four Thirds (E-P1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12 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.

Headline Specifications
Canon G15 versus Olympus E-P1
Canon G15 Olympus E-P1
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
28-140mm f/1.8-2.8 Micro Four Thirds lenses
12 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor 12.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/24p Video 720/30p Video
ISO 80-12,800 ISO 100-6,400
Optical viewfinder No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 922k dots 3.0 LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2.1 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
Lens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
350 shots per battery charge300 shots per battery charge
107 x 76 x 40 mm, 352 g 121 x 70 x 36 mm, 355 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot G15 and the Olympus PEN E-P1? 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.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon G15 and the Olympus E-P1. 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The E-P1 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, white), while the G15 is only available in black.

Size Canon G15 vs Olympus E-P1
Compare G15 versus E-P1 top
Comparison G15 or 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 larger (4 percent) than the Canon G15. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G15 nor the E-P1 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G15 has a lens built 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 compare the optics available for the E-P1 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the G15 gets 350 shots out of its NB-10L battery, while the E-P1 can take 300 images on a single charge of its BLS-1 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon G15 107 mm 76 mm 40 mm 352 g 350 n Sep 2012 499i
 
Olympus E-P1 121 mm 70 mm 36 mm 355 g 300 n Jun 2009 799i
 
Canon SX60 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549i
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
 
Canon S120 100 mm 59 mm 29 mm 217 g 230 n Aug 2013 449i
 
Canon SX50 123 mm 87 mm 106 mm 595 g 315 n Sep 2012 429i
 
Canon G12 112 mm 76 mm 48 mm 401 g 370 n Sep 2010 499i
 
Fujifilm X20 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 353 g 270 n Jan 2013 599i
 
Fujifilm X10 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 350 g 270 n Sep 2011 599i
 
Nikon P7800 119 mm 78 mm 50 mm 399 g 350 n Sep 2013 549i
 
Olympus E-P3 122 mm 69 mm 34 mm 369 g 330 n Jun 2011 799i
 
Olympus E-PL1 115 mm 72 mm 42 mm 334 g 290 n Feb 2010 599i
 
Olympus E-620 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 521 g 500 n Feb 2009 699i
 
Olympus E-P2 121 mm 70 mm 36 mm 355 g 300 n Nov 2009 799i
 
Olympus E-520 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 535 g 750 n May 2008 699i
 
Panasonic LX7 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Jul 2012 499i
 
Panasonic FZ150 124 mm 82 mm 92 mm 528 g 410 n Aug 2011 499i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The G15 was launched at a lower price than the E-P1, despite having a lens built 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.

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 G15 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Olympus E-P1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-P1 is 423 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.6 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Canon G15 and Olympus E-P1 sensor measures

With 12.2MP, the E-P1 offers a higher resolution than the G15 (12MP), but the E-P1 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.29μm versus 1.89μm for the G15) due to its larger sensor. However, the G15 is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 3 months) than the E-P1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The Canon PowerShot G15 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus PEN E-P1 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

G15 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. Of the two cameras under consideration, the E-P1 has a markedly higher DXO score than the G15 (overall score 9 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 1.5 bits higher color depth, 1.1 EV of lower dynamic range, and 1.7 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.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546
 
Olympus E-P1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.453655
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
 
Canon S120 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.311.924656
 
Canon SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947
 
Canon G12 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/24p20.411.216147
 
Fujifilm X20 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
 
Fujifilm X10 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.511.324550
 
Nikon P7800 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p21.211.720054
 
Olympus E-P3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.810.153651
 
Olympus E-PL1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.148754
 
Olympus E-620 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.353655
 
Olympus E-P2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.450556
 
Olympus E-520 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.410.454855
 
Panasonic LX7 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p20.711.714750
 
Panasonic FZ150 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.410.913240

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the G15 provides a higher video resolution than the E-P1. It can shoot video footage at 1080/24p, while the Olympus is limited to 720/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the G15 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-P1 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 G15, the Olympus E-P1, and comparable cameras.

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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)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Canon G15optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y
 
Olympus E-P1none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n Y
 
Canon SX60922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
 
Canon S120none n 3.0 922 fixed Y 1/2000s 12.1 Y Y
 
Canon SX50202 n 3.0 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y
 
Canon G12optical n 2.8 461 swivel n 1/4000s 1.1 Y Y
 
Fujifilm X20optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
 
Fujifilm X10optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Nikon P7800921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-P3optional n 3.0 614 fixed Y 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-PL1optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-620optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-P2optional n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n Y
 
Olympus E-520optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y Y
 
Panasonic LX7optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y
 
Panasonic FZ150202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The G15 has one, while the E-P1 does not. While the built-in flash of the G15 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The G15 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the E-P1 uses SDHC cards.

Connectivity comparison

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 G15 and Olympus PEN E-P1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Canon G15Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-P1Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Canon SX60YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
 
Canon S120-stereomono--mini2.0Y--
 
Canon SX50Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon G12Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Fujifilm X20Ystereomono--micro2.0---
 
Fujifilm X10Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon P7800YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-P3Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-PL1Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-620Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-P2Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-520Y-----2.0---
 
Panasonic LX7Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic FZ150Ystereo---mini2.0---

Both the G15 and the E-P1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-P1 was replaced by the Olympus E-P2, while the G15 was followed by the Canon G16. 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.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Canon G15 better than the Olympus E-P1 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot G15:

  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.1 EV of extra DR).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/24p vs 720/30p).
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 230k dots).
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the E-P1 requires a separate lens.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the E-P1).
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (350 versus 300) on a single battery charge.
  • 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 built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 3 months of technical progress since the E-P1 launch.

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Arguments in favor of the Olympus PEN E-P1:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (9 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.5 bits more color depth).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.7 stops ISO advantage).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2.1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 2009).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the G15 is the clear winner of the match-up (10 : 6 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.

G15 10:06 E-P1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon G15 and the Olympus E-P1 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the G15 or the E-P1 perform in practice. 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.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon G15+76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
 
Olympus E-P1+66/1004/54/54.5/5 Jun 2009 799i
 
Canon SX60+ +75/1004/5..4.5/5 Sep 2014 549i
 
Canon G16+..4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
 
Canon S120+ +..4.5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2013 449i
 
Canon SX50+ +72/1004.5/5..4.5/5 Sep 2012 429i
 
Canon G12+73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2010 499i
 
Fujifilm X20+ +77/1004.5/5..5/5 Jan 2013 599i
 
Fujifilm X10..76/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2011 599i
 
Nikon P7800....4/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 549i
 
Olympus E-P383/10074/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2011 799i
 
Olympus E-PL186/10069/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2010 599i
 
Olympus E-62088/10072/1004.5/5o5/5 Feb 2009 699i
 
Olympus E-P2+69/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2009 799i
 
Olympus E-52087/100+ +4.5/54/54.5/5 May 2008 699i
 
Panasonic LX7+ +75/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2012 499i
 
Panasonic FZ150+ +76/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2011 499i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, 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.

Canon G15:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-P1:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon G15 vs Olympus E-P1

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Canon G15 Olympus E-P1
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 28-140mm f/1.8-2.8 Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date September 2012 June 2009
    Launch Price USD 499 USD 799
    Sensor Specs Canon G15 Olympus E-P1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/1.7" Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 7.6 x 5.7 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 43.32 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 9.5 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 4.6x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 12 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4000 x 3000 pixels 4032 x 3024 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.89 μm 4.29 μm
    Pixel Density 27.70 MP/cm2 5.42 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/24p Video 720/30p Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 12,800 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 5 TruePic V
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 46 55
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 19.9 21.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.5 10.4
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 165 536
    Screen Specs Canon G15 Olympus E-P1
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 80%
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon G15 Olympus E-P1
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2.1 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationLens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon G15 Olympus E-P1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon G15 Olympus E-P1
    Battery Type NB-10L BLS-1
    Battery Life (CIPA)350 shots per charge300 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 107 x 76 x 40 mm
    (4.2 x 3.0 x 1.6 in)
    121 x 70 x 36 mm
    (4.8 x 2.8 x 1.4 in)
    Camera Weight 352 g (12.4 oz) 355 g (12.5 oz)

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