Canon G16 vs Olympus E-420
The Canon PowerShot G16 and the Olympus E-420 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2013 and March 2008. The G16 is a fixed lens compact, while the E-420 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (G16) and a Four Thirds (E-420) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 10 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 G16 and the Olympus E-420? 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 G16 and the Olympus E-420. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures 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 E-420 is considerably larger (43 percent) than the Canon G16. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G16 nor the E-420 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G16 has a lens built in, whereas the E-420 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-420 and their specifications in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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 G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|2.||Olympus E-420||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2008||599|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|4.||Canon 100D||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|5.||Canon G1 X||117 mm||81 mm||65 mm||534 g||250||n||Jan 2012||799|
|6.||Canon G15||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|7.||Canon M||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599|
|8.||Canon G12||112 mm||76 mm||48 mm||401 g||370||n||Sep 2010||499|
|9.||Fujifilm X30||119 mm||72 mm||60 mm||423 g||470||n||Aug 2014||599|
|10.||Fujifilm X20||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||353 g||270||n||Jan 2013||599|
|11.||Nikon P7800||119 mm||78 mm||50 mm||399 g||350||n||Sep 2013||549|
|12.||Olympus E-450||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2009||499|
|13.||Olympus E-620||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||521 g||500||n||Feb 2009||699|
|14.||Olympus E-520||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||535 g||750||n||May 2008||699|
|15.||Olympus E-410||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Mar 2007||699|
|16.||Olympus E-400||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Sep 2006||699|
|17.||Panasonic LX7||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The G16 was launched at a lower price than the E-420, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon G16 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Olympus E-420 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-420 is 436 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.65 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon G16 offers a higher resolution of 12 megapixels, compared with 10 MP of the Olympus E-420. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.87μm versus 4.74μm for the E-420). However, it should be noted that the G16 is much more recent (by 5 years and 5 months) than the E-420, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Canon G16 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the G16 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-420 are 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon PowerShot G16 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus E-420 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (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"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|2.||Olympus E-420||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.4||527||56|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|5.||Canon G1 X||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
|12.||Olympus E-450||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.5||512||56|
|13.||Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55|
|14.||Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55|
|15.||Olympus E-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51|
|16.||Olympus E-400||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The G16 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the E-420 does not. The highest resolution format that the G16 can use is 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The G16 and the E-420 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon G16 and Olympus E-420 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon G16||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.2||Y||Y|
|2.||Olympus E-420||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon 100D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.9||Y||n|
|5.||Canon G1 X||optical||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/4000s||1.9||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G15||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.1||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon M||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.3||n||n|
|8.||Canon G12||optical||n||2.8 / 461||swivel||n||1/4000s||1.1||Y||Y|
|9.||Fujifilm X30||2360||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|10.||Fujifilm X20||optical||n||2.8 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|11.||Nikon P7800||921||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|12.||Olympus E-450||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n|
|13.||Olympus E-620||optical||n||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||Y|
|14.||Olympus E-520||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||Y|
|15.||Olympus E-410||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|16.||Olympus E-400||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|17.||Panasonic LX7||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y|
The Canon G16 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.
The G16 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the E-420 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-420 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the G16 only has one slot.
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 G16 and Olympus E-420 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon G16||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|2.||Olympus E-420||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon 100D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Canon G1 X||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon G15||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon M||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon G12||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Fujifilm X30||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|10.||Fujifilm X20||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Nikon P7800||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Olympus E-450||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Olympus E-620||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Olympus E-520||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Olympus E-410||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Olympus E-400||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Panasonic LX7||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the G16 offers wifi support, while the E-420 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
The G16 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the E-420 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the E-420 from Olympus. 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 conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon G16 or the Olympus E-420 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Canon PowerShot G16:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (12 vs 10MP) with a 10% higher linear resolution.
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.3 EV of extra DR).
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/60p movies.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 215k dots).
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the E-420 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (109x76mm vs 130x91mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the E-420).
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 5 years and 5 months of technical progress since the E-420 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Olympus E-420:
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.2 stops ISO advantage).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.5 vs 2.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (500 versus 360) out of a single battery charge.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in March 2008).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G16 is the clear winner of the match-up (13 : 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 before making a camera decision. 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 G16 and the Olympus E-420 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best DSLR 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the G16 and the E-420 in practical situations. 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 table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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 G16||4/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|2.||Olympus E-420||..||85/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2008||599|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||3/5||+||..||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799|
|4.||Canon 100D||4/5||+||..||78/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|5.||Canon G1 X||5/5||+||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||799|
|6.||Canon G15||4/5||+||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|7.||Canon M||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599|
|8.||Canon G12||4/5||+||..||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||499|
|9.||Fujifilm X30||4/5||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2014||599|
|10.||Fujifilm X20||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2013||599|
|11.||Nikon P7800||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||549|
|12.||Olympus E-450||..||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Mar 2009||499|
|13.||Olympus E-620||3/5||88/100||..||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2009||699|
|14.||Olympus E-520||..||87/100||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2008||699|
|15.||Olympus E-410||..||86/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699|
|16.||Olympus E-400||..||85/100||..||..||4/5||4/5||Sep 2006||699|
|17.||Panasonic LX7||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, 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.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Canon G16 vs Olympus E-420
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 G16||Olympus E-420|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||28-140mm f/1.8-2.8||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2013||March 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 549||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Canon G16||Olympus E-420|
|Sensor Format||1/1.7" Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||7.44 x 5.58 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||41.5152 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||9.3 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||10 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||3648 x 2736 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.87 μm||4.74 μm|
|Pixel Density||28.91 MP/cm2||4.44 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||TruePic III|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||54||56|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.0||21.5|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.7||10.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||230||527|
|Screen Specs||Canon G16||Olympus E-420|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||80%||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.7inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||215k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon G16||Olympus E-420|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||2.2 shutter flaps/s||3.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF or XD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon G16||Olympus E-420|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon G16||Olympus E-420|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||360 shots per charge||500 shots per charge|
109 x 76 x 40 mm
(4.3 x 3.0 x 1.6 in)
130 x 91 x 53 mm
(5.1 x 3.6 x 2.1 in)
|Camera Weight||356 g (12.6 oz)||440 g (15.5 oz)|
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