Canon G16 vs Olympus E-M5
The Canon PowerShot G16 and the Olympus OM-D E-M5 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2013 and February 2012. The G16 is a fixed lens compact, while the E-M5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (G16) and a Four Thirds (E-M5) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 15.9 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Canon G16||Olympus E-M5|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|28-140mm f/1.8-2.8||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|12 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor||15.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|1080/60p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO 80-12800||ISO 200-25600|
|Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)|
|3.0" LCD, 922k dots||3.0" LCD, 610k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Tilting touchscreen|
|2.2 shutter flaps per second||9 shutter flaps per second|
|Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|360 shots per battery charge||360 shots per battery charge|
|109 x 76 x 40 mm, 356 g||122 x 89 x 43 mm, 425 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot G16 and the Olympus OM-D E-M5? 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-M5. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. 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.
The E-M5 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the G16 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-M5 is notably larger (31 percent) than the Canon G16. It is noteworthy in this context that the E-M5 is splash and dust-proof, while the G16 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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-M5 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-M5 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
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.
|Canon G16»||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549||Canon G16|
|Olympus E-M5«||122 mm||89 mm||43 mm||425 g||360||Y||Feb 2012||1,299||Olympus E-M5|
|Canon G1 X Mark II« »||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||n||Feb 2014||799||Canon G1 X Mark II|
|Canon 100D« »||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549||Canon 100D|
|Canon G1 X« »||117 mm||81 mm||65 mm||534 g||250||n||Jan 2012||799||Canon G1 X|
|Canon G15« »||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499||Canon G15|
|Canon M« »||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599||Canon M|
|Canon G12« »||112 mm||76 mm||48 mm||401 g||370||n||Sep 2010||499||Canon G12|
|Fujifilm X30« »||119 mm||72 mm||60 mm||423 g||470||n||Aug 2014||599||Fujifilm X30|
|Fujifilm X20« »||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||353 g||270||n||Jan 2013||599||Fujifilm X20|
|Nikon P7800« »||119 mm||78 mm||50 mm||399 g||350||n||Sep 2013||549||Nikon P7800|
|Olympus E-M5 II« »||124 mm||85 mm||45 mm||469 g||310||Y||Feb 2015||1,099||Olympus E-M5 II|
|Olympus E-M10 II« »||120 mm||83 mm||47 mm||390 g||320||n||Aug 2015||649||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-M10« »||119 mm||82 mm||46 mm||396 g||320||n||Jan 2014||699||Olympus E-M10|
|Olympus E-M1« »||130 mm||94 mm||63 mm||497 g||350||Y||Sep 2013||1,399||Olympus E-M1|
|Olympus E-P5« »||122 mm||69 mm||37 mm||420 g||330||n||May 2013||999||Olympus E-P5|
|Panasonic LX7« »||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||499||Panasonic LX7|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The G16 was launched at a lower price than the E-M5, 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 G16 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Olympus E-M5 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-M5 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.
With 15.9MP, the E-M5 offers a higher resolution than the G16 (12MP), but the E-M5 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.76μm versus 1.87μm for the G16) due to its larger sensor. However, the G16 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 6 months) than the E-M5, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Olympus E-M5 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the E-M5 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23 x 17.3 inch or 58.5 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 13.8 inch or 46.8 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.4 x 11.5 inch or 39 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon G16 are 20 x 15 inch or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inch or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inch or 33.9 x 25.4 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 OM-D E-M5 are ISO 200 to ISO 25600 (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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the E-M5 offers substantially better image quality than the G16 (overall score 17 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.8 bits higher color depth, 0.6 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.8 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 G16||1/1.7||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||21.0||11.7||230||54||Canon G16|
|Olympus E-M5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||22.8||12.3||826||71||Olympus E-M5|
|Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58||Canon G1 X Mark II|
|Canon 100D||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.8||11.3||843||63||Canon 100D|
|Canon G1 X||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60||Canon G1 X|
|Canon G15||1/1.7||12.0||4000||3000||1080/24p||19.9||11.5||165||46||Canon G15|
|Canon M||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.2||827||65||Canon M|
|Canon G12||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||720/24p||20.4||11.2||161||47||Canon G12|
|Fujifilm X30||2/3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X30|
|Fujifilm X20||2/3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X20|
|Nikon P7800||1/1.7||12.0||4000||3000||1080/30p||21.2||11.7||200||54||Nikon P7800|
|Olympus E-M5 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73||Olympus E-M5 II|
|Olympus E-M10 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-M10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||884||72||Olympus E-M10|
|Olympus E-M1||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||23.0||12.7||757||73||Olympus E-M1|
|Olympus E-P5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.4||895||72||Olympus E-P5|
|Panasonic LX7||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||1080/60p||20.7||11.7||147||50||Panasonic LX7|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the G16 provides a higher frame rate than the E-M5. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the E-M5 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), while the G16 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon G16, the Olympus E-M5, and comparable cameras.
|Canon G16||optical||n||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.2||Y||Y||Canon G16|
|Olympus E-M5||1440||n||3.0||610||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0||n||Y||Olympus E-M5|
|Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2||Y||Y||Canon G1 X Mark II|
|Canon 100D||optical||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.9||Y||n||Canon 100D|
|Canon G1 X||optical||n||3.0||922||Swivel||n||1/4000s||1.9||Y||Y||Canon G1 X|
|Canon G15||optical||n||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.1||Y||Y||Canon G15|
|Canon M||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.3||n||n||Canon M|
|Canon G12||optical||n||2.8||461||swivel||n||1/4000s||1.1||Y||Y||Canon G12|
|Fujifilm X30||2360||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y||Fujifilm X30|
|Fujifilm X20||optical||n||2.8||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y||Fujifilm X20|
|Nikon P7800||921||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y||Nikon P7800|
|Olympus E-M5 II||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y||Olympus E-M5 II|
|Olympus E-M10 II||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-M10||1440||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-M10|
|Olympus E-M1||2360||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y||Olympus E-M1|
|Olympus E-P5||optional||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/8000s||9.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-P5|
|Panasonic LX7||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y||Panasonic LX7|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The G16 has one, while the E-M5 does not. While the built-in flash of the G16 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
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.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the G16 and the E-M5 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
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 OM-D E-M5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon G16||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Canon G16|
|Olympus E-M5||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-M5|
|Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon G1 X Mark II|
|Canon 100D||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 100D|
|Canon G1 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon G1 X|
|Canon G15||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon G15|
|Canon M||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon M|
|Canon G12||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon G12|
|Fujifilm X30||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Fujifilm X30|
|Fujifilm X20||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Fujifilm X20|
|Nikon P7800||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon P7800|
|Olympus E-M5 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-M5 II|
|Olympus E-M10 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-M10||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-M10|
|Olympus E-M1||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-M1|
|Olympus E-P5||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-P5|
|Panasonic LX7||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic LX7|
It is notable that the G16 offers wifi support, while the E-M5 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-M5 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the E-M5 was succeeded by the Olympus E-M5 II. 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 G16 better than the Olympus E-M5 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot G16:
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/60i).
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 610k dots).
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the E-M5 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (109x76mm vs 122x89mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the E-M5).
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- 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: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 6 months after the E-M5).
Reasons to prefer the Olympus OM-D E-M5:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (15.9 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 15%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (17 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.8 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.6 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.8 stops ISO advantage).
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (9 vs 2.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2012).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-M5 comes out slightly ahead of the G16 (12 : 11 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 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 G16 and the Olympus E-M5 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 G16 or the E-M5 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 expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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.
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes 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.
- Canon 5D Mark II vs Olympus E-M5
- Canon G1 X Mark III vs Olympus E-M5 II
- Canon G16 vs Fujifilm X-A5
- Canon G16 vs Sony A900
- Leica S Typ 006 vs Olympus E-M5 II
- Nikon 1 J5 vs Olympus E-M5
- Nikon D2Xs vs Olympus E-M5 II
- Olympus E-3 vs Olympus E-M5
- Olympus E-410 vs Olympus E-M5
- Olympus E-M5 II vs Pentax 645D
- Olympus E-M5 vs Panasonic GF1
- Olympus E-M5 vs YI M1
Specifications: Canon G16 vs Olympus E-M5
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-M5|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||28-140mm f/1.8-2.8||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2013||February 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 549||USD 1299|
|Sensor Specs||Canon G16||Olympus E-M5|
|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||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.87 μm||3.76 μm|
|Pixel Density||28.91 MP/cm2||7.08 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||80-12800 ISO||200-25600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||TruePic VI|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||54||71|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.0||22.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.7||12.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||230||826|
|Screen Specs||Canon G16||Olympus E-M5|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||80%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||610k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon G16||Olympus E-M5|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||No Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||2.2 shutter flaps/s||9 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon G16||Olympus E-M5|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon G16||Olympus E-M5|
|Environmental Sealing||Not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||360 shots per charge||360 shots per charge|
109 x 76 x 40 mm
(4.3 x 3.0 x 1.6 in)
122 x 89 x 43 mm
(4.8 x 3.5 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||356 g (12.6 oz)||425 g (15.0 oz)|
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