Canon G16 vs Olympus E-PM2
The Canon PowerShot G16 and the Olympus PEN E-PM2 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2013 and September 2012. The G16 is a fixed lens compact, while the E-PM2 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (G16) and a Four Thirds (E-PM2) 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.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot G16 and the Olympus PEN E-PM2? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon G16 and the Olympus E-PM2 is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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-PM2 can be obtained in four different colors (black, silver, red, white), 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-PM2 is notably smaller (15 percent) than the Canon G16. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G16 nor the E-PM2 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-PM2 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-PM2 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||4.3 in||3.0 in||1.6 in||12.6 oz||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|Olympus E-PM2||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.3 in||9.5 oz||360||n||Sep 2012||499|
|Canon G1 X Mark II||4.6 in||2.9 in||2.6 in||19.5 oz||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|Canon SL1||4.6 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||14.4 oz||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|Canon G1 X||4.6 in||3.2 in||2.6 in||18.8 oz||250||n||Jan 2012||799|
|Canon G15||4.2 in||3.0 in||1.6 in||12.4 oz||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|Canon M||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||10.5 oz||230||n||Jul 2012||599|
|Canon G12||4.4 in||3.0 in||1.9 in||14.1 oz||370||n||Sep 2010||499|
|Fujifilm X30||4.7 in||2.8 in||2.4 in||14.9 oz||470||n||Aug 2014||599|
|Fujifilm X20||4.6 in||2.8 in||2.2 in||12.5 oz||270||n||Jan 2013||599|
|Nikon P7800||4.7 in||3.1 in||2.0 in||14.1 oz||350||n||Sep 2013||549|
|Olympus E-M10 II||4.7 in||3.3 in||1.9 in||13.8 oz||320||n||Aug 2015||649|
|Olympus E-P5||4.8 in||2.7 in||1.5 in||14.8 oz||330||n||May 2013||999|
|Olympus E-PL6||4.4 in||2.5 in||1.5 in||11.5 oz||360||n||May 2013||599|
|Olympus E-PL5||4.4 in||2.5 in||1.5 in||11.5 oz||360||n||Sep 2012||599|
|Olympus E-PM1||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.3 in||9.3 oz||330||n||Jun 2011||499|
|Panasonic LX7||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.8 in||10.5 oz||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.
(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 obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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. 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-PM2 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-PM2 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-PM2 offers a higher resolution than the G16 (12MP), but the E-PM2 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 11 months) than the E-PM2, 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-PM2 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the E-PM2 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon G16 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches 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 PEN E-PM2 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 E-PM2 offers substantially better image quality than the G16 (overall score 18 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.7 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2 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.
|Olympus E-PM2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.2||932||72|
|Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|Canon G1 X||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
|Olympus E-M10 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73|
|Olympus E-P5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.4||895||72|
|Olympus E-PL6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Olympus E-PL5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||889||72|
|Olympus E-PM1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||21.0||10.3||499||52|
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-PM2. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the G16 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-PM2 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the E-PM2 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-4. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon G16 and Olympus E-PM2 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2||Y||Y|
|Canon G1 X||optical||n||3.0||922||Swivel||n||1/4000s||1.9||Y||Y|
|Olympus E-M10 II||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The G16 has one, while the E-PM2 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-PM2 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 PEN E-PM2 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Canon G1 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Olympus E-M10 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the G16 offers wifi support, while the E-PM2 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-PM2 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the E-PM2 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? Is the Canon G16 better than the Olympus E-PM2 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Canon PowerShot G16:
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 460k 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-PM2 requires a separate lens.
- 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 modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 11 months after the E-PM2).
Reasons to prefer the Olympus PEN E-PM2:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (15.9 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 15%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (18 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.7 bits more color depth).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (2 stops ISO advantage).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 2.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- More compact: Is smaller (110x64mm vs 109x76mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- 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 E-PM2 comes out slightly ahead of the G16 (9 : 8 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon G16 and the Olympus E-PM2 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 comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the G16 or the E-PM2. 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.
|Canon G16||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|Olympus E-PM2||..||77/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|Canon G1 X Mark II||+||77/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799|
|Canon SL1||+||78/100||4/5||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|Canon G1 X||+||76/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||799|
|Canon G15||+||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|Canon M||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599|
|Canon G12||+||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||499|
|Fujifilm X30||..||76/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2014||599|
|Fujifilm X20||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||..||5/5||Jan 2013||599|
|Nikon P7800||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||549|
|Olympus E-M10 II||+ +||80/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Aug 2015||649|
|Olympus E-P5||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||May 2013||999|
|Olympus E-PL6||..||..||..||..||..||May 2013||599|
|Olympus E-PL5||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599|
|Olympus E-PM1||86/100||71/100||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Jun 2011||499|
|Panasonic LX7||+ +||75/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||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. 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 make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
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Specifications: Canon G16 vs Olympus E-PM2
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-PM2|
|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||September 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 549||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Canon G16||Olympus E-PM2|
|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||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||TruePic VI|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||54||72|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.0||22.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.7||12.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||230||932|
|Screen Specs||Canon G16||Olympus E-PM2|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||80%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon G16||Olympus E-PM2|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||2.2 shutter flaps/s||8 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-PM2|
|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-PM2|
|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)
110 x 64 x 34 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||356 g (12.6 oz)||269 g (9.5 oz)|
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