Canon G3 X vs Olympus XZ-2
The Canon PowerShot G3 X and the Olympus XZ-2 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in June 2015 and September 2012. Both the G3X and the XZ-2 are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on an one-inch (G3X) and a 1/1.7-inch (XZ-2) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 11.8 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 G3 X and the Olympus XZ-2? 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 G3 X and the Olympus XZ-2 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 dimensions 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 XZ-2 is notably smaller (22 percent) than the Canon G3 X. Moreover, the XZ-2 is substantially lighter (53 percent) than the G3X. It is worth mentioning in this context that the G3X is splash and dust resistant, while the XZ-2 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Canon G3 X||123 mm||77 mm||105 mm||733 g||300||Y||Jun 2015||999|
|2.||Olympus XZ-2||113 mm||65 mm||48 mm||346 g||340||n||Sep 2012||599|
|3.||Canon 80D||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199|
|4.||Canon G9 X||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||209 g||220||n||Oct 2015||529|
|5.||Canon 7D II||149 mm||112 mm||78 mm||910 g||670||Y||Sep 2014||1,799|
|6.||Canon 70D||139 mm||104 mm||79 mm||755 g||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199|
|7.||Nikon D7200||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||1110||Y||Mar 2015||1,199|
|8.||Olympus Stylus 1||116 mm||87 mm||57 mm||402 g||410||n||Oct 2013||699|
|9.||Olympus E-PL2||114 mm||72 mm||42 mm||362 g||280||n||Jan 2011||599|
|10.||Olympus E-PL3||110 mm||64 mm||37 mm||313 g||300||n||Jun 2011||599|
|11.||Olympus XZ-1||111 mm||65 mm||42 mm||275 g||320||n||Jan 2011||499|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||n||Jun 2014||899|
|13.||Pentax MX-1||122 mm||61 mm||51 mm||391 g||290||n||Jan 2013||499|
|14.||Sony RX10 III||133 mm||94 mm||127 mm||1051 g||420||Y||Mar 2016||1,499|
|15.||Sony RX100 V||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||299 g||220||n||Oct 2016||999|
|16.||Sony RX10 II||129 mm||88 mm||102 mm||813 g||400||Y||Jun 2015||1,299|
|17.||Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 XZ-2 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 40 percent) than the G3X, which puts it into a different market segment. 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. 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 G3 X features an one-inch sensor and the Olympus XZ-2 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the XZ-2 is 63 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 4.4. The sensor in the G3X has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the XZ-2 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 20MP, the G3X offers a higher resolution than the XZ-2 (11.8MP), but the G3X nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 2.41μm versus 1.91μm for the XZ-2) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the G3X is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 9 months) than the XZ-2, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Canon G3 X implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the G3X for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus XZ-2 are 19.8 x 14.9 inches or 50.4 x 37.8 cm for good quality, 15.9 x 11.9 inches or 40.3 x 30.2 cm for very good quality, and 13.2 x 9.9 inches or 33.6 x 25.2 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon PowerShot G3 X has a native sensitivity range from ISO 125 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 125-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus XZ-2 are ISO 100 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
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 review, the G3X provides substantially higher image quality than the XZ-2, with an overall score that is 14 points higher. This advantage is based on 1 bits higher color depth, 1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.3 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.
| DXO |
|1.||Canon G3 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.4||12.3||521||63|
|4.||Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|5.||Canon 7D II||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||11.8||1082||70|
|8.||Olympus Stylus 1||1/1.7||11.8||3968||2976||1080/30p||20.7||11.6||179||51|
|9.||Olympus E-PL2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.2||573||55|
|10.||Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52|
|14.||Sony RX10 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.1||12.6||472||70|
|15.||Sony RX100 V||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.4||586||70|
|16.||Sony RX10 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.0||12.6||531||70|
|17.||Sony RX100 IV||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 G3X provides a higher frame rate than the XZ-2. 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. The G3X and the XZ-2 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. However, optional viewfinders – the EVF-DC1 for the G3X and the VF-2 for the XZ-2 – are available as accessories. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon G3 X and Olympus XZ-2 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon G3 X||optional||n||3.2||1620||tilting||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon 7D II||optical||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||Y||n|
|8.||Olympus Stylus 1||1440||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||7.0||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony RX10 III||2359||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||14.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony RX100 V||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony RX10 II||2359||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/3200s||14.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y|
The Olympus XZ-2 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.
Both the G3X and the XZ-2 have zoom lenses built in. The G3X has a 24-600mm f/2.8-5.6 optic and the XZ-2 offers a 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Canon provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Olympus. The XZ-2 offers the faster maximum aperture.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the G3X and the XZ-2 write their files to SDXC cards. The G3X supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the XZ-2 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
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 G3 X and Olympus XZ-2 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Canon G3 X||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon G9 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon 7D II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Olympus Stylus 1||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|14.||Sony RX10 III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Sony RX100 V||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony RX10 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the G3X has a microphone port, which is missing on the XZ-2. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
The G3X is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the XZ-2 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the XZ-2 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 is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon G3 X or the Olympus XZ-2 – 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 G3 X:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (20 vs 11.8MP) with a 33% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (14 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.3 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1620k vs 920k dots).
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.9 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
- More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 9 months of technical progress since the XZ-2 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Olympus XZ-2:
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.8 vs f/2.8).
- More compact: Is smaller (113x65mm vs 123x77mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 387g or 53 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (340 versus 300) out of a single battery charge.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (40 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2012).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G3X is the clear winner of the match-up (18 : 7 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 G3 X and the Olympus XZ-2 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Travel-Zoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
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 G3X or the XZ-2 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 provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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 G3 X||3.5/5||+||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||999|
|2.||Olympus XZ-2||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599|
|3.||Canon 80D||4/5||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199|
|4.||Canon G9 X||3.5/5||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529|
|5.||Canon 7D II||4.5/5||+||84/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||1,799|
|6.||Canon 70D||5/5||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199|
|7.||Nikon D7200||4/5||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2015||1,199|
|8.||Olympus Stylus 1||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||699|
|9.||Olympus E-PL2||3/5||83/100||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||599|
|10.||Olympus E-PL3||3/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|11.||Olympus XZ-1||4/5||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||499|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000||4/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899|
|13.||Pentax MX-1||3/5||..||74/100||4/5||4/5||Jan 2013||499|
|14.||Sony RX10 III||5/5||+||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2016||1,499|
|15.||Sony RX100 V||4.5/5||+ +||83/100||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2016||999|
|16.||Sony RX10 II||5/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||1,299|
|17.||Sony RX100 IV||4.5/5||+ +||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|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. 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.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? 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.
Specifications: Canon G3 X vs Olympus XZ-2
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 G3 X||Olympus XZ-2|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||24-600mm f/2.8-5.6||28-112mm f/1.8-2.5|
|Launch Date||June 2015||September 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 999||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Canon G3 X||Olympus XZ-2|
|Sensor Format||1" Sensor||1/1.7" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8 mm||7.6 x 5.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||116.16 mm2||43.32 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||15.9 mm||9.5 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20 Megapixels||11.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5472 x 3648 pixels||3968 x 2976 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.41 μm||1.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||17.18 MP/cm2||27.26 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||125 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||125 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||TruePic VI|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||63||49|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.4||20.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.3||11.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||521||216|
|Screen Specs||Canon G3 X||Olympus XZ-2|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1620k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon G3 X||Olympus XZ-2|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||5.9 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon G3 X||Olympus XZ-2|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Canon G3 X||Olympus XZ-2|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||300 shots per charge||340 shots per charge|
123 x 77 x 105 mm
(4.8 x 3.0 x 4.1 in)
113 x 65 x 48 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.9 in)
|Camera Weight||733 g (25.9 oz)||346 g (12.2 oz)|
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