Canon G5 X vs Olympus E-520
The Canon PowerShot G5 X and the Olympus E-520 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in October 2015 and May 2008. The G5X is a fixed lens compact, while the E-520 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an one-inch (G5X) and a Four Thirds (E-520) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20 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 G5 X and the Olympus E-520? 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 G5 X and the Olympus E-520 is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 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 E-520 is considerably larger (47 percent) than the Canon G5 X. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G5X nor the E-520 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G5X has a lens built in, whereas the E-520 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-520 and their specifications in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the G5X gets 210 shots out of its NB-13L battery, while the E-520 can take 750 images on a single charge of its BLM-1 power pack. The power pack in the G5X can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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 G5 X||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||n||Oct 2015||799|
|2.||Olympus E-520||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||535 g||750||n||May 2008||699|
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||111 mm||61 mm||46 mm||340 g||230||n||Jul 2019||899|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark III||105 mm||61 mm||41 mm||304 g||235||n||Jul 2019||749|
|5.||Canon G7 X Mark II||106 mm||61 mm||42 mm||319 g||265||n||Feb 2016||699|
|6.||Canon G9 X||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||209 g||220||n||Oct 2015||529|
|7.||Canon M3||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679|
|8.||Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699|
|9.||Olympus E-600||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||535 g||500||n||Aug 2009||449|
|10.||Olympus E-620||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||521 g||500||n||Feb 2009||699|
|11.||Olympus E-420||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2008||599|
|12.||Olympus E-410||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Mar 2007||699|
|13.||Olympus E-510||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||538 g||750||n||Mar 2007||799|
|14.||Panasonic LX10||106 mm||60 mm||42 mm||310 g||260||n||Sep 2016||699|
|15.||Panasonic FZ1000||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||n||Jun 2014||899|
|16.||Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
|17.||Sony RX100 III||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799|
|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 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. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
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 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon G5 X features an one-inch sensor and the Olympus E-520 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-520 is 94 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 2.0. The sensor in the G5X has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-520 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon G5 X offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixels, compared with 10 MP of the Olympus E-520. 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 2.41μm versus 4.74μm for the E-520). However, it should be noted that the G5X is much more recent (by 7 years and 5 months) than the E-520, 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 G5 X implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the G5X 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 E-520 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 G5 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 E-520 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
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. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.8||11.9||227||61|
|2.||Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55|
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.2||12.4||583||65|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.2||12.4||583||65|
|5.||Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.8||11.9||260||62|
|6.||Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|8.||Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|9.||Olympus E-600||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.5||10.3||541||55|
|10.||Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55|
|11.||Olympus E-420||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.4||527||56|
|12.||Olympus E-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51|
|13.||Olympus E-510||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.2||10.0||442||52|
|16.||Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|17.||Sony RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The G5X indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the E-520 does not. The highest resolution format that the G5X can use is 1080/60p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the G5X has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), while the E-520 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 G5 X, the Olympus E-520, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon G5 X||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|2.||Olympus E-520||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||30||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark III||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||30||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon M3||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2||Y||n|
|8.||Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y|
|9.||Olympus E-600||optical||n||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||Y|
|10.||Olympus E-620||optical||n||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||Y|
|11.||Olympus E-420||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n|
|12.||Olympus E-410||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|13.||Olympus E-510||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||Y|
|14.||Panasonic LX10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Panasonic FZ1000||2359||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0 / 1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The G5X has a touchscreen, while the E-520 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The G5X has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the E-520 does not have a selfie-screen.
The Canon G5 X 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 G5X writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the E-520 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-520 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the G5X 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 G5 X and Olympus E-520 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon G5 X||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|2.||Olympus E-520||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark III||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon G9 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Canon M3||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Canon G7 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Olympus E-600||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Olympus E-620||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Olympus E-420||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Olympus E-410||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Olympus E-510||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Panasonic LX10||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|15.||Panasonic FZ1000||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony RX100 III||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the G5X offers wifi support, while the E-520 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the G5X and the E-520 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G5X was replaced by the Canon G5 X Mark II, while the E-520 does not have a direct successor. 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 G5 X or the Olympus E-520 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot G5 X:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (20 vs 10MP) with a 44% higher linear resolution.
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/60p movies.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- 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 (1040k vs 215k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.9 vs 3.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- 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-520 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (112x76mm vs 136x92mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the E-520).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- 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.
- More modern: Reflects 7 years and 5 months of technical progress since the E-520 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Olympus E-520:
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (750 versus 210) 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 May 2008).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G5X is the clear winner of the match-up (17 : 6 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding 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 G5 X and the Olympus E-520 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 comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the G5X and the E-520 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 why expert reviews are important. 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 G5 X||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799|
|2.||Olympus E-520||..||87/100||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2008||699|
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||4/5||+||4/5||82/100||..||4/5||Jul 2019||899|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark III||..||+ +||4/5||81/100||4/5||..||Jul 2019||749|
|5.||Canon G7 X Mark II||4.5/5||+ +||..||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699|
|6.||Canon G9 X||3.5/5||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529|
|7.||Canon M3||4/5||o||..||75/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679|
|8.||Canon G7 X||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699|
|9.||Olympus E-600||..||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||Aug 2009||449|
|10.||Olympus E-620||3/5||88/100||..||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2009||699|
|11.||Olympus E-420||..||85/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2008||599|
|12.||Olympus E-410||..||86/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699|
|13.||Olympus E-510||..||89/100||..||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||799|
|14.||Panasonic LX10||..||+ +||..||81/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||699|
|15.||Panasonic FZ1000||4/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899|
|16.||Sony RX100 IV||4.5/5||+ +||..||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|17.||Sony RX100 III||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1D vs Olympus E-520
- Canon 60D vs Olympus E-520
- Canon G5 X vs Hasselblad X1D
- Canon G5 X vs Leica M9
- Canon G5 X vs Leica S3
- Canon G5 X vs Panasonic G10
- Canon G5 X vs Panasonic GF7
- Canon G5 X vs Pentax Q
- Hasselblad X1D vs Olympus E-520
- Nikon B700 vs Olympus E-520
- Nikon D50 vs Olympus E-520
- Nikon P1000 vs Olympus E-520
Specifications: Canon G5 X vs Olympus E-520
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 G5 X||Olympus E-520|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||24-100mm f/1.8-2.8||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||October 2015||May 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 699|
|Sensor Specs||Canon G5 X||Olympus E-520|
|Sensor Format||1" Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||116.16 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||15.9 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20 Megapixels||10 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5472 x 3648 pixels||3648 x 2736 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.41 μm||4.74 μm|
|Pixel Density||17.18 MP/cm2||4.44 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||125 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||125 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||TruePic III|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||55|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||21.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||548|
|Screen Specs||Canon G5 X||Olympus E-520|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||95%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.7inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||215k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon G5 X||Olympus E-520|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||5.9 shutter flaps/s||3.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|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 G5 X||Olympus E-520|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Canon G5 X||Olympus E-520|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||210 shots per charge||750 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
112 x 76 x 44 mm
(4.4 x 3.0 x 1.7 in)
136 x 92 x 68 mm
(5.4 x 3.6 x 2.7 in)
|Camera Weight||353 g (12.5 oz)||535 g (18.9 oz)|
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