Canon M100 vs Olympus E-PL2
The Canon EOS M100 and the Olympus PEN E-PL2 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2017 and January 2011. Both the M100 and the E-PL2 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an APS-C (M100) and a Four Thirds (E-PL2) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 12.2 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 EOS M100 and the Olympus PEN E-PL2? 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 physical size and weight of the Canon M100 and the Olympus E-PL2 are illustrated 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 M100 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the E-PL2 is available in four color-versions (black, silver, red, white).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-PL2 is notably larger (13 percent) than the Canon M100. Moreover, the E-PL2 is markedly heavier (20 percent) than the M100. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M100 nor the E-PL2 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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 M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499|
|2.||Olympus E-PL2||114 mm||72 mm||42 mm||362 g||280||n||Jan 2011||599|
|3.||Canon M200||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||299 g||315||n||Sep 2019||549|
|4.||Canon M50||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779|
|5.||Canon T7||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||475 g||500||n||Feb 2018||449|
|6.||Canon G9 X Mark II||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||206 g||235||n||Jan 2017||529|
|7.||Canon M6||112 mm||68 mm||45 mm||390 g||295||n||Feb 2017||779|
|8.||Canon SL2||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549|
|9.||Canon M5||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979|
|10.||Canon M3||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679|
|11.||Canon M10||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||301 g||255||n||Oct 2015||499|
|12.||Canon M||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599|
|13.||Olympus E-P3||122 mm||69 mm||34 mm||369 g||330||n||Jun 2011||799|
|14.||Olympus E-PL3||110 mm||64 mm||37 mm||313 g||300||n||Jun 2011||599|
|15.||Olympus E-PL1||115 mm||72 mm||42 mm||334 g||290||n||Feb 2010||599|
|16.||Olympus E-P2||121 mm||70 mm||36 mm||355 g||300||n||Nov 2009||799|
|17.||Panasonic G10||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||388 g||380||n||Mar 2010||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 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 M100 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 17 percent) than the E-PL2, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon M100 features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-PL2 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-PL2 is 32 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 2.0. The sensor in the M100 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-PL2 offers a 4:3 aspect.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
With 24MP, the M100 offers a higher resolution than the E-PL2 (12.2MP), but the M100 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 4.29μm for the E-PL2). However, the M100 is a much more recent model (by 6 years and 7 months) than the E-PL2, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Canon M100 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M100 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-PL2 are 20.2 x 15.1 inches or 51.2 x 38.4 cm for good quality, 16.1 x 12.1 inches or 41 x 30.7 cm for very good quality, and 13.4 x 10.1 inches or 34.1 x 25.6 cm for excellent quality prints.
The M100 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS M100 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus PEN E-PL2 are ISO 200 to ISO 6400 (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 review, the M100 provides substantially higher image quality than the E-PL2, with an overall score that is 23 points higher. This advantage is based on 2.1 bits higher color depth, 2.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|2.||Olympus E-PL2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.2||573||55|
|6.||Canon G9 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.9||12.5||522||65|
|13.||Olympus E-P3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.8||10.1||536||51|
|14.||Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52|
|15.||Olympus E-PL1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.1||487||54|
|16.||Olympus E-P2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.4||505||56|
|17.||Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the M100 provides a higher video resolution than the E-PL2. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Olympus is limited to 720/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The M100 and the E-PL2 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. That said, the E-PL2 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-2. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon M100 and Olympus E-PL2 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon M100||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.1||Y||n|
|2.||Olympus E-PL2||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon M200||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.1||Y||n|
|4.||Canon M50||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n|
|5.||Canon T7||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|6.||Canon G9 X Mark II||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||8.2||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon M6||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0||Y||n|
|8.||Canon SL2||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|9.||Canon M5||2360||n||3.2 / 1620||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0||Y||n|
|10.||Canon M3||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2||Y||n|
|11.||Canon M10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.6||Y||n|
|12.||Canon M||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.3||n||n|
|13.||Olympus E-P3||optional||n||3.0 / 614||fixed||Y||1/4000s||3.0||Y||Y|
|14.||Olympus E-PL3||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||Y|
|15.||Olympus E-PL1||optional||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||3.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Olympus E-P2||optional||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||Y|
|17.||Panasonic G10||202||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The M100 has a touchscreen, while the E-PL2 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The M100 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-PL2 does not have a selfie-screen.
The M100 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the E-PL2 uses SDHC cards. The M100 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the E-PL2 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 EOS M100 and Olympus PEN E-PL2 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon M100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|2.||Olympus E-PL2||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon M200||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon M50||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Canon T7||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon G9 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon M6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon SL2||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon M5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon M3||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Canon M10||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Canon M||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Olympus E-P3||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Olympus E-PL3||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Olympus E-PL1||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Olympus E-P2||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Panasonic G10||Y||mono / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the M100 offers wifi support, while the E-PL2 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the M100 and the E-PL2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-PL2 was replaced by the Olympus E-PL3, while the M100 was followed by the Canon M200. 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 M100 or the Olympus E-PL2 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS M100:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 12.2MP) with a 43% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (23 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (2.1 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (2.7 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.2 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60p vs 720/30p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 460k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in 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 (6.1 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (108x67mm vs 114x72mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 60g or 17 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- 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.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (17 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 6 years and 7 months of technical progress since the E-PL2 launch.
Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PL2:
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in January 2011).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M100 is the clear winner of the match-up (20 : 4 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 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 M100 and the Olympus E-PL2 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing 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 M100 or the E-PL2 perform in practice. 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 following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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 M100||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499|
|2.||Olympus E-PL2||3/5||83/100||..||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||599|
|3.||Canon M200||..||+||3/5||79/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2019||549|
|4.||Canon M50||..||+||4/5||79/100||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779|
|5.||Canon T7||..||o||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||449|
|6.||Canon G9 X Mark II||4/5||..||4/5||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||529|
|7.||Canon M6||..||..||..||80/100||4/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779|
|8.||Canon SL2||4/5||+ +||4/5||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549|
|9.||Canon M5||4/5||+||4/5||82/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979|
|10.||Canon M3||4/5||o||..||75/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679|
|11.||Canon M10||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Oct 2015||499|
|12.||Canon M||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599|
|13.||Olympus E-P3||..||83/100||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||799|
|14.||Olympus E-PL3||3/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|15.||Olympus E-PL1||..||86/100||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||599|
|16.||Olympus E-P2||3/5||+||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Nov 2009||799|
|17.||Panasonic G10||3/5||..||..||70/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2010||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
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? 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. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 760D vs Olympus E-PL2
- Canon G7 X Mark II vs Canon M100
- Canon M100 vs Fujifilm X-A5
- Canon M100 vs Leica S2
- Canon M100 vs Nikon D5200
- Canon M100 vs Nikon D80
- Canon M100 vs Olympus E-450
- Canon M6 Mark II vs Olympus E-PL2
- Leica M10 vs Olympus E-PL2
- Olympus E-PL2 vs Olympus PEN-F
- Olympus E-PL2 vs Panasonic S1R
- Olympus E-PL2 vs Sony RX100 III
Specifications: Canon M100 vs Olympus E-PL2
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 M100||Olympus E-PL2|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF-M mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2017||January 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 499||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Canon M100||Olympus E-PL2|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||12.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||4032 x 3024 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.72 μm||4.29 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.22 MP/cm2||5.42 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||200 - 6,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 7||Truepic V|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||78||55|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.5||21.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.9||10.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1272||573|
|Screen Specs||Canon M100||Olympus E-PL2|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon M100||Olympus E-PL2|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||6.1 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon M100||Olympus E-PL2|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Canon M100||Olympus E-PL2|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||295 shots per charge||280 shots per charge|
108 x 67 x 35 mm
(4.3 x 2.6 x 1.4 in)
114 x 72 x 42 mm
(4.5 x 2.8 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||302 g (10.7 oz)||362 g (12.8 oz)|
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