Canon M50 vs Olympus E-PL8
The Canon EOS M50 and the Olympus PEN E-PL8 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2018 and September 2016. Both the M50 and the E-PL8 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an APS-C (M50) and a Four Thirds (E-PL8) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 24 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 EOS M50 and the Olympus PEN E-PL8? 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 M50 and the Olympus E-PL8. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The M50 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the E-PL8 is available in three color-versions (black, brown, white).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-PL8 is notably smaller (25 percent) than the Canon M50. Moreover, the E-PL8 is markedly lighter (8 percent) than the M50. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M50 nor the E-PL8 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 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 M50||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779||ebay.com|
|2.||Olympus E-PL8||115 mm||67 mm||38 mm||357 g||350||n||Sep 2016||549||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||387 g||305||n||Oct 2020||599||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon G5 X Mark II||111 mm||61 mm||46 mm||340 g||230||n||Jul 2019||899||amazon.com|
|5.||Canon M6 Mark II||120 mm||70 mm||49 mm||408 g||305||n||Aug 2019||849||amazon.com|
|6.||Canon 77D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon M6||112 mm||68 mm||45 mm||390 g||295||n||Feb 2017||779||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon M5||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon G5 X||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||n||Oct 2015||799||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon M3||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679||ebay.com|
|12.||Fujifilm X-E3||121 mm||74 mm||43 mm||337 g||350||n||Sep 2017||899||ebay.com|
|13.||Olympus E-PL9||117 mm||68 mm||39 mm||380 g||350||n||Feb 2018||599||ebay.com|
|14.||Olympus E-M10 III||122 mm||84 mm||50 mm||410 g||330||n||Aug 2017||649||ebay.com|
|15.||Olympus E-M10 II||120 mm||83 mm||47 mm||390 g||320||n||Aug 2015||649||ebay.com|
|16.||Olympus E-PL7||115 mm||67 mm||38 mm||357 g||350||n||Aug 2014||599||ebay.com|
|17.||Olympus E-PL6||111 mm||64 mm||38 mm||325 g||360||n||May 2013||599||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 E-PL8 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 30 percent) than the M50, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon M50 features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-PL8 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-PL8 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 M50 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-PL8 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 24MP, the M50 offers a higher resolution than the E-PL8 (15.9MP), but the M50 has marginally smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 3.76μm for the E-PL8). However, the M50 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 5 months) than the E-PL8, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Canon M50 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M50 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-PL8 are 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The M50 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS M50 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus PEN E-PL8 are ISO 200 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|2.||Olympus E-PL8||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||23.0||12.6||1030||73|
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/24p||24.0||13.6||1939||83|
|4.||Canon G5 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.2||12.4||583||65|
|5.||Canon M6 Mark II||APS-C||32.3||6960||4640||4K/30p||24.0||13.5||1848||83|
|10.||Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.8||11.9||227||61|
|13.||Olympus E-PL9||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.1||12.8||1162||74|
|14.||Olympus E-M10 III||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.1||12.8||1120||74|
|15.||Olympus E-M10 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73|
|16.||Olympus E-PL7||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.4||873||72|
|17.||Olympus E-PL6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.5||12.0||717||68|
|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 have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the M50 provides a higher video resolution than the E-PL8. It can shoot video footage at 4K/24p, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the M50 has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-PL8 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the E-PL8 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-4. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon M50 and Olympus E-PL8 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon M50||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||n|
|2.||Olympus E-PL8||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||n||Y|
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Canon G5 X Mark II||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||30/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon M6 Mark II||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||14.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Canon 77D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Canon M6||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Canon M100||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.1/s||Y||n|
|9.||Canon M5||2360||n||3.2 / 1620||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Canon G5 X||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||5.9/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Canon M3||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2/s||Y||n|
|12.||Fujifilm X-E3||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||n||n|
|13.||Olympus E-PL9||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Olympus E-M10 III||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Olympus E-M10 II||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||Y|
|16.||Olympus E-PL7||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||n||Y|
|17.||Olympus E-PL6||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||n||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The M50 has one, while the E-PL8 does not. While the built-in flash of the M50 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.
The Canon M50 and the Olympus E-PL8 both have 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 M50 and the E-PL8 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 EOS M50 and Olympus PEN E-PL8 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon M50||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|2.||Olympus E-PL8||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon G5 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Canon M6 Mark II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Canon 77D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon M6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon M100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon M5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon G5 X||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Canon M3||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Fujifilm X-E3||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|13.||Olympus E-PL9||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|14.||Olympus E-M10 III||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|15.||Olympus E-M10 II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|16.||Olympus E-PL7||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|17.||Olympus E-PL6||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the M50 has a microphone port, which is missing on the E-PL8. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Both the M50 and the E-PL8 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The E-PL8 was replaced by the Olympus E-PL9, while the M50 was followed by the Canon M50 Mark 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 M50 better than the Olympus E-PL8 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS M50:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 15.9MP) with a 25% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/24p vs 1080/30p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 5 months after the E-PL8).
Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PL8:
- More compact: Is smaller (115x67mm vs 116x88mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (350 versus 235) out of a single battery charge.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (30 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2016).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the M50 is the clear winner of the match-up (14 : 5 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 M50 and the Olympus E-PL8 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 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 M50 or the E-PL8 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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 M50||..||+||4/5||79/100||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779||ebay.com|
|2.||Olympus E-PL8||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2016||549||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||4/5||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||3.5/5||Oct 2020||599||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon G5 X Mark II||4/5||+||4/5||82/100||..||4/5||Jul 2019||899||amazon.com|
|5.||Canon M6 Mark II||..||+||4.5/5||85/100||4/5||4/5||Aug 2019||849||amazon.com|
|6.||Canon 77D||4.5/5||..||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon M6||..||..||..||80/100||4/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon M100||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon M5||4/5||+||4/5||82/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon G5 X||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon M3||4/5||o||..||75/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679||ebay.com|
|12.||Fujifilm X-E3||4.5/5||+||4.5/5||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2017||899||ebay.com|
|13.||Olympus E-PL9||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2018||599||ebay.com|
|14.||Olympus E-M10 III||..||+||5/5||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2017||649||ebay.com|
|15.||Olympus E-M10 II||4.5/5||+ +||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Aug 2015||649||ebay.com|
|16.||Olympus E-PL7||4/5||+||..||..||5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||599||ebay.com|
|17.||Olympus E-PL6||..||..||..||..||..||..||May 2013||599||ebay.com|
|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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods 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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, 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 M50 vs Olympus E-PL8
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 M50||Olympus E-PL8|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF-M mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2018||September 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 779||USD 549|
|Sensor Specs||Canon M50||Olympus E-PL8|
|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||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.72 μm||3.76 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.22 MP/cm2||7.08 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/24p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||200 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 51,200 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 8||TruePic VII|
|Screen Specs||Canon M50||Olympus E-PL8|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon M50||Olympus E-PL8|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||8 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-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 M50||Olympus E-PL8|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Canon M50||Olympus E-PL8|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||235 shots per charge||350 shots per charge|
116 x 88 x 59 mm
(4.6 x 3.5 x 2.3 in)
115 x 67 x 38 mm
(4.5 x 2.6 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||390 g (13.8 oz)||357 g (12.6 oz)|
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