Canon RP vs Olympus E-3
The Canon EOS RP and the Olympus E-3 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2019 and October 2007. The RP is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the E-3 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a full frame (RP) and a Four Thirds (E-3) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 26 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 EOS RP and the Olympus E-3? 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 RP and the Olympus E-3. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size 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-3 is considerably larger (46 percent) than the Canon RP. Moreover, the E-3 is substantially heavier (81 percent) than the RP. It is noteworthy in this context that the E-3 is splash and dust-proof, while the RP does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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.
Concerning battery life, the RP gets 250 shots out of its LP-E17 battery, while the E-3 can take 750 images on a single charge of its BLM-1 power pack. The power pack in the RP 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 RP||133 mm||85 mm||70 mm||485 g||250||n||Feb 2019||1,299|
|2.||Olympus E-3||142 mm||116 mm||75 mm||876 g||750||Y||Oct 2007||1,699|
|3.||Canon 850D||131 mm||103 mm||76 mm||515 g||800||n||Feb 2020||749|
|4.||Canon 250D||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||449 g||1070||n||Apr 2019||599|
|5.||Canon 2000D||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||475 g||500||n||Feb 2018||449|
|6.||Canon R||139 mm||98 mm||84 mm||660 g||370||Y||Sep 2018||2,299|
|7.||Canon 77D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899|
|8.||Canon 200D||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 750D||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749|
|11.||Canon 760D||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|12.||Olympus E-5||142 mm||117 mm||75 mm||873 g||750||Y||Sep 2010||1,699|
|13.||Olympus E-30||142 mm||108 mm||75 mm||701 g||750||n||Nov 2008||1,299|
|14.||Olympus E-520||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||535 g||750||n||May 2008||699|
|15.||Olympus E-510||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||538 g||750||n||Mar 2007||799|
|16.||Olympus E-1||141 mm||104 mm||81 mm||738 g||750||Y||Jun 2003||1,699|
|17.||Sony NEX-7||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||400 g||430||n||Aug 2011||1,349|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 RP was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 24 percent) than the E-3, 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 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon RP features a full frame sensor and the Olympus E-3 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-3 is 74 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 2.0. The sensor in the RP has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-3 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 26MP, the RP offers a higher resolution than the E-3 (10MP), but the RP nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.76μm versus 4.74μm for the E-3) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the RP is a much more recent model (by 11 years and 4 months) than the E-3, 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 RP implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RP for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 31.2 x 20.8 inches or 79.2 x 52.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 25 x 16.6 inches or 63.4 x 42.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20.8 x 13.9 inches or 52.8 x 35.2 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-3 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 RP has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS RP has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 40000, which can be extended to ISO 50-102400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus E-3 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (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 RP provides substantially higher image quality than the E-3, with an overall score that is 29 points higher. This advantage is based on 2.7 bits higher color depth, 1.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2.4 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|1.||Canon RP||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||4K/30p||24.3||11.9||2977||85|
|2.||Olympus E-3||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.6||10.5||571||56|
|6.||Canon R||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.5||13.5||2742||89|
|12.||Olympus E-5||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.6||10.5||519||56|
|13.||Olympus E-30||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.4||530||55|
|14.||Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55|
|15.||Olympus E-510||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.2||10.0||442||52|
|16.||Olympus E-1||Four Thirds||4.9||2560||1920||none||20.0||9.7||-145||44|
|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 RP indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the E-3 does not. The highest resolution format that the RP can use is 4K/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the RP has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), while the E-3 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the RP has a higher magnification than the one of the E-3 (0.70x vs 0.58x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon RP and Olympus E-3 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon RP||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||n||n|
|2.||Olympus E-3||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon 850D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.5||Y||n|
|4.||Canon 250D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|5.||Canon 2000D||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|6.||Canon R||3690||Y||3.2 / 2100||swivel||Y||1/8000s||8.0||n||n|
|7.||Canon 77D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|8.||Canon 200D||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 750D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|11.||Canon 760D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|12.||Olympus E-5||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||Y|
|13.||Olympus E-30||optical||Y||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||Y|
|14.||Olympus E-520||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||Y|
|15.||Olympus E-510||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Olympus E-1||optical||Y||1.8 / 134||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|17.||Sony NEX-7||2359||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The RP has a touchscreen, while the E-3 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.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 RP 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 RP writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the E-3 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-3 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the RP 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 EOS RP and Olympus E-3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon RP||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|2.||Olympus E-3||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 850D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon 250D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Canon 2000D||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon R||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|7.||Canon 77D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon 200D||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 750D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Canon 760D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Olympus E-5||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Olympus E-30||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Olympus E-520||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Olympus E-510||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Olympus E-1||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony NEX-7||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the RP offers wifi support, while the E-3 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Olympus E-3 (unlike the RP) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The RP is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the E-3 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the E-3 was succeeded by the Olympus E-5. 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 how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon RP and the Olympus E-3? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS RP:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (26 vs 10MP) with a 64% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (29 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (2.7 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.4 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (2.4 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 4K/30p movies.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.58x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 230k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (133x85mm vs 142x116mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 391g or 45 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (24 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 11 years and 4 months of technical progress since the E-3 launch.
Advantages of the Olympus E-3:
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (750 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- 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 October 2007).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the RP is the clear winner of the match-up (21 : 10 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 RP and the Olympus E-3 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the RP or the E-3. 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 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 RP||4/5||+||4/5||..||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2019||1,299|
|2.||Olympus E-3||..||88/100||..||+ +||o||4/5||Oct 2007||1,699|
|3.||Canon 850D||4/5||+||3/5||80/100||4/5||3.5/5||Feb 2020||749|
|4.||Canon 250D||..||o||4.5/5||79/100||4/5||4/5||Apr 2019||599|
|5.||Canon 2000D||..||o||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||449|
|6.||Canon R||4/5||o||4/5||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2018||2,299|
|7.||Canon 77D||4.5/5||..||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899|
|8.||Canon 200D||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 750D||5/5||..||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|11.||Canon 760D||5/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|12.||Olympus E-5||4/5||..||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,699|
|13.||Olympus E-30||..||..||..||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2008||1,299|
|14.||Olympus E-520||..||87/100||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2008||699|
|15.||Olympus E-510||..||89/100||..||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||799|
|16.||Olympus E-1||..||..||..||+||o||..||Jun 2003||1,699|
|17.||Sony NEX-7||5/5||+ +||..||81/100||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2011||1,349|
|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.
Specifications: Canon RP vs Olympus E-3
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 RP||Olympus E-3|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon RF mount lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2019||October 2007|
|Launch Price||USD 1,299||USD 1,699|
|Sensor Specs||Canon RP||Olympus E-3|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.9 x 24.0 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||861.6 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.2 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||26 Megapixels||10 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6240 x 4160 pixels||3648 x 2736 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.76 μm||4.74 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.01 MP/cm2||4.44 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 40,000 ISO||100 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 102,400 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 8||TruePic III|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||85||56|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.3||21.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.9||10.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2977||571|
|Screen Specs||Canon RP||Olympus E-3|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.5inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Swivel screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon RP||Olympus E-3|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||150 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF or XD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon RP||Olympus E-3|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||no HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Canon RP||Olympus E-3|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||250 shots per charge||750 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
133 x 85 x 70 mm
(5.2 x 3.3 x 2.8 in)
142 x 116 x 75 mm
(5.6 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||485 g (17.1 oz)||876 g (30.9 oz)|
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