Canon RP vs Olympus E-P3
The Canon EOS RP and the Olympus PEN E-P3 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2019 and June 2011. Both the Canon RP and the E-P3 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on a full frame (Canon RP) and a Four Thirds (E-P3) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 26.2 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 RP and the Olympus PEN E-P3? 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-P3. 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The E-P3 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, white), while the Canon RP is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-P3 is notably smaller (26 percent) than the Canon RP. Moreover, the E-P3 is markedly lighter (24 percent) than the Canon RP. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Canon RP nor the E-P3 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.
Concerning battery life, the Canon RP gets 250 shots out of its LP-E17 battery, while the E-P3 can take 330 images on a single charge of its BLS-5 power pack. The power pack in the Canon RP can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
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 RP||133 mm||85 mm||70 mm||485 g||250||n||Feb 2019||1,299|
|2.||Olympus E-P3||122 mm||69 mm||34 mm||369 g||330||n||Jun 2011||799|
|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 4000D||129 mm||102 mm||77 mm||436 g||500||n||Feb 2018||399|
|7.||Canon 200D||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549|
|8.||Canon 800D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||532 g||600||n||Feb 2017||749|
|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.||Leica TL2||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||399 g||250||n||Jul 2017||1,950|
|13.||Olympus E-PL2||114 mm||72 mm||42 mm||362 g||280||n||Jan 2011||599|
|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-P1||121 mm||70 mm||36 mm||355 g||300||n||Jun 2009||799|
|17.||Olympus E-P2||121 mm||70 mm||36 mm||355 g||300||n||Nov 2009||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 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-P3 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 38 percent) than the Canon RP, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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 RP features a full frame sensor and the Olympus E-P3 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-P3 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 Canon RP has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-P3 offers a 4:3 aspect.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
With 26.2MP, the Canon RP offers a higher resolution than the E-P3 (12.2MP), but the Canon RP nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.74μm versus 4.29μm for the E-P3) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the Canon RP is a much more recent model (by 7 years and 7 months) than the E-P3, 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 Canon 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-P3 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 Canon 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 PEN E-P3 are ISO 200 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Canon RP||Full Frame||26.2||6240||4160||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|2.||Olympus E-P3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.8||10.1||536||51|
|13.||Olympus E-PL2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.2||573||55|
|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-P1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.4||536||55|
|17.||Olympus E-P2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.4||505||56|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the Canon RP provides a higher video resolution than the E-P3. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the Canon RP has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-P3 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the E-P3 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-3. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon RP, the Olympus E-P3, and comparable cameras.
One feature that differentiates the E-P3 and the Canon RP is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-P3 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the Canon RP offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.The Canon RP 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-P3 does not have a selfie-screen.
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.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the Canon RP and the E-P3 write their files to SDXC cards. The Canon RP supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the E-P3 can use UHS-I cards (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 RP and Olympus PEN E-P3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
It is notable that the Canon RP has a microphone port, which is missing on the E-P3. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
The Canon RP is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the E-P3 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the E-P3 was succeeded by the Olympus E-P5. 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? Which of the two cameras – the Canon RP or the Olympus E-P3 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS RP:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (26.2 vs 12.2MP) with a 49% 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/30p vs 1080/60i).
- 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.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 614k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- 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 wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More modern: Reflects 7 years and 7 months of technical progress since the E-P3 launch.
Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-P3:
- More compact: Is smaller (122x69mm vs 133x85mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 116g or 24 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (330 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
- 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.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (38 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 2011).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the Canon RP is the clear winner of the match-up (20 : 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 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-P3 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the Canon RP or the E-P3. 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], 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||+||..||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2019||1,299|
|2.||Olympus E-P3||..||83/100||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||799|
|3.||Canon 850D||4/5||+||80/100||4/5||3.5/5||Feb 2020||749|
|4.||Canon 250D||..||o||79/100||4/5||4/5||Apr 2019||599|
|5.||Canon 2000D||..||o||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||449|
|6.||Canon 4000D||..||o||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||399|
|7.||Canon 200D||4/5||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549|
|8.||Canon 800D||4.5/5||..||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||749|
|9.||Canon M5||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.||Leica TL2||3.5/5||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2017||1,950|
|13.||Olympus E-PL2||3/5||83/100||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||599|
|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-P1||..||+||66/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2009||799|
|17.||Olympus E-P2||3/5||+||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Nov 2009||799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. 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 use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Canon RP vs Olympus E-P3
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-P3|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon RF mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2019||June 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 1,299||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Canon RP||Olympus E-P3|
|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||26.2 Megapixels||12.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6240 x 4160 pixels||4032 x 3024 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.74 μm||4.29 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.01 MP/cm2||5.42 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 40,000 ISO||200 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 102,400 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 8||TruePic VI|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||51|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||20.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.1|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||536|
|Screen Specs||Canon RP||Olympus E-P3|
|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||614k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon RP||Olympus E-P3|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-II||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon RP||Olympus E-P3|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro 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|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Canon RP||Olympus E-P3|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||250 shots per charge||330 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)
122 x 69 x 34 mm
(4.8 x 2.7 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||485 g (17.1 oz)||369 g (13.0 oz)|
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