Canon RP vs Olympus E-PL3
The Canon EOS RP and the Olympus PEN E-PL3 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2019 and June 2011. Both the Canon RP and the E-PL3 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on a full frame (Canon RP) and a Four Thirds (E-PL3) 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-PL3? 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-PL3. 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 E-PL3 can be obtained in four different colors (black, silver, red, 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-PL3 is considerably smaller (38 percent) than the Canon RP. Moreover, the E-PL3 is substantially lighter (35 percent) than the Canon RP. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Canon RP nor the E-PL3 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-PL3 can take 300 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 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, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Canon RP||5.2 in||3.3 in||2.8 in||17.1 oz||250||n||Feb 2019||1,299|
|Olympus E-PL3||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.5 in||11.0 oz||300||n||Jun 2011||599|
|Canon T8i||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||18.2 oz||800||n||Feb 2020||749|
|Canon SL3||4.8 in||3.7 in||2.8 in||15.8 oz||1070||n||Apr 2019||599|
|Canon T7||5.1 in||4.0 in||3.1 in||16.8 oz||500||n||Feb 2018||449|
|Canon R||5.5 in||3.9 in||3.3 in||23.3 oz||370||Y||Sep 2018||2,299|
|Canon 77D||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||19.0 oz||600||n||Feb 2017||899|
|Canon SL2||4.8 in||3.7 in||2.8 in||16.0 oz||650||n||Jun 2017||549|
|Canon T7i||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||18.8 oz||600||n||Feb 2017||749|
|Canon M5||4.6 in||3.5 in||2.4 in||15.1 oz||295||n||Sep 2016||979|
|Canon T6i||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.1 in||19.6 oz||440||n||Feb 2015||749|
|Leica TL2||5.3 in||2.7 in||1.3 in||14.1 oz||250||n||Jul 2017||1,950|
|Olympus E-PL5||4.4 in||2.5 in||1.5 in||11.5 oz||360||n||Sep 2012||599|
|Olympus E-P3||4.8 in||2.7 in||1.3 in||13.0 oz||330||n||Jun 2011||799|
|Olympus E-PL2||4.5 in||2.8 in||1.7 in||12.8 oz||280||n||Jan 2011||599|
|Olympus E-PM1||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.3 in||9.3 oz||330||n||Jun 2011||499|
|Olympus E-PL1||4.5 in||2.8 in||1.7 in||11.8 oz||290||n||Feb 2010||599|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
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-PL3 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 54 percent) than the Canon RP, 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 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 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-PL3 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-PL3 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-PL3 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-PL3 (12.2MP), but the Canon RP nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.74μm versus 4.29μm for the E-PL3) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the Canon RP is a much more recent model (by 7 years and 7 months) than the E-PL3, 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-PL3 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-PL3 are ISO 200 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Canon RP||Full Frame||26.2||6240||4160||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52|
|Canon R||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.5||13.5||2742||89|
|Olympus E-PL5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||889||72|
|Olympus E-P3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.8||10.1||536||51|
|Olympus E-PL2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.2||573||55|
|Olympus E-PM1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||21.0||10.3||499||52|
|Olympus E-PL1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.1||487||54|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the Canon RP provides a higher video resolution than the E-PL3. 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-PL3 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the E-PL3 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-2. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon RP, the Olympus E-PL3, and comparable cameras.
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The Canon RP has a touchscreen, while the E-PL3 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.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the Canon RP and the E-PL3 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-PL3 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 RP and Olympus PEN E-PL3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
It is notable that the Canon RP has a microphone port, which is missing on the E-PL3. 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-PL3 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the E-PL3 was succeeded by the Olympus E-PL5. 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 RP or the Olympus E-PL3 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? 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 (26.2 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 460k 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.
- 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 Ultra High Speed (UHS-II) SDXC cards.
- More modern: Reflects 7 years and 7 months of technical progress since the E-PL3 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Olympus PEN E-PL3:
- More compact: Is smaller (110x64mm vs 133x85mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 172g or 35 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (300 versus 250) 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 (54 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 2011).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Canon RP is the clear winner of the match-up (19 : 6 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 RP and the Olympus E-PL3 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the Canon RP or the E-PL3. 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 expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
|Canon RP||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2019||1,299|
|Olympus E-PL3||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||..||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|Canon T8i||+||80/100||4/5||..||3.5/5||Feb 2020||749|
|Canon SL3||o||79/100||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2019||599|
|Canon T7||o||..||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||449|
|Canon R||o||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Sep 2018||2,299|
|Canon 77D||..||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899|
|Canon SL2||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549|
|Canon T7i||..||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Feb 2017||749|
|Canon M5||+||82/100||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979|
|Canon T6i||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|Leica TL2||..||..||4/5||..||4/5||Jul 2017||1,950|
|Olympus E-PL5||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599|
|Olympus E-P3||83/100||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||799|
|Olympus E-PL2||83/100||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||599|
|Olympus E-PM1||86/100||71/100||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Jun 2011||499|
|Olympus E-PL1||86/100||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon RP vs Canon SX730
- Canon RP vs Nikon D200
- Canon RP vs Nikon D5500
- Canon RP vs Olympus E-300
- Canon RP vs Panasonic G1
- Canon RP vs Sony A7C
- Canon SX730 vs Olympus E-PL3
- Leica C-LUX vs Olympus E-PL3
- Leica M Typ 240 vs Olympus E-PL3
- Nikon 1 J4 vs Olympus E-PL3
- Nikon 1 V1 vs Olympus E-PL3
- Olympus E-PL3 vs Sony A7R
Specifications: Canon RP vs Olympus E-PL3
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-PL3|
|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 599|
|Sensor Specs||Canon RP||Olympus E-PL3|
|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)||..||52|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||20.9|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||499|
|Screen Specs||Canon RP||Olympus E-PL3|
|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||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon RP||Olympus E-PL3|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||5.5 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||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-II||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon RP||Olympus E-PL3|
|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-PL3|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||250 shots per charge||300 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)
110 x 64 x 37 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||485 g (17.1 oz)||313 g (11.0 oz)|
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