Canon SL2 vs Olympus E-PL8
The Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (called Canon 200D in some regions) and the Olympus PEN E-PL8 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in June 2017 and September 2016. The SL2 is a DSLR, while the E-PL8 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (SL2) 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 Rebel SL2 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 physical size and weight of the Canon SL2 and the Olympus E-PL8 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The SL2 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 considerably smaller (32 percent) than the Canon SL2. Moreover, the E-PL8 is markedly lighter (21 percent) than the SL2. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SL2 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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (SL2) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-PL8). Mirrorless cameras, such as the E-PL8, have moreover the advantage that they can use many lenses from other systems via adapters, as they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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 SL2||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549|
|2.||Olympus E-PL8||115 mm||67 mm||38 mm||357 g||350||n||Sep 2016||549|
|3.||Canon SL3||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||449 g||1070||n||Apr 2019||599|
|4.||Canon T7||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||475 g||500||n||Feb 2018||449|
|5.||Canon 77D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899|
|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 M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499|
|9.||Canon T7i||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||532 g||600||n||Feb 2017||749|
|10.||Canon M5||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979|
|11.||Canon T6s||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|12.||Canon SL1||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|13.||Olympus E-PL10||117 mm||68 mm||39 mm||380 g||350||n||Oct 2019||599|
|14.||Olympus E-PL9||117 mm||68 mm||39 mm||380 g||350||n||Feb 2018||599|
|15.||Olympus E-M10 III||122 mm||84 mm||50 mm||410 g||330||n||Aug 2017||649|
|16.||Olympus E-M10 II||120 mm||83 mm||47 mm||390 g||320||n||Aug 2015||649|
|17.||Olympus E-PL7||115 mm||67 mm||38 mm||357 g||350||n||Aug 2014||599|
|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 two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. 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 SL2 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 SL2 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-PL8 offers a 4:3 aspect.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
With 24MP, the SL2 offers a higher resolution than the E-PL8 (15.9MP), but the SL2 has marginally smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 3.76μm for the E-PL8). However, the SL2 is a somewhat more recent model (by 9 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 SL2 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SL2 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 SL2 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS Rebel SL2 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.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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.
|2.||Olympus E-PL8||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|6.||Canon G9 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.9||12.5||522||65|
|13.||Olympus E-PL10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|14.||Olympus E-PL9||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|15.||Olympus E-M10 III||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|16.||Olympus E-M10 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73|
|17.||Olympus E-PL7||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.4||873||72|
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 SL2 provides a higher frame rate than the E-PL8. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, 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 SL2 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SL2 and Olympus E-PL8 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon SL2||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|2.||Olympus E-PL8||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y|
|3.||Canon SL3||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|4.||Canon T7||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|5.||Canon 77D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||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 M100||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.1||Y||n|
|9.||Canon T7i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|10.||Canon M5||2360||n||3.2 / 1620||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0||Y||n|
|11.||Canon T6s||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|12.||Canon SL1||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.9||Y||n|
|13.||Olympus E-PL10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6||Y||Y|
|14.||Olympus E-PL9||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6||Y||Y|
|15.||Olympus E-M10 III||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6||Y||Y|
|16.||Olympus E-M10 II||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Olympus E-PL7||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The SL2 has one, while the E-PL8 does not. While the built-in flash of the SL2 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 SL2 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 SL2 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 Rebel SL2 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 SL2||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|2.||Olympus E-PL8||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon SL3||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon T7||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon 77D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||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 M100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon T7i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon M5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|11.||Canon T6s||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Canon SL1||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Olympus E-PL10||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|14.||Olympus E-PL9||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|15.||Olympus E-M10 III||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|16.||Olympus E-M10 II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|17.||Olympus E-PL7||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the SL2 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 SL2 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 SL2 was followed by the Canon SL2. 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 SL2 or the Olympus E-PL8 – 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.
Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel SL2:
- 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 movie framerates (1080/60p versus 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 optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (650 versus 350) on a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 9 months after the E-PL8).
Reasons to prefer the Olympus PEN E-PL8:
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (115x67mm vs 122x93mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 96g or 21 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2016).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SL2 is the clear winner of the match-up (15 : 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 SL2 and the Olympus E-PL8 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the SL2 or the E-PL8. 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 SL2||4/5||+ +||4/5||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549|
|2.||Olympus E-PL8||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2016||549|
|3.||Canon SL3||..||o||4.5/5||79/100||4/5||4/5||Apr 2019||599|
|4.||Canon T7||..||o||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||449|
|5.||Canon 77D||4.5/5||..||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899|
|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 M100||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499|
|9.||Canon T7i||4.5/5||..||3.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||749|
|10.||Canon M5||4/5||+||4/5||82/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979|
|11.||Canon T6s||5/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|12.||Canon SL1||4/5||+||..||78/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|13.||Olympus E-PL10||..||..||4/5||77/100||..||4/5||Oct 2019||599|
|14.||Olympus E-PL9||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2018||599|
|15.||Olympus E-M10 III||..||+||5/5||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2017||649|
|16.||Olympus E-M10 II||4.5/5||+ +||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Aug 2015||649|
|17.||Olympus E-PL7||4/5||+||..||..||5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, 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 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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Canon SL2
- Canon 5DS vs Olympus E-PL8
- Canon 700D vs Olympus E-PL8
- Canon M50 vs Olympus E-PL8
- Canon SL2 vs Nikon D70s
- Canon SL2 vs Olympus E-P5
- Canon SL2 vs Panasonic S1R
- Canon SL2 vs Sony A1
- Canon SL2 vs Sony A99
- Nikon D300 vs Olympus E-PL8
- Olympus E-PL8 vs Olympus E-PL9
- Olympus E-PL8 vs Panasonic G7
Specifications: Canon SL2 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 SL2||Olympus E-PL8|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||June 2017||September 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 549||USD 549|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SL2||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||1080/60p 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 7||TruePic VII|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||79||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.6||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.4||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1041||..|
|Screen Specs||Canon SL2||Olympus E-PL8|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|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 SL2||Olympus E-PL8|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5 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 SL2||Olympus E-PL8|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Canon SL2||Olympus E-PL8|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||650 shots per charge||350 shots per charge|
122 x 93 x 70 mm
(4.8 x 3.7 x 2.8 in)
115 x 67 x 38 mm
(4.5 x 2.6 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||453 g (16.0 oz)||357 g (12.6 oz)|
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