Canon SL3 vs Olympus E-PL7
The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 (called Canon 250D in some regions) and the Olympus PEN E-PL7 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in April 2019 and August 2014. The SL3 is a DSLR, while the E-PL7 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (SL3) and a Four Thirds (E-PL7) 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.
|Canon SL3||Olympus E-PL7|
|Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Canon EF mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|24 MP, APS-C Sensor||15.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|4K/25p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO 100-25600 (100-51200)||ISO 200-25600|
|Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|3.0" LCD, 1040k dots||3.0" LCD, 1037k dots|
|Swivel touchscreen||Tilting touchscreen|
|5 shutter flaps per second||8 shutter flaps per second|
|Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|1070 shots per battery charge||350 shots per battery charge|
|122 x 93 x 70 mm, 449 g||115 x 67 x 38 mm, 357 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 and the Olympus PEN E-PL7? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon SL3 and the Olympus E-PL7 is provided 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The SL3 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the E-PL7 is also available in two color-versions, but different ones (black, silver).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-PL7 is considerably smaller (32 percent) than the Canon SL3. Moreover, the E-PL7 is markedly lighter (20 percent) than the SL3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SL3 nor the E-PL7 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 (SL3) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-PL7). Mirrorless cameras, such as the E-PL7, 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. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Canon SL3»||4.8 in||3.7 in||2.8 in||15.8 oz||1070||n||Apr 2019||599||Canon SL3|
|Olympus E-PL7«||4.5 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||12.6 oz||350||n||Aug 2014||599||Olympus E-PL7|
|Canon T8i« »||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||18.2 oz||800||n||Feb 2020||749||Canon T8i|
|Canon M50« »||4.6 in||3.5 in||2.3 in||13.8 oz||235||n||Feb 2018||779||Canon M50|
|Canon T7« »||5.1 in||4.0 in||3.1 in||16.8 oz||500||n||Feb 2018||449||Canon T7|
|Canon T100« »||5.1 in||4.0 in||3.0 in||15.4 oz||500||n||Feb 2018||399||Canon T100|
|Canon 77D« »||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||19.0 oz||600||n||Feb 2017||899||Canon 77D|
|Canon SL2« »||4.8 in||3.7 in||2.8 in||16.0 oz||650||n||Jun 2017||549||Canon SL2|
|Canon T7i« »||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||18.8 oz||600||n||Feb 2017||749||Canon T7i|
|Canon T6s« »||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.1 in||19.9 oz||440||n||Feb 2015||649||Canon T6s|
|Canon SL1« »||4.6 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||14.4 oz||380||n||Mar 2013||549||Canon SL1|
|Canon T2i« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||2.4 in||18.7 oz||440||n||Feb 2010||699||Canon T2i|
|Olympus E-PL8« »||4.5 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||12.6 oz||350||n||Sep 2016||549||Olympus E-PL8|
|Olympus E-M10 II« »||4.7 in||3.3 in||1.9 in||13.8 oz||320||n||Aug 2015||649||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-M10« »||4.7 in||3.2 in||1.8 in||14.0 oz||320||n||Jan 2014||699||Olympus E-M10|
|Olympus E-P5« »||4.8 in||2.7 in||1.5 in||14.8 oz||330||n||May 2013||999||Olympus E-P5|
|Olympus E-PL6« »||4.4 in||2.5 in||1.5 in||11.5 oz||360||n||May 2013||599||Olympus E-PL6|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SL3 features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-PL7 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-PL7 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 SL3 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-PL7 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 24MP, the SL3 offers a higher resolution than the E-PL7 (15.9MP), but the SL3 has marginally smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 3.76μm for the E-PL7). However, the SL3 is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 7 months) than the E-PL7, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Canon SL3 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SL3 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inch or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inch or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inch or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-PL7 are 23 x 17.3 inch or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inch or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inch or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The SL3 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 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-PL7 are ISO 200 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Canon SL3||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/25p||..||..||..||..||Canon SL3|
|Olympus E-PL7||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.4||873||72||Olympus E-PL7|
|Canon T8i||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/24p||..||..||..||..||Canon T8i|
|Canon M50||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/24p||..||..||..||..||Canon M50|
|Canon T7||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Canon T7|
|Canon T100||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.9||11.4||695||63||Canon T100|
|Canon 77D||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.6||13.3||971||78||Canon 77D|
|Canon SL2||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.6||13.4||1041||79||Canon SL2|
|Canon T7i||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon T7i|
|Canon T6s||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/30p||22.6||12.0||915||70||Canon T6s|
|Canon SL1||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.8||11.3||843||63||Canon SL1|
|Canon T2i||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.5||784||66||Canon T2i|
|Olympus E-PL8||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-PL8|
|Olympus E-M10 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-M10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||884||72||Olympus E-M10|
|Olympus E-P5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.4||895||72||Olympus E-P5|
|Olympus E-PL6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-PL6|
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 SL3 provides a higher video resolution than the E-PL7. It can shoot video footage at 4K/25p, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the SL3 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-PL7 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the E-PL7 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-4. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SL3 and Olympus E-PL7 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Canon SL3||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon SL3|
|Olympus E-PL7||optional||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y||Olympus E-PL7|
|Canon T8i||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.5||Y||n||Canon T8i|
|Canon M50||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n||Canon M50|
|Canon T7||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon T7|
|Canon T100||optical||n||2.7||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon T100|
|Canon 77D||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Canon 77D|
|Canon SL2||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon SL2|
|Canon T7i||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Canon T7i|
|Canon T6s||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon T6s|
|Canon SL1||optical||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.9||Y||n||Canon SL1|
|Canon T2i||optical||n||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.7||Y||n||Canon T2i|
|Olympus E-PL8||none||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y||Olympus E-PL8|
|Olympus E-M10 II||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-M10||1440||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-M10|
|Olympus E-P5||optional||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/8000s||9.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-P5|
|Olympus E-PL6||optional||n||3.0||460||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y||Olympus E-PL6|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The SL3 has one, while the E-PL7 does not. While the built-in flash of the SL3 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 SL3 and the Olympus E-PL7 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 SL3 and the E-PL7 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 SL3 and Olympus PEN E-PL7 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon SL3||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y||Canon SL3|
|Olympus E-PL7||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-PL7|
|Canon T8i||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y||Canon T8i|
|Canon M50||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M50|
|Canon T7||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon T7|
|Canon T100||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon T100|
|Canon 77D||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon 77D|
|Canon SL2||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon SL2|
|Canon T7i||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon T7i|
|Canon T6s||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon T6s|
|Canon SL1||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon SL1|
|Canon T2i||Y||stereo||none||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon T2i|
|Olympus E-PL8||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-PL8|
|Olympus E-M10 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-M10||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-M10|
|Olympus E-P5||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-P5|
|Olympus E-PL6||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL6|
It is notable that the SL3 has a microphone port, which is missing on the E-PL7. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
The SL3 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the E-PL7 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the E-PL7 was succeeded by the Olympus E-PL8. 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? Is the Canon SL3 better than the Olympus E-PL7 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel SL3:
- 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/25p 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 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 (1070 versus 350) on a single battery charge.
- 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: Reflects 4 years and 7 months of technical progress since the E-PL7 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Olympus PEN E-PL7:
- 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 92g or 20 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 around for much longer (launched in August 2014).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SL3 is the clear winner of the match-up (14 : 6 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding 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 SL3 and the Olympus E-PL7 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the SL3 or the E-PL7 perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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.
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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.
- Canon 1Ds Mark II vs Canon SL3
- Canon M3 vs Canon SL3
- Canon SL3 vs Leica X Vario
- Canon SL3 vs Nikon D750
- Canon SL3 vs Nikon Z7
- Canon SL3 vs Olympus E-M5
- Canon SL3 vs Panasonic GM5
- Canon SL3 vs Samsung NX30
- Olympus E-PL7 vs Panasonic GX850
- Olympus E-PL7 vs Sony RX10 III
- Olympus E-PL7 vs Sony RX100 IV
- Olympus E-PL7 vs Sony RX1R II
Specifications: Canon SL3 vs Olympus E-PL7
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 SL3||Olympus E-PL7|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||April 2019||August 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SL3||Olympus E-PL7|
|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/25p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-25600 ISO||200-25600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-51200 ISO||100-25600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 8||TruePic VII|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||72|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||22.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||873|
|Screen Specs||Canon SL3||Olympus E-PL7|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SL3||Olympus E-PL7|
|Autofocus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||No Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000/s||1/4000/s|
|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||Build-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 SL3||Olympus E-PL7|
|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|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Canon SL3||Olympus E-PL7|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1070 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||449 g (15.8 oz)||357 g (12.6 oz)|
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