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Canon SX50 vs Olympus E-30

The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS and the Olympus E-30 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2012 and November 2008. The SX50 is a fixed lens compact, while the E-30 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX50) and a Four Thirds (E-30) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12 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.

Headline Specifications
Canon SX50 versus Olympus E-30
Canon SX50 Olympus E-30
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 Four Thirds lenses
12 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 12.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/24p Video no Video
ISO 80-6,400 ISO 100-3,200
Electronic viewfinder (202k dots) Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 461k dots 2.7 LCD, 230k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
2.2 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
Lens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
315 shots per battery charge750 shots per battery charge
123 x 87 x 106 mm, 595 g 142 x 108 x 75 mm, 701 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS and the Olympus E-30? 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.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon SX50 and the Olympus E-30. 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.

Size Canon SX50 vs Olympus E-30
Compare SX50 versus E-30 top
Comparison SX50 or E-30 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-30 is considerably larger (43 percent) than the Canon SX50. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX50 nor the E-30 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX50 has a lens built in, whereas the E-30 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the E-30 and their specifications in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the SX50 gets 315 shots out of its NB-10L battery, while the E-30 can take 750 images on a single charge of its BLM-1 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX50 123 mm 87 mm 106 mm 595 g 315 n Sep 2012 429i
2.
 
Olympus E-30 142 mm 108 mm 75 mm 701 g 750 n Nov 2008 1,299i
3.
 
Canon SX60 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549i
4.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
5.
 
Canon S120 100 mm 59 mm 29 mm 217 g 230 n Aug 2013 449i
6.
 
Canon G1 X 117 mm 81 mm 65 mm 534 g 250 n Jan 2012 799i
7.
 
Canon G15 107 mm 76 mm 40 mm 352 g 350 n Sep 2012 499i
8.
 
Canon SX40 123 mm 92 mm 108 mm 600 g 380 n Sep 2011 429i
9.
 
Canon 1100D 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
10.
 
Canon G12 112 mm 76 mm 48 mm 401 g 370 n Sep 2010 499i
11.
 
Olympus E-600 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 535 g 500 n Aug 2009 449i
12.
 
Olympus E-620 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 521 g 500 n Feb 2009 699i
13.
 
Olympus E-520 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 535 g 750 n May 2008 699i
14.
 
Olympus E-410 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Mar 2007 699i
15.
 
Olympus E-510 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 538 g 750 n Mar 2007 799i
16.
 
Panasonic LX7 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Jul 2012 499i
17.
 
Panasonic FZ150 124 mm 82 mm 92 mm 528 g 410 n Aug 2011 499i
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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The SX50 was launched at a lower price than the E-30, despite having a lens built in. 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.

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Sensor comparison

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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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 SX50 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Olympus E-30 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-30 is 704 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Canon SX50 and Olympus E-30 sensor measures

With 12.2MP, the E-30 offers a higher resolution than the SX50 (12MP), but the E-30 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.29μm versus 1.53μm for the SX50) due to its larger sensor. However, the SX50 is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 10 months) than the E-30, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus E-30 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (no boost).

SX50 versus E-30 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the E-30 has a markedly higher DXO score than the SX50 (overall score 8 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 1 bits higher color depth, 0.8 EV of lower dynamic range, and 1.6 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.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947
2.
 
Olympus E-30 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.453055
3.
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739
4.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
5.
 
Canon S120 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.311.924656
6.
 
Canon G1 X 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460
7.
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546
8.
 
Canon SX40 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p........
9.
 
Canon 1100D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
10.
 
Canon G12 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/24p20.411.216147
11.
 
Olympus E-600 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.510.354155
12.
 
Olympus E-620 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.353655
13.
 
Olympus E-520 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.410.454855
14.
 
Olympus E-410 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.110.049451
15.
 
Olympus E-510 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.210.044252
16.
 
Panasonic LX7 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p20.711.714750
17.
 
Panasonic FZ150 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.410.913240

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The SX50 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the E-30 does not. The highest resolution format that the SX50 can use is 1080/24p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the SX50 has an electronic viewfinder (202k dots), while the E-30 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon SX50, the Olympus E-30, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon SX50202 n 3.0 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y
2.
 
Olympus E-30optical Y 2.7 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y
3.
 
Canon SX60922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
4.
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
5.
 
Canon S120none n 3.0 922 fixed Y 1/2000s 12.1 Y Y
6.
 
Canon G1 Xoptical n 3.0 922 Swivel n 1/4000s 1.9 Y Y
7.
 
Canon G15optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y
8.
 
Canon SX40202 n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/3200s 10.3 Y Y
9.
 
Canon 1100Doptical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Canon G12optical n 2.8 461 swivel n 1/4000s 1.1 Y Y
11.
 
Olympus E-600optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y Y
12.
 
Olympus E-620optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y Y
13.
 
Olympus E-520optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y Y
14.
 
Olympus E-410optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
15.
 
Olympus E-510optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
16.
 
Panasonic LX7optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y
17.
 
Panasonic FZ150202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y

One feature that is present on the E-30, but is missing on the SX50 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

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 SX50 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the E-30 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-30 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the SX50 only has one slot.

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Connectivity comparison

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 PowerShot SX50 HS and Olympus E-30 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon SX50Ystereomono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Olympus E-30Y-----2.0---
3.
 
Canon SX60YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
5.
 
Canon S120-stereomono--mini2.0Y--
6.
 
Canon G1 XYstereomono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon G15Ystereomono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon SX40Ystereomono--YES2.0---
9.
 
Canon 1100DYstereomono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon G12Ystereomono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Olympus E-600Y-----2.0---
12.
 
Olympus E-620Y-----2.0---
13.
 
Olympus E-520Y-----2.0---
14.
 
Olympus E-410Y-----2.0---
15.
 
Olympus E-510Y-----2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic LX7Ystereomono--mini2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic FZ150Ystereo---mini2.0---

Both the SX50 and the E-30 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The SX50 was replaced by the Canon SX60, while the E-30 does not have a direct successor. 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.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX50 or the Olympus E-30 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS:

  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.8 EV of extra DR).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/24p movies.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (461k vs 230k dots).
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the E-30 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (123x87mm vs 142x108mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the E-30).
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 10 months of technical progress since the E-30 launch.

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Arguments in favor of the Olympus E-30:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (8 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.6 stops ISO advantage).
  • 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 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 2.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (750 versus 315) out of a single battery charge.
  • 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 November 2008).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (10 points each). 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 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.

SX50 10:10 E-30

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX50 and the Olympus E-30 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the SX50 or the E-30 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX503/5+ +72/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 429i
2.
 
Olympus E-30....71/1004.5/54/5 Nov 2008 1,299i
3.
 
Canon SX603/5+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2014 549i
4.
 
Canon G164/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
5.
 
Canon S120..+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 449i
6.
 
Canon G1 X5/5+76/1004/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799i
7.
 
Canon G154/5+76/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
8.
 
Canon SX40..+..4.5/54/5 Sep 2011 429i
9.
 
Canon 1100D..80/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
10.
 
Canon G124/5+73/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2010 499i
11.
 
Olympus E-600........4.5/5 Aug 2009 449i
12.
 
Olympus E-6203/588/10072/1004.5/55/5 Feb 2009 699i
13.
 
Olympus E-520..87/100+ +4.5/54.5/5 May 2008 699i
14.
 
Olympus E-410..86/100+ +4/54.5/5 Mar 2007 699i
15.
 
Olympus E-510..89/100+ +3.5/54.5/5 Mar 2007 799i
16.
 
Panasonic LX73/5+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2012 499i
17.
 
Panasonic FZ1503/5+ +76/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2011 499i
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.

Canon SX50:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-30:
Check Ebay offers

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.

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    Specifications: Canon SX50 vs Olympus E-30

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Canon SX50 Olympus E-30
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date September 2012 November 2008
    Launch Price USD 429 USD 1,299
    Sensor Specs Canon SX50 Olympus E-30
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 12 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4000 x 3000 pixels 4032 x 3024 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.53 μm 4.29 μm
    Pixel Density 42.74 MP/cm2 5.42 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/24p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 3,200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 5 TruePic III+
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 47 55
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 20.3 21.3
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.2 10.4
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 179 530
    Screen Specs Canon SX50 Olympus E-30
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 98%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.51x
    Viewfinder Resolution 202k dots
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.7inch
    LCD Resolution 461k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX50 Olympus E-30
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2.2 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationLens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards CF or XD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX50 Olympus E-30
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon SX50 Olympus E-30
    Battery Type NB-10L BLM-1
    Battery Life (CIPA)315 shots per charge750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 123 x 87 x 106 mm
    (4.8 x 3.4 x 4.2 in)
    142 x 108 x 75 mm
    (5.6 x 4.3 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 595 g (21.0 oz) 701 g (24.7 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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