Canon SX70 vs Olympus E-PM1
The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS and the Olympus PEN E-PM1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2018 and June 2011. The SX70 is a fixed lens compact, while the E-PM1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX70) and a Four Thirds (E-PM1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20.2 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 PowerShot SX70 HS and the Olympus PEN E-PM1? 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 SX70 and the Olympus E-PM1. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The E-PM1 can be obtained in six different colors (black, silver, brown, pink, purple, white), while the SX70 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-PM1 is considerably smaller (39 percent) than the Canon SX70. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX70 nor the E-PM1 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX70 has a lens built in, whereas the E-PM1 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-PM1 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
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 SX70||127 mm||91 mm||117 mm||608 g||325||n||Sep 2018||549|
|2.||Olympus E-PM1||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||265 g||330||n||Jun 2011||499|
|3.||Canon SX740||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon SX430||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||323 g||195||n||Jan 2017||299|
|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 SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|8.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|9.||Canon SX1||128 mm||88 mm||88 mm||615 g||..||n||Sep 2008||599|
|10.||Nikon B700||125 mm||85 mm||107 mm||565 g||350||n||Feb 2016||499|
|11.||Olympus E-PM2||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||269 g||360||n||Sep 2012||499|
|12.||Olympus E-PL2||114 mm||72 mm||42 mm||362 g||280||n||Jan 2011||599|
|13.||Olympus E-PL3||110 mm||64 mm||37 mm||313 g||300||n||Jun 2011||599|
|14.||Olympus E-PL1||115 mm||72 mm||42 mm||334 g||290||n||Feb 2010||599|
|15.||Panasonic FZ80||130 mm||94 mm||119 mm||616 g||330||n||Jan 2017||399|
|16.||Panasonic G2||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||n||Mar 2010||599|
|17.||Sony HX400V||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||660 g||300||n||Feb 2014||499|
|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. 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 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. 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 SX70 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Olympus E-PM1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-PM1 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.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX70 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 12.2 MP of the Olympus E-PM1. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.18μm versus 4.29μm for the E-PM1). However, it should be noted that the SX70 is much more recent (by 7 years and 2 months) than the E-PM1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the SX70 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Canon SX70 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX70 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-PM1 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 PowerShot SX70 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus PEN E-PM1 are ISO 100 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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.
|2.||Olympus E-PM1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||21.0||10.3||499||52|
|6.||Canon G9 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.9||12.5||522||65|
|11.||Olympus E-PM2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.2||932||72|
|12.||Olympus E-PL2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.2||573||55|
|13.||Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52|
|14.||Olympus E-PL1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.1||487||54|
|16.||Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
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 SX70 provides a higher video resolution than the E-PM1. 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 variety of features. For example, the SX70 has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-PM1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the E-PM1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-2. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX70 and Olympus E-PM1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon SX70||2360||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|2.||Olympus E-PM1||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||Y|
|3.||Canon SX740||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||10.0||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon SX430||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5||Y||Y|
|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 SX730||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon SX60||922||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||6.4||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon SX1||202||n||2.8 / 230||swivel||n||1/3200s||4.0||Y||Y|
|10.||Nikon B700||921||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||Y|
|11.||Olympus E-PM2||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y|
|12.||Olympus E-PL2||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||Y|
|13.||Olympus E-PL3||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||Y|
|14.||Olympus E-PL1||optional||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||3.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Panasonic FZ80||1166||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Panasonic G2||1440||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||Y||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n|
|17.||Sony HX400V||210||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The SX70 has one, while the E-PM1 does not. While the built-in flash of the SX70 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The SX70 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-PM1 does not have a selfie-screen.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX70 and the E-PM1 write their files to SDXC cards. The SX70 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the E-PM1 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 PowerShot SX70 HS and Olympus PEN E-PM1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon SX70||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|2.||Olympus E-PM1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon SX740||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon SX430||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||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 SX730||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon SX60||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Canon SX1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||YES||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Nikon B700||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|11.||Olympus E-PM2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Olympus E-PL2||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Olympus E-PL3||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Olympus E-PL1||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Panasonic FZ80||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|16.||Panasonic G2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony HX400V||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the SX70 has a microphone port, which is missing on the E-PM1. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
The SX70 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the E-PM1 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the E-PM1 was succeeded by the Olympus E-PM2. 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? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon SX70 and the Olympus E-PM1? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.2 vs 12.2MP) with a 29% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60i).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 460k 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 (10 vs 5.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the E-PM1 requires a separate lens.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- 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: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 7 years and 2 months of technical progress since the E-PM1 launch.
Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PM1:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- More compact: Is smaller (110x64mm vs 127x91mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- 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 SX70 is the clear winner of the match-up (15 : 10 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 SX70 and the Olympus E-PM1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the SX70 and the E-PM1 in practical situations. 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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 SX70||..||+ +||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Sep 2018||549|
|2.||Olympus E-PM1||..||86/100||..||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||499|
|3.||Canon SX740||..||+||3.5/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon SX430||..||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jan 2017||299|
|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 SX730||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|8.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|9.||Canon SX1||..||+ +||..||+||..||3.5/5||Sep 2008||599|
|10.||Nikon B700||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2016||499|
|11.||Olympus E-PM2||3/5||..||..||77/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|12.||Olympus E-PL2||3/5||83/100||..||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||599|
|13.||Olympus E-PL3||3/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|14.||Olympus E-PL1||..||86/100||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||599|
|15.||Panasonic FZ80||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||399|
|16.||Panasonic G2||..||..||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599|
|17.||Sony HX400V||4/5||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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. 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.
- Canon 600D vs Canon SX70
- Canon 650D vs Olympus E-PM1
- Canon D60 vs Canon SX70
- Canon M6 vs Olympus E-PM1
- Canon SX70 vs Canon SX700
- Canon SX70 vs Canon SX710
- Canon SX70 vs Panasonic L1
- Canon SX70 vs Panasonic TZ90
- Canon XSi vs Olympus E-PM1
- Fujifilm XP140 vs Olympus E-PM1
- Olympus E-PM1 vs Panasonic G95
- Olympus E-PM1 vs Panasonic TZ100
Specifications: Canon SX70 vs Olympus E-PM1
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 SX70||Olympus E-PM1|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||21-1365mm f/3.4-6.5||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2018||June 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 549||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX70||Olympus E-PM1|
|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|
|Sensor Resolution||20.2 Megapixels||12.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3888 pixels||4032 x 3024 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.18 μm||4.29 μm|
|Pixel Density||71.80 MP/cm2||5.42 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 8||TruePic VI|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||52|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||21.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||499|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX70||Olympus E-PM1|
|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||922k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX70||Olympus E-PM1|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||5.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||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||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX70||Olympus E-PM1|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Canon SX70||Olympus E-PM1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||325 shots per charge||330 shots per charge|
127 x 91 x 117 mm
(5.0 x 3.6 x 4.6 in)
110 x 64 x 34 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||608 g (21.4 oz)||265 g (9.3 oz)|
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