Canon SX740 vs Olympus E-PL1
The Canon PowerShot SX740 HS and the Olympus PEN E-PL1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in July 2018 and February 2010. The SX740 is a fixed lens compact, while the E-PL1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX740) and a Four Thirds (E-PL1) 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 SX740 HS and the Olympus PEN E-PL1? 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 SX740 and the Olympus E-PL1 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The SX740 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the E-PL1 is available in four color-versions (black, blue, yellow, white).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-PL1 is notably larger (18 percent) than the Canon SX740. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX740 nor the E-PL1 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX740 has a lens built in, whereas the E-PL1 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-PL1 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the SX740 gets 265 shots out of its NB-13L battery, while the E-PL1 can take 290 images on a single charge of its BLS-1 power pack. The power pack in the SX740 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Canon SX740||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|2.||Olympus E-PL1||115 mm||72 mm||42 mm||334 g||290||n||Feb 2010||599|
|3.||Canon SX70||127 mm||91 mm||117 mm||608 g||325||n||Sep 2018||549|
|4.||Canon SX430||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||323 g||195||n||Jan 2017||299|
|5.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|6.||Canon SX720||110 mm||64 mm||36 mm||270 g||250||n||Feb 2016||379|
|7.||Canon SX710||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||230||n||Jan 2015||349|
|8.||Olympus E-P3||122 mm||69 mm||34 mm||369 g||330||n||Jun 2011||799|
|9.||Olympus E-PL2||114 mm||72 mm||42 mm||362 g||280||n||Jan 2011||599|
|10.||Olympus E-PL3||110 mm||64 mm||37 mm||313 g||300||n||Jun 2011||599|
|11.||Olympus E-P1||121 mm||70 mm||36 mm||355 g||300||n||Jun 2009||799|
|12.||Olympus E-P2||121 mm||70 mm||36 mm||355 g||300||n||Nov 2009||799|
|13.||Panasonic ZS80||112 mm||69 mm||42 mm||327 g||380||n||Feb 2019||449|
|14.||Panasonic TS7||117 mm||76 mm||37 mm||319 g||300||Y||May 2018||449|
|15.||Panasonic ZS70||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|16.||Sony HX99||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||449|
|17.||Sony HX95||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||429|
|Note: 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 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 SX740 was launched at a lower price than the E-PL1, despite having a lens built in. 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX740 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Olympus E-PL1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-PL1 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 SX740 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 12.2 MP of the Olympus E-PL1. 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-PL1). However, it should be noted that the SX740 is much more recent (by 8 years and 5 months) than the E-PL1, 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 SX740 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Canon SX740 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX740 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-PL1 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 SX740 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus PEN E-PL1 are ISO 200 to ISO 3200 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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"). 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-PL1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.1||487||54|
|8.||Olympus E-P3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.8||10.1||536||51|
|9.||Olympus E-PL2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.2||573||55|
|10.||Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52|
|11.||Olympus E-P1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.4||536||55|
|12.||Olympus E-P2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.4||505||56|
|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 SX740 provides a higher video resolution than the E-PL1. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Olympus is limited to 720/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The SX740 and the E-PL1 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. That said, the E-PL1 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 SX740, the Olympus E-PL1, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon SX740||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Olympus E-PL1||optional||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||3.0/s||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon SX70||2360||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon SX430||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon SX730||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon SX720||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||5.9/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon SX710||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||6.0/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Olympus E-P3||optional||n||3.0 / 614||fixed||Y||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Olympus E-PL2||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Olympus E-PL3||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5/s||n||Y|
|11.||Olympus E-P1||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||n||Y|
|12.||Olympus E-P2||optional||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||n||Y|
|13.||Panasonic ZS80||2330||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Panasonic TS7||1170||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/1300s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Panasonic ZS70||1166||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony HX99||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony HX95||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
The Canon SX740 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.
The SX740 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the E-PL1 uses SDHC cards. The SX740 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the E-PL1 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 SX740 HS and Olympus PEN E-PL1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon SX740||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|2.||Olympus E-PL1||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon SX70||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon SX430||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon SX730||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon SX720||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Canon SX710||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Olympus E-P3||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Olympus E-PL2||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Olympus E-PL3||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Olympus E-P1||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Olympus E-P2||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Panasonic ZS80||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|14.||Panasonic TS7||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|15.||Panasonic ZS70||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|16.||Sony HX99||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony HX95||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
It is notable that the SX740 offers wifi support, while the E-PL1 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
The SX740 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the E-PL1 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the E-PL1 was succeeded by the Olympus E-PL2. 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 the Canon SX740 better than the Olympus E-PL1 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX740 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 720/30p).
- 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 (922k vs 230k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/3200s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the E-PL1 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (110x64mm vs 115x72mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the E-PL1).
- 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: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 8 years and 5 months of technical progress since the E-PL1 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Olympus PEN E-PL1:
- 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.
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- 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 February 2010).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SX740 is the clear winner of the match-up (19 : 9 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 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 SX740 and the Olympus E-PL1 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the SX740 or the E-PL1 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 expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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 SX740||..||+||3.5/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|2.||Olympus E-PL1||..||86/100||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||599|
|3.||Canon SX70||..||+ +||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Sep 2018||549|
|4.||Canon SX430||..||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jan 2017||299|
|5.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|6.||Canon SX720||..||+||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379|
|7.||Canon SX710||..||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349|
|8.||Olympus E-P3||..||83/100||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||799|
|9.||Olympus E-PL2||3/5||83/100||..||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||599|
|10.||Olympus E-PL3||3/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|11.||Olympus E-P1||..||+||..||66/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2009||799|
|12.||Olympus E-P2||3/5||+||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Nov 2009||799|
|13.||Panasonic ZS80||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||..||Feb 2019||449|
|14.||Panasonic TS7||..||+||..||..||..||3.5/5||May 2018||449|
|15.||Panasonic ZS70||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|16.||Sony HX99||..||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||449|
|17.||Sony HX95||..||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2018||429|
|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. 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, 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 500D vs Olympus E-PL1
- Canon 760D vs Olympus E-PL1
- Canon 77D vs Canon SX740
- Canon G15 vs Olympus E-PL1
- Canon G5 X Mark II vs Canon SX740
- Canon M200 vs Canon SX740
- Canon SX50 vs Olympus E-PL1
- Canon SX740 vs Panasonic S1
- Canon SX740 vs Sony A58
- Canon SX740 vs Sony HX80
- Olympus E-PL1 vs Panasonic GF3
- Olympus E-PL1 vs Sigma fp
Specifications: Canon SX740 vs Olympus E-PL1
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 SX740||Olympus E-PL1|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||24-960mm f/3.3-6.9||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||July 2018||February 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 399||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX740||Olympus E-PL1|
|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||720/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||200 - 3,200 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 8||Truepic V|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||54|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||21.5|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.1|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||487|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX740||Olympus E-PL1|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.7inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX740||Olympus E-PL1|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX740||Olympus E-PL1|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Canon SX740||Olympus E-PL1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||265 shots per charge||290 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
110 x 64 x 40 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.6 in)
115 x 72 x 42 mm
(4.5 x 2.8 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||299 g (10.5 oz)||334 g (11.8 oz)|
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