Canon XC10 vs Olympus PEN-F
The Canon XC10 and the Olympus PEN-F are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in April 2015 and January 2016. The XC10 is a fixed lens compact, while the PEN-F is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an one-inch (XC10) and a Four Thirds (PEN-F) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 20.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Canon XC10||Olympus PEN-F|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|24-240mm f/2.8-5.6||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|12 MP, 1" Sensor||20.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 160-20,000||ISO 80-25,600|
|No viewfinder, LCD framing||Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots)|
|3.0 LCD, 1030k dots||3.0 LCD, 1037k dots|
|Tilting touchscreen||Swivel touchscreen|
|3.8 shutter flaps per second||10 shutter flaps per second|
|Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|125 x 102 x 122 mm, 1040 g||125 x 72 x 37 mm, 427 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon XC10 and the Olympus PEN-F? 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 XC10 and the Olympus PEN-F 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The PEN-F can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the XC10 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 PEN-F is notably smaller (29 percent) than the Canon XC10. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the XC10 nor the PEN-F are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the XC10 has a lens built in, whereas the PEN-F 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 PEN-F and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the XC10 gets .. shots out of its LP-E6N battery, while the PEN-F can take 330 images on a single charge of its BLN-1 power pack. The power pack in the XC10 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 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 XC10||125 mm||102 mm||122 mm||1040 g||..||n||Apr 2015||2,499|
|Olympus PEN-F||125 mm||72 mm||37 mm||427 g||330||n||Jan 2016||1,199|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||106 mm||61 mm||42 mm||319 g||265||n||Feb 2016||699|
|Canon G5 X||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||n||Oct 2015||799|
|Canon G9 X||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||209 g||220||n||Oct 2015||529|
|Canon G1 X Mark II||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699|
|Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|Fujifilm X30||119 mm||72 mm||60 mm||423 g||470||n||Aug 2014||599|
|Nikon P900||140 mm||103 mm||137 mm||899 g||360||n||Mar 2015||599|
|Olympus E-M1 II||134 mm||91 mm||67 mm||574 g||440||Y||Sep 2016||1,999|
|Olympus E-M5 II||124 mm||85 mm||45 mm||469 g||310||Y||Feb 2015||1,099|
|Olympus E-M10 II||120 mm||83 mm||47 mm||390 g||320||n||Aug 2015||649|
|Olympus E-P5||122 mm||69 mm||37 mm||420 g||330||n||May 2013||999|
|Panasonic FZ2000||138 mm||102 mm||135 mm||915 g||350||n||Sep 2016||1,199|
|Panasonic GX8||133 mm||78 mm||63 mm||487 g||330||Y||Jul 2015||1,199|
|Panasonic LX100||115 mm||66 mm||55 mm||393 g||300||n||Sep 2014||899|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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 XC10 features an one-inch sensor and the Olympus PEN-F a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the PEN-F is 83 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.75 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
With 20.2MP, the PEN-F offers a higher resolution than the XC10 (12MP), but the PEN-F nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.34μm versus 3.20μm for the XC10) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the PEN-F is a somewhat more recent model (by 9 months) than the XC10, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the PEN-F has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Olympus PEN-F implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the PEN-F 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 Canon XC10 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.
Unlike the XC10, the PEN-F has the capacity to capture high quality composite images (40MP) by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).
The Canon XC10 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 160 to ISO 20000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus PEN-F are ISO 80 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Olympus PEN-F||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||23.1||12.4||894||74|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|Olympus E-M1 II||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.7||12.8||1312||80|
|Olympus E-M5 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73|
|Olympus E-M10 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73|
|Olympus E-P5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.4||895||72|
|Panasonic GX8||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.5||12.6||806||75|
|Panasonic LX100||Four Thirds||12.7||4112||3088||4K/30p||22.3||12.5||553||67|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the XC10 provides a higher video resolution than the PEN-F. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the PEN-F has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the XC10 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon XC10 and Olympus PEN-F in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|Canon G5 X||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2||Y||Y|
|Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y|
|Olympus E-M1 II||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||18.0||n||Y|
|Olympus E-M5 II||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|Olympus E-M10 II||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y|
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the PEN-F is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Canon XC10 and the Olympus PEN-F 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.
The XC10 writes its imaging data to CFast or SDXC cards, while the PEN-F uses SDXC cards. The XC10 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the PEN-F only has one slot. The PEN-F supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the XC10 can use UHS-I cards (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 XC10 and Olympus PEN-F and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Canon G5 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Canon G9 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Canon G7 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Olympus E-M1 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.0||Y||-||-|
|Olympus E-M5 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|Olympus E-M10 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the XC10 has a microphone port, which is missing on the PEN-F. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Both the XC10 and the PEN-F have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The XC10 was replaced by the Canon XC15, while the PEN-F 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.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon XC10 or the Olympus PEN-F – 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.
Reasons to prefer the Canon XC10:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the PEN-F requires a separate lens.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2015).
Advantages of the Olympus PEN-F:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20.2 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 30%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced 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.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- 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 shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 3.8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- More compact: Is smaller (125x72mm vs 125x102mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (9 months) more recently.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the PEN-F is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 8 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 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 XC10 and the Olympus PEN-F 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the XC10 or the PEN-F. 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 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 (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.
|Canon XC10||..||80/100||..||..||..||Apr 2015||2,499|
|Olympus PEN-F||..||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,199|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699|
|Canon G5 X||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799|
|Canon G9 X||+ +||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529|
|Canon G1 X Mark II||+||77/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799|
|Canon G7 X||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699|
|Canon SX60||+ +||75/100||4/5||..||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|Fujifilm X30||..||76/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2014||599|
|Nikon P900||..||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Mar 2015||599|
|Olympus E-M1 II||+ +||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||1,999|
|Olympus E-M5 II||+ +||81/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2015||1,099|
|Olympus E-M10 II||+ +||80/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Aug 2015||649|
|Olympus E-P5||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||May 2013||999|
|Panasonic FZ2000||+||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2016||1,199|
|Panasonic GX8||+||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2015||1,199|
|Panasonic LX100||+ +||85/100||5/5||4/5||5/5||Sep 2014||899|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 1000D vs Canon XC10
- Canon 30D vs Olympus PEN-F
- Canon G1 X Mark II vs Canon XC10
- Canon SX70 vs Olympus PEN-F
- Canon XC10 vs Sony NEX-F3
- Fujifilm GFX 50S vs Olympus PEN-F
- Fujifilm X-T10 vs Olympus PEN-F
- Fujifilm X-T4 vs Olympus PEN-F
- Nikon D3200 vs Olympus PEN-F
- Nikon D750 vs Olympus PEN-F
- Olympus PEN-F vs Panasonic G110
- Olympus PEN-F vs Panasonic G80
Specifications: Canon XC10 vs Olympus PEN-F
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 XC10||Olympus PEN-F|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||24-240mm f/2.8-5.6||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||April 2015||January 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 2,499||USD 1,199|
|Sensor Specs||Canon XC10||Olympus PEN-F|
|Sensor Format||1" Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||12.8 x 9.6 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||122.88 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||16 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||20.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||5184 x 3888 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.20 μm||3.34 μm|
|Pixel Density||9.77 MP/cm2||8.96 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||160 - 20,000 ISO||80 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC DV5||TruePic VII|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||74|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||894|
|Screen Specs||Canon XC10||Olympus PEN-F|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1030k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon XC10||Olympus PEN-F|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||3.8 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CFAST or SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon XC10||Olympus PEN-F|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Canon XC10||Olympus PEN-F|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
125 x 102 x 122 mm
(4.9 x 4.0 x 4.8 in)
125 x 72 x 37 mm
(4.9 x 2.8 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||1040 g (36.7 oz)||427 g (15.1 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.