Ur-Leica Tamron Camera Ranking
Leica 1600mm Vivitar Shutter count
A potelyt.com – Photography & Imaging Resources
ad
PW

Canon XSi vs Olympus E-P3

The Canon EOS Rebel XSi (called Canon 450D in some regions) and the Olympus PEN E-P3 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2008 and June 2011. The XSi is a DSLR, while the E-P3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (XSi) and a Four Thirds (E-P3) sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 12.2 megapixels.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon XSi versus Olympus E-P3
Canon XSi Olympus E-P3
Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
Canon EF mount lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 12.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 200-12,800
Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
3.0 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 614k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed touchscreen
3.5 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
Lens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
500 shots per battery charge330 shots per battery charge
129 x 98 x 62 mm, 524 g 122 x 69 x 34 mm, 369 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel XSi and the Olympus PEN E-P3? 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 XSi and the Olympus E-P3. 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The E-P3 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, white), while the XSi is only available in black.

Size Canon XSi vs Olympus E-P3
Compare XSi versus E-P3 top
Comparison XSi or E-P3 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-P3 is considerably smaller (33 percent) than the Canon XSi. Moreover, the E-P3 is markedly lighter (30 percent) than the XSi. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the XSi nor the E-P3 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 (XSi) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-P3). Mirrorless cameras, such as the E-P3, 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.

Concerning battery life, the XSi gets 500 shots out of its LP-E5 battery, while the E-P3 can take 330 images on a single charge of its BLS-5 power pack.

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, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

scroll hint
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 XSi 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799i
2.
 
Olympus E-P3 122 mm 69 mm 34 mm 369 g 330 n Jun 2011 799i
3.
 
Canon T6i 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749i
4.
 
Canon T6s 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649i
5.
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849i
6.
 
Canon T3 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
7.
 
Canon T2i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699i
8.
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799i
9.
 
Canon XS 126 mm 98 mm 65 mm 502 g 500 n Jun 2008 449i
10.
 
Canon 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299i
11.
 
Canon XTi 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
12.
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899i
13.
 
Olympus E-PL2 114 mm 72 mm 42 mm 362 g 280 n Jan 2011 599i
14.
 
Olympus E-PL3 110 mm 64 mm 37 mm 313 g 300 n Jun 2011 599i
15.
 
Olympus E-PL1 115 mm 72 mm 42 mm 334 g 290 n Feb 2010 599i
16.
 
Olympus E-P1 121 mm 70 mm 36 mm 355 g 300 n Jun 2009 799i
17.
 
Olympus E-P2 121 mm 70 mm 36 mm 355 g 300 n Nov 2009 799i
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 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

ad

Sensor comparison

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. 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 XSi features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-P3 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-P3 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 XSi has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-P3 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Canon XSi and Olympus E-P3 sensor measures

Even though the XSi has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 12.2 megapixels. This implies that the XSi has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 5.19μm versus 4.29μm for the E-P3), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the E-P3 is much more recent (by 3 years and 5 months) than the XSi, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The Canon EOS Rebel XSi has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus PEN E-P3 are ISO 200 to ISO 12800 (no boost).

XSi versus E-P3 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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"). Of the two cameras under review, the XSi has a notably higher overall DXO score than the E-P3 (overall score 10 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 1.1 bits higher color depth, 0.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.4 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

scroll hint
Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon XSi APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
2.
 
Olympus E-P3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.810.153651
3.
 
Canon T6i APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.712.091971
4.
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
5.
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
6.
 
Canon T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
7.
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
8.
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
9.
 
Canon XS APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none........
10.
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364
11.
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
12.
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
13.
 
Olympus E-PL2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.257355
14.
 
Olympus E-PL3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.910.349952
15.
 
Olympus E-PL1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.148754
16.
 
Olympus E-P1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.453655
17.
 
Olympus E-P2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.450556

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The E-P3 indeed provides for movie recording, while the XSi does not. The highest resolution format that the E-P3 can use is 1080/60i.

ad

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the XSi has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-P3 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the E-P3 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-3. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon XSi and Olympus E-P3 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

scroll hint
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 XSioptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
2.
 
Olympus E-P3optional n 3.0 614 fixed Y 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
3.
 
Canon T6ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon T6soptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
5.
 
Canon T4ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
6.
 
Canon T3optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
7.
 
Canon T2ioptical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
8.
 
Canon T1ioptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
9.
 
Canon XSoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Canon 40Doptical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n
11.
 
Canon XTioptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Canon XToptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Olympus E-PL2optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
14.
 
Olympus E-PL3optional n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 n Y
15.
 
Olympus E-PL1optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y Y
16.
 
Olympus E-P1none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n Y
17.
 
Olympus E-P2optional n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n Y

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The E-P3 has a touchscreen, while the XSi has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The XSi writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the E-P3 uses SDXC cards. The E-P3 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the XSi cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

ad

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 EOS Rebel XSi and Olympus PEN E-P3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

scroll hint
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 XSiY----mini2.0---
2.
 
Olympus E-P3Ystereo---mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon T6iYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon T6sYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon T4iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon T3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon T2iYstereo-Y-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon T1iYmonomono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon XSY-----2.0---
10.
 
Canon 40DY-----2.0---
11.
 
Canon XTiY-----2.0---
12.
 
Canon XTY-----2.0---
13.
 
Olympus E-PL2Ystereo---mini2.0---
14.
 
Olympus E-PL3Ystereo---mini2.0---
15.
 
Olympus E-PL1Ystereo---mini2.0---
16.
 
Olympus E-P1Ystereo---mini2.0---
17.
 
Olympus E-P2Ystereo---mini2.0---

Both the XSi and the E-P3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The XSi was replaced by the Canon T1i, while the E-P3 was followed by the Olympus E-P5. 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.

ad

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon XSi better than the Olympus E-P3 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

ilogo

Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel XSi:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (10 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.1 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (500 versus 330) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2008).

ilogo

Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-P3:

  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60i video.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (614k vs 230k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • More compact: Is smaller (122x69mm vs 129x98mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 155g or 30 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.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 5 months of technical progress since the XSi launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the E-P3 comes out slightly ahead of the XSi (9 : 8 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 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.

XSi 08:09 E-P3

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon XSi and the Olympus E-P3 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the XSi and the E-P3 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.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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.

scroll hint
Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon XSi..+ ++ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
2.
 
Olympus E-P3..83/10074/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2011 799i
3.
 
Canon T6i5/5..75/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749i
4.
 
Canon T6s5/5+77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
5.
 
Canon T4i4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
6.
 
Canon T3..80/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
7.
 
Canon T2i..+ +77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699i
8.
 
Canon T1i..+ +74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
9.
 
Canon XS..82/100+ +3.5/54.5/5 Jun 2008 449i
10.
 
Canon 40D..+ ++ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299i
11.
 
Canon XTi..+ ++ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799i
12.
 
Canon XT..80/100+ +o.. Feb 2005 899i
13.
 
Olympus E-PL23/583/10071/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 599i
14.
 
Olympus E-PL33/5+ +72/1004.5/54/5 Jun 2011 599i
15.
 
Olympus E-PL1..86/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 599i
16.
 
Olympus E-P1..+66/1004/54.5/5 Jun 2009 799i
17.
 
Olympus E-P23/5+69/1004/54.5/5 Nov 2009 799i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 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 XSi:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-P3:
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.

~
    loader

    Specifications: Canon XSi vs Olympus E-P3

    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 XSi Olympus E-P3
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date January 2008 June 2011
    Launch Price USD 799 USD 799
    Sensor Specs Canon XSi Olympus E-P3
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.2 x 14.8 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 328.56 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.7 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4272 x 2848 pixels 4032 x 3024 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.19 μm 4.29 μm
    Pixel Density 3.70 MP/cm2 5.42 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 200 - 12,800 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 3 TruePic VI
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 61 51
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.9 20.8
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.8 10.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 692 536
    Screen Specs Canon XSi Olympus E-P3
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.54x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 614k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon XSi Olympus E-P3
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3.5 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationLens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Canon XSi Olympus E-P3
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon XSi Olympus E-P3
    Battery Type LP-E5 BLS-5
    Battery Life (CIPA)500 shots per charge330 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 129 x 98 x 62 mm
    (5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
    122 x 69 x 34 mm
    (4.8 x 2.7 x 1.3 in)
    Camera Weight 524 g (18.5 oz) 369 g (13.0 oz)

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

    You are here Home  »  CAM-parator  »  Canon XSi vs Olympus E-P3

    Thanks for your vote!

    You rated this page 4 out of 5.


    Rating

    Any additional comment or suggestion for improvement would be welcome.


    If you like it, make sure you share it:

    • Mention this page to your Facebook friends and Twitter followers.
    • Bookmark it in your browser for future reference by pressing "Crtl" + "D".
    • Create a hyperlink by copying the text below into your web-project or discussion forum entry.

    Once again, thanks for taking the time to provide feedback. I appreciate it.