Canon XTi vs Olympus E-510
The Canon EOS Rebel XTi (called Canon 400D in some regions) and the Olympus E-510 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2006 and March 2007. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (XTi) and a Four Thirds (E-510) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10.1 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 10 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 EOS Rebel XTi and the Olympus E-510? 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 XTi and the Olympus E-510 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-510 is notably larger (17 percent) than the Canon XTi. However, the E-510 is slightly lighter (3 percent) than the XTi. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the XTi nor the E-510 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 (XTi) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-510).
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.
|1.||Canon XTi||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|2.||Olympus E-510||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||538 g||750||n||Mar 2007||799|
|3.||Canon T6i||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749|
|4.||Canon T6s||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|5.||Canon T4i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|6.||Canon T3||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|7.||Canon T2i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|8.||Canon T1i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|9.||Canon XSi||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799|
|10.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|11.||Canon XT||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899|
|12.||Canon Rebel||142 mm||99 mm||72 mm||649 g||400||n||Aug 2003||899|
|13.||Olympus E-600||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||535 g||500||n||Aug 2009||449|
|14.||Olympus E-620||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||521 g||500||n||Feb 2009||699|
|15.||Olympus E-30||142 mm||108 mm||75 mm||701 g||750||n||Nov 2008||1,299|
|16.||Olympus E-520||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||535 g||750||n||May 2008||699|
|17.||Olympus E-410||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Mar 2007||699|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the 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 XTi features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-510 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-510 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 XTi has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-510 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 10.1MP, the XTi offers a slightly higher resolution than the E-510 (10MP), but the XTi nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.71μm versus 4.74μm for the E-510) due to its larger sensor. However, the E-510 is a somewhat more recent model (by 6 months) than the XTi, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The Canon EOS Rebel XTi has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The Olympus E-510 offers exactly the same ISO settings.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under review, the XTi has a notably higher overall DXO score than the E-510 (overall score 10 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.9 bits higher color depth, 1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.6 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|2.||Olympus E-510||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.2||10.0||442||52|
|13.||Olympus E-600||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.5||10.3||541||55|
|14.||Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55|
|15.||Olympus E-30||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.4||530||55|
|16.||Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55|
|17.||Olympus E-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51|
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The XTi and the E-510 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), but the viewfinder of the XTi has a higher magnification than the one of the E-510 (0.49x vs 0.46x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon XTi, the Olympus E-510, and comparable cameras.
One feature that differentiates the E-510 and the XTi is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-510 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the XTi offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.
The XTi writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the E-510 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-510 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the XTi only has one slot.
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 XTi and Olympus E-510 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
Both the XTi and the E-510 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The XTi was replaced by the Canon Xsi, while the E-510 was followed by the Olympus E-520. 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 how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon XTi or the Olympus E-510 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel XTi:
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (10 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.6 stops ISO advantage).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.49x vs 0.46x).
- More compact: Is smaller (127x84mm vs 136x92mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2006).
Arguments in favor of the Olympus E-510:
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (750 versus 370) out of a single battery charge.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (6 months) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the XTi emerges as the winner of the contest (6 : 4 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 XTi and the Olympus E-510 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing 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 XTi and the E-510 in practical situations. 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 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.
|1.||Canon XTi||..||+ +||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|2.||Olympus E-510||..||89/100||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||799|
|3.||Canon T6i||5/5||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|4.||Canon T6s||5/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|5.||Canon T4i||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|6.||Canon T3||..||80/100||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|7.||Canon T2i||..||+ +||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|8.||Canon T1i||..||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|9.||Canon XSi||..||+ +||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799|
|10.||Canon 40D||..||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299|
|11.||Canon XT||..||80/100||+ +||o||..||Feb 2005||899|
|12.||Canon Rebel||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2003||899|
|13.||Olympus E-600||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||Aug 2009||449|
|14.||Olympus E-620||3/5||88/100||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2009||699|
|15.||Olympus E-30||..||..||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2008||1,299|
|16.||Olympus E-520||..||87/100||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2008||699|
|17.||Olympus E-410||..||86/100||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated 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 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.
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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Canon XTi vs Olympus E-510
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 XTi||Olympus E-510|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2006||March 2007|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Canon XTi||Olympus E-510|
|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|
|Sensor Resolution||10.1 Megapixels||10 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3888 x 2592 pixels||3648 x 2736 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.71 μm||4.74 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.07 MP/cm2||4.44 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC II||TruePic III|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||62||52|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.1||21.2|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.0||10.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||664||442|
|Screen Specs||Canon XTi||Olympus E-510|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||2.5inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||215k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon XTi||Olympus E-510|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||CF or XD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon XTi||Olympus E-510|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon XTi||Olympus E-510|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||370 shots per charge||750 shots per charge|
127 x 84 x 65 mm
(5.0 x 3.3 x 2.6 in)
136 x 92 x 68 mm
(5.4 x 3.6 x 2.7 in)
|Camera Weight||556 g (19.6 oz)||538 g (19.0 oz)|
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