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Olympus E-1 versus Canon XC10

The Olympus E-1 and the Canon XC10 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in June 2003 and April 2015. The E-1 is a DSLR, while the XC10 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (E-1) and an one-inch (XC10) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 4.9 megapixel, whereas the Canon provides 12 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Olympus E-1 vs Canon XC10

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-1 and the Canon XC10. 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the E-1 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Olympus E-1 vs Canon XC10
Compare E-1 versus XC10 top
Compare E-1 and XC10 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon XC10 is notably smaller (13 percent) than the Olympus E-1. It is worth mentioning in this context that the E-1 is splash and dust resistant, while the XC10 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the XC10 has a lens build in, whereas the E-1 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can find an overview of optics for the E-1 and their specifications in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Olympus E-1» 141 mm 104 mm 81 mm 738 g 750 Y Jun 2003 1,699- i Olympus E-1
Canon XC10« 125 mm 102 mm 122 mm 1040 g .. n Apr 2015 2,499- i Canon XC10
Canon 6D Mark II« » 144 mm 111 mm 75 mm 765 g 1200 Y Jun 2017 1,999 i i Canon 6D Mark II
Canon G7 X Mark II« » 106 mm 61 mm 42 mm 319 g 265 n Feb 2016 699 i i Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon G5 X« » 112 mm 76 mm 44 mm 353 g 210 n Oct 2015 799 i i Canon G5 X
Canon G1 X Mark II« » 116 mm 74 mm 66 mm 553 g 240 n Feb 2014 799 i i Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon G7 X« » 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 n Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
Canon SX60« » 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549- i Canon SX60
Canon 7D« » 148 mm 111 mm 74 mm 860 g 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699- i Canon 7D
Leica Digilux 3« » 146 mm 87 mm 77 mm 606 g 750 n Sep 2006 1,499- i Leica Digilux 3
Nikon D500« » 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 860 g 1240 Y Jan 2016 1,999 i i Nikon D500
Nikon D610« » 141 mm 113 mm 82 mm 850 g 900 Y Oct 2013 1,999 i i Nikon D610
Nikon D7000« » 132 mm 105 mm 77 mm 780 g 1050 Y Sep 2010 1,499- i Nikon D7000
Olympus E-5« » 142 mm 117 mm 75 mm 873 g 750 Y Sep 2010 1,699- i Olympus E-5
Olympus E-3« » 142 mm 116 mm 75 mm 876 g 750 Y Oct 2007 1,699- i Olympus E-3
Olympus E-330« » 140 mm 87 mm 72 mm 637 g 750 n Jan 2006 999- i Olympus E-330
Olympus E-300« » 147 mm 85 mm 64 mm 624 g 750 n Sep 2004 799- i Olympus E-300

The camera’s price is obviously a critical decision-making factor. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Olympus E-1 vs Canon XC10

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 tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus E-1 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Canon XC10 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the XC10 is 45 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 2.75. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Olympus E-1 and Canon XC10 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the XC10 offers a higher resolution of 12 megapixel, compared with 4.9 MP of the E-1. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.20μm versus 6.78μm for the E-1). However, it should be noted that the XC10 is much more recent (by 11 years and 9 months) than the E-1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

E-1 versus XC10 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Olympus E-1» Four Thirds 4.9 2560 1920-----Olympus E-1
Canon XC10« 1-inch 12.0 4000 30004K/30p----Canon XC10
Canon 6D Mark II« » Full Frame 26.0 6240 41601080/60p24.411.9286285Canon 6D Mark II
Canon G7 X Mark II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon G5 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----Canon G5 X
Canon G1 X Mark II« » 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon G7 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671Canon G7 X
Canon SX60« » 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739Canon SX60
Canon 7D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466Canon 7D
Leica Digilux 3« » Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352-----Leica Digilux 3
Nikon D500« » APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.014.0132483Nikon D500
Nikon D610« » Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.4292594Nikon D610
Nikon D7000« » APS-C 16.1 4928 326410800/24p23.513.9116780Nikon D7000
Olympus E-5« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.610.551956Olympus E-5
Olympus E-3« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.610.557156Olympus E-3
Olympus E-330« » Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352-----Olympus E-330
Olympus E-300« » Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448-----Olympus E-300

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The XC10 indeed provides for movie recording, while the E-1 does not. The highest resolution format that the XC10 can use is 4K/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Olympus E-1 vs Canon XC10

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the E-1 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the XC10 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Olympus E-1 and Canon XC10 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

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)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Olympus E-1»optical Y 1.8 134 fixed n 4000 3.0 n n Olympus E-1
Canon XC10«- n 3.0 1030 tilting Y 2000 3.8 n Y Canon XC10
Canon 6D Mark II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 6.5 n n Canon 6D Mark II
Canon G7 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 8.0 Y Y Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon G5 X« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 2000 5.9 Y Y Canon G5 X
Canon G1 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 5.2 Y Y Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon G7 X« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 6.5 Y Y Canon G7 X
Canon SX60« »922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 2000 6.4 Y Y Canon SX60
Canon 7D« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 8.0 Y n Canon 7D
Leica Digilux 3« »optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Leica Digilux 3
Nikon D500« »optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n n Nikon D500
Nikon D610« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 4000 6.0 Y n Nikon D610
Nikon D7000« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n Nikon D7000
Olympus E-5« »optical Y 3.0 920 swivel n 8000 5.0 Y Y Olympus E-5
Olympus E-3« »optical Y 2.5 230 swivel n 8000 5.0 Y Y Olympus E-3
Olympus E-330« »optical n 2.5 215 tilting n 4000 3.0 Y n Olympus E-330
Olympus E-300« »optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Olympus E-300

One feature that is present on the E-1, but is missing on the XC10 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

The E-1 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or xD Picture cards, while the XC10 uses CFast or SDXC cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Olympus E-1»Y-----2.0---Olympus E-1
Canon XC10«YstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Canon XC10
Canon 6D Mark II« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon 6D Mark II
Canon G7 X Mark II« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon G5 X« »Ystereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon G5 X
Canon G1 X Mark II« »Ystereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon G7 X« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G7 X
Canon SX60« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon SX60
Canon 7D« »Ymono-Y-mini2.0---Canon 7D
Leica Digilux 3« »Ystereomono---2.0---Leica Digilux 3
Nikon D500« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0YYYNikon D500
Nikon D610« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D610
Nikon D7000« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D7000
Olympus E-5« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-5
Olympus E-3« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-3
Olympus E-330« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-330
Olympus E-300« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-300

Both the E-1 and the XC10 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-1 was replaced by the Olympus E-3, while the XC10 was followed by the Canon XC20.

Review summary: Olympus E-1 vs Canon XC10

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-1 or the Canon XC10 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages of the Olympus E-1:

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in June 2003).

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Arguments in favor of the Canon XC10:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12 vs 4.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 56%.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 4K/30p video.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1030k vs 134k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.8 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the E-1 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (125x102mm vs 141x104mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi build in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More modern: Reflects 11 years and 9 months of technical progress since the E-1 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the XC10 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 6 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.

E-1 06:13 XC10

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the E-1 or the XC10 handle or perform in practice. 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 expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Olympus E-1»-Recrevrev- Jun 2003 1,699- i Olympus E-1
Canon XC10«-80/100--- Apr 2015 2,499- i Canon XC10
Canon 6D Mark II« »Rec80/1004.5/54/54/5 Jun 2017 1,999 i i Canon 6D Mark II
Canon G7 X Mark II« »HiRec81/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699 i i Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon G5 X« »HiRec78/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799 i i Canon G5 X
Canon G1 X Mark II« »Rec77/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799 i i Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon G7 X« »HiRec77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
Canon SX60« »HiRec75/1004/5-4.5/5 Sep 2014 549- i Canon SX60
Canon 7D« »HiRec84/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699- i Canon 7D
Leica Digilux 3« »----- Sep 2006 1,499- i Leica Digilux 3
Nikon D500« »HiRec91/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 1,999 i i Nikon D500
Nikon D610« »HiRec87/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,999 i i Nikon D610
Nikon D7000« »-80/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,499- i Nikon D7000
Olympus E-5« »-75/1004/5-4.5/5 Sep 2010 1,699- i Olympus E-5
Olympus E-3« »88/100HiRecrevrev4/5 Oct 2007 1,699- i Olympus E-3
Olympus E-330« »-Recrev3.5/5- Jan 2006 999- i Olympus E-330
Olympus E-300« »-Recrevrev4.5/5 Sep 2004 799- i Olympus E-300

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, kindly get in touch, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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