IQ of the OM-D E-M5 over the Canon SL1

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by sooper, Jul 3, 2013.

  1. sooper

    sooper Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 17, 2012
    I'm very very close to buying a E-M5 but I saw the SL1/100D today and it just made me think a bit. It more or less has the same dimensions except that it's substantially thicker. It's lighter (although it does feel a bit cheap in the hands) and looks plasticy. It has an optical viewfinder and I'd have access to a larger library of lenses (I think?), but any zoom/telephoto lens would be very big to carry around.

    My main interest however is image quality; the Canon has the larger APS-C sensor, but this is an old sensor and from what I've read has less dynamic range than the E-M5. This is where I get a bit stuck, surely this means that the IQ of the E-M5 should better?

    The E-M5 has IBIS, articulating touch screen, faster autofocus?, weather-sealing, looks better, and to me atleast, is better built.

    Has anyone had experience with both? What are your thoughts on IQ?
  2. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 4, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    The OM-D E-M5 has a significantly better sensor. The IQ of the Canon EOS SL1 is basically the same as the Panasonic G5, which has an additional advantage of being heavily discounted right now.

    DxOMark results for those three cameras
  3. There are things that I still like about the current generation Canon APS-C sensors, but dynamic range remains a weakpoint IMHO. It's not bad as such, and not every photographic situation calls for a sensor with high DR, but they do feel restricted if you are used to shooting an Olympus, Samsung, Sony, etc with 12+ stops of DR.

    Also keep in mind when comparing the E-M5 with the SL1 that you are comparing Canon's bottom-of-the-range DSLR with Olympus' top-of-the-range m4/3 camera and so the feature sets are going to be quite different.
  4. napilopez

    napilopez Contributing Editor

    Feb 21, 2012
    NYC Area
    Napier Lopez
    What the others have said. This is one of those cases where DxO is definitely right. The OM-D's sensor is equal or better than Canon's current gen APS-C sensor in every area, especially dynamic range. The only advantage that sensor will give you is more DoF control, but if you want to stop down, the image quality difference becomes more apparent.

    This is coming from someone who shoots has shot canon quite often. Canons's only advantage is what I consider to be better default jpeg processing.
  5. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    I was never a fan of the SL1...sure the body is tiny, but the lenses you put on it aren't. By the time you mount a lens, and have one or two others in the bag, the *OVERALL* difference between it and another body is negligible.

    Also, the SL1's sensor has been around for ages...just look at T4i/60D vs. OM-D reviews (look up the high-ISO comparisons on dpreview, for example)...the OM-D bests them, I think...
  6. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    does it have 5 axis IBIS. No? I thought not.

    Unless you're going to buy a tripod with the Canon, the Olympus will produce consistantly sharper images.

  7. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    That's really only true if you're using unstabilized lenses with the Canon (many are stabilized, especially the popular ones, such as walkaround zooms), and only at very slow shutter speeds.

    I've been shooting Canon DSLRs for years and years, and the lack of IBIS has never been a problem at anything less than around 100mm...
  8. jmaher

    jmaher Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 7, 2012
    Sarasota, FL
    I currently have both and they are completely different. IQ seems about the same with equally good lenses. The OM-D has a great EVF but the optical in the Canon is very useful in some circumstances. The SL1 lets me use my L lenses from my 5D3 if I need something special.

    Neither takes photos as well or as sharp as the 5D3 but they are both lighter and easier to travel with. One of them really should be sold but I am having trouble figuring out which one.
  9. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    I compared the E-M5 to the 7D (top end of Canon's APS-C sensor cams) and felt the IQ was generally better with the E-M5.
  10. klee

    klee Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 20, 2013
    Houston, TX
    AF performance is also a point of comparison. you can't use any phase detect AF points in live view on the cannon. And I'm not sure but the OMD probably outperforms the cannon in CDAF.

    continuous AF may be better with the canon, but probably only with PDAF through the OVF.

    if you're interested in APSC but arent swayed by AF performance, just IQ, try fuji XE1 or the new XM1. or wait for their upcoming model which should be even more affordable.
  11. carpandean

    carpandean Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 29, 2010
    Western NY
    Of course, the 7D is several years older. In many ways, the new 70D is probably better (even appears to have the 7D's autofocus system.) If/when they release a 7D MkII, it will likely outperform the E-M5 on many facets of IQ. It will, however, be much bigger and more expensive.

    True for the SL1, but maybe not for the next generation SL2, if they carry over the 70D's sensor. Being a low-end model, the life cycle of the SL* series will likely be short, so we may see an SL2 in a year.
  12. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    i'm going to dissagree with you here. I shot Canon as a working photographer for nearly 20 years and now shoot Leica as well as m4/3. IS certainly does make a difference with lenses below 100mm, especially when the light levels start to fall. Most consumer zooms are both slow and have lesser IS systems installed than their "pro" (I hate that term) counterparts. It's frightfully easy to get low shutter speed out of an 18-somethingorother f3.5-5.6. None of the Canon primes have IS at all.

    I can handhold a EM5 and 45mm 1.8 down to about a 30th of a second. No way your going to do that with a 50mm 1.8 on a Canon crop body, consistently.

    Not to mention that the IBIS in the E-M5 is just more effective than anything Canon has to offer in any lens they make.

    There's a lot of talk about which sensor is better or which lens is sharper/faster/has magic fairy dust on forums, which is fine. But for the vast majority any differences are usually masked by poor technique and images with poor focus or camera shake. A single pixel of camera shake effectively halves the resolution of the image.

    I'll take a camera with great handling (not really the case with either of these, without a grip) and IBIS over a marginally better (which I don't think is true in this case anyway) sensor any day.

  13. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    Fair enough...good points...people thought I was nuts when I told them that I switched from the Canon 70-200 non-IS to the Tamron 70-300 VC USD and had more was all due to shake. And yeah, I'm hoping that the IBIS on the EM-5 will make up for the slower lenses/slightly poorer high ISO performance...

    I generally shoot wiiiiiiiide (16mm on full frame) and have fairly steady hands, so it's never been an issue for me, but you have good points.
  14. fsuscotphoto

    fsuscotphoto Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 15, 2013
    St. Cloud, FL
    I've got both and I would disagree. The 7D has less noise at high ISO and I think fractionally better base. From 400 to 1600 though I think you are correct.

    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43 mobile app
  15. Canon has just announced their future APS-C sensor in the 70D (20MP with built-in PDAF) but has made no claims about having improved the dynamic range of the sensor. Now I could be wrong but I would have thought that if they had finally given it 12+ stops of dynamic range like the others they would be shouting it from the rooftops. The PDAF seems to be the headline feature of the new sensor but I'm more interested in what it can produce.
  16. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    That's going a bit far. There are many shutter speeds where turning off IBIS on the Olympus will result in sharper images than with it on (for example normal daylight). The Rebel is at no disadvantage in those situations. Results depends very much upon the exact shooting conditions.
  17. sooper

    sooper Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 17, 2012
    Going to check out the E-M5, Fuji X-E1 and SL1 today. Though I'm 90% sure I'll end up getting the Oly, I'd still like to compare
  18. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    I've not noticed that, or heard of it before. Do you have any data or a reference to back that up (turning the IBIS off will result in sharper images)? I thought the IBIS took care of itself at higher shutter speeds. I certainly never disable mine. I have seen many well performed tests over the years to know that even at higher shutter speeds there is a difference between handholding, handholding with IS and a tripod (or other rock solid platform). The differences can be slight, but they're there. My own informal tests have shown that I acheive better sharpness at speeds up to, at least 1/250th (or more0 with IS on (or better yet, a tripod where I see more improvement).

    While at higher shutter speeds, the Canon may have no disadvantage, long slow zooms and poor holding technique can bring shutter speeds down quickly, even out doors. Add a polariser and they're two stops slower again. But even if there were absolutely no dissadvantage at higher shutter speeds to the Canon, it would hold no advantage either. But for everything except the middle of the day the Olympus IBIS will give sharper images.

    I don't think I was exagerating (this time :smile: )

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