David and Goliath - Olympus E-M1 v Canon EOS 5D Mk III

October 11, 2013 | Mark Goldstein | Compact System Camera, Digital SLR Cameras | 30 Comments | |
News image

We've just got the Olympus OM-D E-M1 in for testing, and thought it would be a Fun Friday thing to do to compare its size directly alongside the full-frame Canon EOS 5D Mk III.

The Canon EOS 5D Mk III is fitted with the excellent Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens, and the Olympus OM-D has the original version of the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 mounted, so they offer a similar angle of view - the Olympus/Panasonic pairing actually provides a slightly longer focal length of 40mm, in 35mm full-frame terms.

David and Goliath, eat your heart out...

Image Gallery

Click on a thumbnail to see the full version.

Tracker Pixel for Entry

Your Comments

30 Comments | Newest Oldest First | Post a Comment

#1 Ed Collyer

Image gallery????


7:23 pm - Friday, October 11, 2013

#2 Tony Pérez

I'm looking forward to the OMD EM1 review. Looks like a very fancy and advanced tiny slr. Its barely the same size as my 1100d, but thinner, and ofcourse a lot better, and a lot more expensive. I bet that in the noise department though they do a similar job.

9:29 pm - Friday, October 11, 2013

#3 dan

I know i am being fussy, but without a flash i am just not as excited about it, i use fill in flash a hell of a lot and i do find when i use cameras without one i just seem to miss it. Apart from that, lovely camera.

1:09 am - Saturday, October 12, 2013


Where is the image gallery?

4:31 am - Saturday, October 12, 2013

#5 Mardock

Ummmmm, comparison? WHAT comparison?

Headlines for clicks, but no content, huh?


9:35 am - Saturday, October 12, 2013

#6 Le Chibouki Frustré

You people should learn to read.

What part haven't you understand when they say "...to compare its size alongside..."?

They never said anything about image quality... ;)

1:29 pm - Saturday, October 12, 2013

#7 its me

I was looking for more too, but the article only says "...a Fun Friday thing to do to compare its size" and that's what they did :-/

Seems to be a teaser for an upcoming M1-review.

1:32 pm - Saturday, October 12, 2013

#8 gs68100


4:47 pm - Saturday, October 12, 2013

#9 Dave

If all you are comparing is size, why not compare the Canon to a camera with a similar size sensor? Sony RX1 comes to mind.

If you are not comparing image quality, and if sensor size does not matter, then why not compare the Canon to a Sony Xperia Z waterproof cellphone?

1:40 am - Sunday, October 13, 2013

#10 shamel

Image Gallery? Is a single image a gallery? and, why do you not compare a Pentax Q to a Hasselbald 80 mpix medium format size camera? Just to complete this stupid article that I consider useless and a total waste of space and time.

7:01 am - Sunday, October 13, 2013

#11 D

Typical bulls..t article. No comparison of image quality - the 5DIII is much better. And worse still the lenses are not comparable at all.
Dishonest crap. I recommend that everybody stop looking at this website in the future. Disgusting internet crap. Goodbye!

7:51 am - Sunday, October 13, 2013

#12 John Wallwork

??? so what? it's smaller? pic quality v price difference v what they both can/cannot do is what it's all about, surely??

10:14 am - Sunday, October 13, 2013

#13 D.Kamer

Of course the 5DIII is better, otherwise there is not reason for it's exicstence anymore. I know what I rather want to hang around my neck all day. Unless you are a professional and have to make a living with your camera you are just looking as silly strolling around with a 5D or a D800 as those who drive around in a Hummer in the inner city.

11:49 am - Sunday, October 13, 2013

#14 vauve

A single foto forms a gallery. A chicken coop having one chicken forms a chicken coop containing one chicken, no more. Anywhy, a fine comparison.

11:55 am - Sunday, October 13, 2013

#15 TK

E-M1 seems like an excellent camera, master piece in his class, important update over the E-M5.

For the best real world use reviews on OM-D E-M1, as well as several other Olympus cameras and lens,
check out Robin's place :


Full of good samples, currently 4 part review with more coming soon.

2:49 pm - Sunday, October 13, 2013

#16 Linh Nguyen

It's pointless to compare image quality between the two. Full-frame sensor will destroy that paltry 4/3 at any ISO. Yes, Olympus have made great improvements to the 4/3 sensor. Uh... doesn't mean much when going up against a FF.

4:36 pm - Sunday, October 13, 2013

#17 James

"Fun Friday thing to do to compare its size directly alongside the full-frame Canon EOS 5D Mk III".......

"to compare its size directly alongside"........

"compare its size"........


not image quality....... give over.

11:04 pm - Sunday, October 13, 2013

#18 Linh Nguyen

@James: Sigh, and you totally missed my point while trying to be a smart-ass.

I know it's a size comparison since it's obviously pointless to compare image quality.

11:07 pm - Sunday, October 13, 2013

#19 Alejandro

I've compared jpeg from EM 5 with jpeg from 5D III. With good primes in both bodies, the differences indicate that FF is better. Neverthless, such difference, about IQ, is not huge. Even in low light, until ISO 3200, the Oly micro 3/4 is good compared with the excellent 5D III, that I own.

So, in many situations I dare to consider that jpeg the both cameras are distinguishable but without obvious lost of quality in the micro 3/4. In the raw files the song is a little different, and the results could be slightly better in the FF all the time; but again, it should not be evident the FF is greatly better,

The main difference are the size and kinds of tools that offers the FF system. Canon's is huge...

I would to know how different is the AF speed in the EM 1. ¿A 5D III owner using just the central point, is going to miss a lot the FF camera compared with the EM1 AF (with micro3/4 lenses)?

11:43 pm - Sunday, October 13, 2013

#20 Chris

in the first meeting Goliath did die...

...But not this time.

12:51 am - Monday, October 14, 2013

#21 Jostian

was expecting a proper 'fight', not this... pity!

7:45 am - Monday, October 14, 2013

#22 Dave

Someone should also mention that PhotogBlog is showing the Canon with one of the largest 50mm F1.4 lenses made in the world. The Olympus, on the other hand, is shown with one of the smallest F1.7 lenses.

The comparison could not be done with native lenses. The Canon 50mm 1.4 is much smaller. The Olympus 1.4 doesn't even exist.

Troll much?

1:34 pm - Monday, October 14, 2013

#23 Tony Perez

Being the Eos 5d mkIII and the Olympus Omd Em1, they should mount the equivalent y lense. The 5d should go with an Ef 50mm f1.2L lense and the Em1 with corresponding 4/3 or M4/3 lense, for example the Pana/Lumix 25mm.

Anyways, for a size comparison they are ok the way they are. What would be nice is a high end interchangeable lense camera showdown.

Since the Em1 is the new comer, I would put it against the Canon Eos 70d or 6d, Nikon d7100 or d610, Pentax k5IIs or k3( both apsc),Sony alpha 77 or alpha 99.

It would be awesome to ser id the m4/3 model could actually equal any of those. Sooner or later someone is going to do it, and Ive seen a few high Iso ahora from the em1 and they are beyond what a m4/3 camera has ever done.

2:53 pm - Monday, October 14, 2013

#24 M.

Oh my God, this article really made some people angry...

5:18 pm - Monday, October 14, 2013

#25 James

@Linh Nguyen: Wasn't actually directed at you. I was referring to those who were moaning about there being no sample image gallery.

7:10 am - Tuesday, October 15, 2013

#26 Mark Goldstein

Here's some of our previous coverage on the E-M1.

Sample Images:

Hands-on photos:

10:09 am - Tuesday, October 15, 2013

#27 dq

It's amazing how upset people get over absolutely nothing.

It was a simple size comparison between two different systems. It didn't purport to be anything more.

1:08 pm - Tuesday, October 15, 2013

#28 sheepthief

I hope you're not testing the E-M1 with that Panasonic 20mm - it's the worst-performing of all micro-fourthirds lenses when it comes to focus speed and accuracy - pretty much unusable in all but the brightest of conditions, and slow and noisy even then. It also has a specific issue with banding at high ISO on the E-M5, and presumably also on the E-M1 also (I've not tried that yet because my copy of the lens has been gathering dust on a shelf practically since I bought it).

6:14 am - Tuesday, October 22, 2013

#29 Karl Grabherr

If this test should be of any sense, please test both cameras with original lenses, e.g. canon lenses for canon bodies and olympus lenses for olympus cameras. and please take fixed lenses like 35mm for full frame and 17mm for mft, or 85mm for FF and 45mm for mft.

Thanks, Karl

12:00 pm - Tuesday, October 22, 2013

#30 FOTO

Olympus y sus Zuikos pro DE PRIMERA CALIDAD DE IMAGEN BUEN RANGO DINÁMICO nada que envidiar a canon FF.

9:36 pm - Sunday, November 3, 2013