Sony A7 v Olympus OM-D E-M1 v Canon EOS 5D Mk III

October 16, 2013 | Mark Goldstein | Compact System Camera, Digital SLR Cameras | 18 Comments | |
News image

We've directly compared the new Sony A7 full-frame compact system camera with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III.

As you'll see in the gallery, the Sony A7 is much smaller than Canon's full-frame DSLR, as you'd expect, but it's actually about the same size as Olympus' new mirrorless offering, which uses a comparatively tiny Micro Four Thirds sensor!

Obviously you then have to factor in the lenses, which are bigger on Sony's new FE full-frame system, but it's clear to see that Sony have put a lot of effort into making their new A7/A7R bodies as petitie as possible

A gallery of 20 photos of the Sony A7 camera compared with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III.

Image Gallery

Click on a thumbnail to see the full version.

Your Comments

18 Comments | Newest Oldest First | Post a Comment

#1 Andrew

Wow. The Olympus actually looks bigger in terms of body size than the Sony, yet the Sony has a true 35mm sensor that is so much bigger than it. Bravo Sony.

12:41 am - Thursday, October 17, 2013

#2 Mr Olympus

Camera bodies only. Really? I thought this was photography blog, not Sensor Blog.
Here's an idea, do another comparo with lenses this time :
- kit Zoom
- UWA zoom
- 24mm equ
- 28mm equ
- 35mm equ
- 40mm equ
- 50mm equ
- 85-90mm equ
- 120-150mm equ
- 200mm-600mm equ

Oh and take some pics while you're there.

8:51 am - Thursday, October 17, 2013

#3 Ceri Vale

What a pointless exercise. As a photographer I am 10% interested in aesthetics and 90% interested in output. I currently use a Nikon D600 (full frame, to the uninitiated) and will be moving to the Olympus E-M1 as soon as it's available in the UK. Why? Because the difference in Image Quality (IQ) between the new generation m4/3rds and FF sensors is minimal.

Olympus produce the best lenses of ANY system, lenses which eek out every single ounce of detail.

Olympus produces the best image stabilisation system of ANY system.

The sensor is NOT tiny as your ill-informed article implies - it is 50% the size of a FF sensor. Having used FF for 12 months I am in a position to make an informed choice...and I choose m4/3.

Sony COULD have won the race with their A7r...but to bring out a system with only 5 fully compatible lenses is, at best, a flawed strategy.

Micro 4/3 rds has 65 fully compatible lenses available to it

FINALLY - Nikon D600, Sony A7, Olympus E-M1 - ALL sensors made by Sony. Food for thought

8:53 am - Friday, October 18, 2013

#4 Tony Pérez

The truth is that for me, and for the great majority of people 16mpx is more than enough. I'll add to that, that in image quality there is apparently no difference between the Omd Em1 and Em5. Maybe with some lenses and in specific situarlos the em1 can scratch out a Little more detail, but not much.

I think that id domine wants good image quality and wants to travel light, the em1 or em5 is the way to go. For something more apsc or full frame.

I'm hoping the the price of the Omd line goes down because of this.

2:55 pm - Friday, October 18, 2013

#5 luis

ehem, only 16mpx if you shoot on 4:3 aspect, if you want 16:9, only have 12mpx. and FF has 3:2 aspect by default. 4:3 dont cool, 3:2 and 16:9 rules!!!

ff has better bokeh too.

anyway, A7 has AA filter (pffffff!!!!) and PDAF on sensor (great), and A7r only have contrast autofocus (PFFFF!!!!) but no AA filter (great).

What the...??? bad move Sony, where is the A7final??? with 36mpx, no AA filter and PDAF????

3:27 pm - Saturday, October 26, 2013

#6 Altai

I have used a Panasonic GX1 for almost two years. To me the best lens is the Sigma 60mm f/2.8 rather than the Olympus 75mm f/1.8.
Though the Olympus lens seems to have an advantage in Chromatic Aberration, its MTF data is inferior, meaning less sharp than the Sigma lens. But the huge difference in price ($899 vs $239) is just too ridiculous to justify by any stretch of the imagination or reality.
Therefore, I am ready to get a new Nikon D610 so I may take advantage of having such fine-quality lenses as Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 DI Macro ($460) and Tamron SP 70-300 F/4-5.6 Di VC USD ($449) at bargain prices.

2:34 am - Monday, October 28, 2013

#7 Dmitry

Attach your FF lenses to Sony A7 and then compare, even Sony APS emount lenses are much bigger than m4/3 So what the point to have small body counterbalanced by a huge lens?
Stupid comparison!

6:19 pm - Sunday, November 10, 2013

#8 tato

"Sony COULD have won the race with their A7r...but to bring out a system with only 5 fully compatible lenses is, at best, a flawed strategy."

"Micro 4/3 rds has 65 fully compatible lenses available to it"

Just to answer to Ceri Vale... you may not understood that a mirror less system does allow you to use EVERY SINGLE LENS AVAILABLE ON EARTH WITHOUT USING A CONVERTER LENS BEFORE THE SENSOR!

As you may forgot, the lens makes the image not the sensor (the same as it was while using film). Every lens has its own character so now you can use Leica or Contax, Nikon or Rokkor or Zuiko without having to loose the actual focal length!


8:45 pm - Wednesday, November 20, 2013

#9 Dmitri

"mirror less system does allow you to use EVERY SINGLE LENS AVAILABLE ON EARTH WITHOUT USING A CONVERTER LENS BEFORE THE SENSOR!" - get yourself another place for such jokes!

9:16 pm - Wednesday, November 20, 2013

#10 tato

Of course you do need a converter to attached the lens but this is only to get to the right distance from the focal plane of the lens and the actual sensor...
I don't think I have said anything incorrect!

9:32 pm - Wednesday, November 20, 2013

#11 Karl


What are you talking about? You have about 100+ years of produced lenses to choose from. You can practically use anything that projects a big enough imagecircle with this camera.

This has been a wet dream for Photographers since the first digitalcamera were produced.

I belive the prices of vintage glass will skyrocket in some cases.

8:27 am - Tuesday, November 26, 2013

#12 Dmitry

You need adaptor to make it work and then you will loose autofocus and etc. This why I sold my collection of 4/3 lenses and got OMD EM5

9:45 am - Tuesday, November 26, 2013

#13 TATO

All you loose is the autofocus and the shutter priority. This is something you need of course if you are shooting subject in movement such as in sports photography.
For all the rest manual focus is quite usable (I actually prefer it as it gives me the time to think when I am composing) and I think this is the reason why Carl Zeiss is producing new manual lenses for Canon and Nikon as well, and guess what, Leica has never moved to autofocus but they still sell cameras!
Like you I have a 5dMIII but still love to shoot 4x5, why? It takes about 20' to compose, decide, focus and... wait for the right moment before triggering the shutter...

9:57 am - Tuesday, November 26, 2013

#14 Karl

As answer to #12
Ok Then I see what you mean, What I think he was refeering to was the fact that you can use all the great manual lenses available without the need to use a adapter WITH a lens inside it.

Thats possible because of the shorter distance between sensor and lensmount.

For example; you can use manual lenses with M42 mount on a Canon 5D with only a mecanical adapter if you are to use the same lens on a Nikon DSLR you have to have a adapter with a lens built in it to be able to focus to infinity.

The adapters with built in correctionlens are mostly of poor optical performance.

Why the A7/-r Is a huge deal is because now you can use every lens ever maid for fullframe without having to modify it heavily.

The old Caonon FD mount for example couldn´t be used before on a FF DSLR

I also stand fully behind what TATO wrote above.
Faster isn´t always better.

I come from a analog background with Some Nikon Dslrs after that then moved on to faster prime lenses with a Epson RD-1 and a Sony Nex3 .

Long reply short; THe new A7 A7r is a dream come tru, this was what I hoped for when first Dslr´s in a acceptable price range came to the market.
(D100-D70 2004-5 ish)

I thing there will be some interesting rise in prices of fast primes in uncommon mounts in the years to come..

4:05 pm - Wednesday, December 18, 2013

#15 Self Entitled Photographer Dick

Homage to MR Olympus and Ceri Vale


You post is utterly pointless and an offence to me, how dare you leave it on the internet knowing that I might find it and have it offend my eyes.

Please immediately post something useful like a full detailed review of the 250 lens I have listed below.

I shall not say please with any of my requests because this is the internet and I am not required to lower myself to common decency and politeness because I am a photographer.

Jeez, if you don't like the article, move on. You sound like comic book guy from the simpsons.

11:41 am - Wednesday, October 29, 2014

#16 Dmitry

Here you go :
13th Floor Photography: Full Frame vs. Micro Four Thirds (m43): Sony A7 vs. the Olympus OMD E-M1

4:22 pm - Wednesday, October 29, 2014

#17 Mary Ann

I upgrade from a Olympus OM-D E-M5 to an Olympus OM-D E-M1 this year. Best decision for taking still. I was wondering what the Sony A7 was like in comparison and I appreciate your overview.

8:25 pm - Monday, November 3, 2014

#18 Andrea Novicki

Micro 4/3rds is half the size of full frame? On what planet? Geometry is hard.

10:31 pm - Tuesday, December 23, 2014