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gryphon1911

I Try Out The Fuji X100s, X-T1, Olympus OMD EM5 and EM1...want to find out which one I bought?

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gryphon1911

I had an opportunity to use these side by side and made a decision on which one to get. All great options to be sure, but there were a lot of surprises.

I blogged about it HERE

I think some of you might be surprised by what you read and see.

Enjoy.

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Deardorff

Why waste time looking if you aren't smart enough to put it here? Just like the cheezy TV news/sports types who won't just say "Cubs Win - Details at 11" - I don't watch their news because of cheap tricks like this and I won't visit your web article for the same reason.

State it and then those actually interested can read it.

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FJC

Some beautiful images in there. The box that records the images is irrelevant so long as it works for you.

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gryphon1911

Wow...its good to see that people here are still their normal cheerful selves.

I tend to favor links to the articles as it saves me time only having to build it in one place and post it as a link where people might find it interesting. I guess I'm SMART enough to do that...but I thought that those here might appreciate a little efficiency.

Fine...if you want I can cut and paste it here. Just for those who aren't smart enough to click a link @Deardorff and appreciate the efficiency.

em5_hero_black.png

Olympus OMD EM5

Image © Olympus

fuji+x-t1_img_main01.jpg

Fujifilm X-T1

Image © Fujifilm

X100s_pic_additional_01.jpg

Fujifilm X100s

Image © Fujifilm

From a previous post, you’ve heard that we sold off all out Fuji X cameras and got the Nikon Df. We are happy to report that we are still very much pleased with the Nikon Df and use it whenever we can.

The Df is my daily carry camera – it is with me 95% of the time. So what about the other 5%. Those are usually those times when having the Df is not practical. I’ve been wanting/lusting after what the Fuji X100s has to offer. I’ve only passingly handled the X100 and thought with all the improvements the X100s had to offer, it would be that much better.

Walking into my favorite camera store this recently, I had every intention of leaving with the X100s. However, my friends there gave me the opportunity to use and handle the following cameras:

Fuji X100s, Fuji X-T1, Olympus OM-D-EM-5 and the Olympus OM-D E-M1. I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about all these cameras and I could not pass up the opportunity to work with them all head to head.

I do not have sample images from all of the cameras, as this report is not as much about image quality as it is handling and performance speed.

If we are honest, I think we know that the Fuji will have the IQ edge, especially in the realm of the hi ISO. We will concede to that right now.

One of my main issues with the Fuji system has always been the speed at which the camera performs. This includes powering up, waking from sleep, accessing menu items and AF speed and acquisition.

Let us have a quick rundown of the positives.

Fuji X100s

Feels great in the hand.

Solid build.

OVF is nice, clear and bright. EVF is a great alternative to have.

Upgraded MF(compared to the X100) is much better to use.

Great 23mm f/2 lens

Fuji X-T1

Solid build.

Fit my hands like it was custom made for me.

EVF was comprehensive and responded quickly to orientation changes.

The top dials were solid and had a nice click to them. I did not think that I would accidentally knock any of them out of their position by accident.

It seems to be the fastest responsive Fuji X camera to date(accessing menus, powering up, waking from sleep).

Very quick AF in comparison to the other X cameras.

Great prime and zoom lenses.

Olympus OM-D EM5 and EM1

Very quick AF.

Solid build quality.

Good EVF.

Nice feel in the hand.

Great prime lenses.

Now let’s talk about what everyone wants to know – which is, when compared to each other, what do I think?

We need to level set/full disclosure and let you know what the shooting conditions were.

When using an ILC, the kit zooms were used(The ones that claim “world’s fastest AF” in the ads…lol). For the Fuji, it was the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 OIS…the Olympus used the 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3.

Images were taken/AF performance tested inside the camera shop, which had fluorescent lights. It was dim, but probably a little brighter than your average indoor environment.

Also, this is not a scientific test. It is my learned observation and experiences that I am reporting on.

We are going to start with the Fuji cameras since the X100s was what I thought I wanted the most and the X-T1 is what everyone is currently talking about. The AF speed on the X100s was still about the same as the X100, maybe a little faster. It did seem a little more sure, but it did have quite a bit of front to back shuffle before locking into focus. Once it got focus, it was almost always 100% accurate. Unfortunately, the X-T1 suffered from the same front/back shuffle before locking focus. Yes, it is very fast – probably the fastest AF I’ve seen in any X camera to date….but Fuji still seems to have a way to go on getting the AF to something great and not just adequate. I was disappointed in this behavior…which is sad because I so much wanted Fuji to be better than what it was. On the plus side, it is nice that the X-T1 can track focus in a continuous shooting mode.

One of my biggest handling issues with the Fuji X cameras are AF point selection. I’ve gotten so used to my DSLRs and the 4 way pad being dedicated to picking the AF point – it was one of the reasons I had for deciding to drop my X-E1. This still is an issue here for both the X100s and the X-T1.

Both the X100s and X-T1 felt good in the hand, albeit they have different ways of gripping them. The X-T1 is beefier and felt very natural to hold, especially coming from using a DSLR.

Moving on to the Olympus offerings of the OM-D EM-5 and the OM-D EM1. I want to begin by saying that I was never a fan of m43 in the past. I always had a preconceived bias against it because of the smaller sensor size. That has all changed now that I was able to handle one and see what it is all about.

Yes, we cannot get around physics and there are just some things that a smaller sensor just cannot do. I’ve noticed that there does not seem to be as large a dynamic range as the Nikon or Fuji cameras I’ve shot in the past. I will say that I was impressed at just how useable the files were from the Olympus cameras up to ISO 2000. It starts getting a little rougher around ISO 3200/6400…but if you nail exposure and don’t have a lot of pitch black areas….you can still have a good JPG to work with.

Now… getting to what really impressed me on the EM5/EM1. The AF performance was almost instantaneous. I mean…I could not believe what I was seeing here. Same lighting conditions and with a slower (aperture wise) kit zoom lens, the Olympus nailed focus immediately and without any back/front dance as was seen in the Fuji offerings. I bounced all over the place grabbing focus at different distances and at different focal lengths. It did not seem like I could trip up the Olympus AF. Even with the contrast detect only AF of the Olympus OM-D EM-5 it was direct, to the point and accurate. I was surprised here…but in a very good way. I heard people before praising the AF performance, but I did not think it to be this good.

The speed also moves over into the menu usage and boot up times as well. The menu systems run very quick and smooth. They are a bit deep, lots of options and they are not in any way similar to what I’m used to with my Nikon or Fuji menus. Startup from power off to on was very quick. Not DSLR instant, but way better than the Fuji cameras – not including the X-T1. Fuji listened and boosted the start up time for the X-T1. Good job on that.

At the end of the day, what does all this mean?? It means that I walked out of the camera store with an Olympus OM-D EM-5 and 12-50mm kit.

omd_front_lens_flash-down.jpg

Image © Olympus

Do I still want a Fuji X100s? Well, yeah...maybe in the future. However, by the time I am ready for that - Fuji may very well have a full frame X200 to replace the X100s....at least I'm hoping that is the inevitable direction.

03-09-2014_EM5_COSI_P3090041-Edit.jpg

EM5 12-50/3.5-6.3

1/30, f/5.3, ISO 2000

Want more information? OK…lets talk about it.

When comparing the above systems, the Olympus was the most DSLR like in looks and control. The only thing that the Fuji X offerings had a resounding lead on over the Olympus was in sensor size and hi ISO image quality. The Olympus was better in almost every respect beyond that. And at base ISO - the Olympus m43 sensor is doing just fine. The image examples on this page should let you see that.

03-09-2014_EM5_COSI_P3090028-Edit.jpg

EM5, 12-50/3.5-6.3

1/20, f/6.3, ISO 2000

Add to this, the fast prime lenses for the Olympus system are way smaller, and can be found cheaper never hurts. I even preferred the EVF of the Olympus over that of the Fuji X-T1. Yes, the Fuji has more unique features, but I thought the smearing of the Olympus was not as pronounced in the low light shooting conditions as the Fuji. Honestly, I still prefer an OVF…but those seems to be looking more and more like a feature we will see less of as we progress into the future.

In my mind, and for my way of shooting, if I need extreme low light, super high ISO performance, I’ve got my Nikon Df/D700 to choose from. The Olympus gives me a very responsive performance machine in a smaller package.

03-15-2014_EM5_olytest_P3150008-Edit.jpg

EM5, 17/1.8

1/640, f/2.8, ISO 100

I was honestly surprised I walked out of there with an m43 camera. I’ve shot with it for only a few days, but I am so happy with this cameras performance at this point. I did have a slight moment of regret at first, when I ran through an initial set of images. For some reason, I was not getting that "pop" or "wow factor" that I expected from the images. I thought that I was perhaps missing something as this is a new camera system to me. After a few days of research, I did realize 2 things. 1 - optics on the OM-D matter. The kit 12-50/3.5-6.3, while convenient and weather sealed is not the sharpest or most contrasty lens. I noticed an immediate increase in IQ when I put on the 17/1.8 or the 45/1.8 prime lenses. 2 - for some unknown reason, Olympus gives you the OM-D cameras setup as base as possible. I mean, they have a higher jpg compression on by default and the default noise reduction is a bit much as well.

03-09-2014_EM5_COSI_P3090047-Edit.jpg

EM5, 12-50/3.5-6.3

1/80, f/5.6, ISO 1600

Keep an eye out for a future post where I discuss how I setup the OMD EM5 to be optimized for the way I shoot. There are quite a few steps, but once its done, you never have to do it again.

03-15-2014_EM5_olytest_P3150050-Edit.jpg

EM5, 17/1.8

1/60, f/4, ISO 640

And to end this all out - here is a random thought from me about mirrorless and the US market. This is just my theory and is in no way scientific.

When I look at the mirrorless camera offerings, the majority of them looked a lot like the point and shoot style cameras we have been seeing for years. I think this hurts their perception because for years "professionals" used DSLRs and they have a certain look to them.

Now that entry level DSLRs are sometimes less expensive than some point and shoots, no one wants to have their "pro" camera mistaken for a point and shoot...thus the mirrorless cameras don't get the marketing credibility that the DSLR still has here.

03-15-2014_EM5_olytest_P3150057-Edit.jpg

EM5, 17/1.8

1/1250, f/4, ISO 100

I think Olympus saw this and when they went from the PEN design to the OM-D design, they will get a lot more of the casual users accepting it a "pro" level body because of the design. I think Fuji has understood this too and thus the look of the X-T1 will make it a more attractive option.

Once the everyday folk understand that the mirrorless camera can come in many shapes and sizes, they will be more widely adopted. Again...just a theory, and a fraction of the reason that mirrorless is having a rough go of it here in the states.

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Nutellaface

@gryphon1911 You had to paste your whole article? I had to scroll way too much. You couldn't just post a link to it? Geesh! ;)

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gryphon1911

@gryphon1911 You had to paste your whole article? I had to scroll way too much. You couldn't just post a link to it? Geesh!

;)

Maybe next time I'll deliver it via TARDIS. Lol.

>:)

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K1W1_Mk2

I could never own an EM-5 (or EM-10 for that matter) simply because of the ergonomics. I cannot get comfortable holding either camera and if it doesn't feel comfortable in my hands then I wouldn't use it regardless of how good it might be.

The EM-1 and X-T1 both work okay for me. They are different and have good/bad points with ergonomics for me but I could be happy with either (more happy with the gripped X-T1 I think but I have never held a gripped EM-1 at this stage).

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joytx

Hey there, I applauded you for choosing whatever is your preference. Everyone is entitle to use what they want so I'm glad for you and may I wish you..........by the way nice camera.

HAPPY SHOOTING!

joytx

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pominpocket

I looked at Olympus before Fuji and went with Fuji despite having a nice film Olympus before.

I like the DF and X100S combo. I find speed of focusing really good in the X100S. Same even with the X10. XE1 how ever has let me down a lot .

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gryphon1911

I looked at Olympus before Fuji and went with Fuji despite having a nice film Olympus before.

I like the DF and X100S combo. I find speed of focusing really good in the X100S. Same even with the X10. XE1 how ever has let me down a lot .

That is my experience with the X-E1 as well and one of the reasons I no longer own it.

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gryphon1911

I could never own an EM-5 (or EM-10 for that matter) simply because of the ergonomics. I cannot get comfortable holding either camera and if it doesn't feel comfortable in my hands then I wouldn't use it regardless of how good it might be.

The EM-1 and X-T1 both work okay for me. They are different and have good/bad points with ergonomics for me but I could be happy with either (more happy with the gripped X-T1 I think but I have never held a gripped EM-1 at this stage).

Adding the grip to the EM5 makes it a better size for a main camera and puts the shutter release further forward. I choose not to do that at this time as it makes it bigger than I want it to be.

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gryphon1911

Hey there, I applauded you for choosing whatever is your preference. Everyone is entitle to use what they want so I'm glad for you and may I wish you..........by the way nice camera.

HAPPY SHOOTING!

joytx

Thank you!

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arnold_w

It's all very personal. My brother opted for the Oly but I can't get used to the grip and feel of it. It feels a little too small in my big hands. The X-T1 with vertical grip has a much better holdability, at least for me.

Personaly, i don't care too much about AF speeds, it's OK that the X-T1 has a much better AF than it's smaller siblings, but in landscape photograpy, which is my main application, even the X-E1 will do the job. So that advantage for the Oly doesn't count for me.

What does matter to me is image quality and coming from Canon FF I wanted as less compromise as possible, meaning image depth (3D looks), sharpness, ISO and the image formatt (3:2 vs 4:3) is more important to me than ergonomics and a faster AF.

At the end you will get used to the ergonomics of a camera, but you can't change the technical aspects of it.

Again, very personaly, but I like the Fuji images over the EM5, the way Fuji renders the colors, sharpness and OOF areas is more appealing to me than the rather flat images I've seen from the EM5. The larger the sensor, the more depth you get. I was really surprised to see that Fuji was able to show almost the same level of image depth (3D look) as the full frame images I was used to. Unfortunately I didn't noticed that effect with the Oly sensor. Haven't seen his new EM1 images yet, this camera lacks an high pass filter as well.

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photogirl

@gryphon1911 You had to paste your whole article? I had to scroll way too much. You couldn't just post a link to it? Geesh!

;)

Er, isn't that what he did to begin with!!?? And was shouted down for it!! Sheesh!!

~X(

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photogirl

It was obviously a joke hence the winking emoticon.

Ooops!!! Yes I see that now. Silly me!! Ah well I'm getting old so that's my excuse!!

;))

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gryphon1911

It's all very personal. My brother opted for the Oly but I can't get used to the grip and feel of it. It feels a little too small in my big hands. The X-T1 with vertical grip has a much better holdability, at least for me.

Personaly, i don't care too much about AF speeds, it's OK that the X-T1 has a much better AF than it's smaller siblings, but in landscape photograpy, which is my main application, even the X-E1 will do the job. So that advantage for the Oly doesn't count for me.

What does matter to me is image quality and coming from Canon FF I wanted as less compromise as possible, meaning image depth (3D looks), sharpness, ISO and the image formatt (3:2 vs 4:3) is more important to me than ergonomics and a faster AF.

At the end you will get used to the ergonomics of a camera, but you can't change the technical aspects of it.

Again, very personaly, but I like the Fuji images over the EM5, the way Fuji renders the colors, sharpness and OOF areas is more appealing to me than the rather flat images I've seen from the EM5. The larger the sensor, the more depth you get. I was really surprised to see that Fuji was able to show almost the same level of image depth (3D look) as the full frame images I was used to. Unfortunately I didn't noticed that effect with the Oly sensor. Haven't seen his new EM1 images yet, this camera lacks an high pass filter as well.

I noticed that the factory default for the Olympus cameras in regards to image quality is not optimized. Why that was done, I have no clue...and I'm blogging about that stuff now and will have another article on what I did to get the IQ up to where I like it. Besides, the in camera image is my canvas. I shoot to get the optimal range and then use post processing to get the images to the state I like them in.

I do agree that Fuji cameras have great image quality, there is no denying that. I do a lot of street photography and I need something that is quick and responsive and I just have a higher confidence level shooting with this EM5 - very close to the confidence I have shooting with my DSLRs.

At the end of the day, I am just so glad and happy that we have all these choices that provide us with fodder for all these great conversations! :D

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artuk

I noticed that the factory default for the Olympus cameras in regards to image quality is not optimized. Why that was done, I have no clue...and I'm blogging about that stuff now and will have another article on what I did to get the IQ up to where I like it. Besides, the in camera image is my canvas. I shoot to get the optimal range and then use post processing to get the images to the state I like them in.

...

At the end of the day, I am just so glad and happy that we have all these choices that provide us with fodder for all these great conversations! :D

As a slight aside, do you know what the actual difference between the "5-axis image stabilisation" and "3-axis image stabilisation" of the em-5 and em-10 is? Given the world only has 3 physical dimensions, I'm not sure I understand what "5-axis" stabilisation is? I've been using Sony SLRs for years with sensor anti-shake, which moves in 2 dimensions (up and down, side to side) - what are the other 3 axes???

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RichardCFrost

I wondered about that too @artuk. I assumed if you take the three dimensions a plane moves in, pitch up and down, yaw left and right, roll left and right, then added vertical shake and horizontal shake that might cover it. Was considering this when I chose the Panasonic GX7 (3 dimensions) vs the OM-EM5 (5D) and EM10 (3D).

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TNguitar

Why do you think folks here would care that you made the wrong choice and chose af speed over image quality? Do you care that I think you made a bad choice? I bet not, so can you see that I don't care what your choice was? Fuji picsre better, more 3d, more realistic and crisp. What a shame that you won't have as good IQ, oh well. Now, if I ever see your Fliker, I'll be thinking, "Wow, these images just don't look as good as Fuji images, but, uh, I wonder if he had fast AF, but, who cares, if the images are flat there's no nee to wonder about these photos anymore. Then I would be off to look at some Fuji images.

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gryphon1911

Why do you think folks here would care that you made the wrong choice and chose af speed over image quality? Do you care that I think you made a bad choice? I bet not, so can you see that I don't care what your choice was? Fuji picsre better, more 3d, more realistic and crisp. What a shame that you won't have as good IQ, oh well. Now, if I ever see your Fliker, I'll be thinking, "Wow, these images just don't look as good as Fuji images, but, uh, I wonder if he had fast AF, but, who cares, if the images are flat there's no nee to wonder about these photos anymore. Then I would be off to look at some Fuji images.

I actually do care what you say, I do have that inherent respect for you as a human being and as a photographer. I've no problem discussing the issues with you.

When I refer to the "better image quality", I more refer to how the higher ISO renderings come out of the Olympus.

I'd rather have an in focus, grainy image than an out of focus or no image at all. One of the problems I've had in the past with the Fuji cameras and the focusing system. You may not need a faster AF than Fuji provides for the type of photography you do. That is fantastic if you are happy with what you have.

Honestly, I'd feel very sorry for you if the first thing you did was look at an image and only care about what camera or lens took the image. Looking at images is supposed to be about enjoying/understanding/feeling something about the snapshot of time presented in front of you. You miss out on what makes photography a great art form and a mode of expression. There are many images through out history that are considered iconic, taken with pinhole cameras, Brownie, $50 film range finders....while they are not technically perfect or perfectly in focus, does not change the fact that they express to you some kind of emotion. I invite you to take the time to push past your preconceived notions and biases and look at images for what they are. The camera is just a tool, and I wanted to share what I found with others that may also wish to hear it. If it doesn't interest you, that is fine too.

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gryphon1911

I noticed that the factory default for the Olympus cameras in regards to image quality is not optimized. Why that was done, I have no clue...and I'm blogging about that stuff now and will have another article on what I did to get the IQ up to where I like it. Besides, the in camera image is my canvas. I shoot to get the optimal range and then use post processing to get the images to the state I like them in.

...

At the end of the day, I am just so glad and happy that we have all these choices that provide us with fodder for all these great conversations! :D

As a slight aside, do you know what the actual difference between the "5-axis image stabilisation" and "3-axis image stabilisation" of the em-5 and em-10 is? Given the world only has 3 physical dimensions, I'm not sure I understand what "5-axis" stabilisation is? I've been using Sony SLRs for years with sensor anti-shake, which moves in 2 dimensions (up and down, side to side) - what are the other 3 axes???

From what I understand from practical use, there is not a whole lot of real world difference as far as results go in "normal" shooting - which I quantify as shooting down to 1/2 to 1/4 of a second. Some people have stated that they can hold the 5-axis for a second to a second and a half, where they could not with the 3-axis.

I personally have not tried that kind of test.

5-Axis covers - pitch, yaw, roll, horizontal and vertical movements

3-Axis covers - pitch, yaw, and roll.

So it seems the 5 Axis is like having the "active" mode on a Nikon or Canon VR/OIS equipped lens. It allows for panning with motion in the horizontal and vertical planes.

I know there are 3 modes to the IBIS in the EM5 - 1 is AUTO, then 2 = vertical stabilization, 3 = horizontal.

IBIS 2/3 could be used for panning depending on the camera orientation.

All I know is that from using Fuji OIS, Nikon VR, Tamron VC, and now the Olympus IBIS...they are all great to have. The jury is still out on the Olympus ability as it is still pretty new to me. My top 2 right now that I have used have been the Fuji - specifically on the 55-200/4-5.6 and the Tamron 70-300/4-5.6 in Nikon mount. They have truly stunned me in their capabilities. I've had images with each of those lenses at 1/4 of a second pin sharp.

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