Jun 022012
 

Comparison Re-Do – Leica X2, Fuji X100, Olympus E-M5 and Sony NEX-7

Ok guys here you go. A bandwidth busting set of full size images from four different hot mirrorless cameras. This time the cameras were all set on a solid surface before shooting so there is zero chance of hand shake or motion blur. You can click on any image for a full size file converted from RAW. Things to note. All cameras were set at f/4. All cameras used their own metering to expose and meter the scene. I converted from RAW and applied ZERO sharpening and changed nothing, so what you see if what came from each camera as covered by Adobe Camera Raw. Also, this was in full, harsh, mid day AZ sun. The light did not change during this 5-10 minute test.

To be honest, the fastest focusing camera here is the E-M5. This is followed by the X100 and X2 which are tied for AF speed and the NEX-7 is the slowest of the bunch for AF (with the Zeiss 24) though it is still very good. All cameras have fast and acceptable AF. Take a look at the files below and leave a comment with your thoughts.

Enjoy!

OK, 1st the Leica X2 – base ISO –  No possibility of camera shake – f/4. Price as tested – $1995

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Now the Fuji X100 at f/4 – base ISO – Price $1199 for silver$1699 for black set

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The Olympus OM-D E-M5 and Olympus 17 2.8 – Base ISO – F/4 – Price as tested $1299

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Sony NEX-7 and Zeiss 24 – Base ISO – f/4 – Price as tested – $2300

  119 Responses to “Comparison Re-Do – Leica X2, Fuji X100, Olympus E-M5 and Sony NEX-7”

  1. I prefer the Sony Nex-photo, and at least the Leica X2 photo. They all together is very close to each other, so it’s probably much an individual assessment from me.

  2. Loving the colors of pretty much all of them! I think the Sony shows a bit dull colors though. The others seem remarkably similar to me. No way I’d be able to tell “This shot is from an X100 and this one from an X2″ based on those at least!

    • I agree on the colors. The top three seem more saturated than the NEX7. Of course that can be fixed later if desired. All three return excellent files.

    • Going to say the same thing about NEX-7 the green looks a bit dull, probably that’s a characteristic of Sony metering?

  3. FYI, Steve, your title is wrong. Should be Leica X2, not X1.

  4. Hi Steve,
    thanks for the comparison… It would be nice to see a short video of the AF speed between the X 2 and X100. I am thinking about buying one of the camera. Had the X1 but I sold it, cause of the slow AF speed, but I really loved the IQ and the ISO. As u know you can’t use the M8 with high ISO – and I just have a 2.8 Elmarit Lense.

  5. The Leica certainly looks like the softest to me. Sony seems to be the winner when it comes to detail, but with somewhat heavy, unattractive greens.

    • Funny how differently people feel about something as subjective as an exposure. I like the Sony exposure here although it may be artificially darker the other exposures look artificially bright with the greens a bit too “radioactive”.

      As far as detail goes, Sony has it but the X100 doesn’t have the CA issues that the Zeiss does and overall does very, very well. If I could learn to love those bright “Fuji Greens” this would be my pick. The Leica is a big disappointment and the OM-D looks remarkably detailed for such a small sensor but just isn’t in the same league when pixel-peeping.

      Seems like everyone is a winner here except maybe the X2?

      Thanks for busting your bandwidth Steve!

      • I love you APSC guys talking as if APSC is the bees kneesl.

        APSC just doesn’t cut it, it’s the same with m43, and there’s a much bigger difference in sensor size from APSC to FF so you can imagine.

        Good luck with your tiny sensors.

  6. The X100 and NEX are the winners here with X2 on a third place and OMD last. Here it is like the OMD is not on par with the bigger senors or maybe it is lens differences?

    • Ok it must be the mediocre 17mm Olympus lens. Had that lens at some point for my E-P2 and never liked it very much.

      • Downloaded all of them in I-photo (!). Easy to compare all four in one screen at 100 %. In the middle : very comparable indeed. Difference in colors not so in sharpness. In the corners : terrible purple and green CA for the Zeiss/Sony combo, the Fuji gives the best corner-sharpness, a little less the Leica. But that’s easy to “repair” even in I-photo. The Olympus gives some green CA but it’s the cheapest lens and not the best four-thirdslens.

        Steve would love to see OM-D -pictures with the Pana-Leica 1.4/25 mm or even Pana 1.7/20 mm.

    • It’s the lens and Olys strange new base JPG settings.

      I have an OM-D and an X100. The X100 looks better in JPG, but the OM-D dishes out more detail in RAW than the Fuji.
      Anyway, in reality and with a good lens on the Oly (e.g. 20/1.7), the both of them are very close regarding quality, with the Oly having an edge on details.

  7. The differences are so subtle that it comes down to the operation of the camera.

    • +1 for that
      I am really draw to the analog style controls and size and look of the X100, awaiting Steve’s input on his new testing of AF with the latest FW.

  8. The x100 looks the best for me.

    One question though. I use LR 4 to develop my OM-D files. Does anybody else also think that the adobe raw conversion out of the box looks overly sharpened? By bringing the mask slider in to 50 the files look less crunchy I think. I may also add 5-10 luminance noise reduction. Any thoughts on that?

  9. OMD for me. I don’t need the detail of the NEX, and with olympus you get the most for your buck.

  10. hmm, interesting comparison, the lens on X100 is little gem – very sharp

  11. Fuji X100 for me and very close the NEX. The X2 is also nice but at this Price there must be more!

  12. I like more the green of the x100 and I am surprised that with the new firmware has faster AF than nex7 with zeiss !

  13. Ahh the point of digital camera convergence… In detail the sony seems on top, but thats to expected right? Highest resolution sensor. Beyond the slight advantage the rest are quite close.

    It seem we are finally approaching what many have predicted in the digital camera world: Convergence. It seems to me you can’t really go wrong anymore in the digital world. Pick a system you can afford or fits your style/demands and be happy. So many choices the consumer is lucky!

    Color and contrast can always be tweaked in post, so that is a moot issues for me.

    • Just about right. Anyone who asks me what camera to get, I say the body doest matter anymore, as much as the lens system. So I recommend to pick a lens system first, then you know what body to buy.

  14. Looks like the x2 default is low sharpening. Images sharpen nicely. I wanted to like the x2 cause it weighs 30% less than x100 and e-m5

  15. top 3 look the same to me, NEX looks strange and unreal to me. That’s the cam I have by the way, but I do enjoy the greens in the rest.

    I need to see one of those OMDs…..the Nex may be in trouble!

    • Agree, I describe such colors as being ‘very digital’. The others look much better especially the Oly and the Leica; however, I think the Fuji would look similar with a bit of white balance tweaking.

      • I think what’s most striking here is not how different these are, but how similar. The Sony is very slightly different from the others, but this may well be down to the slightly lower exposure than the others more than anything else.

        The colours may not be perfectly accurate, but I would say even the worst of the bunch here is probably more true to life than any film. Films may provide more attractive colours in some cases, but most films are far from providing an accurate representation of the scene, especially once lighting conditions depart from anything but broad daylight.

  16. Bad cat =) The best lens against the worst from Olympus. Put Panasonic 25mm or Olympus 12mm instead of shitty 17mm and you will have much better sharpness and resolution!

  17. The Nex beats the other three, no competition. Also saying it looks unreal doesn’t add up on my end, I’m looking at it on an NEX H-IPS with a wide gamut browser and it looks fine here. None of them compare to the M9 at all, which they should not for the price, but kinda flies in the face of all the dolts trying to say full frame is dead.

  18. Good stuff – I love Crazy Comparisons!!!

    Looking at the pile of rocks mid-way back, at the end of whatever that cement ramp thing is, I’d say:
    the NEX-7 is far out in front… followed by the X2, the X100, and then the OM-D (though those 3 are all very, very close!)

    • P.S. – Great job Steve… though I wish there wasn’t a branch in front of the distant street sign in the Sony and X2 shots. :) If not for that, I think you’d actually be able to read it on from the Nex-7 shot.

  19. When I expand the Leica image and compare it to the Fuji focusing in the area of the boarder planter gravel in the bottom of the images, the Fuji seems a bit sharper to me. Anyone else agree to that?

  20. The colour on the x2 and the oly seem to be the best for me. I was expecting to see the Fuji shine here as an overall colour presentation, but it did not do anything that the x2 and oly did not do.
    When I cascade the shots in windows the Sony seems to lack dynamic range, just look at the cut marks left by the mower on the left, the colours are also muddy/dark. I would give a slight edge to the X2 over the oly.
    However trying to pick what was what if they were not labelled would have been difficult and up to the FOV based on the lens.
    Also a set using a different view may give a different result to me.
    Any way good fun and shows that any one of these cameras can be as good as the other for many types of shots. All have the ability to satisfy image wise.

    Oh, Steve, you did not have the oly lens fully turned to its lock position. The picture shows by how much.

  21. First NEX, close second X100. As in the other comparisons, the UAD 2000 Leica (sans VF) disappoints. A comparison between X1 and X2 would be interesting, I believe the predecessor’s IQ beats the X2.

  22. The X2 image has got me (and I have been hating Leica of late), it seems that there is so much more detail and depth in the image, easily noticeable when you compare the wall and the footpath then look at the other images. Something must be very wrong with the OM-D. Very noticeable when you compare the red flowers on the far left side of the image. What 17 MM lens was it shot with… the Panasonic?

  23. The X100 and the Sony, but the X100 looks as if there has been some sharpening in camera…

  24. I believe the yellow flowers on left lower corner gives us the answer: x100 has the best lens. Greens in the NEX are lousy, and Oly seems from another league (in this set of pictures, although I think that’s not really the case). X2 looks disappointing to me, considering the money.

  25. 1) X100
    2) Nex 7
    3) X2
    4) OMD

    I think this might be more of a lens comparison then a camera comparison as the focus point was so far away. I used the branches in the top left as a litmus.

    For sake of disclosure I own a Nex 7 and X1

  26. IQ is really similar for all this photos. So the differences between these cameras should be searched somewhere else. Availability of fast lens, usability, … and personal feeling.

    I just switched from a D700 24mm 1.8, 50mm 1.4, 135mm 2.0 to the OM-D 12mm 2.0, 45mm 1.8 and waiting the 25mm 1.4 and I’m super super happy. This small camera is absolutely fantastic and it’s not a nightmare to carry it. As soon as I have my 25mm, I will make a comparison between OM-D 25mm and D700 50mm. I’m not sure that my D700 will give better IQ.

    Thanks to Steve who convinced me to make the jump.

    • Doing that comparsion right now =) Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G + Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 vs OM-D 25mm f/1.4

  27. If you want a camera, get the X2. If you want an electrical appliance that also takes photos, get the OM-D or NEX 7.

  28. It looks like X2 is the worst. I am pretty impressed!!

    • Somehow I have the feeling Steve’s X2 could be a Lemon. Difficult to believe that Leica is releasing a X1 successor which performs below its ancestor level.

      • If you sharpen the X2 picture it sharpens nicely. If he used RAWS really they often need to be sharpened. SO far, the X1 was sharper than the X2. Ming said a sharpened X2 picture was the same IQ as a X1. However, so far I do not see great X2 pictures.

  29. AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO THINK THAT X2′S SAMPLE IS THE MOST BLURRED??????

  30. Hi Steve,

    I’ve been following your site even when you still had the old URL and appreciate all your work and the real world-use approach of your reviews. So, thanks!

    But comparisons like this always make me wonder how practical it really is. I mean, why would you put the most expensive, highest quality lens available for the system on the Nex and the cheapest MFT lens, which is worst lens Olympus has ever produced, on the OM-D? No one is going to use the best and most expensive camera of a system and put the wort lens available on it.

    I don’t know if this was done to appeal to the users who still want to believe that APS-C just has to be better, but it makes the comparison unfair and renders the OM-D shots here pretty useless because no one would ever use that combination.

    • Have to disagree with you Andrea. I use the 17mm on my EP2 the whole time and have had some great results with it. Yes it won’t give you the shallow depth of field of the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 but it does produce great images.

    • Hey, put the cheapest lens on the NEX, i.e. the USD 200 Sigma 30mm, and the NEX will look even better.

  31. The Zeiss lens on the NEX really delivers, but the OM-D looks great too.

  32. The X100 looks the best to me. Especially in the corners the X2 & Oly is soft and the NEX has some abberation problems. All in all the Fuji seems to be the best package…

  33. If you zoom at the top right of the sony shot you see that the branches being purple!

    • sorry typo, I meant “are purple”, not “being purple”.

      Is this a lens issue or a sensor issue?

  34. The Leica is the worst IMHO, don’t see why anyone would get one of these over an X100, swing and a miss from the red dot crew. Then again I see people with rebadged Panasonic P&S Leica’s too – which cost about twice the Panny equivalents – so there are clearly a lot of people with more money than common sense.

    The EM5 really puts it to the larger sensor cameras, the rest are very close. I really don’t care if one cam’s greens are better than another because that’s a 5 second fix in LR. I’m personally very happy with the performance of the EM5 and the Nex7 as I own both of them as well. They’re both amazing cameras and true DSLR killers.

    Nice test Steve. Next time put the SLR Magic 50mm cine lens on all of them to compare – well except for the goofy X2.

  35. Please clarify your price as tested amounts.

    The EM-5 and the 17 2.8 is more than $1299.

    As a means to an end, I’d go with the Olympus.

    • What do you mean more than $1299 ? The price of EM-5 body only is $999 and the price of 17 mm f/2.8 lens is only $299 in BH Photo. Check it for yourself on their site.

  36. first ,interesting comparison, I love it .
    I think the NEX7 is the best in the test but I am still debating the NEX7(I already own)vs the EM5.
    one thing I would like to know is how much better otr faster the OMD EM5 AF system can be than the Sony NEX7 AF system?
    many many people say the AF in the EM5 is much better than the NEX7 AF but I dont have chance to actually try it here , it is badly backordered and seldom seen at any real stores here.
    any way, thanks for your effort ,Steve.

  37. I tried but I can’t find a substantial difference in any of the pictures. All four look like great camera/lens combinations.

    • “..I tried but I can’t find a substantial difference in any of the pictures..”

      So what other possible differences could there be between these cameras?

      1. Leica X2 – slowish autofocus, stuck with just one lens ..for ever.
      2. Fuji X100 – slowish autofocus, stuck with just one lens ..for ever.
      3. Sony NEX7 – faster autofocus, variety of interchangeable lenses. Small selection of rather big autofocus lenses. Otherwise can use various manual focus lenses with suitable Sony/APS adaptors.
      4. Olympus OM-D – blazing fast autofocus, large variety of interchangeable lenses because two competing manufacturers offer Olympus and Panasonic very fast focus lenses, and Panny/Leica reasonably fast autofocus 25mm f1.4. Huge variety of manual focus lenses with suitable m4/3 adaptors, including (native m4/3) Walimex/Samyang (and Lumix) fisheye, Voigt 25mm f0.95, (non m4/3) very wide aperture standard, Leica (non m4/3) wide aperture primes, etc.

      The most useful – and obvious – choice is to use the most versatile of these, and other, cameras.

      • These four cameras are not meant to directly compete with each other, this more just for fun. No one is choosing an X2 over a OMD as their primary camera unless that person only wants a P&S.

      • X2 will be preferred backup camera if you already owned a DSLR that have lens changing capabilities.

  38. Comparing pictures one must look at different criteria. The importance of each one is of course a matter of personal preferences. Therefore I have treated them equal in my comparance.

    Here are my evaluations:

    Resolution and sharpness:
    1. Sony NEX-7
    2. Fujifilm X100
    3. Leica X2
    4. Olympus OM-D EM-5

    Natural color:
    1. Leica X2
    2-3. Fujifilm X100
    2-3. Olympus OM-D EM-5
    4. Sony NEX-7

    Picture defects, CA, fringings:
    1. Leica X2
    2. Fujifilm X100
    3-4. Sony NEX-7
    3-4. Olympus OM-D EM-5

    Combined result (Accumulated place/Average place within brackets):
    1. Leica X2 (5/1.67)
    2. Fujifilm X100 (6.5/2.17)
    3. Sony NEX-7 (8.5/2.83)
    4. Olympus OM-D EM-5 (10/3.3)

    My comments:

    Leica X2 overall presents the most natural and neutral photo having more shades of color and the least amount of cromatic abberations than the photos from the other cameras.

    Fujifilm X100 and Olympus OM-D EM-5 have a bit more punchy, saturated colors that many may prefer. Doing so would put Fujifilm X100 as the winner and Olympus OM-D EM-5 almost equal to Sony NEX-7.

    Sony NEX-7 has the best resolution and the worst colors and purple fringings. Really a mixed bag. Again for those prefering high resolution and bold colors it may be the best choice.

    Olympus OM-D EM-5 is clearly handicapped having a smaller sensor, which shows in less resolution despite having the same or even more number of pixels compared to Leica X2 and Fujifilm X100. There is simply no way to fight physics. The Olympus photo also has a lot of chromatic abberations. But a better lens may have improved on that matter.

    Although I tried to be objective this is of course only my opinion. Others may disagree.

    • Can you please post the url of the pictures you looked at. They seem to be different to the ones I looked at.

    • You can’t judge the resolution of the E-M5 on this test….the 17/2.8 is one of the very worst (if not THE worst) prime lenses for m4/3. The 20/1.7, Sigma 19/2.8, Oly 12/2, 45/1.8 and Leica 25/1.4 and 45/2.8 all absolutely smoke the 17/2.8 in resolution and CA (the 17 has really, really bad lateral CA).

  39. I agree with you, I can’t find any substancial difference in the pictures.
    I do have a serious question and I do mean serious.
    I’m an old guy and shot slide film for many years mostly thru a series of Yashica and Contax cameras.
    My question is about jpegs, that’s all I shoot. I don’t use a slide projector and a screen, I now use a large flat screen TV. Having followed the real world tests for some time it seems that all of these cameras return about the same level of results. They seem to have converged on output, I’m certainly no expert but it does seem that a person can almost not make a mistake when buying any of these particular cameras.
    I don’t mean to raise the feathers of PP crowd but some of us like to take slides like in the old days and these cameras give me hope.
    Thanks for another great real life test.
    BTW
    I bought a nex 5n and after watching will now add a nex 7.

  40. I find the NEX-7 image too cold for a Zeiss lens! I have two Zeiss Contax G lenses I use with adapters on my m4/3 kit (not on the OM-D, though – the focus ring scrapes the EVF hump). The Zeiss always produces warm colors and I have to tone them down. The other three images are pretty close.

    The Fuji manages to keep the yellows in the flower-bed a little bit toned down, while rendering an overall balanced image in terms of color.

    My vote goes for the Fuji.

    The OM-D and the X2 are indistinguishable unless enlarged to 100% views.

    • Agree on your observations Mo Han. Except that the Olympus is actually a little sharper than the X2 in my opinion.

    • The Zeiss 24 1.8 does not really behave like a Zeiss lens IMO. It doesn’t have that warm feel or 3D pop…

      • considering it’s built like a Sony rebadge and comes complete with nasty Japanese style Chromatic aberration; I wouldn’t call it a Zeiss either. They should have had cosina make it, as it is I think it was just made by the same designers who made their kit.

    • Well, here’s a “bummer alert” I hadn’t been expecting — which adapter/focus ring have you been using to put your Contax G lenses to work in m4/3 digital? With the chunky Metabones adapter I might anticipate an issue; but with the Kipon (circumference ring), or ??? …Note that someone has posted OM-D shots using the 28mm Biogon lens on ‘flickr’. Thanks for any words of wisdom here!

      • Hi Fred,
        It is the Kipon with the circumference ring. It is really disheartening to own some great glass but unable to use it on the OM-D. I wrote to Metabones, which I have been wanting to try for some time, and they wrote back that their adapters have the same scraping issue and are working on it. I am waiting for the guys to come up with a solution soon.

        Mo

        • Well, that really does sum it up — disheartening is the word (at least for the present). I guess we must assume the ‘flickr’ fellow is managing with the old style adapter with focus actuated by a very small wheel… not a very attractive option. With the 21mm, 28mm, 35mm, 45mm, and 90mm Contax G lenses now (or within 10 days or so) available to me, you can imagine how I feel as an m4/3 owner. I have the same Kipon you do. Now I’m back on the fence when it comes to grabbing an OM-D now, rather than “later”.

          I suppose a late ’12 / early ’13 next generation PEN might “solve” the problem for those of us with the patience in shooting (and the style, of course) to support the adapted lens approach as a practical option. But, darn, that OM-D just seems to cover all the bases when it comes to a realistic wish list for would-be m4/3 system upgraders. I always did question the wisdom of the faux prism housing as a stylistic element, marketing considerations aside. Now I feel even more “justified” in that opinion (the protrusion would not seem to have been absolutely necessary from a functional standpoint), but I could not feel even the slightest gratification from that! Oh, well…

          I’m very grateful for your advice, and I also thank you for pushing the case with the Metabones people. I certainly hope for their success in addressing the issue somehow. Keep us posted if you hear some good news about this; I hope you’re right about “soon”!

  41. Wow i cannot tell the difference from these pics and I think thats why its crazy! U could post process each pic to achieve the “look” of the other. I’m saying based on these 4 pics alone shooting landscape at F4.

    I remember Steve, u used to shoot lotsa portraits of your relatives/ friends wide open to compare the “Leica” look vs other looks and even film. It was those posts that really got me hooked onto your blog, and eventually got me the M9 too. Would love to see more of that in crazy comparisons. Somehow the “glow” is more evident in people portraits.

    Thanks for keeping the site really updated! u have been busy. =)

  42. It is full midday sun … which does not show the NEX-7.

  43. how about some skin tones, difficult mixed light situations, i can’t wait to see how the fuji will smoke them all!

  44. A RAW comparison is fine, but the real test of these cameras is in the JPEG engine.
    We need to see the same exact comparison shooting each camera at the finest quality jpeg with all noise reduction off.
    Also be careful to make sure that the magnification factor in the image frame is the same for each camera.
    You will have to move the bigger lenses further back of course and the wider ones closer in.
    Show us the jpegs, any camera can produce decent RAW using Adobe.
    The JPEG shows us which camera is the real best.

    • I don’t think you need to tell Steve how to do his comparisons. He explains his chosen method well, and we can all draw our own conclusions.

      Which, in this case is not so easy: a draw between X100 and OM-D I think?

  45. Hi guys,

    ok, pixel peeping, I enlaged the photos online and compared detail/sharpness:

    The Leica is smearing, very “impressionist”.
    I paint in this style to get around my technical deficits.

    The Fuji is the sharpest, look at the yellow flowers, least smearing tree branches.

    Unfortunately Fuji is sharper than Oly (the one I might buy in a few months).

    For the price and the not so good features (LCD, pricing of EVF = a must for me) Leica should have done better.

    I have no problem to pay a bit more for a good product with exceptional quality, longlivety and myhts -
    like many photographers I would like to buy a Leica at least once in my life.

    I love the design of the X 2, absolutely beautiful.

    But I have to wait again for my dream Leica.

    Best regards
    Heiner

  46. Without knowing the individual settings, and how they affect each camera’s JPEG engine, this test is not really worth a lot; at least as a comparison tool. The difference in settings makes an enormous difference in output with the OMD, X100, and the old X1 that I have owned. What it is good for is driving the fanboys for each brand to beat their respective drums.

    Stir the pot Steve, stir the pot.

  47. I think most of the comments look the text of the picture, that the quality of the image.

    A fun, put the photos without information, comment the quality of each picture and then tell us with that camera has been made, thanks.

    Gracias Steve :D

  48. The biggest difference here is in the color. As color is easily tweaked and profiled, I’d have to say there really isn’t much of any difference here that would show up in even large prints like 12×18, 16×24, etc.

  49. I agree with some that the differences are very subtle…it’s all on taste..and frankly, I could probably get the same quality picture on the web on my iPhone lol. I say, whatever suits our budget and taste..have at it..all three cameras would do the job well.

  50. I think it would be neat if you took a bunch of comparison pictures and then set up a pole for people to guess which photo was from which camera… There should probably be 4 pictures from each camera with each picture type exemplifing a strength of one of the cameras.

  51. OMG!

    Do any of you giuys shoot photos? How the cameras “feel” and operate is so far more important then pixel peeping. And what lenses and capture abilities…
    None of these are great cameras but do they work for the shooter?
    Ancil and W. Eugene and the Edwards all used shitty cameras by our lights and got effing great results. How? By getting away from their arm chairs (now called computers) and actually shooting.

    Carry on…

  52. Hi Steve

    Can you please post the out of camera jpeg file of all four?

    Thanks

  53. NEX
    X100
    X2
    OM-D

    Rank in this order

  54. When I looked at the photos above, I thought to myself that it was a nice comparison, but it does not show off one of the best qualities of the x100: the ND filter. For someone living under the Phoenix Sun, and taking pictures under harsh conditions, this is a nice feature. So just now, at about 11:30 a.m., in full sun, I ran my own simulation with just the x100. (Sorry, I don’t have all those other awesome cameras.) I intentionally set up a tripod and framed the shot to include the cool deck that will get blow out under the sun no matter what filter is applied, and especially so since I focused on a shady shot on the back of the yard. My variations were: full auto, full auto with ND, full auto with graduated ND filter (external), full auto with graduated and internal ND, and finally F11 with graduated and internal ND. I thought for sure that the internal ND filter would be the best. I was wrong. Judge for yourself: bairdonia dot photoshop dot com. I included some night action shots, lit just by the pool light, to show off what the x100 can do in low light, something that I would guess the Lecia line cannot do as well. (Don’t flame me; I know the Lecia line is far beyond the Fuji.) All shots have zero edits to the jpeg files, and no crops. Yes, I know that I’m lazy.

    • Well, I’ll reply as no-one else has: I think the 1st (no filters) looks best, but the pool edge (beneath the table and chair) is rather pale ..it might have benefited from knocking down the exposure a touch ..maybe by tilting down a touch to get the exposure reduced a bit for the pool edge ..or putting on the graduated filter on upside down!

      Many cameras have the “intelligence” (built-in programming) to assess the whole scene, and apply selective highlight-reduction, or shadow enhancement, to balance highlights with the rest of the picture. The X100 has this under the name ‘Dynamic Range Expansion’. The X100 has two settings: DR200 and DR400. Maybe DR400 would have been appropriate for these poolside shots.

      Did you use ‘Dynamic Range Expansion’ for these bright shots?

      The trees didn’t need a graduated filter, really, as they weren’t especially bright – and there’s no blazingly bright sky up there, after all! So why use a grad filter to darken the top, when what’s really bright is the bottom? And using a straight ND filter just makes the whole picture darker (when what you really need to darken slightly is the bright poolside at the bottom) ..and then the camera boosts everything up again (opens up the aperture, or changes the ISO) to put things back exactly as they were WITHOUT the ND filter!

      So instead of any filter, I’d have used the X100′s ‘Dynamic Range Expansion’, or the X100′s ‘Highlight Tone Control’ ..or, as a last resort, an upside-down grad filter to darken the poolside slightly.

      • Thanks David. Yes, I was just playing with the filters just to benchmark things. I would not normally use a graduated for that circumstnace.

        Thanks especially for the tip about the DRE. No, I’ve not played with that feature and I was unaware of it. I will be playing with that for sure when I get home from work. Much appreciated.

      • You’re welcome: glad to have helped. Actually, there’s a third DRE setting; DR100 ..but I didn’t think that worth mentioning, as it wouldn’t have done much for your very-wide-brightness-range trees-and-poolside pic.

        Dig deeper ..find more!

        • So I dug deeper. And at least for full Phoenix sun, I found the DRE settings to have a minimal effect to the point that I’ll ignore it. I reproduced my earlier test run, at 11 a.m. with full sun, and here are my variations (organized by picture name): 3. full auto, auto ISO, DR 100; 4. full auto, auto ISO, DR 400; 6. full auto, auto ISO, DR 100, ND filter; 8. same but with DR 400; 9. F11, auto ISO, exp -1/3, DR 100. As before, I think that the ND filter did nothing for the photo quality. Nor did I think that the DRE did anything either, except on very close scrutiny. In both sets of my tests, I still prefer the manual settings of a small aperture pairs with a -1/3 exposure compensation. Judge for yourself: www dot bairdonia dot photoshop. For me, that is good news since this avoids menu diving and it is easy to deploy. Maybe a polarizing filter would be a good item for this shot.

  55. OMD is the best, absolutely the most sharpest and bright, i dont know what the lens is here but it’s a blazing gem. Oly really rulez the world and Sony is second next, very good anyway. Leica and Fuji looks both really really BAD, not enough resolution or punch; I could’t use photos look like that at all professionally.

    Keep up the good work Steve!

  56. Wow, they all looke pretty same to me.
    If You would not write it next to each photo, it would be hard for me to tell the difference, not possible to tell the difference I mean :)
    It realy, realy comes down to witch camera one prefers. Witch design and handling one prefers.
    I decided to go with the X100 about half year ago. Have no regrets :)

  57. they all look almost the same. it means that since the oly is handicapped in this test (because the worst lens was used), if you use either the 12mm 2, 14mm 2.5, 20mm 1.7 or 25mm 1.4 the OMD will trounce the other 3. lol.

  58. For those who criticize Nex-7′s color as unnatural, do note that the AWB of nex-7 tend to shift to blue under sunlight, and even worse in cloudy situations. Which is why as an Nex-7 shooter I seldom use the AWB – it’s not very reliable. And the wrong WB has a horrible impact on the colors. Shoot using the sunlight WB or the cloud WB improves the colors a lot – and show the warm colors of the Zeiss.

  59. I agree that the X2 is not the top performer for this image. In other comparison btw x2 and x100 with low light images the x2 was so superior, so that I wonder whether you have assigned the images right to the respective camera here?

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