Oct 182013
 

The BIG Three. Which one to choose?

The Olympus E-M1, Sony A7/A7r or Fuji X-E2?

Good afternoon to you all! It is TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday) and no one is happier about that than me! Have loads of fun planned for this weekend with friends and loved ones and after a huge week of camera releases, e-mails and comments I am ready for a break!

Yes, this week has been a little crazy with a few camera releases, lens announcements and a few things I have not even mentioned yet. But the big three are now official. The Olympus E-M1 (My review here), the Sony A7 and A7r (My 1st look HERE) and the Fuji X-E2 (Review soon). Many out there in photography land have been stressing..“Which one do I get”?? In the past three days I have received 4600+ emails to my inbox. So if you sent me one and did not get a reply, this would be why :) But hopefully this article will help those who are wanting a new high quality camera and are trying to decide between these, “The Big Three”.

The answer may not be an easy one but I am going to attempt to help you so you can make the right choice for you. No matter which one of these you go with (if any at all), you will be making a great choice as they are all wonderful. I am assuming the Fuji will be wonderful because all it really lacked was the AF speed. If you are a fan of the X-Trans look, this choice will be easy. If you want that look that only Full frame will bring to you, the answer is easy. The Sony A7 or A7r (unless you want to go all out with a Leica M)

E-M1 and Leica? Here they are!

SAMSUNG CSC

So let us get started by talking about each of these three cameras a little…

The Olympus E-M1 – Micro 4/3 – Body only $1,399

The Olympus E-M1 is the successor/follow-up/companion to the hugely successful OM-D E-M5. Olympus listened to their users and delivered what so many asked for from them. A “Pro” series Micro 4/3 body and some upcoming “Pro” quality lenses. When I first heard the news I was skeptical. The E-M5 has been amazing but we knew it could be better. Many had issues with small buttons on the E-M5 or the camera itself not having a correct grip. We knew it could be even faster to Auto Focus and provide even better high ISO. Well, Olympus claimed they had the solution to those problems with the new E-M1 and when I used it 1st hand for the 1st time in New York at the USA Launch event, I really liked the camera. The build was perfect, ergonomics were perfect, size was perfect (for me).

Speed was improved, EVF was improved, it was not only weather proof (rain), it was shock proof and freeze proof. High ISO was improved by 1 stop. 

Even then, after the event I remembered that I had a Leica M, a Sony RX1r and thought “do I need an E-M1″? I was 80% sure I wanted one but that last 20%…well, I was not all the way there yet.

Then I went to Ireleand for a few days to test the E-M1 even more with Olympus Europe. After this trip I was 100% sold as shooting it in all situations from light to dark to still to action, the camera delivered every single time. During that trip, dreary grey weather and all, I did not have one out of focus image AT ALL. I also noticed that due to the lack of an AA filter, the images and lenses took on new life. Crisp, with texture and detail. When I compared against my Leica M for giggles, I preferred the color from the E-M1 and the IQ was sort of close using the same lens (can see that in my review) with only DOF being different due  to me having to move for the Olympus shot (due to the 2X crop).

In any case, I kept my Amazon pre-order after that trip and decided what lenses to go with. Since I have reviewed and used them all, that was an easy choice but what is really cool is how these lenses are now performing better due to the lack of an AA filter.

So at the end of the day and after reviewing or using just about every camera that has been out for the past 5 years (and before that I used MANY cameras ever since the 1st Canon Digital DSLR the D30) I realized that this camera was special as it had everything I ever wanted and did it right. It was a jack of all trades and master of nearly every one of them. While not the best IQ of the current crop of cameras it was close enough for me.

If I had to nitpick I could say “well, the high ISO does not compete with Fuji X or Sony Full Frame)”- This is correct. But how much high ISO do you need? I would use the E-M1 up to 3200 without a problem as long as NR was turned OFF. (NR smudges detail). So if you are one that likes to shoot at ISO 6400, 12.800, etc – go for something like a Sony RX1 or A7. The Fuji is also stellar at these super high ISO.

E-M1 pros

  1. Build, Size, and it is a mature system
  2. Speed. AF speed and Response Speed is as good as it gets
  3. EVF is huge, best EVF on the market. Period.
  4. Rain, Shock and Freeze proof. 
  5. LCD swivels and is very high quality with touch screen
  6. Live Time feature is amazingly cool
  7. 5-Axis in body IS is the best in the world, no question
  8. The lenses. So many amazing lenses available, more than any other system
  9. Shallow DOF is now possible with the lens selections available
  10. Can mount 3rd party glass using adapters (Leica M being one)
  11. Can easily match APS-C for IQ using the good lenses
  12. The new 12-40 2.8 Pro zoom is small and built to a high level. More pro zooms on the way.

E-M1 Cons

  1. The 2X crop is just too much for some to take
  2. Price is $1,399 so it is not cheap
  3. Continuous AF tracking still not up there with Pro DSLR’s
  4. Does not match the image quality of a full frame sensor (but beats them in speed/usability)

The E-M1 and Sony A7 are about the same size

emaanda7r

So as you can see, tons of pros and not many cons. Some will argue with me and say I am incorrect on the IQ matching APS-C but I can tell you that there is NO APS-C I would  take over the E-M1. I judge cameras as a whole on IQ as well as usability and inspiration factor. The E-M1 has it all, something no other camera has accomplished for me, ever. The E-M1 is highly recommended but if you go that route do not just use a kit zoom. Make sure you take advantage of what this camera offers you and grab some of those amazing primes or the new 12-40 2.8.

I bought my E-M1 from Amazon. The direct link is HERE.

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The Sony A7 and A7r – Full Frame Mirrorless – Body only A7 $1698 and A7r $2298

Announced AFTER the E-M1 the Sony A7 and A7r are revolutionary and a worlds 1st. These cameras are very special for a few reasons, one being that it is the smallest full frame mirrorless in the world, and the worlds first full frame Auto Focus mirrorless  camera. Its only real competition for image quality in this category is the $7000 Leica M. In fact, that is the only other full frame mirror less camera you can buy besides the Sony and the Sony has a newer and most likely better sensor (for DR, High ISO, and most likely flat out IQ). While the Leica is built to a high standard and hand assembled in Germany in small batches at a time, the Sony will be a mass-produced monster. There are pros and cons to this. The pro for Leica is the attention to detail due to the hand assembly and testing of each unit. The Sony on the other hand will be perfected before mass production and usually this means rock solid reliability, something the Leica does not always have.

Sony + Leica may just be a magical combo

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So think about this..

The Sony A7 at $1698 offers you a 24Mp full frame sensor in a solidly built body. The sensor will be incredible and surpass just about anything out there now. You can mount the new Sony FE glass (full frame lenses) or you can mount Sony E lenses (though with a severe crop). You can also mount Leica M lenses or use Canon lenses with full AF and metering. You just might get more crispness and pop from this Sony A7 with a Leica 50 cron then you would on a Leica M with a 50 cron. Not 100% sure yet but from what I have seen so far, this may be the case.

I mentioned in a previous article that when the Leica M9 was released, there was nothing that competed with it for IQ (IMO). Today with the M, there are several cameras that compete or pass it up in IQ. But until the Sony, all have been large and heavy which meant to me, the Leica was still worth it for the small size. Besides, you can not mount a Leica lens on a D800 or 5D. So now that the Sony is here, this means the game has been changed. Now we have a full frame SMALL and LIGHT camera that delivers Leica and above results, all for $5k+ LESS  than the Leica.

Is the Sony as good-looking as the Leica? NO

Does the Sony feel as good as the Leica? NO

Does the Sony equal the M in build? NO, but in some ways YES

Is the Sony EVF better than the one on the M? YES, by far in speed and quality.

Is the Sony more versatile than the M? YES, by far.

Will the Sony offer better high ISO than the M? Not sure yet, but most likely. 

I can go on and on but the Sony offers more bang for less buck, so to me, being a Leica “Fanboy” this is amazing. This means that Leica M users can buy a $1700 back up to their M. This means that those who always wanted a full frame body can possibly now afford to get one. This means that those with Leica glass and no Leica digital body may now have an amazing solution where they can use that glass how it was meant to be used. In glorious full frame quality.

I have already stated that the Sony RX1r beats the Leica M and 35 cron in IQ and low light. (It does). If the A7 and A7r surpass it with all lenses then Leica may start to see sales drop because there ARE INDEED many who buy Leica only for the quality of image and lenses, not for the name. We are not all about the red dot.

If this Sony is proven to be an IQ masterpiece then the M sales will be to those who refuse to believe anything could be better, to those who think of other brands as toys and to those who just want to “look rich” or those who simply prefer a rangefinder to focus. Shooting with a Leica is a beautiful thing, I admit. I love it to death and it is a “lifestyle” in a way to use a Leica. The feel, the build, the simplicity, the results and the lenses. It has “it”. But when a camera comes along that can offer the same or better IQ for $5,000 less, then that is a game changer for the majority of camera buyers.

The Sony in my limited use felt nice, was fast to AF, was easy to Manual Focus a Leica lens with and without focus peaking. The only negatives I found were the loud shutter of the A7r and the fact it had no in body IS (like the Olympus). To be fair, not even the Leica has in body IS and the shutter on the Leica is not silent by any stretch of the imagination. It is subdued but still loud enough to be heard. The shutter sound of the A7 to me was fine and it will in no way effect street shooting just like old film cameras never did. It is a camera and a camera is meant to have a shutter. It is not offensive, just louder than expected.

So the breakdown of why the Sony is a game changer is simple. It’s the only camera in the world that does what it does. Full frame, small, high build quality, AF, and the ability to adapt third party lenses. Plus I simply LOVE LOVE LOVE the way the camera looks with the battery grip :) 

Two words: Full Frame

gripredux

Sony A7 and A7r Pros:

  1. Worlds only camera that is full frame, mirrorless, compact, has Auto Focus and can use M lenses.
  2. Full frame 24 or 36 MP sensors. These will deliver the richest image quality in 35mm. 
  3. Low light ability will be superb.
  4. EVF is the 2nd best I have used next to the E-M1 EVF.
  5. Build on the cameras is much like the RX1/RX1r.
  6. Auto Focus was fast with the new FE lenses I shot with.
  7. The ability to use Leica M lenses via adapter.
  8. The ability to use Canon EF Auto Focus lenses with AF via adapter.
  9. Can mount all kinds of vintage glass via adapters with no crop factor. 
  10. Price is EXCELLENT for what you get.
  11. A7r has NO AA filter
  12. A7 has phase and contrast detect AF and is the cheaper camera!
  13. Weather sealed
  14. Eye Auto Focus to auto focus critically on the eyes
  15. At the end of the day my guess is this will have the best IQ of any 35mm digital to date
  16. Cool battery grip :)
  17. Can use A lenses with adapter with full functions

Sony A7 and A7r cons:

  1. The camera seemed slower in response and AF than the Olympus E-M1
  2. The 1st gen of any camera can have issues, hope there is none but there could be
  3. Leica M wide-angle performance is yet to be seen, could have color shift issues just like the Leica does with some lenses
  4. Lack of lenses out of the gate. Only one at launch (35 2.8) and one later (55 1.8) and one more really later (24-70 f/4)
  5. Lack of super fast aperture lenses (Leica rules the game in this area for full frame, Olympus/Panny  for Micro 4/3
  6. Continuous AF may be slow (but again, this is a guess as I have not tested it, just judging by what I saw in my 1st use)
  7. May have the best IQ to date in 35mm but lack of new FE lenses in general at launch means not much choice just yet.
  8. No in body IS
  9. Loud Shutter sound

At the end of the day the Sony will easily beat the Olympus E-M1 for all out Image Quality when judging Dynamic Range, Color Depth, Resolution, and for Shallow DOF (though only a 35 2.8 lens at launch). But I do not feel it can beat it in overall speed and responsiveness. The E-M1 gives you everything in one package but will lack in IQ over the Sony without question. So you need to ask yourself what it is you desire? If it is all out IQ then the Sony is the real deal. If a jack of all trades, the E-M1 is it. Remember, the E-M1 can take a beautiful quality image as well.

Me, I want BOTH as I will have different uses for them. The E-M1 for fisheye, macro and some Telephoto. The Sony for fast primes and all out resolution shots/portraits, etc. Both are beautiful and worth to have in my kit. This means I have to clear out 1-2 others in my current kit to afford the new cameras. Hmmm.

Anyway, this is my job so I HAVE To keep new cameras in my stable for comparison reasons so you guys and ready about them all :)

You can pre-order the Sony’s by using the direct links HERE

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The Fuji X-E2 – APS-C X-Trans – Body only $999

Fuji-X-E2-camera

The Fuji X-E2 is now here and official as well and Fuji has now taken up the performance with faster AF. Actually, they are calling it the “Worlds Fastest Phase Detect Auto Focus”. This is exciting because that was the main issue with the X-E1 and X-Pro 1. The AF. Some will disagree but those who do have probably never shot with an E-M1 or E-M5 or X100s or Leica M (lol, yes, I focus my M faster than I can get accurate indoor focus with a Fuji X-E1 or Pro-1). But now the focus speed is fixed and the now 2nd gen X-E1 is ready to rock and roll with super sonic AF speed. Though only ONE of their lenses is compatible right now with the faster focus I am sure this will be fixed via firmware updates.

The Fuji X-Trans sensor has many fans and the IQ I have seen from some users has been phenomenal. Mostly with portraits and fashion style shots.

No question they have been popular cameras so I am happy to see this one have improvements in AF and processing.

I would have liked to have seen a new sturdier and more solid body. As it is, the A7 and E-M1 have better feeling and built bodies when compared to the hollow feeling X-E1. At the end of the day though this is good news for those invested in Fuji glass because you now have a body that will offer you fast and accurate AF all of the time. If the X-Trans is your thing, this one may be for you. If I were a Fuji use though or someone thinking about Fuji I would wait to see what the X-Pro 2 brings as it may bring a surprise or  two. :)

Fuji-X-E2-camera-back

Pros of the X-E2

  1. Faster AF…finally! Should be top class speed.
  2. Fuji has some amazingly good lenses and primes already
  3. Price is $999, perfecto!
  4. Fuji colors..you gotta love them

Cons of the X-E2

  1. Looks to be same build as the X-E1 (lowest of the three here)
  2. To  those that are NOT fans of the X-Trans, this one still has it
  3. How will continuous AF work? My guess is slower than E-M1
  4. No swivel LCD?
  5. No in body IS
  6. EVF smallest of the new cameras talked about on this page

The X-E2 is the most affordable of the three cameras here, and I know why. Where Olympus cut no corners in build and quality of the dials and buttons and weather proofing, and Sony also went high in the build, you WILL feel the difference in the Fuji in this area. It is cheaper in build which means cheaper to make which means cheaper to buy. But that does not take away from the image quality and capabilities of the camera. I have seen quite a few amazing pieces of art created with the X cameras and if you have the right light the images will POP. I have to admit, I am much more excited by the E-M1 and Sony A7 series but I am also thinking that the X-Pro 2 will be the one that delivers it all for Fuji users. So I will stay tuned. I will be reviewing the X-E2 as well.

You can pre order the Fuji at B&H Photo in all colors and configurations.

Or you can pre-order it at Amazon

So there ya go, my thoughts on the Big three releases for the end of this year. I will see more of these at Photo Plus next week, and will have a full week with the Sony right after that. So much more to come. I do find it funny that there are three big releases yet none of them have the name Canon or Nikon. That says a lot right there as to where the tides are turning.

Steve

  178 Responses to “The BIG Three. Which one to choose? E-M1, A7 or X-E2?”

  1. Sticking to the Fuji X-line. Got the X100S and will upgrade the X-E1 to the X-E2 + waiting for the X-PRO 2. As a working photographer, I hope that they will improve the continuous AF enough for me to be able to leave my D700 at home most of the time. I like what Fuji is doing. It’s a new line of cameras, and they seem to listen more to their customers than any other camera maker. And I just love the aestetics and handling of the upper end of the X-line.

    • “they seem to listen more to their customers than any other camera maker”
      Maybe, but I’m pretty sure customers never said, release me a camera with sub-par autofocus, make sure you only allow retailers to charge MSRP for your lenses, and make sure your RAW algorthims don’t support ACR natively.

      I hear this meme repeated a lot on web sites, that Fuji is somehow more attentive to customers than any one else. It seems like a viral marketing campaign. They seem average. Releasing consumer products with features and functions they hope to sell is what all manufacturers do.

      • I think the idea that Fuji listens more comes from after camera release work they do versus the competition. I use Olympus, and I am no pro, but I see update after update brought forth by the Fuji team and they still have not released an em-5 focus peeking update even though the hack for doing it through art filters has been known for over a year now. If you can do it through that hack there is no reason olympus shouldn’t devote someone’s time to putting it out in an update and updating the camera’s features for the people who payed money, instead they drop it in the ep-5 and the new 1 and forget about the later models, Fuji is still releasing auto focus upgrades for the original x100 (it came out today). Panasonic never seems to release firmware fixes for old models, they just release new models with those fixes listed as features…..it gets old and I admire Fuji’s commitment to ALL of their products not just the latest money maker.

      • One nice thing about Fuji is how they continue to update firmware for discontinue cameras. There is a post today on this site about the version 2 firmware for the x100. Sony has yet to release any new firmware for the RX1.

        One annoying thing about Fuji is they seem to release products that are a bit sloppy and buggy, and that charger that comes with the x100 and S version is extremely poor in design/function.

  2. Hey, what is it about that “surprise or two” that XPro-2 may bring? Sounds like there is some information out there that is not coming down to us just yet :)

  3. I realize the timing of the releases is what’s inspiring this article but is anyone who can afford an E-M1 or A7(r) really considering the X-E2?

    • It’s the Retro controls and I really don’t need full frame cost’s, File sizes and bigger lenses that cover FF. So the 1.5 size chip is just right.

      • I never liked Nikon, Sony, Olys interface and lived with Canon’s but now Fuji X all the way. I’m sure the XE2 will me happy I dumped my Canon’s.

    • Well yes, the Olympus is too small for many and the Sony barely has any lenses yet. The Fuji has a great range of excellent glass available today, and more on the way!

    • Definitely. I prefer the fuji controls to either of the other two, and only the Sony will have better IQ than the XE2.

      • I think the Sony 24-70 may be the answer for me. Yes, f/4 – not a problem as lots of us lived with f/4 with our canon 17-40s. I would like it wider; however I will have to wait and see what the future brings.

  4. full frame xpro!

  5. Have a D700 and an RX100. I think the X-E2 will fit me best

  6. I don’t know, every photographer has his or her preferences, but lets be honest, we have never had its so good, its just amazing what these companies are producing at the price range they are able to deliver these technology marvels at. I am really looking forward to seeing the final valuable product, and that of course are the images and create that enthusiasts and professionals will create.

  7. None, I went with the gx7 and could not be happier.

  8. I have an OMD E-M5 and Steve said the E-M1 is not as fast as a DSLR in AF tracking so I will hold off on buying any new cameras. I will use the E-M5 until it dies or a small mirriorless camera that is as fast as a big DSLR.

  9. Reading the 3 reviews, it has confirmed my reasons to sell my 3mth old xe1 and get a em1, many reasons for this weather proofing of the camera recently even my d600 fog up in a wilderness shoot, inbuild ibis the range of lenses and lots of other reasons, just want to hold and try one first.
    Long term I feel thr d600 could go as well and get more lenses,
    Really enjoy your comments steve.

  10. Money not being a consideration this is a no-brainer… A7r. FF, rich pixel count, ability to use Leica glass without any crop. I clicked Steve’s B&H buy-link as soon as it was active. Can’t wait to see my fav UPS guy drop the package off!

    • I know a lot of people are going for the A7r because they want that extra, tiny little bit of sharpness.
      Personally, I’m going for the A7 though because I want that extra, tiny little bit of ISO performance.

      • Good point. I made my choice based on the lack of AA covering on the A7r. I have a number of cameras and of these only my M9 lacks the AA covering. I believe that I can distinguish a difference in overall sharpness I get from the M9 vs the others. Not much, but given my aging eyes and manual focus, I’ll take all the sharpness I can get.

      • I’m going for the Sony A7 / A7r because I have three Zeiss Zm lenses, a Planar a Sonnar 50mms and a 35 biogon, not to mention a Nikkor 50mm F1.2 and one of the SLR magic siege gun -size Hyperprime 1.1 50s that doesn’t seem to have any ‘issues.’ (yet).
        I’m not happy with the cropping I get with my NEX 7 and never expected to be happy, but I’d been keeping my fingers crossed for an affordable full-frame mirrorless camera and also I sort of thought ( and hoped) it would be a Sony because my lense adaptors for the Zeiss and Nikkor lenses are e-mount and I have a Zeiss 24mm 1.8 e-mount too.
        Thanks Sony for finally getting round to producing a camera that seems to tick my boxes. Not to mention it looks nicer than the NEX-7 that I always thought was a horrid looking little thing.

  11. They all look nice,though I favor the Fuji. Compared to a $7,000 Leica it weighs less, but engineering wise it seems to be completely strong enough for its intended function. I have been using my XE 1 for about a year now and never felt the camera was hollow (although most cameras generally are), or not strong enough or well made enough. I actually come away with the impression it is very well made, and yes I have used Leica’s and other nice cameras. I guess it is all about what you have at hand to compare it too, but the OM D I had was too small and fidgety for my taste.

  12. Steve, thanks for the great updates. I have, and love, the Sony RX1 purchased based on your original RX1 review. Will be VERY interested to see a comparison with the new Sony FF. If image quality with the primes is close the RX1 may go on the market.

  13. Steve,
    I pre-ordered the a7r using your website’s click-through link. I’ve enjoyed checking your site, so thanks for the good work! And I’ve never felt that you are promoting GAS for the sake of GAS, rather that you are enthusiastic about photography, and I wanted you to know that your enthusiasm is infectious, though it has cost me a pretty penny ;)

    Was wondering about your comment above (using the em1 for macro and telephoto but the a7r for fast prime). I’ve been using the M9 almost exclusively for about a year, mostly street photography, and I’m looking forward to the autofocus of the a7r and the eventual use of a decent telephoto/macro lens for it as a complement to my M9. I’m also looking forward to doing “Huff-like” experiments with my Leica lenses on the a7r. Do you see a reason why the a7r will not be able to handle Macro or telephoto photography at least as well as an em1 would? Please don’t tell me I will need a third camera (!)

    • No, it will do just fine as long as the lenses are made and released for it. This is the biggest issue with a new camera system. The lenses. It took 4-5 yers for Micro 4/3 to mature with the lenses. Sony will have a 35 2.8 and 55 1.8 out for the A7. No macro, no ultra wide, no fast portrait prime.

  14. Hi Steve. I own a Ricoh GR and I find it a superb camera with fantastic IQ. For me it runs circles around my Fuji X100 both in usability and image quality. Fuji X100 is a hit and miss thing in my hands, but the GR always delivers.

    Still I feel limited by a single focal length which is often too wide for my needs. I know I need an ILC. Would an EM-1 with the new 12-40 Pro lens in your opinion match the GR in image quality? The A7 also looks tempting but there are so many things I like about the EM-1 that it’s a tough choice.

    Thanks! :-)

  15. Good article Steve. I think they are all great value for money, I like what Fuji has been doing but they need to come out with a true Pro product, build and let’s hope, FF. If I had a gun to my head and had to buy one of those three, Olympus would get my cash, they have the largest system as of this minute and have not messed around with their latest release.

  16. Sensor size comes first. So the A7/r is a no brainer. Why bother with all the foibles of an M?

  17. Steve, I’m happier than you that’s it’s Friday, I’ve work the last four weekends. Ok my pick is the EM-1 for sure, I’m not a Fuji fan and the Sony A7 well I’ll wait for the next version ( the EM-5 is great but now the EM-1 is a lot better) so we’ll see what Sony come out with next. Great web site, thanks for all your reviews

    • I’m with you Dennis. I ordered the E-M1 and took notice of the A7. But I’ll hold off on that camera for a couple years until there are some more lenses to choose from and a body that has IBIS.

  18. Good write-up, Steve. All would appear to be good cameras but, as things stand, I’d say the Fuji has the greatest appeal (this coming from a micro four-thirds fan!). What this class of camera brings is capability in a small package and that Fuji body is small and feels superb in the hand.

    Fuji’s lens line-up is very intelligent and of great quality. Olympus’ lens availability is big but frustrating as the lighter zooms are not that great and the good primes are expensive and not all AF. Sony’s lens line-up has been quite poor. I was quite taken by the A99 body but lens choice ruled it out. Same with A7 twins!

  19. How come the Leica Vario is not in this discussion? I keed, I keed! Seriously at $2800 did anyone buy one?
    Anyway, is the EVF in the A7 the same as in the Sony a99? If so, I did not like it. Far too much like looking at a TV even with a little flickering occasionally thrown in. I much prefer any OVF to this. If the Olympus’ EVF is much better, then score one for the Olympus.

    But, as I already have Leica lenses, the ability to use them is #1. So, if you don’t mind I’ll repost this query:

    One other thing I just thought of.. when using a Leica M lens with an adaptor on the Sony, how does it work seeing that M lenses do not have automatic diaphragms like ‘regular’ SLR lenses. i.e. they need to be stopped down manually before shooting.
    On a rangefinder camera it does not matter, as you are not viewing the image through the lens. But with a camera (like this Sony) that uses the lens for viewing as well as imaging, wouldn’t you first have to view/focus with the aperture wide open, then stop down for actual shooting (which could make the viewing image very dark)?
    I have no idea seeing I’ve never used my M glass with adapters!

    • You buy the Leica X Vario for its looks and simplicity not for its capabilities. The EM 1 is a much more versatile camera. I had the Vario and sold it.

    • Presumably, the camera will compensate for the smaller aperture during focusing by boosting the gain on the sensor so that the image in the EVF remains at the right brightness.

      • Michael said:
        “Presumably, the camera will compensate for the smaller aperture during focusing by boosting the gain on the sensor so that the image in the EVF remains at the right brightness”

        Maybe but I wish Steve would chime in as he mounted a Leica 50mm lux on the Sony so he would have first hand experience.
        I’d have no interest in the Sony if you have to focus wide open, then meter stopped down.

        • I thought that Steve made thet reasonably clear in a previous post. if you use Aperture priority, set the aperture on the lens, then the camera does the metering etc. certainly with the Olympus EM5 and a voigtlander it works just fine, no need to open wode then stop down, just focus and shoot. I got the impression that the sony is the same, I’d be amazed if it wasn’t.

          • We get that bit damoo. The question is do we need to focus with the aperture wide open? Leica M lenses do not stop down automatically. Which means that unless the EVF compensates for it, the metered image seen through the EVF may be very dark depending on what aperture is used.
            eg say I was using a Lux 1.4 lens at f8. For the Sony to meter automatically at f8, the view through the EVF would also be at f8 as there is no automatic stop down with rangefinder lenses. Unless the EVF compensates for this, the image may be too dark to focus or compose.

  20. Praise an Glory! Steve, how can you tell ? Do you really know if A7 works well with wideangle Leica/Zeiss/Voigtländer lenses ? Or do we have pretty much colorshift ? Cool down, an time will tell ;-)

  21. How will it work using Canon lenses, compared with say a 5D Mk III? What are the drawbacks/differences and advantages (other than more megapixels)?

  22. Not directly relevant here, but I am wondering what will the A7/A7r do with the price of the RX1R …

    My pick of the Above would be the A7r and I would finally have a reason to get the Summaron 35/2.8 and later the Sonnar 50/1.5 :)

    • And then a Mercedes slk, because ONLY with a 36MP FF sensor with 4k$ Glas you can shoot good pictures, if you travel with said car.

      • 4k$ glass … ??? nice Summaron sells for about 500 – 600 € and A7/A7r is the first digital camera that will give me full field of view with that lens and does not cost 6000 €.

        No SLK for me, sorry. I’t take Impreza STI instead :)

  23. Funny thing is, the M, A7 and E-M1 don’t seem to differ so much in size and weight, with a prime attached. Sensor size then is the overriding factor.

  24. I also have both an RX1 and E-M5 based, somewhat, on your initial reviews and my preference for the small form factor. I’m now torn, and I mean torn, between updating to the E-M1 and ditching the E-M5 because I have a few nice Olympus MFT primes now. IF Metabones came out with an adapter for full electronic support of the Oly MFT glass on the Sony A7R it would be a no-brainer. Cash in my RX1 AND EM-5 and go A7R but keep the glass. Oh, what a quandry… LOL

    • How is a MFT lens going to cast a large enough image circle to work on a FF sensor without some major trickery in the optical department?

      • That’s why I mentioned some sort of Metabones adapter to move the lens forward the correct amount. I’m assuming that all you’d need to do is extend the focal point back a little and it should work just fine.

        • No metabones work the other way around, big glass for smaller sensor ! Not small lens for big sensor , it is physics , no way it can happen.
          Sorry

          • Actually it probably is possible but it would come at significant trade offs like roughly 2 stops less light (extension factor) and any lens aberrations will be magnified. Also it may not be possible to achieve infinity focus.

          • you do realize, that you can always increase the distance between lens and sensor, to gain a larger field of illumination on the sensor, right?
            that would of course mean a decrease in striking light, but physically it would work of course.

  25. Hi Steve, I would like to correct you on one key point regarding where the Leica M is built. The M240 is predominantly (I would estimate 90%) built in Portugal. It is then shipped to Germany where the sensor is fitted and the vinyl wrap applied. On this basis, I would say the camera is mostly Portugese, but there must be enough wiggle room in the legislation to allow it to be stamped Made in Germany.

    In terms of quality and attention to detail, the Leica digital M’s (I have owned the M8, M9 and M9P) have a chequered history with straps lugs falling out, sensor’s cracking, buggy electronics and so on. I was recently loaned an M and it could not read the 6-bit code on my 50 LUX ASPH. I have never experienced any such problems with any Sony camera I have owned (NEX7, RX100, RX1).

    On this basis (if quality and reliability is paramount), I would definitely go with the “mass produced monster” over “hand assembled”.
    Ozkar

    • Ozkar, you make an extremely pertinent point here.

      Why would anyone pay the money for a Leica which although hand built fails to give the quality normally associated with hand built products? especially when one considers the price differential between the M series bodies and the Sony.

      As far as its camera bodies (not lenses) Leica relies heavily on its history and the ‘iconic’ little red dot symbol.

      Whilst yet to be confirmed I think this Sony could be the camera body that all Leica users have been waiting for………………Oh the irony of it!!!!!! :-)

  26. The Fuji claim of the worlds fastest AF is very highly restricted they make that claim when the camera is used with ONE specific lens. To continue to report this claim without mentioning Fujis qualification is something of a misrepresentation IMO. I guess that it will give you the opportunity later on to “report” that the camera is not as fast as Fuji claim and to relegate the X-E2 to the bottom of the list of the three cameras as it is pretty obvious that you are going to do anyway.

    • They made claims about Xtrans in just the same way :)
      In reality this all turned out to be a BS

    • This is only natural… Every lens on every system focuses at a different speed, so the fastest of these would be used in a marketing campaign. I recall that olympus made exactly the same claims with the em-5, it was only the fastest when used with the 12-50mm kit lens (which is rather an average, slow – in terms of aperture – lens).

  27. I would think even the Leica users who buy mostly for the image quality do deep down love that red dot camera for the way it feels and inspires. Not sure with the new Sony, add another hand grip on the other side and you have a Playstation controller.

  28. Until Sony provides a wide range of lenses, could I use the 12-40 Oly that has yet to be released? What will be the loss from using a MFT with the Sony? What adapter would be appropriate?

    I too am going to become an EM-1/A7R person.

  29. Love the choices we have these days. Each of these present an interesting and compelling price vs. performanc vs. features trade off.

  30. “I would think even the Leica users who buy mostly for the image quality do deep down love that red dot camera for the way it feels and inspires.”

    I definitely bought my M-E for the way it feels. The moment I picked it up in the camera store and looked through the rangefinder, I was hooked. I hadn’t even gone in there with any notion to do that, it was just there!
    I absolutely love the way it feels, the way it makes me want to use it all the time. Only mechanical cameras have done this for me, and the Leicas still are the most mechanical digital cameras out there. I care not one bit for autofocus, multi modes etc. All I care about is the feel, the lens and the shutter.
    Which is why I have since aquired old film cameras too. If Nikon made a digital FM2 (the film one I have is just perfect, like the Leica you just want to pick it up and just use it), in the same mold that Leica makes its digital rangefinders, I would buy it in a heartbeat. Uses the AIS lenses, no AF, just manual, mechanical shutter, FF sensor. It would be fantastic.

    • Which was the point I was making, it’s more than just the latest tech, cameras have to inspire you. This is where Leica leads buy a long margin. Sony will mass release that camera it will be everywhere. Leica will make the photography experience special, personal and not with the crowd.

    • Last year Nikon did file a patent for a digital sensor back that would presumably work with a number of their film cameras from the 1970s. Doubt it will ever come to market, though.

  31. Bying the A7 or A7r would give me the feeling of not needing to buy a follow-up model for a very long time. Its not perfect but it comes close to being the camera i ever wanted.

  32. I have an XE-1 and will add the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 to gain a high speed telephoto with a tilting screen and wi-fi. I will then sit back and watch the debates among the first users and then decide if I will sell my XE-1 and buy another brand. But for the money, I can’t go wrong with the one inch sensor, panoramic mode, 24-200mm F/2.8 weathered sealed, wi-fi equipped Sony Cyber-shot RX10. I will be traveling a lot and will do just fine with these 2 cameras.

  33. WOW! That is the Million-Dollar Question right now…. Which camera…Three great cameras to choose from and a whole lot of price range and levels of commitment.
    My choice is easy as I have 10 MFT AF lenses…so I am kind of committed to that format. I also have a complete 5DIII kit…BUT….I could see that in a couple of years, when Sony has more lenses available (and perhaps some 3rd-party offerings available, as well, and the new A-Model is released, I could see myself totally selling off my Canon kit and downsizing with a smaller camera and hopefully lenses and a much larger file size than I am currently capturing. Of course if I bought a Sony A7r today and got an adapter, it would make sweet use of my Canon 17mm TSE lens…those files might make me faint!!! Hmmmmmm….LOL!!!!!
    Exciting times for photographers these are!!!!!!!

  34. Dude!!! You’re killing me!!! Now what do I do… wait for the XPRO2?? Buy the A7r?? Arrrgggghhhh!!!!

  35. Great article Steve.
    Good that Leica may have some competition at last better for us the consumer.
    Now lets see the images from this new A7r, after all it’s all about the IQ.

  36. Other than the 50 APO, do you suppose any of the other leica lenses can exploit 36 megapixels? I had an M9 and without the lens correction, a lot of the lenses suffered in the sides and corners from “Italian flag” color shifts and vignetting. A few of the non leica M mount glass had off centering artefacts. I’m concerned that no adapter will be suitable.

  37. Fuji can do only wrong. The AF is always wrong, focussing with a Leica indoors is indeed faster. What about the crappy AWB and exposure control from our German friend. It’s all coincidence, this neverending bashing of Fuji, each time over and over again, strange that there is a new Olympus, Sony or Leica around the corner. Yes indeed Steve, you need to stay alive, not from charity.

  38. I have the EM-5 and the X-E1. I’ll concentrate on filling out the prime lens collection for the time being. When the EM-3 and/or X-E3 come out, I’ll take a look. I think it’s better to skip a camera generation or two to see how the technology shakes out.

  39. Can’t imagine buying the EM-1 when for a few hundred more dollars you can have full frame mirrorless in a camera body of the same size!

  40. Lets consider for a moment that the m43 sensor could deliver the IQ of a FF sensor. Getting DOF control is only a matter of having fast enough lenses (e.g. the Voigtlander 0.95 lenses). If that was the case, the choice would be obviously the smaller sensor and its smaller lenses. The EM1 is about the perfect size. The EM5 is a bit too small. The Nikon D90 (the other camera I own, and a typical DSLR, is too big). Everybody would agree that today’s m43 sensor delivers better IQ than any APSC a few years ago, and better than a FF sensor of first generation. So, it is a matter of time: eventually the smaller sensors will be delivering such a high IQ that it won’t matter anymore! So I suspect that m43 might well be the in the sweet spot of size and usability. EVF will soon be as good as any OVF. My predition: in 2 to 3 years we’ll see every major manufacturers converging to a package size about the size of a EM1, mirrorless EVF. Quem viver verá!

    • That’s a good argument Milton. The issue IMO is that FF still has a depth or dimension to its pics that is hard to find in APS-C or M43 cameras. Not sure how to describe this look but it’s there. I believe Steve has talked about it before too.

    • “…So, it is a matter of time: eventually the smaller sensors will be delivering such a high IQ that it won’t matter anymore!”

      This argument presumes that the larger sensors (APS-C and full frame) won’t see similar improvements in performance … which, of course, they will.

      Assuming contemporary comparisons, APS-C and full frame will always deliver superior performance to M4/3.

      The only way this could be overcome would be if Olympus/Panasonic developed a radical new sensor array. If the Fuji/Panasonic organic sensor sees fruition, I suppose that could trickle into M4/3. But then it would likely trickle into Fuji’s X-Trans sensor as well … which means we’re back to the same equation.

      Size does matter. ;)

      • It’s not that straightforward. We are already at the stage where 4/3 and APSC sensors deliver results so good that it is hard to get a real-world improvement by using a larger sensor, except in some poor light conditions where depth of field isn’t a big issue.

        Conversely, larger sensors demand bigger glass, which is harder to keep good across the larger frame (even though they need less absolute resolution, resolution no longer seems to be a problem with smaller formats). Lenses need to be stopped down more to achieve the same depth of field, removing much of the low light advantage, such as it is. Fast glass is being made for smaller formats which allows shallower depth of field for those who like to use or abuse it (more of the latter, it seems!). My experience with various formats is that 4/3 is the sweet spot for depth of field control, without compromising shutter speed and sensitivity.

        Because the smaller formats are now good enough for posters, magazines, exhibition prints, weddings, sports etc etc, the arguments in favour of larger formats are becoming academic. Add in the cost and weight savings of smaller formats, the highly arbitrary 35mm format will become the domain of gear-heads and traditionalists in the next few years. I think!

        • Unfortunately, the science and the trends don’t support this argument. Neither do the Japanese photographic manufacturers. While it is true that each photographer must evaluate his or her needs and determine if a particular product reaches their level of “sufficiency” ― and it is true that M4/3s can probably handle many situations for many photographers ― I see little chance of the format surviving the long game.

          Also, it should be noted that full frame offers benefits that stretch beyond the usual suspects frequently trotted out, e.g. shallow depth of field, less noise at high ISO, etc. Larger sensors produce improved tonal gradations (particularly in the transition points from highlight to shadow) and a concomitant improvement in color gradation and depth as well. This becomes very clear when you look at the D800 and, even more specifically, when you move to medium format like Phase One.

          Regarding the need for larger glass for full frame sensors? Also untrue. Leica has managed to keep the size of their lenses relatively compact over the years, and they’ve had no trouble maintaining IQ with digital full frame.

          The fallacy that gets perpetuated all too often is that the addition of autofocus mechanisms add dimension and bulk to these lenses, but the truth is they don’t have to…not from an engineering standpoint. Anyone here familiar with the Zeiss lenses for the Contax G system from the late 1990s? They were autofocus, small…and covered 35mm (full frame). It can certainly be done.

          Olympus and Panasonic have made great strides with M4/3, but they remain the only two players in that market (not counting Voigtlander’s new offerings). Meanwhile, Sony, Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Pentax and several other companies continue to support and develop the APS-C format. Rumor has it that Fuji may introduce a full frame X200 camera next year in a body roughly the size of the X100. And we know Pentax has been developing a full frame DSLR for some while now.

          Personally, much as I love the OM-D E-M1, between the trend of bigger sensors in smaller bodies from above, and the improvements to smartphone cameras below, I think there’s going to be a lot of pressure on the M4/3 format in the coming years.

          • Very true. All things being equal (that’s as assumption, not necessarily a fact), a larger sensor brings better IQ, in all defineable senses. There’s no escaping the law of physics. Lenses will also grow with sensor size (no escaping that either), but a mirrorbox probably does more for increasing a lens’s size and weight than the size of the sensor or AF.

            The new AF-S 58mm 1.4G Nikkor, up to the D800′s very demanding sensor, and reputedly an Otus challenger, is rather big, but strangely only 354 grs.

            Exciting times!

            • No. Don’t think it’s that simple.
              People talking about physics, and then they say that a FF lens can be as small as a m43 lens. No it just can’t. Bigger sensor means bigger lens(it has to fit over it, and thus everything will have to be bigger..), which of course will always weight more. For “simple” primes that weigh a few hundred grams, the difference will not be significant, but for zooms and macro’s consisting of a lot of glass elements it will.
              The above is not just because it’s logical(it is), but it is also a fact in real life. FACT: Sony NEX lenses are bigger then m43 lenses. Samsung mirrorless lenses are bigger then m43 lenses. It’s worth mentioning that APC-C sensor format is only marginally bigger then m43, but even then the difference noticeable. Thus: Sony mirrorless FF lenses will be almost as big as Canon/Nikon FF lenses.
              Then another thing worth noticing(I think): IBIS+fast autofocus.
              A quote from Steve’s article above: “ I did not have one out of focus image AT ALL.” I’m noticing the same thing on my E-M5(yes: fanboy). Bigger sensor will be much harder to stabilize, and that’s probably the reason there is no IBIS on the A7.
              An yes: an recent Full Frame sensor will always deliver better IQ and resolution then a m43 of APC-C sized sensor. So if you’re only going to print billboards and carry an enormous bag with you all the time, FF is the only way to go 

          • No, the science and the trends very much support my argument.

            I absolutely agree that tonal gradations are better on something like a Phase One (less so on a D800) and that actually proves my point. If the arbitrary 35mm size sensor has overwhelming advantages over smaller sensors, logic dictates that even larger sensors will be better still. Yet cameras with those very large sensors barely sell, in terms of the world market, while Olympus must have sold shiploads of the EM5.

            It’s all about compromise and, as sensor technology has improved, and continues to improve, the advantages of smaller sensors will outweigh the disadvantages more and more. Witness the success of the RX100 if you can’t understand that.

            Put it another way. 35mm is a compromise, m4/3 is compromise, APSC is a compromise. For the vast majority of photographers, the last two are less of a compromise. The real reason is that the quality improvements from a larger sensor, though real, are almost academic in the vast majority of uses (ALL the cameras we are talking about here being good enough for all the uses I referred to) while the compromises in terms of size and cost are far from academic.

            • You’re arguing false equivalencies. Larger format sensor cameras don’t sell as well for two reasons: 1) The cameras cost too much for the average consumer; 2) The cameras are too big.

              Sony has just taken a quantum leap towards proving that that paradigm doesn’t have to be the case. They’re pointing the way to the future, just as the smartphone has all but eroded the compact camera market. The RX100 you cite is over a year old now. Its release ― and certainly its development ― significantly predates this year’s spike in the popularity of the smartphone as a compact camera replacement. Cameras like the RX100 will start to diminish in popularity as we go forward.

              Put another way: very few consumers would buy a M4/3 camera if they could get a camera of roughly equivalent size and weight with a full frame sensor for only a $100 or $200 more. That’s where the industry is headed. Not the other way around.

              No replacement for displacement. Sorry.

              • Hmm. This is a nice site and people are polite to each other so rather than waste further effort I’ll back out of this discussion with this:

                See what I did there?

              • Maybe. Nevertheless the point of having a small FF body is contradicted by lens size. Pros won’t care, they have large lenses anyway. But consumers who want zoom lenses more than primes (at least in my experience and that of a friend who sells cameras in one of Germanys biggest electronics store. Furthermore all younger costumers don’t use the OVF/EVF at all, they use it like a smartphone, but that’s another story)
                need to cope with these very large zoom lenses often dwarfing the new Sony FF body. You could get
                smaller zooms, but they will be more expensive and not bought by the average consumers.
                Physics limits the minimum size of FF lenses, there is no arguing against it (aperture is dictated by focal length and f-stop).
                For enthusiasts shooting with primes mostly the mirrorless FF is great, since this combination IMHO is perfect. But consider the price point. How many people are buying these cameras who don’t already have a good lens selection to choose from?
                You need to invest at least 3000-4000$ for a good system.
                The EM-1 is too expensive at the moment, too.
                You easily have to pay 2500$-3000$ together with 2-3 primes (necessary to get e.th. out of the sensor).
                Most consumers over here in Germany buy the cheap Rebels and will to do so until mirrorless get cheaper.
                Things may change in the future, when new technology significantly impacts the prizes (and look at DXO, todays APS-C easily beat yesterdays FF).

                Another point: I think that FF is too much for most consumers. Sure, signal to noise ratio per unit area is almost constant over pixel pitch relevant to todays cameras giving the edge to FF. Sure, DR is better and DOF offers more possibilities. But how many people really need that? If enthusiasts think it is important to them
                and worth the extra IQ in prize and size, fine.
                But in case you really need small DOF use Voigtlander lenses on m43. High ISO? How often do average users shoot above ISO 3200?
                For enthusiasts its all that matters (including me), but its similar to the debate here in Germany of VW against BMW against Mercedes and Porsche.
                All are good an worth their investment.

                Nevertheless, I like this site very much and all the discussion and already got my friends here in Germany to visit it. Good work!

      • Robert: certainly, any technology developments will benefit smaller and bigger sensors. The point is, at 36 Mp we can probably print outdoor billboards, at 100k ISO we’ll be able to photograh at nearly darkness, and DR will follow through. After that, even if the bigger sensors deliver more, it won’t matter!

        • Sure, there’s a point where the human eye will no longer be able to perceive a difference.

          But even with a D800 print blown up to billboard size, if you stand 10 feet away you’ll visibly notice a loss in fine detail. Once you can still see fine detail from a close distance on an enormous enlargement, then we will have reached the threshold of human perception.

          But there are other factors to consider. Again, it’s not just about megapixels and resolution. Other advantages of larger sensors come into play, which I mentioned above. Larger sensors also allow for much more cropping without a substantive loss in image quality. That can be a big advantage in itself.

          And actually, many fine art galleries already will not accept images from the D800, because they don’t consider the quality good enough when it comes to tonal gradation, which a Phase One medium format camera continues to do better.

          I suspect 32-36 megapixels will be the technical ceiling for M4/3 sensors; we’ll see…

          Full frame still has some headroom left, though.

  41. For me it’s easy:
    If you’re a hipster, get the Fuji
    If size and IQ are both important, but size is slightly more important to you, get the Olympus
    If size and IQ are both important, but IQ is slightly more important to you, get the Sony

  42. Since the 35mm lens offered with the A7 and A7r is only f2.8, I’ll stick with my RX1 for a bit longer. The A7r is really compelling. . . .

  43. To get my money today, a new camera must have 1. very fast autofocus and 2. stabilization. Because it fails on these two critiera, I use the RX1, less than I expected even though I really like it. Thus, I will wait until the dust settles on the new full frame Sony cameras given the importance of stabilization and autofocus speed to me. The Olympus EM-1 arrived today. It easily passes my two criteria and is a great upgrade from the EM-5 in every way including IQ.

  44. For the new Sony, comparing it to Leica or Fuji has the same problems as the RX-1.

    EVF vs OVF.
    AF vs MF.

    Yes you can use MF Leica M glass with the Sony but I don’t the I would buy one for that.
    I used Leica M glass on an XE-1 and guess what?
    It’s a shitty, slow experience, so I sold the XE-1 and replaced with with an X100s.
    World of difference!

    If you are shooting, non-moving subjects, then the Sony may be very nice.
    But for street shooting it needs an OVF, so Leica and Fuji will trump it in usability from my perspective.

    Personally, I think the Sony User Experience is one of the worst out there :(
    My wife has a Nex 6.
    It’s menus are unintelligible and so are the majority of it’s functions.

    For usability, I think Fuji wins hands down.
    I have a Leica M 240 and a Fuji X100s and the Fuji is by far the best experience.
    Leica has some stupid items like the button the front and the thumb wheel for setting exposure compensation. The Germans must have dislocated thumbs :(

    It’s not always about the best IQ or the biggest MP.
    If I thought that, I’d be shooting a Nikon D800E with Zeiss Glass.

    I think the ergonomics are user experience are equally important.

    ET

    • I agree, has far as viewing, on the X-Pro 1 / x100 you can just point and shoot, you get a green lines in the viewer and beep. Your view remains sharp and clear… like a Leica RF with AF. You keep on shooting not needing look via a TV screen. Their is freeddom about this mode that only Fuji has!

  45. There are all capable, with different strengths and weaknesses as you have pointed out. Once you are into one of the systems in any way, it is a much easier choice – I would gain little by switching to the Sony over the EM1. While the price difference is small for the body, switching systems has a large cost to it, and a learning curve as well…

  46. I have MANY cameras, including the X-E1, E-M1, A77, E-M5, GH2, K-01, etc. I bought the X-M1 because I love X-Trans color and IQ but wanted faster AF (than my X-E1). It was only slightly faster, which is still well behind the others. My guess is that the X-E2 is still going to lag behind the rest on AF speed.

    I’m with you – my picks would be the E-M1 and new full-frame Sony, but waiting for the Sony A-mount models (because I have lots of A-mount glass).

  47. Any camera that doesn’t fit in my jeans pocket is a no-go for me… I find that the best camera is the one that is always with me. I hate having a camera around my neck and looking like a tourist. That’s why the best option for me now is none of these 3, but the Ricoh GR. However, I hoped Sony would come with some competition to it but they didn’t.. :/

  48. Easy decision: If mft is your main system, get the new Oly, every tester and user seems to be really impressed by it so far. Otherwise it`s the A7r. MFT can nicely complement the FF A7(r) for long and wide lens shooting. I picked up the GX7 (great camera) and preordered the A7r which hopefully will be able to replace the M9 for moderate wide to moderate long M lenses. The manual controls and looks of the Fuji are great, but I struggle with its X-Trans sensor output.

  49. The problem with Fuji is that we already know that Fuji will not commit to this system, just like Nikon with DX back in the day.

    The X-Pro 2 will be full frame and their APS-C system will be entry level with zero exciting lenses just like Nikon DX. It already started with the X-A1, X-M1 and the lame lenses that came with it.

    That’s why I’m not committing to any 1-brand system ever again.

    Sony needs to get other brands (e.g. Olympus) on their full frame mount and then we’re talking.

    • Fuji is very committed to the X-System. They blow this system and they have no relevance left as a camera manufacturer for years to come.

      The X-Pro 2 will not be full frame. Not unless Fuji is planning a whole new line of XF lenses to support it, and there’s no evidence to suggest this is the case.

      The X-Pro 2 will use a more evolved X-Trans APS-C sensor, most likely with 24 megapixels. With the new tech ― now more advanced than ever ― it’s doubtful Fuji sees a need to go full frame at this time.

      Not saying they won’t do a full frame X-Trans sensor one day, but I don’t think we’ll see it in an ILC anytime soon.

      • They maybe able to make the sensor a little bigger. I think 20-22MP is about the limit. They are working on the organic sensor technology. I do not think Fuji will trade low light for pure MP. Look at a D800, the sensor get noisey fast.

    • I think that’s a valid concern for many people who bought / remember Fuji’s foray into DSLRs a few years back.

      • What does that have to do with anything. A long time ago a camera compay by the name of Topcon made a 35mm camera with the meter on the relfex mirror, throught the lens light reading..the frist. They are long gone. You are only as good as your last camera. Like it or not the the X100 was a ground breaking camera.
        PS Fuji was one of frist to put a CCD sensor in Nikon cameras, frist Pro level dig.

  50. Still has some m4/3 lenses but will try to stick with Fuji for a while. Been changing systems/brands too many times the last few years. Only with DSLRs have I been faithful (to Nikon). I enjoy shooting with a brand new camera, but after a while I get annoyed with anything from poor battery life to buttons living their own life.

    I would love to have the E-M1 for it’s fast AF and DSLR-like speed, but dislike the grip and crop factor. I would love the Sony for its sensor, but never liked the NEX-line. I would love the X-E2 for its faster AF, but doubt it is worth the upgrade over the X-E1. Oh, and I want the Nikon D5300 for its built in GPS! :-)

  51. Nothing beats cubic inches. Or sensor size.

  52. Can’t believe how many of you buy and shortly after that sell, not just a body or lens, but entire systems, bodies with several lenses. All driven by the desire to own the next novelty on the market, or at least what is claimed to be it.

    • That is a hobby in itself believe it or not. No different than when people buy and sell cars, or buy and sell stereos or audio gear. To many, this is part of the hobby. Always has been and even happened in the film days. You just never saw the extent because there was no internet forums :) True.

      • Selling a camera just six months after you bought it? Strange hobby.

        • I was referring to the X-Vario mentioned. But maybe it turned out to be a dud for the compulsive (hobby) buyer in question.

          • Didn’t we all say that the very moment it was announced? ;-)

            They very question: can the new thing deliver a picture (to sell, to deeply impress my pals or at least myself) the old thing could not? Fast, reliable AF, face recognition

        • In the film era people didn’t switch every 6 months; more like every few years.

          Remember, new camera models back then had a much longer production cycle and shelf life―typically 4 to 8 years (depending upon the model). Some cameras, like the Nikon F3, continued in production for over 20 years (F2 was 8 years; original F was about 13 years).

          But Steve’s right, this gear swapping trend was alive and well 35 years ago, too.

          • I suppose there are photographers and there are gear buyers/sellers

          • Film Camera’s didn’t have to worry about sensor upgrades, which are a huge baked in part of the digital experience. This leads to within system upgrades..like the ep-2 to ep-5 for better sensor, and the cross system upgrades to get something your system can not do, like a fuji user wanting full frame (which was not possible in mirrorless without a red dot until sony rolled out its new shiny)

  53. My first post here – thanks Steve for the great content and your opinion.

    I own an OM-D with the 12mm f2, 20mm f1,7 and 45mm f1,8 and are very happy with the performance. As you always wrote, it’s just so responsive and never fails. The lenses are now really mature and deliver.

    But still I always lustered for the Leica brand. I’m german and this is an iconic brand over here – the last brand that still produces cameras. I know it’s really expensive! All other brands like Rollei, Contax are just living still as empty bodies.
    I mean in all the years I bought my camera gear from Canon, Panasonic and also from Olympus I always felt no real bonding to it. In the end – after 2-3 years I sold it on Ebay with huge loss and bought something new. Always searching for something….

    Something I always recognized is the stability in value of the Leica glass. This is something really unique. Even if you sell them years later – if you really have to do so – it’s really no big loss in money. That’s something really unique and amazing. You pay a lot, but these things stay with you also in value.
    Of course I luster for a M plus lenses. But honestly – I could afford it – but to me it seems absurd in price, especially the initial investment of more than 10k €.

    Coming to my point: I’m in photo retail and 3 days ago some really nice Sony guy brought me the new A7R for a 2 day test with the 55mm Zeiss. So I could compare it with my OM-D. The difference is really not very big – definately the m4/3 system and the best lenses are really mature and get 100% out of the small sensor. But, I think the A7 system has such a huge potential when the lenses get better. So the way from here to the future is bright in my opinion and it will be a great investment.
    Also, I will take this opportunity to make my first little step into the Leica world. I will buy my first Leica lens and maybe later a second one. From this point to make the last inevitable step is small: buying a M body.

    Guys, the A7 is revolution – it opens for some of us new doors, that were till now closed. Looking forward to the Leica lens tests with A7R.

  54. For the new Sony, comparing it to Leica or Fuji has the same problems as the RX-1.

    EVF vs OVF.
    AF vs MF.

    Yes you can use MF Leica M glass with the Sony but I don’t the I would buy one for that.
    I used Leica M glass on an XE-1 and guess what?
    It’s a horribly slow experience, so I sold the XE-1 and replaced with with an X100s.
    World of difference!

    If you are shooting, non-moving subjects, then the Sony may be very nice.
    But for street shooting it needs an OVF, so Leica and Fuji will trump it in usability from my perspective.

    Personally, I think the Sony User Experience is one of the worst out there :(
    My wife has a Nex 6.
    It’s menus are unintelligible and so are the majority of it’s functions.

    For usability, I think Fuji wins hands down.
    I have a Leica M 240 and a Fuji X100s and the Fuji is by far the best experience.
    Leica has some stupid items like the button the front and the thumb wheel for setting exposure compensation. The Germans must have dislocated thumbs :(

    It’s not always about the best IQ or the biggest MP.
    If I thought that, I’d be shooting a Nikon D800E with Zeiss Glass.

    I think the ergonomics are user experience are equally important.

    ET

    • Using M glass on the Sony is faster than using it on the Leica M, and I have been shooting Leica M for MANY years. Shooting street is MUCH easier with a Leicam than Fuji (by far) and will be so with the Sony. The EVF is LARGE and CLEAR and peaking is amazing as well. SOmething that cant be said for the Fuji. MF on the Fuji is not so hot. Also, the A7 does not have the NEX menu system. It is gone forever in all future cameras by Sony. There are dials to control everything you need so going to a menu is nit even needed. Same with E-M1, Leica M, etc. Fuji is the worst camera for usability of any mirrorless made today and I have said that for 2 years. Ive used them ALL and to me Fuji has been a mess (besides the X100s and probably new X-E2).

      This is why they release so many firmware updates..because they release cameras that are not quite ready. Time will tell though :)

      • It’s a very, very new line of cameras, and they’ve released them prematurely, no doubt. However, they’re on the right track and improving fast. And the color rendering is certainly to my taste; I actually prefer it to that of my D700. And I’m confident that within a year+ I’ll be able to park my D700 at home on 90% of my assignments. And I love the look and feel of these babies.

      • Well, I beg to differ.
        As a Designer, I am dealing with usability issues daily and have been for 20 years :)

        To me, the Fuji is much more intuitive and easy to use than the M 240.
        For one thing, the dumb button on the front is hard to find and impossible to use with the rear thumb wheel for exposure compensation.
        Many people are complaining about this!

        Also, shooting any Leica M using hyperfocal focussing is as fast as it gets.
        For street, this is the only technique I use that is quick enough.

        As for the Fuji being a mess?
        The X100s is not too different in ergonomics from the X100 or X-Pro1 or XE-1.
        I think there was one single button change, and the introduction of a wheel on the back which they made after listening to their customers.
        Firmware updates are faster to come out than any other manufacturer.

        I think what Sony is doing is great and will get the other manufactures working on FF mirror less with more urgency.
        I just don’t see these A7′s as a Leica killer in any shape or form.
        I see them more like a FF version of the XE-2.
        Great if you use the Zeiss glass with AF and maybe Great if you use MF with peaking on a stationary subject.
        I still contend that just like the RX-1, these are not as good as either Leica M or Fuji with OVF for street photography. There are many articles online of people buying the RX-1 for street and finding the experience sluggish and lacking.

        Time will tell whether lens correction supplied by Leica M is needed when using M glass on these Sony’s and whether Sony will supply their own correction.

        I’ll wait for the reviews on these for suitability as a street camera.
        For the money, the X100s is the one to beat in this category…

        ET

  55. I had a nex 7for street shooting but two issues were speed of autofocus compared to others competitors and the fact the shutter wasn’t silent. There were times when the person heard shutter sound and said ” did you take my picture”. Ouch!!!! How does shutter noise compare with a7?

    • If shutter sound worries you the only option would be to go with a totally silent leaf shutter type of camera, of which there are not too many high quality choices, and none in full frame or micro 4/3 or Fuji X Body. X100s, yes. :)

      • It worries anyone who is trying to be discrete.
        I love the silent mode on the X100s and wish that the Leica M 240 had one.

      • Several Panasonic cameras have silent electronic shutters.

        Take a look at the GX7, G6, GH3, G5, GM1

      • GX7 or Nikon V1…not full frame but they still make nice images and both have a silent shutter setting…Steve…I wish that we could add photos to our replies on this site . I do not have a web page…but some of my street images shot with the Nikon 1 system would blow you away…well maybe not…you were a big fan of the system a while back before all the new toys came out

    • Panasonic GX7 has an electronic shutter option, as well as the focal plane. Camera is totally silent in this mode. Some restrictions apply — I think mostly to do with flash sync — but nothing critical beyond that.

  56. Will the new Olympus 12-40 2.8 rival the primes that are now out in image quality?

  57. Then… a full frame Fuji X came on the playground. Sorry mates, you gotta change all of your experimental cameras now :) the Leica sir of Zack’s X100s review won’t look the Fuji guy in his eyes anymore.

  58. All nice choices, but I think I would put the e-m1 at the top of the list for myself.

    Why? I have invested everything into my e-m5 and mft lenses. If I were to choose anything else now, it would require reinvesting more $$ into a new system… And I don’t make that much to put out such much more at this time. It makes sense to stick with mft as it is proving to be an underdog format that is fighting hard and becoming a force to be reckoned. You have a great balance of high IQ, performance and accessories at a competitive price range… All in a relativlely small package. MFT is more than sufficient to use in most professional environments….but if your jobs demand the largest highest iQ format, then you almost have no choice but to got FF.

    Besides the ability to safe $ and reuse most of my mft accessories and lenses, I want the e-m1 for its enhanced capabilities. My e-m5 can take great pics with the right lenses, and most inherent IQ shortcomings such color fringing caved be fixed in post. But, why need take that extra step? The e-m1 can fix the various lens issues in camera and produce the best file possible with great olympus lenses. Not only that it optimizes the resolution per lens basis.

    Besides the image quality advantages you can get using olympus lenses with the e-m1, the improved build and functionality is what is most appealing. Sure the images off the e-m1 will be better than the e-m5, but I think it is only a slight improvement. The e-m5 image files are already great as is and I don’t think the e-m1 slightly improved images are enough to win me over alone… No, I am greatly attracted to the e-m1 for the enhanced user experience.

    The e-m1 is just better to handle and use. It feels better in the hands. All the buttons and controls are in very ideal locations and the camera has so much customizing that you can very intuitively work all essential controls without menu diving. The new evf seems like such an enhanced experience that framing and composing your shots is even more pleasurable… Not to mention mf will be so much better with the bright, large & detailed evf… Even better when focus peaking is assisting.

    There are so many more improved user experience features in the new e-m1, but I’ll end by saying the wifi remote is pretty cool. Not only can you have fairly full camera focus & exposure controls and watch live/bulb time develop, I like the fact I can finally compose a shot while being in front of the camera since the tilting screen still cannot swing out to face the shooter… I am not into selfies, but I wanted more opportunities to take portraits with my girlfriend when I do not have a helping hand available or I simply do not trust an outsider to properly compose and focus a shot of me and my significant other.

    So, the e-m1 is in my sights or the next camera to upgrade from my e-m5 based on my available mft system lenses and improve handing and overall user experience. I really feel the improved evf along with the tangible improvements such as build, control layouts and perfect all essential customizable control access will make for the best shototing experience that will further encourage me to go out and take more pictures and learn more.

    Next out of the three cameras, I would choose the new Sony A7. Not only do I like the design as it reminds me of the om-d only boxier (which I like), but the small form factor with powerful full frame goodness is super tempting. However, I would need to reinvest in a new set of lenses which I am not prepared to do. Bottom line, if I had enough extra cash to get a nice FF system, I would get this… Maybe down the line.

    Lastly, although the Fuji ex2 is nice and improved, I still don’t think it is fully developed enough to buy into. I still feel there is something missing. They need to implement a tilting LCD for those hard high and low angles. In body stabilization would be nice. I’ve owned a x100 & x10 and loved the color and IQ when I can nail the focu, but man does the AF let me down too many times. And MF was a chore. HOWEVER, I do like what I am reading about the latest v2.0 firmware for the original x100… If the focus experience is that much responsive and more importantly more accurate. I would consider re-purchasing the original x100 with the latest v2.0 update over any other x camera at this time… Not as my only camera, but a nice supplement for wider angle shots. I would still wait and see what improvements may develop into their flagship x-pro1 as a new x-pro2… I would at least expect all the latest current x series improvements. I think I would additionally see a tilting LCD, even better & more accurate AF and maybe integrate in body stabilization and overall snappier spot on performance. Until I see something that feels more complete and balanced from Fuji, I can’t consider the x series a fully fleshed out system that can reliably compete with the other 2 camera systems.

    • Well said.

      And I would agree that the Olympus OM-D EM-1 probably offers one of the best user experiences of any camera out there right now. Which is no small feat. I think you’d be very, very happy with it. And as many have stated, for most situations, and the majority of shooters, micro four thirds will get the job done just fine.

      As to Sony’s A7, I wouldn’t jump at the first mirrorless, interchangeable lens full frame camera, either. Wait a while. If the concept takes hold, you’re going to see a whole slew of introductions, and from companies with more experience in camera manufacturing and more fully fleshed out systems.

      For example, I learned from a trusted source today that Nikon has a significant new product / announcement in the wings. NDAs prevented me from pressing for any more info, but I’m guessing we’ll hear about it within the next few months. I have no clue if it’s mirrorless or not, but given the secrecy surrounding it, and the timing, it could be disruptive.

  59. The Sony A7 seems to be an impressive tool in several ways, but the lens line up is poor and not everybody has a stack of LEICAS lying around. In my mind the system is not mature enough yet to entice me to invest and plan with Sony right now. But they ‘ve rattled the cage which is a good thing. Nikon and Canon are still remaining in some kind of ignorance induced coma.

  60. Seriously Looking at the A7r with my nikon glass. Hopefully focus peaking works because I can never get a decent in focus shot with a digital camera when shooting manual focus glass. I have nikkor 35 mm 50 mm 85mm and 80-200 mm lenses.

  61. I’m thinking that with Sony’s relationship with Olympus, the next iteration of the A7r will incorporate in-body stabilization – good luck hand holding a 36 megapixel camera without stabilization (or very high shutter speeds). And autofocus speed will likely be improved along with Sony lens selection. Then I will really be interested!!! Until then, my 5D3 and RX1 will do just fine for full frame. Where the heck are Canon and Nikon innovations?

  62. I do truly appreciate the amazing anti shake mechanism in my Olympus EM-5. However I am not afraid to buy the new Sony without that capability. With the high ISO performance of a full frame chip combined with fast glass finding a fast enough shutter speed to prevent blurry images should be no problem. I still shoot my Nikon FE with TRI-X 400 and do not have any trouble so I really can’t see it being a big issue with the A7r even at 36 MP. Having said that I still hope Sony includes in body stabilization somewhere down the road. Actually I still hope that Nikon wakes up and makes something even better in the near future.

  63. Why not just wait for the new Nikon FF hybrid (mirrorless) camera? Seems to be a nice alternative for all the Nikon guys out there….
    http://nikonrumors.com/2013/10/20/breaking-new-nikon-full-frame-hybrid-mirrorless-camera-coming-soon.aspx/

    • Rumor only, and a big one.

      • There is always something right in a rumor I would say. Why don’t you believe Nikon is about to announce this new hybrid FF? Would be THE argument for me to rethink my Oly M1 order

        • It is possible but too early to tell. The problem I have is that this rumor (or variations on it) have been posted for years and years now. I will believe it when I see it. Nikon COULD wipe out all competitors in this Niche in one fell swoop if they really wanted to but they are so afraid of hurting their DSLR sales they never seem to want to.

  64. I wonder how these cameras would look like if we tried to test them against which is very brilliantly described here (simplicity):
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/an_appeal_for_divergence_and_simplicity.shtml

    My guess is that the winner would be the Fuji, than Sony? Oly last?

    • ALL of these could not be simpler to use and shoot. None are complicated, difficult or confusing. ALL have external dials like old school cameras that control everything we need. In that regard, the Oly would win easily.

      • I think that level simplicity (purity) as discussed in the article is way beyond what Oly (and others ) is capable to offer. Oly is the winner? With this over complex menu system? That t
        is one of the distraction which still keep me thinking which one to select to replace my old Pentax DSLR. It is not about numerous options and controls. But surely it is a very subjective consideration.

        • Owner EM-5 here. The Oly menu is horrible I hate it. However once you set the camera up the way you like actually shooting it is very simple and easy. The EM-1 is even better with bigger buttons and a more Logical layout. For my purposes hiking and travel the EM-5 is perfect being very small and light. However for portraits and weddings it can be a very frustrating experience. Mostly do to the tiny buttons. For me personally after testing the EM-1 the pair make a prefect combination.

  65. have been considering the sony a7 and fuji x-e2 myself. I am ordering the latter
    the 3 points that were decisive for me :

    - sony a7 shutter is indeed awfully loud (check camerastoreTV preview on youtube)
    - Fuji x-e2 aperture is adjusted via lens ring which is so much more convenient in my opinion.
    - Fuji lenses are fantastic, and my M mount lenses will fit just fine with the small adapters.
    Sony lenses don’t seem that attractive to me, and I don’t want to wait 6 month for a potential lens I may like.
    If I had no immediate need for a camera, I would totally wait for x-pro2 though
    for a sensor and EVF update especially.

  66. EM1 is surely dead in the water it’s £1299 in the UK same as the A7, sorry it’s just a silly price for a micro 4/3 body.

    • I do not believe them EM-1 is dead in the water but I do believe they need to drop that price. MFT has way more lenses than the Sony and the EM-1 is still smaller when you add a lens to the body.

      • E-M1 is selling like hotcakes..well worth the $1399 for the body. I still say that it is the best and most mirrorless you can buy today when you factor it as a whole…speed..AF speed, response speed, feel, build, lenses, etc.

        The E-M1 is a true pro camera and can be used as a pro tool without worry.

        $1,399 for a pro built super fast (fastest AF I have ever shot with) and accurate camera that is weather proof, freeze proof and take a beautiful image, what is not like? :) So no, it is not even close to being dead in the water. People are still pre ordering it AFTER the release of the Sony. Remember, it is all about the glass as well and no other camera in its price range has lenses like it for size and performance.

  67. The A7 is nice but I think image stabilization is very important. Which is why I am considering canceling my E-M1 order and buying the new LG G2 with real chicken-head image stabilization. It’s a more organic approach with free breakfast as an added bonus.

    http://youtu.be/Xbd7TtKrDFc

  68. Thanks very much for your report. It is most helpful for me as I was wondering about which mirrorless to go with in the near future. I was going to consider the XE2 but the EM1 makes a lot of sense. But now the A7 seems like the best fit for my specific needs. Especially since it can open the doors for me to use my EF lenses I own (too many!) and opportunity to invest in some really eclectic glass from Nokton or Leica even. BTW who are the makers of the adaptors you mention for the A7 body?

  69. One more follow up question. As many D800E users have found, having a 36mp sensor requires the very best glass to make the images sing. Are the Sony lenses for the A7R going to be compatible quality and more importantly any idea if any of the EF L lenses capable of resolving the images to the level of that sensor size? Thanks!

  70. Oh the swarm of moronic comments on here… I don’t know why I bother scanning them lol

  71. Hello Steve!
    Keep coming back also will be happy to see full review on x-e2. I’m wedding photographer and currently use Canon 5d mark ii with L lenses, but after investigating mirrorles cameras im thinking if selling my gear and buying 2 duji x-e2 for weddings. Do you think x-e2 will be a good choise for weddings?

  72. Hello Steve,

    Thanks for your review.

    You wrote: “At the end of the day the Sony will easily beat the Olympus E-M1 for all out Image Quality when judging Dynamic Range, Color Depth, Resolution, and for Shallow DOF (though only a 35 2.8 lens at launch).”

    Your use of the future tense (“will easily beat”) rather than the present tense (“easily beats”) leaves me wondering if you have actually compared the A7 and the E-M1 personally. Do you have any images taken at the same time with each camera and examined them side-by-side which make plain the superiority of the A7 over the E-M1 in dynamic range, color depth, and resolution? If so, I’d love to see them; could you share them with us? As for shallow depth of field: isn’t that more a function of the lenses you use? The Olympus 75mm F1.8 and 45mm 1.8 lenses provide very nice shallow depth of field. Currently, no such lenses natively exist for the Sony. Hopefully some will appear in the next year or two, but we don’t know what they are.

    Also: your review soft-pedals the issue of weight, but it’s a real issue. The heavier the gear, the more uncomfortable it becomes to hike up a mountain with it or to carry it around all day when traveling. How much more weight must one carry in Sony FF lenses to enjoy the equivalent speed micro four thirds lenses? Or put the other way, how much slower are the Sony lenses than micro four thirds lenses of the same weight? For the most part, we can’t answer the question yet, since the Sony lenses haven’t yet been produced.

    Thanks again!

  73. Steve, just like used to be, most of us have waited the ‘Crazy Comparison’ for these new cameras and M. Blindly, some will chose A7 for it’s specs and price, but after the samples and comparison you’ll make, some probably will change their mind.

  74. Steve,
    Thanks for the overview.
    I bought recently an E P5 but returned the camera because of shutter shock, thereafter i tried the E M1 and runned into the same problem. Everything above 1/320 was tack sharp and below that far less sharp, or even blurry.
    Did you test the E M1 at various shutter speeds ? Or did you experience the same problem ?
    I am now in a situation that i returned 2 camera’s, an unhappy supplier and afraid to try a third sample.

    • Must be your lens..did you swap that out? The E-P5 and E-M1, in y extensive testing, do NOT have shutter shock. My belief is that it is in the lenses. Because I have tried and tried to replicate it with the E-P5 and E-M1 without luck. I did have the issue with the E-M5 but found out it was my 17 1.8 lens at the time. Now that I have a new 17 1.8 it is perfect. This is just my theory after trying to replicate it without any luck. I tried it at 1/30, 1/60, 1/160, 1/250, 1/320 – every image was tack sharp with my 17 and my 45.

      So there is either an issue with some bodies or some of the lenses because I just can’t find it.

  75. I have done a very subjective hands on between SONY A7 / A7r vs Olympus OM-D E-M5 and Canon 5DmkII: http://www.fotograf-stockholm.nu/first-impression-hands-on-sony-a7-a7r-vs-olympus-om-d-e-m5-and-canon-5dmkiii/

  76. While searching the new I found your blog that shows very clear comparison bewteen these camera, but CCR blog also helped me a lot for pointing out the major dfifference http://www.cameracomparisonreview.com/2013/11/17/fujifilm-x-e2-vs-olympus-e-m5/

  77. The way I look at it is…the sony lenses still need developing and I expect there to be some issues with the a7 and a7r…and as Steve hints at the autofocus may be on the slower side…plus I would like to shoot with a long zoom and I can imagine this will become very heavy…I have an Olympus E-PM2 and a X-E2…I can state that at high ISO in dark situations the fuji wins easily…better image quality , colors and very little noise . I rented the 55-200 to use on the fuji and this camera does get very heavy with this lens . I tried shooting a couple sport events over the weekend…the fuji with the 55-200 had some difficulty focusing in an indoor ice arena…but it performed very well at a rugby match in cloudy conditions…I also rented the zeiss 32 1.8 and it worked very well in the ice arena…I was getting fast focus shooting at ISO 4000 f 2.8 and shutter at 1/800 and images were sharp and very little noise…my images for the fuji are much cleaner than what my E-PM2 produce…and I love the fuji colors…in my Olympus …skin tones seemed to be more red while on the fuji skintones are perfect…..I think they are all good choices…and though the sony products may produce the best image…I need something that shoots faster and more accurately….sony has had slow autofocus issues with some of their other cameras…if you want the camera to shoot non moving images this might work for you…but when I shoot …I shoot moving objects much of the time and the Olympus and the Fuji work better…and I am basing that on the slow focus of the NEX series

  78. The announcements of the E-M5 and X-Pro1 was profound and met with cynicism and great expectations depending on your faith in full frame, rangefinder, or brand loyalty. Now that some time has passed all the new iterations sound like pretentious remakes wherein manufacturers cobbled together parts of previous models to convince buyers that the fix make them worthwhile. It’s a shame because for every loyal buyer who self indulges in myriad lenses to keep the factories busy there must be a hundred thousand who have given up on the promise. That leaves the door open to even more minute changes heralded as the be all and end all to solve the mystique of photography.

  79. Looking at the comments, I’m impressed by the shear number of photographers who are Fuji Fans. All the technical stuff aside, Fuji benefits from this enthusiastic user base and the others don’t seem to have one. It creates a community. Pointing out the CON points doesn’t seem to matter to Fuji Fans. I must admit that I love my x100s, although I haven’t yet built a temple to house it in. That’s not to say I won’t. Like others, I’m waiting for the x pro 1s to see if I should buy that or the X E2.

    I’ve looked closely at the other two brands. Both do what good camera do. But they seem to be sterile by comparison. I’m not convinced that a FF is necessary unless you print very large. I’m not convinced that more than 16MP is necessary (The larger sensors tend to clog up your computer and slow down PS). I am convinced that great lenses make a difference. That the A7r can take 3rd party lenses is no longer relevant with the MetaBones Speed Booster available for just about every combination.

    Finally, I only have time and money for one more collection of expensive lenses. I’ll stick with Fuji.

  80. is it the typo error? i dont think E-M1 have shock proof, it should be dust proof instead

  81. Water resistant, shock resistant, dust resistant and cold temperature resistant. “Proof” is a strong word but it’s definitely designed for hard work, more than any of its peers!

  82. Interesting that Steve says the X-E2 seems to have the “cheaper” build. I have both the E-M5 and the X-E1, The buttons on the E-M5 feel a lot cheaper than my X-E1. Also, it was my E-M5 that had the function dial come off after only a few weeks of ownership. Never had any of those problems with my Fuji. The Fuji is built stronger in my book.

    • Hey Geoff, Steve is referring to the EM1, not the Em5. Different camera! Personally, I don’t think the Fuji feels at all cheap but the light weight maybe gives that impression. I think we all, subjectively, associate higher weight for a given volume with a better build but, really, getting the same strength and durability with less weight is better build quality, surely?

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