High ISO Wars: Fuji X-Pro 1 vs Sony NEX-7

High ISO Wars: Fuji X-Pro 1 vs Sony NEX-7

Before I head out to the big Vegas Weekend tomorrow to put the X-Pro 1  to the test I decided to post a quick high ISO sample test with indoor light. I wanted to see how much better the X-Pro 1 is with high ISO shooting if you were wanting to shoot indoors without a flash. Since I can not really process the RAW’s from the Fuji just yet I shot BOTH in JPEG and turned Noise Reduction to each cameras lowest setting. Keep in mind that the Sony files are MUCH crisper and sharper when converted from RAW as their JPEG’s leave a little do be desired. So again, this is a JPEG test only and for ISO only.

UPDATE (I redid this test with the lenses set at f/5.6 and both are equally sharp)

Each camera was shot at the same aperture and same shutter speed throughout. I found if I let the cameras choose that the Fuji was overexposing quite a bit so I matched the Fuji to the Sony in regards to shutter speeds.

These are straight out of camera samples and each JPEG setting was set to “Standard”. The Fuji beats the Sony at high ISO no question but I believe that is due to the Sony having 24 Megapixels crammed onto the same sized sensor. The Fuji has 16. Also, shooting both cameras side by side I find the Sony to be a more responsive camera. Quicker and faster but I prefer the IQ of the Fuji when the 35 1.4 is mounted as I get more pleasing results than the NEX with 24 1.8.

My review will be up in the next two weeks for the X-Pro 1 and I will go over everything so stay tuned! Until then, here are some ISO comparisons!


ISO 200

ISO 800

ISO 1600

ISO 3200

ISO 6400

and due to the requests, here is a Sony NEX-7 file downsized to 16 MP at ISO 6400 – compared to the Fuji above

and a quick bonus shot…a straight base ISO comparison shot just for fun, OOC JPEGS – The Fuji delivers much crisper out of camera JPEGS no doubt.


  1. At first glance it may look like the Fuji has more “punch” in the outdoor shot but further examination reveals that the NEX-7 has more dynamic range and color depth. This fact can be seen in the banding in the sky of the Fuji image as well as the off colors (sky is too cyan) compared to the NEX where the colors are more pleasing, and realistic and deeper with less blowout in the highlights and more detail in the shadows.

    These images are just a starting point straight from the camera, and the NEX has more useful latitude for post manipulation. I took both images into Photoshop and just by added vibrance and contrast to the NEX shot created an image that is just as punchy but with nicer colors and no banding. I tried to reduce the cyan tint of the sky in the Fuji but it only made the banding worse confirming the lack of color depth.

    I am much more interested in detail, color depth and dynamic range than minor differences in noise. In this regard all of the NEX-7 images win out. They are simply more detailed and have richer colors (comparing the full image).

    My observations are born out by the DxOMark test results:
    NEX-7: Color Depth: 24.1 bits, DR: 13.4 Ev, Low Light: 1016 ISO
    Fuji X100: Clr Depth: 22.9 bits, DR: 12.4. Ev, Low Light: 1001 ISO

    As you see the cameras are virtually identical in terms of low light performance. DxOMark uses a low-light score that is normalized to 8mp no matter what camera is being tested. Thus the low-light performance score is resolution independent (and fair).

    Disclaimer: I don’t own either of these cameras. Yet. But I have a NEX-7 on order. So thanks Steve for running these tests.:)

  2. i have the nex-7 and i think the colors are a little bit more stable than the colors from the X-Pro1 but the noise behavior is much better from the X-Pro1… not bad.

  3. I like the Sony… I like the Fuji. I’m pretty convinced I could get great shots out of both cameras. I guess what I mean is;interesting comparisons, good to know. Now I’ll buy the one the feels right and works fast, while keeping an eye on the cash flow.

  4. Ok…now that it got a litte more “quiet” in this post I want to thank Steve for all his efforts and with this blog showing how (still) many “FanBoys” are out there who defend their newly bought toy with their life.

    I can’t get it – we are luckily to live in times where technology is already that advanced that we have (at least for myself even MORE then 10 years ago) a lot of fun enjoying our main hobby – PHOTOGRAPHY – and then again and again reading all this FanBoy-statements with the opinion – “oh, I bought this and that for $1000,$2000 or even higher – so it HAS TO be good, no – the BEST cause I bought it, I now have it…”.


    It’s fascinating who simple the human mind seems to be.
    I personally am so happy with my M9, my X100 and even my little S100 for the pocket – so three different brands – and before that I used to have Olympus digicams, from Panasonic and ones from Nikon – I enjoyed each of them at a specific time before I sold them.

    As non-native speaker it’s hard to express all that goes through my mind – but I believe you will get the essence I wanted to express here.

    Always looking forware for your next “Test”, “Preview/Reviews” Steve!!!!


    Michael S.

    • You have managed to distill down a lot of blah blah into a very well stated fact almost all of us on this site can agree to. CSNY also put it beautifully “love the one you’re with”. It’s all about your vision, and then the gear.
      I have made as many section front page pix with my GF1 as my EOS.
      I actually enjoy using the GF1 and my LX3 more than my 5D or MarkII.They are liberating in size, and with the lenses I have for the GF1, I move light,small, and quiet.

  5. Even the best photo-story can not hold the candle to noise comparisons when it comes to emotions of the viewers. I have yet to figure out why …

    Steve, than you for these – I am looking forward to your full review of the X-Pro-1.

  6. A great sociology paper could be written about this discussion.

    I don’t know how Steve could be any clearer that he is not doing scientific testing. He is not measuring pixel size or light sensitivity. His point is simple. If you were trying to select one camera or another, this is the result you would get if you shot camera A or camera B in relative terms. DxO is a leading source for scientific tests of camera sensors in absolute terms. I find that site useful. Steve’s is a good site for seeing what you would get if you shot one camera compared to another in the real world. If I am trying to pick one camera over another, both absolute and relative tests are very useful. Thanks to both DxO and Steve for doing these tests and publishing the results for free.

    Much of the preceding discussion was one person slighting another when one is speaking only in absolute terms and the other is speaking in relative terms. Saying the comparison is meaningless because the shots were not equalized in terms of pixel count is true only if you are doing a purely scientific test. The relative tests are still valid and useful. If shooting in low light interests me as a photographer — and it does — it is helpful to know I could get better high ISO shots with the Fuji than the Sony. Thanks for doing the comparison.

    • George, you’ve got it the wrong way around. 1:1 pixel comparisons are purely scientific and do not demonstrate whether one is better than the other in the “real world”.

      The Fuji images may look better when viewed at 1:1, but when you view the complete (100%) image in print or on a display, you will find the Sony looks better. If you’re primarily interested in just viewing your images at 100% then go with the Fuji. However, if your concerned with the best result in a print or on a display at full size, the Sony will be better.

        • Kudos George for your original post..
          “I don’t know how Steve could be any clearer that he is not doing scientific testing. He is not measuring pixel size or light sensitivity. His point is simple. If you were trying to select one camera or another, this is the result you would get if you shot camera A or camera B in relative terms.” .
          You tried to explain this was a real world test, ie which camera does what one needs it to do, better, and the discussion slips back to technobabble. The Nex 12 will be out before many of these posters ever commit to actually buying and using one of these cameras.I suppose they would just rather haggle over someone else’s test method and their superior analysis of the pixel/noise/bokeh /insert tech cliche here/jargon they read on another site.

    • Walt,

      Do you have do you have imperative proof to what you are saying? Do you have both cameras and actual print to back up what you are saying.

      • That would be quite a feather in Walt’s cap as even B&H has a Fuji Pro X-1 pre order ad near the top right of this page…

  7. Steve:
    To me, looks like the photos of the 7 is slightly brighter, maybe by 1/3 stop?…any comments on the zeiss glass vs the fujion glass? the 7 also looks sharper but “faker”, (the harsh white outline on the red lion statue) … maybe it’s sony’s default sharping that can’t be turned off…
    We will wait for your full review…thank you for your work…hater got to hate.

  8. Well, someone is up earlier than I am.
    Terry, I agree. Life’s too short to get upset or rude.
    And my hat’s off to Steve for providing this great site to all of us.

    I shoot my Nex 7 at 12mp.
    Why? Because I don’t need 24mp.
    95% of my work is viewed online.
    My 6mp Nikon DSLR years ago took great pictures, so even 12mp is overkill.
    I can still print 18X24 if I need to with a little extra work. Plus I can always set the camera to 24mp if needed.
    Why not a less expensive lower pixel camera?
    I wanted a small camera (lots of hiking).
    Size to weight Sony was a logical choice.
    I thought the EV was very desirable.
    A Nex 5n costs about $1050 with EV. For $300 more, I got a cleaner package with built in flash and a lot of other features including the handy trinav wheels.
    I had a 5n, have done quite a few comparison test shots, and the Nex 7 set at 12mp is virtually indistinguishable from the 5n shots (without pixel peeping).
    Some months back I ran across a quote from an engineer (Leica?) “The quality of a downsampled high-pixel-count camera will almost always exceed that of a camera with a native resolution the same as the output medium, just so long as the resampling is optimised for the downward process”
    From what I can tell, Sony has done a good job of ‘optimizing’.
    Plus my file size is a lot smaller, photos download faster, photoshop work is faster, flash cards last longer, etc.
    For the kind of photography I do, this works for me perfectly. (But that weather resistant OM-D does look a bit interesting….)

    • Hello, Jorg.

      I don’t get up that early! Not having a day job, I am retired, I can afford a lie in from time to time. I am on GMT and I suspect the time shown for the postings is Steve’s local time.

      By the way, a very interesting post. Much food for thought here.

  9. I passed on the Fuji in favor of the NEX-7 and I’m one that prefers an OVF and love my X100. No question, the native Fuji bests the NEX with regards to high ISO, but I routinely downsize my NEX-7 and even occasionally use Noise Ninja. I find the extra resolution to be a delight and the need for high ISO performance easily fulfilled. There is no comparison when shooting video. I really wanted the Fuji and now really love the NEX-7. If only the system had more than one stellar lens.

  10. Steve, you fucking rock. Period. I enjoy reading your website and that’s for free.
    Thanks for that!

  11. After reading these testing squabbles, I can only assume this: most of you are people who should keep their day jobs and stay out of my way at mine. I don’t know how you get passes for sidelines on Saturdays and Sundays with a Canon Rebel, or why you don’t know not to shoot in a backswing,or any number of other problems you cause the real photojournalists at work. But you do.So humor me and stop pretending you know better than Steve how to test a lens against lens or body against body, because we do it with one goal in mind.GET THE DAMN PICTURE.EVERY DAMN TIME.Or get fired.Don’t care if the test matrix wasn’t perfect. DOES IT WORK?DO I GET THE DAMN PICTURE?Or get fired.And yes ,I use a GF1 in daily work, and would like the new Fuji X-1 IF IT WORKS.

    • Hello, mirasocalphoto.

      You’ve just made my day – I’ve split my sides laughing at your post. Great humour. Did you mean it? I trust Steve doesn’t take it too seriously, for without the photographers who post here and whom you feel need to keep their day jobs, poor Steve wouldn’t have an audience. He wouldn’t get to try out all the great gear he does and we wouldn’t be able to express agreement or disagreement. And he wouldn’t have a site.

      Think on it, please.

      • Thought on it and don’t care. I wasn’t talking about Steve. He’s a pro, and he’ll continue being that website or not..I was refering to the rest of the poseurs (wankers in your parlayance?) who fancy themselves experts on digital photographic techniques after their week in (insert seemingly third world country name here) once they got outside of the all inclusive.Or had a business friend get them sideline passes on a FIFA pitch.Or a college game.Maybe they love photograhy , or just the access to cool events. I can guess which is the truth.
        But, back to the matter at hand. I am willing to bet that no one on this site with the exception of Steve actually HAS both of these cameras.So basically you are shouting at the wind.

        • Well, actually no, I don’t use the “w” word or any other Anlgo-Saxon expletives. My parents brought me better than that.

  12. Steve,

    I remember you did the Sony NEX 5N review. There were two pictures with your close friend taken by 5N and M9 with the same Leica lens. I found the 5N result is a little better than M9’s.

    When you have the lens adapter for the Fuji/Leica. Can you re-do this comparison with the same Leica lens?


  13. Who wants a Next 7 ?? the camera is awful !! the fuji is a pleasure to use ! i believe we are missing the joy of photography when we test so much, just compare the xpro 1 prints with a leica M3 try x and then we talk. We are getting great cameras and we complain all the time.

    you know what is time to start taking better pictures. this is way to much tech.


  14. Steve,

    Thanks for the comparison. It’s nice to see what the cameras do at default settings. I have the X-Pro 1 on pre-order and I have to say it’s hard not to consider the NEX-7. From many different sources now I’ve seen that the NEX-7 can definitely hold it’s own in terms of image quality. Performance is another plus for the Sony.

    I am still convinced that the Fuji has better overall IQ from various samples and subjects I’ve seen in my research on the cameras. Though comparisons like this make me question the value of the IQ coming from the Fuji. I have to ask myself if the IQ is so much better that it warrants what amounts to more money and my overlooking some important oversights on Fuji’s part (such as lack of IR for use with wireless remotes and intervalometers, lack of a lens centered tripod screw, fiddly SD card placement, below average AF performance, poor video capture, no weather sealing (OM-D E-5), strange LCD/EVF locking behavior during AF). I really am fighting with myself to keep this on pre-order. I like what it can do very much, but I feel like for what I’m paying it should be able to anything just as well as a cheaper model could do. It just seems like I would enjoy using this camera above and beyond anything else on the market within my price range.

    Anyway thanks for the info. I look forward to your thoughts on the X-Pro 1.

  15. Well as still using 35mm film 80% of the time I find all this pixel/high iso stuff utter nonsense and silly, just shoot with what you like and if the end result are pleasing then that is all that matters- whether with film, 4 mp or 24 mp.I remember so much silly talk of what film was better when all the good ones had their pro’s and con’s and it simply came down to personal choice for the job in hand. I’m sure any of the current crop of top end digital cameras will out-perform 90% of the users 99% of the time 🙂 Its all down to what floats your boat really.Cheers Paul

    • +1 !

      This only fuels anticipation for the next model. When you salivate over features, you’ll never be satisfied. And likely won’t be taking many photos either.

  16. To me this whole comparison is undercut by what Steve admitted, it’s a jpeg comparison and Sony’s raw files are vastly superior. I shoot with a 7 and exclusively raw, unless it’s a family snapshot or something like that. I also had a 5n, which did give better his ISO performance out of the box. But I find two advantages of the 7.

    1. It allows more cropping (obvious I’m sure).
    2. Because of the greater detail more NR can be applied to the raw files and they can still match the 16 mp files in detail of a 5n, or presumably Xpro1.

    • Hello, pa-cellist.

      To follow up you thoughts in (2) above requires venturing into the dark world of pixel peeping, an area in which many posting on these forums fear to tread. I’ve already been taken to task in this forum, posting #51 above, for daring to admit I pixel peep!

      Why do I say this? Well, I am not that sure that simply applying noise reduction to a SMALLER pixel can make up the difference. The larger pixel pitch of a 5N starts out with an advantage: potentially higher dynamic range, and which no amount of post processing can recover. Also, applying noise reduction smears detail. But if one is not afraid to pixel peep, one can see for oneself. I’d genuinely be interested to learn of the result.

      All that this really reveals is buy the camera best suited to one’s imaging needs. High ISO, the 5N wins, higher resolution under ideal conditions, then the 7 would seem to be the winner.

      I own a 5N, but I don’t let this blind me to the better performance of many other cameras. It is simply that I have no need for them, or serious cost issues raises its ugly head!

  17. I would like to see the Nex 7 RAW files next to the Xpro1 JPEG files – because no-one shoots with the Nex 7 in jpeg (if you truly want to get “real world”) Remember that Steve said at the beginning of the article that the Nex 7 shoots MUCH clearer and sharper when using RAW files.

  18. Steve, can you make a comparison between Fuji with its 35/f1.4 vs NEX-7 + lux 35 fle?

  19. This 2 cameras are not identical because of the resolution difference. Therefore, tests must be done to look at the matters at different perspective. What Steve has done is one of many ways to look at things. To bring the sample size to equivalence is a needed perspective to understand them. Combine these different perspectives of knowledge will enrich our understanding of the matter. To say that this test is useless will hinder our collection of knowledge.

  20. Here it comes more to personal taste rather than which is better, cameras are pretty good these days and comparing at the pixel level means very little any more, I personally like the Fuji look and hope to shoot it along side my 5D3, plus the range finder style of shooting appeals to me more and more. Its good to see a camera like the xPro being produced by Fuji.

  21. This test is absolutely conclusive for me: in the right hands, either camera is capable of producing all the image quality that I personally will ever need, even at higher ISO’s. 🙂 So for me it comes down to which one is more pleasurable to shoot with. I had an X100, and while I loved the images, I just didn’t have fun shooting with it. I don’t mind slow deliberate shooting (I have an M9 after all), but somehow the X100 was just finicky and unpredictable in my hands. I am now shooting with the NEX-7, and for me it just works. I am very comfortable with it, and I’ve gotten some great images.

    Then again, I’m not a pixel-peeper at all. It’s all about the shooting experience for me, as long as I get reasonably good image quality. And the NEX-7 is the most fun I’ve had shooting since my M9 was new.
    This test confirms for me that either camera is “good enough” (for me at least) at high ISO, and it comes down to which one is most fun to shoot with. And that’s all a matter of personal preference. To each his own, and let’s all go out and shoot now!

    • Yes, that’s what it shows me, too ! Of course, the Fuji actually offers fast lenses that I’d want to use so assuming I were considering these cameras, that’s the difference-maker. (In actuality, I’m disenchanted with all the ILCs and am resigned to sitcking with my DSLR for the foreseeable future).

    • A big round of applause for you, David. The NEX-7 is such a great joy to shoot. With the focus peaking on board, it’s simply the biggest fun ever. Really, I’ll NEVER ever buy a camera without focus peaking again. And yes, the IQ is as good as I’ll ever need. For the rest, it’s ME that needs to take the pictures, not so much the camera.

  22. I got the X-Pro1 yesterday so I am not against it or anything.

    To tell you the truth the ISO quality seems very similar to both cameras up to ISO 1600. At 3200 Fuji wins by far!

    But the IQ and sharpness of the Sony looks better to me. I am not sure why everybody comments that X-Pro is sharper?

  23. I find these tests so boring and useless…Is there a point in spending thousands of €/$ in these cameras and then shoot Jpg’s? These are no ordinary compact cameras, treat them with the respect that a photographic tool deserves. Cheers!

  24. I agree with all who say they should be compared when sized to the same resolution.
    Maybe not many people print (are there really so few? and if so, why would they buy a camera which has more than 6 MP???), but even when looking at images on display, computers, ipads, you usually look at the whole image and not at 100% crops of a 24 MP image.

    Other than that in your base iso comparison image I much prefer the color of the Fuji image.

    • +1 Really, better sharpness, better color, micro contrast, for the NEX 7. There’s an unpleasant pattern in the noise of the Fuji files I don’t like.

  25. I believe it was to be expected that in an ISO war, the Fuji would win. If its 16meg sensor couldn’t match, yet alone beat, the 23meg sensor in the 7, then something would be seriously amiss. As it is, the result is no surprise, but as has already been pointed out, if it is sensors one is comparing, then surely it needs to be like for like, not chalk and cheese? So the camera for comparison purposes should, surely, have been the 5N, and then the question genuinely does become one of is the Fuji better? Until Steve carries out this comparison, we shall not know.

    But even here, my question is somewhat irrelevant as people in the market for a 5N are not going to consider the Fuji, and vice versa. On the basis of which markets the Fuji and the 7 are aimed at, both are targeted at enthusiasts, then a comparison of the complete “cameras” becomes more relevant, but high ISO performance won’t be the single defining factor.

    As for the actual comparison images, a number of things strike me. Firstly, colour saturation is different with the Fuji apparently having more, and this is clear from the image of the lion. However, the exposures are not the same, with the Fuji images appearing denser in the background, i.e. underexposed, so this could explain the slightly more saturated Fuji images. And of course, different lenses are used, and this will “imprint” their own characteristics into the images.

    (Hey! What’s going on here? I’ve just scrolled up to check something else out on an image, and they’ve all changed!!!!)

    OK, fortunately my next comment still stands. The Sony images are, to me, preferable. Clearly, its extra resolving power is being put to good use and this can be seen in the enlarged sections in which detail seems to be smoother.

    On my monitor the Fuji outdoor scene does have more punch, but at the expense of detail. The enlarged portion clearly shows far more detail has been pulled out by the Sony. Could be Sony’s evaluative metering is doing a much better job. But as Steve hasn’t said how the camera settings varied, one shouldn’t read too much into this. Unless, of course, if both cameras were optimised. In which case, the winner for me would be the Sony.

    • I own both cameras, side by side on my iMac screen in my own comparisons the Fuji pulls out more detail and has more 3D pop. Oddly enough I find the NEX 7 is a serial underexposer. The NEX images can be much improved by PP’ing the RAW files though (the Sony jpeg engine is pants).

      • And we’ll see how Fuji’s RAW files will perform, I can abuse RAW files from X100 quite a lot 🙂

      • Simon, I own neither camera, so I have no axe to grind. I’ll let the Fuji and Nex7 guys slog it out. I do view on an iMac, an Intel based 21.5″, and felt the 7 images to be slightly better, IMHO. There has been criticism of the OOC Jpegs from the 7, and indeed the outdoor image does look flat in comparison to the Fuji rendition, and which seems to have more contrast but at the expense of detail. You only have to look at the crop so see how the 7 has exposed for and revealed more detail in the image.

        So, I am intrigued by your own observations, being able to compare images, in that you say the that Fuji’s 16 meg sensor is pulling out more detail than the 23 meg sensor in the Sony. You may understand why I find this somewhat difficult to believe on a purely technical level and so I would be interested in what lenses you use on each camera.

        • TerryB, I don’t have the answer for that one, I can only look at what’s in front of me (and have an opinion on it). I would also note that I’m not talking about pixel peeping detail because (IMHO) that’s irrelevant – I’m talking about a picture scaled to fill a 27 inch imac screen in each case. I don’t have an exact lens comparison, but I can compare the 18 and 35mm Fuji lenses with the 16mm and 24mm Sony/Zeiss lenses.

          In terms of a hypothesis (A) in comparing jpegs, undoubtedly part of the difference can be put down to the JPEG engine and noise reduction software on the NEX 7 (which is relatively poor and obscures low level detail); and (B) I think it comes down to the AA filter and lenses. While the AA filter is (speculated to be) weak on the NEX 7 its still there, blurring low level detail. Secondly, with the exception of the Zeiss (which I own) I don’t think the currently available E-mount lenses can cope with the NEX 7 sensor.

          • Simon, many thanks for taking the time to respond. Thinking on it further, I have overlooked what we are really looking at here, and what may be responsible for your own observations: the Jpeg engine of the 7 must be as bad as a lot of photographers have been posting. That it can appear to smear detail to below that of a 16meg sensor of the same size, must surely be an achievement in itself!

            I am not in the camp that believes pixel-peeping is an irrelevance, rather it is an adjunct to that of a good “users” report, such as Steve’s offerings. I also believe that no amount of pixel-peeping will help in assessing the final image quality, but it can only add to our knowledge if what we see at a pixel level is borne out in practice in the final image.

            In my personal experience, I was an early adopter of the Nex system, with the 5. After the initial hype, and being limited to the E kit lenses, my expectations began to wane somewhat. The images were not as good as my old Sony R1, a 2005 APS-C 10meg vintage bridge camera. Noise was an issue at higher ISO’s, but the truly superb Zeiss lens it was equipped with more than made up for it. If one pixel-peeps the R1 today, it would come in for the same sort of criticism that the M9 does, price apart. But I can sit back and say “yes, but just look at the images.”

            I now have the 5N, and I am extremely pleased with it, especially using third party glass which, for some reason, produces a wonderful synergy. And what’s more, it is far more portable and light than the R1. An important aspect for me in my advancing years, I can tell you!

        • Anders, I suppose your comment, whilst possibly well-intentioned, needs to be directed to absolutely everyone who posts on Steve’s blogs. I could even add go and see an optician to ensure one’s own eyesight is up to to job as well.

          I did check out the link you gave, which is really good for explaining the why’s and wherefore’s of display performance, but sadly it’s also a good advert for spending a lot of money. Good luck to those who can afford the prices.

          Absolute performance is more for the professionals and really dedicated enthusiasts, many photographers only need a comparative performance. The differences in image quality can be viewed on an iMac, without being absolute reference points. I make do with a Huey.

    • Paragraph 2: Kind of presumptuous, Terry. Digital camera bodies for enthusiasts — and perhaps you should note, people enthusiastic about different things — have been, on the whole, fast evolving entities and represent a moving target for prospective buyers. Not so, any number of lens designs. Furthermore, people are buying into systems on the basis of rumor and hope about what the different manufacturers will finally deliver by way of lens complements… and with respect to ‘evolving’ their camera body lines: Where are the smaller, better Sony primes? Did Fuji let down the side a bit with respect to the wide angle’s performance? Will a full frame NEX appear within the next year…?

      I, for one, would give consideration to EITHER the X-Pro 1 or the NEX 5N (along with the NEX 7), since I am drawing the line for now short of an “M10”. I get so tired of people trying to shove me into one arbitrary category or another that’s convenient for THEIR purposes, and presuming to do my thinking for me (I direct my criticism more toward the employees of commercial manufacturers, distributors, and dealers, Terry; but the criticism applies pretty much across the board to mini-bloggers, pundits, and to one’s own friends as well). Just give me the data, the test results, the comparisons, some justifiable and honest opinions… I’ll figure out the balance of virtues and liabilities that suits me, thanks; without feeling any necessity for gaining some “authority’s” validation, joining anyone else’s club, or communing in any pigeon hole. I expect others here feel much the same way. And as I pointed out elsewhere under this topic (at least by implication), prices in the secondary market do not necessary follow retail in a proportionate way; so that’s a factor often overlooked in these gear-centric discussions. And if you’re anticipating upgrades in the foreseeable future, you’d probably want to think more about your own prospective total cost of ownership, rather than about some given retail price in the near term. A more developed and dynamic strategy is called for, something more sophisticated than just, “What do I want? / What can I afford? / What do I settle for?”

      Following my own current focus of enthusiasm, I just got done looking at a number of the Contax G Biogon 21 & 28mm w/ NEX photo galleries at ‘flickr’ and seeing for myself that photographers were using both these lenses with some success on the NEX 5N. You may recall observations here to the effect that the NEX 7 may not be so accommodating to the shorter focal lengths. I’d LIKE to think that Sony will release a full frame mirrorless camera, that they’ll price it aggressively — perhaps to get a jump in securing market share — and that it’ll marry up with a wide variety of ‘film’ lenses (most importantly, those I now own!) in a very friendly fashion. But maybe the Fuji X-Pro 1 will just ring the bells for Steve whenever he might get the chance to try some Leica lenses with a suitable adapter. Maybe the manual focusing will turn out to work better in that real world kind of way than a number of doubtful folks have so far suggested here. Maybe I’ll then draw some positive inferences for my own situation. My crystal ball’s still a little hazy. I can certainly see a NEX 5N being a logical step in a PROCESS, therefore. It’s going to be awhile before the story on the Fuji shakes out, regardless — particularly for those of us who want one or more wide angle lenses to be our best lenses, something more than “O.K.”… Still considering the NEX 5N at this juncture is not just about being on some kind of restrictive budget, or about belonging to some lesser class of enthusiast.

      • Fred, I don’t feel getting personal contributes to the argument, but your comment does require a rebuttal. I expressed a personal opinion, that’s all, but one that I thought was balanced, if you care to re-read what I wrote. But was I being presumptuous in expressing a personal opinion, couched in such terms?

        “I expect others here feel much the same way.” Your own words. Now this is being presumptuous. Hoist by your own petard, methinks.

  26. *lol*…so many NEX-7 buyers feeling offended because of the performance of their toy.

    Can’t wait how “loud” cries will be when the OM-D (EM-5) joins in.


    And by the way – I am with you Steve…THIS are real world examples.

    • “THIS are real world examples”

      Michael S. I know of no one who regularly views images at 1:1. It is fine to compare at 1:1, but the noise will ALWAYS be higher at a higher magnification.

      There are limits to all testing and all testing procedures will have one bias or another. This is not stating this is a poor test or a poorly done test, just not the test I would do.

  27. Thank you for the comparison Steve. I wish that upcoming update to Lightroom brings support for X-Pro1 but it doesn’t (at least not yet, it’s still release candidate not final update).

    NEX-7 is indeed very tempting but with 24mm Zeiss it’s the same (or very similar) price like X-Pro1 + 35mm lens.

    Do any of technically minded readers here know how hard would it be for Fuji to implement ‘focus peaking’?

  28. Hey Steve. You write: “Keep in mind that the Sony files are MUCH crisper and sharper when converted from RAW as their JPEG’s leave a little do be desired.” Well, if one really wants the best IQ (and that’s exactly what we do, when we go for a IQ test), please use the RAW format. Testing IQ and using JPG is meaningless. I mean testing IQ is nothing else than looking for the best possible quality. Well then, USE the best quality: RAW. You’re not measuring an athlete’s time over a sprint of 100m with his walking shoes on his feet, don’t you?!… What this test does is giving the impression that the Fuji is so much better in IQ. The only thing what it tells me is that “it can run faster in its walking shoes”. So I find this to be misleading. Sorry. I’d like to see the same comparison in RAW. And maybe the Fuji’s IQ is still better, who nows. But as far as now, I have no clue.

    • Sorry Steve, when rereading it, I find my tone to be a little harsh. (Had a serious accident in the office today…). But still I’d love to see this comparison in RAW. I expect the Fuji to be still somewhat better, but still would prefer the Sony because of its superb handling. It’s not that the Sony’s IQ is lousy. And you know, I find the factor of the man who holds the camera to be the most important by far, to create nice pictures.
      Stay assured, I still love your site and way of working very much. And sometimes a little controversy is usefull. 😉

      • Dirk,

        I agree that the biggest single difference between 2 pictures taken with different cameras (or even the same camera) can be the photographer…

        While I prefer the Fuji, I still think the NEX is a great camera with lovely IQ. It’s biggest problem is a lack of quality native e-mount lenses and the JPEG engine (problems that are to an extent surmountable through use of non-native lenses and PP’ing).

        • Hey Simon,
          I don’t mind using an adaptor at all to mount manual lenses. I just ordered a Canon FD to E-mount adaptor to use the old lenses that I have for my A1. I’m thrilled to use them just for fun and, yes, sentimental reasons… Just wanna see how they’ll inspire me. Anyway the number of lenses that can be used on NEX is enormous. To me, there’s no “biggest problem” at all! On the contrary. It seems to me that they make E-mount adaptors for any kind of lens.

    • I clearly stated that this was a JPEG comparison as RAW support for the Fuji is not here yet. So both cameras were even steven in this JPEG comparison. For those who don’t want to see this, you really do NOT have to read it 🙂

      • Right. But you know it’s nice to read about products that bear your passion, even when you don’t agree completely. But like I said, there’s nothing wrong with a little controversy, as long as one can tolerate (and even appreciate) the other one’s opinion.

  29. What I would be interested in is a comparison between the ASP-C sized cameras out there. Say the Fuji X Pro 1, the Sony Nex 7, the Canon 7D, the Nikon D7000. I do recall Steve saying that he was looking for more DSLR reviews. Now that the sensors are on a par, or at least on the same hole, these real world comparisons would be better.

  30. Interesting comparison. After the Fuji IQ hype I thought the NEX 7 would come in as a distant second but have to say this looks like a neck to neck race with the much cheaper NEX7 holding its own. I look forward seeing more direct comparisons.

    • Greetings Retow! During my brief ownership of the NEX7, to my eyes, the IQ was excellent in spite of the higher noise level. Although the NEX7 is a less expensive camera, Sony gets the user on the lens price of $1000 for the excellent Zeiss vs. $600 average price for the Fuji lenses. So the camera + one excellent lens combo’s come out about the same.

  31. Hello Steve

    I found the test useful. Often after I have taken an image and come to process and print it I find another within a part of the original. May be I am not a very good photographer, but no matter. The point is I stand a better chance of getting a good print after processing with more pixels. Also professionally (I am an Architect) I very often waste half the frame for perspective reasons so I don’t have to loose quality and importantly image width by correcting perspective in post process, here pixel count really does matter. haven’t bought my Nex 7 yet but working up to it, but what I would really like is an M9 and a fast wide ‘shift’ lens

  32. The whole point of these comparisons is to look at Camera A at low, medium and high ISO’s and compare that to a rival, Camera B, at low, medium and High ISO’s. This is what Steve is doing. IF you buy a camera you want to know how good the low light performance is at the maximum resolution. To lower the resolution to match that of the rival is pointless.
    Well done Steve, this is indeed a real world test and not one of those stupid charts (DPr…*cough*).

  33. The sensors are wildly differents, to me the fuji xpro1 should be compared to the nex 5n as they will result in prints of the same size. you’re going to the 24 mp if you need to print larger and are ok to sacrifice iso.

  34. Steve: In the last photograph, the blue sky is rendered very differently by both the cameras. Which one do you think is closer to reality?

    • I would be interested in that too – Looks like the Fuji does Velvia.
      Also I would suggest another scenario where both cameras have the 50mm lens. It would be interesting. Could there be a difference due to the lenses?

    • I’m sure Steve used a tripod to take all those shots and as Mr Cockwell had said, real pros don’t use tripods 😀

    • ha that was a funny one 🙂 I agree… some typical internet cowboys bashing away… I’ve got about 30 different camera sites as fav’s…. so If I want some scientific I go somewhere else, if I want user opinion and user experience I like to read Steve’s travels.
      As for Ken Rockwell, has his strengths too… I think he has a saturation level that goes to 11 though, doesn’t he? hahaha…

      • I find his lack of “real world pictures” disturbing.

        He’s a valuable source for solid information like how does a lens handle, how bright the viewfinder is or how close a lens can focus, but his opinions are usually worthless as he’s a single minded landscape photographer who happens to have a family. For him, the cameras are just for those two things, and nothing more. So he judges everything he reviews accordingly.

        Steve, we love you 🙂

        • not just that but he lost credibility when he ‘reviewed’ something he even didn’t have – i could write reviews like that myself

  35. totally agree with a commenter just before, incredibly annoying about people that not even thanking the reviewer embarks on suggestion and critics about the manners test in this site are done, yes please go and publish your own results and give us a link to read about it.

    thanks for test steve, having a 5n and a x100 undicided what road to follow next – i already got a night eater, damn the 5d3 is just amazing.

  36. Steve-
    Thanks for the images. The truth of the matter is that both cameras produce fantastic images. There’s a distinct difference in color rendering that is more important than the resolution or noise differences. It’s a matter of preference. Color differences are probably most important when dealing with skin tones.

  37. Why are some always complaining about the manner “tests” and comparisons are made? Given that there are so many experts and self appointed monitors of what a fair comparison is (or is not), I would have thought that they would have published their own scientifically reliable test results in their own website, instead of moaning and whining about the manner that Steve does his comparisons. Take a chill pill and just enjoy the stuff that Steve posts.

  38. Thanks Steve for the interesting comparison!

    I am impressed by the X-Pro 1’s colors. The Sony will definitely appear flat next to the X-Pro 1 but then Fujifilm is well-known for it’s signature saturation and this might not appeal to everybody.

    I think it is relevant to do a comparison of the NEX 5N with the X-Pro 1 since many are still holding on to their 5N at this point.

    • O.K., Steve, here’s another vote for a (direct) NEX 5N vs. X-Pro 1 comparison to be included. Another justification: For users of high quality ‘film’ lenses, the relatively favorable crop factor plus reports here suggestive of better-than-NEX 7 compatibility with wide angle RF-style lenses (Contax G Biogon 28mm, in my case)… Add in the cost factor — especially, consider the supply/demand situation in the used market for those looking for an extra/complementary body — and a revisit with the NEX 5N does make sense: the apples to apples thing, you know…

  39. Thanks for this comparison, Steve! The Sony NEX 7 woth the Zeiss 24 is indeed tempting, but that lens is not exactly “small”. I am also considering the Fuji X100, as a small but high-quality “travel” camera to my Pentax K-5 kit. I am now wondering how much better the X-Pro1 would be in terms of image sharpness and detail rendition.

  40. Fuji looks better but most of these cameras just look like point and shoots to me no atmosphere no texture out of the 2 I like the fuji better and the nitpickers are really starting to get annoying these are cheap cameras look at the image make your decision this ain’t art just a test bro

  41. I think the xpro1 is a lot crispier in results. Sometimes too many pixels isn’t really the best. I think 16 to about 21 megapixels is about the best range, providing that the camera’s IQ is also up to par.

    Hey Steve, can you do a quick review of the Mark iii someday? Pleaseeeeeeeeeeee! ~=)

  42. Steve,

    When you set the lower resolution on Sony NEX 7. Part of the sensor will not be used to capture image. So it become smaller than APS-C size sensor area capturing the object. I was curious on what kind of image sizes NEX-7 can have. So I download the handbook and find out that on NEX 7. There are 24M, 12M, 6M for 3:2 aspect ratio; 20M, 10M, 5.1M for 16:9 aspect ratio on still pictures. There is no 16M image size on NEX 7.

    The sensor on Fujifilm’s X Pro 1 and Sony NEX 7 both use CMOS technology but different process. Fuji use X-Trans CMOS, Sony use Exmor APS HD CMOS. There is not much information on the x-trans CMOS so far. But Fuji is confident to charge $400 more for the X Pro 1 than NEX 7. There must be something special.

    To me those pictures you took all look very good. My eyes can’t figure out which one is better. Why don’t you compare it with NEX 5N, Pantax K5 or something else with the same size sensor and resolution?

    BTW, my Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED-IF AF-S VR DX Zoom Nikkor Lens just got back from warranty service (about 6 weeks, waiting for parts). The outer tube, middle tube and lens tube had been replaced. Lens were cleaned, aligned and tested. I’ll take a look next weekend when I return to AZ.


    Sony NEX7:
    Sensor • 23.5 x 15.6 mm Exmor APS HD CMOS Sensor
    • 24.7 million total pixels
    • 24.3 million effective pixels

    Image Size

    Image size when [Aspect Ratio] is 3:2 Usage guidelines
    L: 24M 6000 × 4000 pixels Shoots images with the highest image
    M: 12M 4240 × 2832 pixels For prints up to A3+ size
    S: 6M 3008 × 2000 pixels For prints A5 size
    Image size when [Aspect Ratio] is 16:9 Usage guidelines
    L: 20M 6000 × 3376 pixels For viewing on a high-definition TV
    M: 10M 4240 × 2400 pixels
    S: 5.1M 3008 × 1688 pixels

    Fujifilm X-Pro 1:
    Sensor • 23.6mm x 15.6mm (APS-C) X-Trans CMOS sensor
    • 16.3 million effective pixels
    • Primary colour filter (RGB color filter array)

    • When lowering the resolution, you still use all the sensor, you simply interpolate which adds sharpness and decreases noise. This is why many thought this a better test

    • I believe he thinks Steve reduced capture resolution in camera. What Steve actually did is take a 24MP picture and downsampled it using an image editor (likely Photoshop) to 16MP.

    • Lol…always is, no matter how they are done. Some are just never satisfied. Ive been doing these for 3 years, the same way and every time I get a few here and there that complain about something. I show WHAT COMES OUT of EACH camera. Thats it. I showed each camera, same aperture, same shutter speed, same ISO’s, even resized a sony file to 16mp for those who wanted it. Same light, same tripod. Of course I couldn’t attach the Fuji lens to the Sony or the Sony lens to the Fuji. Usually those who say these things are useless own the camera that came up short. In any case, this is NOT my review – I just had about 16 emails since yesterday asking for an ISO comparison against the Sony, so I obliged. Same thing I did with almost every camera I have reviewed over the years 🙂

      • Yes so true! The people whose cameras came up short are always the ones who complain to try and justify their purchase! People please be quiet and appreciate the review! Some one on here says to take pictures of the same subject?!?! Are you kidding me? what are you looking at?? Same lighting, same settings, same subjects, different results!!! CASE CLOSED!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Hahaha… No worries, Steve. You wrote: “Usually those who say these things are useless own the camera that came up short.” No, I don’t have the NEX-7, nor am I interested in it. Neither in the X-Pro1, by the way. These comparisons just don’t make sense. Mathematically, it really is incorrect. Call a university and ask a professor. He’ll tell you I’m right. There are just too many variables. But look at the bright side: Many readers here will believe it’s true and will go for the camera you rate higher. Perfectly o.k. Cheers, Ron.

      • Steve, these measurbators that are never happy with any test always have a flickr account full of test shots, but never any photographs.

        It’s a very valid comparison. Everyone that shoots either camera is not going upsize or downsize their output to match a camera they don’t own. It’s simple, one cameras best output against another.

    • useless for u, not me, make me wonder … why did u read this site in the first place ?

  43. From those pictures its no wonder why they market X-Pro1 as best for landscape photography.

  44. Steve, Thank you for the great website and the comparison… Both good cameras… IMHO, it appears to me at real world ISO’s the NEX 7 buries the X-Pro-1 on Color, Clarity, Definition and 3D-Pop. For a better controlled environment “Apples/Apples” comparison check the X-Pro-1, NEX-5N and NEX-7 on the Image Resource website “Compare Cameras” section. IMHO, the NEX’s yield more higher quality images at real world ISO’s. Plus, you can almost buy 3 NEX-5N’s or 2 NEX-7’s for the price of one X-Pro-1. The X-Pro-1 appears to be nice camera… however, it does not appear to be a compelling or competitive value at $1700. Just my 2 Cents… FYI, I just received my NEX-7, have sold my extensive Canon DSLR system and could not be happier and not even thinking of looking back. Thanks again, Steve

    • HI Bigdog, in principle nowadays can make good photos if the photographer can. In terms of picture quality I must tell you that Nex7 is not comparable to the X-Pro1. I tested both cameras and bought the x-pro1 about 1 week ago. The clarity of the Fuji files is lightyears ahead to that of the Nex7! Colors are always a matter of personal taste but with the different film simulation modes I got very good results. To be honest I don´t want to try the Silkypix raw converter and will wait until LR4 or C1 support the files. The biggest disappointment of the Nex for me are the lenses. I didn´t test the 24mm Zeiss but all Sony Zoom lenses are junk on the Nex7, unfortunately the same is with the new Tamron 18-200. I´ve posted some files of the Fuji on 500px and some on my flickr account: http://www.flickr.com/photos/53439843@N06/sets/72157629264870508/
      There you also can find some Nex files. I am not a pixel peeper but I printed Nex7 files as well as Fuji X-Pro1 with my Epson 3800 as large as possible and for me there is no doubt who wins.
      Regards Ernst

  45. What this comparison tells me is that the Fuji lens is an absolute bargain compared to the Zeiss. Here in New Zealand it’s half the price! Not directly comparable, I know, as focal lengths are different but, if anything, the Fuji lens gives a better look and loses nothing in sharpness.

    A relevant test for me, thanks Steve. I looked hard at an NEX7 yesterday (available off the shelf here, which is the opposite of most interesting cameras which I never see in shops). It is a brilliant camera, no doubt, but I find it so fiddly to use. The XPro1 looks like it should be much nicer to handle but it’s 24% dearer – with no lens – and nearer twice the price if you look at the cheapest options with a lens. An EM5 starts to make more sense….


  46. dont own either of these puppies, but your “real world” shoot gives the X PRO-1 the thumbs up.
    the NEX-7 is no slouch either.

  47. I think comparing with NEX-5N would make more sense. I thought it has better low light performance than the Nex-7 and its has the same 16MP as the X-pro 1..we won’t have to argue about what type of output is more meaningful..:P

  48. Thanks for the Pictures! I like the Fuji X-Pro1 better at the OOC Pictures and at the High Iso. 🙂

  49. xpro1 color is much improved over the nex-7. The shot of the construction equipment shows that. The NEX7 image is dull and lifeless in comparison.

  50. Thanks for doing the comparison posts Steve.
    I can’t believe how demanding a bunch of your readers are! It’s not like they’re employing you to do this..

  51. Impressive results from both cameras! The Fuji produces the superior images IMHO. There is absolutely no point in having more pixels if those pixels are “dishonest pixels” i.e. noisy pixels! When large prints are required, upsizing a “clean” image is preferable.

    • Where did you saw it? From what I have seen Fuji has lesser microcontrast in not a great light (toy dog shot): it was expected though that $1000 zeiss lens is better performer than $600 fujinion.
      And color resolution on NEX-7 is definitely higher than on fuji (due to higher resolution and bayern filter pattern with its uniform color distribution).
      So, I’m waiting for DXO tests and especially color depth value: other parameters are good enough at least (ISO is great of course). Although I didn’t like colors on most samples taken with this camera and expect quite mediocre performance in this area.

  52. I think, high ISO performance is Devil’s trick targeted directly at (digital) photographers. That’s where he gets us…

    Most (like, 95%) photographic masterpieces throughout the history of photography were shot on film at low ISO. No problem there at all. But now we are so obsessed with clinical perfection and night-vision shooting that we often ignore the fact that photography is supposed to be done with light as the main ingredient. If there is no light or not enough of it — only the ‘-graphy’ part remains…

    Greg Shanta

  53. Errr… Am I the only one here to see SOFTNESS in the Fuji photos ???
    Up to 3200 the Nex7 beats the Fuji pants up !
    I wouldn’t buy neither the Fuji nor the Nex7, I’m too much in love with My M9P and my GXR anyway…
    Too much M9 wannabes these days but none of the newcomers can compete…

    • personally and I think many will agree, the NEX-7 had never been an M9 wannabe. The two are worlds apart. EVF versus Rangefinder, full manual lenses versus lenses with OIS, non-retro versus retro look,and so many more. (even the lack of prime lenses in NEX versus the prime lenses of Leica)

      but for the X-Pro 1, well… that’s a different story.

      • I was talking about the Fuji, of course.
        I wouldn’t buy a Sony to shoot (I have a Nex 5n that I onlu use for video with amazing results).
        Last year, the X100 was the poor man’s Leica and in 2012, hooray hooray people, we have the Fuji X-pro 1: the look of a Leica, the color of a black Leica but far far from the taste and the flavor…

        I really can’t understand all the fuss around this camera. Just another digital camera… Like many before and many to come… It will NEVER make the average Joe a Brassaï… as usual…

    • That’s so rich (pun intended)…$9k vs. $2k. How dare anyone try to deliver some of the joy of the handling, workflow and image quality of a Leica at a price someone other than a sponsored/established pro or a wealthy dilettante can afford.

      Shame on you, Fuji.

  54. The Fuji just pops – but it uses a much longer focal length – it would be nice to see the same lens perform on 2 bodies

  55. Thanks for the comparison. IMO, I prefer the NEX-7 over the X-Pro, but prefer the Fuji lens over the Sony Zeiss.

    • Jeremy has lens length 35mm compared to a 24mm favored you for more creamy bokeh? A 24 has usualy a deeper Depth Of Field (DOF) so looks somewhat lesser in creamyness. A Nex-7 plus VC35/1.2VII at the same aperture would maybe be a more fair compairsion in that respect (might be even creamier) in my opinion.

    • Appreciated and I hate to even say it, but the ISO 6400 shot is an unfortunate choice for the NEX. Up to ISO 3200, I think it does better – the Sony jpeg engine’s NR creates strange artifacts, but I can easily envision great prints. But at ISO 6400, it sort of falls apart. I won’t ask for a resize at a lower resolution because I’m not concerned – as I posted, I think either would produce a great print at ISO 3200 bigger than anything I’ve printed from a high ISO shot.

  56. Steve,

    I think you are right that the NEX 7 is probably quicker in use and with a bit of RAW PP you can produce very good results indeed. That being said, the jpeg results are a bit flat out of the NEX 7 and the IQ of the XPro1 is closer to FF. The 35mm is one of the best lenses I’ve come across (but the 18mm is merely good and I am disappointed with the 60mm).

    What do you think of the enjoyment in use factor though? I find the NEX a precision camera (in the same way as my A900 DSLR) whereas I just have more fun using the Xpro1, it was the same with the X100.

    I will keep my NEX regardless (its a great backup APS-C body for my Sony Alpha lenses), but I would take the Xpro1 for a fun day out.

    • Maybe there is some sample issues but both my 18 and 35 are tac sharp wide open with the same level of contrast and colour, to be fair these two lenses put to shame some of Canon & Nikon’s primes

      • The 35 is tac sharp wide open. The best Fuji lens easily. The 60 I have is also tac sharp with great contrast. The 18 I have is a little soft.

        • Does the 18mm’s softness prevent you recommending its purchase? Toying with cancelling my pre-order and waiting for the 14mm. I guess, is it still a pleasure to use, would be the real question.

  57. Steve, it seems like on the NEX the aperture is 2.8 when for the Fuji it’s at 2.0. The Fuji appears a bit over-exposed though. But it would be great to see the result with both exact same settings.

    • Wow…that Tri Navi dial must have gotten hit (which is easily done) – I will redo the test and repost/fix the images in the next hour or so.

  58. As always, I don’t think it is fair to compair at 1:1 crops between a 16 and 24mp camera. The only fair test is to scale up the lower res camera as you would have to to make a comparable size print.

    That being said, both are excellent and will produce excellent images.

    • Exactly. Comparing 1:1, when one is 16mp and the other is 24mp is meaningless. Down sample the Sony to the lower resolution of the Fuji, and the Sony will spank the Fuji. The sensor in the NEX7 is hands down best-in-class when it comes to APS sensors.

      • Since what Steve does is meaningless, then why don’t you guys just buy both cameras and do your own test and at your own terms. Pretty fair don’t you think?

        Then everyone will be happy! Just make sure to share your findings with us, ok? 😉

      • You think it’s meaningless, but I prefer it, as this is how I would compare my cameras. Take a pic & look at it. I would never upsize or downsize to make them even because I would never shoot the camera that way in real world use.

        • So you don’t print pictures?
          Or is it that you don’t post them on forums, facebook flickr?
          It is very rare to see pictures on any of the above locations where you can see the picture in greater than 2-4mp.

          Its not that we don’t appreciate Steve’s review. I for one love them. But blowing up one camera more than the other does make put the camera with mp at a disadvantage.

        • You are saying you always pixelpeep your photos at 100%? You never look at the whole image?

          Because when you do that on a normal size computer screen (Like my Dell 27″ which have 2560×1440 pixels or about 3.6 MP) you are looking at a downsized image. If the original image is 16 or 24 MP doesn’t matter as they both will be downsized to the maximum size the screen can display!

          In practise that is the same as downsizing the 24 MP image to 16 MP so that they have the same scale.

          But maybe you are among those who own an unique 24, or even 36 MP (for D800!) computer screen?

    • I think that’s a fair comment comparing the NEX 5N to the 7, but I do think it’s meaningful (and interesting) comparing the Xpro1 ISO directly to the 7 because the lack of AA filter means the IQ should be broadly comparable at a different overall resolutions (hence comparisons between the M9 and the A900 etc). That being said its difficult to compare precisely in the small jpegs here, because you can’t see the difference in 3D pop between the two images.

      To Walt, I own both and I think the sensor in the Xpro1 is better than the NEX 7, certainly in a OOC JPEG context.

  59. Both cameras look outstanding. I’m getting the X Pro because I’ve really enjoyed the X100. But I’d bet good money the Sony is better for video and mounting non native lenses. Don’t see how you could go wrong with either of these depending on what you want to do with the camera.

  60. There seems little difference between them, the Fuji pulling away slightly at very high ISOs. The Fuji fills in the shadows more but that is a camera setting choice (I have my X-100 set on shadows medium hard). The NEX looks more punchy and pleasing in this test (surprisingly). Rather see real world tests in low light. Two desirable cameras – but what about the OM-D E-5? Three desirable cameras?

  61. Hi, I prefer the warm tones of XPro 1, of course is just my opinion, however, many many thanks Steve for your tests

  62. In terms of ISO performance Fuji is leading this race by far, specially when in ISO 3200 and above… I think thet sony’s files are a bit more sharper.

  63. Hmmm, these comparison of the shot are surprisingly similar, I must say the colors of the NEX a bit more natural, whereas the Fuji’s were a bit over exposed, the detail in detail so really good aswell, I would LOVE to see a comparison of the 5N ond the Fuji, I think the 5N is probably better IMO.

  64. If I get either of these cameras, it will be to use it for video as much as for still photography. I would love to see a comparison of the video between the Xpro-1 the NEX-7 and the NEX-5N.

    • The video would be best on the NEX-7 IMO, from what I have seen so far. IS helps dramatically and the X-Pro 1 video is very shaky when handheld. The NEX video is fantastic (as long as you don’t go too long as it seems to be overheating, for me at least)

    • Ja I also prefer the colors of the Nex-7 – the red is well, red. But, I prefer the bokeh from the fuji…
      In the last shot of the little dozer, if I can remember with my eye, the sony made the better color rendition of the yellow and the dirt but the fuji nailed it with the blue.

      anyhow… happy shooting either way!

      ps and why can’t I see that the fuji is sharper? I have an iMac too… maybe old eyes.
      pss I don’t own either camera. Or will I buy either camera. M9:-)

      • The bokeh of the fuji is a usual lesser depth of field from a 35mm at f2 then the sony with a 24mm at f2.. I even think that the somewhat sharper impression of the sony is also a result of the deeper DOF.

    • Sony = Zeiss lens (typical colour signature) If you strapped it onto the Fuji you’d probably get similar results. Not sure which film/colour setting Steve was using either – that would also affect result.

  65. Hi Steve:
    When you are doing high ISO comparisons please shoot them in LOW light as would be the case when high ISO is necessary. I think many cameras will show better than actual performance if you shoot them at high ISO within a well lit scene simply because all the camera does is use a higher shutter speed.
    We really need to see how the camera handles the situation at low light.
    Miguel Reznicek

    • I ALWAYS test ALL cameras in low light and indoor light. NEVER in bright or good light. This was normal indoor daytime lighting. My review will also have low light/night shots.

  66. Both seem to be nice. Time to just take some good photos. Thanks for sharing and have fun in Vegas. Would be interesting how the Fuji does next to the 5N. Actually I don’t have to see that because they all do fine. D!RK

    • The differences do indeed seem small. At least I don’t regret my NEX-7 purchase, I mean, come on, high ISO performance absolutely DEFINES a camera… /rolleyes/. 🙂

    • Hardly. The Fuji is 16mp, the Sony is 24mp. You need to down sample the Sony to 16mp for a meaningful comparison. Do so, and the Sony will spank the Fuji.

      • Actually NO, that would not be a comparison of each cameras output at native resolution, which is how cameras SHOULD be tested. Who is going to shoot the Sony at 16MP? Those who buy it and shoot it will do so at 24MP so what you see is what you will get from the Sony and from the Fuji.

        • Begin Soap Box
          You realize you are effectively comparing a print of 11×14 on the fuji to a 16×20 on the Sony then cutting out a 2×2″ section of both and then concluding, “Wow – the 11×14 print looks so much nicer than the 16×20. The camera making the 11×14 print must be so much better.”

          This is just silly, we should compare prints at the same size.

          Off soap box – thanks for doing the comparisons as I really do enjoy them. Just a reminder that prints are more important than 100% crops

          • Steve, if you’re serious with your “real world comparisons” then you should compare images from cameras the way we view them in the real world.

            Perhaps you sit back and just view all your images at 1:1. But the vast majority do not. In my case, I print them and, therefore, display them at a particular size, like 12 x 8.

            With all due respect, these sensationalist “high ISO war” comparisons are truly meaningless.

        • Actually YES Steve. Both cameras are shooting the same object from the same distance and the test is to see which camera can resolve the most detail. As a real-world photographer (and not a pixel peeper) I thought you would understand this most basic concept?

          The Sony’s extra megapixels are simply a tool to help it resolve detail given the lower light received per pixel.

          Also next time please take a photo of the same object so it’s actually possible to fairly compare between cameras =\

          • Take a photo of the same object? The same object was used…

            I ALWAYS have compared cameras in a real world way, which is showing the output of each camera as 99% of the users will use it. About 6% of us print, and everyone will shoot the Sony at 24MP. What you see here is what you get out of each camera, period. Even when resized though the Fuji is still cleaner it seems. I am not comparing “prints” I am comparing the output of each camera as you will see it on your computer.

          • I’m with Steve on this. What you get out of the camera is what you get out of the camera. No point arguing that the Sony can make bigger prints (i.e. the ‘pound for pound’ argument) when most photographers rarely print out at the maximum, allowed by file size v quality.

            In a WYSIWYG world – where users typically view on-screen or online, relative size rarely matters. Like for like – sharpness wins, not how much maximum theoretical detail can be resolved.

            Same as in film days – most users wanted 7×5″ prints … not huge wall hangings. Didn’t really matter much which camera/lens you used if basic machine prints were all you wanted.

            As for the statement ” … the Sony’s extra megapixels are simply a tool to help it resolve detail given the lower light received per pixel …..” Huh?

            If the Sony had less megapixels, it would have much larger photo-sites – which would automatically receive more light per site, therefore the megapixels are clearly not a ‘tool’ (in any way, shape or form) to help it resolve more detail. They are merely extra pixels crammed onto a sensor, thus actually creating less light gathering photo-sites – period!

          • ALWAYS have compared cameras in a real world way, which is showing the output of each camera as 99% of the users will use it. About 6% of us print, and everyone will shoot the Sony at 24MP. What you see here is what you get out of each camera, period. Even when resized though the Fuji is still cleaner it seems. I am not comparing “prints” I am comparing the output of each camera as you will see it on your computer.

            Steve, if you are just shooting pictures for the internet, why go over 2mp? very few screens are more than 2-3mp. The entire reason to have a high res camera is for high quality gallery type prints. If you don’t make these, you really, really don’t need to be pixel peeping

        • I have to agree with Steve. Its like comparing the iPhone camera to some fancy DSLR with reduced file size so that they are equal. While this may provide data, it gives no useful information and I see no point in it. What are you gaining by reducing the NEX’s amount of MP? So you can see what it would like if you happened to cut out a third of its pixels? You are paying for all those pixels, why not use them?! (Reducing the output file size doesn’t improve high ISO performance on the NEX 7 as the pixel density remains unchanged.)

          All that matters is the resolution that it will be used at, and anyone buying these cameras will use them at their full potential. (You dont have to print from the high MP file but it makes sense to have backups at the highest quality especially since harddrives are so cheap.) The iPhone and DSLR case is a bit extreme and these are two similarly priced cameras which makes it is even more important to compare their best output. If you don’t want real world tests, that’s fine, but Steve’s site is CLEARLY about real world test. Don’t complain when someone does real world tests for free and clearly does a good job at it.

          • No, Steve’s test is anything but “real world”. In the real world, we don’t view images by staring at them at the pixel (1:1) level.

          • @Walt…..in the “real world” you buy the Nex-7, you push the shutter, thats your image…..in the “real world” you buy the X PRO-1, you push the shutter, thats your image………THAT is what Steve has done, no more, no less.

        • I agree with you Steve.

          Why do some maths magic all the time to make those tests to be barely ‘fair’ or whatever?

          Sony released this camera and sell it as is.
          Fuji released this camera and sell it as is.

          Those cameras should be so compared on this basis IMO. Point.

          I think it is fairly logical to compare these two cameras on the basis of what it gives you out of the box without doing resizing, crop magics things, blabla because this sensor has les pixels…or is bigger than the other etc…

          This reminds me a guy who posted a comparison of a Nikon Full frame vs a M9 sensor. He made the resolution comparison in a ‘fair’ way…so he said he added a little sharpening to the Nikon files…since the Leica M9 lack any AA filter! LOL…if you want to compare two different technologies but you improve one over the other for the sake of ‘fairness’ then where is the point?

          • That’s because sharpening a camera with and without an AA filter in the same manor is like putting the same fuel in a diesel and gas engine. Drastically different sharpening routines should be used to maximize file quality of sensors with and without AA filters.

            Output is the point of photography. Even if you don’t print, you always output to some specific size, whether it be for the web, your computer screen, etc. Granted, if you don’t print, I’m not sure why you’d care much about new camera tech at all, but that’s another issue.

        • Right!

          I can’t understand those guys – like comparing the 36MP D800 with the 12MP D3s and saying: “let’s downsample the D800 files to 12MP and then compare them to the D3s.”

          Absolute nonsense!

          As you wrote – I am not buying a 24/36MP camera to use it then @12MP or whatever.

          • Please, it’s not nonsense, its the only valid way to compare. Perhaps you should educate dxo on how their whole methodology has been wrong for years?

          • Exactly, it is like claiming that Fiat Punto is faster than Ford Mustang because if you downsize engine in Mustang on the Punto’s volume, Mustang will perform worst…. so Punto wins 😀

          • @Vtec – correct – Punto wins, and that’ no error but as Jeremy Clarkson of TOP GEAR UK always says – “American cars are horrible, they just can go straight, not around corners”!

            So you got it 100% correct.

          • No, it’s like saying the punto is faster cause it goes 160kmph and the mustang only does 150mph.

        • Anyone who compares 100% crops from cameras of different resolutions needs to, well , stop doing it until they do a bit more research on how to compare sensor outputs. You must down sample the Sony to the same resolution for the comparison to carry any meaning whatsoever.

          • 100% wrong – you bought a 24MP camera, you use it as 24MP camera – so take a shot of the same object…THAT’s reality.

            Else save yourself a lot of money and buy one with less MP…

          • You simply don’t get it. Of course you use it at 24MP but do you create different sized prints or view your photos on different screens, depending on camera resolution? If not, the Sony must be down sized in order to give this comparison any “real world” meaning.

          • That’s like saying you should degrade a 4×5 film image so that it can be compared with a 35mm one ….

            Doesn’t anyone get the correlation here? If the Sony looks crap at a smaller size (high visible noise) then it will probably look better at it’s larger native resolution. Win/win situation – stop griping about it.

            Never heard Hasselblad film owners moaning that a frame from their camera looked no better than a 35mm one close up. They all KNEW that the Hassy image could be printed/projected at bigger sizes AND retain quality.

            Some pretty fragile egos on display here ….

        • Agreed. I wouldn’t shoot a NEX-7 at 16MP, but I also wouldn’t print bigger just because I have 24MP. (And anything I did print so big that required 24MP would be shot at low ISO anyway).

          The differences in noise in these images is trivial to my way of thinking. Based on these images, I wouldn’t hesitate to shoot the NEX at ISO 3200 *and* print bigger than I’ve ever printed an ISO 3200 image; ditto the Fuji up to ISO 6400. And I’d really have to see NEX using my workflow because I don’t shoot jpegs. (Sony’s jpeg processing has been terrible IMO for a few years now).

          I’ll also say the color in the Fuji images looks weak in comparison, more so at higher ISOs, and if I thought the differences in noise were significant as buying decision factors, I’d want to see both cameras producing images with similar saturation.

          In short, the Fuji may win, at least on the basis of jpegs and when pixel peeping, but not in a way that would even register on my list of pros & cons when you consider all the things that make these cameras different.

          • p.s. Don’t assume from what I wrote that I favor the Sony. I shoot an older NEX and have a love/hate relation with it, and if money were no object and the size of the body didn’t sway me, I’d love to shoot with Fuji.

    • Recently I looked at a shot at 100% that I took at 200ISO with a Leaf 80 megapixel back. I was surprised that it showed grain and didn’t look too smooth. Then I realized that 100% of that file just gave me a tiny fraction of the overall image. I printed it 30×40 inches it the quality blew my mind. I agree that downsizing to the same megapixel size is not a great idea. I would not do that. But printing an 80mp file at 16×20 or a 16mp file at 16×20 would lead to different results, even if on screen both 100% crops would indicate similar detail and noise. To some degree the Sony with its 24mp files may compensate some of the noise through resolution. Ultimately a print would be the best way to compare two cameras but as Steve indicated, most real-world photographers don’t print these days. Most share on the web or laptop and they don’t share the full 16 or 24mp resolution, just a downsized jpeg. I really wonder how many people here actually print and why we want all that detail. D!RK

      • I print much of my work. When printing 11×14 or even 16×20 there isn’t much difference between shots taken with my GF1 and 7D. Even high iso black and white shots from my GF1 look great when printed. This fact caused me to sell my 7D. I’ve now purchased a M6 and 50 summicron. My GF1 is still all I need when printing up to 16×20. People put to much emphasis on new equipment when they should be out shooting with what they already have instead. People can choose…. M9 and a summilux or a GF1 and a trip to Europe to shoot? I’ll keep my GF1 and take those great shots during my travels.

        • I’m with you guys that people are obssessed with resolution these days…even they won’t print any single picture in most case.
          This reminds me of people argueing on DPR that the new D800E is miles ahead in resolution comparing to a Leica M9…
          Seriously…miles ahead? Miles ahead for what? 400% crop on a computer screen?
          This makes no sense at all!

          Regarding what you say for the trip to Europe vs M9…it depends. For taking pictures, you are right a GF1 will do the job greatly. But a M9 provide you a shooting experience which is really special and some people are willing to pay a lot for that. I guess it’s just how confortable you feel with your camera 🙂
          My point is that…if you can afford a M9 and Summilux…you can certainly afford a trip to Europe without any worry^^

          In my case…I made my mind for a M8 and Summicron and do not regret that decision. I’m not in the high isos race and shooting a rangefinder camera changed my way of photographying things. No regrets!

          • I agree. Shooting with my M6 is completely different than shooting with my GF1. I process all my film at home and then scan the negatives. It’s rewarding in its own way. Long live film!

          • Gullaume-

            I am saving hard for the M8 due to it being the only digital Leica M i can see myself affording.

            What do you think of your M8 and are you printing large pictures?

            All the best and hope you see this and reply.


        • Ben: apart from printing, there are other reasons why people buy new equipment. I have the GF1 (two of them actually, lol) which I love and adore. And I agree with you, it produces great prints (I have a large format pro printer at home). But still, I just bought the Canon 5D Mark III to give me full frame capabilities – in particular, I want to take advantage of the razor-thin depth of field with fast lenses. You just can’t get the same DoF with smaller sensors.

          • Jay, you are right on regarding DOF. It is a drawback of m43 cameras. I get my fill of FF with my M6. I do long for a M9. I just can’t justify the price when three years later a new digital M body is released. If the M9 ever drops to $3500 USD, I’m in.

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