Crazy Comparison High ISO and Exposure! Olympus OM-D E-M5 vs Fuji X-Pro 1 vs Sony NEX-7 – JPEG

Crazy Comparison HIGH ISO! OM-D E-M5 vs Fuji X-Pro 1 vs Sony NEX-7 – JPEG

I always get those who complain about  these crazy comparisons but hey, I find them fun and useful for my own curiosities so I am sure some of you guys do as well! Since I have all three of the latest and greatest mirrorless cameras here with me right now, the OM-D, the X-Pro 1 and the NEX-7 I decided…why not do a JPEG only test to show OUT OF CAMERA files at high ISO in low indoor light at night, and even outdoor at night (using a tripod).

I was just certain the X-Pro 1 would wipe the floor with the other two but by how much? The results are interesting…and I have to say that out of all three, the one that focused just about instantaneously was the OM-D E-M5. I mean, it was just press and fire. The Sony hunted a but and the Fuji hunted the most.

I shot each camera at ISO 1600, 3200 and 6400. JPEG only. I turned OFF in camera NR on the Olympus to LOW on the Fuji and  Sony  (they can not be disabled). I also included a sample from the Olympus with NR on low, just to be fair. I chose JPEG as there is still not support from Adobe for the Olympus and Fuji.

When I do these comparisons I always show you what the camera puts out. If someone owns one of these, takes it outside, sets it on a tripod and lets the camera choose exposure..this is what you will get. So this is not only a test of each cameras night-time high ISO performance but a test of how well each one will expose the scene.

I DID resize the Sony file to 16MP to be ultra fair as the Sony crowd would yell at me if I did not. Keep in mind, I now OWN the Sony NEX-7 and Olympus. I do not own the Fuji. So which one killed it? Look at the images below and decide. All are straight from camera, how each camera exposed the scene. I also used Auto White Balance. Since different lenses were used they can not be exact, and this is NOT a test of sharpness but each lens was shot at f/2.

For the Olympus I used the 12mm f/2 at f/2. The Fuji has the 18mm at f/2 and the Sony the Zeiss 24 at f/2..are you ready? Let’s get it on!

1st I shot this indoor scene handheld. 9pm at night, just my living room light is on here. ISO 3200 for each camera. 

Click on each image to see a larger version and true 100% crop.

1st the Olympus E-M5 NOT E-P3 (it was late and I mistyped on the image..will fix later today)

now the Fuji – NR was set to low not OFF as it does not let you set it to off

and the Sony – NR low

as I stated in my NEX-7 review, the Sony has the tendency to underexpose. But this is not only an ISO test, it is also a test of how each camera will expose the scene on its own.

Now for some outdoor NIGHT TIME shots using a tripod

Keep in mind again that all Sony shots were resized to 16MP before getting the crop. Also, I let each camera choose their white balance and exposure as this is how most will shoot them. Finally, the Fuji told me it locked focus each time but every shot was out of focus somewhat and/or soft. Also, the Fuji tends to overexpose as you can see in the below examples. Again, this is a test showing ISO and exposure of each camera. I just set the lenses to f/2 on each and fired the shot after focus was locked. The Olympus locked it in an instant.

The Olympus at 3200 (IS was turned off as all shots were on a tripod)

click images for larger view and true 100% crop – NR set to OFF

and the Olympus at ISO 6400 – NR set to OFF

Now the Fuji at ISO 3200, tripod mounted and the camera said focus was locked – NR low not OFF

and the Fuji and 18mm at ISO 6400 – NR is set to LOW not off as it does not let you turn it off.

and finally the Sony NEX-7 and Zeiss 24 at f/2 at ISO 3200 – NR set to low

and the Sony at 6400

So there you go. The one thing I found by doing this is that Micro 4/3 has come a loooong way since the days of the GF1 and E-P1 in regards to high ISO 🙂 The OM-D is now really good at higher ISO, even at night and these are with all NR turned off! Why did I turn NR off? Well, mainly because the Oly is the only one that lets you disable it totally and also was curious how it would hold up without any at all.

So the OM-D was set to OFF. The Fuji to LOW (-2) and the Sony to LOW. The Fuji and Sony do NOT let you turn it OFF. So.. I knew I would get some of you asking me why I did not take a shot with the Olympus set to LOW. Makes sense right? So below you can see the shots with the Olympus set to LOW. Enjoy and have a GREAT weekend!

The Olympus was the fastest to focus, no contest. The Fuji hunted and never really locked on correctly even though it said it did and the Sony hunted a bit as well, but on the 3rd try I got it to focus. There you go!

UPDATE: With all of the comments from Fuji users who claimed I did not know how to use the AF of the X-Pro 1..really? Of course I know how to use the AF of the X-Pro 1. The question is, does the X-Pro 1 know how to use the AF? I used single point, same spot as with the other two cameras, which had no difficulties locking focus. The Sony was slower than the Olympus but the Fuji wad down SEVERAL times with the same result. I could have went to manual focus but why? This was to show what each camera puts out as is. With AF on all cameras. If the Fuji requires going in to MF mode to shoot in the dark with just street lights when the other two nailed it then that tells me the Fuji AF lags behind. One thing to note is that the Fuji told me it locked focus, so I was surprised at the result.

One more thing. As I stated in this post, I let the cameras choose exposure so I shot in A mode. I was curious to see how each camera would expose the same scene. The X-Pro always overexposes for me and the Sony usually underexposes. The Olympus was the one that exposed just right though the Sony AWB was the best of the lot.


  1. Think this was mentioned above.

    as average as the indoor sony photo looks; the ceiling light looks better in this photo than the other two.

    are you growing herbs in the background

  2. Low light noise tests are completely unfair
    All cameras have completely different shutter speeds – from 1/50 to 1/250
    It should be identical for proper test

    • No, they are not unfair. I ALWAYS show you what each camera will give the average user when shooting. If someone buys an OM-D, they will not be setting the shutter speed to what a NEX-7 meter will give you. There is no way to us etch same lens on each camera so is this test unfair because of that? No, it is not. This was not only an ISO test but a test to see how each camera would meter the scene. So what you see is what each camera gave me in Aperture Priority mode. Why would I set the shutter speed to the Fuji to what is on the Olympus? Each camera is different..different lenses, etc. For what I state this test is (please read the text), this is 100% fair.

      • Steve – do you miss focus on purpose with the Fuji in all your tests , or is it that bad that you never get the focus?

        I’ve done my own tests comparing the OMD to the FUJI and it’s a completely different story then what you show in your photos , no overblown highlights and much better dynamic range. OMD starts loosing it’s colors when you raise the ISO

        • ANdy, if you did had your own tests, why not share the results instead of just telling Steve’s test was not good enough?

          I wanna see it.

          Just to be fair.

    • Awesome!!! Thanks for the heads up Glen!

      According to Fuji:

      “Reduction of chattering noise from iris of lenses in shooting mode.”


      And yes, we need RAW support in LR!

      • Read somewhere recently that Adobe wants big bucks from Fuji to write RAW plugins … not sure if it is true but it might explain the lengthy delays between introduction of new models – particularly from niche manufacturers – and full raw support.

        Seems Nikon & Canon are the only guys who get near immediate support …. as in Adobe can’t afford to p*ss off the ‘big guys’ ?

  3. I have been playing around a bit with the fuji in the store for a couple weeks, but took it out yesterday. The focus system is garage, especially close focus.

  4. Hi Steve,

    I love your crazy comparisons…. coz I dont find them crazy and studio tests make my mind boggle 🙂
    I am just a hobbyist and ever on learning curve

    After said this I liked the jpeg output of the Sony Nex-7 than the Oly OM-D (its more yellowish). Somehow I feel the shot taken from Nex is more closer to real view (is it so?). I know this is a odd question but these comparisons are important for me as I am considering between the cameras (to upgrade from my point & shoot). Your help will be much appreciated

  5. Good ISO test. Having a NEX, they do tend to underexpose, but that is fine and easily corrected in the RAW file, just as the Fuji’s overexposure easily corrected (as long as it doesn’t wash out detail in the bright spots, which looks like it may be the case from that street shot). More than anything, this ISo test pushes up some issues:

    1. Autofocus on Fuji is junk in low light
    2. Sony’s Jpeg are probably the worst of the lot of mirrorless cameras.

    I never did like Sony’s jpeg engine. But their RAW file is superb.

  6. I don’t know why you’re having problems with the XP1. I’m getting really good ISO6400 with it ( I don’t shoot JPEGs though) and on typically night scenes such as you’ve show.

  7. Some of the people posting comments want Steve to run a controlled experiment. I do not. I can read other websites for controlled experiments, and enjoy reading Steve’s articles for what they are: real-world impressions derived from shooting outside of a studio or lab. This was a Crazy Comparison article, and I am happy with its content. I am not defending Steve, as he can defend himself if need be. I am just saying I like Steve’s articles as he presently writes them. When deciding whether to buy something, I do indeed look at the more technical sites, too.

  8. I guess I’ll keep my excellent X10 and my EPL-2 and keep shooting till next year. Thanks Steve. It looks like nothing new is quite getting it yet. Maybe next years crop will do better.

  9. First of all I do congratulate on Steve to make such HONNEST test.
    He has all those cameras in hands…everybody is talking about them…and as REAL WORLD SITUATION camera tester…he is really courageous to show us his results here when he let all cameras do their soup by themselves, even he knows people will howl.

    YES…many people are complaining because hey…nobody should say even a single bad word on the XPRO 1…or you instanty become a part of the Oly Fan Club…or a member of the RED DOT SECT because of course…nothing bad can be found on the X Pro 1 and if you own a Leica you are a stupid moron!

    I do not thing this test is stupid. Why set the parameters and tweak everything on each cameras to make a ‘FAIR’ comparison? Don’t u think the best ‘FAIR’ comparison is taking all cameras how it is out of the box instead of tweaking them by doing manual focus tests whatever which will not show what is the CURRENT render of your images under REAL / DAILY USE?
    I much agree with Steve that this kind of test….IS MUCH MORE FAIR AND REALISTIC.

    What can we see here:

    Maybe on a bench and chart test the XPRO1 has the best sensor out there. But…because of a sluggish AF…it loses all its sensor advantages…I think this finding is quite interesting and I saw the same statement on an other site. They also said…why have a so great sensor without AA which can provide such amazing files even at really high isos when you camera ruins all because of a slow and inacurate focusing system?

    To me the lesson to learn is clear…even a smaller sensor like on the OM-D…which is less sharp and has less performance at higher isos “ON CHARTS” provide better results comparing to XPRO1 because the AF system just works and give great honor to the sensor.

    Regarding the exposure…I’ve always stated that High Isos are useless if you do not expose your picture right. You showed us here that this is the truth.

    • Guillaume – no one has to be in any one manufacturer’s camp here. It is clear however that if you look around the wider web community they reach different conclusions on the relative merits of the Olympus, Sony & Fuji.

      Sadly, the OMD seems to have been so keenly anticipated by some, that mere observation that Steve may not have got the best from the XPro1 (as evidenced on other sites) has resulted in often vitriolic responses from the Oly supporters keen to defend their choice.

      No matter what his ‘web-profile’, Steve’s use of a camera and his findings are still ‘just one guy’ Go look at some of the other links cited in this thread (Digital Rev etc) or Google reviews, and the situation is not so clear cut.

      Even K Rockwell – who’s text I normally take with a pinch of salt and an anti-hyperbole pill – has produced high ISO images, in bad weather, without encountering AF or exposure issues. You don’t have to believe others results – but just look around is all I’d say ….

    • TRUTH! Thanks Guillaume. Well said good man!

      For how I personally use a camera, Steve’s article has helped me very much. My joy is candid, spur of the moment expressions and odd people doing odd things. These vanish in an instant.

      Steve’s test told *me* that no matter how good the individual components of the Fuji is it would be a constant source of irritation in my hands.


      On the other hand, my friend is a retired professional photog and loves to labor over each shot. He is into fine art/nature photography and enjoy’s his Fuji. This man benefits from bench type tests tests as performed elsewhere.

      I do not understand the emotion vented here. It has no place in a technical discussion.

      Thanks again Guillaume for stating the case so well!

  10. Most people agree that the default settings for these new olympuses have far too much sharpening and noise reduction.
    But… If you’re turning the noise reduction off, you need to also turn down the sharpening to match otherwise the noise is being greatly increased.
    Also, what are the exposure values for each shot? I’ve read that the fuji X100 tends to over-rate it’s ISO values by about a stop so there is a lot of speculation that the X pro 1 might do the same.

  11. Thanks Steve
    I actually canceled my em5 a few days ago returned my 12mm 45mm 25mm in favore for the xpro 1 ,
    Now I starting to second guess myself lol.

    I really like this xpro 1 tho. :$

    I tried af at night, want too bad, iOS 6400 f1.4 1/8second, I was able to lock and correctly pretty quickly, better then my old 5d2 lol

  12. Tried the OM-D today at the Precision Camera and came away very impressed. I’m not in the market for another camera as the NEX-7 has me satisfied but if you are looking to get into m4/3 or already in it, dang that is a nice rig. Nice build quality, great control, weather sealed, in body IS, fast AF, compact size, articulating LCD, decent EVF, excellent lenses and as Steve has illustrated, good high ISO performance. What more could you want in a take everywhere camera?

  13. If the test had been done at f/11 or f/8 instead of f/2, I think the focus would have been less of an issue. By using f/2, it is hard to compare the performance for all objects that are outside of the hyperfocal region. By using f/8/11, autofocus performance would not be as much of a factor in the comparison. I’m not suggesting you redo the tests, just a suggestion for future comparisons.

  14. nice write up Steve, an all round as it comes review…..nothing more nothing less.
    but you do attract some interesting folk here, with their opinions.

  15. I think Steve should disable comments from now on. Zero value reading that response crap. Some of you should work while you are at work and stop posting she-ite. And the others, just go use your cameras, outside. You’ll be amazed when you open your eyes whats in the ‘real world’.

    ps thanks steve for the comparison.

    • agreed….90% of these guys dont even know how to take an image……this is the problem with the digital age photographer who has never learnt the basics of photography with film.

    • As a follow up to you two guys’ indiscriminate, self-indulgent, and essentially useless flame throwing exercise… I’m just curious (only slightly): is there some misstatement either one of you has identified somewhere in this thread on which you are able to comment cogently and usefully? Did you happen to spot anything specific at variance with a verifiable body of empirical evidence? Alas, I might note with regret that ‘vinny’s facile handling of statistics suggests that knowledge of, or concern with, the managing of evidence is not high on his personal agenda.

  16. what does everyone think about the so-called “fatal sensor” flaw being discussed on dpreview? I’ve preordered the em-5 but am wondering if I’m being hasty, considering that a new model will be released in a year or so. Here’s the link to the video that shows the sensor jumping, clicking, and shutting down. Makes me cringe to watch it. Also link to the dpreview 3 4 forum.

  17. I read a lot on the X Pro1 and despite all the negative opinions decided to buy one. I must say that I find lots of what has been written and especially this comparison very misleading. If the comparison was approached from the point of view of trying to get the most out of each camera (rather than showing what each does when shot like a point and shoot) it would would have been more meaningful and am I pretty sure that the X Pro 1 would have beaten the field convincingly in the area of image quality.

    I did a comparison of my own. I don’t have a OM-D or Nex 7 to compare, so I compared with a D700 and G3. Here is my writeup:

    (sorry couldn’t get hyperlink to work).
    Also note: I see some people referring to the Ken Rockwell preview. I think it should be treated as a draft preview. I found some serious inaccuracies in it.

    • Yes. It says the camera has a leaf shutter, while it seems not true. I think he copy-pasted the X100 review and is building up on it.

    • also Mike Kobal’s review is very useful and some really nice shots as well, much better than trash-can photos.

      Robin Wong’s review of Olympus is a nice read, he is clearly Olympus biased but you can’t argue with the quality of photos he produces

  18. Thanks for the info. The OM-D will be my first non-point-and-shoot camera. Just hoping my Amazon pre-order arrives soon!

  19. So I suppose this test says the OMD is the all around AF camera to go for, and in any case Steve can always “fall back” on his M9.

    I haven’t tried the OMD myself, and even if I do I will not be buying one since I’ve already invested in an XP1. For the type of shooter that I am, someone who wants the best images but don’t have an extra $10K plus lying around, it fits the bill.

    For someone like my friend, who has a very active 3 year old and would never even bother to blow up an image to 100%, an Oly E-P3 does the job. It really depends on what suits you.

    As Steve always says, go try the camera yourself before making a decision. It’s kind of unfortunate that a lot of people these days make judgements on things according to what other people are saying on the Internet, which is why I’m a bit frustrated by the blurry XP1 shots.

    • Don’t be frustrated Allen. Steve clearly wrote in this post and in his review that he encountered issues with the XPro1’s AF in certain low light situations. This was just one of them. As you already know, the AF system in the XPro1 works fine in most situations. It’s not the fastest or the most accurate, but it’s certainly good enough for most situations. Steve also wrote that in his review, and his review had lots of nice and quite impressively detailed photos showing the XPro1’s strength, which is awesome IQ. Zackaria’s blog also has lots of impressive photos.

  20. For me it’s clear: the Fuji X-Pro1 is the camera that can not be a winner for quite a few out there. While it is in the real world easily the best EVIL on the market, even surpassing the IQ of a far too expensive German brand, cutting edge for quite a few things, they are looking for any tiny little proof and test this is NOT a good camera. The AF ‘issues’ are greatly exaggerated (by some that very likely NEVER operated a non-AF film camera and can only do a bit more than P&S while thinking they’re Helmut Newton). I’ve been working with pro-sumer DSLR’s from the ‘major 2’ that were in no way performing any better, also regarding their AF-system. I’m waiting until there is a comparison test letting it out 3 days in the rain on a tripod, side by side with the OM-D. Be honest what does this proof? What does the above by the way proofs, under conditions that are at the edge of ANY AF technology? Why f.i. Steve, didn’t you put an M9 out there, to proof how good its AF-system works ;-), maintaining the same ISO-setttings? For all those criticizing the X-Pro1: drop your Sony, Olympus, Nikon, Canon or even Leica masks, it’s too obvious which game you’re playing.

    • In my real world use over the weekend, the OM-D won my heart over the Fuji hands down. Oly has a winner. Also, the X-Pro does not beat out the M9 in IQ. HIgh ISO, yes..over all IQ? No. The fact is the Fuji is the slowest mirrorless camera out now to AF and it overexposes. Period. This is fact. The 35 1.4 is a GREAT lens and the IQ can be stunning – never stated anything less. But for overall use, IQ, video, build, feel, etc – OM-D wins it for me. It’s a damned amazing little camera and has NO ISSUES with low light or IQ.

    • Would if I could but I do not own nor do I have a K-01 on hand. Sorry! I have no doubts though that it would do well. I had no issues with the AF or IQ of that camera.

  21. What was the white balance setting on the outdoors shots with the OMD? Were the warm colors on or off? I haven’t seen anything appealing with the Oly warm colors set to on. These again look too warm and yellow to me.

  22. Love the update you posted, Steve. I started out with Olympus and shifted back in ’99 to Nikon for autofocus. Hated giving up the OM-4T metering system but needed autofocus for newspaper work I was doing. Looking at the new OM-D series it might be time to go back to Oly as I left the newspaper industry four years ago. Loved my Olympus cameras light weight even when packing an 80-200mm f2.8 or a 300mm f2.8. Now, I guess I really need to study the 4/3 system to understand its capabilities.

  23. Steve,

    It’s really important that you enable the “af correction” frame in the fujifilm X series – if you haven’t already done it. The single spot in the viewfinder is not enough to cover parallax error. The af correction frame will show 2 boxes – one top left and one bottom right, correlating to infinity focus and close focus for each lens. When the AF confirm box goes green it will position it between the two boxes, correlating to where it has focussed in real life – e.g. – over the top left infinity ‘box’ means it’s focussed at infinity. In the middle means it’s probably focussed at about 3.5m with the 18mm lens.

    Apologies if you already knew this, but my x100 would be able to lock focus in that scene 10/10 times, and is accurate ALL the time. The last firmware update they did on that made it quite amazing. In my testing, I’m able to get a solid lock at about ISO6400, 1/10 shutter, f2 in completely flat lighting. I can’t see the x-pro being much worse, if any.

  24. What I really would like to see, is a comparison of the best picture ONE CAN GET at high ISO from any of these camera’s!
    That means manual focussing (and explaining how that’s done and how user friendly that is). It also means using RAW format (on those camera’s where it’s available – if not available: sorry, one can’t expect me not to use RAW if it’s there). For the X-Pro 1 it means exposing somewhat shorter (street picture). For the OM-D it means exposing a bit longer (street picture). For the NEX-7 it means going for 24Mp (if that gives better results than 16), and exposing longer. (With the NEX on tripod, I wouldn’t go for focus peaking, because we don’t need speed here.)
    As far as the shutter time is concerned, it would be a good idea to make a range of pictures, each time with the next step of shutter time. Then you can chose the best exposure afterwards. The pictures from the different camera’s would be more comparable in that way.
    Probably you still can finetune this procedure. But I’m sure it would result in a more Reasonable Comparison, instead of a Crazy Comparison. 🙂

  25. I enjoy these comparisons a lot,good fun and interesting.It might be nice to know which is closest to how the scene actually looked.

  26. Hey Steve. Thanks for this test. Always nice to read. But I have a very pertinent question. (At the end.)
    I’m responding here, without reading any of the comments of my fellow blog visitors.
    First about the relevance of such a test. I think it IS relevant, but only partly. I mean this compares certain things (auto white balance, auto exposure, auto focus) and that IS valuable to a certain point. Not so much for me, nor for any “photographer”, I think (with “photographer”, I mean someone who looks and thinks while shooting). In fact, this is shooting more or less blind. But the results are still remarkable and worth knowing, even if it’s only to be able to work around the flaws.
    In shot 1 (interior), to me the X-Pro 1 wins by far at 100%, but at 1100px I don’t know. I may like the OM-D more. The NEX’s shot is just terrible. Underexposed indeed and very noisy. But then: who shoots without looking? And if one knows that the NEX underexposes somewhat, why not compensate it anyway? I know, this is the concept of the test. But this only tells me: OK, it’s clear, the NEX doesn’t work well in low light for “blind” snapshot photographers, it seems…
    Second picture, outside, 3200. What happens??? Completely different story. The OM-D has a lot of noise and is much to yellowish. The Fuji overexposes (but then, who shoots blind?) and is unsharp (this makes me furrow the eyebrows more). The NEX wins by far. Clear image, sharp, everything really pops out, althoughs I would expose a tiny bit more. And I love the more cooler, neutral colors. In comparison with the Fuji, I really have a wow-feeling here. And at 6400 ISO: basicly the same feeling. What a fantastic camera, the NEX is! I’m so glad that I bought THIS one. 🙂 It just makes me wonder what the image of the interior would be, if shot by someone who’s not blind! (Excuse my language. 🙂 )
    So I have this urgent question, Steve. Maybe you make this website for snapshot photographers. (?) Than you don’t need to read any further. But if you’re also working for enthousiasts, please perform another test. Make the same pictures, but now using your brains and your eyes while shooting. Just try to make the best out of camera picture. That’s how we take pictures, don’t we (?). Then we could really see which camera has the most potential. Does this seem a good idea to you? I know it brings in the human factor, and leaves out the scientific comparability. But I trust you. And I guess so does almost everybody who’s reading your blog. So please, let’s just go for it! It would tell us so much more. (Isn’t this a “real world” website?

  27. Thank for this review Steve! I am so looking forward to your full review of the EM5. It’s funny but I “consult” you whenever I am in the market for a new camera (which is pretty darn regular!) I was considering the EM5 and the XPro1. I wanted something that would be great to use instead of my D300 for shooting portraits of my kids. I wanted something that will give me beautiful creamy bokeh and shallow DOF (much like that of an SLR) so I was thinking the XPro1 might be a better choice given that it has a larger sensor. But when it comes to shooting kids, speed is of the utmost importance I suppose so I think now I know what my answer is….the EM5.
    My question though, do you notice a big difference in IQ and DOF between the 2? If I use the 45mm lens on the EM5 do you think I’ll be able to get the look I’m after? Something comparable to an SLR. Not a full frame but something like a D300?

  28. Excellent Steve. Love, love, love the crazy comparisons. Keep them coming. And, of course, it has nothing to do with the fact that my own comparisons between the formats seems to fall into line with your findings. 🙂


    • Gordon, you already pickup an OMD? Make sure you start posting some pics on your Flickr or at MU43 or SC!

  29. “crazy comparison” indeed 😉
    6400 ISO on a tripod outdoor … those cameras are not supposed to be used in full auto mode like a small P&S, no ?
    The AF seems to be the important question, kind of funny from a Leica guy 😉
    I photograph my kids with the X100, less pictures than with my DLSR but very good pictures !
    Posted by Bill Pierce (photojournalist and Leica user, using the x-pro 1 as well) :
    “if you understand contrast detection focus (which isn’t so different from rangefinder focus) rather than trying to focus on something with no real tonal differences, the comments I’ve read on the web about focus problems just disappear.”
    But don’t get me wrong, the OM-D looks like a great camera, for sure 😉

  30. Sometimes I think that any review, Steve or otherwise, needs to have one seemingly debatable variable in any given “test” or else what would everyone have to talk/argue about ?? lol

  31. Not taking anything away from your review and feelings about the X-Pro 1 Steve, but I find it interesting that Ken Rockwell has given the X-Pro 1 a glowing ‘preview’ (the official review is pending) – but he has already posted amazing XP-1 images taken under every imaginable kind of light – and had no issues with auto-focus. Darkness, florescent, tungsten lighting, even a torrential night storm – the images are very impressive.

    Is it possible you received a faulty camera? As a former X100 owner, I also know that the first firmware update will likely cure all woes and when we finally get the chance to see what the XP-1’s RAW capability is – this camera could be amazing.

    It is on my wish list (again).

      • Hi Anders,
        I think you are being unfair to KR. Whenever you read a review it is up to you to make a decision based on the views of the reviewed and your needs. As much as I enjoy reading Steve’s site I enjoy KR’s site as well. To say that ‘he is known to write BS’ is like saying that he has been convicted for this crime sometime. It’s just that he reviews things in a different way. If you don’t like it please don’t read it.

        • A different way than here. The best camera is… “Nikon D5100″… D3100, if you want to save a couple hundred bucks and forgo some convenience — “same” picture quality. A D7000 won’t take better pictures. Don’t mind me, I’m just the messenger boy…

      • Still the simple explanation is he adjusted the settings to his liking like any photographer should do. Those EV knobs, etc were not put on a camera for decorations.

    • Whilst I totally agree with you Glen, you are wasting your time on these pages trying to tell non-users that Fuji AF is fine …. no-one wants to believe it.

      For the record, I too have never had any significant AF issues.

      There seems to be much received wisdom, rather than genuine user experience, in so-called ‘facts’ about X100 and now XPro1. I also agree with others that Ken may post some sanctimonious BS views at times, but, by and large, he is as capable of operating a camera as most people on the planet ….

      Thing I can’t understand – if Fuji are so cr*p at making AF cameras, why aren’t users returning them by the thousand under warranty … why haven’t Fuji filed for bankruptcy … why are they not out of business?

      • Photozopia, you just nailed it with your statement — “never had any significant AF issues.” I didn’t think either the X100 or XP1 had “significant” AF issues either. But there’s a difference in stating that vs. some who are saying that the AF in the XPro1 (or X100) never misses focus. My experience and apparently Steve’s experience as well is that the XPro1 does miss focus. It’s not all the time, but it happens in certain situations. And like I’ve said in the past, I doubt that there’s any auto focus camera out there that has an AF system that NEVER misses focus, even though a lot of people want to believe that their own gear is perfect. My experience with the XPro1 is that it does miss focus from time to time. I adjust accordingly and acquire focus one way or the other. Do I wish that the XPro1 would have nailed focus the very first time in all lighting and contrast conditions? Sure. Are some cameras better than the XPro1 in nailing focus? Sure. Is the XPro1 the ultimate in IQ right now for a cropped sensor camera? To my eyes, yes. Does the cons outweigh the pros in the XPro1 or vice-versa? Only someone who uses the camera itself can make that decision for himself (or herself).

        • If only everyone shared your viewpoint. Although not quite a resounding ‘yeh’ for the XPro1 you state what I believe to be the crux of the matter – is there an AF camera out there that does NOT miss focus at some point? My Canon DSLRs do – I don’t throw my toys out the pram in disgust and abandon everything – I just get on with it …

          There are some who choose to believe Fuji couldn’t design an AF system if they stole the plans from Canon. Most are merely repeating internet ‘fact’ ….

          For example, even before it was released, the XPro1 was, according to numerous postings on the net, “…. as big as a Canon 5D MkIII …” a fact clearly untrue, but repeated verbatim numerous times. One has to wonder where similar product dissing ‘rumors’ originate from – they surely cannot all originate from febrile moronic imagination – or have I got a cynical mind about the way companies ‘market’ their goods via enthusiast sites/forums, etc.

          Fuji’s recent success seems to have sparked a whole backlash of comment – one wonders just how valuable this ‘reverse marketing’ is to their competitors.

      • In the white hats: the defensively Fuji-phile. In the black hats: the non-believers. You just can’t tell a single one of these atheists — oops, my mistake — “non-users”, anything.

        • Fred – as I replied to you in #27 – you seem to be the one stirring up the anti-Fuji feeling to fever pitch here. I’d suggest that calling Fuji users ‘atheists’ – in invoking a quasi-religious fervour – is a step too far – unless you truly believe only you …. and your God …. is right on any topic.

          Personally, I can keep any possible bigotry I might have, hidden deep in my dark soul – I certainly don’t need to vent my intolerance on others whose views differ to mine, in any way.

          I think some forum users fail to realise they can overstep the mark – we are talking about f***ing cameras here – a simple hobby – not your right to insult people you have no knowledge of – I include the Huff here as well as myself.

          I thought your previous comment – re. ‘do you think Steve is delusional’ was odd – on reading this, and a number of your other vitriolic responses in this thread, I didn’t realise vengeful personal attack was actually your main modus operandi.

          Don’t bother replying – I’ve nothing more to say to you – on cameras or any other topic.

          • Oh, but in the case of a dishonest attack on my character, I will reply.

            Yes… you responded in #27 by referring to me as delusional! For taking the position that we all ought to just accept and admit into the court of opinion ALL the observations and testimonials we’ve seen (including the positive) which appear to be solidly grounded in EVIDENCE — in the experiences of credible, experienced users… like Steve Huff, for one! To just accept the fact that different people order their priorities differently — for entirely rational, not delusional, reasons. To refrain from irrelevancies and misdirections regarding gear, and attitudes toward GEAR, in extremes of defensiveness that do not advance the discussion.

            “…I certainly don’t need to vent my intolerance on others whose views differ to mine…” — Well, that’s exactly what you did in putting [your!] words into my mouth and then torching them with such a rude pejorative. Me, “the one stirring up the anti-Fuji feeling to a fever pitch here”? THE one? The ONLY commentary I have offered on the X-Pro’s performance, or the company itself, is to acknowledge the widely reported fact that the camera has given experienced users problems in low light situations, which E-P3 and OM-D users do not report experiencing in like fashion. In Steve’s review, he cited this as a deal breaker, for HIM (and explicitly, not for YOU, or anyone else who is O.K. with the reality). Not being able to own ALL the cameras we might like was the corollary reason — PRECISELY my feeling about it!

            As with Steve, I like it, too. I don’t like it that only two general purpose lenses are available, and that the strong one is the ~52mm equivalent normal. I prefer a fast ~35mm type for “normal”. So why WOULD I be in a hurry to drop $2300? I wondered why X-Pro is not reported as having X100 1.21 attributes. And it’s X-Pro folks here saying, wait ’til the update! THAT’S IT for being “anti-Fuji”! But I will be “anti” to your aggressive and counter-factual state of denial, in defense of my now-slandered character.

            “Glen, you are wasting your time in these pages trying to tell non-users that Fuji AF is fine… NO-ONE [my emphasis] wants to believe it.” Oh, come down off your cross! Your unreasonable prejudice couldn’t be more clear. I never once disputed your satisfaction with YOUR experience. In fact, I hadn’t even responded to you! I addressed Glen T.; and so far, he hasn’t called me delusional or anti-Fuji for having a critique of the way this unnecessary debate has been going. I don’t even get why Fuji is the big issue when it’s the OM-D’s time in the limelight! We already knew both APS-C cameras were going to be fine with respect to noise, for the purposes of most, at higher ISO’s. Too bad about the little shock that came along for the ride — it’s nothing to do with me. I made no comment.

            “Quasi-religious fervor” is PRECISELY the term I was thinking in connection with you — which is what, in conjunction with your out-of-the-blue mis-characterization, stirred me to sum up your crusade with one short sarcasm. A sarcasm DISMISSING this battle line posturing. I was pointed in likening your US vs. THEM stance as akin to religious tribalism. You got ticked off at some comments here characterizing Fuji’s AF as “abysmal”, and so forth. Of course that’s nonsense. So in response, you had to tar other people with reasonable reservations with the same brush. Why? Because you just lost your grip on a rational perspective; you certainly did in my case. “If Fuji are so cr*p at making cameras…” — That did not come from ME. Ever!

            So I categorically reject your accusations as false. And as I challenged you directly in #27 above, produce one whit of evidence, IN CONTEXT, that supports your accusation that I am some kind of ringleader stirring up anti-Fuji sentiment. I note that you have failed to do so, instead opting to vent your frustration by acting wounded. I have been, and continue to be, a prospective customer for the Fuji cameras — both of them. This stupid gear war stuff is exactly what I explicitly argued against.

            Audience — that is, anyone still interested — you may see, in detail, what I’m on record as saying at #27. My crime: Taking in the broad spectrum of opinion and testimony presented, I came to the provisional conclusion — from a “distance”, as I explicitly stated — that so far, my overall judgement (as a prospective FUJI CUSTOMER — Read the facts) coincided largely with the conclusions in Steve Huff’s review. THAT’S IT. For photozopia, this was just another case of delusional Fuji-bashing, indistinguishable from some off-the-cuff nonsense comments! And now I am a ringleader! Now that is what going off the deep end sounds like.

            And, BTW, how is that agreeing (again, provisionally) with Steve is insulting to “the Huff”? Crazy accusation.

            To sum up, I might just endorse one X-Pro 1 owner’s reporting on this matter — because I DO… his comments to me are thoroughly credible, have a balanced perspective, and generally reflect very well my take on the camera at this juncture (SO barely relevant, anyway!). And his observations on some other people’s take on the X-Pro are ones which I find agreeable, as well. I was trying to make a similar point when I replied to Glen T. Some may prefer this way of putting it [under #39, to Wally]. Not to pull anyone else into this, I’ll just say, thanks, Armanius, for the welcome rays of light.

          • I think you have a problem Fred – I can’t help you or cure your need to be 100% right all the time. Your exceedingly long diatribes to both me … and other postings … seems to illustrate you will accept no other view unless it accords with your own.

            As I say – I refuse to answer someone whose only retort (when questioned) is to launch personal attacks. I really think you need to get about on the wider web and look around more …. bye!

  32. Very odd that nothing in the Fuji street image is in focus and it is overexposed but the Fuji clearly wins indoors. My experience with the X100 is that it is great at night but naturally tends to overexpose (as all cameras would as they try to achieve an 18% grey image balance) – that’s why there is an exposure comp dial.

  33. Tip for E-M5 JPEG settings:

    Use Contrast at -1, Sharpness at -2 and no NR.

    This gives the best results, also don’t forget to disable “keep warm WB” under settings.

  34. Wow, what did Olympus do to fix the noise issue?? Those pictures look very good, and as a non-pixel peeper, my expectations have been exceeded.

    I was on the fence about an x100 vs 5n vs OM-D. I’ll look forward to the full review, but it looks like the Oly has the fewest compromises with best results!

    • Exactly my thoughts. Oly had the fewest compromises. For me outstanding IS, one fo the best EVF, great low-noise performance made the trick. The weather-sealed body and the ultimate retro-look were huge bonuses.

  35. One more “check” on the OMD list!

    Now if you could test water protection, dust protection, and shock protection as well! 😉

  36. Would be great to see this same exact test done, except only using manual focus. Right now as it stands, the Fuji looks like doo-doo because it is so out of focus, and the only thing “sharp” is all the noise, whereas the other two cameras are in-focus and the noise in not the the first thing your eyes go to.

  37. Steve,

    Please answer this question as you study the OMD: Is the superior Focus acquisition, speed and accuracy of the new OMD only possible when using these new Olympus lenses, or will it do all of that just as fast and accurately with the Panasonic 20mm and the Leica 25mm?

    • I can tell you the 20mm focus is very fast on the E-M5 (it is my walking-around lens), but not as fast as the two Olympus primes Steve is using because its focus drive motor is not as quick. I don’t have the Panasonic 25mm, but I’ve read that it is faster than the 20mm, so probably about on par with the Olympus lenses. I have been using the 12, 20 & 45 all week- they are all great.

  38. Hi Steve

    Just out of curiousity can you take some sample pictures based on how you would personally shoot the scene, instead of letting camera do the calculations? I know that it is a unscientific method or probably some will say unfair but my way of thinking is that like cars there are some that are good on the straight run and some are at the curves and it is actually up to the driver to adjust their way of driving to get the most out of the performance of the car. Added to that, most of your readers would actually do that in real world circumstances since these cameras are actually aimed at advance users than point and shooters. Lastly, it’s a crazy comparison anyway! 🙂

    Just a suggestion… and nothing more

  39. Pretty amazing. Here we have a “real world” digital cameras experience and comparison by someone who do not even know how really use AF of the X-Pro 1, one of those cameras.
    I’ve been shooting with my X-Pro 1 since three weeks ago and I never, I said “never”, missed a shot even in dim light. Same way as many people, and even famous photographers, did. Simply google the web for those tons of pictures captured in dim light with X-Pro 1.
    I do not know if I’m Clark Kent and I do not even know if it is due to many years of shooting with Contax G2.
    But I’m pretty sure that everyone interested in photography should know how to shoot with contrast AF cameras, simply point to a part of the subject with vertical contrast lines or rich texture, then press the button.
    That’s it.
    It seems like the old days, when Leica fan guys blamed against Contax G1 & G2, simply because they did not even know how to use it. “It has a low AF” “It is quirky”…

    Actually X-Pro 1 is not a “touch and shoot” camera, it not fast as Oly and Nex, and maybe it will not allow you to “touch and shoot” your steady dog in 0.00001ms, it is not even to be compared to that.

    My point is not about supporting a firm or a camera, it is about the sadness of reading about people taking their decision basing on an out focus and overexposed frame, even if they would be able to take a better shot.

    It should be a shame for every photography lover.


    • I know very well how to use the X-Pro 1 AF system. I used center point and focused on the same spot as the others, the garbage can. The camera showed that it LOCKED focus and I redid this several times, not just once. Sure I could have enabled MF but why? I was showing the output of what each camera would give me in that situation, including AF. No flawed test here, it is what it is.

      • “Sure I could have enabled MF but why?” because the title of the article says “Crazy Comparison High ISO and Exposure!” so you are comparing image (jpeg) quality of 3 cameras and in that sense it is flawed to draw conclusions based on misfocused image. This was no usability or AF test (where Fuji obviously has many problems) but image quality test. And also you always like to point put that you have real world test, who in the real world mount camera on a tripod and then cranks up iso to 3200 and in addition to that shoots wide open? why use the tripod then?

      • Wally is the first person and I mean first person who claims he never missed with the x pro 1… Every review I’ve read,they had said that They missed several times and that it always hunts in low light. Kai from digital rev just did a new video with xpro1 nex7 and OM-D of a moving subject and the fuji missed every time not even close to being in focus. Peke get offensive when there cameras fall short!

        • Just watched the Digital Rev video – where do you conclude, hyperbolically, that “on a moving target the Fuji missed ‘every time’ ….”? In fact, the inclusion of movement shots within the finished video prove they, it, didn’t … at all. Nor did it fail any high ISO tests they conducted – quite the opposite to Steve’s results.

          What really stands out – in direct contrast to Steve’s test – and stated in the video, is that (particularly at high ISO) the Fuji absolutely massacred both the Sony and Olympus for IQ.

          Some have questioned Steve’s methodology or techniques, but in the DRev video their method is there for all to see.

          To counter the anti-Fuji rant, “Peke get offensive when there cameras fall short” (???? – your spelling) I’d suggest it’s actually more a case of: ‘ …. critics only see what they want to see and only hear what they want to hear’.

          On Digital Rev’s evidence, the Fuji has little – if anything – to apologise for! If it’s AF does needs tweaking, I’m sure it can/will be – far easier than doing a sensor upgrade on the OMD … which was tellingly summed up by the DR guys as just another ‘….EP whatever ….’

    • Do you still have your Contax lenses? If so, and you get an adapter, please let us know how they work in manual focus on the X-Pro. I have the 28mm, the 45mm, and the 90mm G-lenses.

      • Yes I do Fred. I love them, especially the Biogon 21mm. I bought an adapter from far east, the only available at the moment, and I have to say that it is pretty good. Manual focussing is more natural an fast than the “by wire” one of Fuji, it is mechanical.
        EVF is a little laggy in dim lights but there is no problem using LCD.
        Zooming in the center area pressing the rear wheel is very helpful and accurate. Focus peaking would be a great improvement but i think Fuji can add it with a firmware upgrade, as Sony did, maybe with the M adapter incoming release.
        I used the 45 an 90 mm only, since to use my 28 and 21 I should cut the plastic shields of the lenses. I’ll never cripple my Biogons. I’ll wait for the Fuji 14mm.
        90mm is not so easy to focus hand-held since it is a 135mm equivalent and not stabilized, It took me some time to practise, but I did at the end.
        Zeiss superb quality of those lenses still remains the same on the X-Pro sensor, and they are simply fantastic for portraits.
        I heard about some sharpness loss at the corners of the image adapting the 21mm on the X-Pro or other digital sensors, but I’ve just read it.


    • I was using the XPro1 for three weeks, and like Steve, I’ve had false AF locks on a number of occasions as well. It happens. Just like it does on my X100. And the K5 as well. And I’ve read and heard that even fancy AF systems like in the D7000, 7D, or D3 have resulted in blurry photos. So I’m always amazed that some people are so quick to defend their gear as some sort of infallible tool, and so quick to flame someone who might have voiced a negative experience.

        • No point missed Wally. You started your comment by flaming Steve and then spent a good part of the comment continuing the flaming, and that’s what I’m referring to. And then you tried to soften things up towards the end about your “point.” Unless you were right there with Steve when he was doing his testing, you have no idea what his XPro1 was doing or not doing. And you know even less whether or not Steve knows how to use the camera or not. You want to tell the world that your XPro1’s auto focus system is the best thing since sliced bread, then that’s awesome. By all means, please do. I am happy that your XPro1’s auto focus system is infallible. And I’m happy Ken Rockwell’s is also. And I’m also happy for all the people who could find no wrong with the auto focus of the X100, but were rejoicing when Fuji improved the auto focus via firmware upgrades. I’m even happy for those whose X1’s auto focus speed was blinding fast. But I suppose when Fuji releases a new firmware improving the low light auto focus algorithms of the XPro1, you are NOT going to install it given that your XPro1 already works perfectly and you’ve “never” missed a low light photo. And you must think that Fuji’s aim in releasing updated firmware is just to help those who do not know how to use a camera with contrast detection auto focus.

          • Whoa, a fresh gust of logic just blew through here! Ah… that IS better! I think you put your finger on a real good point in that discussion — it’s not just Mitt Romney with the Etch-a-Sketch platform! Ha, ha, ha…

          • Armanius Re: your firmware comment. let’s put it in a different analogy. let’s say your perfectly fine riding in economy class, no problem at all. Would you then decline upgrading to business class or even first class if it was given for free?

            Of course any sane person, would upgrade even if they are already fine with the performance of their camera. Your argument is totally flawed.

          • Robert, the analogy works perfectly, because someone is asserting that he is already in first class. Where do you upgrade to then? The cockpit? But then, I’m not sure why you want to even go there as the underlying gist is not about an analogy. It’s about the fact that no AF system is perfect. Unfortunately, there are those who think their camera is perfect. So when someone else experiences a mishap, they start screaming operator error! Conversely, there are those who make statements that the XP1 has a worthless AF system, which is totally untrue.

          • Armanius, I’m not sure where Wally said the fuji has perfect af. Basing my comments on #39. He actually even said that it wasn’t a touch and shoot camera and even admitted it’s not as fast as the oly or Sony. So he is definitely not implying that fuji has first class af or that fuji is perfect in anyway. Please review the post again and you will see what I mean.

            I believe when he said that he never missed a shot is because he compensates on what the camera can do and not leave it as it is. Meaning if you cannot get what you want in one way then change your method to get it.

            I would even go on record that he has a point that if you look at other sites the quality of the pix from fuji in low light is totally different from what is Steve posting. Is that an indication of the capability of the photographer? I don’t know because I’m just a hobby photographer but I also know what looks good for my taste and I also believe that those knobs are meant for something other than decorations because in the real world that’s how your suppose to use it. In the end, a camera is just a tool if you want to work properly you have to use it properly quirks and all.

            I think that some are misconstrued of being defensive but actually they just want to point out that you have to give fuji a fair shake. That was given to Sony when the image was down sampled. So why not at least make sure fuji was focused right.

            Ok I’m sure people will start flaming about that down sample thing but the right way to look at the image taken at its native resolution is at photoshop
            Go to view-then pick “print size”. Why am a not agreeing with down sampling? It’s because when you do that the image software is actually reducing the pixel size and doing so eliminates most of the noise. So does that have to do with the quality of the sensor, no it’s benefitting from how the software work. I should know because my work entails printing and we do this all the time. Sorry for being off topic but I guess I just have to mention that since i’m trying to emphasize on giving a fair shake.

          • Robert, please read Wally’s first comment as you are giving him more credit than what he wrote. He clearly flames Steve by saying that Steve doesn’t know how to use the auto focus on the XPro1. Then Wally goes on to write that he has never missed a shot in low light, period. No qualifications about workaround or whatever else. Then he goes on again about how “everyone” interested in photography should know how to use a CDAF camera, as if Steve needs a lesson.

            It’s one thing to say, “Robert, I disagree with your assessment about camera ABC, because these are the results that I am getting under the same conditions.” It’s another thing for me to say “Robert, you have no idea how to use a camera, and that’s why you are getting crappy results.” That’s pretty insulting, especially if I know that you are an experienced photographer.

            Steve has given the XPro1 a fair shake. If you haven’t read Steve’s full review of the XPro1, you will see lots of photos in which he shows the greatness of the XPro1’s image quality. In THIS post, Steve also clearly writes that under THESE particular conditions, the XPro1’s AF was off. This doesn’t mean that the XPro1’s AF is off all the time under low light situations. This also doesn’t mean that the XPro1’s AF is rubbish. It just means that for this particular test, the XPro1’s AF was off. Nothing more, nothing less.

          • Well, admittedly his comment was harsh but I just felt that your response was also a bit on the emotional side also that is why I commented. I think all of us are guilty of this at some point, might be brought about our passion for whatever reason.

          • I admit that it was emotional, because I get tired of people throwing out insults because they don’t want to hear anything negative about their gear or they disagree with someone else’s opinion.

      • Tell me about it, Armando! I just got scorched in this thread [It seems that I am in a state of delusion! Send help!] for making pretty much the same observation.

  40. I just have the NEX-5N (the wife’s OM-D has not arrived yet), but I have found it to work well in low light, if not as well as the K-5.

    Nice set of shots, though, and I am not very surpised by the result.

    Wonder what a similar set with the cameras set to HIGH would look like?!

  41. I don’t care much about the fuji and the whole retro styling but all the tests on very credible websites paint a very different picture. Might have helped if fuji shot was actually properly focused. I know that fuji doesn’t have the best focus and that it is even worse in dim lighting, however, this is supposed to be noise test right? the title is “Crazy Comparison High ISO and Exposure! ” after all. Didn’t say that it is AF test so if anyone has any other intentions than increasing traffic on his website at least 1 minute should be invested for cameras to be focused properly.

    Also, if you know that your camera underexposes, there is a solution, you dial +1/3 or +2/3 or exposure compensation and that’s it, that’s I think the whole point of using camera with a bigger sensor and interchangable lenses. For people who don’t want to mess up with exposure and raw file processing point and shoot cameras are better and you save a lot of money as well but I guess then you can’t call yourself a photo enthusiast.

    • Agreed, would be more helpful if the Fuji shot wasn’t overexposed and out of focus. How utterly unfair. I think all cameras are slightly different and simply setting ISO, fstop and shutter speed and expecting the same exposure result is not going to happen.

      Sure keep ISO the same if that’s what you are comparing, but please adjust exposure to taste.
      And focus the Fuji properly – is this a low light focussing competition as well?

      • I think its pretty interesting for possible buyers to know if a camera can handle certain situations or not. Many sites or magazines do these kind of lab test that are not too useful for real life photographers in my opinion.

        • point about the AF is totally valid but this was meant to be iso test and not AF test hence the camera should have been properly focused. And regarding the “real life photographers” point, I don’t know any photographer who would actually mount camera on a tripod and the shoot wide open (focusing on the most distant object in the scene) and crank up iso to 3200 if it is static scene, whats the point? you either use high iso and wide aperture if you don’t have a tripod, and if you do then you use to shoot at optimal aperture and low iso

          I’m really not defending fuji (I actually have nex7), it has lots of faults but using misfocused photo that has +1 exposure when compared to other cameras to draw any conclusions about image quality doesn’t tell you anything more than that Olympus is sharper than misfocused fuji

  42. Steve,
    Great stuff, it’s really nice to see just how camera’s perform outside a lab rat environment. How it’s going to look vs. pixel peeping, spinner on the beanie cap view of life.
    Kudo’s, I look forward to your review. Thanks for all the efforts.


  43. Please, Steve:

    Pick a single exposure. Pick a single color temperature. Then shoot the shots. There are just too many variables here. Kudos for shrinking the NEX-7 to 16MP, by the way.

    Your defense of “this is real world” or “this is what the cameras do” won’t wash, because it’s impossible to judge differences of noise between underexposed and normally exposed images.

    Photographers who learn their camera underexposes certain shots will apply exposure compensation prior to shooting. Especially given it is evident from either histograms or LCD/EVF display.

    Color temperature differences depend. Some raw shooters don’t bother and wait till post processing.

    • I think it is a good test to show how a camera makes exposures and it is really great if the camera is good at exposing correctly, because you don’t have to take this into account when just picking up the camera to get some quick shoots.

      One good example is the J1/V1 that is really good at making correct exposures and as we can see here the NEX and OMD are very good as well while the X-PRO1 fails a little.

      • You can compare High ISO, or you can compare exposure. Comparing both simultaneously is good enough to get an idea for how they meter, but not doesn’t constitute a useful ISO test.

    • Steve’s point is that people typically do not go around equalizing exposures and WB for multiple cameras, because people typically don’t shoot multiple cameras at the same time. I agree that for comparison purposes, it sometimes is nice to have the same parameter used for every single photo taken. But in the “real world”, each camera behaves in a different manner, and that is what Steve intended to capture. For scientifically controlled tests, there is always DPR, IR, DCR.

      • Er, what’s “IR”, please, Armando? Excuse my incomprehension: on Dec. 1 of last year I hadn’t given serious thought in many recent months to returning to photography as an enthusiast/hobbyist. Now I’m trapped in my renewed enthusiasm! Ah, well…

        • My apologies Fred. That was my lazy man’s way of typing Imaging Resource. Or it might be Image Resource. They have some excellent detailed reviews.

    • Steve has made the right approach here. The issue is, one picks up the camera, checks the settings are still the ones used and goes off shooting. From time to time some changes are made to suit a location, conditions or effect required.
      One does not carry around spectrum analysers or photometers, spectrocolorimeters or similar strange equipment to measure the atmospherics, colour and millions of other factors.
      What the camera does with your settings and its programming and functionality is what you get. That’s what Steve is showing here. Just like it is. The image is what counts. Graphs and charts on a wall instead of pictures is not photography.

  44. Thanks for the comparison images! As much as I shoot at night, this is quite relevant, and combined with other information, has largely knocked the Fuji X-Pro out of contention as my next camera, unless I make a commitment to better learn zone focusing, and become more comfortable with it, in which case I might like the combination of an X-Pro with M-mount glass. My aging eyes need plenty of light to manually focus through the lens.

    I may totally forego a mirror-less digital camera for quite a while, except, perhaps, for a Nikon 1 V1, which can can AF with one of my faster Nikkors. Otherwise, the new Olympus is starting to look more interesting.

    Thanks again!

  45. Thanks Steve, another fun comparison.

    The OM-D is shaping up to be a great all around camera.

    The Sony looks very strong as well. I certainly like the IQ from my NEX 5N.

    Unfortunately, for me, the abysmal AF and MF on the Fuji make it a non-starter.


    • Do you think Fuji can bring out a firmware update to fix the focusing problem? Or is it more of a hardware problem? If you have a test camera from Fuji you might be able to find out from some of the people in the company 🙂

  46. The nex7 appears to have taken what the oly & fuji photos express and combined them together for less noise plus retain tree details. Just my opinion.

  47. Hi Steve… please would you be kind enough and tell us exactly what time of night it was when you shot those pics. was it just after sunset, 1-2 hours after or around midnight? It appears the Oly condensed to gain less noise, but it lost a tremendous amount of details from the trees. Where as the Fuji expressed details in the trees and gave the impression it was just after sunset when the sky is still lite. Need more info from you. Thanks!

    • Agreed. It looks like there was a light change from the Fuji to the other 2. We’re these taken in similar light?

      • There was ABSOLUTELY no light change. It was late night, and only street lights were on. All taken within seconds of each other. So no, there was no light change whatsoever. It is the way the Fuji exposes…overexposes.

        • Thanks Steve…

          The reason for my question was if the X-Pro 1 captured the correct lighting, then the other two cameras underexposed… correct. Since, it was dark-dark, you are correctly stating the X-Pro 1 overexposed. The X-Pro 1 overexposed (slightly) but it doesn’t appear to have blown out details. Actually, I see more details on the garage walls than the other two camera photos. I wonder if X-Pro 1 would increase digital noise if it were stepped down.

  48. How is it that the xpro1 is clearly targeted for a street shooter, but it can’t focus fast enough nor accurately on the street? It doesn’t make sense that the xpro1 has such a huge capability with the iso and image quality, yet it can’t be utilized under demanding conditions. I understand that the omd has the fast focusing, so that can get it by in low light shooting, and the nex7 has the peaking which can help in low light situations… but the xpro1? It’s sad to see, as I own the x100 and have seen no advancement in focusing speed or an ability to get around it. I believe if autofocusing isn’t that great, manual focus should be implemented well. The all-arounder has to be going to the omd.

    • Who said the XPro1 … or X100 …. are aimed at street shooters only? I use mine as a the perfect travel camera – DSLR quality without the weight. What ‘demanding conditions’ are you talking about?

      Seems like lightning fast AF is the only real criteria you value or prioritize – the Fujis do everything well …. I’ve never missed anything I would not have missed with other cameras. I’m reliably informed that all the great film street photographers used relatively slow Leicas – they just anticipated shots.

      You – like a number of critics on Steve’s site – definitely need an M9. It has no AF system at all but is perfect in every way for street photography … official … because it costs more than any other similar cameras.

      • But isn’t that the whole point of great auto-focusing performance (as on the OM-D?) — to minimize the need to “anticipate shots” — maybe allowing more attention to be paid to some other aspects of the scene presenting opportunities, as opposed to having technical concerns — and to limit the need for less accurate, less flexible pre-set zone focusing?

      • You are spot on Photozopia! I have no horse in this race, I do not own any of these 4/3 cameras. But I feel the X-Pro 1 has been unnecessarily crucified in some reviews.

        If Leica can be forgiven for giving us a $10K system (M9), that has NO autofocus and ridiculously bad high ISO capability – but yields incredible, amazing, sharp photos – why can’t the under $2K Fuji X-Pro 1 be allowed the same latitude?

        Frankly I personally don’t care if a camera has lightning fast AF, my ultimate prize is the image my camera is capable of capturing. And what’s really funny is, when you read about Fuji users (either X100 or X-Pro 1) having to resort to ‘manual focus’ … that doesn’t mean looking through the viewfinder and turning your lens focus until your subject is in focus. Manual focus on the Fuji means touching the ‘manual focus’ button and your camera automatically locks a spot-on focus. So its more like an auto-manual-focus.

        For sake of interest, I shoot with an M9 and have no reason to defend the X-Pro 1 – other than the fact that its the first half-frame camera that really got me excited – and the reviews I’ve read have left me scratching my head.

        Every. Single. Camera. Ever Made. Has nuances that are less than perfect (even a $40K Phase One in a recent user’s review I read). Lord knows my M9 has them … but the holy grail is capturing amazing images … and I believe the X-Pro 1 does just that.

        As I posted earlier Ken Rockwell just posted a ‘preview’ of the camera and a bunch of great images that are hard to refute.

        • Soooo… in auto reviews, for example, everything some booster likes can get a sort of free pass because BMW made iDrive, first iteration, to annoy the human race? Oh, go ahead, pick any misdirection you like… It also appears that lack of adoration equates to “crucifixion”, or something only a little short of it, in some circles. And furthermore, “I don’t care about that [defect] / It doesn’t matter to me…” is NOT a useful refutation of anyone’s critical argument. And this, too: people’s “IQ [technically speaking] is Everything” bias, or Quixotic quests for Holy Grails, do not make the valid criticisms into mere exercises in the pedantic. OK, OK, OK, OK, Fuji apologists, I get it: Donning the hairshirt — even if it is an only somewhat scratchy one — to get ultimate SUBJECTIVE image quality from an APS-C sensor is what YOU want! Fine, fine, fine… no really, that’s just fine! But that in no way expunges any facts from the historical record, and people who fairly cite ’em are NOT being unreasonable.

          Finally, WHERE is the equivalent defect — ANY defect of note — that’s popped up SO FAR on the OM-D? Enough ragging on about “the small sensor” — it is what it is, and delivers a long LIST of benefits directly dependent upon that fact. That’s like huffily dismissing a Porsche 911 because it won’t haul drywall. The OM-D “noise issue” quickly rocketed off in the direction of hysteria-ville; that’s not even remotely like a performance-hampering defect. Quite the contrary: the HUGELY BENEFICIAL 5-axis IBIS is inseparably linked to that itty-bitty rough hiss — show me the lightning fast 5-axis IBIS that DOESN’T have a teensy noise associated with it! The ONE suspicious thing to date is the possibility that a portion (maybe the larger portion) of the dreaded noise may be associated with the EVF system. If so, that may turn out to have a firmware fix, considering how closely related the OM’s EVF is to the E-P3’s (and my own VF-2).

          Meanwhile, lucky OM-D owners, keep making those great pictures! And don’t tease the X-Pro enthusiasts too much about the ones they missed.

          • Fred – I think you missed the point that both I and GlenT are trying to make – use any camera you like – but stop trying to say A is better than B, or C, or X, or T when evidence (particularly from owners) contradicts ….

            I certainly ‘aint gonna apologise, or find excuses, for any camera that produces great quality shots – as proved by original sized images. If you choose to believe Fuji has slow/poor AF, then continue in your delusion.

            Easy on the caffeine next time ….

        • BTW, Glen T., I do envy you your M9 and the experience it provides! I would certainly accept the limitations at the higher ISO’s to get that image quality — which, interestingly, and contrary to some strongly stated opinion over the course of some months here, I think is quite evident in photos displayed on this site, even viewed straight up on my humble 12″ netbook. I wouldn’t say it’s primarily about how large you want to print at all.

          So I am in no way unsympathetic toward being demanding of IQ. And I take your point about feeling unaligned in the Fuji-Olympus “contest” that has developed in these pages. That’s just gone over the top, in my view. My main point was directed not so much at your comments alone, but to the whole of a mostly pointless debate. Why can’t folks just admit there’s a problem, when there’s a problem? If you like the detour you’re making around it, fine. Or in your case, well, who cares so much anyway? As with Steve, or Neil Buchan Grant (a pro contributor here: see his site), I might think an OM-D would make a nice complement to the Leica M system for you. Neil’s rationale at the blog on his site is as straightforward as you’ll find. This is much more like the tenor of discussion I think is appropriate when the OM-D (or E-P3) is on stage, front and center. My personal [remote] assessment of the X-Pro aligns with Steve’s, generally; and I note that he has not felt the need, the way I read it, to engage in the same apologetics. Once you spell out the realities, that sort of thing is just kind of off point and superfluous. The one difference of note is that not owning the Leica, my “bias” would skew a bit more in the direction of IQ “demands” when looking at either the Fuji or the OM-D as a prospective buyer. So I don’t think we’re really very far apart on this, when you come back down to basics.

      • Well, there’s more appended to my original response which is presently stuck in “Moderation Limbo” that may help clarify for you my central point, which — forgive me, and I think you’re a nice guy, photozopia — YOU seem unwilling to take in! And BTW, I wrote that expansion before I saw your response above — its been stuck for what seems like forever. I respectfully disagree — emphatically — that I missed yours and Glen T.’s point. Let’s get this straight, for the record: NOWHERE in this thread, or in any other on this site did I claim that either Fuji model had unacceptably “slow/POOR auto-focus”. NOWHERE, period. And nowhere is that implied, either. In the addendum stuck in moderation, I said explicitly that my take on the Fuji X-Pro — from a distance — pretty much aligns with Steve Huff’s assessment in print. NOT just because Steve said so… because of the accumulated testimonials, both pro and con, that have contributed to the picture here and elsewhere. So, have you implied to Steve that you think HE’S delusional?! That he doesn’t know how to use his X-Pro properly? Hmm, I didn’t think so!!! You show me where (and no fair pulling something way out of context) I’ve made one single statement regarding the X-Pro or the X100 that was one whit more negative than what Steve’s on record as saying, allowing for some stylistic differences as a diplomacy matter (no one’s sending me cameras on spec!).

        Furthermore, you show me where I ever made a claim that YOU could not take any photo YOU wished to take with the Fuji. Or that someone of similar photo interests could not. Baloney! to your mind reading exercises, I do have to say. Your opinion of my unstated (and presumed) opinions is worth the proverbial 2 cents, if that. By contrast, as I wrote just YESTERDAY in a response of mine here, I had an auction bid [in excess of $800] cued up and entered, but not “confirmed” [as the eBay technicalities go] on a “mint” used FUJI X100!!! I am not a camera collector, and in fact never owned and shot ANY form of digital camera prior to Dec. 2011, though I used to be a semi-pro. So I am not interested in owning any cameras I feel I do not, or might not, really need. And I’m not rich. I can’t stop you from holding onto the 2 cent ideas that didn’t come from me, but I’m willing to put a whole lot more on the line backing up what I say.

        What I used to do most of, for myself, was landscape photography, “old barns”, travel shots (typically minus much of the catch-the-moment stuff), so I would naturally be ‘biased’ toward IQ over conveniences and all around flexibility MYSELF! Now, after an 18 year hiatus, I do want to expand my range and add B&W as a principal part of what I shoot. To imply that I don’t ‘get’ you two guys, your IQ quest, and your priorities is pure rubbish! That’s why, as I have stated many times already here, I bought 2 Contax G1’s (note the “less sophisticated” auto-focus compared to the G2!) and 28mm, 45mm, and 90mm Zeiss/Kyocera lenses; I have bid on two occasions on the 21mm Biogon, as well. As I noted YESTERDAY here, quoth Steve on that Contax system: “…better than digital results”. NO qualifications or exceptions cited! My Contax system isn’t so hot on auto-focus by OM-D standards — I WILL lose some shots, and I will not be in any state of denial about what my Contax doesn’t quite manage — but I, like you, will be happy.

        Since you did miss the point, caught up on your side of this silly Fuji vs. Olympus “contest”, let me try once more to get through: Enough of this mine is better than yours crap… enough! There’s this stupid implication floating around in the air here that anyone who’d consider m4/3’s as a first go-to camera is lacking something in terms of “getting it”. Well, bullshit. I don’t have to look hard for some backup on this one, as anyone who’s managed to stay rational knows: Look at the masthead here, ask Neil (see my “limbo’d” entry when it shows), ask Giorgio… look at the guest blogs. Here’s the deal — let’s just all admit the well attested to facts, pro and con. Lay ’em all out on the table. You make your choice(s); I’ll make mine. But don’t give me this nonsense about how the X-Pro DIDN’T REALLY FLUNK the “Crazy Comparison” low light test, which is being suggested here! Don’t dissemble all around the fact that Steve reported that the X-Pro (later repeating his assessment) failed the “7 P.M. in Vegas” test, at least by way of producing reliably consistent results! If you have a problem with that, don’t refer to ME as delusional. You know where you can take your objections to that report. But here in the real world, it’s all about horses for courses.

        Well, then, when I decide on my medium format rig — good chance of its being Fuji — for the landscapes ‘n’ stuff, I suppose my deficiency of an arbitrary, technical IQ single-mindedness will earn pejorative comment because of the superiority of some 4 x 5 job; but I’ll probably be too busy taking pictures at that point to care.

        I just wish for once, when I get a characterization like “delusion/delusional” dumped on me in these responses, it had something to do with some opinion I actually stated.

        • That should have been “Giulio”, of course, not Giorgio. I must have had a Pavarotti flashback moment there… Sorry! Best to you down in sunny Florida.

          • No worries Fred. Thanks for checking out my work and for your support.

            It’s fun to talk about tech but for me its far more rewarding to use that tech to aide in creating something beautiful however many use not having a particular camera as a crutch not to shoot.

            The most important thing is that we spend less time on the internet and more time behind the camera.

        • Fred – I think you are mistaking me for a Fuji apologist … or that I have some beef against the Olympus. In my mind there is no Fuji v Olympus contest. It was you – not I – that said, “don’t tease the X-Pro enthusiasts too much about the ones they missed” implying (as do so many here) that Fuji AF is defective.

          It clearly is not – or, as I’ve posted elsewhere in the thread, thousands would be returned under warranty and Fuji would probably now be on the verge of financial collapse …. and there clearly exists numerous other sites that find no significant issues with these Fujis.

          I also address the question – in other posts – as to why Steve’s blog/forum seems to attract the bulk of the ‘… Fuji don’t do AF …’ posters (most of whom, by admission do not own these cameras).

          Although I’d not describe Steve as delusional – I have no personal knowledge of his mental faculties – he certainly does experience more AF problems with Fuji products than most reviewers, or owners. I am certainly not delusional in my continued ownership of cameras that give no more false errors than my Canon DSLR gear in virtually any conditions – I have a very harsh ‘get-rid’ process if gear doesn’t match my expectations.

          I believe it is possible to not get on with certain cameras – or certain brands – due to their design criteria/functions etc. Perhaps Steve struggles with the Fujis – I simply don’t know – but it is still ‘one guys opinion’, no matter what his readership. I’ve used the Fuji’s in near pitch-black conditions with no problem – even using ‘original’ firmware on X100. Lots of other blogs – mainly by long term users – are free of AF complaints. If anything, true users have more comments about other minor quirks in these cameras than any AF issues.

          Improving AF performance rarely features in user discussions.

          If anything, I’m really addressing the somewhat sinister continued undercurrent in comment pages, which in turn, engender further (totally un-informed) critique.

    • The X-Pro 1 autofocus is surprisingly good at locking onto moving targets – humans, bicycles and cars can all be caught with relative ease. First, set the X-Pro on AF-S (NOT AF-C). The trick is to depress the shutter in one go – the camera may take 1/4 of a second to sort out the focus, but it feels like there is some sort of an algorithm that compensates for that 1/4 second (or however long focusing takes) and puts the plane of focus into the right position.

      If you’ve been brought up on DSLRs the overwhelming urge is to half press the shutter to get focus – do this on the X-Pro 1 and the autofocus will fail on fast moving objects. Mash the shutter (gently) in one go and it works really well, even at f.1.4 with taxis.

      This technique works an amazingly high % of the time. I was testing this in the rain on cyclists with the 35mm wide open at 1.4.
      10 out of 10 were sharp.

      Also, more reviews and tips here:

  49. Next time (or this time in a reply) could you tell us where your focus point is on the external shots.

  50. Hmmm……just bought the x100. These Olympus shots are looking much more impressive than I had expected. Steve, how do you feel the kit lens performs on the Olympus? I am enjoying the Fuji, but the quirks and af are pretty disappointing. Though I have yet to update the firmware to 1.2. I’m a newbie to photography and this picking out the best camera part is a pain in the a$$! Lol.

      • Does the one and only X-Pro firmware update presently existent [of which I’m aware] really transform this camera? If so, why didn’t they just delay the X-Pro release two weeks and send out a $1700/2300 camera that worked properly, according to FUJI’S OWN hardware design standards? Or are you merely engaging in some wishful — though not necessarily unreasonable — thinking based on experience with an X100?

      • Or was that observation ONLY meant for the (not directly on topic) X100 this fellow bought? Just seeking some clarification! I’d LIKE to think the X-Pro could get a whole lot better…

      • Leonard, my innocuous two line addendum of April 21st – 10:40 AM [to my response of April 21 – 10:36 AM] has now been held up in “moderation” for almost 28 hours, so here it is again:

        Or was that observation ONLY meant for the (not directly on topic) X100 this fellow bought? Just seeking some clarification! I’d LIKE to think the X-Pro could get a whole lot better…

    • See my comments above – OMD does well but allow for the apparent sharpness/DOF from the smaller sensor when making comparisons. Big sized prints, rather than 72dpi screen views, show the true performance. No hassle if you web publish only, but crucial if you decide to go large in print!

        • Not sure what you are really trying to say in your response Kyle. There has never been a situation in photography where smaller formats, utilising identical technologies, perform better than larger ones – so why ask which is best?

          Brian was questioning his choice of X100 – to paraphrase, the Olympus seemed a ‘better’ choice in Steve’s ISO tests, based upon a limited set of images.

          As I stated – some cameras can give more impressive results at small, screen resolution, size. If he is fine with this, OK – m4/3rds will probably suffice if he is tempted by the OMD – but he will probably get better overall results (particularly at larger sizes and in print) from a bigger format i.e. the X100.

          Sounded like he is a newcomer, who wanted some advice – not to listen to trite smart-ass remarks that did not further his understanding of the issues. Ever heard of the phrase “if you can’t say something nice (or helpful) then don’t say anything at all”?

          Exactly how did your contribution help this process?

          • So how big do you think you can go with 4/3? We all know about viewing distance etc. but for a completely clean print with no pixelation how big do you think one could go? I’d ask the same of the Xpro as well.

          • Actually the Brian said that he was impressed by the E-M5 images here and he was disappointed with the quirks of the X100.

            I was just trying to point out that your response was very much an oversimplification of sensor size difference. Sure there are differences with DR, noise and DoF for each given sensor size and generally improvements as you get bigger. I am going to go out on a limb and say that it may be just a touch above web print size where you would notice a difference between m4/3 and APS-C, or APS-C and full frame for that matter. It’s all about tradeoffs and this argument has been beaten to death.

            This test had very little to do with sensor size, or ultimate IQ, anyway. More of a test, I think, on maturity of each format/camera (AF speed, white balance). I know some may argue that sensor size matters to AF speed, and it may be true, but it did seem that E-P2 with Panasonic 20mm focused pretty close to the XPro1 (casual center point testing in the store). Both are actually fast enough for most of my uses.

          • Kyle – still not really answering Brian’s queries here.

            The question (not expressed explicitly) was, based on Steve’s pics – should he re-consider the OMD as the X100 has ‘quirks’.

            At worst, why didn’t you just answer him in the same way you have just responded to me – i.e. with some relevant info ….? Web images (as both you and I have now said) are no real guideline. You may feel the ‘ …. argument has been beaten to death …..’ fine – but not helpful if you didn’t understand what the argument was in the first place ….

            Simply saying “…. going back to sleep, counting pixels ….” is no help at all – did you miss the bit where he said ‘newbie’?

            Sometimes forums are about helping people – not, as seems common in these threads, lots of people trying to get their own two cents worth of opinion on record.

          • My response was to your comment, not Brian’s. I was giving you a bit of a hard time for what I felt was an oversimplified argument in your comment. =D

            Can you print larger with a X100 than a E-M5? I would say most likely! My original comment to you was a poor attempt at trying to hint that, at some point, sensor size and resultant IQ, is good enough for a given application (e.g. do you need to print poster size, 8x10s or 13x17s? Or, do you even print?). Next time, I will try harder to communicate that effectively, rather than just trying to be funny.

            Also, was your original “go large in print” argument really a helpful consideration factor for most “newbies?” =D

          • Kyle, DOF is a lens property. It has nothing to do with the sensor.
            Also any of these cameras will give A3 and larger prints. There are pro photographers displaying in galleries prints that are larger than A3 taken with EP-2 and EP-3.

        • Any of threse three cameras will do an A3 print that is satisfactory if the shot was good (focus and lighting more than composition). If you want larger than that on a regular basis then try FF.
          Don’t forget that a great shot on a screen may seem to be disappointing in print, the luminance is all different. EG, the wonderful shots of star clusters and galaxies that look great on the screen or large transparencies usually lose their Wow factor in print.
          All 3 of these cameras will work well for the vast majority of people for social media images and high quality large prints for public display.

    • Update to 1.20 or 1.21 and the AF is much better. The X100 is a fantastic camera but does take a bit of learning.

      • That still begs the question. Why doesn’t the X-Pro 1 incorporate these improvements now, if that’s the handicap some people are claiming by way of Fuji apologetics. Can’t you draw one or two inferences from this which might give someone pause regarding future prospects for the whole camera/lens system? In my case, I do NOT like one bit the apparent fact that the 18mm lens isn’t quite up to matching the “normal” lens, within reasonable limits and expectations. I used to carry a 35mm f.2.0 and the venerable 105mm f.2.5 as my go-to light packing Nikon kit back in the film-dominant era. And I liked shooting landscapes and buildings. Worked for me. It’s kind of odd to me that the “traditional” 24/35/85-105 “kit”, having comparable and sensibly compatible glass, IQ-wise, is so hard to locate among the offerings that have been popularly reviewed and commented on this year on the Steve Huff site. Did I miss something in the last 20 years?!

        But sure, back to the topic at hand — let’s hope to see some useful augmentations down the line for the X-Pro.

        • +2 !!! I love my X100, quirks or no quirks. IMO, nothing beats the X100 for excellent IQ in a small package.

        • Yes, with the firmware updates now realized, you X100 enthusiasts have me, too, worked up enough to be sniffing out the x100 action on a certain auction site (and bidding on one occasion, so far), even though I’m really prospectively shopping at present for my best ICL camera foundation on the digital side.

          One thing that bugs me, and kind of mystifies me, is the conspicuous lack of a first class [well, not Summilux class, alas…] lens offering at the 35mm-film equivalent focal length of around 35mm among the popular choices of mirrorless camera systems here. The closest I can come is the 20mm Panasonic on Olympus — not really the same thing. The K-1, and the 21mm Pentax L, is out because of that camera’s retaining a mirror box flange back distance — it won’t take my MF rangefinder style Zeiss lenses. Whatever happened to the traditional 24mm/35mm/85-105mm kit for those who prefer 35mm as their “normal” lens? I might just put the big question off to one side for awhile (as things shake out) and simply go about with an X100 as a companion piece!

    • Amen, brother. It used to be, you bought a nice Nikon FE, or something [my case, circa 1982], put in film (correctly, if you were not a klutz), and just — Holy Moses! — started capturing some pictures precisely as good in all respects as your skills permitted. And, er… “What’s firmware???”

      • And you had to compose the shot, film cost money, not like today where delete costs nothing. Once the film was in there was no changing ISO if it got dark.
        Fred, how did we manage to create images with such antique bare equipment, (even if it was state of art at the time),. My old favourite (SRT101) had no auto focus, prism metering with diaphragm control, an ISO setting in the speed dial and that was it (a vast improvement over my SR7).

  51. sorry Steve, normally a fan, but this is so off base

    I have used a Nex 7, xpro-1 and GX1 (which has same sensor as EM-5)

    The xpro-1 is simply so far ahead of GX1 its not worth comparing them. The nex7 is brilliant but the xpro-1 has the edge on sheer clarity/3D pop (probably no AA filter) but also blows them all away at high ISOs. In fact its astonishing

    As for AF I have no problems. I presume you know how to change the size of the focus spot on the xpro-1 ?

    • @harold:
      The E-M5 does not have the same sensor as the GX1. The E-M5 does not even have a Panasonic sensor.

      • Who cares? The JPEG engine, focusing system, metering system and lens are different with the Olympus vs. Panasonic. It’s the sum of parts and how they work together that make the result, not the individual parts themselves.

    • And you know it has the GX1 sensor because?
      you work for Olympus R&D?
      you work for Panasonic and sold them the sensor?
      then I would recommend utter and complete silence.

    • Just out of curiosity, how would you even know that the OM-D sensor is the same as what’s in the GX1? And please provide an explanation that includes no speculation. Because if it is just speculation……well that’s all it is.

    • Assuming that the trash bin was the focus point, changing the size of the focus spot would have made no difference. If you look at the large version of the photo, there is really nothing next to trash bin that is remotely on the same distance that the AF could have mistakenly locked onto. The closest thing is the light pole. If the AF had locked onto something else other than the trash bin, such as the curb or the car behind the trash bin, the curb or car should have been more in focus. In any event, I had a XP1 for three weeks, and at times, it did give false AF lock confirmation. It’s not a problem unique to the XP1 though. It happens on my X100 and also happened with my K5 under certain lighting conditions.

      • Thanks, Armando. Steve explained both the ground rules and his experience clearly enough. It appears that one or two here prefer to maintain a state of denial as long as possible.

    • As the dude said, “That’s just your opinion…man.” Steve’s photos paint the exact opposite of what you’re describing and there’s no conclusive proof the OM-D has the same sensor as the GX1.

      • True enough, of course. But there isn’t even any IN-conclusive, wobbly, doubtful “maybe-proof” that it’s the same sensor. There is not even a somewhat believable HINT that it might be the same sensor. Some extremely stubborn people, it seems, just will not desist from making up and repeating gossip that it’s the same sensor. Grrrr! For those folks, please write 100 times on the blackboard: “An OM-D is not a G3/GX-1.” … “An OM-D is not a G3/GX-1.” … “An OM-D is not…”

        • Please provide proof one way or another as to where the sensor comes from. Of course the EM5 is not a GX1, but you – or anyone else – can’t say with any certainty whether or not its a Panasonic sensor. How would you like your crow served if you’re wrong?

          • Please refrain from such immature and ill-considered comments about eating crow until you can comprehend some simple logic. It’s not MY responsibility to prove anything, because I’m not among those making up rumors one way or the other. What is so mystifying to you about the concept of there being a problem with rumor mongering, gossiping, and presuming in the apparent absence of a single shred of credible evidence? End of story — the rest is fiction and a waste of time.

            And when will some of the more thick-headed, argumentative types get it through the skull that WHETHER OR NOT Panasonic manufactures the sensor (to Olympus’s specifications, or otherwise), that concern is ultimately pointless, and utterly useless for the purpose of guessing at the OM-D’s performance… if it’s NOT the same sensor used in the G3/GX-1?!!! …Precisely what Olympus emphatically claims. Exactly what physical measurements to date strongly suggest. Simple logic. Tediously irrelevant concerns like yours, Chris, belong on some silly “social media” page.

          • Thank you grandpa Fred for pointing out my shortcomings and my need to take to “social media.” A sensor produced by Panasonic is still a Panasonic sensor, no matter how many tweaks Olympus has baked into the system or claims to the contrary. Unless Olympus has a factory churning out the EM5’s sensor, its buying them from someone else, most likely Panasonic.

            I really don’t care, my EM5 will be delivered tomorrow. I look forward to my own shootout with the Nex7 and the GH2. Its just laughable how thick skulled Oly fanboys make such definitive statements without any knowledge of actual facts.

            Again, thanks for setting me straight.

          • At one of the early interviews on the E-m5 given in Europe the Oly man was asked if it was a Panasonic sensor, he answered NO it is not a Panasonic sensor. When asked who made it he said that was confidential.

          • “It’s not MY responsibility to prove anything”

            Fred makes a good point. When make a random assumption which is what all this GX1 business is. It down to people who are making these claims to actually provide some evidence. Not the people who haven’t made any assumptions.

            All I know is Olympus didn’t name the sensor manufacturer. They said it wasn’t Panasonic. And they haven’t had an issue with saying its a Panasonic sensor in the past as far as I can tell.

      • Speaking as someone with absolutely no interest in this topic … (none, nada, zip – so save your time, no flaming me) what the f**k does it matter whose sensor it is …..?

        If you like the results it gets – fine. If you don’t – leave it to those who do.

        What next – what D/A chips it uses – what brand of capacitors – which PSU system (or any/all of the stupid techie components) … we are supposed to be photographers. Jeez!

    • Hi,
      What lens did you use on GX1?
      because to truly compare GX1 to Fuji X-PRO, you have to use the good lens on M43 as well, that is 12\2, 25\1.4,
      hope you did that…because most of the people compare M43 with cheapo kit lens and then suprised that the IQ and rendering is not that good

      • Er… this would be the, uh, OM-D “crazy comparison”… But don’t feel bad over your little misapprehension: it looks like a bunch of like-minded folks here have also wandered into the wrong room.

  52. Hi Steve, now that you’ve shown us how each camera expose and WB the scene, which camera can you say is most close to real life? It looks like XPro1 over-exposed, and NEX7 under-exposed, but was what OM-D shown representative of what your naked eye was seeing?

    • Yeah, my impression with my Nex 7 jpeg engine is that the shots are usually representative of the actual scene. Not sure about the others thoug and I would like to know that as well.

      If the Nex7 underexposes for the shots, I think that is so easy to fix due to wide DR of Nex7 sensor.

  53. At ISO 6400 (the street shoots) the NEX-7 looks best followed quite closely by the OMD.

    The X-Pro looks pretty awful, but that may partly be due to the exposure

    Pretty amazing how good the OMD sensor is when compared to the first EPs with the old sensor that provided plenty of noise even at ISO 200 in dark areas..

    The NEX-7 may have an advantage when resizing/down-sampling as this removes noise, right?

  54. Hoepfully the RAW support will come soon,
    the OM-D jpeg files have contrast +20 or something, they look much more harsh then the rest, on the border of unreal/cartoonish 🙁

  55. Not to nitpick, but I don’t think I’d ever jack the ISO up that high if I were using a tripod (personally). If anything, I’d use an off cam strobe to compensate if I needed something done at night. But I suppose the purpose of doing that was more for the exposure than high ISO noise? That said, the Fuji rendition looks truly ugly, nevermind the misfocus and all.

    Also, I think maybe that it would have been more fair to use the Sony NEX 5N rather than the 7 if high ISO evaluation was the point, no? I think at this point, it has been proven that the 5N has better high ISO noise handling than the 7 simply due to there being less space taken up on the sensor by those evil megapixels…..

    What I’d be a lot more interested in at this point, is a comparison of how these sensors handle DOF in street shooting as well as with inanimate objects. Of course results will vary depending upon the lenses used, so I’d love to see a comparison using those lenses which generally tend to display background objects most out of focus, and even test BOKEH! *in best Kai voice*

    Doug B

  56. Thanks Steve! I have my O-MD on back order and have been questioning my decision. But with some of the other reviews dripping out, and this great comparison, I am VERY excited to get mine.

  57. Hey Steve,
    On the XP1, which AF setting do you have the camera on? I have an X100 and find that it hunts a lot less in dark situations when it’s set to AF-C than AF-S. Give it a shot on the XP1 and see if that helps relieve some of the hunting.

    Keep up the excellent work!

  58. Just wondering: which focusing method are you using on the Fuji X-Pro 1?
    I am assuming 1 single point, narrow one (set with the rear wheel), pointing towards the trashcan?

    Multi focus point would certainly be much slower, as the camera has to analyze the full picture before deciding where to lock focus.

    Is that the case? Thanks!

  59. Might be more useful if Fuji street shots weren’t so greatly over-exposed ….

    The Fuji’s 18mm lens makes it comparable here only to the Olympus 12mm focal length in both view and in the extent of metered area. The Sony’s 24mm is actually a much shorter focal length.

    Both Sony & Olympus seem near-ideal exposures, but Sony metering/AF is advantaged by both the shorter 35mm eqv. lens and Steve’s claims the NEX-7 has a tendency to underexposure.

    Wider angle lenses have a tendency to over-expose (p.s. I regard 35mm as a ‘normal’ lens) at the best of times – I often detect a stop or more over a fully ‘saturated’, correctly exposed shot. I’d also suggest that 23/24mm focal length is where manual hyperfocal distance is of greater use in difficult light. Modern photographers rely/insist on AF far too much ….

    The Olympus definitely comes out best here in metering terms as a result, with it’s smaller sensor probably giving it the edge in AF performance/sharpness too.

    Crazy comparisons indeed ….!

    • “Wider angle lenses tend to overexpose.” This is not strictly true. It’s more to do with the fact that we often leave our cameras on evaluative/matrix/whateveryouwanttocallit metering, and with a wider field of view, you have more dark areas that are factored into the exposure calculation (in this given situation). Camera sees big areas of black and goes “shit man, I better jack my exposure to compensate for that.”

      • I totally agree – could not have put it better myself but ‘ …wide angle lenses tend to overexpose ….’ was a whole lot easier (and quicker) to type! LOL

  60. Nice of you to post but do you think Jpeg output is reflective of the sensors true performance? Hopefully soon Adobe and Apple will support the EM5 raw files then we can get down and dirty with some files. There is Aftershot Pro but who uses that.

    • For those of us that shoot jpg, these shots tell it all.

      (I’ve experimented with RAW, but so far, enhancing a .jpg via Aperture gives me a better end result that me trying to get a RAW file to look good from scratch. Granted, it’s easy to say, “Well, then you don’t know how to properly process a RAW file,” and I guess that wouldn’t be wrong. But until I have gobs of time to kill playing around with RAW files, .jpgs are the better route for me, and therefore the .jpg end results are more important than the sensors’ true performance.)

      • I understand what you are saying buuuuuut…if you did want to use RAW, I could show you a 5 second checklist that will get your photos to an optimal place to start editing and once there you would have so much more latitude in every regard.

        • Just ordered LR4 and the EM5 is en route. Please do share your 5 second checklist! It would be great to have a good place to start.

          • This is for Lightroom but I’m sure Aperture has similar functions.

            Select photo

            Library Tab

            1) Auto Color ( Or desired color balance, tungsten, daylight etc)
            2) Auto Tone (then push arrow buttons one or two steps left or right to reach desired exposure)

            Develop Tab

            3) Move Clarity slider 10% to the right.

            >Scroll down to bottom of control panel

            4) Move all sharpening sliders halfway between the 2nd and 3rd notch so all 4 line up evenly.

            5) Do the same as step 4 for the Noise Reduction, maybe even pushing it to the 3rd notch. Again all sliders should be aligned.

            …there you have it. Are there other things you could do, such as saturation and hue etc.? Of course but I consider that part of the fine tuning that could take up to an hour to obtain desired look. I feel these steps merely get the image to the base that would be shot out of the camera as a JPEG and it only takes seconds once you get it down.

            Others please feel free to add or subtract, I’d like to hear your ideas as I am no expert in the field…I’ve just done it a lot.


    • Repeat after me: a JPEG engine is a RAW converter; a RAW converter is a JPEG engine. A JPG engine can only work with the RAW data coming off the sensor; it doesn’t add or make anything up. It might, however, know how to deal with things like moiré due to a light anti-aliasing filter, etc. that other RAW converters can’t.

      I’m not a newb, and I can futz around for a long time just to get results are are almost or just as good as the Olympus JPGs, so I don’t bother. The only time I shoot RAW these days is when I have an assignment and am accountable to someone else, in which case I could use a bit of latitude on exposure and white balance. To this end, I use Olympus Viewer, which gives you the advantages of the Oly JPG engine, but with tweakability in terms of exposure, WB, contrast, sharpness, lens correction, etc. etc. etc.

      And it’s free. Adobe and Apple’s RAW converters are great, but I *highly* doubt they’ve spent as much time as the Olympus engineers have at maximising the performance of the tone curves/etc. for each one of the particular Olympus cameras.

      Anyhow, just my view.

      • I think you’re forgetting that you don’t have Core i7 processors in your camera to take on the duty of high quality demoisacing. A camera jpeg processor has to take raw information and quickly convert it to jpeg with a relatively underpowered processor, which leaves it at a disadvantage compared to raw converter programs that reap the reward of being able to use higher powered processors, as well as not being forced demoisaic so quickly.

        That being said, within the world of raw converters themselves, all are not created equal. If you compare the detail from a relatively slow program like Raw Photo Processor to a quicker program like Lightroom, RPP blows it out of the water. However, most of us find Lightroom to be the best compromise.

        Of course, I will agree the Olympus seems to do jpeg processing better than most brands. Sony is notoriously bad at it, at least at a pixel level, and using a raw converter is certainly the way to go with their cameras…although their own raw converter stinks, too. 🙂 Choosing a raw converter is just as important as choosing a camera, printer or anything else in the image chain.

    • I get your points about shooting jpeg and if you’re not shooting professionally I guess it don’t matter if you are not interested in getting the most out of your camera.

      A raw converter such as Lightroom 4 can get way more details from a raw file then the built in processors that the cameras have built in or the ones that come with the camera such as Olympus Viewer.

      I see so many people on forums selling perfectly good cameras to get the next best thing when they can simply learn more about photography and upgrade their brain.

      I agree though to each their own. Photography should be fun regardless if you do it for work or for fun but I get so much detail out of my Pen Mini that I’m able to use it on jobs shooting magazine covers. Now that I got an OMD when Adobe supports the files I’ll be super excited.

      Small cameras are good enough to shoot for print jobs. I sold my Canon system and switched to a small camera but I can’t imagine upgrading a camera if you’re not getting the most out of it.

        • No, I don’t think that’s the case, Giulio. The brain upgrade sounds like a great idea for some, considering a few posts I may have seen around here! The good news is, the brain IS a dynamic entity and restructures itself, beneficially, if properly employed, well into old age. The bad news is, the people who tend to benefit from this the most in actuality are the ones who need a brain upgrade the least, relatively speaking. Ah, well, we all need some some de-fogging and fine tuning from time to time. We are a rather comical species.

  61. Hi Steve, am still loving my Nikon V1 for my street photography (I use a Canon 5Dmk2 for my pro work) with it’s instantaneous AF, EVF,etc., BUT this Olympus is looking very tempting. Same great AF by the sound of it, plus larger sensor, more lenses to choose from and a flip LCD!

  62. Thanks for the comparison photos! It definitely satisfied a lot of my curiosity about the three cameras going head to head. While I’ve had the NEX7 and XP1, I didn’t have them at the same time to do a comparison. The OMD really looks good for a camera with smaller sensor, and m4/3 has indeed come a long way. The OMD looked pretty good in both the indoor and outdoor photos. The Sony looked the best to me for the outdoor ones.

    Steve, you don’t happen to still have the Pany GX1 with you, do you? I’d love to see Pany and Oly going head to head. It’s always interesting to see how different companies use the same sensor.

    Thanks again and have a wonderful weekend.

    • Well, we went ’round and ’round on this a few days ago — the GX-1 does NOT, by all the credible information we have to date, use the same sensor! No ifs, ands, or buts — unless some new (and unsettling) information comes in. One reader here was trying to make a big deal out of proposing — or supposing — that the new Olympus sensor is made by Panasonic… so that somehow (?) still made it the “same”. Ridiculous — it is what it is. For better (as here), or for worse (still waiting to see what truly “for worse” might look like…). Speaking for myself, I don’t give a fig if it was made by the Keebler elves, so long as it works well!

      One other note: Personally, I’m buying the reports here that the GX-1 loses out in overall goodness of output (the way I’d expect to mostly use the camera) to the older GF-1 and the 12.3mp Olympus E-P3: what I saw earlier on a couple of pixel peeping sites was consistent with those judgements (though each to his own taste). Anyway, the horse has left the barn on that comparison at this point… life is short, gotta move on from that one. I think I’m confident enough now to crawl out a bit on the limb and declare the OM-D’s output to be in all probability, a significant advance on the 16mp Panasonic… by my definition of significant. Gee wiz, the 5-axis IBIS would seal the deal for me all by itself! I can appreciate, though, why GX-1 owners would like to see a go, head to head, between the two 16mp rivals — I would, too, if I were them AND had been pretty happy with the choice to date.

  63. Scratching on finger tips, to book and buy the Olympus, but I’ll wait for the comprehensive exam you do Steve.

  64. Wow! I’m am absolutely not a small sensor person, and had written this camera off simply because it was a M4/3. But, the performance is amazingly good.
    In some ways, having already decided against it was good, (don’t have to change systems, or spend any money). But, going for it would also be good because I could cancel the diet and exercise program I was rattling on about in a previous post in order to keep keeping toting around my DSLR, which by the end of the day, seems to weigh as much as a Honda Civic.
    I’m impressed with this one, and I have a couple of nice Zuiko legacy lenses. Does it have focus peaking?

  65. What I find interesting is that the Fuji looks best on the indoor set, but worst on the outdoor. I’m not a fan of those Fuji outdoor shots at all. I’m impressed with the Oly overall, and disappointed with the underexposed indoor Sony shot. I haven’t noticed my NEX-5 under-exposing like that. I’ll look back through my indoor shots when I get home, though.

    I was wanting a Fuji really bad when I first saw it, but I have to admit my desire was based mostly on looks. After shots like these (and others that I’ve seen), I’m just not very interested in the Fuji now. I’d rather have the Oly (if I was switching systems).

    • I don’t usually write comments, but felt compelled to do so for the first time after this apparent ISO test turned into an AF test. Yes, the XP1 night shots are bad, but that’s based on out of focused shots. Great.

      I’m personally having a good time with the XP1. As a lot of people have said, Fuji is good with firmware updates, and the X100 I have now focuses faster and better than my XP1. So, that means the XP1’s AF can get faster. I have shot kids-running-around photos with both cameras and haven’t had problems.

      What I’ve been doing is fine tuning using MF instead of solely relying on the AF. Works fine.

    • There Is no denying that is a pretty bad picture. Since he was on a tripod it would make sense to choose manual focus for that scene, failing that to choose a different focus point for the autofocus …. Say move the focus point to the contrasty detail on the right which would probably lock without problems.

      I agree that false focus confirmation seems to happen reasonably often in low light.

      I do not understand why he would shoot at 3200 iso for this scene . There is no need for it when the camera is bolted to a tripod. 200 or 400 iso would be just fine.

      I have made quite a few tripod night shots that are sharp as a razor with the manual focus.

      • As was stated in the beginning , middle and end of the article this was just a fun high iso test. Not a scientific night photography test of each system. The whole point was to shoot at 3200.

      • You do realize this was an ISO test right? He wasn’t shooting for subject matter, aesthetics, etc. I think he pretty much explained it all if you read it.

      • The Sony underexposes for me all of the time. The review sample NEX did and my copy of the NEX does as well. That is fine because I expect it. The Fuji overexposes..again, fine as I expect it. Very easy to compensate for but what you see here is what each camera will give you without compensation.

    • i own the x100 and ordered the om-d this morning.
      as a casual, web-publishing, non-printing photographer… the iso noise i dont mind so much… the inability to focus… very much so.
      it still seems (on web) bulkier in dimension than the x100… and even the pancake lenses protrude a bit!

    • No, keep what you have if you are happy with it (and this is speaking as someone who just bought an E-M5) 🙂

  66. The Omd does have a grain but not as smudgy as the fuji.And thus keeps more detail. Wonder how the nex looks like a little over exposed. But i think the OM-D is for me. 🙂

    To bad the silver kit has supply issues. Some stores had the black kit in stock in The Netherlands. Just for a few minutes.

    • And I was one of the lucky guys in The Netherlands. Black kit not silver as I wished but I desperately want to get shooting with it. Immediately placed the order, will get it tuesday.

  67. These high ISO comparisons are very useful. Glad you persist in doing them. I’m interested in a street shooter cam and nightime use is a big part so these tests are crucial.

  68. OMG….the OMD. Starting from scratch, this would a nice system to star with. The 2x crop and relative limitations would get me, but otherwise, really a slamming accomplishment.

    • Hehe…hi Ashwin!

      It seems April 2012 won’t pass and you will have your own E-M5 right in your hands!


      Personally I am still holding back (May 10th) but have to say I am very tempted to get a silver E-M5, 12mm and 25mm PanLeica lens for it…

      • I cant wait to get one too. I used the GF2 extensively with 7-14mm and was pleased with the result but wished the high ISO thing to be improved substantially when i traveled to Spain last May and what i wish the GF2 to have seems to be all integrated into this little EM5. The swiveled screen of this OMD is so desired as I used the GF2 with the tiny leica tripod (about 1 feet high from the ground — for its light weight) and the ultra wide angle to take so many shots from the groud and the EVF with swivel ability made the shot possible and I got many beautiful photos.

        I also went to paris just two weeks ago with my M9 and 21 lux and I tried to imitate the shot, it was so impossible with the leica viewfinder to take those kind of shots without laying on the ground to do so. So i ended up not taking any photo that way. Now I think I might buy the ollie and buy back the 7-14mm to compliment the leica sets to any trip. So Hat off for Olympus!

        Also I owned X100 and not as happy with the usability of it and sold it a while ago and also tried the X pro1 and the autofocus was awful to me.

  69. Thank you Steve, much appreciated 😉

    Using MF on the tripod shots would be probably better idea to avoid problems with slow or inaccurate AF. Still quite impressive results for Oly when we consider it has smaller sensor than the other two.

    • so the question becomes: leica m8 or fuji xpro1???

      since both are really unsuable in low light. fuji cannot autofocus nor manual focus in low light. maybe cross-your fingers focus style? and both are superb image quality in good daylight. a used leica m8 can be found on craigslist for usd$1700, the exact same price as the fuji xpro1. the fuji has newer tech, no aa. the leica have ccd sensor, no aa, larger sensor.

      leica m8 or fuji xpro1???

      • i wouldn’t compare m8 to x-pro1, not at all. x-pro1 isn’t that bad in low light. if you know your camera and what it needs for AF then you know how to live with it. i haven’t got x-pro1 (yet) but have x100 and it took me a couple of weeks to learn how to deal with its AF, since then i don’t have problems with missed shots or subjects not in focus and since i’m just a normal mortal, most of my photos are taken after work in really bad light. I’ve tried in the shop x-pro1 and it seemed snappier than x100 (this was before fw v1.20 was released for x100).

        m8 is dead for me and has been for few years now – it’s oooooold, not saying it’s bad but wouldn’t buy it at all, maybe for £400-500 – it isn’t worth more to me

        • +1 on that.

          Far too many forget the M8 was not a resounding success on release (it’s lens & sensor woes alone make current criticism of the X100/XPro1 appear risible).

          I’m not sure I’d even drop £400-500 on an M8 unless boxed, Mint, condition …. and then only to unload it upon a gullible Leica fan for a big profit.

          Only yesterday, I had a comparison ‘play’ with the Leica M9, Leica X1, Fuji X100 and Sony Nex-7 via a local store and the Nex-7 is the only one I’d want to buy (X100 I own already) . The Leicas seemed clunky and old in use – lacking in modern technology. The only feature that attracted me to the Leicas is the X1’s styling – sort of a modern day Leica Standard (which I adore)!

          If not for their lenses, I doubt many would truly desire the current Leica range on feature-set comparison alone – much less an M8 – which was missing out in the technology stakes at it’s inception.

          • Well, of all the “modern” cameras I’ve owned, the Leica M8 did produce the best results, by far. I’ve owned and used FF Canon, APSC Canon, GF1, GX1, GH3, Leica M9, etc… The M8 pictures are as rich and colorful as film pictures, great micro-contrast, very natural carnation. It might not be “modern” but it is the best camera if you only care for the result…

      • Wrong question.
        The one to ask is: M-mount lenses or Fuji’s new native mount ones. The former have been around for many decades with lots and lots of outstanding glass to choose from, the latter is the new kid on the block. M-glass has shown to keep or increase its value over the years. The new Fuji lenses will be paperweights the moment Fuji goes FF or abandons the new mount. Forget about the camera bodies, they come and go as sensor technology improves and their value depreciates quickly. Used X Pro1’s are already easily to be found in the marketplace.

        • Hi retow – I missed both these Fuji development press releases. When is their FF range being introduced? It seems a shame too that having spent so much R&D money they are abandoning the X-mount already – do you have the web-links to these announcements?

          • Lol! I’m sure you got my point. The m-mount is the known, the x-mount the unknown. It’s not unheard of of manufacturers abandoning a product line. Ask 4/3 users about there wonderful zooms, some are optically among the best ever made for dslrs, but……;)

          • The LTM was also a ‘known’ – but got changed to the M mount …..

            I believe there are 4/3rd to m4/3rd adaptors (with limitations perhaps) as are there LTM/M mount ones …. and even the latter M Mount is coded – things change.

            APS is now probably the top end for all but the high end DSLR – not much reason for Fuji to go FF … or drop a new mount system before it’s barely broken cover.

            Without any need to service legacy lenses, no manufacturer really needs to go FF nowadays – Fuji has no need to service Leica users (it’s lens roadmap illustrates that) so it really leaves the M mount in a minority of one.

      • John – have you actually used the Fuji and confirmed yourself that it is literally impossible to use it in low light …. have you informed Fuji of this crushing error …. one that obviously escaped their quality control system?

        Or are you just taking the word of Steve – who appears to have some problems himself? N.B – lots of other user/bloggers out there don’t seem to have encountered this otherwise undocumented ‘feature’ of the Fuji.

        I’d rewrite your M8 v XPro1 comparison – “the fuji has newer tech, the leica have …. (long drum roll to build tension) …. none! ” just about sums it up. The Leica sensor is fractionally larger than the Fuji – about a mm each way – but significantly smaller than an FF Leica …. which means a set of new lenses to match any previous focal length selection.

        That’s if you owned a set in the first place – if not your M8/Xpro1 ‘equivalent’ body price comparison goes out of the window as you spend many times more thousands buying Leica optics, compared to about 1500/2000 pounds/dollars etc. on current Fuji items

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