More Fun Comparisons – Fuji X-Pro 1 vs Olympus OM-D vs Sony NEX-7 – JPEG
NOTE – For those who decide to NOT read the text in this article and then send me messages about how I know nothing or I know nothing about different focal lengths and effects on the output…then I suggest you read this article instead of just looking at the images. This was NOT a test to show each camera with a same lens, as that would be impossible as you can not shoot the same lenses on each camera. This was not and is not a scientific test AT ALL. In fact, I was showing the differences in focal lengths and sensor sizes and the effects they have on the images, and this was just to show what you would get with each of these combos in the same situations. Those who are new here do not realize that this is how I have been doing things for 3 years, so I forgive you 🙂 – But please read before making nonsense comments and personal attacks as those will be moderated. Thank you!
I know you guys LOVE these crazy comparisons..and some of you get all up in a roar over them but that doesn’t mean I am not going to post more! Today I was out and about with the OM-D, X-Pro 1 and NEX-7. Now, I could not use the same lenses on all of these so I used what I had on hand.
These comparisons are not really meant to show anything but how each camera renders JPEGS as well as the differences between the sensor sizes (Micro 4/3 and APS-C). With the OM-D you get the most Depth Of Field due to the sensor size being the smallest of the three. This can be a blessing to some, and a curse to those who love the creamy dreamy look that a fast lens and big sensor gives to you. It can be a blessing because cameras with smaller sensors focus faster and seem to be more accurate with the AF as well. You also usually get sharper images as everything is in focus (well, when using wide lenses especially).
I have been shooting all of these cameras quite a bit lately trying to see which one I really truly like the best. They all have their pros and cons of course, but all are capable of producing lovely images. Olympus has their own unique color rendering as does Fuji and Sony. Which do you prefer?
The images below were all shot as JPEG..I did NOT shoot RAW because there is still no Adobe RAW support for the Fuji or Olympus, so keep in mind what you see below is JPEG output. Untouched, unedited. Just resized. Each camera was set to Aperture Priority and as always, for these fun JPEG comparisons I let the camera choose exposure. ISO was set to the base ISO on each camera. This is NOT an ISO test or a scientific test. It’s to show how each camera, with said lens, will output a JPEG. It shows DOF differences, color differences and also shows how sharp these lenses are.
I plan on doing RAW comparisons soon as well, so there will be a part 2. I will also have comparisons in my OM-D review, which will be up fairly soon I hope.
Enjoy this fun JPEG comparison!
1st the OM-D E-M5 and the 12mm f.2 at f/5.6 – click image for larger- This came closest to the real color during the “Golden Hour”
Now the Fuji X-Pro 1 with the 35 at f/5.6 – the color signature is much different from the Olympus and has less DOF due to sensor size and focal length being much longer
Now the Sony with the Zeiss 24 at f/5.6 – Focal Equivalent of this one is 35mm
Now the OM-D at f/2.8 – pretty sharp JPEG output. Nice rich colors as well
Now the Fuji with the 25 at 2.8
and the Sony with the Zeiss at 2.8
OM-D at f/4 with the 12mm
and the Fuji at f/4 with the 35
Another one with the Fuji and OM-D. The Sony shot was corrupted on my SD card for this one so could not include it.
The OM-D with the 12 at f/2.8 – straight from camera JPEG – This is a 24mm equivalent so you will get much deeper DOF than the Fuji with the 35mm
and the Fuji at 2.8 with the 35mm – straight form camera JPEG
I saw this scene in the harsh sun and figured it may make a good shot for Dynamic Range. Again, my Sony shot was corrupted (due to an OLD worn out SD card that I need to replace)
So take this as nothing more than JPEGS shot with each camera and their respective lenses. Out of the three, the most joyful and fun to shoot was the Olympus. I also enjoyed the Fuji as the AF was fine in this bright light so I had no problems with it. The Sony was also fast and easy to shoot. Any of these mirrorless cameras can give you great results, and when you learn the camera you can do just about anything with them. I am looking forward to taking them on vacation with me next week. I will also bring one of them with me to Berlin for the Leica event on May 10th (in addition to my Leica). Not sure which one yet 🙂
As always, thanks for reading. If anyone would like to see a specific test or comparison with these three cameras just let me know! I will do my best to oblige.
Man, this article is old. Well- I think the Fuji did the best. The Olympus loves punching up those greens man- it just drives me nuts. I want a flat picture- I don’t want punchy anything. Give me a picture that is true to the original scene and Fuji to my eyes does this. Well, so does the Sony but clearly- that glass be lackin. This was years ago soooo….
Well in my opinion if one only looks at the pictures and ignores sensor size and all other preconceptions the OM-D swipes the floor with them all… I owned the NEX-7 really disliked it as a camera, seriously tried out the Fuji which i quite liked in some ways, but nothing compares in my opinion to the feel and speed of the OM-D. Paired with the Panasonic Leica 25 f1.4 it makes magic…
About 2 months ago i had compared both OM-D and NEX-7 with their std zoom kit.Both are set to auto and somehow or maybe i’m just lucky.Both are shooted exactly same at ISO 640 and the shutter speed also at 1/60s.I’m captured Lowepro camera bag at my friend cam store.On the PC LCD our eyes clearly see that the 7 had much more detail,lower noise (the bag fabric textures are clearly more defined with Sony),the tone also more punchier.I guess depends on the conditions,some cameras maybe worked better than others…
I’m new to your site and I’d just about given up finding information like this. All I need to know is what kind of images do generally comparable cameras take of the same subject under the same real-world conditions.
There’s way to much esoterica on various testing sites and they remind me of early “audiophiles” disputing over sound quality that dogs could hear. I don’t see in pixels, under laboratory conditions with the best possible lens and lighting. The real-world picture’s the thing, so this sort of subjective comparison is great.
As an aside, I took the two country road shots and ran them both through my favorite B&W conversion. Two very different images and very interesting “looks” for each. I look forward to RAW shots to see exactly how much detail can be extracted.
Keep up the work, and thanks.
I encountered the same issue color rendering issue when shooting OMD vs NEX-7. The color on Sony pictures are a bit pale, and I found RAW conversion did not adress this issue. Am I missing something or do I need to invest on a better lens for NEX-7 camera.
Love your works,
I think a lot depends on what you have got and use already. my FF DSLR is wonderful but does not go everywhere with this is impractical. The dimunitive size and speed of the OMD is my go everywhere camera the image quality is near as damn it good.
If I did not have and use the FF DSLR the X PROs additional size and the extraveffort required to get the best out of it would be worth it – you cannot deny the the triumph of its image quality.
However I am reading magnum magnum and many of the globally acclaimed images do not have the technical quality those of us posting here would expect…it is still about the content we are very indulged with these choices
Nice premise: just a great photographer taking real-world shots. I used to buy it, but I see a trend that is making it too predictable for me. When someone who is as good as you sets up the shots to prefer one system over another, it is not too interesting a comparison – just manipulation.
Please give us something interesting – an unbiased comparison that shows the pros and cons of each system. It will make it more real and more interesting. We can get hyperbole from Ken Rockwell.
Even if it’s just a “fun, unscientific test” – at least hit the focus (ref. the first shots), and shoot in the same light conditions (ref. the photos of the lamp post, where the OM-D is used in sun whilst the XP1 is used when it’s overcast).
Hey Steve, I would really appreicate if you could do a comparison and see how the EM5 performs with your leica lens. I just got my adaptor and will try the Voigtlander 35mm 1.2 on my EM5. Would be interesting to see the comparisons. I visit your site everyday, keep the good stuff coming!:D
I’d choose the E-M5 for the speedy AF, touch shutter, and IBIS. All extremely useful and practical for any type/level/style of photography.
Right, after reading more and more reports about X-Pro1 I conclude that Steve has/had either faulty sample or simply couldn’t be asked to try taking good shots. All comparisons with OM-D are pointless, everywhere Fuji beats crap out of it – colours, detail, high ISO. The same observation is about AF – all other ‘real world’ reports say that AF is good if you know what you’re doing (it’s contrast detect AF – needs something contrasty to lock focus on). My camera should be with me in few days so really looking forward to it, didn’t have any problems with AF when I tried camera in shop few weeks ago – it locked focus every single time.
excellent source for all articles related to X-Pro1 can be found here: http://www.scoop.it/t/fuji-x-pro1?page=1
Nice! Very interesting review by Alex lambretch…;)
Thanks for another comparison test. As an aspiring photographer, it’s much more interesting than sifting through mtf charts. That said, I wish you used a wider lens on the Fuji (maybe the 18/2 or a legacy lens if adapters are already out) for more similarity in DOF.
It just seems that the E-M5 is so much better than the others. It gets things right.
These types of tests are what make your site great. More so, I actually think your self-deprecation regarding them is a touch misplaced. I honestly think they’re really useful, more than just a bit of fun.
It seems to me that in a case like this, in which three cameras all take pretty darn good photos, a lot comes down to personal taste. Many people here really like the Oly shots. Personally I find them a bit too ‘seductive’ and would probably opt for the Fuji. A test like this, regardless of protestations about how unscientific it may or may not be, makes deciding between cameras easier than drudging through pages of technical data. Please keep the comparisions coming.
If Olympus would only make the jump to APS-C sensors- then they would sell like hotcakes.
I love the styling… having owned several OM slrs.
I noticed the Cemetery shots.. doesn’t that creep you out????
“..If Olympus would only make the jump to APS-C sensors- then they would sell like hotcakes..” ..and they’d render useless their existing smaller-format lenses (whose images won’t cover the larger APS sensors), unless they followed TWO separate development tracks: both m4/3 and APS.
Too much work, and they’d be up against several APS rivals.
In going only with m4/3, they have (a) only 1 rival: Panasonic; (b) all m4/3 lenses compatible with all products; (c) greater chance of innovation in small cameras, possibly bringing over converts FROM the APS format, or upgraders from compact cameras who don’t want the extra size of APS.
They’re developing their own niche, being a large fish in a small pond, instead of being a small fish in a much larger pond, and trying to compete with Canon, Nikon, Ricoh, etc.
if only people get over the sensor size complex, they would sell like hotcakes.
“If Olympus would only make the jump to APS-C sensors- then they would sell like hotcakes.”
I like a lot of people pre-ordered as soon as possible and still haven’t heard a word about expected delivery. So it seems they are not only selling like hot cakes but are also more desirable than a virgin in a jail house shower.
Now if they came out with a larger sensor, then the camera and lenses would be larger, and at least for me, less desirable.
“If Olympus would only make the jump to APS-C sensors- then they would sell like hotcakes.”
Why do people keep saying this stuff? Olympus is wholly committed to the 4/3 format; they sell all the cameras in that format that they can build.
Introducing an APS-x camera would require a change in the corporate culture, the design of a whole range of new lenses (an incredibly time consuming and expensive process), and would position them to compete with Canon and Nikon, which I’m pretty sure they don’t want to do.
In any case, if they brought out an APS camera a different bunch of people would start complaining that it was a “crop” sensor, and should have been full-frame.
If your artistic vision can’t be expressed without an APS sensor, you have lots of other choices.
Steve, thank you for posting these comparison photos. I read this article of yours yesterday and decided to buy the E-M5 today with the 12-50EZ lens. Just my luck that the store happens to have one available (and without someone already reserving it). I gotta say that I absolutely love it. Difficult to put in words but in the hands, this camera just comfortably works.
Anyway, I am a first time MFT buyer so I would also like to get a decent fixed lens to go with the zoom one. Would anyone please suggest a Voigtlander Nokton 0.95 25mm or a Oly 45mm F1.8 for general portrait shooting with some recognizable DOF?
I had bough on my olympus… Nocton more old school style…
Definetely, the 45/1.8 for portraits. I have one and it’s great, especially for the price.
NerdyPatty, I do suggest a Voigtlander Nokton 0.95 25mm for shallow depth of field (..and set the Olympus’ stabilisation to “Focal Length 50mm”, see Simon’s question at ’49’, above), and/or an Oly 45mm F1.8 for general portrait shooting with some recognizable shallow DOF.
The 45mm focuses extremely fast, always spot-on, and is very sharp, too!
The Voigt 25mm gets sharper as it’s stopped down from f0.95, or is fairly sharp at f0.95 ..but NOT at its closest focus, so I’d advise not shooting from closer than about two feet at its widest aperture (though it does focus down to about 6 inches).
There. Said it for you.
The 12-50mm is a good, sharp, fast-focusing versatile lens, but its “reach” (equivalent to 100mm) is just a bit too short for me, so you might like to consider a longer (..dare I say this word?..) ZOOM as well.
An adaptor (or couple of them) and an original Olympus OM 135mm f3.5 lens (equivalent to 270mm) is also a great – and phenomenally cheap – buy, giving great results even wide open. But, of course, that’s manual focus, too.
You’re probably going to have fun..
P.S: If you have the adaptor(s) to fit original OM lenses onto m4/3, also consider the cheap, small and lightweight original OM 24mm f2.8.
I know it doesn’t have the tempting f0.95 widest aperture, but it weighs 187grams vs Voigt’s 412grams, is only an inch-and-a-quarter long, instead of 3 inches, and focuses from infinity to 6 inches with a quarter twist (90 degrees) instead of a three-quarters twist (270 degrees).
So it’s small, fast, light, with NO vignetting (unlike the Voigt wide open) and has all the sharpness and contrast of the great OM lenses.
(It’s a bit longer and heavier when attached to an adaptor: weight 320g, length 2¼”.)
Then again, there’s the Panasonic 20mm f1.7: weighs 100g, length 1″, about 360 degrees twist from closest to infinity ..but you could just let autofocus do it for you with no effort! ..And plenty of pretty ‘bokeh’ if you want it..
Just love the Olympus colors.. for now is the best m4/3 ever!
What Olympus will do after OMD?! 🙂
I’m very interested to learn how the OMD’s DR has improved as compared to the EP3 and how it stacks up against good aps-c sensors. I liked the EP3 except for its clearly inferior DR performance. After a trip to Barcelona with its narrow streets with lots of very contrasty light conditions with X100 and EP3 and seeing how the Fuji’s DR wiped the floor with the flagship Olympus, the latter had to go. The old rule of “exposing to the right” produced terrible shadow performance and no PP could rescue some of the shots. The little Fuji did admirably in direct comparison. Unless the OMD’s DR performance is about 2 stops better than its predecessor’s, it will not be for me.
Hi Retow, to me it looks like Olympus finally fixed the childhood deseases of the old sensors in E-P1/2/3 with the new OMD.
As I said earlier a lot of noise is present in high contrast images of E-P1/2/3 even at ISO 200, but not with the new sensor in the OMD as far as I can see.
And you are very right the X100 wipes the floor with the old Olympus 4/3 sensor regarding high ISO performance and DR (also clearly confirmed by DxoMark).
Hi Steve, I always read your posts and they have been a guidance in helping selecting gear. I am just wondering in the latest stream of comparisons, specially with X-Pro1 / OM-D / NEX7 – it seems that it’s more a comparison of what is latest and maybe hottest, but really I would se the OM-D as a very different type of camera, kind of comparing SLR to Range finder – I would have expected OM-D to be compared to Nikon V1 and NEX7 to X-Pro1 – in terms of static IQ of-course you can compare anything, but from a real use factor they are very different…
Thanks for a fantastic Blog
Hi Steve, I always read your posts and they have been a guidance in helping selecting gear. I am just wondering in the latest stream of comparisons, specially with X-Pro1 / OM-D / NEX7 – it seems that it’s more a comparison of what is latest and maybe hottest, but really I would se the OM-D as a very different type of camera, kind of comparing SLR to Range finder – I would have expected OM-D to be compared to Nikon V1 and of course NEX7 and X-Pro1 – in terms of static IQ of-course you can compare anything, but from a real use factor they are very different…
Thanks for a fantastic Blog
I know these kind of tests dont really prove anything, and yet i like them more than all those educated tests with charts and nombers and tones of bla bla
I found the oly to have the best colours ( at list in my eyes) , they are also sharp with the exact mount of light ( exposure)
These kind of tests should be done at least properly , you don’t take a lens that will produce shallow dof and focus on a distant tree that is barely seen then compare it to one that has wide dof , the Fuji picture looks completely out of focus and soft next to the OMD one …
The colors and contrast all depend on the in camera settings , and you can easily match the same on both…
I love my OMD btw…though would have got the Fuji if it was cheaper…
OMD positive points:
> Very fast and accurate autofocus, like the Panny GX1, with instant shutter release
> Very quiet shutter (but not as silent as Fuji X100 in-lens leaf-shutter)
> Easy two-dial aperture/speed adjustment and exposure over-ride
> Excellent colour and auto white balance
> Excellent low-light hi ISO performance
> Excellent stabilisation (easily down to 1/6th sec)
> Small and easily pocketable
> Excellent rubber thumb-grip
> Takes vast array of m4/3 lenses plus other lenses with adaptors
> Jpeg Hilight/shadow adjustment visible in EVF and rear screen before shooting also applies to flash
> Hinged folding touch-screen focus-&-release for waist-level shooting
> High capacity long life battery
> Excellent close-up fill-in flash
> Can zoom into replay and jump to next zoomed-in shot (like M9, 5DII, etc)
> Magnificent FullHD video shooting, with built-in stabilisation (results comparable to using an add-on Steadicam Jnr or Glidecam) plus optional add-on unit for external stereo audio input
OMD negative points:
o Thumb-crampingly awkward position of very small Play button
o Magnified preview (for manual focus lenses) very hit-&-miss: sometimes works, other times needs three or four presses (whichever ‘soft’ button it’s mapped to)
o Poor shooting access to four ‘MySet’ stored preferences (unlike quick access knob of Canon 5DII or Panny ‘C1, C2’ etc) ..should be on a dial
o Stabilisation for manual lenses must be manually configured for relevant lens (doesn’t automatically reconfigure by amount of shake)
o Re-mappable Function buttons rather small
o Almost-impenetrable instructions seem written by robot
o No apparent option to delete several pics together
1 – It’s a quiet, fast, accurate, reliable lightweight miniaturised DSLR looking like a small Olympus OM-4
2 – Huge range of lenses including zooms and primes
3 – Full of ‘amateur’ Art and Scene modes, but no professional quick-engage of its four pre-sets
4 – Smaller and more versatile than Fuji X-Pro, easier to use than Sony NEX
Don’t forget small sensor in youre negative points.
Small sensor, a M4/3 sensor is not a negative. Why is it a negative? The Nikon V1 sensor is way smaller and I love that camera. You do not “need” a full frame sensor or APS-C to take good quality memorable photographs. The sensors in the cameras today are really really good, big and small. We know what size a M4/3 sensor is going in, so it is not a negative.
Solved one thing:
“..Magnified preview (for manual focus lenses) very hit-&-miss: sometimes works, other times needs three or four presses (whichever ‘soft’ button it’s mapped to)..”
Solution: Whatever viewfinder mode was previously in use (e.g; “Curves” for adjusting highlights & shadows) has to be DISMISSED by pressing the ‘OK’ button. When the previous mode has been dismissed, then the “Magnify” mode can be invoked by pressing its relevant button – I map it to the ‘Movie’ button.
When other display modes have been dismissed, then 1st press of the ‘Magnify’ button produces the “Magnified area frame” (I always have it centre screen), and second press delivers actual magnification. A further press dismisses the magnification, and returns to the “Magnified area frame”.
But “Curves” can’t be applied till I’ve pressed ‘OK’ to dismiss the “magnify frame”. When that’s disappeared, “Curves” can be invoked by pressing the appropriate button.
Long-winded and unintuitive, or what? No mention of this rigmarole – as far as I can see – in the instruction manual.
I hope this solution helps someone..
Regarding this magnified view (to check manual focus) mentioned above; the instruction manual says:
“4 Press the shutter button halfway to initiate autofocus. • The zoom is cancelled. • If [mode2] is selected for [LV Close Up Mode] (P. 88), pressing the shutter button will not cancel zoom and the camera will focus continuously while the shutter button is pressed halfway.”
So by choosing “mode 2” in the “LV Close Up Mode” section of menu ‘D’ (..the “Disp/ > /PC” menu within the “cog wheels” menu) [..aaaarrrggghh!..] then the magnification does NOT disappear when you start to squeeze the shutter button. Which can be handy.
HOWEVER, this magnification mode IS NOT CANCELLED when the shutter button is pressed, so all you see for the next shot is the magnified centre of what you’re pointing the lens at.
This magnified mode OUGHT, by common sense, to automatically cancel after the shutter’s been pressed (when “mode 2” has been selected in that “LV Close Up Mode”).
Hmm, time for a second firmware update I think, Olympus!
Speaking of rigmarole… David, could you help out with a step-by-step procedure for getting the OM-D’s IBIS set OPTIMALLY for a given manual focus lens? I sure would like to avoid multiple meandering futzing sessions… and still maybe not be sure, do I have this right? And BTW, how wide angle have you gone so far with the MF lens trials — have any lens-sensor incompatibilities turned up yet? Thanks so much for all your help!
Hi, Rangefinder – sorry; I didn’t see your post till just now!
To set the OM-D’s stabilisation OPTIMALLY for any given MANUAL focus lens; let’s say a Leica 75mm lens..
1 – Put the lens on the camera
2 – Press MENU and scroll down one item to camera-symbol-2 (called “Shooting Menu 2”)
3 – The 2nd item on the menu is “Image Stabilizer” ..so press the right-arrow of the 4-way keypad to move Right into that menu, then Down one step to “Image Stabilizer”.
4 – Move Right to display the type of stabilisation ..I choose “I.S.1” ..which is stabilisation starts whenever you half-press on the shutter button (but you could choose “I.S.2” or “I.S.3” if you want, or Off ..see manual for descriptions of the other modes, but I keep it on “I.S.1”. Then – and there are a couple of different ways of taking the next step – turn the “sub-dial” (that’s the one around the shutter button) clockwise (if you turn the wrong way, it takes you back a step through the menu) and that should highlight the “Focal Length” ..in a complete menu window by itself.
5 – With the Up and Down buttons, change the Focal Length to match that of the lens you’re going to use ..e.g; 75mm.
6 – Press “OK” to fix that setting, then “Menu” a couple of times to step back and out of the menu system.
I find that to TEST what you’ve just set, and to see if it gives optimal results with your lens, set the camera to “A” (Aperture Priority), hold down the shutter button HALFWAY to switch on the I.S. and the picture should stay steady, and you may see a very slight ‘lag’ when you wiggle the camera to the right and left. If happy, use that setting. For slightly more stabilisation, repeat the steps above, but choose a higher number. For wider angle lenses, choose the appropriate lower number in the I.S. settings.
I’ve also set the “Magnify” option to work (usually!) when I press the “Movie” button (instead of using that button to shoot movies). To do that, I use “Menu”, then scroll down to the “cog-wheels” menu item, press Right, then Down one to choose item ‘B’: “Button/Dial” then Right again. That gives you “Button Function”. Press Right to adjust the settings within it, and scroll Down to the third item, which is that “Movie” button with the concentric circles icon. Then Right, and use the Up and Down buttons to go from the default Movie “REC” facility to “Magnify”. Then press “OK” and press “Menu” three times to step back out of the menu items. Grrrr ..tedious, isn’t it?
Having set “Magnify” on a Function button (..in my case to the “Movie” button..) you could press “Magnify” (whichever button it’s allocated to) and you can adjust the degree of magnification (default 10x I think, but you can wind it down to, say, 5x) by turning the “sub-dial” beneath the shutter button. [In what is, I think, a software fault, BOTH the dials – “sub-dial” and Main dial – seem to adjust the magnification. I think Olympus may fix this in a firmware update sometime.]
So now, using “Magnify” – press the button twice to activate it: the first push selects a frame (the Up, Down, Left, Right buttons can move that frame: I always centre it, and I’ve set Centreing to “Fn1”, I think), then the second push enlarges that frame. You can thus get more accurate focusing with your manual lens, AND if you half-hold-down the shutter button (..still with me?..) that will activate the I.S. and you can see more clearly whether it’s working optimally: if the image “floats” as the stabilisation does its job, all’s OK. If so, you’ve chosen the optimal setting for stabilisation with that particular lens. (Press “magnify” again to turn off magnification and return to a normal view.) Shame that there’s no way – that I’ve found – to set this optimisation for several lenses AND RECALL THOSE SETTINGS QUICKLY using a dial.
“..And BTW, how wide angle have you gone so far with the MF lens trials..” ..I don’t have my Panny 7-14mm zoom with me, but I have a little “Walimex”/”Samyang” (or whatever other brand name they use) 7.5mm fish-eye with me, and that’s just great: closest focus 0.09 of a metre / 0.3 of a foot, and pics don’t necessarily look “bulging” like a fisheye; it depends on what’s in your picture, and whether you have visible verticals at the left and right edges. If you HAVEN’T, and you hold the camera level, you can just get extremely wide shots, with focus from three inches to infinity. (How’s that for people who DO like depth of field?)
“..have any lens-sensor incompatibilities turned up yet?..” ..None that I’ve noticed, and I’ve been using this Walimex/Samyang w/a, Leica 16-21mm zoom (sharp, but rather pointless on m4/3, as there are dedicated wide-angles for this format), Panny 20mm (searingly sharp, but slightly -s-l-o-w-e-r- focus than dedicated Oly lenses), OM 24mm (and adaptor, obviously) and OM 135mm (great, considering its age) and 65-200mm zoom (rather dull, but not so bad if contrast is cranked up), Oly 12-50mm kit lens (searingly sharp and fast-to-focus, but small apertures and not quite enough “reach” for me), Voigtländer 25 0.95 (extremely sharp, except when wide open AND, at the same time, very close ..so best used stopped down at its closest focus, or wide open at two feet or further away), also Minolta/Leitz 28mm (sharpish, doesn’t focus close, a bit prone to flare, though great on an M9!) and Leica 50mm 1.4 ‘Summilux’ (frankly, a bit underwhelming on m4/3; plenty of shallow d-o-f, but not so crisp as the Voigt 25mm and Oly/Panny m4/3 lenses ..although it’s glorious on an M9) and Olympus 45mm f1.8 (brilliant lens: VERY fast focus, searingly sharp, surprisingly neutral, smooth bokeh ..i.e; no hard edges or rims in out-of-focus highlights.. and a great match for this camera).
All in all, no lens I’ve used – whether full-frame OM or Leica, or meant-for-m4/3 – has caused any problems ..or none that I’ve noticed. But then, I look at a picture as a whole, and don’t blow everything up, or peer at it microscopically, to try to find teeny faults. And – like one in seven men, I think it is – I’m rather red/green colour-blind, so I’m not looking for colour fringing, or – particularly – some superb colour rendition: that can always be altered when editing anyway.
All in all, the meant-for-m4/3 lenses which I’ve used (some are at home, not all with me here) seem more sensible and practical, and better-matched to this camera than the NOT-meant-for-m4/3 lenses which I’ve been using, like the Leicas or the OM lenses.
I’d recommend – of those I’ve been using – Walimex/Samyang 7.5mm, Panny 20mm, Oly 45mm, OM 135mm f3.5 +adaptor. When I get home I’ll try my various other Panny m4/3 lenses, and see how they perform on this camera: I’ll guess that the focusing may be slightly slower than with the dedicated Oly 12-50mm and Oly 45mm.
– Phew! –
Well, I hope that’s answered your questions!
Hi Steve great comparison images.
I have only had my em5 for one day so are still setting up the menu.
But I have noticed the IBIS system only works with Panasonic or Olympus lenses fitted , it does not work with my nokton 25mm . Have you or anyone spotted this also ?
Haven’t used manual lenses on mine yet but on the E_P3 you would have to set the focal length in the menu for the IS to work with manual lenses.
Does not help realy.
For the Voigt Nokton 25mm, set the OM-D (or E-M5 ..or whatever they call it!) in Menu 2 > “Image Stabilizer” to “I.S.1” (..which switches on the stabiliser while your finger’s on the shutter button..) and then set the focal length (..by turning the front “sub-dial” around the shutter button, and pressing the up/down buttons..) to “Focal Length 50mm”.
Then hold the shutter button halfway down as you focus, and you’ll see the ‘lag’ effect of the stabilisation, and your pics will be less shaken at slow shutter speeds.
Oddly – incredibly? – you have to experiment a bit to find the best focal length stabilisation setting for whichever manual lens(es) you’re using.
Just received my em5 and have noticed that the IBIS system does not work on any other lens other than Panasonic or Olympus , has anyone else noticed ?
Olympus has come a long way since the E-P1/2/3. The IQ of the OMD is raised to a completely different level that makes it hard to believe that it has any relation to its older siblings. This makes the rather high price of the OMD (almost) acceptable. Very well done by Olympus in my opinion.
Hmmm have you used any of the E-P’s? The IQ has not changed much at all, the high ISO has, the ibis has, the handling has and perhaps a little more DR but all in all, you would most definitely not be able to tell the difference between the OMD and E-P2 (which i own). Steve also commented on this very fact above somewhere.
Yes, I owned the E-P1 and E-P2. Very noisy even at ISO 200 in high contrast images. Also pretty bad AF capabilities. I’m judging from the images I have seen so far from the OMD.
Noisy at 200? I’m very particular myself, I don’t go above ISO 400 on the E-P2 but saying “very noisy at 200” is crazy and hyperbole. Many things better with OMD but the ISO 200 would be basically identical.
In high contrast images at ISO 200 it is really noisy in the dark areas. Very easy to see if you show the image at 100%.
It is also a very smudgy noise that is really looking bad. If you can’t see it you really need a better monitor.
It was one of the reasons why I finally sold my E-P2 – lack of proper IQ combined with the bad AF and clumsy add-on EVF was to hard to accept when coming from the Nikon D700.
But I’m really happy to see that Olympus has finally cured all these “diseases”.
Now I want them all. And Steve is to be blamed. Lol.
Yes…!!! He is…!!!
As a side note, I always try to question the necessity before publishing photos of identifiable graves. Maybe it’s not a big deal in the States, but we have a law in Sweden called the “burial peace” to honor the deceased and relatives, and it has made me mindful about it.
Great shots though =) I really want the Fuji (happy X100 owner, toyed with X-Pro1 early on), but the new Olympus seems great and Leica’s announcement is around the corner. The mirrorless wave, and digital photography in general, has really matured the last couple of years.
Which EVF do you like best between the OM-5 and NEX-7? I got a NEX-7 and have issues seeing the EVF in bright sunlight. I am still a little on the fence on keeping the NEX-7 but love using Focus peaking with old fast prime manual lenses. For someone with not great vision it really helps with manual focus. The Oly is looking really interesting to me though. How well does the focus zoom work on the Oly? It looked like you can assign the focus zoom to one of the dials so you could quickly zoom in, check focus and zoom out. Is that true?
I feel the NEX has the better EVF. The OM-D EVF is the same as their cheaper external, just built in. It’s good but not WOW good.
Thank you Steve, as usual very good comparison… I’ve been really waiting for your final review on the Oly OM-D. Please don’t forget to comment on the OM-D auto-bracketing for us the HDR enthusiast… (number of pictures, number of EV steps, etc.) Perhaps a comparison with the NEX-7 would be great. Just a thought (suggestion). You see there’s no one posting this information or testing on the internet, and for us architects, that need very wide angle lenses the Panasonic 7-14mm has become the way to go in the CSC world; let me explain, we normally shoot in nearly impossible indoors conditions of light e.g. Standing in a corner nearly touching the roof with my head trying to fit an entire living room with a massive window and the fire place lighten at noon hoping that the space doesn’t appear black because of the window and the hour of the day. This is were HDR Photography comes to the rescue.
And what about the Pentax K-01, guys? Unbelievable IQ and – believe me – a great design that holds really well in your hand. I’ve been using it for nearly a month now and am really happy with the camera and the picture quality. I’m a bit disappointed Steve didn’t include the K-01 in his “fun comparisons”. Especially, since it’s also a new camera. I know you reviewed it, Steve, but to keep coming back to the OM-D and X-PRO1 and leave the K-01 behind is a bit disappointing. Especially, since you claimed you really like Pentax. Since it has no EVF and you didn’t like the design, you most probably sent it back immediately after you reviewed the camera. A pity.
The K-01 has SUPER IQ, really good. No EVF is OK but when you can’t see the LCD in full AZ sun, it is useless to me. I only had that one for 2 weeks so there is no way I could have included it here. If Pentax would have put in an EVF it would have rated much higher with me as the IQ was great. Design, I didn’t like it but everything else was great.
After having played with the K 01 for a while, I just didn’t see the point. It’s thick as a brick, and if you pair it with anything other than the pancake lenses that are made for it, it’s pretty much like having a DSLR. Might as well just get an K-5 for pretty much the same price new, or even less, used.
It does have one thing going for it, no one will take it seriously when they see it, so they’ll probably not be too disturbed by having it in their face. Though, it might cause one to engage in conversation about it, and that could either be a plus or a minus, depending upon the situation/person.
these kind of test are fun and the OM-D keeps looking better and better, its a pity you didn’t get it with the new 12-50mm zoom lens to try out.
I will say however that your Fuji 35mm doesn’t look as sharp as mine or as sharp as many of the samples online.
I like the OCC Jpegs from the Fuji but after running some of the RAW files through Silkypix I was pretty amazed at how much detail is lost in the OOC Jpegs.
I prefer the X-Pro1 to the M9 for street shooting, it just works better for me, my only problem with the X-Pro1 is changing the fuji lenses, there a real pain to remove, I fixed that issue by buying a second one.
Hi Steve, just so happens I will be in Berlin On the 10th of May visiting my son Brandon (no really that is his name). I know I asked you before but I would pay dearly to get into that Leica event. If by chance, you can seize a pass, please let me know. thanks in advance, and I love the site and visit daily. Louis
The OM-D my wife’s ordered is on its way, and as far as I can see from your testing it seem to do very well – I’d love to see the NEX-5N being added to the fray, as I think it would do well, too! I love my NEX-5N with the Zeiss (actually the only lens I use with it)!
The Nikon V1 has rapidly become a favourite of bird photographers, especially with long cheap kit lenses, like the AF-S 70-300. Here’s an example:
Where’d you order from? I ordered the silver with 12-50mm lens from Amazon early Feb 8th and haven’t heard a damn thing:(
Steve – I get a lot out of this kind of comparison and hope you will do a lot more. Have been shooting my Nex7 for about a month now and love it with the Leica glass from my CLE, plus the Zeiss 24 and Sony 18-200. Getting to know this system after the D700 , which is too heavy anymore for this creaking body, is a challenge. My only wish is for really good wide angle glass. It’s great seeing and hearing how the competition performs and comparing to what I am finding with the Nex. I go to your site every day before the news and, honestly, find it a lot more interesting than fear, death and destruction! Thanks!!!!
I have the OMD on order but fear it will be a long time before I get it. I’d like to get a new camera I can use for the summer shooting season. I was thinking of getting a EPL2, and then I’d have a backup m43 body for when OMD arrives. Or else I might get the Nikon D3200 since I have 4 DX lenses already, but I don’t like how that dongly wireless remote sticks out the left side. But I might just not get anything and keep using the Fuji X10 and my old Nikon D200. What to do, what to do. I really like the Fuji X10. All I really want is a Fuji X10 with bulb mode. But it doesn’t have it, so I need a second camera for long exposures.
I took my weather-sealed E-M5 down into some violent Lake Erie waves earlier this week & got soaked to the skin. The OM-D took amazing pictures the whole time. Can’t do that with either of these other cameras!
Great shots, thanks for posting them!
Very good example of the om-d quality.
I would love to see the results of OMD with the Pan/Leica 25mm 1.4 lens.
I am using Fuji X pro 1 with Contax G Biogon 21 and Contax G Sonnar 90. Fantastic results. Better than with Elmarit 21 asph and Summicron 90.
Paolo, since Steve won’t be doing the manual lens update with the X-Pro 1, could you provide more details on your experience so far with the Contax G lenses? How is manual focusing working out, and what procedure do you use? Also, have you found any darkening or color shifts in the corners of your shots with that 21mm lens (or with the 28mm, if you have it)? Finally, are you getting noticeably sharper results with the Zeiss glass compared to what you may own in Fuji lenses? Thanks for any assistance. I’m very interested in this topic!
I’m not always an set it and forget it kind of shooter, but do leave my D300 on Aperture priority when using AI/AIS/Series E glass on it. That being said, I would have loved to have seen DOF comparisons done using equivalent focal lengths on both the OM D and the X Pro1. And why I would rather see them coming from you Steve, vs a DPreview and such, is because you always add that bit of humanity in a review. You don’t get caught up in statistics which is great, but let’s face it: We can associate an emotional value with the subjects we shoot, and when said subject is isolated nicely due to DOF, it can make a huge difference in how we perceive it.
For me, when I’m attempting such a thing, if the background isn’t blended nicely, then it’s a big distraction and I don’t really even want to share the image. I wish you didn’t have to return the Fuji right away and perhaps entertained some of us with these musings… *sad*
Doug I feel you, I once was a bokeh lover, it seemed like a photo wasn’t good unless it had a blurred background. I would take a guess you have only been into photography for a relatively short while? Under 3 years? This will change and you will start to realise DoF is something to be used when appropriate, and in fact, usually a greater DoF is best, it just means you have to put work into the background as well.
Short DoF is like an easy way out, and it’s fun to a point, but it starts to get over done, I find m43 great simply because I can shoot at f2 with some of the best glass around and get f4 DoF, I can shoot F1.4 at night and still get things in focus. And when short DoF is required it’s there too, you just have to work a little harder for it.
If you look at the greats of street photography and obviously landscape and most others, DoF is usually maximised as much as possible, when you start coming round to this everything falls into place with m43.
I may be wrong with you, you could have been genuinely into short DoF for decades and for whatever reason and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it becomes a bit of a fad, like monochrome photos with selective colouring ahhh the early days of my photography life.
I’ve had my X Pro-1 about a week and like both the 18 and 35 lenses. Compared to my X100, the X Pro-1 shots seem a little flat and less saturated but very sharp. Cropped images still look sharp. Medium tone curve in Lightroom helps the images pop.
So, bottom line is…all three are capable of great image quality; get the camera body that works best for you and has the lenses you want. Sounds about right?
Yes. Buy the cheapest of these cameras and invest in some quality fast glass.
On the first field picture, it looks like the OMD really nailed the colours. Can you share the settings you used on the OMD? Was it natural/vivid? Any saturation/contrast boost? 12mm looks like a must have lens for m43.
In that one the OM-D came the closest though it is still a little on the rich side. I did not do any sat or contrast boost but could have had the camera set on Vivid..if not Vivid it would have been on “Natural”. Natural on the OM-D is lovely actually, just as the standard Provia setting on the Fuji is my fave now.
I put sharpening to -2
Use neutral and monochrom.
And since I bought it yesterday I use it all the time with my Leica lense… Wonderful!
Forgot to say: it is very easy to focus manual lenses. Even the summilux 75mm.
But you have to be carefully with shaking… The IS mode does not help a lot… Is it because it is no Olympus lens?
On the E-P3, and past Olympus bodies, you need to manually enter in the focal length of the adapted lens, so that the IBIS will work correctly. For m4/3 lenses it automatically adjusts.
In terms of pure image quality – which I think people spend way too much thinking about, since all of these are fine cameras – you’ll have to put me in the camp that finds these kinds of comparisons virtually useless.
They are not done in a controlled way (note differences in framing and focus) the way that DP Review or Sean Reid would do and JPEG performance is irrelevant for most serious photopgraphers. Otherwise you’re really testing the camera’s JPEG engine, rather than the sensor/lens combo.
Pure RAW performance would be of some interest. Not trying to be critical but one cannot really draw conclusions without a controlled environment and, depending on the photographer, images shot in RAW.
Yes, I did state all of these are very fine cameras. It comes down to personal preference, needs and wants. Also, in the 3+ years I have been online with my site I have NEVER been a Sean Reid or DPR..in fact, that is one reason i started this website. I am the complete opposite of those sites/guys as they do not focus on what people really do with the cameras. 85% who buy an OM-D will take it, and shoot it in auto or A mode. Few will use it in manual. Also, if someone shoots the 12mm on the Oly they are not going to say “Hmmm, what settings would I use if I was to compare it against a Fuji and 35mm”. No, they would just set their aperture and shoot.
What you see here was a collection of JPEGS from each camera with different lenses. Same aperture was used because I was not attempting to match the DOF but to show the differences between each sensor and lens combo in this regard. I also stated clear I was testing each cameras JPEG output and RAW would be done in a part 2 test.
But no one comes here for DP review or Sean Reid tests. To see those, go to DP review or Sean. 🙂 Thanks for the comments!
“85% who buy an OM-D will take it, and shoot it in auto or A mode”
I belive that 85% of people who visit your website, are not “iA” shooters, maybe you should make a poll?
“if someone shoots the 12mm on the Oly they are not going to say “Hmmm, what settings would I use if I was to compare it against a Fuji and 35mm”. No, they would just set their aperture and shoot.”
Steve, please give us, your readers more credit,
If we want to shoot 24mm we dont go for 50mm lens (or vice versa),
most(if not all) the people who considering X-PRO and OM-D would go for fuji 35mm or Panasonic’s 25mm lens, not the 12.
“But no one comes here for DP review or Sean Reid tests. To see those, go to DP review or Sean. Thanks for the comments!”
Steve, this is only my opinion, but for me this crazy comparison is EXACTLY like going to DPREVIEW,
The only thing that i can LEARN from this “KIND” of comparison is the ISO abilities of the cameras, and frankly comparing a 50mm to 24mm equilant does not teach me anything about DOF differences of the sensor sizes!
steve, i think what you have done in your X100 and X1 comparison is simply legendary comparison,
It would be totally great if you could compare fuji 35 with pana 25, Fuji 18mm with Pana 14mm,
that would truly be helpfull to make a desicion witch way to go.
And thanx alot for your hard work!
Ive done 30 or so of these kind of comparisons over the years and always do them like this…one reason I always called them “crazy comparisons” as for the readers here, believe it or not, 75% of my e-mail comes from absolute newbies, many who have no idea what “Aperture” means. Yes, I know my readers. These readers never post comments either but they are here. Believe me. These readers would love to see what each cameras JPEG renderings look like. Why? because they wouldn’t shoot RAW. Like I said, a RAW comparison is planned but looks like the fuji will be MIA so maybe the next Leica middle of the road camera will be included instead 🙂
Also, I do not own the 14mm or 25 1.4 lenses. If I did, they would have been used. I am looking for a 25 1.4 to buy though…
So you may not have learned anything from this but some have, including me.
Hope RAW support will arrive day sooner, one thing that really striked me is how contrasy the OM-D jpeg is compared to fuji and even sony is, perhaps, if no love from raw, you would consider to tweaking its jpeg to look similiar across the board,
Ros..I think one of the reasons that the OM jpegs look more contrasty is because Steve is using a pretty wide lens, which tends to compress things and give more contrast plus with all that depth of field you have sharper edges to begin with.. I bet if you shot the same scene with the OM using say the Pany Leica 25mm f/1.4 the photo would flatten out somewhat. (could just be the jpeg tho..hard to say.).
Long lenses “compress things” wide lenses do the opposite.
Steve I always like these comparisons and you are so right, 95% of the people probably do to but only 2% comment and moan about technicalities.
I would love to see a spoof camera comparison with about 200 images shot in every possible way so that no one could ever come up with a reason to say “this is basically useless” haha
Will…I did not get my point across very well with my choice of words. True a telephoto lens compress objects front to back and melds them together.I don’t know what other word to use…but a wide angle lens takes a large area in front to the camera and “compresses” it onto a very small capture frame in the camera. To my eye..(I could be wrong) this nature of a wide angle lens, directing all of this visual information onto the frame, creates more contrast in an image in a given scene than say a normal lens or a telephoto. Coupled with the increased DOF wide ange shots, with a good lens “appear” more contrasty in general, to me. Again…non scientific.
Don’t know if I am getting my point across. I guess I need to widen my vocabulary! LOL!
hey Steve, you said right up front…that you were using the lenses that you had on hand…Given that it is still a useful comparison….we just have to interpret a bit.
I am still amazed at the different jpeg renderings.
I agree with you Ros. Comparing a 12mm lens on m4/3’s to a 35mm lens on APS-C is a very odd choice indeed. I don’t know how anyone could draw any conclusions from this at all. This test is fun to look at, but I can’t take anything away from it because the focal lengths are so extremely different. To do a fair comparison you simply have to use equivilent focal lengths.
If the goal is to educate readers on the effects of different focal lengths, then that is fine, but the same body should be used for all sample photos in the comparison.
Glad to hear you are going to Berlin, I was hoping that you would. I vote OM-D goes with you
I’ve been shooting with an E-M5 for a week now, and loving every minute of it. There’s not a thing I would change about the body, but would love to see a few fast zooms introduced. Or even constant f/4 zooms. (Yes, I do know about the Panny 7-14mm.)
It’s really interesting to see these side-by-side shots. To me, it seems like the Sony has some metering issues, and the Fuji’s white balance seems to be all over the place (which, of course, is more a jpeg processing issue than a sensor issue). Strange. Hopefully these problems will be ironed out in future firmware updates.
Is it your kia SOUL, MR.Huff?
Yea, that is my mega buck high dollar Kia, lol. I drag race on the weekends 🙂
If you like point and shoot iphone like pictures go for olympus. Complete lack of BOKEH.
That is due to the fact I was using a 12mm lens. That tends to happen with an ultra wide lens. BUT yes, if using similar focal lengths you will get more DOF on the Oly.
Steve, i’ve been following your webstie (new and old) for years, and i know you pay for your gear out of your own pocket, but it would be really great to see a comparison with PL25 and fuji’s 35mm lens,
As i personally cannot learn a thing from a 35mm,24mm and 12mm lens, comparison.
Infact, the only thing i can learn from this kind of crazy comparison (when lens do not match at all) is the ISO performance of the cameras, and frankly there are plentiful sites that give us just that (dpreview),
I hope a PL25, or Oly 45mm, comparison would be possible to make for the full OM-D review,
You can definitely pull some bokeh from the Oly with say the Nokton 25mm f0.95!!!!
When I want low DOF…I am not exactly reaching for a wide-angel lens.
Too bad you could not have done this comparison with equivalent focal length and f/stop lenses.
Would have been really interesting then!
I am amazed at the differences in the jpeg renderings.
Steve you can process the Raw images from the OM using LR 4.1
Wow! I’ve heard it all! The inexpensive $399 oly 45mm will give you such creamy bokeh that makes it possible to spread it on a sandwich as if it was helmenns! Bring out the best!
Well it isn’t like the Canon 85mm f/1.2 wide open on a 5D….but the bokeh is pretty good for a versatile “little” camera system like MFT!
That new Oly 75mm f/1.8 MFT lens coming out this summer should help the bokeh along nicely!
that olympus seems to be thrashing the competition this year! I’m not planning to buy any cameras for a long time, but it is good and exciting that the makers are changing the market every year with amazing new products. now, the omd costs about as much as the x100 when new… and it delivers a lot more, now that is good news!
Color. What a difference!!
Steve, what comes closest to reality?
Well remember, these were JPEGS. Some had vivid modes on, some had normal or “natural” modes on. JPEGS can vary across the board. RAW should be where it is at. Fuji asked me to send their camera back today so looks like I will not be able to do RAW comparisons or Leica lens tests on the Fuji, which I had a feeling I would really enjoy. But as for color…none hit it exact. In some the Sony came closest, others the Olympus. Fuji adds it’s own unique colors to the image no matter what mode you are in, which can be pleasing but I would not call it accurate. Again, if you shoot RAW i am sure any of them could be accurate.
From the scientific point of view fuji will be the least accurate in colors among them, due to their “innovative” color filter. Luckily, it doesn’t seem to be used again with newer, higher density sensors. It’s also a nightmare from the computation point of view, takes too much CPU resources for demosaic.
Can you explain your comment why the Fuji will be the least accurate in colors (I’m OK to hear a scientific explanation).
Take a look at the central 2×2 pixels of fuji pattern: only greens there. With bayer filter at each 2×2 matrix 2g + r + b are always presented. So, you see, fuji tends to lose some color info compared to sensors with bayer filter. And sample images I saw didn’t convinced me fuji could overcome this regression. And they can’t, of course.
@ Denis – correct and wrong – Bayer matrix is based on 2×2 pixels, Fuji’s X-Trans is based on 6×6 pixels – so you are looking at array of 4 and 36 pixels.
Bayer contains 2G, 1B and 1R, X-Trans contains 20G, 8B and 8R. Bayer matrix can produce false colour where Fuji’s more ‘random’ array should produce more accurate colour (please not I use ‘can’ and ‘should’ because all this is theory). A sensor is by default colour-blind, if you like, it’s about colour filter and this is what Fuji has re-designed to give it more ‘randomness’ and therefore ability to remove low-pass filter.
I wonder if Fuji wanted their camera back because they were sick of seeing it get beat up by the OM-D on here,which is nice to see since I opted for the OM-D! Or maybe simply because your allotted time expired? Either way, at any rate, bottom line, I’m enjoying these un-dpreview like real world comparisions! This is why we come here, so don’t hold back and let it rip with the OLY!!!! I would love to see some shots with the panny 25mm 1.4 on the OM-D! Also some killer portraits with the OLY 45mm but I will take what I can get! Thanks man! Keep em coming!!!!!!!!!!
Too funny. It’s comparing apples to oranges. The Oly 12mm shot at f5.6 is going to offer a ton of depth of field compared to the Sony and the Fuji. A very rough guide comparison would be Oly 12mm f5.6 = Sony 24mm f8 = Fuji 35mm f11. It’s simple physics. I would love to see a comparison with the Sony and the Fuji focused on the foreground and not at infinity. They’re all three great cameras when used properly.
That is why I said this is not a scientific test. Please read the text, and yes, I also say they are all great cameras that could deliver results good enough for just about anyones use. Shooting the Fuji lens at f/11 will actually put it at a disadvantage sharpness wise so Zeiss at f/8 and Fuji at 11…Zeiss will win. Again, I have never done all of the mumbo jumbo “simple physics” tests, just each camera how most would go out and shoot. I was not testing for DOF, but yes, I was showing how you get much more with the Olympus due to lens FL and smaller sensor. It’s all in the text. Thanks for your comment.
Works with om-d raw files!! 😀 YAY!!
I love this kind of comparison. This is similar to the way I shoot, and I am too poor to run out and buy a D800. So feel free to do more of these at high ISO, with “factory” flash, or whatever else you find interesting.
Most of us carry one camera and one lens. Shooting with the “most likely” lens iss wway more innformative than shooting with the “best” lens.
Steve, why is it that some of my posts stay in moderation limbo while others slip in right away? Is it a filter?
There are many filters – if you have never posted before it goes to moderation. If certain words are used (foul language) then they are held. If links to commercial sites are posted, it is held. Keeps this place from getting too crazy.
Wow, Oly really renders some beautiful OOC jpgs! Which in the end, is a big part of the point I guess. It’s just too bad that the sensor isn’t APS-C else it would destroy the competition in a big way IMO. it’s got the lenses, TONAL and dynamic range, AF (but would it still retain all of its AF capabilities with a bigger sensor?) The Fuji shots look extremely flat next to the Oly ones, especially the last two (with the first from last being the best example, look at the trees!).
I wouldn’t even think twice about getting the Olympus if not for the sensor. But alas, I’m one of thsoe poor schlubs who loves the more shallow DOF you get with a bigger sensor. And that Fuji really shines when put to task for street shooting, when it can actually focus on its subject. I doubt I’d spend that kind of cash on a camera that didn’t do well except for in good light though… oh what a conundrum!
Oh and Steve, Lightroom 4.1 RC 2 supports the OMD!
Thanks Doug! Going to get the update now.
“..it’s got the lenses, TONAL and dynamic range..” ..and there’s a lot more in the brightest whites which you can retrieve from the Olympus than appears in straight out-of-the-camera jpegs.
The Oly has much more dynamic range than simply appears in straight, unadjusted photos.
@Dough B: Repeat after me: “Sensor size has nothing to do with AF capability”.
These tests can’t POSSIBLY show anything, due to failure to align the shots properly in relation to the earth’s axis (with proper adjustment for errors in the Julian calendar factored in), multiplied my the difference in millimeters of each camera’s ratio to the circle of confusion, minis Pi squared…
Wait a minute, when I actually take a second to LOOK at the PHOTOS, they really say a lot about how each camera represents a scene. And I’ve got to admit, I really like the OM-D. In many of these exterior shots, the greater depth of field really means nicer results. Bokeh has its place, and I LOVE the bokeh from my new Sony 50mm 1.8 e-mount, but of the shots above clearly show how well the OM-D stacks up.
The Fuji continues to unimpress me. Although it’s a beautiful looking camera, I’m not a fan of the images I’m seeing. At all. If I was switching systems (which I’m not), it would be the OM-D for me. I’m so glad I didn’t try to invent some sneaky way to get by my wife and drop $2700 on the Fuji system.
oly – saturation: high, contrast: high – that might explain it 😉
High saturation does not explain better dynamic range, or tonal color range. Look at the trees in the first to last photo and note how the Oly brings out the different shades of the leaves while the Fuji rendition makes them look like it’s all one hue. That’s got nothing to do with saturation or contrast.
Maybe. I shoot JPG, and so these tests by Steve are very valid for me. If the contrast and saturation are cranked up on the OM-D, maybe he could do the same on the Fuji?
What I’m really not liking about the Fuji is the blurry wheat (yes, the Sony is not much better – I’d like to see how my old NEX-5 does on that shot – or a 5N), the underexposed Lost Dog shot, and the purplish “vintage” tint to the awning shot. A LOT of Steve’s shots with the Fuji lately seem to have some random issue… granted, I haven’t seen a pattern develop yet, but I’m certainly unimpressed with what I see, especially given the high price tag of the Fuji.
I have NEVER been a big m4/3 fan (I chose the then-new NEX-5 over the E-PL2) but the OM-D is doing a very good job, especially considering the sensor size. My biggest current beef with the NEX system is AF speed (there are actually enough e-mount lenses out now that people should cut down on that nag). But I’m missing some shots of my 2 year old because the AF just is not fast enough… but then again, in those shots when it DOES lock fast enough, I’m getting some razor-sharp results, especially with the new 50 f1.8.
I’d like to see a comparison with a 5N using the 50 f1.8 instead of the Zeiss, and whatever focal length would be equivalent on the OM-D. (The Zeiss is simply to expensive for those of us without deep pockets.)
LOL the blurry wheat has nothing to do with the camera. It was the lens choice, f-stop and point of focus that Steve chose for the shot.
Yes, this is 100% correct. Seeing that I shot that with the 35 1.4 which is about a 50mm equivalent you will get much more shallow DOF than a 12mm 24 equiv on a smaller sensor. As someone else pointed out, you would need f/11 to match the DOF of the Oly shot. I did not do this as I was shooting each lens at the same aperture to SHOW differences in DOF. 🙂
What you did is shoot the fuji with no sunlight in the scene compared to the oly and lowest saturation an contrast (velvia would have looked different).
From your test people will come to the conclusion that the fuji is dull an soft.
Hi, only do not forget that you can easily create greater DOF in xp1 by changing aperture but you hardly do low DOF in oly.
That is what the test was all about, just to show various JPEGS from each camera. It was in no way scientific as I could not shoot the same lens on each camera and JPEGS from each always look so different. Glad you got it, thanks for your comments.
NO NO NO You got it all wrong!!! You are suppose to ADD pi squared!!
As a 5N owner, I have to say I was impressed by the results from the Oly. Results from the 12mm real focal length lens seemed to me to be sharper than the Fuji, even in those images where DoF could otherwise confuse matters, as in the first image of the wheat, and handled exposure better in the image of the wooden awning.
Pity that no complete set of results for comparison is available from the Nex7/Zeiss combination, but on this showing, it would still rank 3rd, IMHO. However, cameras with AA filters always need a smidgen of sharpening to balance things up a little, so I don’t read too much into OOC unprocessed Jpegs. For me, it will always be the final print, even if this does require some post-capture image processing.
My only question is: in these comparisons, why isn’t the Fuji visibly sharper than the Oly, since it lacks an anti-aliasing filter?
I find the Oly 12mm is sharper than the Fuji 35 BUT remember, the Fuji is giving a more shallow DOF which can make it appear to be less sharp. That Oly 12mm is sharp! It is also $799, $200 more than the Fuji. The Sony is the softest when it comes to JPEG but the NEX-7 RAW files are great.
It’s strange, because the fuji really looks the worst in my opinion here.
I’m with you on the 1st image of the bushels, where the NEX 7 seems to be sharper and have more detail than the Fuji. However I like the colour of the Olympus more than the other 2.
I don’t have a clear preference for the other images though, since the NEX 7 overexposes relative to the other 2.
surely you will take OM-D
It appear so as Fuji asked for their camera back today.
I guess you’ve upset them enough with your comparisons Steve 🙂
Oh, I know what to do!
start a comparison between the X-Pro-1 and the M9. Then totally trash the M9 in favor of the X-Pro-1 (we’ll keep it between us that you don’t mean any of it).
That way you’re guaranteed to keep the X-Pro-1 for much longer
I bet they were hoping that the reviews would place it closer to the M9 and above the other mirrorless cameras. Now the comparisons place it closer to cameras that are below the X1-Pro price. From a marketing standpoint that may not what they would like to see, but that’s what it is.
Steve, crazy comparison for YOU. And please read this in the well intended, good natured way I’m asking. Cos’ I would want to ask you this personal question if we were buddies drinking a beer together:
What if the M10 (or whatever Leica introduces to the world on May 10th), like the X-Pro 1, is a flawed system? Your mission statement is to tell it like it is, but it likely means the end of Seal tours for you, your personal invite to Leica’s global unveiling is rescinded, and no more Leica schwag or test products are sent your way.
Your website is main stream now, you influence camera buyers around the world, and your opinion is on the radar of every camera maker. What would you do if Leica dropped the ball?
hmm… just checked EXIF on all shots, that’s all I have to say 😉 – go figure
Why it was titled “MORE FUN…” Some of the Fuji shots were with standard node, some velvia. Same with the Olympus. Some “natural” and some “vivid” Fuji was standard or vivid as well. Did both modes on both cameras.
that’s exactly what i meant 😉 i’m still in between NEX7 and X-Pro1, going shopping tomorrow, might pick one of them for a week, don’t have money for both of them (shame). I have X100 so X-Pro1 should be a breeze fore me (usability) but focus peaking in NEX is more than tempting – still have some old lenses and adaptors are cheap. I’m happy with X100, but 23 (35) mm isn’t good for everything, that’s why I’m thinking about some system and I don’t want to go for dSLR system again – been there for 3+ years.
Have you done any comparisons between the em5 and your ep3. I’m certain the em5 is better, but I’m curious as to whether you’ve seen much difference in image quality outside in decent light, and how much of an improvement you’ve seen indoors at ISO 1600 and above comparing those two Oly cameras.
I no longer have the E-P3. Before I can buy new gear I have to sell my older gear…but I can say the IQ is generally the same in regards to color, look, etc. But high ISO, handling and controls are well above the E-P3. Video kills the E-P3 as well. EVF is good to have as well as the tilt LCD. At $100-$200 more, the OM-D is a no brainer over the E-P3.
I agree with Bmat, this has been a difficult decision. My dilemma was the fact you can get the EP2 + EVF for $450 from Cameta.
I think it’s safe to say the EM5 is a substantial upgrade over the EP2. But, the EP2 still has great photo quality and is still a wonderfully fun camera, no?
What worries me about the EM5 is just what happened to the EP2. When the EP2 was release price in 2010, it retailed for $1100 with the EVF + kit zoom! The high innovation (and marketing) continues to be in the camera bodies, with new iterations every year, it just doesn’t make financial sense (for me) to buy the latest body while in the meantime the old versions get price-slashed 50% or more.
And Steve, thanks for creating a great forum for discussing what we all get so much enjoyment from.
Now if you’ll excuse me, my EP2 just arrived at the door. w00t!
I think the E-P2 is great, congrats. Looks fantastic and I like the handling a bit better than my E-P3 (especially the recessed mode dial).
With the quick product cycles on the electronics/bodies, it would seem like a much smarter play to do what you are doing and then use the money saved to buy glass (much, much lower depreciation).
These comparisons really show just how different cameras really are. It always surprises me that three very recent cameras, all using basically the same technology, can come up with such varying results.
I have to say, again, I think I like The Oly best. It’s purely a matter of taste, it would be hard to say “one was better than the other”, the Oly just suits my tastes.
It would be great to use a couple of favourite old Zuikos I have on it, they’re so compact, light, and have such a nice rendering. Does it have focus peaking, or do you use the EVF?
Use the EVF of rear screen: there is no ‘focus peaking’ on the Olympus.
Enjoy Berlin. This city has so much to photograph. Have fun at the event. I hope that something good will come out of it. D!RK
The City had much more to photograph in terms of diversity when the dfocus was not on it. Now it is crowded with teeangers from Italy, Spain, England drinking and vomiting, invading the city in groups of more than 20. Everywhere plain and wrecked areas are sold and stuffed with townhouses. Berlin is pure gentrification and soonjust another of those boring cities.
Last chance for pictures.
With all due respect. Go to Mallorca or other Mediterranean places and you will see groups of German kids doing exactly or worse what you accuse others of.
Maybe. Does not make it better. Everyone is in for the spirit of Berlin spoiling it. And: Mallorca wants those tourist otherwise there would not be those places for those crowds. Still tourism in Mallorca is concentrated on one area. Here it is everywhere. It is just strange livin’ in a city and feeling foreign.
For those of us not from Berlin, you kind of have to explain what dfocus is.
Sorry, never mind. I misread your sentence, thought “dfocus” was a thing, or tourist program or something. Guess it was just a typo.
All the same, what has changed that causes groups of young people to come specifically to Berlin, as opposed to Paris, or Prague?
(Completely off-topic, I know.)
For anyone invested in m43 lenses there is no need to panic looking at the IQ of the NEX7 and the XPro1. Sony is weak due to poor lens support. Fuji did a great job with the lens selection. OMD is the best due to the wide range of quality glass available.
I am waiting for my OMD for delivery tomorrow. Planning to sell my GH1!!
m43 has no fast zooms. fail.
neither does fuji or sony unless with a mount.
+1 on that. I am so torn because of the fact there are not any fast zooms in the m4/3. I would probably go with the OM-D if they did. I know I can use an adapter I suppose…..
I am leaning towards the X-Pro1 for the DOF, AA delete, and because of their roadmap of lenses.
The OM-D colors are very nice though! I prefer the warm tones.
I find it hilarious that a couple of years ago people were complaining abou the lack of primes for 4/3’s, and now that µ4/3’s has a lot great prime lenses, people are complaining about the lack of zooms. Plus ça change…
zooms are for sissies! 😛
not quite for sissies but they are so portable why would you want a zoom. my nikon 24-70 weighs kilograms. m43 primes weigh few grams and are tiny even the voigtlander plus 3 other oly primes dont reach the weight and bulk of the 24-70
This is a good point. I had heard that Panasonic was going to release one or two f/2.8 zooms, but it’s been a while that that news has been around.
I wonder if it’s a cost and weight and MARKETING issue, as opposed to a physics problem.
That being said, that Oly 12mm is a pretty penny, but from all accounts is selling well. It’s also light and pocketable, something a fast zoom might not be. Hmmmm.
As I recall from 43rumors, they’re supposedly coming in July.
Of course m43 has no fast zooms, unless you factor in adapted Olympus 4/3 lenses as Joe mentioned. I have read nearly all the comments on this raging topic comparing these three cameras. When it comes to lens choice I have never read a single comment mentioning the need for a fast zoom. So I guess there is no real intention from anyone to use a fast zoom on any of these three cameras.
For me, fast zooms would defeat the purpose of all three cameras. Every fast zoom system kit looks like Popeye’s forearms. If I can accept a fast zoom I would have never considered any of these three cameras.
Neither does Leica M.
Panasonic should release two f2,8 or even faster zooms, 12-35 and 35-100, at the end of June. Specifications are not final yet, the aperture at least, from what I´ve read.
There are plenty of fast zooms available for m43, you just lose the portability advantages of the system when you put a big and fast zoom on the front. Since you referenced there not being any available, I quickly checked out Olympus’ website and lo and behold – fast zooms for those with deep enough pockets to afford them.
My OM-D work well with Zuiko 50-200 f2.8 for motorsport event, and quick change with Zuiko 12 for street photo…
FWIW, the new Sigma 19 and 30 are fantastic on NEX, and combined with the Zeiss/Sony 24 and 50, we’ve now got a pretty solid prime lineup.
I figure everyone wants to upgrade their camera body when a new model comes out. I’m investing in good glass. The lenses are the most important part of a camera system. This is why I love the m43 format. Some of the primes are excellent. I would rather get a sharp noisy shot than a clean blurry one.
VERY smart and good idea. Even an E-Pl1 and some good glass will yield super results.
Thanks for these Steve. Keep’em coming and don’t rush your E-M5 review, better to be thorough than hasty. The decision to buy one of these cameras have been the hardest I’ve had to make since deciding on child names.
I’m an alpha user, so the NEX 7 makes since, but the NEX is just as much as a system as is M43 or Fujinon. Yeah, I could use an adapter and use my alpha lens, then what I got? A transformed a77 – should I make those transformer sounds when put it all together – “err err erroin oink”.
Then the M43 looks amazing, but the viciousness of these users in the forums and web comments is overwhelming – I have never seen people with such a Napoleon complex over a sensor. I’m a 1990’s Apple fanboy, and these M43 users make the Windows users of the 90’s look like kittens in doll diapers. However, I am leaning towards this throwback.
And I LOVE my X100, so the X Pro1 should be a natural fit, right? OMG, remember that psycho girlfriend you had back in college? The one that does what it needs to do very very good and makes you moan with pleasure? But everything else is about fighting with it. I don’t think I can have another girlfriend (camera) like that.
Ack! I wish I could be like you and have a harem of cameras to pick and choose from as I wished.
Here Lego Pentax, Pentax…..
Hey Chance, thanks for the comments. All are great systems really, and any of these (or even past models) can be used to take great photographs once you dial it in, shoot RAW, etc. All three are very good at high ISO as well. The OM-D seems to do everything well, the NEX-7 is also very good but must shoot RAW to get the best from it, and the Fuji – it seems you either love it or hate it. I love the X100, and prefer it to the X-Pro 1 and actually would love to own a black X100 kit 🙂 But in reality I only need 3 cameras. My Leica M9, a film body, and a fun take anywhere do everything no hassle camera.
Thanks for this warming up review Steve. So far 2012 has been an exiting year and probably the best has yet to come. For Leica owners like you it does not make sense to buy a Fuji Pro1 system as well.
Starting from scratch however the Olympus and Fuji systems both are very tempting.
The Pro1 is aimed at the professional market. The E-M5 is not. Therefore this comparison seems a bit silly indeed. The Olympus in-camera art filters are for amateurs and downgrade this fantastic camera rather than making it a serious tool.
But the images from both cameras are stunning. Fuji and Olympus images have like Leica, Nikon and Canon their own characteristics in contrast and colour reproduction. Maybe there also exists something like a typical Sony twang, but in your examples this is certainly is not very recognizable. Looking at these images and the ones you shot before in bad light conditions the Sony is no match for Olympus and Fuji.
The Nex cameras might be neat and small, but their lenses are in comparison large. An awkward combination. And the bulky Sony lenses are even not as good as some of the tiny m4/3 prime optics from Olympus, Panasonic, Leica or Voigtländer.
Pixel peeping and counting high iso numbers is for photoshoppers. Professional photographers choose a system camera mainly for that certain kind of flavour. That specific combination of colour reproduction, contrast and dynamics. Call it a matter of taste (or lack of taste). Fuji and Olympus have that something that is hard to describe. Maybe we should start to compare camera systems with old masters. Olympus is like Vermeer or Botticelli. Fuji more like Vélasquez or Bronzino. Nikon has the high contrast of Caravaggio et cetera. Anyway, such a comparison could also be a good excuse to buy more than one system, in the case your partner gets furious about spending too much money.
The new sensor of Fuji is probably the best innovation of the past few years. A low pass filter is something like a continuous brake on a car. So the best filter is no filter.
But how does Olympus do it? For what it is worth: In the Dutch magazine CameraMag there is a quote of mister Toshi Terada from Olympus. They will not publish the name of their sensor producer. They regard this as unimportant as long as the sensor is good. They aim more at the quality of the image processing and regard this as being more important for the final image quality he says. The German Fotomagazin tested the E-M5 and measured their highest resolution ever on any camera. With the 45/1.8mm M.Zuiko that is. The camera got the highest mark, a rare five stars qualification. As they say there: Super! But the Fuji Pro1, the Nikon D800/D800E en the Canon 5D III have not been reviewd yet.
In the meantime we all look very much forward to your review, with as always your realistic and practical approach. Well, by using your eyes mainly.
Funny post, Chance! I think you are on to something with the m4/3 Napoleonic complex. I have only been a m4/3 owner since last summer, but I do get a bit defensive when I read the generic “it has to suck because it is smaller than APS-C” comment.
Oh well, when I want to compensate, I take out my ginormous Pentax K-01 and shoot.
Great work! Keep up going.
Wouldn’t a more comparison be with the Fuji 18mm? I mean, a 24mm equivalent lens on the Olympus and a 50mm equivalent lens on the Fuji?? and an oddball 36mm equivalent on the Sony?
Can’t wait for the full review of the OMD E-5 Steve.
Just a ‘quickie’ though………..how are you finding the EVF?
Waiting too… anticipation!
Lightroom 4.1 RC2 just released to Adobe Labs has support for the Olympus
Really?! I think my choice may have been made for me! Woohoo!
sad that your memory card got corrupted. i would want to see how sony renders the red teddy bear.
steve, which of the cameras render the real life scenario the closes?
thanks for the comparison!
Put my bet on the Oly too!! what will make me more interesting is what will happen at Berlin..
the OM-D images do look here. cheers.
do look GOOD…..is what i meant to type 🙂
Please add some M9 images too. Let’s see what the “king” can do 🙂
whip that dead horse….real hard 🙂
Yes that would be fun to see!
Especially in low light 😉
ok. but let’s not confuse lo light with high ISO. photography is drawing with light not shadows. i’m getting tired of people really considering buying a camera mainly because of their useless high ISO. there is not a single image yet considered to be art or worthy of going into the archives of history taken a ISO 3.488.399.993.
While is is true that high quality portraits are rarely taken in low light, a lot of people are like me, running up the ISO to get rid of motion blur, or to get some easy background behind the subject. These aren’t usually art, these are just family photos that get sent to grandparents.
While it is nice to have a camera capable of capturing history, most of us are happy to have cameras capable of capturing kid’s soccer games. If the camera cost less than my car, all the better.
Jorge, you’re so right. Images taken at very low light conditions nerver looks as good technically. For instance, sharpness has very much to do with contrasts. The difference between light and dark subjets. This fact can’t be changed with high ISO. The only reason to use high ISO is when you need short exposure times (sports etc) and when it’s necessary to be able to take a picture at all. If you really need to take the picture. Otherwise ISO 400 or 800 is fully enough. Yes, we need sensors with better dynamic capacities, but we already have enough of pixels and high ISO performance for good photography.
Really interested to see how these compare with the M9. Even after May 10, M9s aren’t going to disappear – in fact on the second hand market they might be more affordable…
Are you kidding me? After they go off the market they’re probably going to become more expensive. Because buyers have no choice now but to buy form people that already have the camera.
Bet you take the Olympus!! Berlin sounds a really interesting place for photography – have a great time.
I agree ,.. Steve would bring the OM-D ,since the Oly 12 & 45 it’s such a small lens and very handy to carry,..with NEX7 ,he probably use one lense(24 f1.8 zeiss),.. And the last camera Fuji X Pro 1 ,.. It will consider as , ” A Blasphemy” to bring another Rangefinder in A LEICA. Event,..lol,.. Anyway thx for the Fun comparison Steve ,..