Quick Comparison: Sony RX1 vs Fuji X-E1 – IQ, AF Speed and ISO


Quick Comparison: Sony RX1 vs Fuji X-E1

I have had numerous requests for this one but 1st off let me say HAPPY FRIDAY to all! Another week has flown by and as I sit here at my desk I am in a happy mood. Why? Well, the weather here in Phoenix is warming up and getting into the 70’s and the weekend is here! Time to relax, maybe go see a movie, and spend some quality time with loved ones.

But back to the cameras…

I have had a Fuji X-E1 on hand for a few weeks and have been shooting it with the SLR Magic 35 T 1.4 lens (which I like more than the Fuji 35)  as well as the Fuji 35 1.4 lens. Of course, my own camera, the Sony RX1 has been with me as well for most of this time and over the past few days I decided to take a few shots side by side. Nothing super scientific. Just snaps like most of us use these cameras for. If I shot the X-E1 at f/2, ISO 200 then the RX1 would be set the same way.

1st Observations:


I did notice that the X-E1 I have here tends to overexpose quite often. It exposes a scene much different from the Sony does and of course the color is different as well. There were times when I would shoot a scene with the Fuji only to look and see that it totally overexposed the scene so I would have to go in and manually take over to avoid that. Not sure if it was just this copy (which was a brand new in the box untouched loaner) or if they all tend to do that. The Sony on the other hand seemed to be either spot on or a teeny but under at times, but I would say the Sony RX1 metering is one of the best I have shot with. Seems to nail it every time.

Build wise, that goes to the Sony. It is a solid little brick of a camera as I have stated. It is small but solid. It feels very well made. The Fuji can feel a little hollow though it is also built  just fine. The Sony almost feels like a mini Leica in build and quality of construction. The Fuji X-E1 feels much like the X-Pro 1 and X100.

Speed. This is the one most are curious about. The Fuji line has had a rep for slow focusing and operation. Just yesterday I downloaded the latest firmware for the 35 1.4 lens and the X-E1 I have already has the latest FW loaded. After downloading the fastest FW for the lens it did in fact seem faster. The fastest I have seen this lens shoot on an X body. So THAT is good. If you have the 35 1.4 lens make sure you download the latest firmware for it here as for me, it does seem snappier. (but my E-X1 combo here is having trouble with ACCURATE AF it seems)

The RX1 vs Fuji X-E1 in AF? Well, I have no issues with the RX1 AF at all. It just does not mis focus (for me) but I also do not use spot AF (which can lead to mis focus). I use center point AF and it always locks on and is correct. During my time with the RX1 to date I have had 1-2 mis focused shots out of a few thousand. THAT is impressive for a mirrorless camera. It is not as fast to AF as the Olympus OM-D but it is also not slow. It slows down in low light but I always still get a lock. Unfortunately I can not say the same for the X-E1. Just in the past two days it has mis-focused on me several times with a back focus on many occasions. But this has not happened since the firmware update on the lens though I admit I maybe shot 20 frames since the FW update.

All in all, the RX1 and X-E1 are neck and neck in AF speed in good light. In low light, and I just tested them side by side in my office with no lights on, they are actually just about the same with the edge going to the Sony. The Fuji has improved greatly from the early days of its super slowness and as of today, January 18th 2013 it is much speedier and snappier in low light. Even so, testing them side by side they are equal in AF speed in low light. Both locked in and locked on with the about same speed.

See the video below of these two cameras side by side as well as a low light AF speed test. 

So if you watched the video above you would have seen that in dim lighting  these are about neck and neck with AF speed now that the Fuji has upgraded the 35 1.4 lens firmware. Both locked on and were accurate.

So build goes to Sony, AF is a draw and, cost goes to Fuji and what about the IQ? Take a look at some comparison snapshots below:

You MUST click on the images to see them larger with the true 100% crop. 

Image #1

The 1st shot was in low light in my house. ISO 2500 on both cameras with each lens set to f/2. The Sony uses the built-in Zeiss 35 f/2 and the Fuji had the 35 1.4 Fuji lens attached. 

1st up, the Sony RX1 shot


and now the Fuji X-E1 shot.

The 35 1.4 gives a 50mm equivalent so framing will not be exact. The Sony is giving a true 35mm FOV


For me, this one was no contest. The Sony file is richer and sharper. NR was turned off on both of these and both are converted from RAW using Lightroom. The Fuji softens up the files at higher ISO and the Sony keeps them detailed.

Image #2

I shot this one 4 times and each time was the same result. The RX1 was sharper. This was at f/2 and ISO 500. The cameras were set on a table so there was no chance of motion blur. 

1st the RX1


and now the Fuji X-E1 and 35 1.4 combo


Again, the RX1 is sharper and gives an overall “smoother” presentation.


These are from RAW and full size so you must click them to see the full size files. The Fuji X-E1 back focused every time for me on this one (before new FW) so I presented it just as the camera gave it to me. Make sure you update the FW on that 35 1.4 as it did make a difference in AF! 

Both are at f/2 and you can see the Sony is giving a more shallow DOF here with massive background blur


The Fuji at f/2


Image #5 – BOKEH

Both look good here. The sharpness looks great on both cameras in this one – Fuji focused correctly here 🙂



High ISO – 6400 

Both of these were shot at ISO 6400 with both cameras – processed from RAW with no NR or editing. Click images for larger. I also placed the full size crops below each image so you can see them 100% without clicking.

1st the RX1 at 6400



and now the X-E1 at 6400



So while the RX1 is giving more noise it appears the X-E1 is smoothing the image somehow, even with NR turned off. The RX1 holds it detail which reminds me oh so much of the Leica M9 except the M9 can not do ISO 6400. Overall, with the RX1 you will get better build, astonishing built-in Zeiss lens, full frame sensor and DOF, better in camera metering and no muss no fuss operation. The RX1 leads in build, holding detail at high ISO, having a richer look and very deep files while editing. The Fuji gives us a lower cost for the body, a built-in EVF (which is good) and the camera and 35 1.4 set comes in at $1599 which is $1200 less than the Sony. If you count the Sony EVF the Fuji is just over $1600 less. I can say the EVF for the RX1 is also much nicer than the one in the X-E1 (which is the old NEX-7 EVF). The new Sony EVF is the best EVF on the market, hands down.

This comparison the Fuji did focus correctly, on the lens barrel of the Sony.

OOC JPEGS – Standard Color mode on both

Snapped a quick JPEG by request  – both lenses f/2, both cameras at base ISO, both OOC JPEG without editing. Full image below is from the X-E1



The RX1 JPEGS are much sharper than the Fuji’s and have that more “robust” look to them as well. The Fuji focused correctly here.


Click for full size OOC JPEG at 6000X4000 from the Sony RX1 – THIS again, is a JPEG. Very sharp. 


Now the Fuji at F8 – click for full size OOC JPEG – Again, VERY sharp!


So at F/8, each camera can produce a sharp JPEG. That is a given, especially when lighting is used. In fact, if I were shooting in a studio, the X-E1 would be my pick over the RX1 due to the different lenses available. That is not even a question. If I were wanting ONE for street, it would be RX1 hands down. To me I get better IQ in low light, better color, more depth and a sharpness the Fuji lacks at high ISO. The Sony has that Zeiss pop in certain situations but at f/8, both cameras are plenty sharp.

More JPEG tests with Lighting

Zombie Part 2

My 1st test using the Zombie was invalid as the Fuji mis focused, so as promised I redid this test with the Fuji in Manual Focus mode. I still used AF on the Sony. Here are the results which show the Fuji doing much better than last time though the Sony still eeks ahead for detail. Again, these are JPEGS. Why? Because that is what you guys wanted due to issues with Fuji files and Adobe.






The RX1 seems to like to keep exposure on the UNDER side of the equation and the Fuji goes for OVER. I suggest when shooting the Fuji you dial in -1 on the compensation dial. Here is what to expect exposure wise from each camera. Both at F/2, ISO 6400, low light and OOC JPEG.

The RX1, ISO 6400, f/2 – Aperture Priority mode – This is how the RX1 exposed the scene. OOC JPEG.


The E-X1 – same settings on the camera – Aperture Priority mode f/2, ISO 6400 – This is how the camera exposed the scene


After shooting them both and handling them both and processing files from both, for me the winner is the Sony. I much prefer the feel, build and lens on the Sony RX1. I also enjoy almost limitless DR and amazing sharpness in my files. I love the shallow DOF and the “Zeiss Pop” from the RX1 and with the Gariz case on my personal camera it feels like a work of art. I also enjoy the EVF that swivels and the controls on both cameras are good, no complaints. Both feel like real cameras and both deliver results like real cameras. Both operate like real cameras and both have all the dials needed to enjoy the experience. Aperture dials on the lens, shutter speed dials, Exposure comp dials, etc.

The Fuji is also excellent. IMO, the best of the X bodies but still will occasionally miss with AF. If I were buying an X body it would be an X-E1 over the Pro 1 for sure but I will not buy one due to the sloppy AF performance (accuracy) with the 35 1.4 lens. The new X100s will have even more improvements so looking forward to testing that one as well. But with the X-E1 you have more options due to the available lenses such as the 14, 18, 35 and 60 as well as the new 18-55 Zoom. Either will get you where you want to go. The Sony for the extra $1100 will do it in a more slick and polished way with improvements to what you get with the Fuji in almost every area. Full frame is full frame and the Sony matches output from cameras like the D800, A99, etc. The Fuji is at the top of the APS-C heap. Take your pick.

As always thanks for reading and looking. In today’s world, it is tough to buy a digital camera that will not give you great results. The thing is to GET OUT THERE AND SHOOT and enjoy what you have. Learn with what you have. Bond with what you have and then results will come.

With that said, my Fuji X-E1 and SLR Magic 35 T1.4 Review will be up next week, and the SLR Magic lens rocked it.

Where to Buy?

The Sony RX1 can be bought at Amazon or B&H Photo. The X-E1 can also be bought at Amazon or B&H Photo


  1. Thank you for the detailed comparison. However, I noticed that you did not show the shutter speed and aperture values for your comparison. With manufacturers, specifically Fuji, overstating their ISO values, this is critical to ensure a proper comparison. I have owned fujis in the past (as well as sony, olympus, panasonic, canon and nikon), and I can confirm that fuji is the worst offender (though not the only one). I have routinely experienced 2/3 to 1 stop differences in shutter speed / aperture settings while displaying the same ISO. This means that when both cameras are set to the same ISO, the Fuji will usually have a 2/3 – 1 stop slower shutter speed, larger aperture value, or a combination of the two (depending on which mode the test is conducted in). When manually setting shutter speed, aperture and ISO, Fujis will tend to underexpose for the same values, confirming that the ISO is overstated.

    I would like to know if it is practical for you to disclose the shutter speed/aperture information for your shots so that we may confirm that all cameras were on an equal playing field for the tests. Additionally, please note how much softer the Fuji pictures are. The lower in camera sharpening and contrast settings of the Fuji (whether jpeg or raw), further create the impression of better high ISO performance. I went away from Fuji not because of this reason, but I am disappointed that a camera manufacturer would engage in such tactics. I believe that reviewers must be more careful in their testing methodologies to ensure accurate results, so that such tactics are not rewarded.

  2. I owned Leica M9P , D800E , D4, Sony NEX 7 . NEX5N, OMD , XPRO1, XE1 , plus bunch other cameras, also recently bought the RX1 .

    I don’t think the comparison were done correctly . It seems like most of the XE1 photos were overexposed.
    because they are different camera and different lenses, even it has the same settings, it may not be correctly exposed.

    Also I would compare XE1 with 35mm at 1.4 . This will show user how a faster lens can achieve better result . I love both cameras, I would rate XE1 better camera , especially its price point as well as jpg quality. If you were to step down XE1 setting, the RX1 will be underexposed.

    You also mentioned how solid the RX1 is , RX1 does feel solid (but not bass solid like M9 ) , but the buttons felt very P&S like , and the camera does feel small on my hand . I would like XE1 more on this part, especially adding a handgrip on the XE1. missing a viewfinder in RX1 also felt awkward when taking photo .

    I don’t regret buying neither camera , but I would not rate XE1 lower than RX1 . They are just two different camera . Try put a Zeiss lens on XE1 , you get zeiss Micro-contrast , but RX1 has to stuck with the same lens forever. I would bring my RX1 with me and act as a point shoot , but my fuji X system is much more entertaining to play with.

    • Jeff said:

      “… but I would not rate XE1 lower than RX1…”

      I disagree. In all real world situations, I achieved better results with RX1 than with X-E1 or X-Pro1.

      For me, it ‘fused’ with me in a way the Leica M4P + Summilux 35 did in the days of film.

      The Fujis did not .

  3. Hey Steve – great review. I am thinking about selling my d800 setup and going with rx1. The d800 is too big and stays at home as it is. I am somewhat leary of the rx1 fixed focal length, but then again, i have the sony nex7 for varying focal lengths – i too, like you am drawn to small cameras with big power.

    Your thoughts on the move from d800 to rx1 ?!??????

    • Same quality, smaller size and one focal length. It would be good for you to shoot with one focal length. Opens things up and forces you to be a little more creative.

  4. Interesting review but fairly meaningless as the two cameras are in different market positions. It is like comparing the Sony RX-1 to a medium format (50 x 39mm) sensor camera and stating the obvious that the medium frame format camera gives better detail and noise performance than the RX-1.

    In the car market you don’t do comparisons between a Mercedes Benz C class and a Mini – what’s the point ?

    • Well, Ive been doing these kind of comparisons for over 4 years now..one of the things that I do and some of the most popular and viewed posts on this site over those last 4 years. Sometimes the underdog can win, and they have in the past.

      • Fair enough.

        One thing, the two blow ups of the girl’s eye; could the X-E1 image be over-exposed. Possibly, some detail has been blown out a little. I have no doubt that the RX1 will have been the better image, but perhaps the comparison was a little harsh. You did say that the X-E1 had a tendency to overexpose.

  5. Hi Steve:

    Thanks for doing this comparison.
    Based on it’s price point, I feel the RX1 is more in competition with Leica than Fuji.
    Perhaps a comparison between the Leica M9 (with 35mm f2) and the RX1 is in order?
    I think the Sony would hold up pretty well against Leica.

    • NOt really. Leica M9 and 35 Cron setup will run about $9500 which is over 3X the cost of the Sony, or almost $7000 more than the Sony. The Fuji with lens is $1599, $1200 less than the sony. It is closer to the Fuji price wise. Much closer. I will compare it to the new M when I get a hold of one. 🙂 As for the M9, the RX1 easily beats it in many areas such as DR, ISO, size, and equals it in others.

      • I found a temporary solution waiting … maybe that Sony provide, select mode M then put 1/250 to avoid camera shake and micro F8 to get a good depth of field! RX1 adjusts the exposure by changing the ISO from 100-6500! perfect for photography on the road …. what do you think?

  6. Steve, do you have opportunity to test the new 18-55 2.8-4.0 zoom with the Fuji?
    Many formus say it is different story as regard the AF speed and accuracy and since this glass is most flexible and yet very good optically it could change the bad impression created by the 35 1.4 lens.
    Thank you!

    • I have had one here for 2 weeks. It does AF much faster but IQ is not in the league of something like a fast prime. Ive had no issues with the 18-55 but I would want to buy the X system for an 18-55 slow aperture zoom 🙂

  7. The comparison is valid, I own both platforms and share in the angst of the lost potential of each. Yet, In the quest of our craft that we all hold so dear we all must make sound decision; in image we all level at the same stratus, in quality we all make a solemn quest but numeric hasn’t satisfied us all, yet in the cost to value ratio we must recon in the reality provided by the tools manufactured by our suppliers, or in that which they presume to include in their value to profit ratio. Therefore let the triad of reason lead us all within the certainty of our own possibilities, and our potential be the cost at our own expense.

  8. Thanks for the comparison and great response from your readers, to me results of both looks good like 99/100 where 100 is for Sony. My views are,

    • If you want FF, fixed lens solid camera and if you have +3000$, Buy Sony & if you don’t have that kind of money buy X100 or X100s (when available).

    • If you are looking for pocket friendly, mirror less interchangeable buy X-E1.

    Out of these 3 cameras what ever you choose you will be happy…all are good and in the experience hand all can produce excellent images.

  9. There has been a lot of talk about the price differences betweent the US and Europe. Interestingly, Fuji is not more expensive in Europe. The E1 (body only) costs £629 incl. 20% VAT and the X-Pro 1 (body only) is £1,049 incl. 20% VAT in the UK (see Clifton Cameras). In the US, I think the E1 is $1,099 incl. 10% sales tax and the X-Pro1 is $1,540 incl. 10% sales tax (see B&H).

    Annoyingly, Sony costs a lot more in Europe. The RX1 with a viewfinder costs over £3,000 incl. 20% VAT. The E1 with the XF 18-55mm lens is £949 incl. 20% VAT (again see Clifton Cameras). So the Sony is 3 times more than the E1 in the UK (I think it is about double in the US if you take into account the viewfinder?). So it is a no-brainer over here.

  10. Thank you for your reviews i may almost never agree with the outcome and your taste but its so well written and presented that it lets me make up my own mind. 😉 By only looking at your pictures i feel that the Fuji rocks and leaves the Sony miles behind i don’t care of price tags or any other stuff i just look and feel. And I am allergic to Sony it seams…. But one day they perhaps make a camera that rocks my world, i just know RX1 is not that one…

  11. Thanks Steve, I always enjoy reading your articles. I am just curious to know, if you think the image quality is possibly related to the lens. I mean, have you tried using X-E1 with a 28mm Elmarit and compare the result? Thanks!!!

    • No I have not, just used what is considered Fuji’s best lens. I do not have an assortment of Leica glass around so no way to test that and besides, was testing AF vs AF, ISO vs ISO, IQ vs IQ.

      • Thanks!!! Yeah, I could see your point. I asked that ‘cos I was about to buy X-E1 with the Elmarit. I have to think again now. I do need the AF sometimes.

  12. Apologies if this has been mentioned. If you look at the white writing on the camera lens 100% blowups you can see that the RX1’s capture (of the Fuji lens) the white lettering looks white. On the Fuji shot of the Sony you can see that all of the white lettering on the camera and lens is smeared with colour artifacts which is typical for Fuji RAW files processed with the Adobe engine. Adobe are working with Fuji to find an effective solution to this and other anomalies arising from the more random order of green photo sites.

  13. is Fuji cheats the ISO on X-E1 as on x100?

    The results are not avilable for the lates Fuji models but if it is similar to those of X100….
    The OM-D does cheats too.
    The Pentax models are accurate.
    How is the Sony you just tested?
    Can we see that compared to Fuji? It will be deciding factor for many…the Fuji ISO capabilities were emphesized and discussed so many times as something exceptional but is the truth elswere?

  14. If you ask me this comparision is totally useless but still very interesting and well writen.
    I think that the Fuji files, even though they are not just as good ad the RX-1 files, are absolutly amazing and you can’t get IQ that is as good from any other camera in this pricerange.
    I would love to see a RX-1 vs. XE-1 with the 24mm 2.8 vs. X100 vs. X100s.
    I still think that the XE-1 is one of the, maybe even the, most amazing cameras which came out last year. The RX-1 is in that group as well. But looking at all the posibilities you have with the XE-1 i think it is overall a much better choice. At least if you’re on a budget.
    For the price of the RX-1 + EVF you can get the X-E1 + 3 or 4 lenses….

    BUT if i had a shitload of money I’d just get them both 🙂

    • Been there, done that… not even close. Even with the “Leica” 24 mm f1.4

      If you’re an OM-D user you will be screaming “foul” just as the Fuji owners are here.

      People just cannt believe how good the Sony is and go non-linear.

  15. steve, great post.

    i have the rx1 as well and i am loving it.

    however, unlike you, i have some problems with back-focusing. i am using center focus DMF.

    would you recommend another setting?

    • I just use center focus AF, not DMF. Never ever have focus issues. If you are still having focus issues I would suggest sending it in or exchanging if you can. Just make sure you are not using spot focus as that mode is known to be not so accurate.

  16. I just returned my X-E1 back to Amazon, it’s a great camera to shoot objects but it’s absolutely unbearable to shoot people with it. I couldn’t get a good AF 5 out of 6 times. I even bought an external flash for it to use in indoor settings like birthdays and weddings but it overexposes with a TTL flash most of the time.. I bought it in hope to replace my Nikon D90 but it’s so far off from the D90 in terms of image quality, metering and autofocus when it comes to shooting dynamic situations with people in it, it’s just very embarrassing. And I’m not even talking about the speed of the camera itself. I had quite high hopes for it from reading reviews but was disappointed. I also own a Sony RX100 and that camera in half the price performs a lot better in low light situations in terms of producing quality shots of people for the quantity taken.

    • If you claim that the XE-1 does not work good in low light perhaps you’re right because I rarely do shoot that way. But if you say that the XE-1 is far off from the D90 then I really question your intention? I also have the XE-1 and D700 and I prefer the files coming from the XE-1 for below 1600 ISO. Sorry but your claim is quite nonsense for me.

    • I have very different experience. I have Pentax Kx, it has the same Sony sensor as D90. The same RAW IQ, little better JPG IQ (more detail). IQ of XE1 is much, much better than K-x, especially in low light, the detail & noise. With XE1 images at iso6400 are very good also at 100% zoom. The same is for dynamic range, I made the same shot in dark room with strong light from window, the shot against the window. Image from Kx was blown, where XE1 retained highlights much better, and also colors from this shot are much better for XE1. I have only 18-55/2.8-4.0 lens. If focus is locked on, then is very accurate. With this lens focusing is very fast, but I know that with older lenses the focus is worse (I didn’t tried ). Focusing in low light may be tricky, one should get experience with it (search forums), but as I read each mirror-less has some problems in low light (speed/hunting/accuracy). With this lens I see no problem with accuracy & speed, only hunting in low light, the results could be much improved after some experience with XE1. Next days new firmware with improved focusing for XE1 and lenses is coming.

  17. So much chroma noise on XE1 image #6 (high iso 6400) I never so in my shots. I made a lot of iso6400 shots. I’m sure the noise is from LR RAW conversion, and it will not be in OOC jpegs.
    I checked images on this site marked as OOC jpeg for XE1. But from exif metadata I see that also these images are not OOC (out of camera) jpegs, they are changed by post-processing SW. I was looking in exif data what noise level was set. I didn’t find this information at all, in OOC jpegs this information would be there. As I wrote already in previous contribution above, I learned that in most cases OOC jpeg with LOWEST noise reduction brings best results for detail/noise. Such files have very good detail/resolution level, NO chroma noise, good/nice luminance noise and no artefacts. In contrast most converted RAWs have much more visible problems in detail, chroma noise, artefacts. For a fair comparison of best XE1 results should be used OOC jpeg with lowest NR ( camera default NR level will destroy fine details ) and on the site of the other cameras the converted RAW is better.
    Steve could you please attach here original RAW files and for XE1 also OOC jpeg with lowest NR? OOC jpegs could/should be obtained from RAW using in camera RAW converter.

  18. Its hard to really evaluate since:
    1. Fuji is not well supported by adobe
    2. We dont know whether in jpegs, Sony and Fuji applied the same level of sharpening here..

    The best way to really find out the differences here by using Capture One. I know that not many users use that but it’s a must if one is really trying to figure out IQ differences between these to cameras. I have the Sony 5N and the XE-1, but not the RX-1.

    • Well I am showing IQ differences for the masses..most of who will be using the camera. If I used C1 that is only showing what “the few” who have C1 will get, not the majority of users. I always go with “what you see is what the average user will get” not “what you see is what the few who shell out another $300 for software will get”.

  19. A $1000 camera vs a $2500……Kind of apples to oranges….

    I would hope the Sony would have better build quality. I would hope the Sony would be better in every way.

    • Where I live the RX1 is 3299 EURO’s!! which is almost 4400 dollars with current exchange rates!!

      Thats a steep price for a sony cybershot. When/if it drops down to 2200/2500 euros ill consider it.

  20. I did this myself with the RX-1 vs. XPro-1 vs. OM-D

    It’s really no contest in IQ, high ISO and exposure. The RX trumps it by far in all categories. And yes, my ex-Fuji (gone to eBay) overexposed almost every shot and I was turning the comp down by 2/3 stop at all times. Didn’t matter though, as in your comparison the Fuji is washed out. The OM-D is OK, but comes in 3rd in IQ by a not-so-small margin.

    Let the non RX owners spew, they are simply wrong… sorry.

    But Steve, the D4 with the NIKKOR 35mm f1.4 is better…. I know you don’t like the D4 and it is a specialized tool, but the shots are better. I know, folks will now say, “but it doesn’t have as many pixels”. But WOW on the pixels it has. You have to see it…

    • Well, I believe the D4 and 35 1.4 would be better 🙂 Just much to large for me and my use. Nikon D800 and 35 1.4 as well, but still, to have this kind of quality in your pocket is what did it for me. Cant knock the D800 though.

        • so let me see if I understand, you’re comparing out of focus areas…? Really?

          Well I must admit, I compared IN FOCUS areas and didn’t pay as much attention. Will consider that next time… maybe. But I like the IN FOCUS areas of the Nikon so much more that I doubt I’ll sell my D4 even if I end up agreeing with the other guy.

          I have a suggestion… get the Nikon set up and the Sony set up and compare for yourself and draw your own conclusions. That’s what I did. Comparing what others find isn’t necessarily wrong, just that you must take everything in context. If you want to know what YOU like, do your own.

          I have an RX1 and think the world of it. It is with me at all times. In my own comparison it crushed the XPro and absolutely eats the OM-D alive.

          And will indulge far enough to get a bit edgy… I find it difficult on this site and others to take seriously comments from folks who don’t do their own comparisons, don’t understand a lick about engineering design and nonetheless think nothing of forming opinions and “correcting” those who have. A giggle actually. Say what you want, but don’t be angry or disappointed when those who do, do not agree.

    • to get rid of you fuji over insignicant sharpness is silly, you should buy your camera back on ebay. Eveytime i see tests being done here for some reason i never see the same focal length being used, let alone the same aperture. Heck, i never even seen the same framing on the original picture. You can call this real world tests but it is hardly, hardly scientific. and if, even if it was all scientific, these tests, the tiny differences you find are in the crops, so essentially all youre geting is a camera youre eye will see the differences when you crop and stare. The rx1, if it is slightly better, if it is even 8 percent better, surely it makes no sense to pay 200 percet more in price for.It doesnt seem to be a good trade off. if Leica made a lens thats 2 pecent better, would you sell the rx1 and rush off to pay 500 percent more?

      • As a scientist in a practical field I would disagree. One must test a tool/process how it is to be used, not 0n a “bench” if one is attempting to find out how it will work “in practice”. Obviously neither camera is ideal for studio shots, so why do we care about how it performs in a studio?

        First, the AF issue – I don’t care how “good” a camera is, if the shot is out of focus, it’s useless. These cameras are for candids and grab-shots, so focus accuracy and speed are paramount. My Xpro was a hit or miss affair, and for my utilization once the subject was aware of the camera, the moment is lost.

        Second – Steve’s comparison is good, but until you get it on your own monitor and environment it’s not as easy. The RX is stunningly sharp and detailed frame after frame. Cannot say the same for the Fuji. I note some think the IQ differential small, but not to me

        Finally I see many non-RX owners here say things like;”sensor size”, “price” etc. Well yes, and you get what you pay for in the RX. If you want this kind of quality in a small package… it costs money. Others say things like “… I’ll wait for interchangable lenses”, well then don’t expect it to be as small or operate so quickly. the Sony is what it is BECAUSE it is what it is. You won’t get it both ways. Integrated viewfinder? The engineers at Sony made it this compact, some appear to think that putting another sub-system in is a small thing… it’s not. This is as small and efficient as it can be right now. If it were not, someone else would be doing it… just the way it is…

  21. Steve. I’m having weird focus issues with my rx1 at smaller vs tops and mid distances.

    For example it didn’t hit focus on a green cactus in from of a White House. It’s vexing me.

    I shot the same with the 35L 5d2 and it hit perfectly. Maybe I need to get a replacement unit or I’m missing some micro adjustment feature.

    The other thing is flexible spot. I use it on all cameras with shallow DOF and it seems to make the box smaller on the rx1 but less accurate. It’s weird. I’ve already tried a reset to default.

    Any thoughts. As it sits now I’m set to return the rx1 and have preordered the x100s.

    Also can you me ruin any off camera lighting capoabilities in your reviews. Would be helpful.

    • Don’t use spot AF, for some reason this is causing focus issues. Just use regular old center point AF and see how it goes. That is the mode that works best and the only one I use.

      • …not what I would call excactly a “stress free” camera 😉

        All gear has it special quirks. Fuji does, so does Sony. My X-E1 doesn´t overexpose and hits the AF with the 18-55 all the time, all over the frame – not a single miss.

  22. Why don’t make a comparison between RX1 and M9? It would be more interesting as both of them are Full Frame cameras.

    • I no longer own an M9 and the fair test would be against the new M, which I will indeed do. The M9 would be about tied at base ISO (with a 35 Lux II would eek out the Sony though) but after that no contest. It would lose in Dynamic Range as well as the Sony is FAR superior in this regard. It would lose in speed because the M9 is manual focus. It would WIN though in sheer pleasure of shooting, feel, and experience. In good light it would be close but i would still be able to pick out what came from what camera. The M9 would have the “M9” look and the RX1 would have the “RX1 Look”, which is that Zeiss color and pop. M9 would be cooler with the Leica feel. I do feel the RX1 is more capable due to the sensor but the M9 is a classic RF and nothing can beat that experience, and the M9 quality still is amazing and always will be. Bring on the new M..I have HIGH hopes.

      Also, while I no longer have an M9 I have been missing it! Been thinking long and hard between a new M-E, used M9-P or new M. Waiting to see what the new M brings but I will have a Leica again as I do miss the whole vibe and experience.

  23. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the review, interesting match-up. Hopefully you have a thick skin, or else we wouldn’t get these “crazy reviews”.

    With the price difference between the cameras it is no wonder the RX1 is better. When I got the XP1 I was hoping for a digital replacement for the Contax G1 and G2, which the builfd quality was jewel like. The Fuji in construction isn’t all that close, perhaps the Sony is, though at 3K vs the $1150 I paid for the G1 and two Zeiss lenses . . . .

    Anyway thanks again for going through all of the trouble to post and to keep your cool. Please continue.

    • Thanks, and my skin is thicker than a semi truck tire 🙂 After 4+ years of this it has to be. I sometimes am amused and chuckle at the responses and other times they are very valid as I am not in any way perfect and do make mistakes. But it is always fun 🙂 Thanks for reading and the comment!

  24. Today, I finally had an opportunity to hold an RX1 in my hands, and was glad to find that the RX1 is a very small camera, but not too small, and the controls seem thoughtfully designed, so the handling qualities are quite good. I did not have an SD card with me, so was only able to review each shot on the LCD for a few seconds before it went away. The metal construction and density exude quality. AF speed seemed normal to me, a DSLR shooter. My first impressions of the RX1 are very good.

  25. After reading the AF comments, I revisited my RX1, focusing back and forth between two spots, medium/low light, and noticed that on DMF mode, the camera occasionally hunts (not bad, 1 pass back and forth), but in AF mode, it never does it, just focuses right away very snappily. I didn’t see a difference in center focus vs. spot (center or no center). Not sure why the difference, but good to know!
    Anyway, I love the RX1 + EVF combination. Yes, it’s not integrated, but the view is fantastic, much better than a D700 or a NEX-7, and the tilt angle makes it the most comfortable camera I’ve had.

  26. Have you found, Steve, the external EVF on RX1 to be a better solution than it would be with a built-in one? I think Sony made this decision to keep the camera small as possible.

    • Sony’s EVF has the highest resolution in the market. I like the EVF for my NEX 5N. It’s very responsive and the color is accurate. The histogram on the corner help me change some settings to improve picture quality. The only drawback is it’s not easy to remove it like the one for RX1, So I leave it there all the time.

  27. Steve I follow you some time now and your work is great. Your site bring me back to the beauty of photography that I lost for many years going from my dark room to digital.

    I have only to mention a few points regarding this endless … story

    First, the LR conversion must be out of the discussion as most Fuji X series users don’t use the software for reason we mention. So this is not something in favor of the Sony or not , it’s just a fact for someone start to work with X-Series. So , JPEQ or other RAW converters are the solution including the internal camera RAW conversion that is doing a great job , is very close to JPEQ but with better warmer color balance, many times JPEQ’s have a tiny green cast. I know it’s not practical but it works

    Second, it seems Sony FF has more “pop” and seems to have also bettter resolution but personally sometimes I prefer the more natural presentation of the Fuji and different color rendition. Sony seems to me a bit more saturated as many camera’s in our days. Only Pentax has a similar philosophy to my eyes with Fuji …

    I’m a mastering audio engineer and I know very well how to make something sound “better” thought in our days the natural sound is regarded as not so popular to mass people. It’s the same with photography and the new cameras .

    As with sound, better resolution is not as important as tonal balance. Having both is the real point …

    In my opinion as I already mention, the only real problem of the Fuji is the AF issues, otherwise the handling and control is ideal , and as it is a work in progress, when the 23mm 1.4 Fujinon lens comes to life or the new upcoming Zeiss lenses for the X system , Fuji owners will have many more toy’s to choose and create great photos. An open system is better than a close system that’s why X100 was not a choice for me except as a second solution

  28. The iq of the rx1 was always going to be good, sony make great sensors. For the money the build quality should also be top drawer, so no surprises there. The lens is zeiss and surprise surprise it is superb. The rx1 is doing everything it should do for the price.

    I have an Xpro1, I love the iq and shoot loads of photos at high iso, in prints of 18″ the output is superb, is the sony better, probably, but for me the xpro1 is a more versatile camera and I love the handling, it has quirks and foibles but ive gotten used to it, the overexposure thing ive never noticed but I may shoot differently. Ive also had no issues with back focus, in fact I get lots more keepers than my old canon 40d and micro four thirds gear.

    I have lightroom, but no longer use it for raw. I use the ooc jpgs and in camera raw convertor.
    Cheers jon

  29. xe1 is on the top of the apsc heap? is it even better than the nex 6 in terms of iq, af and usability? if using manual lenses like the slr magic 35 t1.4 do you think xe1 is still better than nex 6 (nex in general) considering its great focus peaking feature? pls help me decide which body to get. tnx steve!

    • IQ of NEX-6 is slightly higher (if comparing RAWs). Fuji X-Trans is marketing thing that has no benefits other than less computational complexity of some denoising algorithms (which are not the best, BTW). NEX-6 provides higher IQ, about the same high ISO performance (Fuji’s ISO values are twice lower than indicated, based on shutter speed information, i.e. ISO3200 of Fuji is close to ISO1600 of NEX-6 — you can easily match the fuji noise levels with great built in denoisers of LR, DxO, C1)

      • I have XE1, samsung nx1000 (20MP). XE1 (& Xpro1) is the first camera I know for which you do not need RAW post-processing (PP) in 90% or more shots. Please do NOT COMPARE XE1 RAWs with RAWs of other cameras. Most Raw converters do not reach the XE1 OOC JPEG quality. Use XE1 OOC JPEG but with LOWEST noise reduction (value -2), this setting is crucial for comparisons (you could verify my statement by comparing photos from http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/fuji-x-e1/fuji-x-e1A7.HTM). With this setting you get much better detail (resolution) but still with NO chroma noise and very good noise level at all. I confirm also that XE1 indicates 2/3EV higher ISO than NX1000 with the same aperture&shutter. Eg XE1 indicates iso5000, nx1000 iso3200. But if I compare OOC JPEG (iso5000) of xe1 with converted RAW if nx1000 (iso3200), XE1 has still visible better IQ, better detail & noise. I compared also nx1000 with nex6 for high iso, these are very near, I appreciate little better detail/noise of NX1000 RAW for high iso (iso3200), but NX1000 has not good high iso JPEG. I was thinking to buy nex6 before, I decided for XE1 and do not regret. The important advantage I see also in higher quality lenses of Fuji and Samsung, in comparison to Sony (check also future lens roadmap and current lens prices). I like a lot that I do not need play with RAWs with XE1 because of super JPEG. For other cameras you will get much more from RAW than JPEG. And again: compare always XE1 JPEG (NR=-2) with other camera’s RAW.

  30. I think these people need to see more people shots with the RX1. I’m getting some amazing shots with it with either no editing or very little. It’s the most stress free camera I’ve ever used.

      • Beautiful examples of what the little RX1 can produce – certainly sold me on the camera, but can the bank account take the strain. Love your shot, in the comparisons, taken of the dog – is that your new puppy that you mentioned a few weeks ago, and very cute indeed.

        No wonder you are as happy as a sand-boy in Arizona with your 70 degrees of warmth. We on the other hand in the UK are suffering with snow and -5 degrees C (where the hell is the degree sign on the iMac keyboard).

        Love your website, and have followed your thoughts on photography since you started it way back – keep up the good work.

        Best wishes to you and family for the New Year.


  31. Steve — I have an X-E1 and have not noticed any problems with the metering. I wonder if it’s an issue with the copy you are using.

  32. Steve, congratulations on another great comparison test and for creating so much interest. Sadly, for me, and I suspect for others, it all comes back to money. Here in the UK, the X-E1 with kit zoom is currently £1,150 at a reputable dealers (cheaper outlets always available). This is the same price as the Olympus OMD-M5 with kit zoom. The Sony NEX-7 and 6 are two to three hundred pounds cheaper. The Sony RX1 outprices them all two to three times over.

    So for me, whilst very intriguing, the comparison is somewhat meaningless as I simply cannot afford the RX1, no matter how good it may be. It’s not for me to tell you what to do but I am much more interested in reading about why you think is X-E1 is a better option than the X-Pro 1, the NEX-6 than the 7. Throw in the Olympus and you’ve got 5 cameras that you could test to death until I can decide which I would prefer (having already been lucky enough to own the 7 and the X-Pro). The whole decision process is confused by the Lens choosing decision too so maybe passing on your thoughts between those options would be interesting to many.

    For example, X-E1 with 18mm versus NEX-6 with 16mm. Add in independent lens makers – is there one that I could use with either camera? I suppose what I’m saying is, could we have more of the NOT-SO-CRAZY Comparisons, please? Please.

    • Well I hear ya, the RX1 is expensive and a bit out there with cost. While it is a better camera, it probably is not $1100-$1600 better. There are cameras you can buy for $300 that will give you beautiful results in the right situations so it is not really needed for photography, it is more of a “want” in these cases. The Fuji and 18 vs NEX-6 and 16? Well, I’d say the Fuji in that case. The 16 for the NEX is not so hot. The Fuji is a nice camera though I have been frustrated again with it mis focusing with the 35 1.4. Same issue I had with the original X-Pro 1 I had with the 35 1.4.

  33. Thanks for this review Steve. I just bought an XE-1 body and used 35/1.4 plus 18/2 lenses (in mint condition) yesterday! I already have an X100 which I’ll be keeping. The Sony is way out of my price range and the Fuji was a bit of a bargain, so if anything, your review has reassured me that the XE-1 will be perfectly fine for my needs. I’ll be happy shooting jpeg until Adobe improve their raw support.

    The over-exposure thing is useful to know – I’ll keep an eye on that. I also see that my lenses are still running the v.1 firmware, so that’ll be the first thing I’ll sort out.

    Thanks again mate. Your sane reviews never fail to impress!


      • It will happen, I am sure, but lets hope that by that time Adobe and Lightroom will have got their act together. As an X-Pro 1 user I am getting very frustrated with having to use ooc JPEGs only, although they are beautiful files. I do like the flexibility of using RAW in my workflow, and I am not changing from Lightroom just for the sake of one Fuji camera.

        • Hi Andrew,

          I am using silkypix 5 (and recently capture one pro 7.0.2) and the results I get are great, they are very close to OOC jpegs.

          I export to tiff from silkypix/cp1 and then import the tiff in photoshop.

          Adobe is not the only raw convertor on the market :). Adobe is just not giving this any priority.

  34. I’m sure that misfocused photos from fuji x-e1 were not put on purpose but failing to notice it and writing:

    “You can see in the 100% crop below that the Sony gives you more detail. ”

    doesn’t really speaks to the credibility of the reviewer. Also saying that stdio comparison that someone else posted don’t tell much because conditions are not similar to the real world use-those photos show whar you get when you mix a good photographer and two good cameras. and also, taking photos of chairs and figurines is not what people in real world do either. but it’s all about stirring controversy and getting hits anyway.

    • Denis,

      I have a 5N and an X-Pro and tested them shot for shot against each other with a zeiss 28mm. The X-Pro blew the 5N away in detail resolution. Not even close.

      I see you claiming the X-Trans is marketing mumbo but for those of us that have both NEX and X cameras in hand, the truth is apparent.

      • Sorry, the XTrans has theoretically limited resolution that is lower than one of bayer. You response only means you use converters with crappy debayer (ACR based, for instance) or compare JPGs that are better with Fuji indeed.

  35. I have Xpro1 and Sony RX1. RX1 is better camera almost all area, AF, AF accuracy, metering, colors,High ISO etc…. . I paid Fuji Xp1 + 35mm/1.4 set:s about 400€ less than RX1( allmost years ago).
    I convert now my FXP1 files to Capture One, and that gives me better sharpness and color tones, but RX1 and Zeiss lens is best for business (my IMHO). AUTO ISO and MANUAL mode gives you easiest way to take pictures than eny camera in the world. If you target have that much light as you see, you photos is fantastic. And you can use fantastic flash HVL-FL60 if you need or want.( yes i have fuji x20 flash and it is joke). Thank you Steve you fantastic jobs for real world testing.

  36. Hi Steve,

    A fair comparison and a rather clear result. I don’t have the exposure problems on my XP 1 but maybe the X-E1 is different.

    Two things I want to mention:

    1. The RX1 has no shutter dial.
    2. The 18mm lens focuses twice as fast as the 35mm.

    I was looking forward to the Sony RX1 because 35mm is my favorite lens. But no built in VF and no shutter speed dial were the deal breakers for me. I hoped for a full frame version of the X100 but no luck. Maybe in the future. I loved what Sony did with the RX100 and RX1: put big sensors in small cameras but those cameras would have been even better if they had a closer look at Fuji or Leica. I can’t say for the RX1 but the RX100 lacks regarding shooting experience. I love it’s results but I wished for better ergonomics.

    But what Sony did deserves respect and it will change the whole industry.
    Love your comparisons.


    • RX1 has a shutter dial on the back. The shutter wheel much like what you see on a D800. And for this test I was talking only about the 35 1.4. BTW, the Sony EVF blows away the one in the X-E1. It’s amazing. 🙂

  37. The Fujinon 35/1.4 looks charming as well, I hope that Sony’s 35/1.8 for Nex also gives such pleasing results.

    Btw, Steve, you should try Tungsol’s 12AX7 tubes. They will definitely make your amp sing :). Old Yugoslavian tubes are also quite impressive but they’re getting harder to find.

  38. Steve, thanks for the review, and I see what you are trying to accomplish here. I really wish people would read your reviews more carefully, and understand the point/demonstration you are trying to make/accomplish before going all haywire in comments. You call it real world for a reason.

  39. There is something up with that last shot using the X-E1. There is no way the files look that bad. That looks like a bad conversion in Lightroom. I’ve processed a few raw files that come out that way but not in jpeg. The raw files come out looking like someone has put on too much foundation. Using the dreaded Silkypix is the only way I’ve been given a true representation of the what the raw file is capable of.

    I think that sample camera is not right.

  40. I have an XE1 and with the Fuji 35 have taken some of the sharpest pictures i have ever taken. I usually shoot jpeg because of the issues with RAW conversion.

    Thanks for the tests Steve

    • It CAN be very sharp, when it nails AF. Could be an issue with the lens I have here, who knows. But even so, the Sony is still sharper. But if we are just talking sharpness between the two, it doesn’t matter. Both are stellar (again when the Fuji is working correctly).

  41. Sorry to see you got bashed pretty hard for this review. That said, we can’t compare the image quality, sharpness, and details of the Fuji X-Series cameras using Lightroom or Photoshop, as Adobe does not provide proper RAW file support for these cameras ~ the support they have provided is beyond negligent and they should be embarrassed that they have provided such poor support.

    Since the Fuji does not have an AA filter, I doubt the Sony is sharper using a proper RAW converter. Although I am not a Fuji user, I have tested the Fuji X-Pro 1 with the 35mm and I was blown away at how much sharper the images were compared to my Canon 35mm f/1.4L, which is due to the lack of the low-pass filter.

    Once they introduce the new X-Trans sensor and new features (the ones in the X100s) in to an interchangeable-lens X-Series camera (replacement for the X-Pro 1/X-E1), the auto focus issues should be resolved and, in my opinion, the X-series cameras will be the best cameras below full frame and undoubtedly sharper than any camera with an AA filter. The question is, when are they going to do so? Even though they just came out with the X-E1, they should replace both the X-Pro 1 and X-E1 immediately with the new sensor and features in the X100s, as it is silly – and a poor marketing decision – to have the interchangeable lens cameras inferior to the fixed-lens camera.

    • They’ll see what the response is in the field with real consumers first with the x100s. Thats the sensible thing to do! Then once satisfied there may be even further changes to the X-Series…….

      Why change it all now…let the market provide some feedback first before plowing more money into it. Fuji are playing their cards well here IMO, given they are fairly “newish” to this mirror less market.

      Actually is interesting to see what all the companies are doing and their approach (Sony to FF in Rx1, new M coming, Fuji really developing this APS-c technology further, Olympus and the M4/3….). They will all come close to converging even more soon say, next 3 years.

      I agree with Steve though, you get what you pay for in the little quirks of mis-focus, ISO capability (if you need it), etc re Rx1 vs. X-Series.

      But they are both very cool cameras and you have one or the other…enjoy it!

      • Denis, sorry but you are quoting a flawed comparison.

        Here are 100% crops I just took between the 5N and the X-Pro.

        Methodology: Tripod, C/Y Zeiss 28mm f/5.6, 200ISO, Manual Focus – zoomed to max mag plus peaking (on NEX), JPEG, equalized in post for color and exposure only. Sharpness settings equal.

        Fuji: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8364/8398272971_844909fa22_o.jpg

        NEX: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8215/8398273717_c9cde33d85_o.jpg

        I also did the same test with RAW images, processed in Lightroom and the NEX did much better. The Fuji conversion in LR could not produce detail as good as the 5N. However, the Fuji JPEG was better than the NEX converted RAW.

        This confirmed exactly what I have seen first hand in less technical comparisons where the Fuji JPEGs just kill the NEX.

        • I don’t use LR: left is AMAZE demosaic + Deconvolution sharpening (Raw Therapee), right is Fuji XPro-1 and Capture One. The bayer filter retains more details than X-Trans, as you could see on my shot.

  42. Hi Steve, I own both the RX1 and X-E1. With regards to the back focusing issue on the X-E1, I actually found that my reducing the size of the Fuji focus area to the smallest area results in focusing that is ‘much more accurate’ than the default focus area size the X-E1 is set to. But on the RX1, when you do this (using the spot focus point), the RX1 shots are actually not focused well. Will try out your suggestion to use the center focus setting on the RX1 to see if this works better. My initial testing seems to confirm this. So bottom line, it looks like for the RX1 use the ‘larger area’ center focus setting but for the X-E1, using the ‘smallest focus area’ size possible is the best way to get dead on focusing. Interesting how the CDAF on these two cameras differs.

    • Ahhh yes, you are correct! Use the large area on the Sony and you will see a huge improvement with no misses. I will set the Fuji to the smaller center point and give it another try. Hope it works. Thanks!

      • Reducing the focus point down to the smallest on the X-E1 slows focusing down, better to go for the one up from the smallest, better for AF speed and accuracy.

    • I actually get the opposite, using the multi spot (but leaving the spot on the center) couple with the spot metering gives me the fastest and most accurate result on the RX1. But when using macro, it is not as good.

  43. The photo with a dog – showed offset of a zone of sharpness back for EX1 of rather ideal sharpness at Sony. In the camera photo with a seat we see again insufficiently sharp the main object of shooting. So what sense then to use for comparing the increased fragments of details of these unsharp objects from EX1 with sharp fragments of Sony. I will add that I am the admirer of this site and I think that this was a simple carelessness which leads to incorrect comparing of fragments.

  44. Hey Steve, great review as always 🙂
    Im in the market for a new camera and stuck between the 2 below.
    All things considered would you choose the xe1 or nex-6?
    thanks- Beau

    • Tough one. As quirky as the X is, it does have some charm though I think I would wait for the X100s. Still, in the APS-C world it is splitting hairs between the two. Go Fuji if you like the Fuji color and go Sony if you prefer their body style and speed. 6 is faster than X-E1 due to it’s phase detect AF. 6 is smaller and much different in feel/design. 6 may give you flatter images that need more PP. X will give you better high ISO. Most would say go for the Fuji but I would be unsure, even after using both.

  45. Again, IQ differences between the cameras are invalid if the focus points are different.

    If you want to do a test of AF accuracy, that’s cool!

    For an AF accuracy test, subjects will need to be chosen so the computer either gets it wrong or right…i.e., it’s either out of focus, or it’s in focus, and the camera does not have a choice of multiple focus planes with high contrast from which to choose.

    IOW, no ambiguity.

    If the computer has an option of several planes that all generate equivalent contrast, how can it possibly know which one the photographer wants in focus, unless by coincidence it guesses accurately?

    An IQ comparison, on the other hand, needs to eliminate all variables except those that determine detail, contrast, sharpness, etc. which means manual focus should be used so the shooter is the decision maker, pinpointing exactly the same point with both cameras.

    BTW, I own neither an RX1 nor a Fuji, for what it’s worth. I’m just an interested reader. Thanks for allowing me to post here.

    All the best!

  46. Steve.

    Thanks for this comparison… really enjoyed it as I just looked at both camera yesterday. While in the shop, as I was handling the RX1, I noticed that it seems to hunt before locking on focus. Aiming the XE1 at the same object, no hunting at all. When I mentioned the hunting to the sales clerk, he told me several of the other clerks had similar experience. All you RX1 owners.. do you have the focus hunting issue?


    • Thanks for looking – I will be re-doing most of it 🙂 As for the AF of the Sony, did you see my video? It shows both of them side by side. I have no issues with the Sony or Fuji as far as speed. In low light they get slower and in good light they are very fast. Like I said here already, doesn’t matter how fast the Fuji is though if it is not accurate. The Sony hit rate is MUCH higher for me. But as for speed, the Sony edges out the Fuji in my test by a hair, and this is using the latest FW on the Fuji lens.

    • Even though I rarely use AF on any camera, I haven’t had any hunting issues with the RX1 using AF on low light or day light. What people have to understand is how to use the different focus systems. With the Rx1, I believe the faster AF and most precise mode in Low Light is the Center or flexible Spot centeredncoupled with the spot metering mode. It is quite fast and always precise!

      I also believe people are confusing the softness of some of the Fuji files with a missed focus. It could be due to Lightroom dealing with the Fuji RAW files, but the Fuji OOC JPEGS point to some loss of detail and softening, probably due to high iso.

      We also have to keep in mind that the Fuji does no come with a Low-pass filter, so even though it is a 16mp sensor the details you see are all the details available to the sensor to capture, and the images are clearly less detailed than the RX1 with its LOPF. And if we compare the video files, I would bet the RX1 would be better and show less moire as well.

  47. I took down the mis focused shots from the Fuji and will be re-doing different shots over the weekend. The ones that remain here are all in focus by each camera and show the differences that are between these cameras. BUT..to me..the Fuji is problematic already. Mis focusing, RAW not compatible with Adobe and overexposing… They improved the AF speed but not the Af accuracy it seems.

    More to come.

    • Thanks Steve, your efforts and this comparison are much appreciated. I don’t always agree with you, but definitely feel you do a great job trying to put out good information for us and we are in debt to you for that.

      • Thanks for reading and I never expect or want everyone to agree with me. These are just my results from my tests. You know what they always say in commercials? “Your results may vary” and this is true. I just shoot cameras in the same situations and settings and see what each one gives me, as if I were really using it. If I take a snap of my dog with two cameras at the same time, same settings and one looks much nicer I know which camera I would want to be using.

        Setting them up in a studio environment with perfect lighting and tripods is not how most shooters will use these cameras so this is why I never understood those tests. They are only good for one thing. Seeing the best you can get out of the camera. Unfortunately, 98% of those who buy these bodies will never see what the “best” of each camera can be.

        Thanks again!

  48. So the RX1 luckily focused on the text on the tubes, as you wanted it to. Nice!

    Bear with me here. A transparent object like that tube has multiple points of contrast. So which one is correct? Can the computer know, if there are multiple planes of focus, the user has to tell the camera which one you want.

    I must say, you’re digging deep to justify what is really a shoddy comparison…I expected better from your site. This is amateurish…

  49. If you try to shoot a transparent glass tube with autofocus, the camera cannot possibly determine exactly which plane you want it to focus on. This is what is known as ‘user error.’ 🙂 The same really goes for the other situations as well, actually.

    • The RX1 did not have any issue with it at all. Hmmm. The only mis focused shots on this page from the Fuji (which is the fault of the Camera/Lens, not me) are the Hydrant and the tubes. Funny how user error only pertains to the Fuji files.

      • I agree with both of you here. On one hand, Sprocket is right that a few of these subjects do represent traditionally touch AF challenges. Only Steve knows where he focused and which camera nailed it.

        Based on my experiences with the NEX and RX100 vs the X-Pro I would guess the Sony’s would get it right more than the Fuji.

  50. The price of the Sony RX1 with EVF in Europe is 3700 euro (4929 USD
    The price of the fuji X-E1 with the 35mm F1.4 in Europe is 1459,- (1911 USD)
    The difference is more then 3000 USD !!!!!!!!!

  51. I agree with Chad, many of these shots are just mis-focused. If you want to do a test of autofocus that is one thing, but if you are testing for ‘detail’ then make sure both cameras are focused EXACTLY on the same point, otherwise the test is invalid.

    This is especially true of the macro/close up shots…which would never be shot with autofocus in real world situations. Focus is critical on those close-ups and that means live-view and magnification to nail it exactly where you want it.

    The monster figure is a perfect example. The Sony is focused on the hand, the X-E1 on the shirt. It’s not an accurate statement to say therefore the Sony has more detail in the hand.

    On the fire hydrant, the camera can’t know exactly what part of the hydrant you want sharp…the hydrant surfaces are not all on a flat vertical plane. One camera might pick one point, the other camera will pick a plane slightly in front or behind…neither one of which would be camera error…that’s obviously what happened, just by looking at the photos.

    The bricks are a flat plane, on the other hand, and focus is on the same plane with both cameras.

    The gllass tubes are not focused on the same plane and since they are transparent there is no ‘absolute’ correct focus point for the camera to choose.

    With the round plastic piece on the counter top (not sure what that is) they are also focused on different planes as can be seen by looking at the range of sharpness in the counter top. The X-E1 focus plane is in front of the piece; it’s no wonder the 100% crop inset of the plastic piece doesn’t look sharp, because it’s out of focus; it’s behind the focus plane.

    Bottom line: this isn’t a valid comparison of detail capabilities between these two cameras.

    • Of course it isn’t 🙂 Showing what each camera gives you is not valid. I aimed the focus patch of each camera on the same point. The Fuji missed it half of the time. Also, did absolutely NO macro or close up photos here. That zombie is a crop from each camera. The Fuji does not even do macro with the 35 1.4. The bottom line is Fuji mis focuses. I’ll have to do a part 2 in manual focus, using them in a way no one will use them just to please the Fuji owners I guess. Let me just say that AF accuracy with this lens is not one of Fuji’s strong points it seems, unless I have a lemon. Seems to be quick now with the latest FW update to the 35mm but accuracy is another thing.

      There are many photos here where the Fuji did nail focus. The ones that missed are the tubes, and the zombie – actually it appeats the hydrant did as well which is pretty bad back focus. Seems like an AF defect to me with this lens. In any case I labeled the Zombie and Tubes as the camera missing focus. The rest here are in focus and is representative of what you get from these cameras.

      • Steve,

        First off, I have more Sony cameras than Fuji, so I’m not approaching this as a fanboy. I was just pointing out an error in focus. I was not trying to be critical of you as you know I am a fan and contributor.

        Why don’t we just all agree that most of these photos were not valid IQ comparisons, but they may indicate issues with the Fuji AF?

        I personally think these cameras are very close in “resolving” performance at ISO 200-1600 and the Sony flexes its large sensor muscles from there.

        But those MF tests might be fun?!

        • Again. TWO photos on this page right now were mis focused by the Fuji and labeled as such (tubes and hydrant). The others were not mis focused. So it is indeed a valid test not only of detail, but of AF performance and noise. The in focus images here show what differences there are between the cameras which mostly boil down to resolution, different high ISO characteristics, DOF and color.

          • I count four, possibly five but who’s counting?

            Good night Steve, I have to run out and take some concert photos. I’m sorry if you think I am attacking you here but I’m calling it like I see it and so are you. We will have to agree to
            take more photos! 🙂

          • No sir, the mis focused shots are down now (except the tubes). The dog is in focus but at ISO 2500 the Fuji gets softer, loses detail. The camera on the chair high ISO shot is in focus as well, on the lens barrel as it should be. Again, the Fuji is soft and mushy at ISO 6400. The Gf shot is in focus as well and shows JPEG differences between the two. The wall is in focus. The only one that is not is the tubes, and it says so clearly. The lenses and the amp, both in focus with each camera.

      • Steve, Are you saying that from your time with both cameras, that the Sony nailed the focus more often than the Fuji? I understand that both cameras would give the green square confirmation of focus, but that may not necessarily translate into an in focus picture.

        That’s been my experience with Sony’s A65. I have an inordinate number of misfocused shots where the background is in focus but the object where the green square occurs is out of focus. It’s frustrating and it is causing me to look for other options.

        • I have had this issues with the NEX-7 quite often and it appears this E-X1 I have here is doing the same thing. The focus patch confirms focus but in reality it is not in focus (not every time). The RX1 has not failed me yet. Well, twice in thousands of shots. To me that says a lot right there. If I am saving $1100 by getting the Fuji is it worth the frustration of having to deal with misfocused images? If I were out shooting something important and came home to soft mis focused shots I would not be happy. Of course I could have a lemon 35 1.4..or a lemon X-E1 but I have seen this happen with many mirrorless cameras. The RX1 rocks with AF accuracy as long as you do not use the “spot AF” as that seems to miss at times. I know the Fuji’s are capable of amazing IQ, best in class APS-C but it shouldn’t have to be a fight to get it using their own lenses.

          • Hello Steve!

            “…The RX1 rocks with AF accuracy as long as you do not use the “spot AF” as that seems to miss at times….”

            Amen. The only AF function of the RX1 with which I have burned my fingers was the “Flexible Spot AF”… I had to learn that the hard way – now I just use the “Center AF” most of the time… each time I use the spot I loose out, last during some ‘after show’ pictures at a musical on Saturday night.. aargh!

            Pity, the spot works very well on A7+LA-EA4+SAL85F14ZA (Planar 85 f/1,4), even fully open at f/1,4 – fast and accurate, never missed a shot yet… This made me try the spot AF again on the RX1 – my mistake.

            Good that the actors were patient. That way, I still got some gorgeous shots…

            I love the IQ of the RX1. I spent 2,8 kEuro on it, including two finders (EVF+OVF) and a full set of original Sony accessories, less than 1000 frames on it, no use marks, two years warranty. Its previous owner decided the D800E was suitable for his needs. Bad for him – good for me… conclusion after more than 10000 frames shot on the RX1 in a few months:

            “Money very well spent. ”

            Well, enough rambling.

            Thanks for your blog, and for your encouragement through it!!! Keep up the good work…

  52. not a comment, but a question about the RX100— I am about to pull the trigger on one, and want to
    know if it will still fit in a leather jacket case such as this one http://tinyurl.com/a62dhu5 if I intend to
    purchase and install a Richard Franiec grip. Which I do intend.

  53. I think both cameras look very intriguing…and the RX1 has some convincing IQ benefits….but damn RX1 is that a lot of money for a fixed lens camera & viewfinder without a lot of tactile mechanical controls?….Having fingertip controls might make that a more desirable camera. The images do look sweet tho!
    Great comparison.

    • It has the same controls as the E-X1. A Exposure Comp dial, an aperture dial on the lens, shutter speed wheel on the back, quick menu button and of course a shutter button and movie button. Same dials and controls as all other serious cameras. But yes, it is indeed expensive and it is a camera targeted to a specific niche. Those who want D800 and premo lens quality and a small pocketable well made form factor. In other words, those who want a small super HQ camera.

      • Thanks Steve…I missed noticing the shutter control on the back of the RX1 camera in this review…thought that the Fuji had it beat…I will check out the controls again on your original review. The Sony is the CLEAR winner..so you are getting quite a bit more for your money…but truthfully the RX1 is ~$1600 more than the Fuji with the viewfinder which is a must for most at this level.

  54. Steve,

    First off, thank you for doing this comparison. Obviously it is of great interest to many, myself included.

    And based on the comments, it looks like you have some angry brand loyalists gunning for you and many are crying foul over the RAW converter question. I don’t think that is the problem.

    Looking closely at the images, I honestly think there are some focus issues going on here:

    Example 1: Monster figurine – X-E1 focus looks to be on the body, not the hand.

    Example 2: Fire Hydrant – looks like the Fuji back focused on the top of the hydrant (the bare metal) – look how sharp it is there compared to the RX1.

    Example 3: Photo # 3 (sorry, can’t tell what that is) – the Fuji looks to be front focused. Look at the in-focus area on the counter. Not only is it ahead of the object in the Fuji shot, it is also smaller (less DOF) which makes no sense. The RX1 should have a smaller comparable DOF.

    I also wanted to know how you equalized the FOV. Did you use the smart tele feature of the RX1?


    • Sorry, one more comment.

      I know I said focusing was the issue but the wall (bokeh) test photo does look like it is affected by the Adobe RAW converter. You can see the watercolor affect in the concrete.

      This would be a good test to redo with jpeg because the focus should be perfectly equal between the two cameras – nothing else there to confuse the AF.

      Even with the bad demosaicing, the X-E1 shot looks a bit more detailed to me. The Bokeh looks nice too.

      • I get what you are saying about just shooting these cameras just like a normal Joe would BUT, you can’t in the same breath label photo A sharper and more detailed than photo B when there is focus point differences. You can say camera A nailed focus and camera B did not.

        The only time I would make comments comparing the detail of one camera to another would be if everything was equalized, most importantly the focus point.

    • No I did not use the smart tele feature as that is a JPEG only feature. I “roughly” equalized the FOV by moving farther back with the X-E1 which will affect the DOF as well. But what you see is what anyone would get in these situations. The Fuji is a crop camera, no way around it. I did this due to the numerous requests. Also, if the Fuji keeps misfocusing, then it shows the camera may indeed misfocus (and indeed it does at times) – The NEX series is the same way, they mis-focus often. The RX1 has never mis-focused for me to date.

      In any case, by using both it is tough to compare anyway because the E-X1 does not have any 35mm equivalent lens to use. So you have to adjust. Of course I could have trekked it out to the mountains, shot some landscape using a tripod, manually focused each camera and so forth, but again, that is not how the majority of people will use these cameras. They will indeed use the AF, the metering, etc. I am not showing what each camera is capable of here, I am simply showing the results one can expect from each camera in these situations.

      Overall verdict for me? Sony files are indeed better, richer and more detailed. Sony meters better and the high ISO is fantastic with the Fuji but there is detail lost and detail stays with the Sony even with a little more noise. Build goes to Sony, control is a draw for me but the Sony controls feel more solid. Sony EVF is better, but I much prefer a built in though I do love the swivel of the Sony.

      The Fuji, at the $999 plus $599 price of $1600 for the set vs the $2799 of the Sony, well, that says a lot right there. There is a big difference in cost. Up to the buyer if they want that extra performance, build and quality lens for the extra $1100.

      • Thanks Steve.

        I agree that if a camera frequently misfocuses, that is an absolutely valid issue but you are presenting these as IQ comparisons when there is obviously a difference in the focus point.

        You can’t have a serious discussion about IQ when you are comparing an in focus hand (figurine) to an out of focus one. Seems like maybe zoomed MF would have been the best tool to do this type of comparison.

        Looking at each example, except the two high ISO ones and the concrete wall shot, each and every photo has a discrepancy between focus points.

        Speaking of high ISO, the RX1 looks ace here, really excellent.


        • because zoomed in MF is how everyone will shoot their X-E1 🙂 Hmmm. The fact is that in my use, in MY experience, the Sony is more reliable in the AF, no doubt. Guess I can do a part 2 with all manual focus so the Fuji can not have a chance to miss the focus point. But again, no one buys a camera and lens like this to use MF. The Fuji 35 1.4 that is. BTW, the focus point in the high ISO sample of each camera on the chair, same focus point. Fuji is blurred and icky. Sony is noisier but sharper with more detail.

          • C’mon Steve. My point wasn’t that everyone uses it that way. It was that you presented the figurine shot as being an IQ comparison, not an AF one. Your words:

            “You can see in the 100% crop below that the Sony gives you more detail. Look at the zombies arm. With the Sony you see each flaw, scratch and mark. These appear to be invisible on the Fuji shot. This could be good for smoothing out skin, and in fact would be preferred by some for this very reason.”

            All I am saying is that was an unfair comparison. If you said something like, “we can’t compare detail here because the Fuji back focused, that would be cool”

            I know you didn’t do it on purpose – probably just didn’t catch the difference in focus. Unfortunately, that isn’t the only photo with focus issues.

            And in the end, I certainly expect the RX1 to excel but I know from personal experience that some of the results you are posting here are indicative of the Fuji’s AF performance, not the resolution rendering capability.

          • Fair 🙂 and I agree, it does appear these are due to the failure of the Fuji AF system, which is not good anyway. I will head out somewhere this weekend and do a MF test with some better photos. Stay tuned.

          • Regarding the AF system of Fuji, does anyone knows if you switch it to MF, just press the AE-L/AF-L button, the lens could focus instantly without failure, very quick too. I know many Fuji users, or those just played it for few hours do not know this function, and they said they know all. Try it, you should know. I could not find this on the Fuji menu, I found out this from Ken Rockwell test.

  55. I looked very closely at both cameras and used them both. Obviously a full frame sensor is going to give more detail, but from a usability standpoint, the X-E1 is much better. I didn’t want a point and shoot feeling camera. I want something I can look through the viewfinder and make changes using dials by feel. The RX-1 seemed very computer-like and way less ergonomic. Density alone does not define build quality to me. With the EVF on the RX-1, I felt like I couldn’t shove it in my coat pocket without worrying about breaking it off or generally feeling uncomfortable- and it’s in the middle of the camera- talk about nose oil on the display… Also, the image quality differences don’t nearly justify a $1600 price difference to me. But thank you for doing this comparison- it’s very cool.
    My only real disagreement is with your comment about the RAW conversion issue and I agree with the other comments that the third parties haven’t quite dialed it in yet.

  56. focus is off on the last shot…RX1 has the arm in focus, fuji has the figure in focus….
    as said before, LR smears detail with fuji raw, C1 produces sharper results (that might show moire) so there is no real comparable raw conversion out yet for fuji raw….
    i am surprised that the RX1 does not have better AF? still a weak point of the fujis…the fact that AF seems comparable does not sound too great…
    i am surprised with the RX1 high iso performance because that is where the fujis shine!
    anyway…thanks for the comparison….i have been thinking about the RX1 but the fixed lens is, in the end, a deal breaker for me….especially with the amazing 18-55 fuji zoom…..
    exciting to see these cameras getting better and better…..

      • Hi Steve – But in the image#1-comparison You write: JPG’s converted from RAW using Lightroom? If I have misunderstood this in any way I humbly retract all my comments on this page and apologize politely! I have absolutely no issues with the OOC-JPGS – I mean they are what they are and quite frankly I could’nt care less if someone buys Fuji or Sony – and I really dont believe Youre tryin’ to sell anybody here anything as someone stated – thats simply hillarious – lol. I really think runnin’ a blog like this must takes a certain kind of nerve at times;o)) Keep it up,,,


        • Sounds like we both may have misunderstood 🙂 Scroll down on the page until you see it say “OOC JPEGS” – there will be three examples with OOC jpegs. So on this page there is now RAW samples and JPEG samples. Thanks and sorry for the confusion!

          • Aaaaahhhhhh ;o)

            Anyways one thing I noticed pretty quickly with X-cameras in-JPG engine was that some default tweaking really made a he.. of a difference to the output (sharpen/nr)…

            Finally, I think this article here is unnecessarily turning into somewhat of a ‘sticking Your-finger-into-a-hornets-nest’-kinda thing – lol. I mean it’s not like were discussing living/dyin’-issues here, eh? But I guess some think they have to perhaps defend/justify imminent/recent purchases or advocate some kind of brand-loyalty perhaps? What do I know – Im probably part of it myself by merely participating in this section. We are a nitpicking, pixelpeeping ‘ungratefull’ bunch:o)…

            And heres a fire-starter: I just LOOOVE my Monochrom even more than my X-Pro – hahaha – but still have great use in the later all the same… no matter what anybody really writes or says!


        • I will not pull it as this is what the camera is giving me. Sony hit it, Fuji seemed to miss it. I will re-do but can not guarantee the camera will all of the sudden get it right. Also keep in mind the DOF differences. With the Sony I have to get in closer to match the Fuji’s 50mm FOV. With me being close the DOF will be shallower on the Sony.

  57. I love my fuji xe1 more then any mirrorless camera ive tried in the last couple years since moving over to the mirrorless market. Sony is great camera maker but there stuff just doesn’t speak to me like fuji does. I love to see a comparison with other cameras in this xe1 price range to be fair.

    • +1 to Mr. Blanchard

      I did not see enough difference in IQ in Steve’s tests to make me go for the Sony. Price is not a big factor for me – as photography is one of very few vices I possess. It is the ability to capture great shots that matters and I have found my X-E1 unparalleled in this regard when compared to anything else I have shot with going back 45 years. The Fuji brings out passion that I just could not feel for a Sony.

      I was interested to see that Steve found an improvement in the X-E1 AF, as my x-E1 with 18-55 and all the firmware updates seemed to focus very well.

  58. You wont publish this but I’ ll it say to you and good on you, you’re a hell of salesman. The picture of the dog says it all, The Sony has the eye shot the Fuji doesn’t You’re trying to sell me a Sony camera. Subtle stuff but it works. Well done.

    • Lol, yea OK. I am not trying to sell anyone anything. I take images with each camera in a similar matter and with same settings. I provide the results here, untouched. For over 4 years I have been doing this and it never fails. The camera that comes up the loser, well those who bought it slam me for this or that. If the Fuji mis-focused in the shots, it is a problem with the Fuji. Sony had no problems with focus, detail, sharpness, RAW or JPEG. The Fuji had some stumbles with all of that. I guess I should have retouched the Fuji shots or taken 10-20 versions and cherry picked. No thanks. What you see here is always real and it is what it is. I am NOT a salesman, just a guy who loves photography AND the gear used to take them. Period.

      It should not be a surprise that when compared in these conditions the Sony would come up a bit better. In fact, it is to be expected. It has a better sensor, no question. It has a better lens. No question. It is MUCH more expensive, no question.

  59. Thanks for this comparison!

    As for “no one shoots JPEG,” well, some of us do, even for “professional” images! I appreciate your JPEG comparison, for this reason. (Forensic images, for courtroom use, generally must not be processed in any way outside of the camera.) Many of my subjects are traumatized crime victims, and find a large DSLR frightening. I was seriously considering one of the Fuji X cameras, but have been following your RX1 articles since the beginning. Though expensive on a public servant’s salary, an RX1 might be well worth the cost.

    Thanks again!

    • I believe that X-E1 images looks much worse using LR and this make somehow unfair the comparison.

      I made some test comparisons with X-E1 between JPEQ coming from the camera and LR output from RAW and most of the time JPEQ had better warmer colors. So the color issues is definitely a LR issue.

      You can have better results using RAW conversion into the camera and using minimum noise. In my opinion this way X-E1 produce some of the more natural colors out there … I hope a software to implement a similar and even better algorithm

      Regarding the sharpness is quite logical a FF camera to have some benefits.

      In my opinion the real week point of X-E1 is still the AF, if will resolve this issue will be a dream camera to me for the price.

  60. Interesting but unfair as the RAW conversion for Fuji is not optimal. Jpeg test would be better. Having said that there is quite a difference between cameras in some shots but less in others. Like to see a definitive test.
    Fuji colours seem warmer (and more natural?). The Sony a bit cool but the detail is incredible.
    I am sure your girlfriend preferred the softer Fuji image (hope you asked for her OK to post the 100% crops! : )

    • That shot was a JPEG comparison BTW. Perfectly fair for the RAW as the most used RAW converter out there is Adobe Lightroom. It is what photographers and hobbyists use. If the Fuji can’t do well using Adobe software then there is a problem with the Fuji sensor. Hopefully compatibility will come soon but overall you can not blame this on the RX1 producing sharper images.

      • Adobe makes the software and has had the Fuji sensor data for a while now. It’s a new sensor design so the software has to be updated. The sensor isn’t the issue, the software just needs to be optimized to convert the data. Fuji went against the grain to try to improve the sensor but as you said, hopefully compatibility will come from Adobe soon. Phase One has recently updated their software to support X-Trans. Let’s hope Adobe does too.

      • “If the Fuji can’t do well using Adobe software then there is a problem with the Fuji sensor.”

        – not quite sure how much influence does Fuji have on Adobe’s development team, surely it’s the other way around and as mentioned above, Adobe has had data from Fuji for almost a year.

      • Steve – this statement of Yours really surprised me big time…. in a way so much seems upside/down in this conclusion Youre reachin’ for here… even the “it is what photographers and hobbyists use” seem rather definitive in an odd and end-of-story kind of way.

        … Im a photographer (well, at least I try to be) and at the end of the day I use what works and nothing else… In this case for sure NOT Lightroom – so I guess I am the exception to ‘Your’ rule here;o) btw I actually have several photographer-friends both pro’s and hobbyists alike that certainly don’t use Lightroom… so much for my ‘exception to the rule’ remark, I guess…

        Appreciate Your hard work though and a lot of the articles in general. Keep ’em coming;o)


        • Thanks for reading, and no one who reads what I write has to agree with everything I say 🙂 They never do! But if Fuji sells 50k units of the X-E1, the majority of users will use what they have, and by the numbers, that is Lightroom or Photoshop. The MAJORITY do indeed use Lightroom over anything else. That is a fact, and the fact that this Fuji sensor does not jive well with Adobe software is not good for Fuji or Adobe, so I am hopibg it si taken care of sooner rather than later. Thanks

          • Well, as I said 5 times now – the majority of X users will have…LIGHTROOM. Very few will pay $300 for C1. So this will be typical of most users. But I also threw up some JPEG samples for those who are yelling “UNFAIR”. In fact, it is as fair as you can get because like I said, the majority of X users will either shoot JPEG or use Adobe products. Fact.

          • Adobe will therefore lose Fuji users to someone who can provide better support like Capture one. As an X-100 user (non X-trans though) I prefer the out of camera jpgs anyway and maybe that is the way to shoot with X-trans for now. Having said that I always shoot RAW with my DSLRS.
            Also see this http://www.dpreview.com/articles/1887029702/capture-one-fujifilm-x-trans-raw-support-tested

            As a professional photographer I only use Bridge not Lightroom. As long as you organise the images into folders of 1Gb or less Bridge is fine (slows down with too many images). Excellent for sorting and grading, hiding and showing graded images etc And no importing images as per Lightroom (hate that). I do all my image manipulation in Photoshop and extensively use it’s powerful actions facility to create multiple actions for standard image manipulations. Combined with the great little “Image Processor” plug in I select the images in Bridge and batch process many files at once while I do something else.

  61. Steve, regarding your Build Quality statement that the Fuji X-E1 feels “hollow’, and that “The Fuji X-E1 feels much like the X-Pro 1 and X100”, do I surmise from these statements that the X100 feels “hollow” as well? I don’t own either camera, but I understand that the X100 (and upcoming X100S) are built with a magnesium frame under steel. I don’t understand how this body could be perceived as “hollow”…perhaps “lighter” than the RX-1 would have been more descriptive? As for image quality, it’s my hope and belief that the new X100S will build on the already great IQ ofthe X100, with the new sensor, processor, and High-transmission coating on the lens. I think a very valid test would be comparing the X100 to the X100S, using identical subjects, setup, and exposure.Thank you!

    • Steve, I guess with the ‘hollow’ was meant simply the weight of the camera relative to its size or volume. Imagine a very well and tough (but at the same time very light in weight) metal box – it may feel hollow in your hand. Now put some heavy stuff inside the same box and that feeling will be gone even though the strength of the box did not change.

      At least that is how I understand ‘hollowness’ of a camera.

    • I own an x-pro1 and though I start to appreciate it, I agree : it does feel hollow and cheap (Fuji really made small economies when choosing materials and assembling). Maybe it’s for the weight’s sake, but I doubt it. It may be magnesium alloy, but compared eg. to the cheaper OMD, I think the Olympus body is really tough and can resist shocks which I would never expose the Fuji to. The X-E1 feels even cheaper and is less well made (you can see on the left upper side an irregularity in the mending assembling) – it was actually the first thing that I noticed when I tested it. I don’t want to criticize Fuji, as I am happy with the results I get, but they definitely should work on the quality of the assembling of their bodies and lenses (35mm loose aperture ring, not to mention the ridiculous plastic cap protectors which I lost on the first day), as the built quality is far from what should be expected for the price. My Olympus EP-1 is better built and more solid than the twice as expensive X-Pro, even after 3 years of intensive use.

      • With studio lighting just about ANY camera looks amazing and similar. If I shot both of them in studio and converted to B&W the results would be very close. It is in real daily use where they show their differences. Usability is a HUGE part of a camera and you just do not need that in a studio as you are on a tripod, have perfect lighting and just need to meter and press a button. Most who buy the X-E1 will use it for every day shots – kids, family, vacations and trips. In this situation both are great but the Sony eeks out in detail and richness, as it should. But for Studio, I have NEX-7 shots that look better than those crops posted at your link in regards to detail, etc. It’s all in the light.

        • I don’t know Steve, I would argue the opposite. It is all about light and in a studio environment you are equalizing that variable. Andre Goosen’s X-E1 samples look to have more detail than his RX-1 shot does.

          I have no doubt the RX-1 is superb, but knowing the level of detail I see in my X-Pro files each day and also previously owning the A99 with Zeiss glass, the X-Pro has consistently proved to me that it resolves more detail than anything else in its megapixel range.

          I trust you and your methods but something seems off with the X-E1 samples.

      • Those images were edited to a point of softening to disguise skin “defects”. I don’t think the point of the photographer was to compare both in a raw manner, but to show what you can achieve with both professionally and inside a studio.

    • nope but then again most are not really interested at looking the whole images let alone printing them, just sticking noses to monitors and looking everything at 200% magnification

  62. Interesting comparison of the cameras. But I really smiled when I saw the vacuum tubes. And is that a shortwave receiver or ham radio rig in the bokeh behind them? I’m dating myself here: The ham radio license exams I took as a teenager still had questions mostly based on tube-type electronics. And now I’m using cameras and computers with most advanced silicon wonders. It’s fun to have experienced life in both eras. Those tubes kept you warm on cold winter nights.

  63. Even though I expect the Sony be better than the fuji, nothing can replace the sensor size at “comparable generations of technology”, but the Fuji gave really bad pictures. I really doubt the X1 Pro is a crappy as it looks. Something’s wrong there.
    Sony RX-1 solid? LOL, the lens maybe, the camera not more than an <=1200 EUR mirrorless camera. check the sony video re-assembling it.

  64. Interesting the Sony appeared to have shallower DOF than the Fuji. The Fuji should be giving the equivalent DOF of a 52mm f/2.2 lens but yet the Sony looks shallower in some of the shots.

    Either way, FF rocks!

    • A 35mm lens will always give the DoF of a 35mm lens at a given aperture, whatever sensor it is in front of. The difference you noticed will be the result of a difference in aperture, and possibly in distance to subject.

      • All I said was that you get the same DOF as a 52mm f/2.2 lens in full frame equivalent, not that it becomes a 52mm lens. If you measure the DOF of a full frame 52mm f/2.2 lens shot at f/2.2, it would give you the same DOF as a APS-C 35mm f/1.4. What that comparison does is gives someone an idea if they are used to full frame lenses and what the picture would look like. That’s why smaller format sensors will never be able to get as shallow DOF as a FF setup.

        • @Jonny: in my understanding it’s a little more complicated. Imagine two 35mm lenses, same aperture (f2.0), same focusing distance (1m). Can you visualize the DoF at the plane of focus?

          N.b.: DoF does not equate to sharpness/point op ultimate focus. Of course.

          Then we place an APS-c sensor behind one lens, and an FF sensor behind the other (both in the plane of focus…).

          What do we get? The same DoF, but different image sizes/angles of view.

          With my feeble grasp of the matter, that’s all there is to it. Feel free to correct me, of course.

        • @ Jonny – A 35 mm will always offer 35 mm DOF no matter the body you mount it on is a APS-C or a FF.
          The difference is that the APS-C crops the image and you only see the crop portion while the FF will use the full image circle and this is the reason why you perceive it’s image as having a shallower DOF.

          • Please read this article it explains it much better. Here is a quote:

            “As an example calculation, if one wanted to reproduce the same perspective and depth of field on a full frame sensor as that attained using a 10 mm lens at f/11 on a camera with a 1.6X crop factor, one would need to use a 16 mm lens and an aperture of roughly f/18. Alternatively, if one used a 50 mm f/1.4 lens on a full frame sensor, this would produce a depth of field so shallow it would require an aperture of 0.9 on a camera with a 1.6X crop factor — not possible with consumer lenses!”


          • Hi Jonny.

            The thing is that Steve is getting closer to subjects when shooting with Sony — in order to get the same picture cropping for both cameras. Doing that the DOF will be shallower for the fullframe one, in some cases almost entering in a “macro mode”.

            If Steve had shooted with both cameras at the same distance to the same subject (and same f/ number) and cropped the full frame picture to match the aps-c one, both would have the same DOF — as both lenses are 35mm.

          • That’s the point. To get the same perspective you would have to change distance, which changes DoF. Read my previous entry.

  65. Looks to be a pretty typical difference in the 1:1 crops that one use to see when comparing FF against APS-C sensors. The X-E1 impressed me in high ISO performance, looking almost as good as the RX1 there in my eyes. Overall, this looks much like a comparison with two modern, high performing, sensors in two different sizes to me.

    For professionals wanting the best of the best at the cost of lens interchangeability, RX1 seems like an excellent deal compared to a Leica to me, although there are of course huge differences in operating these. We’re comparing rangefinder operation with looking at a LCD display.

    The X-E1 seems to be a great deal for people happy with APS-C cameras although I’m hesitant about its focusing. You said the latest FW seemed to fix that, but hadn’t got much time to test it. Personally, the earliest Fuji X series camera I’d buy after my current X100 would be the X100s. Not the X-E1 or X-Pro1 before it. The first interchangeable lens “next generation” camera like the X100s should be very interesting. I’ve seen the sharpness from that camera and it’s just insane what that cutting edge APS-C sensor produces!

    • Hi Jonas and Steve.
      Interesting comparison, Steve, but I am coming from a Pentax K-5 (with some VERY Sharp Pentax optics), and am holding out for the new Fuji X100S. Frankly, I feel that while all my images are sharp, I do not know for a fact that they are OPTIMALLY sharp, meaning that even with the AF Fine Adjustment (Custom Funtion 26) on the K-5, I am not 100% certain that I have set it optimally. hence my interest in Mirrorless systems like the Fuji X100S or the Olympus OM-D, where your lens is either IN focus or it isn’t…no monekying around with AF Fine Adjustment! Thanks.

  66. That a full frame, higher res, fixed zeiss lens camera would have better iq than an aps-c interchangeable isn’t exactly earth shattering, especially given the fact that the Sony is just under twice the cost of the fuji with 35mm 1.4. For my much more diverse needs (and limited budget) , seeing the fuji coming this close even in these rather rough tests completely validates my purchase of this system. Looking forward to seeing what full frame mirror less developed into in the next few years!

    • Well, I only did this because since the RX1 was launched I have had literally over 100 e-mails asking me to do this. Many of those e-mails said the X-E1 would wipe the floor with the Sony. So I did this quick comparison for those who were curious. Thanks for reading.

          • Also the Foveon and x-trans sensors are totally different and the Foveon most definitely acts more like a 45MP sensor.

        • The price difference between the compared cameras is more significantly than the megapixels. What makes the comparisons fair is that you know the difference in price and megapixels, so you can take that into account when evaluating them.

      • It’s amazing to me that people are attacking the test. This is a cool way of showing what each camera can do. One is over a grand more than the other. Higher quality costs more.

        Consumers are winning, and yet people whine.

        I don’t get it.

        • Jeff – consumers only win if the test is valuable.

          It’s indeed bad to use Adobe Raw Converter, because it is not yet able to develop RAW from the new Fuji sensor with adequate detail. The only program doing this is Capture One in their new version
          Another point which hasn’t been mentioned is the optical quality from the SLR Magic – can it compete to the Zeiss lens? It would have been interesting to see pictures with XE 1 and the Fujinon 35mm lens.
          And, as has been said, difficult to compare full frame with APS-C.

          • Most consumers are not going to go out and spend $300 on C1. The fact remains that most photographers use Adobe. Most of who buys the X-E1 will be using Adobe, many will shoot JPEG only. Few will own C1. Just the facts. If the X0E1 is not compatible with Adobe then it is an issue. Well, the reality is is compatible as Lightroom converts the X-E1 files but with artifacts, not really softness. As for the SLR Magic lens, not sure if I am reading your comment right but that lens was not used at all in this test. These were all with the Fuji 35 1.4 and I will say it again as well, this was only done due to over 100 requests via email to do so. So there ya have it. No matter what is compared there are always those who shout “unfair” – it is ridiculous at times. What you see here is what you get from each camera in the same situations and settings. JPEGS have been shown as well. It is what it is. Period.

          • Steve, I very much appreciate your reviews and comparisons – and I think you laid out the background (price difference etc) clearly enough. It is an interesting comparison for many of us. Of course, it will not appeal to the guy who has a firm $1000 budget (or a firm $3000 budget for that matter), because you obviously to some degree get what you pay for.

            I think the OOC jpeg’s speak volumes, and I love the exposure, color AND grain of the RX1.

            Thanks again for all your hard work! 🙂

  67. Steve, my X-E1 tends to over-expose as well – not a big deal though, as I just shoot at EV-1 for pretty much everything. I am looking forward to your review of this camera, and cannot wait for reliable raw conversion for the X-E1. I’ve heard mixed reviews on LR4, I think Capture One may have nailed it but I am reluctant to drop $300- just for one camera’s workflow.

    Finally, no question the RX1 serves up higher IQ – but at full frame and a $1,500 higher price tag I would expect nothing less.

  68. Is the Fuji that much worse than the great RX 1 to justify the $1000 plus differential to a non professional?

    • Not to mention the ability to change lenses vs the fixed lens on the Sony. The RX1 looks awesome…but I am going to hold out for Sony to release an interchangeable lens version:)

      • You are absolutely right, how can Steve compared a Ferrari with a Mustang. Full frame vs APSC, at least, he should use a Fuji X100s, same style cameras. If we go to Dpreview, their Sony RX1 preview, click Image Q. compared (RAW), they are using Fuji X100, you can change it to Fuji XE1, to ISO6300, there is not much difference in noise between these two. I rather believe Dpreview than Steve’s testing.

        • Do you mean the tests that DP Review does at high ISO using studio lighting? Who uses high ISO in studio lighting or sunlight? The true test of ISO is low light. I have not seen the DP Review test but I know they used to do these using studio lights, with never told me much of anything for real world use.

          • Hi, Steve, I found this note from all the test they performed, quoted This is our standard studio scene comparison shot taken from exactly the same tripod position. Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI. Crops are 100%. Ambient temperature was approximately 22°C (~72°F). unquoted. I have a Fuji X Pro1 for many months, I found, up to ISO3200, hard to detact any noise in real life test, if I changed to ISO6400, only very slight noise can be found, this is only an APS-C sensor. Also, I found my Nikon D600, can not perform the same as the X Pro1 even it is a full frame sensor.


          • Yes, if you use it in daylight 🙂 High ISO should only be cranked up at night, when needed. Why there are tests done with ISO in daylight is a mystery to me. In low light you will see the true ISO performance of the cameras and it is not the same as when you use it in daylight.

          • Chris, have you consider the loss of details of the X-E1 high ISO images when compared to the RX1, it is clear on this test the RX1 is more detailed. And the DPreview Files from the Fuji show the same thing, I loaded the sample from both cameras (ISO 200 and ISO 6400) in Capture One Pro last updated version! Clearly the RX1 is way sharper, detailed.

          • Again, this is not apple to apple comparison, should not be happened on two completely difference cameras, full frame against APS-C. Big difference on prices too, For a $1400 camera with this result is increditble. At least use a D600 or 6D. I still don’t find the Sony is worth that money without changing lens ability, and all necessary accessories need to buy separately which cost over $1000-

          • Guess you would have hated my Olympus E-P2 and 20 1.7 against the Nikon D4 and 50 1.4 comparison I did three years ago 🙂 I do these all of the time, EVERYTHING is worth comparing as sometimes David slays Goliath.

    • One more thing, the price of RX1 is $2700< plus all the accessaries e.g. viewfinder & hood etc to a total of close to $4000, for this amount I prefer a Nikon D800 or Canon 5DIII.

  69. Not to nitpick..but the Fuji with 35mm is $1600..not $2200. The price of the Fuji vs the Sony is substantial ($1200 more, and with no EVF).

  70. Thanks Steve – this ist a very interesting comparison. I am happy X-E1 user but your

    Image #4 – FULL SIZE FILE

    makes me really worrying. The difference is too huge 🙁 to geht the RX1 out of head. On your other images, I see not a reason for myself to give up interchangeable lens-system. but #4 is a har one.

    Please kindly let me note there are loud Rumors for a new X-E1 and Fujinon 35mm Firmware update. They expect AF Speed beeing enhanced again.

  71. Also – Seeing as though the fuji was overexposing, would it be more fair to have compensated to get the images from both cameras to the same level of light? Shooting slightly underexposed always enhances the colors and richness of a scene, so I wonder if the results would have been closer if they were exposed the same. Right now, the Sony photos have a richness that the fuji don’t. but it seems to me, it might have more to do with the slight underexposure.

    • This is a real world example though! I want to know which camera gives better pictures without having to fiddle with the manual exposure setting.

      • Every camera exposes differently. Setting, and keeping the exposure comp dial 1 stop lower doesn’t seem like much effort.

        • Depends on if that is a consistent behavior or not. If it is not, it means you have to keep an eye on it at all times.

  72. Hi Steve,

    Would you attribute any of the image quality of the Fuji to the raw conversion issues? It seems that there has been some comparisons of the IQ after processing in Capture one, and it seems to produce greater detail.

    • I think the RAW-converter used (Lightroom) is clearly a major contributor to the ‘less sharp’ output from the Fuji here! I have used/and do use both Lightroom as well as Capture One and for sure Capture One produces a lot sharper images than the ones Steve is showing us here,,,,

      Unitil Adobe has figured out a way to decode the Fujis X-Trans-files ‘properly’ I personally wouldn’t use their software for RAW-conversions when concerning Fuji X-Trans RAF’s… Maybe Steve calls this a real-world comparison and to a large extent it is so, I guess but I think in all fairness also the above should be taken into consideration – normally one would use what it takes to get the best out of ones camera, no?… btw Im in no way affiliated with either Phase One nor Fuji;o)


    • Yeah, I think it would be fair to either make comparisons using the Capture One or at least add some straight out of the camera JPEG because as far as I know, the Fuji pics are very rich with very good high ISO and DR performance.

  73. Thanks for the comparison Steve. Only issue I had was that Lightroom does not officially support Fuji’s raw format. Did you get a chance to compare the out of camera jpegs for each camera?

    • I have some JPEGs and the RX1 is the best OOC JPEG camera I have ever shot. Last time I did a JPEG comparison I was attacked for using JPEG as I was told “NO ONE SHOOTS JPEG” 🙂

        • Steve: Great quickie! …as always.

          You should throw a pic or two of your RX1 with the Gariz case in the My Gear section so we can see that art work 🙂 When you have a minute…

        • Adobe Camera RAW is one of the most used RAW converters out there. Yes, they are struggling with the FUJI but what is the best digital camera worth without a reasonable RAW converter. Let´s face it. FUJI had an interesting idea to deviate from the Bayer pattern to prevent moiré. Unfortunately they made the demosaicing process much more difficult. To add insult to injury the new version of Capture One seems to suffer from severe moiré when dealing with FUJI RAW files. FUJI still has to prove that their deviation from the Bayer pattern was a good idea.

          • “To add insult to injury the new version of Capture One seems to suffer from severe moiré when dealing with FUJI RAW files. ”

            no moire here, seems like you’re just reading too much on dpreview forums 😉

          • Do you just defend adobe blindly? It’s a known fact that adobe rendition is soft, softer than the jpgs ooc….

          • Fuji will be releasing updates to the xe-1 and the 35 M&m firmware this week, it says it will improve accuracy and autofocus speed.
            The ex-1 feels like a soap bar without the leather case, add the straw viewfinder on top,more like earth fader, the xe-1 feels like a real camera, sorry, this thing is too ugly and useless as a real camera not a toy, no matter how good you or Sony wants us to think.

          • And you have been shooting both I assume? Send me some images with both of them as I would love to see 🙂

            My guess is you have not been shooting both and do not have both. If you did you would not be making false statements such as the ones you just made. The Sony actually feels better than the Fuji. The Fuji’s EVF..when you put your eye up to it light leaks in from the side as there is no eyecup – in the AZ sun here it causes issues with looking through it. The Fuji feels much cheaper in construction from the buttons, controls, dials and feel. The Sony is solid as a rock, the dials feel weighted and solid. Nothing feels cheap. The Fuji has issues with AF, if it did not then Fuji would not be releasing FW every month or two to try and fix the problems. The only problem is every time FW comes out it improves a teeny but but seems to cause other issues.

            I guess you see this reflected in the price. For a camera such as the X-E1, the $999 body only price is excellent. Just right. But you get what you pay for.

            As I said in my Sony review – It just works and when you have to fight a camera to perform it makes you lose passion and interest. I am not a fan of cameras you have to fight with to get to work, which is why you do not see me review every camera that comes out. If I do not like it I usually wont write about it, no matter what it costs.

            BUT the Fuji is still a great and highly capable camera, just when you compare it to superior and more expensive products will it show its weaknesses, as it should. That is normal. It is also great with manual lenses. Leica glass works very well on the Fuji bodies. The only issue, using MF with the Fuji is a little slow due to no peaking feature (glad they put it on the X100s).

            My guess? The X100s will be MUCH better than the X bodies for speed, accuracy and even IQ. I love the X100 and prefer it’s IQ over the X bodies by far. It has more soul, more pop and is more “organic” – again, just my opinions after using and shooting ALL of these cameras in all situations. BTW, the Sony EVF is amazing. Try it out and see for yourself.

            Thanks for reading.

      • Let me clear this up – I shoot jpeg. There. Now, you can confidently head into the weekend knowing that not everyone has the desire to shoot RAW.

      • Who still shoots JPEGS? Almost every AP, Getty, SI, newspaper photog working on deadlines, thats who. They would be pretty good company to agree with, considering they are some of the best in world at what they do.

      • I’m back to be the voice of …something. In this case, I have to ask..exactly why does the x-trans support (beta at best) in LR affect anyone other than you who clearly doesn’t make pictures on deadline, for clients, unless you are one of the now countless post processing zombies that the digital age has produced.Mmmmm. RAW. Mmmm LR…Mmmmm Capture One..Mmm

    • ACR RAW makes Fuji files softer, so I don’t think this is not 100% valid comparison.

      I wish the review is updated with C1 processed files.

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