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From MFT to Fuji: comparison of both systems
#1
About a bit less than a month ago, I switched to Fujifilm from Olympus after having all of my MFT gear stolen: E-M1, Oly 12-40, Oly 17 f/1.8, Pana 25 f/1.4, Oly 45 f/1.8, Oly 75 f/1.8, Oly 40-150 f/4-5.6. The thieves broke into our home and stole everything electronics from photo gear to computer and cell phones.

 

It really sucks big time as we don't feel safe anymore. However, it was an "opportunity" to start from scratch since I didn't have any gear anymore. Luckily the insurance reimbursed most of the financial loss.

 

When I started with MFT, the Fuji system wasn't as developed as it is today, therefore the choice was simple. However, today is a different ball game. Since I was restarting from scratch I decided to go with Fuji.

 

Although I've always been happy with MFT, I've been hoping (mainly for better DOF control) they would release more fast primes such as f/1.4 or f/1.2 versions of the 17 and 45. Also, I've been waiting forever for them to release wide angle compact lens such as a 9 or 10mm. It still hasn't happened unfortunately. They seem to deem more important to release 5 versions of the same boring slow kit lens.

 
In terms of focal length and speed, Fuji has exactly what I want. Their lens lineup makes a lot of sense as they are covering everything with high quality glass. Taking their current roadmap in account, they will have a fully complete system once all of their lenses are released. By then, they will have a better lineup than MFT IMO.
 
I purchased an X-T1 along with 3 primes: 14, 23 and 56. These 3 lenses fit 95% of my needs. I'm not very much of a zoom person. I tend to carry few lenses with me and I value compactness. My camera bag now is a Crumpler Jackpack 4000 which can fit a body with lens + 2 or 3 lenses (depending on their sizes). It comfortably fits the 3 lenses above, but it would easily fit an E-M1 along the 17, 25, 45 and 40-150 lenses for instance.
 
The 3 Fuji lenses above are absolutely stunning. I'd rate them close to the Oly 75mm which is no small fate. I pretty much only shoot the 53 wide open and the 23 is often used at f/1.4 as well. Fantastic IQ. The 14 is tack sharp for landscape work with very small distortion which is quite impressive. In the lens department, I couldn't be happier.
 
Now, regarding the body. The X-T1 is well built and fairly well designed. In terms of operations, I much prefer the Olympus way. The E-M1 was an extension of my arm and to me, it beats the X-T1 in terms of ergonomics by far. Everything falls perfectly in place. I find the knobs, dials and buttons of the X-T1 to be much less convenient to use when looking through the EVF. They seems to have been designed to be changed when you don't have the camera to your eye which is the opposite of the E-M1.
 
I'm a dials guy. I loved to have the 2 dials on the E-M1. Although the X-T1 features 2 dials, they can't be assigned to anything and are virtually useless in shooting mode (!). I thought I would grow to like the more traditional way the X-T1 operates, but it hasn't happened yet and I'm not sure it will. Sure, I'll adapt, but I think the modern way of operating the E-M1 is much more efficient, especially when you don't have all the time in the world to take the shot. Let's put it this way: if I was on a paid assignment that involved timing, I'd pick the E-M1 instead of the X-T1. Luckily I'm an amateur, so I can usually take my time.
 
Lots of people find the aperture ring great. Personally, I find the aperture ring on all 3 lenses to be too easy to change by mistake. Several times I shot at the wrong aperture because the ring had slidden without me noticing. They should have made the ring with much more resistance to avoid accidental turns. You can't programs the dials to control aperture either. However, when using XC lenses which don't have an aperture ring, one changes the aperture with the dial. This is very bad as it makes for an inconsistent shooting experience.
 
In terms of operational speed, the E-M1 feels much faster, especially regarding AF. I'm not talking about AF tracking but just single shot AF. The Oly is superior by a large margin. It almost never hunts and it is blazing fast. I have a young daughter (8 months) and the difference is very noticeable. The X-T1 feels sluggish in comparison. Although the X-T1 is slower, its focus accuracy is excellent, on par with the E-M1. Also, Oly lenses are dead silent which is not the case of Fuji's which seem quite old tech in comparison.
 
The EVF is better on the X-T1, more contrasty. In low light the Fuji's EVF remains smooth (albeit noisy) which is not the case of the E-M1's. I didn't notice a size difference despite what I read online. I really like the horizontal line of the X-T1 compared to the fairly inaccurate Oly's horizon implementation. It's something that could easily be added to the E-M1 and I'm really puzzled as to why Oly didn't implement something similar. On the other hand, I miss the blinkies for under/over exposed areas on the X-T1. I don't miss it too much because the sensor has better DR than the Oly which partly offsets it. Coming from the E-M1, the X-T1's amount of highlight headroom is very impressive.
 
When it comes to auto ISO, I'm a bit divided. If you use zooms, the E-M1 will be much better since it takes focal length in account. However, if you use primes, I like the X-T1 implementation better since you can set a minimum shutter speed according to the focal length. For some retarded reason though, Fuji limits the highest minimum shutter speed to 1/500!??!
 
Face detection is better on the Oly although the Fuji implementation works okay. The X-T1 doesn't detect faces as well as the Oly and you can't tell it on which eye to focus. A dumb thing is that if it doesn't find a face, it reverts to central AF, ignoring the position of your AF target.
 
Image quality-wise, the X-T1 files are much cleaner. You get very nice files up to ISO 6400. However, I find my E-M1 files more detailed, especially for landscapes. The Fuji files have a slight painting look to it. It's partially due to LR 5.5, but the jpeg also renders a little bit the same. From my tests, the E-M1 files feature more details although it might not be true if one uses PhotoNinja or Iridient developer. I personally don't think it's an issue unless you print very big, but I do believe MFT to have more details in landscape with complex textures. Where the IQ of the Fuji really stands out for me is in the colors it produces. I just love the colors! I've never been fully happy with Oly's colors. I had to do quite a bit of tweaking to get the colors I wanted. On the Fuji it's almost always dead on. And you get the different film simulations in Lightroom which is great. I now spend much less time messing around with my RAW files in Lightroom which is a tremendous gain of time.
 
There are probably plenty of things I forgot, but here is the advantages of each system according to my use.
 
X-T1 advantages:
  • Less noise at all ISOs
  • Better colors
  • Better and faster glass
  • Better lens lineup (for me)
  • Better auto ISO for primes
  • Better DOF control
  • Better lens selection (for ME)
  • Better lens IQ (again, for ME)
MFT (E-M1) advantages:
  • In body stabilization
  • Faster operation
  • Faster AF (and silent)
  • Better face detection
  • Better auto ISO for zooms
  • Better ergonomics
  • Smaller system (at the cost of more DOF)
  • Better details (in Lightroom)
In conclusion, both systems are great. I would also be very happy with MFT. Fuji lenses are expensive, but I think for what you get they are very reasonably priced. I think several MFT lenses are overpriced for the performance you get. In my opinion the 17 f/1.8, 25 f/1.8 and 12 f/2 are overpriced. They are good lenses, but too expensive compared to their Fuji counterparts (and the IQ you get from them).
 
As of now, body-wise I think I'd still enjoy shooting with the E-M1 more, but I'd miss the color and DOF control I get from the Fuji. Because of my daughter, I pretty much have no free time anymore (ugh...). Therefore, not having to tweak my pictures colors in Lightroom is a tremendous gain of time. Now, I spend very little time post-processing my pictures and I still get great results, which wasn't the case with MFT. The jpeg produced by Fuji are so good that I might even consider using the jpeg only while keeping the RAW "just in case". A pretty crazy thought that never crossed my mind before (that said, it may never happen though).

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I think I need to use the X system more to see if my opinion changes over time. I wish Fuji would address the main issues with auto ISO, AF point selection and others in a future firmware. What thing I appreciate with Fuji is that the company seems to be listening to their customers' needs more than Oly. They don't hesitate to update the firmware of their old models (although they changed and messed up the auto ISO implementation with no option to revert back).
 
What matters the most to me is the lenses. As of today, I like the Fuji lens lineup much better than MFT's and it's only gonna get better. The Fuji lenses roadmap is very promising as it's very much going in the right direction for me: 16mm f/1.4, 90mm f/2, 16-55 f/2.8, 50-140 f/2.8 and a long zoom. Once all the lenses in the roadmap are released, Fuji will have a fully complete lineup (at the exception of a true 1:1 macro). That's quite an achievement for such a young system! That's the one thing that annoys be with MFT: they have holes in the lineup, yet pretty much every new lens is not what users want. Bodies will keep getting better and better and the issues above will probably be solved in time (or so I believe)!
 
Anyway, I think both are great systems and I don't think one can go wrong with either.

--Florent

Flickr gallery
#2
Nice report, thanks.  I remember reading your report on your switch to uFT, also very interesting.  Horrible that your house was ransacked though!

#3
It's sad to read your happiness with new photo gear was trade-off with the horrible feeling of being robbed and someone was intruding into your private sphere. I'm very sorry to read that.

 

The Fuji lenses are great and I like very much they're careful with HQ fast glass. May I ask why you didn't choose the X100S, just out of curiosity?

#4
Quote:It's sad to read your happiness with new photo gear was trade-off with the horrible feeling of being robbed and someone was intruding into your private sphere. I'm very sorry to read that.

 

The Fuji lenses are great and I like very much they're careful with HQ fast glass. May I ask why you didn't choose the X100S, just out of curiosity?
 

Oh the reason is very simple: I'm not interested in a non interchangeable lens camera.

I'd perhaps consider if it was truly pocketable (i.e. would easily fit in a jacket pocket) and with an EVF. The Sony RX 100 III is interesting in this regard. However, a few things must be changed for me to consider it:
  • Sensor size of at least MFT
  • Better EVF (at least 2.3M and higher magnification)
  • Wide aperture lens (minimum f1.8)
The Fuji X100S is way too bulky to my liking. I also think the Fuji XE series of bodies is too bulky given their rangefinder form factor.

Finally, I'm absolutely not interested in their hybrid viewfinder. I'd only use the EVF anyway.
--Florent

Flickr gallery
#5
ouch  :blink: I'm so unfamiliar with Fuji I didn't realize which has interchangeable lenses and which doesn't.  :ph34r:

 

However, since Sigma DP1...3 Merills became comparatively dirt cheap affordable I enjoy very much a body with a fixed prime (with some downsides, but I find the IQ worth to handle and work around them).

#6
Floren, keep in mind that Fuji still at TAKE 1 on most of their mirrorless, while Olympus had several chances to fine tune theirs . I don't know if you get a chance to use one of the first PENs? I had PL2 and wasn't impressed.
#7
Regarding the prime WA for MFT, it is rumored that Oly is going to release a 9mm f2.8 (or even f1.8).

#8
Horrible news about the burglary, I have nightmares about losing my gear, I live in a boat or am traveling around in a motor-home, however I have "six" safes, four in the boat and two in the motor-home; it helps!

  The Fuji looks a good route to me with it's APSc sensor, I somehow feel that Olympus is a bit of a cul de sac, format wise.

 

  Good luck with it! 

Dave's clichés
  


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