X-E1 and OMD

Started Jan 17, 2013 | Discussions thread
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JimLong Regular Member • Posts: 429
X-E1 and OMD

For the past year or so, I have been using a Panasonic GH-2 and the Panasonic 12-35 lens.  I moved to this from a Canon 5D and the 24-105L lens.  The only reason for making this move was that I was tired of carrying around that heavy camera and lens (look, I'm 72, I have a right).

I had been planning to get either the GH3 or the OMD and have sort of been waiting for more reviews and more availability of the GH3 to make a decision.  Then I learned about the X-E1 and started reading about it and thinking more and more that it was a better way to go.  Shortly after Christmas, I order the X-E1, knowing that it had various issues that I might be concerned about.  After using it for a while, I learned that yes, it is sometimes slow to focus.  I also learned that it is not real speedy between snaps.  Much slower than my GH2.  These are not things that I couldn't live with, but I began to wonder if I had made the right decision.  I had heard so much about the outstanding IQ of the OMD and the GH3.  Anyway, a couple of days ago, I ordered an OMD just so I could try them both side by side, which I have now done.

Here's what I concluded (YMMV).

The OMD does focus much faster

The OMD does respond much faster - not only a faster burst rate, but the shutter button will respond much quicker between shots.

The IBIS is very good.  I only did a few short tests, but I found it to be better than the lens stabilization in either the Panasonic 12-35 or the Fuji 18-55.

I personally like the viewfinder on the OMD better than the X-E1 - at least outside in bright light.

The XE-1 kills the OMD on high ISO shots.

The XE-1 seems to do a much better job of auto white balance under bad lighting conditions.

The XE-1 seems to me to be easier to use (in all fairness, I have used the X-E1 quite a bit more than the OMD, so I could probably get used to either one).

So at this point, the OMD seems to have more advantages for me than the XE-1.  The only thing to do is to actually use them to take pictures and see how they compare, and this is what I spent the day doing.  I walked around for an hour or so taking the same shot with each camera and then I processed them both through photoshop as closely as possible the same way.

What I saw was, typically, the Fuji images had smoother transistions through its dynamic range - sometimes the OMD look a little harsh by comparison.  The Fuji also seemed to have more dynamic range. If I applied sharpening in ACR, the OMD would start to exhibit sharpening artifacts much sooner than the Fuji - particularly in the sky areas.  I would notice that the sky was starting to look grainy.  BTW, I was using iso200 for all the shots.  Sometimes, not always I found better detail with the Fuji.  Sometimes I saw things in the OMD shots that looked like sort of bad bokeh.  The panasonic lens is supposed to be good in that respect, so I'm not quite sure what I was seeing - in any case, I didn't like it.

So, the bottom line is that the OMD goes back tomorrow.  None of the differences I saw were night and day; I'm not sure how much, if any, impact they would have on a normal size print.  But they were there (yes, I was pixel-peeping) and I would always know they were there.

It was a long slog, but now I will sleep better, convinced I chose the right camera.

Canon EOS 5D Fujifilm X-E1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3
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