Any current/former EM5 or EM1 owners considering a switch to XT-1?

Started Feb 19, 2014 | Discussions thread
Curt Gerston Forum Member • Posts: 87
Re: Any current/former EM5 or EM1 owners considering a switch to XT-1?
5

I've had Olympus m4/3 stuff for a number of years, including the EM1 for the past year.  I've been happy with it, mostly, and I like the EM1 a lot, but was curious about the Fuji XT1 for a few reasons: I liked the output I was getting from the x100s (quite a bit more than files from Olympus... subjective judgement for sure), and I was impressed with the stuff I was seeing from the Fuji lens lineup.  So I've been using the XT1 for a month now, and with 2000+ shots to work with, I have a dilemma on my hands.  Without question, they are both great systems, with very different plus/minus lists.  Some of this is subjective, as life is too busy for side-by-side testing etc, but here are my observations of what I feel are the strengths of each:

OMD EM1:

  • AF is faster, for sure, and pretty accurate (but not as accurate, for me, as the XT1).  Focusing is just instant with this system.
  • Smaller lenses, so it's a smaller system to carry around.
  • Really marvelous handling camera, for it's design (flexible, modal dials and buttons)
  • Some little handling things are better on the Olympus, more refined, than the on the Fuji.  One example: when you pull the LCD screen down for waist level shooting, the Olympus turns off the eye sensor (a great idea); but the Fuji's is still operating, so the LCD blacks out if you shoot too close to your body.  It's a little thing, but that's what I mean by more refined, and there are a few things like that that makes me feel the Olympus is a second generation product, where the XT1 is not.
  • The sensor is a bit noisier, I suppose, but I feel fine using this camera up to 3200 ISO no problem, same as the Fuji.  I don't mind a bit of noise, and it's not bad.  Also, there are no problems with using Lightroom (my choice in RAW converter) with the Olympus.

Fuji XT1

  • AF is fast enough, including for my kids (which was the OP's original question). Not as fast as EM1, but I haven't lost many shots due to the speed.  Also, the accuracy is a notch above the Olympus.  I got a lot of accurate shots with the EM1, but the XT1 is dead on always.  It may be a touch slower to get there, but it's more reliable.
  • Continuous AF is better on the Fuji (in my experience) than the Olympus, which surprised me.  I shot a few hundred frames at my daughter's soccer game, and got a much higher hit rate than I ever did with the EM1.  I thought I might be getting it wrong, but it turns out Thom Hogan at his website is finding the same thing in comparing the two.  I was keeping my Canon 7D around for sports, but now wonder if the Fuji will be good enough for my needs (though still not as good as the 7D).
  • The Fuji lenses are spectacular.  I like the Olympus lenses, but I love what I'm getting from the Fuji ones.  For me, the results are worth the extra weight/size.  They are gorgeous.  Sharper, for sure, but even more dazzling to me is the micro-contrast. I haven't seen files like this since shooting for a few years with Leica M stuff.
  • I'm finding that I like the Fuji dedicated dials and buttons more than the modal system on the EM1.  So, even though the EM1 is more refined and mature, I enjoy the Fuji more.
  • The sensor: a mixed bag.  Great color, and pulls ridiculous detail from the lenses.  Very clean (too clean sometimes...sometimes the blue skies look too plastic).  Cleaner at 6400, so I'll use it, but it looks overdone with NR, even in RAW, for some shots.  There is some smearing (as often complained about around here) in LR with foliage...occasionally.  For those files, I've been using RAW Developer, which solves it.

The EVF's on both are great.  The Fuji's is a bit bigger, but the Olympus is a bit better in my opinion at handling different lighting situations.  A wash.

So my dilemma is which system to keep.  I really don't like keeping two systems... Neither system feels fluid when I keep switching between them, and it's too expensive regardless.  I'm leaning towards the Fuji, because, above all, the lenses are wowing me, and I really do like the dials-system on the XT1 better.  Tough call, though.  Both are great systems.

As to the original OP's question: If shooting your kids on the move is truly the priority, a DSLR with sports-chops is the best bet, like the Canon 7D (or whatever Nikon's equivalent is).  Second best, to me, is the Fuji.  Third is the Olympus.  I'm talking AF-C here.  For accuracy in single-shot, both mirrorless systems are more accurate than DSLR systems, and Fuji has been the best for me.  The fastest is the Olympus, though. With practice I feel confident I can get lots of keepers of my kids on-the-go with any of the three systems.

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~ Curt

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