Deciding between Sony and Olympus systems for landscape/backpacking

Started May 28, 2020 | Discussions thread
Advent1sam Veteran Member • Posts: 9,089
Re: Deciding between Sony and Olympus systems for landscape/backpacking

The Lamentable Lens wrote:

(Oh man, sorry everyone, but buckle up. This ended up getting much longer than I originally intended!).

Again, I appreciate your perspective, I really do, and I'm glad you found a system you love so much! I think we need to separate the bodies and lenses. I am 6' 4'' with large hands, so fiddling with the x-t200 and its tiny grip (or comparably sized Oly, Pany, etc.) as my primary camera would drive me nuts. But that doesn't mean that I want to lug heavy lenses everywhere I go. So the G9 with its amazing ergos, combined with the smaller and lighter lenses of m43, is a dream combination for me.

I generally find extended sensor size debates to get very pedantic, very quickly. The inarguable truth is that all of these modern camera systems are capable of taking amazing pictures.

But I do get concerned when people look at (a site I love and use regularly) and consider only size. It doesn't readily show the other important specs like weight or weather-sealing. For example, for the three Fuji zooms you cite, their Panasonic counterparts weigh more than 25% less, despite providing almost 200mm (FF eq.) more reach at the long end, and weather-sealing across the board. Those aren't minor differences.

At the risk of making this way too long, I want to make sure I show my math:

For example, in your comparison of the Fuji 10-24 and the Panasonic 8-18 (which I've put on comparable bodies here), it doesn't note that the Panasonic lens is 25% lighter and fully weather-sealed. The weather-sealing alone would render the Fuji lens a non-starter for those of us who love to get out for storm/rain/fog/etc.

Similarly, for the all-purpose walk-around 24-120 lens, you compared the Fuji 16-80 to the Pana Leica 12-60 (again, pictured below in similar setups). Again, they look similar, but the PL 12-60 is almost 30% lighter.

As for fast primes, I make no great defense of m43 if one regularly needs razor thin DOF. But in that case, just get a FF camera (the solution I landed on for those needs). Of course, I also own a fantastic f/1.2 m43 lens that does the job quite well.

In any event, I'm not sure your lens comparisons are really equivalent on this one. The Olympus you chose is one of its top of the line PRO lenses, with substantially more elements, groups, and aperture blades than the Fuji lens. Now, we all know that more elements, etc., doesn't automatically equate to quality, but if we're only interested in comparable focal length, then this would also work for a 24mm (FF eq.) comparison (please note the intended, if rhetorical, sarcasm):

And for DOF purposes, the Fuji lens is f/2.1 FF equivalent. Better than f/2.8, I suppose, but again, these are tools for a job, and if the job requires razor thin DOF, then FF cameras are the best tool for that particular job.


I don't shoot wildlife or use lenses in this range, so I'm a bit out of my element here, but I would suggest that this comparison in particular is a bit bonkers. You're comparing a $1,400 Fuji zoom lens that maxes out at 612mm FF equivalent, to a $2,700 Olympus PRO prime lens and a Panasonic Leica lens that reaches to 800mm FF equivalent. I'm guessing that extra 200mm (FF eq.) is huge for wildlife photographers, and even with all that extra reach, the Panasonic is still 30% lighter than the shorter Fuji lens.

Also, you left out the Panasonic 100-300, which is the closest lens to the Fuji in terms of focal length, even if it is a much cheaper lens (I'm not claiming they are similar quality -- I've not used either one -- but given the huge differences in your comparison, I figured it's only fair). Oh, and it's almost 60% lighter than the Fuji:


Again, in the comparison below, you're showing only the size, but in this case the Panasonic lens, for example, is not only smaller than the Fuji lens, it's almost 40% lighter.

Want to go really compact, Fuji has that too with the f2 prime series, the 23,35,50,90 are all compact for what they offer, essentially the same as a 1.4 lens on m43 but just as small/compact as the 1.8/1.7's on m43

I used the g9 for quite a while, with the 8-18/12-60/100-400 and hand on heart the Fuji alternative of x-t200 with pdaf, size, 14bit raw and 10-24/12-60/55-200/100-400 is by far a better system, smaller, faster and much more flexible.

I believe you. And I'm happy for you! But hand on heart the G9 is by far the better system for ME (and many others who use it, presumably). As I said, the Fuji body is way too small for my liking, and the lenses are heavier than m43 while still compromising on FF capability. But that's just MY experience. I guess my point in all this is simply the following: to declare that any system is objectively better is just silly.

The 12bit raw files seem to be very grainy in a lot of circumstances and when pushed-pulled fall apart quite easily. 14bit raw does seem to have more lattitude, especially shadows and the g9 in particular had a very heavy magenta cast in shadows, for low light work, you had to bracket a lot as pulling shadows with it was not the best. For compact landscape with 15-36/24-120 combo Fuji really has an excellent pairing, you can of course go further still with Fuji, 8-16/16-55 2.8 combo if you really want to which is 12-24-83, but it is larger for sure, but that option exists too!

If that was your experience, then I'm glad you made a change and are happier with your new system. But this just isn't consistent with my experience. I shoot RAW and find I can push and pull the files as much as I need. I think the idea of 14-bit raw is comforting, but like so many technical discussions on this site, it quickly becomes untethered from practical experience. It's the difference between lab work and field work. Here's a good practical demonstration finding no real difference between 12 and 14: Now, that's with a FF sensor, but a sensor size discussion is different from a bit depth discussion. And I don't know about you, but I for one have had enough sensor size discussion for one morning...

Thanks for the interesting discussion!

Well, I respect your opinion but if m43 was as light and as good as you say I for one would still be using it. Be under no illusion I would have an em1 iii or g9 maybe an em5 iii and plenty of the lenses I compared it to. The point is, it really doesn’t cut it against Fuji on lens size and as I don’t need to shoot 14/20fps I am more interested in image quality not image quantity. In all of the respective focal lengths and apertures it just makes sense to go Fuji now compared to m43 entering milc and as an upgrade for those who are concerned with iq but don’t want the bulk of FF. Fuji is really offering a huge value proposition over FF in the area I showed comparisons to m43 in, but the value/size moves to FF ironically if you want higher pro level results with fast apertures, then aps is essentially competing but not surpassing FF, it can’t. But aps can give you a flavour of FF without the bulk at least and if you want FF standards you can get very close now on Fuji aps, I would argue for multiple applications Fuji is preferable to FF too, especially 24mp FF which honestly I really don’t see the point of any more, FF should be at least 36mp exclusively and probably 8k still resolution should be normal for FF. But, and it’s a big but, do you want the size, weight and overall cost of FF, if you’re a pro, probably, if you’re an enthusiast or hobbyist, well it’s a personal decision! But m43, for landscape, back-packing and day to day photography, I’d suggest Fuji to everyone and I hardly mention m43 anymore, I personally find it rather outdated and bodies like g9 are far far too big for the iq on offer!

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