X-E1 and OMD

Started Jan 17, 2013 | Discussions
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JimLong Regular Member • Posts: 408
X-E1 and OMD
8

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.

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david6785 Regular Member • Posts: 247
Re: X-E1 and OMD
1

I have a  g5 collecting dust since I got the xe1. You just can't beat the image quality and handling of the Fuji cameras. Do yourself a favor and try out the 35 its a masterpiece.

jaxwired Forum Member • Posts: 97
Re: X-E1 and OMD

Great post!   Thanks for the comparison.  It's also nice to know other people suffer from the annoying second guessing of gear selection.

JimLong OP Regular Member • Posts: 408
Re: X-E1 and OMD

I plan to do that.  I just need to sell some unused gear first.

Charlesn Regular Member • Posts: 467
Re: X-E1 and OMD

JimLong wrote:

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.

Thanks for the post. Always interesting to read someone's journey of comparison between cameras. Especially when Fuji wins.    Were you shooting jpg or raw? If raw, how did you account for the fact that Adobe hasn't yet nailed down proper processing of raw X-Trans files?

El Chubasco
El Chubasco Contributing Member • Posts: 565
Re: X-E1 and OMD

For me the OMD's IBIS is a total deal breaker, it is simpy brilliant. Also, we should remember that OMD is designed to do Video very well, while XE-1 seems to be more directed towards still photography only.

I would switch to XE-1 if it had some stabilization system. I'll wait to see what Fuji develops in the upcoming years.

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Moonman52 Senior Member • Posts: 1,255
Re: X-E1 and OMD
1

El Chubasco wrote:

For me the OMD's IBIS is a total deal breaker, it is simpy brilliant. Also, we should remember that OMD is designed to do Video very well, while XE-1 seems to be more directed towards still photography only.

I would switch to XE-1 if it had some stabilization system. I'll wait to see what Fuji develops in the upcoming years.

I own both cameras and have been using and comparing them both daily for almost 2 months now and indeed the OM's IBIS is incredible and one of several factors why if I could only keep one of them the XE-1 would NOT be the one I'd keep. Keep in mind I love my XE-1 but there are too many things important to my style of shooting that are totally lacking in the Fuji product right now. Hopefully that changes in the next version of either the XPro1 or XE-1.  As I said in a similar thread the Olympus EM-5 didn't win camera of the year for no reason.

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JimLong OP Regular Member • Posts: 408
Re: X-E1 and OMD

I was shooting raw.  There were a few instances where some color bleeding showed up, but not too many.  I processed those Fuji files through Capture One and verified that the problem didn't persist.  The reason I used acr was primarily speed.  I wanted to look at a lot of images quickly and I am much more familiar with acr.  Interestingly, I did come across one example oj moire (present on the Fuji, but not on the omd).  The moire sliders in capture one eliminated it.

El Chubasco
El Chubasco Contributing Member • Posts: 565
Re: X-E1 and OMD
1

Totally agree with you. That is why I am keeping my OMD and not switching over XE-1. I unerdstand the reasons behind shooting preferences and the feeling of the Fuji X system because I own a X100.  Fuji makes beautiful cameras that are a pleasure to shoot with but the OMD is simply better in many ways. That was my point.

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chris24net Regular Member • Posts: 289
Re: X-E1 and OMD

I have both and really like both. But I do prefer the X-E1. The IQ and handling are just better for me, and overcome the OM-D's better AF and overall system.

And the Oly IBIS is great, in fact I recently used the OM-D for a magazine cover shot for that reason (http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3365685 ), but the OIS in the 18-55 is almost as good. So it does make up a little of that ground with that lens.

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pertgate01 Junior Member • Posts: 42
Re: X-E1 and OMD
2

THis is my take.

Most people don't live in bigger cities like NYC or LA or SF, so it is hard for them to go to a camera store where they can test out the most up to date cameras. So naturally, they turn to reviews. And when they do, they must solely rely on the viewer's "eyes" but the problem with that is there is always some sort of bias.

It was the same way with me. The cameras are similar price, but you read that one of them has some crazy new sensor that is supposedly revolutionary, and another one that has a "much smaller sensor." Then you come to forums like this where people are raving about the revolutionary new sensor and how AF speeds have improved DRASTICALLY. But the thing with taking advice from forums like this is that you do not know WHO you are taking advice from. FOr all you know, I might be some 11 year old kid who read a couple articles online, and is now telling you to buy the OMD instead of the X-E1. Then people like you will read this and may agree, thinking I have some sort of authority, and may base your purchasing decision on that. In that sense, I guess the rest of my post is a little ironic.

Well like I said, people read reviews, and they will naturally go with the crazy revolutionary camera. So when you thumb through multiple review sites, and look at multiple sample images, you are convinced that the IQ of the Fuji is so much better.

In reality, the image quality of the Fuji and Olympus are almost undistinguishable. Go to Lindsay Dobson's site (who is a member of dpreview and a pro photographer), look up her article comparing the X-E1 and OMD, and seriously do a blind test. You will NOT be able to distinguish which picture came from which camera.

My experiences have been the same. You see great pictures posted online, on these forums, on flickr, coming from the Fuji X-E1. You automatically think that a big part of it has to do with the Fuji X-E1 that they are using. But if you are on flickr and you find a Fuji X-E1 pic that you like, look through the rest of that person's photostream. More likely than not, that person's other photos will also have some great photos with "great IQ" but taken with cameras other than the X-E1. So what I am trying to say, is that the OM-D's IQ is just as good as the Fuji's.

The GEARHEADS in all of us tell us to go with the Fuji. But in the end, Fuji's IQ is only slightly better than the OMD but the difference is not big enough to give up the great usability of the OMD and the even better lens lineup that is already available.

57even Forum Pro • Posts: 10,234
Good way to decide!

Cameras are very personal thing. If you take all the properties of a camera that matter and rank them in order, everyone will come out with a different ranking

None of the drawbacks of the Fuji bother me too much because they don't impact my style of shooting or subject matter. The upsides, in terms of IQ and handling, matter a lot and made the choice very easy.

I could quite understand someone coming to the opposite conclusion, but what's good for one is not always good for another.

OMD is a real all rounder, though for me it does not excel in any one area and it's fiddly to use without the grip (and too bulky with it). However once you have set everything up the way you like (which seems obsessively complicated BTW) it will do a good job of practically any type of shooting scenario.

The Fuji is much more specialised as a deliberate documentary stills camera, but if that's what you do there is nothing out there to touch it. It comprehensively outclasses the OMD in overall IQ (taken as a whole). In fact it trounces my D7000 as well. Embarrassingly so above ISO400.

And whereas there are some very nice (and expensive) lenses for MFT, there are quite a few disappointing dogs as well. All the Fuji lenses OTOH are good to excellent optically.

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pertgate01 Junior Member • Posts: 42
Re: Good way to decide!

And whereas there are some very nice (and expensive) lenses for MFT, there are quite a few disappointing dogs as well. All the Fuji lenses OTOH are good to excellent optically.

There are, but they are also a LOT less expensive than the Fuji lenses. These "disappointing dogs" were targeted for people with different budgets. Then you got the much better primes like the Pan 20mm f1.7, Pan 25mm f1.4, Olympus 12mm f2.0, Olympus 45mm f1.8, Olympus 60mm f2.8, Olympus 75mm f1.8. With the exception of the Oly 75mm and Oly 12mm (which are in similar price class as the Fuji lenses), the rest are all cheaper than the Fuji lenses.

I predict that the three prime lenses and the kit lens that are out now, are the cheaper lenses fuji will be releasing. I predict the future ones to be just as expensive if not much more. I bet the 56mm f1.4 will be closer to a thousand dollars with the other prime lenses hovering in the $600 to $800 territory. WIth micro four thirds you will at least have the option to choose the cheaper options if you cant afford the more expensive options. And its not like the cheaper options like the Pan 14mm, Pan 20mm, and Oly 45mm are optically poor. They are actually rated just as high as the Fuji lenses. Just saying.

kwa_photo
kwa_photo Veteran Member • Posts: 3,076
Re: X-E1 and OMD

El Chubasco wrote:

Totally agree with you. That is why I am keeping my OMD and not switching over XE-1. I unerdstand the reasons behind shooting preferences and the feeling of the Fuji X system because I own a X100. Fuji makes beautiful cameras that are a pleasure to shoot with but the OMD is simply better in many ways. That was my point.

I own the X100 (since Nov 2011) and an X10.  I love the X100 and it has been my primary camera since.  Naturally, I took a serious look at the X-E1 and the X Pro 1 as well.  Since my primary camera will see the overwhelming bulk of work there are just some things that Fuji doesn't do well....yet.  Ex. video, this is a must with children IMO.

I've had no real issue capturing a 5 year old and a 2 year child with the X100, or the X10.  But, I find myself really needing some more tele options in the 100-200mm range.  I tried the X-S1 but the IQ just isn't doing it for me.  I was an Oly DSLR shooter (E-1 and E-3 with mid-grade sealed glass) for year so the OM-D was appealing.

My OM-D arrived yesterday.  It had to be exchanged (another post in m4/3 forum) and the new one arrived today.  I've noticed the following:

In good light, they are very close in terms of IQ, esp. with the 45 f/1.8 mounted. The AWB and colors are also both great OOC jpg.  Indoors, at night, under the lighting in my home, the X100 does a better job with WB and does lock focus pretty well.  The OM-D locks faster and does a decent WB job.  I find I really do like the DR options (100-400) in the Fuji line and wish the OM-D did the same. So far, I can say that I'm liking the OM-D. Especially, since I can replace my X100, X10 and X-S1 with the OM-D and 17mm, 45mm and 12-50mm.  For the tele end of the X-S1, I still need a good little option until Oly comes out with a weather sealed lens.  I don't like the >$1000 price tag of the Panasonic f/2.8 tele (and it's big and heavy).  I'd love to see Oly come out with a f/4 tele...similar to the old Canon 70-200 f/4L I used to have (sold in 2006?) the size of the 12-50 kit (dreaming...).

I got the 12-50 (24-100mm) weather sealed kit lens, although it is slow (f/3.5-6.3), it is a nice range and worth the small cost with the discounted kit.  I also HAD to have a 35mm FOV since I love the X100 and "see" in that FOV now.  I picked up the 17mm f/2.8.  Both the 17 and 45 have a $150 rebate attached to them (nice). So, I basically get the little 17mm for free with the purchase of the 45.

I LOVE my X100 and would have to part with it if I do stay with the OM-D.  I've always LOVED Oly too.  They are very similar in a lot of respects and have enough differences to cause angst for a lot of us who are torn between two systems.  Right now, I need a system and the X-E1/X Pro just don't have what I need at this time (outside of killer IQ!) and sheer beauty.

Yes, IMO, the OM-D is a slight step back in IQ (very slight) from the X100 and other X APS-C bodies. But it's strengths are starting to win me over.  Only time will tell.

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pertgate01 Junior Member • Posts: 42
Re: X-E1 and OMD
1

The IQ difference is very small. Small enough that I do not know why I was so torn between the X-E1 and the OM-D. The OMD is a clear winner, and most likely a keeper for me (I too have only had the OMD for a couple days now, but it is like a breath of fresh air after using the Fuji for the past 5 weeks). The Fuji X-E1 IQ does still win though if you had to pick a winner, but only by a hair when you are pixel peeping. In real world use, as a hobbyist posting pictures on forms, blogs, and flickr, the difference is insignificant.

eilivk Senior Member • Posts: 1,840
Re: X-E1 and OMD

Very useful information. Even if I think OM-D is out of the question, too heavy with the kit lens. And not convinced by the high ISO results.

Prefer stabilization, But that would not stop me form getting X-E1. Only one thing stopping me, worry about focusing. My shop will not put a battery in the camera (seen they do it for pros...) so I can't check focusing. Which is my weak point. Learning slowly and got good results with G3 after one year. But with X-E1 afraid focusing will be so difficult the camera will not be very useful.

So what? Say no way I'll buy the camera without trying focusing? Only work with focusing on G3 for some time? Wait for a more userfriendly camera?

Maybe OM-D or Nex would be more wise. But really need good high ISO rather often. And good jpeg. And like the colours. And size...

Difficult for others to give advice. But anyone been in the same position and found a way with focusing?

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lefkop Contributing Member • Posts: 711
Re: X-E1 and OMD

david6785 wrote:

I have a g5 collecting dust since I got the xe1. You just can't beat the image quality and handling of the Fuji cameras. Do yourself a favor and try out the 35 its a masterpiece.

you are right about the 35, it's crazy good

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Ray Sachs
Ray Sachs Forum Pro • Posts: 10,483
Re: X-E1 and OMD

Moonman52 wrote:

El Chubasco wrote:

For me the OMD's IBIS is a total deal breaker, it is simpy brilliant. Also, we should remember that OMD is designed to do Video very well, while XE-1 seems to be more directed towards still photography only.

I would switch to XE-1 if it had some stabilization system. I'll wait to see what Fuji develops in the upcoming years.

I own both cameras and have been using and comparing them both daily for almost 2 months now and indeed the OM's IBIS is incredible and one of several factors why if I could only keep one of them the XE-1 would NOT be the one I'd keep. Keep in mind I love my XE-1 but there are too many things important to my style of shooting that are totally lacking in the Fuji product right now. Hopefully that changes in the next version of either the XPro1 or XE-1. As I said in a similar thread the Olympus EM-5 didn't win camera of the year for no reason.

I have the X-Pro and OMD and my feelings are quite similar. I'm fortunate to be able to keep both and I love both, but I'd I had to pick one, the OMD would be the obvious choice. It just does so much so well. And it's lens selection has finally reached something like full maturity and there's just no situation I can't find the right lens for.

In terms of IQ, there's something I qualitatively prefer slightly about the Fuji but they're both exceptional, and I don't really finds the Fuji better in low light in actual use. The Fuji is better at ISO 6400, but I don't think the ISOs equate. I did some low light experiments with the 18mm on the Fuji and the 14mm on the OMD, so both 28mm equivalent lenses, and shot both at f2.5 (the 14mm's fastest aperture). And I'd get basically the same exposures with the same shutter speeds with the OMD at 3200 as with the Fuji at 6400. So no discernible difference in that apples to apples comparison and in real world use, with the choice of fast glass available for the OMD, I can always get the shot with either camera.

Both wonderful cameras, both a huge amount of fun to shoot with and both turning out great files, but the OMD is enormously more versatile and capable overall, at least for now.

-Ray
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Andrei Nicoara Forum Member • Posts: 70
Re: X-E1 and OMD

This is a great point you made regarding online camera comparisons. So often we read too much online, and see so many image comparisons that we do some purchases without trying the cameras or lenses. Sometimes it works, sometimes not so much.

And aggravating the fact that smaller camera shop do not have the latest and greatest, the local second hand market is not great either (in order to sell "mistakes").

I bought Fuji X10 based on online reviews and it was love at first shutter click. I bought Canon 50f1.8 and never used it... It is a a serious hit and miss to buy based on online advice. In the end there is a certain relationship between photographer and camera that is very hard to judge before using a certain camera for a few days at least.

Coming back to the original discussion - the classic OM-D vs X-E1 I feel the truth is that both are great cameras with some growing pains

After much agonizing I decided to get the Fuji X-E1 kit (with the 18-55) and also the XF 35. The argument that finally made me decide is that I felt perfectly happy with Fuji existing lenses, while the m43 lens line-up didn't really make me eager to join that system. Also, the total cost of m43 system versus the Fuji one I felt it was bigger (at least according to my current and near-future needs). And in the end, I am used to changing camera bodies every 2 years, but lenses tend to stay with me much longer.

I just can't wait to receive the package - and hopefully I will be so in love with this camera as I am with the X10.

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Ray Sachs
Ray Sachs Forum Pro • Posts: 10,483
Re: X-E1 and OMD

eilivk wrote:

Very useful information. Even if I think OM-D is out of the question, too heavy with the kit lens. And not convinced by the high ISO results.

Prefer stabilization, But that would not stop me form getting X-E1. Only one thing stopping me, worry about focusing. My shop will not put a battery in the camera (seen they do it for pros...) so I can't check focusing. Which is my weak point. Learning slowly and got good results with G3 after one year. But with X-E1 afraid focusing will be so difficult the camera will not be very useful.

So what? Say no way I'll buy the camera without trying focusing? Only work with focusing on G3 for some time? Wait for a more userfriendly camera?

Maybe OM-D or Nex would be more wise. But really need good high ISO rather often. And good jpeg. And like the colours. And size...

Difficult for others to give advice. But anyone been in the same position and found a way with focusing?

I have the X-Pro and OMD and I don't have any problem with the Fuji focussing, except in low light the 35mm can really hunt if you don't have some strong vertical contrast to focus on. The 18mm is a good bit less finicky. That said, the OMD focus is in another league - much faster and much surer in any light. .

But, by the same token, if you think the Fuji is notably better in low light, you're wrong. They're both great in low light. I can get great low light shots with both cameras. I did a pretty specific experiment that I discuss in more detail in a post above in this thread comparing the two cameras with the same effective focal length and aperture and there was essentially no real world difference in low light results. And with the OMD's selection of fast glass and amazing stabilization, its not at any dis-advantage in low light. Both are wonderful cameras with different shooting characteristics - either one should meet your low light needs.

-Ray
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