In need of advice... E-M5/E-M1 vs X-T1 vs A7.

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by mesmerized, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. mesmerized

    mesmerized FujiXspot Regular

    83
    Mar 26, 2014
    Howdy,

    I don't want to beat around the bush, so I'll just say that several people have been trying to help me answer this question on the micro 4/3 forum. I appreciate their help a lot but I still need to hear from Fuji and Sony users what they think.

    Here's the thing.

    I have been saving money to get a decent camera that's going to serve me for a couple of years. I used to have an E-PL1 and it was my first step into photography. Now I'm considering the following choices:

    1) E-M5/E-M1 with a f/2.8 12-40mm lens (plus the 45mm lens I still owe)
    2) Fuji X-T1
    3) Sony A7

    Now, I know I'm a bastard, but I'm simply going to copy some of the question from the other forum.

    Oly:

    1) Is OM-D E-M1 a much better choice than E-M5? I can get an E-M1 with the 12-40mm lens for 1600USD whereas E-M5 with the same lens would cost me about 150USD less.
    2) If I you already had a 45mm f/1.8 lens, would you go for the 12-40mm? Or perhaps something else and cheaper?


    Fuji X-T1:

    1) Is the kit lens really as good as they say? The camera with the kit lens would cost me about 250USD less than the E-M1, plus I could sell my like-new 45mm Oly. (I don't need a super fast AF, I'm not into sports pics)
    2) I don't know what kind of colors X-T1 delivers and I don't know if the AF fails or not.
    3) Does the X-T1 have a touchscreen? I think it doesn't but some websites are not clear on that.
    4) Is the bigger sensor in Fuji a real killer? I know that a lot of APS-C users say that m4/3 sensors are simply worse because of the size.

    Sony A7:

    1) If I'm into portaits... Is this the best way to go? (When it comes to price, same situation here, a bit cheaper than E-M1, plus the 45mm gets sold)

    Thanks a million for any insights!

    PS I have to add that I'm not a pro. In fact I'm but a photography learner.
     
  2. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 2, 2013
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    Answers in-line below:

     
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  3. taz98spin

    taz98spin FujiXspot Top Veteran

    523
    Feb 1, 2013
    New York, NY
    TAZ
    Did you enjoy your experience with the E-PL1?
    If so, why not stick around with another PEN camera?

    Also, I saw your post over at m43 and didn't comment because no matter what was said the conclusion over there would be get the E-M1.

    Here more than likely folks will recommend the X-T1.

    If you're into portraits, Fuji is known for their skin tones. Why don't you take a look around some of the portrait image galleries around here?

    Lastly, E-M1/X-T1/A7 are a huge upgrade from your E-Pl1. It's a big jump in quality, configuration, and control..best idea might be to play or rent/borrow them and test them out?
     
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  4. ean10775

    ean10775 FujiXspot Top Veteran

    886
    Feb 13, 2013
    Cleveland, OH
    Eric
    From my perspective if what you're into is shooting portraits if you went the m43 route the 45mm lens you have is very good, however, the portrait lenses for that system seem to be the 75mm f1.8 ($899) and the new 42.5mm f1.2 ($1699). With the Fuji system, since you said you'd sell your 45mm, the portrait lens to have is the new 56mm f1.2 ($999) though the 60mm f2.4 also does very well from what I've seen and is cheaper. You'll have an easier time isolating your subject and larger camera-to-subject distances with the larger sensor of the Fuji camera, but the m43 cameras still do very well for portraits in my opinion. Both the E-M5/E-M1 and X-T1 have face recognition AF that I think is quite valuable for portraiture, but the Olympus cameras have the advantage of also allowing the selection of eye detect priority AF so you can choose which eye the camera focuses on. The new E-M10 also offers this functionality and looks to be a decent cross between the features of the E-M5 and the E-M1, minus the 5axis IBIS.

    I have an E-PL1 and think it does very well at base ISO, but am unhappy with it at anything much above that. My experience with AF speed with that camera and the 45mm lens you have is about on par with what the Fuji cameras without phase detect sensors manage. I haven't used the X-T1, but from what I've read it is much faster in good light than the Fuji cameras without phase detect sensors, but in any case m43 still has the AF advantage with any of the newer m43 lenses.

    Solely my opinion, but I don't see the Sony A7 as being a mature enough system with enough advantages and lens options to go with that option when you compare it with the m43 and Fuji offerings.
     
  5. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs FujiXspot Veteran

    485
    Feb 1, 2013
    Near Philadephila
    You'd do well with either the EM1 or XT1. The A7 might be great but it's pretty limited in terms of lens selection currently, so you'd either need to use a zoom (there's a very good Zeiss 24-70 f4.0 available now) or some sort of adapted lens with manual focus.

    For m43, ANY current Olympus will be worlds better than the EPL1 - that's actually the only camera I've used in the past few years that I didn't like... I'd say the EM5 isn't all that far behind the EM1. If the price difference was bigger I'd probably recommend the EM5, but for $150 US I'd say go for the EM1. But you should be able to find a used EM5 pretty inexpensively which would expend the differential by a lot. You already have the 45mm, which is really nice. If you could ever swing the 75mm, it's an amazing lens, great for head/shoulder shots or longer shots, and well worth it's relatively high price. Olympus' face detection is the best I've used.

    With Fuji, I'd go for the XT1 - it's the only Fuji model so far that's reputed to have good face detection, a feature I find absolutely wonderful for portrait shooting. The XE2 theoretically should be as good and so it probably will be one day with a firmware update, but as of now, I think it's the XT1. The 56mm f1.2 is the portrait lens of the Fuji line right now. The 60mm f2.4 makes lovely images but it's designed as a macro lens primarily and it's AF is really slow. To be fair, I haven't tried one with one of the newer, faster bodies, so it might be up to the level of tolerable or better now, but when I tried one with the earlier models, it was not great for any sort of moving subject. The 56 should be a lot better and appears to be a flat out amazingly nice lens.

    I have an XT1 and an EM1. It's a close call - I love both of them. But I'd probably recommend the EM1 or EM10 for a couple of reasons. First, you've got a great lens to start off. Second there's another even better lens currently available. With Fuji, you've basically got two lenses pretty close to the same focal length, so choose one (preferably the 56 f1.2), but that's it. I haven't had a chance to really give the face detection on the XT1 a good workout yet, but everything I've read indicates it's good enough, but probably not quite up to the standard of the EM1. Once I get the 56mm I'll be able to say for sure, but that seems to be the consensus among those who've used both. But the Fuji sounds like it's more than adequate, so this probably isn't a huge consideration. In terms of image quality, some Fuji lovers are convinced their IQ is amazing and much much much better than m43 could ever be. I think they're different, but I think "better" is purely a personal preference call. They're both very good in low light - Fuji is a bit better at high ISO, but there's plenty of evidence that they inflate their ISO values by between half a stop and a stop, so it's really quite close once you take that into account.

    The bottom line is it's a close call and you won't go wrong with either. And really, you should try to handle both if at all possible, and look at as many images from both as you can find. If you find a preference for the IQ of one or the other, or if one feels notably better in your hand and the controls feel right to you, let that be your guide. They're both great cameras - the EM1 is slightly more mature and refined, but not by much and the Fuji has some really compelling qualities too.

    Try to check 'em out in person.

    -Ray
     
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  6. jloden

    jloden FujiXspot Top Veteran

    708
    Mar 9, 2013
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    I'm not sure anybody can answer this question but you... I think this type of choice would ultimately come down to what camera feels the best to you and the lens choices available.

    Looking at your list, I think you're trying way too hard to compare specs on paper instead of focusing on what you want to DO with the camera and which one feels right to you. The X-T1 has a completely different aesthetic and functional style (mechanical shutter, ISO, and aperture dials). The A7 is a full frame camera with only a handful of native lenses. The EM-1 is a great system camera - like most of m4/3 it amounts to a miniaturized complete system comparable in many ways to Canon and Nikon DSLR offerings (lens lineup, flash support, features). Which of those things is you? If you don't know what you're looking for, you're not going to find it by balancing specs on a spreadsheet :smile:

    I'm not sure you know what you're looking for yet? It sounds like you're new to photography, so you're not experienced enough to hone in on what your preferences are. The only way I know of to fix that is to shoot a while and figure it out for yourself. With that being the case my advice to you would probably be just pick up any camera with a kit/zoom lens and one fast prime (a 50mm equivalent would be a good choice) and shoot a lot. You'll figure out if you're "missing" something like an ultrawide or long lens over time.

    =========

    Having said that, I have the X-T1 and A7 and I've owned the EM-5 though I sold it and moved to a GH3 instead. I'll do my best to answer some of your questions, but bear in mind much of it will be subjective and based on personal preferences.

    Oly:

    1) Is OM-D E-M1 a much better choice than E-M5? I can get an E-M1 with the 12-40mm lens for 1600USD whereas E-M5 with the same lens would cost me about 150USD less.
    2) If I you already had a 45mm f/1.8 lens, would you go for the 12-40mm? Or perhaps something else and cheaper?


    1. EM-1 is an improvement in many areas over the EM-5. Not having used one I won't go into specifics but to me, for $150 I'd take the EM-1 even if for no other reason than 1/8000s max shutter speed, faster max x-sync, and the improved grip, EVF, etc.
    2. Depends on what you want to shoot, right? 12-40 makes a nice general use zoom but it's not ultrawide, and it's fast, but not quite enough to work in very low light or to provide very shallow DoF either, and it's not long enough for true tele uses like wildlife or sports or events.


    Fuji X-T1:

    1) Is the kit lens really as good as they say? The camera with the kit lens would cost me about 250USD less than the E-M1, plus I could sell my like-new 45mm Oly. (I don't need a super fast AF, I'm not into sports pics)
    2) I don't know what kind of colors X-T1 delivers and I don't know if the AF fails or not.
    3) Does the X-T1 have a touchscreen? I think it doesn't but some websites are not clear on that.
    4) Is the bigger sensor in Fuji a real killer? I know that a lot of APS-C users say that m4/3 sensors are simply worse because of the size.


    1. Yes, the 18-55 is an excellent quality lens. Great OIS, great optics, and it's faster than a typical kit zoom at f/2.8-4.
    2. I don't really know what you mean by "fails"? The camera "colors" has a lot more to do with post-processing workflow than the camera, unless you're using JPGs only. If you're shooting JPG, I consider Fuji to have the best JPGs of any camera I've ever used. But that's very subjective anyway. AF on the X-T1 is considerably improved over the first generation X-E1 and X-Pro1 I've owned, but it's still slower than the EM-1. About on par with the A7. Which is to say, too slow for fast action, but passable otherwise.
    3. No.
    4. All other things equal, bigger sensor size means better image quality. It also means about a stop shallower DoF than m4/3 and about one stop less than what you'd get with the A7. On top of that the X-trans design has its own strengths and weaknesses. Whether or not any of this matters goes back to the million dollar question: what do you need the camera to do for you?


    Sony A7:

    1) If I'm into portaits... Is this the best way to go? (When it comes to price, same situation here, a bit cheaper than E-M1, plus the 45mm gets sold)


    1. A lot depends on what you mean by portraits and how you like to work. The FE lens lineup currently consists of a couple Zeiss zooms, the kit 28-70, a 35mm f/2.8, and the 55mm f/1.8 lens. The 55mm lens is a great performer and might be great for portraits, if you do environmental portraits. Head or torso shots would want a longer lens for portraiture, which doesn't exist for the system yet. You can adapt lenses of course, but Fuji or Olympus would already offer you tailor-made portrait lenses.
     
  7. romi.gilles

    romi.gilles FujiXspot Top Veteran

    654
    May 17, 2013
    back in Crooklyn
    ...and check out the latest issue of PopPhoto. they feature the x-t1 in there, also covering the a7(r?).

    (Sent from another Galaxy via Tapatalk.)
     
  8. mesmerized

    mesmerized FujiXspot Regular

    83
    Mar 26, 2014
    Thanks SO much for all brilliant answers you've been kind enough to offer me...

    I went to a store today, and believe me or not but where I'm currently at find an Olympus or Fuji store is like looking for a needle in a stack of hay... Anyways, I did have a brief moment with each cameras... X-T1 felt... better... Funny thing, I love Olympus and I've developed something we could call "brand loyalty effect" but Fuji did feel better but it also felt more, ekhem, complicated (I'm just a newbie)

    I really don't know what to do.

    I can get an X-T1 for 9,800CNY (1590USD) with the kit lens OR an E-M1 with the 12-40mm lens for 10,500CNY (1690USD) ... plus, I have my 45mm prime. There's a third way, i.e. to get the E-M1 with a prime lens, like the 25mm Oly for example.

    I'm a bit uneasy about the AA filter in Fuji... but gee... it felt so good to have it in my hands...
     
  9. taz98spin

    taz98spin FujiXspot Top Veteran

    523
    Feb 1, 2013
    New York, NY
    TAZ
    Fuji does not have an AA filter. Did somebody tell you that there was one?

    If the Fuji felt better, I would go for a camera that feels good in the hands.
    As for being worried about the complexity of operation, the Fuji menu & dials are much easier to operate than Olympus menus.
     
  10. mesmerized

    mesmerized FujiXspot Regular

    83
    Mar 26, 2014
    Thanks.

    A quick question... If I went for X-T1, what lens would I have to buy to get that beautiful creamy bokeh the Zuiko 45mm 1.8 provides me with on Oly's cameras?
     
  11. mesmerized

    mesmerized FujiXspot Regular

    83
    Mar 26, 2014
    I do not want to take pictures of sports, fast moving objects, running kids... I want to go for landscapes, macro, portraits with plenty of bokeh, and architecure. Plus, I want juicy colors out of the camera without doing a lot of post-processing. I simply don't have time for that. Is T-1 better for that kind of photography?

    The only fast moving thing I'm gonna take pics of is my cat ;)
     
  12. mesmerized

    mesmerized FujiXspot Regular

    83
    Mar 26, 2014
    I do not want to take pictures of sports, fast moving objects, running kids... I want to go for landscapes, macro, portraits with plenty of bokeh, and architecure. Plus, I want juicy colors out of the camera without doing a lot of post-processing. I simply don't have time for that. Is T-1 better for that kind of photography?

    The only fast moving thing I'm gonna take pics of is my cat ;)
     
  13. taz98spin

    taz98spin FujiXspot Top Veteran

    523
    Feb 1, 2013
    New York, NY
    TAZ
    You can go for the 35/1.4 or the newest 56/1.2 :)
     
  14. jloden

    jloden FujiXspot Top Veteran

    708
    Mar 9, 2013
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    I'd rule out the A7 if you want to do macro and landscapes due to the limited lens selection currently. You could work around that with adapted lenses or extension tubes or the like but it probably makes more sense to stay within a system that has native lenses.

    By "plenty of bokeh" I assume you mean you're looking for shallow depth of field for portraits. In that case the Fuji has an automatic 1-stop advantage over the Olympus, and there are several fast prime lenses like the 35mm f/1.4 and 56mm f/1.2 and 23mm f/1.4 for Fuji that will make that very effective. With the 35mm f/1.4 for example you'd have to shoot the Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95 wide open on the Olympus to match this DoF:

    8244579207_8a676134f4_c.


    As far as colors, I'm the wrong person to ask on that I guess. All I can say is Fuji in-camera JPG processing offers you some excellent choices in the film simulation modes that I think are unique and the more interesting than the typical JPG options from other manufacturers. Plus you have the ability to re-process the RAW in-camera to different JPG versions after shooting (or bracket film simulation modes). That lets you try the same scene in Velvia/Astia/Provia simulation and compare the look.
     
  15. romi.gilles

    romi.gilles FujiXspot Top Veteran

    654
    May 17, 2013
    back in Crooklyn
    don't forget to check out some of the sample threads here for portraits. and not all portraits necessarily need isolation, so some of the other lenses may offer you something as well.

    (Sent from another Galaxy via Tapatalk.)
     
  16. mesmerized

    mesmerized FujiXspot Regular

    83
    Mar 26, 2014
    Thanks to you all!

    One more thing about Fuji. Have you ever had problems with this:

    fujiwatercolorcrop.

    olynowatercolor.
     
  17. jloden

    jloden FujiXspot Top Veteran

    708
    Mar 9, 2013
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    The example you posted isn't the best one I've seen for comparison, since it looks like there's some CA and focus differences in the mix there too.

    That said, the X-Trans watercolor/smearing effect or whatever you want to call it is something to be aware of especially if you use Adobe products. It's most noticeable or common on fine detail with repetitive patterns, especially things like grasses and foliage. If you look at the Photo Ninja thread(s) here for example you can see some crops and examples with it.

    It's tricky to give advice on it because some people absolutely cannot stand it, other people don't even notice it, and there's everything in between. I've heard people give up the X-system or refuse to use it because of the "watercolor" effect, whereas it doesn't even bother me enough to change workflow. I've printed up to 16"x20" landscapes processed in LightRoom and never looked at something and thought there was an issue. Doesn't mean it's not there - just means I don't see it, and that I'm not particularly sensitive to it.
     
  18. ean10775

    ean10775 FujiXspot Top Veteran

    886
    Feb 13, 2013
    Cleveland, OH
    Eric
    I may be one of the people that Jay is referring to when he says that some people cannot stand it, since its one of the things that led to me selling my X100S (which I have subsequently re-purchased). My opinion is that when used with Adobe products for post processing the X-Trans sensor cameras are not the best when it comes to landscape photography due to the potential for the watercolor effect to appear. Many others differ in their opinion. For me, its troublesome particularly for landscape photography, but doesn't appear with closer focus at larger apertures (as you would see in portraits or family snapshots) which is how I most often use my camera. If it were me and I planned to use an X-trans sensor camera for landscape shooting at the moment, I would definitely need to be willing to invest is a RAW converter other than Adobe's. I do expect that at some point Adobe's conversion will improve, however.
     
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  19. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs FujiXspot Veteran

    485
    Feb 1, 2013
    Near Philadephila
    VERY true! I'm one of those people who just don't see it at smaller than pixel peeping level. I've read about all of the problems with Adobe processing and how great Photo Ninja is with X-Trans files. I usually use Lightroom and I downloaded a trial copy of Photo Ninja and at 100% I could see the difference. Sometimes. Sometimes not, sometimes barely, Sometimes a bit more than barely. But once I viewed the files at anything LIKE a normal viewing size (even full size on a 27" monitor), I don't see it AT ALL. So that's me. I won't change workflow for it, let alone move to a different system.

    But many find it to be the worst thing in all of photography and won't be associated with anything that reeks of it. So, you might need to find some Fuji raw files from the net and play around with various processing options and see how YOU react to it. Because you're the only one who matters here. Not a problem for some, big problem for others... How about you?

    -Ray
     
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  20. jimmy1

    jimmy1 FujiXspot Regular

    45
    Jan 27, 2014
    Only there when i really crank up the sharpening in LR, but not bad enough for me to ditch my x100. I have iridient but don't use it much as most of the time I'm satisfied with the jpegs or in camera editor if I don't get the lighting right.
    Maybe see if you can get some raf files to play around with?
    Either way the em1 & xt1 are both excellent systems and neither is a bad choice IMO.