OMD vs XE1 Thoughts

Discussion in 'Fuji X-Mount Cameras' started by WT21, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. WT21

    WT21 FujiXspot Regular

    166
    Feb 1, 2013
    I know I’m not supposed to do this. I’m supposed to just say they are “different” and leave it at that.

    Let me start by summarizing. I have found the cameras to be different. Not better than the other.

    I guess I don’t have to go on, but why not. I'll try to get pics up later.

    Here in no specific order are my findings on the XE1 vs the OMD and the 35/1.4 vs the PL25, for anyone else that might be considering between the two.

    I. Physical Camera
    a. Grip
    Much is made about the lack of OMD grip. Lots of hand wringing about how the grip should have been swap-able, like on the EP3. Or how the HLD-6 blocks the battery, etc. Maybe all true, but once I got the XE1 out of the box, I longed for even the gripless OMD. The XE1 is like a slippery little brick. The OMD at least has that little rubber thumb rest in back. I am sure the XE1 will benefit from the thumbs-up rest, but that’s an add-on, much like the JB grip I have for the OMD. In the end, straight out of the box, the OMD is easier to hold.

    b. Control buttons
    Much is made of the tiny little OMD buttons. And they are tiny. I don’t find the XE1 tremendously better. It is in fact a little better, and a little more consistent (i.e. the shutter speed dial is always the shutter speed dial, and does not change depending on mode). I prefer the XE1 a bit better, but it’s not a Shangra-la. You will still smudge your glasses with your thumb.

    c. LCD size
    When I got the XE1 I was immediately struck by how small the review images look on screen. So, using a not very precise ruler, I measured the LCD of the OMD in both 4:3 and 3:2 ratio, and the XE1 in 3:2, both during review/playback. Here are the results (Height X width X diagonal in mm – approximate)

    OMD 4:3 – 42 X 52 X 71
    OMD 3:2 – 43 X 64 X 77 (the OMD LCD is actually a wider aspect ratio than it’s native sensor)
    XE1 3:2 – 37 X 56 X 68​

    d. SD Card Access
    It’s hard to go back to the bottom card access with the battery. I love the OMD side SD card access. Fuji is on the bottom :(

    e. Diopter
    I wear glasses, and my eyesight is at the edge of the diopter adjustment on the OMD. The XE1 seems to range farther. Future-proofing for my deteriorating eyes.

    f. Eye Sensor
    The Eye Sensor on the Fuji is very good, very quick. I thought the OMD was quick, but the Fuji is quicker. It makes the OMD switch feel laggy now.

    g. EVF in bright light
    As good as the eye sensor switch on the XE1 is, it’s harder to use the EVF in bright light. I had read about this, and so tested it. I think the reason is because the OMD has a much wider area of black rubber and camera to the left and right of the EVF opening. The Fuji is MUCH smaller, and there is no camera to the left of the EVF. So, in bright situations, all the ambient light in front of you gets into your eye. I tried both with glasses on and off, and in both tests, the OMD was far better. I find that I have to shield my face with my hand to use the Fuji EVF in bright light. In short – the OMD is very useable in bright light, the Fuji requires using a hand to shield some ambient light.​

    II. Shooting
    a. Buttons and Controls
    In general, the XE1 controls are clearly simpler and designed for straight-up shooting. It’s pretty fun. The OMD is far more configurable. I liked the OMD controls better than any camera I had used except the Nikon D700. That is, until I tried the Fuji. The consistency of the controls on the Fuji are the key. I’m never wondering what that button or wheel does. The fact that there is only 1 configurable fn button, but I don’t feel like I’m missing anything, is a pretty strong statement. The other benefit of the Fuji is it makes sense right out of the box. The OMD configuration is pretty bad, and it takes a while to a) learn the menus, and then b) figure out how you want to configure it. With the Fuji, it was mainly – what do you want to use the fn button for? I chose DOF preview. Easy!

    b. DOF Preview
    I liked very much the OMD DOF preview. I assigned it to the movie record button on the OMD. When you press it, the DOF SNAPS into place, audibly, so you know what you are looking at. The Fuji is much more subtle. First off, the DOF preview is a toggle. Press it once to turn it on. The VERY nice thing is that you can then move the aperture, and watch the DOF change. However, the preview coming on and off is slower and more subtle, so I found myself thinking maybe I didn’t press the button, and then pressing it again, only to find I turned it off, so pressing it again to turn it back on, etc. Later I realized there’s a little DOF indicator in the viewfinder, so I just look for that now.

    c. Movie Mode
    I have heard movie mode on the XE1 is sub-par, but I don’t shoot a lot of movies. I like it behind the drive mode button, though, that makes a lot of sense to me.

    d. AF point control
    As with some other things, I always thought the OMD had the best AF point selection process. What could be simpler than a touch screen??? I find the Fujis easier still. Use the lower left button WHILE THE CAMERA IS STILL AT YOUR EYE to turn on AF select, then jog dial the size of the AF point and use the control pad to move it around. With the OMD, I find I have to remove the camera from my eye to set the AF point – either via touch screen or using the SCP. Fuji is quicker and easier, and control over the AF point size is a breeze.

    e. Auto Focus
    What’s been said about AF is true. The 35/1.4 is a dog. More specifically, I couldn’t get the dog I was trying to take a pic of, in focus. This is not an action lens (action being anything faster than a slug), at least, not without anticipating where the action is going. The kit lens is far more acceptable.

    The 35/1.4 has a great close focus distance, but if you get in too close, sometimes it can’t get focus. It’s almost like there’s a natural limiter built in, to help speed up the already poor AF speed for your more common shots. My experience so far is that I benefit from using the macro setting for shooting in close.

    I don’t think I need to comment on the OMD and PL25 combo. World class.

    f. Manual Focus
    MF on the XE1 is not my favorite. Engaging MF is fine, but the LCD is much laggier than the OMD, so keeping the camera steady and seeing clearly if you are as sharp as can be is much harder on the XE1. It’s a breeze on the OMD. For the OMD, I set the fn button nearest to the shutter button to engage MF assist. It’s so simple, I do not at all feel I need focus peaking. I tried focus peaking on the NEX and got too many false positives. The OMD makes it a snap, and the LCD refresh is so good, it’s very easy to use.

    g. Exposure
    For some reason, the OMD seems to expose everything about 1 stop less than the Fuji, which is making direct comparisons harder. I'm going to have to start shooting the OMD + 7/10 or maybe even +1 EV just to get equal exposure, so I don't need to brighten the OMD in post. ​

    III. Reviewing Pictures
    Both cameras are great for review. Nice LCDs and all. A few minor points:
    a. Review Navigation
    The OMD has a nice set up with the two wheels. You can set one wheel to nav between pics and the other to zoom in and out. Very quick to operate. The Fuji is nearly just as quick, but the OMD is faster.

    b. Critical Focus Check
    The Fuji has a one-click direct access to full magnification to check critical focus. With the OMD (at least as far as I can figure it out), you have to zoom in. But, using the wheel on the OMD, it’s very quick. Just not as quick as one-click.

    c. One odd thing I see on the XE1. Right after I take a shot, and then press play to chimp, the image comes on, the hiccups, going black, then coming back. It only does that immediately after shooting, and then chimping. Just a minor annoyance.​

    IV. Lens (35/1.4 vs. PL25/1.4)
    a. Aperture Control
    It’s nice to have the aperture ring. It comes in 1/3 stops, and has positive stops on either end. I find having the “A” setting after f/16 to be a minor annoyance, but I’m not sure I’d like it any better if it was right next to 1.4.

    b. Lens hood
    The Fuji lens hood is a pain, IMO. Lots of complaints have been made about the PL25 square hood – you can’t reverse it, etc. With the Fuji, the hood is also square and non-reversible (though smaller than the PL). There are also two caps -- one for the lens, and one for the hood. The Hood cap does not feel secure, and I’m assuming I will lose it, if I keep it on the camera. So, I’m not even sure what it’s for. You can get the lens cap on and off through the hood, but it’s a tight fit and just a pain in general.

    c. Lens Extends During Focus??
    What the?? Was not expecting this, and I am not appreciative. The PL25 and the Fuji 35 might look the same length, but the PL25 has internal focusing, so it is certainly a smaller lens. The Fuji extends when focusing, which I found annoying. First, it kept bumping my fingers when I was holding the lens (for aperture adjustment, etc.). Second, extending lenses tend to suck dust. Boo. Third, I got in the habit of putting my OMD on the square lends hood while reviewing pictures. Balances nicely. Tried that with the Fuji and the lens squawked quite a bit, as the lens moves when you got into playback mode. I guess it didn't like bench pressing the camera, lol.

    d. Lens noise
    The PL25 is nearly silent. Even the chattering aperture blades of doom have been mostly fixed with the latest firmware. The Fuji 35 sounds like the $99 Canon 50/1.8.

    e. Lens Flare, bokeh, other characteristics
    I could not get either lens to appreciably flare. I think the bokeh and color on both are also great. Different maybe, but both are great. Will try to post pics later.

    f. Pf and CA
    Sadly, in my initial tests, my PL25 was put to shame. It’s a purple beast on the OMD. I partially blame the OMD sensor, btw. Makes me dream of a Panny G6. The Fuji exhibited very little pf. In fact, I didn't see ANY, but I have seen web samples with some. Honestly, that’s been my biggest complaint with the PL25 lately – the pf. The Fuji did not disappoint here. I’m tempted to keep the Fuji just for this reason.

    g. Focus Ring
    The PL25 MF focus ring is soooo much smoother than the Fuji 35. Smoother in that the motor seems to be much finer and it’s easier to get focus. The Fuji seems a little clunkier in this department. ​

    I think that’s about all I have for now. I’ll try to post pics later, but I wanted to get some thoughts down, for others who are considering these two.
     
  2. demiro

    demiro FujiXspot Regular

    93
    Jan 31, 2013
    PA-USA
    Dean
    Thanks for that post Bill. Great comparative details. If you are going to show us head-to-head photos of the same scene is there any chance you can grab the 6D as well? I'd love to see the IQ comparison of m4/3s to APS-C to FF.
     
  3. WT21

    WT21 FujiXspot Regular

    166
    Feb 1, 2013
    Thanks Dean. I already have some comparison shots -- and I can tell you, it's not crystal clear which is better. The PL25 is showing a lot more pf, but is handling some red channel better than the Fuji in RAW. In some cases the PL25 looks sharper, but in other cases it looks over-sharpened. Also, the Fuji 35 is not exactly a 50mm equivalent. So, the FOV is tighter than expected, when shooting from the same distance as the PL25. Even when I crop the PL25 to 3:2 the Fuji still feels tighter. I do have some same-scene shots, but not with the 6D. The challenge with testing the 6D is that I don't currently have a 50 for the 6D, so I can't test equivalents.

    Work is busy, so posting pics may come later.
     
  4. demiro

    demiro FujiXspot Regular

    93
    Jan 31, 2013
    PA-USA
    Dean
    Cool Bill. Thanks. What I'd really like to see is some portraits Canon FF + 85/1.8 vs E-M5 + 45/1.8. I may just pick up a nice 5D on the used market and check it out first hand.
     
  5. WT21

    WT21 FujiXspot Regular

    166
    Feb 1, 2013
    At the local community farm (SOOC JPG)

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  6. taz98spin

    taz98spin FujiXspot Top Veteran

    523
    Feb 1, 2013
    New York, NY
    TAZ
    That was a detailed read! It was hard reading it on my iPhone, so you made me turn my laptop on :D

    Seems like there are way many more cons than pros to the X-E1, compared to the OMD.

    Maybe the X-PRO1 would have been a better choice for you?

    But than again, you've only had your new camera for a few days, so hopefully it will grow on you & it will be a more pleasing experience!
     
  7. WT21

    WT21 FujiXspot Regular

    166
    Feb 1, 2013
    If I keep the XE1, I think it will be primarily to get access to two lenses at this size/weight combo: the 35/1.4 and the 18-55/2.8-4.0. I also like the XE1 body in some ways, though the performance is clearly sub-par. I'd have to sell some m43 gear to be able to afford to keep the Fuji, and that's where it gets a bit hard.
     
  8. Mikey

    Mikey FujiXspot Veteran

    277
    May 15, 2013
    Louisville, KY
    I agree with quite a few things on this, mainly the very irritating fact that the 35/1.4's front element protrudes (just like the 20/1.7 which I personally don't like.. the 25/1.4 as you said, just rocks!) and that there's a lot of leak with viewing the EVF in bright sunlight (I tend to rely on metering and just imagine I'm looking thru an OVF ehen this happens) and the exposure on the OM-D always being 2/3 to a stop darker than what I view on the LCD.
     
  9. jloden

    jloden FujiXspot Top Veteran

    708
    Mar 9, 2013
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Bill, I think what you're seeing with the black out / hiccup is the X-E1 is not done writing to the card or processing yet. I've seen the same thing on both X-E1 and X100S if you chimp immediately after taking a shot. It shows some kind of smaller low res preview immediately then when the write/buffer indicator light stops flashing it blacks out and shows the full res preview. The Fujis are the slowest writing & processing of any camera I've used so far, with only the Sony RX1 being in the same ballpark (though it at least has the excuse of a much larger file size!). It seems to have gotten better with firmware updates and clearly benefits from faster cards also.


    As far as the grip part, that made me chuckle a bit - never ceases to amaze me how much people's opinions differ when it comes to ergnomics controls and grips. I find the X-E1 quite comfortable and easy to grip, and worlds better than the OM-D personally. The extra body height was a huge plus since I didn't feel like my fingers were as cramped. The little round hump on the right side also precludes needing a thumbs-up grip for me. The X100S on the other hand, definitely feels like a slippery brick to me by comparison. Just goes to show how individual some of this stuff is!
     
  10. jloden

    jloden FujiXspot Top Veteran

    708
    Mar 9, 2013
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    On another note: Bill, I don't know if the Fuji had anything to do with it, but those shots from the local farm are some of my favorite work I've seen from you :thumbup:
     
  11. WT21

    WT21 FujiXspot Regular

    166
    Feb 1, 2013
    Thanks Jay for the kind words.

    I have hit an impasse for me. I can't afford to have both the m43 and the Fuji system, but I really like different lenses here. I love the m43 P100-300. Nothing else gets that much reach for that size and price. I also like the 2X crop factor on the m43. I love 50mm (100mm eq) using my old FD macro. I also like the portability of m43. I am considering maybe dropping to an EPM2 w/Oly 17 (or Panny 14) and P100-300.

    For the Fuji, I love the output of the 35/1.4. I don't like anything else about that lens, but I do like the output. But I could also just get a fast 50 for my 6D, for like $300 (50/1.4). My 6D would have done those farm shots just as well, though I don't think my OMD would have.

    I also like the idea of the Fuji kit lens. I don't normally like kit lenses, but that kit would rock on vacation -- great range and aperture/DOF control. However, the Fuji system is still weak to me -- the XE1 feels underpowered (not missing anything other than more horsepower!), and the AF is borderline unacceptable. B&H shipped me a dud kit lens (doesn't work at all), so I haven't been able to play with that one. I'll have to ship it back on Monday, and I'm deciding whether to just return everything and wait a generation. I do like the XE1 Zeitgeist though, and am now spoiled to be able to see my shutter speed and aperture with a glance.
     
  12. jloden

    jloden FujiXspot Top Veteran

    708
    Mar 9, 2013
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    I hear ya Bill... the Fujis fall in a middle ground for me between m4/3 and DSLR also. The thing that keeps me around is the whole retro ethos and controls and the Fujinon lenses are pretty great. Ultimately I just *like* using the Fuji cams despite the quibbles.
     
  13. WT21

    WT21 FujiXspot Regular

    166
    Feb 1, 2013
    Yeah, I'm going to send it back. I might have kept it because of the kit and the 35 is gorgeous, but the kit they sent me is defective, so I'm going to take the opportunity to return the whole system. Instead, I ordered a 50mm 1.4 for my 6D for vacation next week, and I'll try to snag a 17/1.8 for my OMD for walk-around shooting.

    I'll keep my eye on Fuji, though. It really does come very close to Full Frame shooting, but I need it a bit more mature in terms of response, horsepower, and AF for me to be able to replace another system with it.
     
  14. romi.gilles

    romi.gilles FujiXspot Top Veteran

    654
    May 17, 2013
    back in Crooklyn
    ^
    maybe by the time of their organic sensors, things will be speedy enough for your needs.

    (Sent from my EVO via Tapatalk)