Camera System Comparison

One of our readers, Rudiger Wolf, has done some pretty extensive research to decide on what camera system he wanted to settle on. In this article, he wanted to share his findings with our readers and hopefully make it easier for others to select the system based on their particular needs. When Rudiger sent me an email earlier last week and asked if it would be helpful to share his findings, I responded to him that it would surely be beneficial. Photography Life is all about sharing knowledge and helping others to make healthy choices, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity. Enjoy!

Fuji X-T1 vs Olympus OM-D E-M1

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High-End Mirrorless Camera Comparison

In this follow-up article to the mirrorless camera comparison, I will be comparing high-end options available on the market today from different manufacturers. While the mirrorless market has not shown healthy growth in the US and Europe lately, it is just a matter of time before the new technology makes its way into our daily lives and starts replacing lower-end/small sensor DSLRs. High cost is still an issue for now, but considering that mirrorless cameras use far less components than DSLRs, we will soon start seeing them at very attractive prices. In fact, many mirrorless camera models already have seen significant price decreases (remember the ridiculous Nikon 1 V1 $299 price drop?) and we will be seeing a lot more of that in the next few years. In this particular article, I would like to start off by comparing the top of the line mirrorless cameras on the market, specifically designed for professionals and photo enthusiasts that look for the best image quality, features, autofocus performance and a solid lens selection. Please note that the below comparisons are only for mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. Also, please keep in mind that some of the benchmarks presented in this article are very subjective, based on our prior experience using the cameras and their published specifications.

High-End Mirrorless Cameras #1Fujifilm X-T1Nikon 1 V2Olympus OM-D E-M1Panasonic Lumix GH4
* Denotes PL Subjective Rating
Lens MountFuji XNikon 1Micro 4/3Micro 4/3
Announcement DateJan 2014Oct 2012Sep 2013Feb 2014
Sensor Size (Diagonal)28.3mm15.9mm21.7mm21.7mm
Megapixels16.3 MP14.2 MP16.3 MP16.05 MP
Image StabilizationLensLensBodyLens
Autofocus SystemHybridHybridHybridContrast
Movie Recording1920×1080 @ 60p1920×1080 @ 60i1920×1080 @ 30p4096×2160 @ 24p
Native Lenses Available12111619
Third Party Lenses803330
Weight440g337g497g560g
Weather SealingYesNoYesYes
Image Quality (10)*8566
Autofocus Speed (5)*5555
Image Stabilization (5)*4454
Manual Focus (5)*5355
System Compactness (5)*4455
EVF Mil Dots / Quality (5)*2.36 / 51.44 / 42.36 / 52.36 / 5
Build Quality (5)*5555
Design and UI (5)*5454
TOTAL POINTS*41344139
Manufacturer LinkFujifilm X-T1Nikon 1 V2OM-D E-M1Lumix GH4
Price (B&H)$1,299$796$1,399$1,698

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Equipment for Sale

It has been a while since I have cleared out my stack of camera gear. After going through everything last week, I decided to put a few items that I no longer need on sale. Although I initially thought about keeping most of it, I just hate to see lenses and cameras gathering dust for too long – I am sure someone else could find better use for it. Most of the money will be used for upgrades and other equipment for the business. If you are interested in multiple items, feel free to make me an offer via the contact form. I am the first and only owner of all below items and I have all the original manuals, boxes, soft cases, warranty cards, etc. A few extras are included, see more below.

Shipping: while I can ship internationally, my preference is to sell to US customers, since it is less risky. Credit card / PayPal fees are included, but shipping and insurance are not. Colorado residents are welcome to contact me for a face to face sale. All sales are final and are on first come first serve basis.

1) Nikon D3s (SOLD)

The Nikon D3s has been my wildlife workhorse and Lola’s favorite wedding camera for the past couple of years. Its ISO performance is amazing – as good as on the D4 (see this ISO comparison) and the shutter speed fires like a machine gun at 9 fps. Autofocus is top notch and the build quality is Nikon’s best. But I have not been using it as much lately and Lola already chose the Nikon Df as her wedding/portrait camera. That’s why I want to sell it. See my detailed Nikon D3s Review for more information.

Nikon D3s Front

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Olympus OM-D E-M10 Announcement

Thanks to the rise of the mirrorless camera market, manufacturers are now creating more and more segments in their camera lines. With the introduction of the X-T1, Fujifilm now boasts a total of 5 different cameras, all targeted at different segments. Today Olympus also extended its line of mirrorless cameras by introducing the new Olympus OM-D E-M10, a budget version of the OM-D premium mirrorless cameras. Next to the OM-D E-M1 and OM-D E-M5, this is now the third premium camera designed to appeal the enthusiast crowd. It borrows most of its guts from its bigger brother, the OM-D E-M5, but in a smaller and lighter package. Priced at $699 MSRP, it is significantly cheaper than other OM-D series cameras. In a way, it is a confusing release, because it is even cheaper than the PEN E-P5 (currently at $799). Since all PEN series do not come with a built-in electronic viewfinder or weather sealing options, they are technically inferior to OM-D series. Now with the the OM-D E-M10, it is hard to say exactly what market this camera is targeted for, with its features and price range in comparison. Let’s take a look at the camera in more detail.

Olympus OM-D E-M10

Key Specifications and Overview

While the Olympus OM-D E-M10 has a 16 MP sensor, it is slightly different than the one used on the OM-D E-M5. First, it has a little less resolution (16.1 MP vs 16.3 MP) and second, it features boosted ISO 100 (Low), similar to what the E-M1 does. Its image processor is the same one as used on the E-M1 (TruePic VII with Fine Detail Processing II). The first major difference between the E-M10 and its bigger siblings is the somewhat limited in-body stabilization. Both E-M1 and E-M5 have 5-axis image stabilization, while the E-M10 has 3-axis stabilization. Another difference is the slower speed of 8 fps in single mode and 3.5 fps in continuous mode (the E-M5 is 9 fps / 4.2 fps and the E-M1 is 10 fps / 6.5 fps). Shutter speed is limited to 1/4000 and the viewfinder is the same 1.4 million dot EVF found on the E-M5. The LCD screen has not changed, it is still a high resolution 3.0″ tilting one.

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M4/3 Black Friday Rebates

Olympus and Panasonic are taking care of the m4/3 system Black Friday discounts, and those involve both lenses and mirrorless cameras. The list consists of the most popular cameras and lenses, so there is a good chance that, whatever you were planning to buy, it is now more affordable.

Panasonic Lumix GX7 Silver Front

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Mirrorless Camera Comparison

A number of our readers have been asking our team about our recommendations on different mirrorless cameras. With so many different options on the market today, choosing a mirrorless camera can get very confusing. In the new series of articles, we will compare all the options on the market today starting from entry-level, mid-level to high-end. In this particular article, I would like to start off by comparing mirrorless camera systems that are available today from different manufacturers. This below charts will be updated periodically with new / updated information. Please note that the below comparisons are only for mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. Discontinued systems such as Pentax K-01 and Ricoh GXR are not included. The list is sorted alphabetically and had to be split into two parts to fit. Also, please keep in mind that some of the benchmarks presented in this article are very subjective, based on our prior experience using the cameras.

Mirrorless Systems #1Canon EOS MFujifilm XFLeica MNikon 1Olympus M43
* Denotes PL Subjective Rating
Lens MountCanon EF-MFuji XLeica MNikon 1Micro 4/3
Announcement DateOct 2012Jan 2012Mar 2004Oct 2011Jun 2009
Mount Diameter58mm42mm44mm40mm38mm
Sensor Size (Diagonal)26.8mm28.3mm43.0mm15.9mm21.7mm
Flange Distance18mm17.7mm27.80mm17mm20mm
Image StabilizationLensLensN/ALensBody
AutofocusYesYesNoYesYes
Autofocus SystemHybridHybridN/AHybridHybrid
Autofocus Speed *34N/A55
Native Lenses Available312261116
Third Party Lenses3839033
Total Lenses Available620651149
System Compactness *44345
Image Quality *45534
Top Model (Manuf. Link)Canon EOS MFuji X-Pro1Leica MNikon 1 V2OM-D E-M1
Top Model Price (B&H)$339$1,199$6,950$796$1,399

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2013 Photo Plus Expo Highlights

Last week was a very busy week for us at Photography Life, since we participated in the PDN Photo Plus Expo in New York and took part in a number of activities related to the event. This was the first time that I took part in a photography event of this magnitude and it was quite an overwhelming experience. My good friend and our team member Tom Redd was able to join me and we both flew from Denver to New York to take part in a four day conference. In this article, I will go over some of the highlights of the event and talk about the upcoming products and some hands-on information, accompanied by photos. I was planning to cover the event at the conference on a daily basis, but I was not able to do it due to my hectic schedule. In summary, it was a great event that will hopefully benefit our site greatly going forward (more on that later).

Photo Plus Entrance

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Olympus Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Announcement

Along with the high-end OM-D E-M1, Olympus has also announced a new professional-grade lens for their mirrorless system. Sporting the m4/3 mount, 12-40mm f/2.8 Zuiko lens has an equivalent 24-80mm focal length in 35mm format and is similar to bread-and-butter 24-70mm optics from major DSLR manufacturers.

Olympus Zuiko 12-40mm f2.8

1) Lens Overview

24-70mm f/2.8 class lenses have long been seen as the most versatile of zooms and were always targeted at professional photographers with their dependable build and fast, constant aperture throughout the zoom range. There is no doubt, looking at the lens’ parameters, that the new Olympus Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 builds on the same virtues (which makes the slightly pompous “PRO” designation in the naming sort of unnecessary). The 14 glass elements (9 groups) that make up the optical formula are enclosed in a tough, metal barrel. The lens has appropriate weather sealing and is protected against dust, moisture and cold temperatures. As such, it is a perfect companion to the E-M1.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 Announcement

Today, Olympus has announced the second model in its OM-D mirrorless camera lineup, the E-M1. It does not replace the previous flagship model, highly regarded and popular E-M5 (click for our review), but rather stands above it with more impressive specifications and purposeful design. With a steep price of $1400 body only, let’s see what the OM-D E-M1 has to offer and compare it to the already very capable older brother, the E-M5.

Olympus OM-D E-M1

1) Olympus OM-D E-M1 Overview and Key Specifications

The first thing you notice, being used to E-M5′s sleeker look, is the protruding, DSLR-style hand grip. This camera, although small, has ergonomics as a priority over compact dimensions. But it is not just the grip that has gotten bigger. Although the imaging sensor is the same or similar to the one used in E-M5 and E-P5, the built-in electronic viewfinder now has 2.36m dots instead of the already high-res 1.44m of the E-M5. On top of that, it has the full-frame equivalent 0.74x magnification, which means it is large and even bigger than that of Canon 5D Mark III (0.71x), a camera with a much bigger sensor. Very impressive. The E-M5 had an equivalent EVF magnification of 0.58x, which already was very good for such a small sensor camera.

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Additional 4% Off at B&H and Crazy Fuji and Olympus Rebates

As you may already know, B&H currently has some amazing incentives to buy cameras and lenses (see below on additional 4% discount). First, there is a heavy discounted program from Nikon called “the more you buy the more you save” (see the link for details of the program), where you can potentially save thousands of dollars on lenses if you buy a camera body. Canon has had discounts on its camera bodies for a while now.

Nikon Incentives

Fuji Rebates

Fuji also recently joined the rebate program and this one is perhaps the most aggressive with them all. It is hard to say what is making Fuji push these incentives, perhaps they want to capture more of the mirrorless market share and expand their reach beyond professionals and enthusiasts. Or perhaps the company is threatened by the new Zeiss Touit lenses, so they want to sell those Fuji lenses as fast as they can now. Either way, if you purchase the already discounted Fuji X-Pro1 (dropped to $1199 from $1699) or X-E1 (dropped to $799 from $999), you can buy any of the Fuji lenses with discounts from $200 and $300 on each lens. So if you buy the four lenses currently made by Fuji, you can save a total of $1000 on lenses alone:

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