I have just updated the Fuji X-Pro1 Review with detailed camera comparisons with the Canon 5D Mark III and Nikon D800. RAW support has finally become available with the latest updates from Adobe for both Lightroom and Photoshop, so I was able to extract RAW files from all cameras to do a comprehensive analysis. My findings? The Fuji X-Pro1 RAW images look as impressive as the JPEG images. Despite the fact that I down-sampled the Nikon D800 and Canon 5D Mark III images, which should give them an advantage in terms of handling noise, the pixel level quality of the Fuji X-Pro1 sensor is still superior at low ISOs! At first, I thought that I did something wrong in Lightroom – maybe accidentally applied noise reduction to Fuji X-Pro1 images. However, after looking through the images in detail and resetting to RAW file defaults, I was surprised to find out that the Fuji X-Pro1 RAW files indeed looked cleaner. Here is an example comparison at ISO 200 between the Fuji X-Pro1 and the Canon 5D Mark III:
Take a look at noise levels on both crops and compare noise levels on the second DVD from the bottom. The output from the X-Pro1 looks cleaner!
After looking through all RAW files in detail, it seems like the Fuji X-Pro1 is either applying some kind of noise reduction on its RAW files, or it is the magic of the new Fuji color filter array that’s somehow reducing the noise levels.
At high ISO levels, however, this noise reduction behavior is creating strange patches of grain. The Nikon D800, for example, has a very natural looking fine grain pattern in comparison. Here is a summary from the “Camera Comparisons” page of the Fuji X-Pro1 Review (on the bottom of the page comparing X-Pro1 to D800):
Comparing RAW files between the Fuji X-Pro1 and the Nikon D800 yields very similar results as with the Canon 5D Mark III. Despite having a sensor more than twice smaller in size, the RAW output from the Fuji X-Pro1 looks very clean in comparison to the D800. I prefer the look of the images from the Fuji X-Pro1 at lower ISO levels below ISO 1600, but not above. At higher ISO levels, I find the Nikon D800 images to be better, because they have finer and more natural-looking grain. I am not sure if this kind of output is the result of noise reduction applied to RAW files by Fuji, or if it is the magic of the new color filter array. Whatever it is, it looks great for a small sensor! It is no secret that many RAW files from cameras are “cooked” nowadays – take a look at the Nikon 1 V1, for example. Nikon clearly applies noise reduction at higher ISO levels. As long as manufacturers can do this without losing image detail, who cares if RAW files are treated? The Fuji X-Pro1 engineers clearly developed a great algorithm that can do magic to the RAW files and we can see it from the above comparison. If Fuji released a full-frame sensor with the same noise characteristics as the sensor on the Fuji X-Pro1, it would be a serious challenge for both Nikon and Canon DSLRs in my opinion.
So as I have already said before, I am very happy with the Fuji X-Pro1’s image quality. What I am not happy with, it is AF system and other bugs not fixed since the X100. Fuji released another firmware update for the X-Pro1 a month or so ago, but sadly, it did not address any of the issues that I reported in my review.
See the full Fuji X-Pro1 Review for more details.