I have just added another section to the Camera Comparisons page of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 review, where I provided RAW performance comparisons between the OM-D E-M1 and the Fuji X-T1. Some of our readers requested this comparison, so here it is for those that just want to see this particular section of the review. Although the X-T1 has a similar resolution of 16.3 MP, it is physically larger in size (APS-C vs Micro Four Thirds) and hence has larger pixels than the OM-D E-M1. Let’s take a look at ISO 200 (Left: Olympus OM-D E-M1, Right: Fuji X-T1):
As expected, both sensors perform very well at ISO 200. There is a bit of fine grain visible on the OM-D E-M1 and it appears sharper, but that’s most likely coming from differences in RAW processing in Lightroom, which applies slightly different sharpening algorithms to both cameras.
The same is true for ISO 400.
As we push to ISO 800, we start to see differences in ISO performance.
As ISO is pushed to higher levels, the performance differences become more apparent. Noise patterns on the OM-D E-M1 definitely increase in comparison.
We see a similar situation at ISO 3200. At this point, the difference is around 2/3 to a full stop of advantage on behalf of Fuji.
Both lose details at ISO 6400, but it is pretty clear that the Fuji X-T1 retains colors better, particularly in the shadow areas. Noise patterns on the X-T1 are noticeably better throughout the frame. Again, I am seeing between 2/3 of a stop to a full stop of difference in performance here. If you take the ISO 6400 sample from the X-T1 and compare it to ISO 3200 on the OM-D E-M1, they look similar.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 vs Fuji X-T1 Summary
As expected, a physically larger sensor does produce better results, particularly at high ISO levels above ISO 1600. Unfortunately, since Fuji does not have the ability to produce RAW files at “boosted” levels (ISO 100, 12800 and 25600), I could not provide comparisons for those (I only compare RAW output). As noted above, there are visible sharpness differences between the two cameras and it has nothing to do with the optical quality of lenses, but more with the way Adobe Camera RAW and Lightroom render RAW images. It seems like Adobe applies more aggressive sharpening on the OM-D E-M1 RAW files by default, which makes its crops appear sharper. Either way, you can see that the X-T1 provides cleaner output. When comparing images side by side, I see roughly 2/3 of a stop to a full stop of advantage on behalf of Fuji X-T1 at ISO 1600 and above. If you are a JPEG shooter, you might see even more differences, since Fuji does an excellent job with noise reduction when rendering JPEG files.