Fuji X-T1 vs Olympus OM-D E-M1 Low ISO Comparison (ISO 200-800)
Here is the comparison of the Fuji X-T1 to its director competitor, the Olympus OM-D E-M1. Although the X-T1 has similar resolution of 16.3 MP, it is physically larger in size (APS-C) and hence has larger pixels than the OM-D E-M1. Here is ISO 200 (Left: Fuji X-T1, Right: Olympus OM-D E-M1):
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.
Fuji X-T1 vs Olympus OM-D E-M1 High ISO Comparison (ISO 1600-6400)
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 the Fuji X-T1.
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.
Fuji X-T1 vs Olympus OM-D E-M1 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 larger APS-C sensor on the X-T1 provides a cleaner output when compared to the Olympus OM-D E-M1. 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.
Fuji X-T1 vs Nikon D5300 Low ISO Comparison (ISO 200-800)
Let’s take a look at how the Fuji X-T1 compares to the same size sensor DSLR from Nikon, the new D5300. Here is the performance comparison at ISO 100 (Left: Fuji X-T1, Right: Nikon D5300):
At ISO 200, I do not see any noticeable difference between the two.
As we push towards ISO 400, both retain excellent image quality throughout the image, with no visible grain.
Grain patterns are a bit different between the two at ISO 800.
Fuji X-T1 vs Nikon D5300 High ISO Comparison (ISO 1600-6400)
Things start getting worse at ISO 1600 for both, as shown below:
Once again, noise patterns appear a little different on both cameras, with the D5300 showing finer grain, while the X-T1 image appears as if it went through a single pass of noise reduction. Image quality remains very high on both cameras.
At ISO 3200, the Fuji X-T1 seems to retain colors in the shadow areas better. Take a look at the red tones under the ship, where the D5300 image shows artificial red introduced to the bordering black area. Images also appear a little bit cleaner on the X-T1.
And at ISO 6400, we see a lot of noise and artifacts on both cameras, although the X-T1 still appears cleaner overall, preserving colors and dynamic range better in comparison.
Fuji X-T1 vs Nikon D5300 Summary
While the differences in low ISO performance are minute and not worth talking about, judging by the noise patterns in images, we can see that either the Fuji X-T1 cooks its RAW files a bit more, or Adobe applies more noise reduction to Fuji RAW files. Noise patterns appear different on both, which is particularly visible at ISO 1600 and above. Although the X-T1 appears a little cleaner and seems to preserve shadow colors better, particularly at high ISOs, I cannot say that I prefer one over the other.
Fuji X-T1 vs Nikon D600 Low ISO Comparison (ISO 200-800)
And full frame camera owners might be wondering how the X-T1 compares to a budget full-frame DSLR like the Nikon D600:
As expected, the difference in performance is evident even at ISO 200. The D600 image is very clean and detailed, thanks to the down-sampling process.
The same is true for ISO 400.
At ISO 800, we see a little bit of noise on the X-T1 in the shadow areas, while the D600 still remains noise-free.
Fuji X-T1 vs Nikon D600 High ISO Comparison (ISO 1600-6400)
As expected, pushing ISO to 1600 starts to reveal bigger differences in performance between the two:
And at ISO 3200, the D600 takes a big lead with at least a full stop of difference:
At ISO 6400, the D600 suffers very little from color / dynamic range loss in the shadows, keeping noise levels under control. The same cannot be said about the X-T1. I see between 1 and 1.5 stops of difference here, which is expected, given the difference in sensor size:
Fuji X-T1 vs Nikon D600 Summary
When comparing APS-C sensors to full-frame, you have to keep in mind that the latter obviously offers better image quality due to larger physical size. The D600 not only has bigger pixels (5.9µ vs 4.82µ), but with a 24 MP full-frame sensor, it also has resolution advantage over the X-T1. This means that if you were to print same size images using both cameras, the D600 would have finer grain and cleaner images, thanks to the resizing / down-sampling process. This can be seen from the above comparisons, where the D600 clearly shows at least a full stop of advantage, especially at high ISO levels.
Fuji X-T1 vs Nikon Df Low ISO Comparison (ISO 200-800)
Let’s take a look at how the Fuji X-T1 compares to Nikon’s low-light king, the Nikon Df (a similar sensor is also used on the Nikon D4 camera). Since both cameras have 16 MP of resolution, I did not down-sample the below output, so you are comparing pixel-level performance between the two:
At ISO 200, both cameras perform extremely well.
The same goes for ISO 400.
At ISO 800, the Nikon Df looks just a bit cleaner in some areas.
Fuji X-T1 vs Nikon Df High ISO Comparison (ISO 1600-6400)
Pushed to ISO 1600, we now start seeing more differences between the two, with the Df producing better colors, details and less noise.
At ISO 3200, the X-T1 adds a lot of noise and there is a visible loss of details and colors, especially in the shadow area. The Nikon Df looks much better in comparison.
Finally, ISO 6400 is X-T1’s RAW limit and this is where the biggest difference between the two cameras can be observed. The Fuji X-T1 loses quite a bit of dynamic range at ISO 6400 – colors on the lower part of the ship disappear and there is lots of noise throughout the image, with visible patches of artifacts. There is about 1.5 stops of difference between the two cameras. Take a look at how ISO 6400 on the Fuji X-T1 compares to ISO 12800 on the Nikon Df:
As you can see, even a stop higher, the Df still looks better. Not only does it retain colors better, but it also has smaller/finer grain. The Df definitely looks worse at ISO 25600 though, so the difference is roughly between 1.5 and 1.7 stops.
Fuji X-T1 vs Nikon Df Summary
The above comparison is a good test that shows how two similar resolutions, but different size sensors compare at the pixel-level. As you can see, the Fuji X-T1 with its APS-C sensor performs very well at low ISOs, but starts to suffer at ISO 800 and above. The Nikon Df has superb pixel-level performance and its strength is seen at higher ISOs – at ISO 6400, the Nikon Df is over a stop better. Sadly, the X-T1 cannot go beyond ISO 6400 with RAW files, so we cannot provide further comparisons at even higher ISO levels.
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