Olympus E-P3 (Pan Leica 25mm) vs Leica X1: my thoughts with comparison photos

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by sohcsleeper, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. sohcsleeper

    sohcsleeper Mu-43 Regular

    45
    Jan 4, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    * I am not a professional photographer, the following is just my opinion and is completely subjective. The following photos were taken handheld or placed on a rail. None of the images have been modified. They are OOC Jpeg, Raw, and Raw 1:1 crop. I did not compensate for focal length (50mm vs 36mm)

    Objective: 1. compare image quality 2. compare OOC Jpeg (vivid) modes
    3. testing of 25mm f/1.4 Leica DG Summilux H-X025

    Equipment: Olympus E-P3, VF-2, Large Grip, Pan Leica 25mm f/1.4 H-X025, B+W 49mm KAESEMANN CIRC-POL MRC (66-045612), 46mm-49mm step-up ring, Leica X1 (Leica Elmarit f/2.8 24mm ASPH Lens), generic thumbs up grip.

    Method: Standing from same position, shoot the same photograph with each camera. Some hand held, some resting on rail. I will mention above each photo. I did not have my adapter ring for the Leica so I hand held filter in front of the lens while shooting.

    Settings:
    Olympus on A-mode handheld, S-AF (MF), IS1, Raw + Jpeg vivid, Sharpness/Contrast/Saturation zero, Gradation norm, Noise Reduction off, Noise filter off, WB auto keep warm color, shade comp off, anti shake 1/8 sec.
    Leica A-mode, MF (infinity focus), Raw + Jpeg vivid, sharpness (medium high)/ saturation (standard)/ contrast (standard), WB auto

    Conclusions: At optimal ISO the EP3 looks nearly indistinguishable from the X1. IQ is excellent on the EP3. Both cameras are ~12mp and when comparing the Raw files they're fairly equal. I can not really see much difference in IQ. As far as Jpeg (vivid) I was a bit disappointed with the EP3 colors. Olympus is known for their amazing OOC jpeg and I'm not sure if it was my settings, but they colors really didn't pop for me. X1 on the other hand the colors REALLY popped (maybe too much). Its possible that because the X1 colors were so vibrant that it pales the Olympus in comparison. It was a fairly cloudy day and I would say the Olympus colors were a more true, however when I picked Vivid mode I was expecting vibrant colors. Its also possible that iEnhance is more of an equivalent to Leica Vivid mode. Lastly the Pan Leica 25mm for M43, wow what a sharp lens. Check out those 1:1 crops compared to the highly acclaimed Leica Elmarit f/2.8 24mm ASPH Lens built into the X1. I would definitely say the Pan Leica 25mm is sharper and is a must have lens for M43. At the price of ~$550 worth every penny.

    Let me know what you think and feel free to ask any questions.

    Thanks for reading!

    -Tony


    Link to Flickr Images

    EP3 Raw ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/160sec, Handheld
    6832101642_a6cab77ce5_b.

    X1 Raw ISO 100, f/8.0, 1/200sec, Handheld
    6978118155_6f26aa052f_b.

    EP3 1:1 Raw Crop
    6832995298_f27f3b6024_z.

    X1 1:1 Raw Crop
    6831991038_7ec1e321cd_z.

    EP3 Jpeg Vivid
    6978164307_eabd098ea7_b.

    X1 Jpeg Vivid
    6978080537_c78d21e203_b.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    EP3 Raw ISO 200, f/6.3, 1/125sec Handheld
    6978209555_87ea8c2626_b.

    X1 Raw ISO 100, f/8.0. 1/320sec Handheld
    6831981668_eb0b706b48_b.

    EP3 Raw 1:1 Crop
    6832088778_f7e82a11c2_z.

    X1 Raw 1:1 Crop
    6978109311_95fcfb72ab_z.

    EP3 Jpeg Vivid
    6832037338_e9b47dc820_b.

    X1 Jpeg Vivid
    6831953968_10fa771e0c_b.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    EP3 Raw ISO 200, f/8.0, 1/60sec handheld
    6978208179_5ec9f47fb4_b.

    X1 Raw ISO 100, f/8.0, 1/125sec handheld
    6831980100_57867f57c8_b.

    EP3 Raw 1:1 Crop
    6978208711_e22c545047_z.

    X1 Raw 1:1 Crop
    6978107981_c422f4c76e_z.

    EP3 Jpeg Vivid
    6832039396_a392b7b020_b.

    X1 Jpeg Vivid
    6978087859_a9b39aa703_b.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    EP3 Raw ISO 200, f/8.0 1/80sec handheld
    6978206725_aac1c3ee5f_b.

    X1 Raw ISO 100, f/8.0 1/320sec handheld
    6831978216_b836b31f92_b.

    EP3 Raw 1:1 Crop
    6978207291_25812cba1c_z.

    X1 Raw 1:1 Crop
    6978106081_e39f5c679d_z.

    EP3 Jpeg Vivid
    6978166779_78130d52af_b.

    X1 Jpeg Vivid
    6978088563_6d5ac15f8d_b.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    EP3 Raw ISO 200 f/5.6 1/100sec resting on rail
    6832053750_823b9f6f86_b.

    X1 Raw ISO 100 f/11 1/30 resting on rail
    6979208679_8ed3e198d3_b.

    EP3 Raw 1:1 Crop
    6978187241_ce38458660_z.

    X1 Raw 1:1 Crop
    6979209247_2958477842_z.

    EP3 Jpeg Vivid
    6978169503_daf26406ac_b.

    X1 Jpeg Vivid
    6979207861_c228b1d84a_b.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    EP3 Raw ISO 200 f/10 1/20sec resting on rail
    6978170687_8c0127e39c_b.

    X1 Raw ISO 100 f/11 1/30sec resting on rail
    6831971928_32d8d8f348_b.

    EP3 Raw 1:1 Crop
    6978179685_85d2e8fa05_z.

    X1 Raw 1:1 Crop
    6831972280_8d51e49871_z.


    EP3 Jpeg Vivid
    6832042268_ceb46893db_b.

    X1 Jpeg Vivid
    6831971498_72486482b8_b.
     
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  2. D@ne

    D@ne Mu-43 Top Veteran

    593
    Feb 23, 2012
    Toronto
    To my (untrained) eye, the raw comparisons are relatively equal, but the colours look a bit nicer on the ep3.

    Can't say I agree with you on the vivid pics...the x1 makes the colours look unnatural and oversaturated.
     
  3. CarlB

    CarlB Mu-43 Veteran

    Thanks for the visual comparison. Certainly not a world of difference, and the small differences aren't "better" in one camp over the other ...

    How is the shooting experience compared for the two? Part of what we buy a camera for is how it helps us get a great, creative shot.
     
  4. NJH

    NJH Mu-43 Regular

    164
    Mar 8, 2012
    South West England
    The only element of IQ that stands out to me is the cases where the E-P3 is blowing out the sky but the X1 isn't. This is one of the big differences I see between my X100 and E-P2 at base ISO, haven't done any back to back testing but it has amazing latitude for pushing/pulling in post as well. Not at all surprised that there is practically no resolution difference in the images.

    Would be interesting to see a high ISO comparison but if you do please do whatever you like to the E-P3 images. One of the problems I have with high ISO comparisons is they often try to equalise the processing sequence which doesn't actually represent real world usage. My X100 is a case in point, it has amazing high ISO out of the camera with sensible settings but it definitely produces much softer images than at base ISO. The m4/3 cameras can look noisy at high ISO but they do seem to try and maintain detail at the expense of noise. My gut feeling and its only a gut feeling is that the difference is not as big many think if the RAW images were processed to produce a similar balance of detail and noise.
     
  5. I agree that the difference in colour output is largely down to the greater DR of the Sony sensor in the X1 (although there does appear to be some exposure differentials between the two cameras). The E-P3 just isn't getting enough information to work it's magic on the colours.
     
  6. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    Looks like the E-P3 blows away the X1.
     
  7. romzL

    romzL Mu-43 Regular

    109
    May 20, 2012
    romz
    for my eyes, the EP-3's color are much better. the Vivid shots on the X-1 is really over saturated...
     
  8. slith

    slith Mu-43 Regular

    142
    Apr 4, 2012
    Dublin, Ireland
    Alfonso
    I think the average consumer wants the over saturated colours, but not everyone is the average consumer. I think the X-1 does a fantastic job with the sky, though.
     
  9. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    314
    Jan 31, 2012
    Very nice comparison! At first I thought this was a comparison with the X2 and I was surprised how little difference there was, but I see it's the X1.

    The sky does look nice on the Leica, but in the last set of photos it's obvious that there are exposure differences besides the color saturation differences. You can see that in the trees, shadows in the 100% crop, etc.
     
  10. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Bob
    I agree - I think the biggest difference in jpeg output comes from exposure differences. There may be a bit more saturation in the X1 photos but the limited colors (mostly green and brown) make it hard to tell, especially with the differences in exposure.
     
  11. NJH

    NJH Mu-43 Regular

    164
    Mar 8, 2012
    South West England
    Its odd isn't it how different cameras meter. My X100 is the opposite and has a habit of overexposing compared to my E-P2.

    I agree in that I don't like that vivid setting on those X1 images even though I love velvia on the X100. I don't know if its exposure or the tone curve it uses on that setting but the darker areas lack micro-contrast to me. Lots of the trees show barely any detail compared to the EP3 images as there just isn't the tonality showing the different branches and leaves. Its a bit like the output from a P&S camera that crunches all the darker areas together. Hard to believe I am saying that about a Leica product as you sort of expect the complete opposite.