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

    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.

    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!


    Link to Flickr Images

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

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

    EP3 1:1 Raw Crop

    X1 1:1 Raw Crop

    EP3 Jpeg Vivid

    X1 Jpeg Vivid


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

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

    EP3 Raw 1:1 Crop

    X1 Raw 1:1 Crop

    EP3 Jpeg Vivid

    X1 Jpeg Vivid

    EP3 Raw ISO 200, f/8.0, 1/60sec handheld

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

    EP3 Raw 1:1 Crop

    X1 Raw 1:1 Crop

    EP3 Jpeg Vivid

    X1 Jpeg Vivid


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

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

    EP3 Raw 1:1 Crop

    X1 Raw 1:1 Crop

    EP3 Jpeg Vivid

    X1 Jpeg Vivid

    EP3 Raw ISO 200 f/5.6 1/100sec resting on rail

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

    EP3 Raw 1:1 Crop

    X1 Raw 1:1 Crop

    EP3 Jpeg Vivid

    X1 Jpeg Vivid


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

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

    EP3 Raw 1:1 Crop

    X1 Raw 1:1 Crop

    EP3 Jpeg Vivid

    X1 Jpeg Vivid
    • Like Like x 9
  2. D@ne

    D@ne Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 23, 2012
    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

    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. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    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

    May 20, 2012
    Real Name:
    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

    Apr 4, 2012
    Dublin, Ireland
    Real Name:
    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

    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
    Real Name:
    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

    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.