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OMD, X-E1, "Wow images" and why engineers should not buy cameras . . .

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by Jon F, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. Jon F

    Jon F Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 19, 2010
    I am going to purchase one of these as an upgrade to my trusty EPL-1. But, for some reason, it's a harder decision that typical. Perhaps because they both have features I like. So, as a typical nerd, I hit a bunch of sites, spend time with Google, and basically get confused. In the past I have had everything from 4x6 to a pro 35 mm (not logical at all) then back to more practical options. My best trip photos ever were from my old Canon P&S--because, as you guessed it, it was the one I had with me.

    So I scour the web for wow-images with both, which naturally leads me back to this site. No shortage of "wow" images with the OMD here. But the wow-image hunt can only go so far.

    Anyway anyone have experience with these two nice options? Or trade one for the other?

    My typical use would be travel photography. Landscape, architecture, memories . . . probably no sports and little if any wildlife. No large prints.
  2. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    Specifications - Fujifilm X-E1 vs Olympus OM-D E-M5

    If you already have a E-PL1 you probably already have some m4/3 lenses. I don't know your budge situation but I would probably stay unless the other side have significant advantages.

    Fuji's X system is great, but the advantages aren't significant enough for me to change systems.
  3. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    There are threads on seroiuscompacts.com that discuss this exact choice. Have a look there.

    If you're not making big prints then I see little advantage to the Fuji apart from its handling which is a personal preference.

  4. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    There's no shortage of "wow" images taken with the E-PL1 here either: https://www.mu-43.com/f56/ecuador-30500/

    Add a VF-2 viewfinder to the E-PL1 and you've got a OM-D-like landscape camera that is actually a wee bit sharper than the OM-D, although it blows out bright white cumulus clouds a little more easily than the OM-D.
  5. Jon F

    Jon F Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 19, 2010
    Thanks for the tips!
  6. arentol

    arentol Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 29, 2012
    I would go with the E-M5 at this time because the Fuji X system needs a couple more years to mature, both cameras and lenses. If Fuji keeps doing things "right" I could be tempted to switch a few years down the road. But they could flub it too, hard to say at this poing. In the meantime, with the limited glass and the cameras that still need some work to reach the top of their game the E-M5 is the way to go.
  7. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    I've got the X-E1 in addition to my m4/3 kit (no OM-D though, I'm a GH3 and GX1 user). I really enjoy the X-E1 and I'll be hanging onto it, but if I could only afford to keep one system it'd be m4/3. It's more reliable in a number of important areas when it comes to getting a shot. My m4/3 focuses faster, more accurately, and I have access to a really wide variety of excellent lenses for it.

    In short, when I'm going somewhere and really don't want to miss a shot, I'm going to bring my GH3 and lenses. If I'm going somewhere and bringing a camera "just because", the Fuji is great.

    Here's some random notes on the Fuji after having used it a little while, if it helps any:

    - I like the controls a lot, something about the simple shutter speed & exposure comp dials with an aperture ring on the lens just works for me. Buttons and switches are all easy to use and provide good feedback.

    - Lenses. I've got the 18-55 zoom and 35mm lenses but the 35mm might as well be a fixed lens at this point... just a fantastic combo optically, and I can't wait to try the 35mm equivalent lens Fuji has coming later this year. The Fuji lenses are few in number, but they don't seem to be cutting any corners in that department.

    - Fuji JPEGs. I shoot RAW, but the JPGs on the Fuji are really good, especially because you get to use the film simulations. I really like the Velvia and B&W modes, and shot an entire party in B&W just becuase I could :biggrin: That brings up another cool point, you can choose how to display the shooting view and have it either show the JPG style or actual conditions when shooting RAW+JPG which is cool if you wanted to shoot everything in RAW & B&W JPG simultaneously, for example.

    - X-trans sensor. The slightly more shallow DoF is nice for some things but also can make it harder to shoot in low light without having too narrow a field of focus. The ISO 6400 is really pretty clean even in RAW and I've no issues with using it all the way to 6400. I put it in a similar league as the OM-D and GH3, maybe a slight edge for noise performance. Overall I'm just really pleased with the look of the images that I get with the X-E1.

    - Autofocus. Overall it's usable but don't be expecting to get action shots, and it will hunt in low light. In addition, even when the Fuji claims it's locked focus I've gotten some blurry shots, which is frustrating reviewing images later. The 18-55 lens is a little faster than the older 35mm but regardless at a recent holiday party I did find it difficult to get shots of moving people due to AF hunting. I also had a lot of trouble using the Fuji to take holiday pictures for our Christmas card and ended up switching to the GH3 to get it done reliably. This isn't a deal breaker for me personally but it's one reason why I always want an m4/3 system around - or at least something with fast, reliable AF.

    - Simplified menus. This is mostly a plus, but they also removed some options in the process, as far as I can tell. One of the things on the X100 that appealed to me was the configuration flexibility, such as auto-ISO's configurable minimum shutter speed. That's gone on the X-E1 as far as I can tell. There's other items like this I can't think off offhand but I've noticed being less configurable than the X100's menu system.

    - The Q menu and other parts of the UI is kind of annoying and unintuitive, you have to use the selector pad to choose the item you want then the scroll wheel on the back to cycle through setting options. You can get used to it but I find much of the Fuji's on-screen UI is like that; a little less intuitive than I'd like but so far nothing egregious I can't live with. Again, not a deal breaker.

    - SD card is a pain to get out, they recessed it in a way that makes it really hard to get in and out with the battery in - seems unnecessarily awkward but again, not a huge deal since I don't change cards constantly.

    - I hate the lens release button on the body. It's on the wrong side of the lens, so I can't do a one-hand lens change with the Fuji without readjusting my grip. This is actually kind of a big pain in the field, for such a minor change.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. jon595

    jon595 Mu-43 Veteran

    May 2, 2011
    I would lean toward m4/3 for now. My thoughts are that so far, m4/3 is the only pretty complete mirror less system. The lens choices are top notch and will suit almost everyone from super zoom user to only exotic prime user.

    The number and type of bodies make it easy to find a camera geared to what you want. Gh3 for video. Omd for serious stills. G5 for all around. Gf5 for compact camera like size.

    As much as I would love to have an X-E1, the whole system just doesn't feel complete enough for me and feels geared toward only the 1 body type. I love the look, but would wait to see what else they do with the system.

    Just a hobbyist.
  9. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Rent one first. I did, and it left me cold. It's quirky, and it may or may not appeal to you.
  10. Jon F

    Jon F Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 19, 2010
    Again, thanks for your useful responses. I was afraid that I would get flamed as I know this question has been asked often. Heading off to a camera store again tomorrow to handle both. To me, the OMD is clearly the system it you want to start a system for a full range of use. My typical use, however, is really travel scenes, gardens, forests, buildings etc. So the XE1 is also pretty appealing. While I do have Photoshop, Lightroom, NX2, etc., I really like nice OOC jpegs when available, and go into the RAW version when I really need to.
  11. I was interested in the X-E1 + 18-55mm for a while, but the reason why I backed off is because I realised that it wouldn't directly replace anything that I already had (including an E-M5), and I really didn't need another camera with that kind of pricetag. I think that the closest match would have been my Canon G1X, and I wasn't going to sell that in favour of the Fuji. I was looking at the X-E1 as more of a back-to-basics camera.

    The E-M5 is one of those cameras that makes just about everything seem easy. It's not the camera that I engage with the best, but it's the camera that I feel confident will deliver in just about any situation that I might find myself in.
  12. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    These are some great points, Nic. As much as I'm enjoying the X-E1 in some ways I wish I had stuck with one system, it makes it easier to know which camera to grab for a given trip. I know, I know, first world problems :biggrin:

    Seriously though, because the two do overlap to a certain extent I actually had to think long and carefully about when each would get used before I bought into the X-series. For one thing, I'm not planning to buy a whole set of lenses - probably just one more which is the 56mm f/1.4, for portraits and such using the Fuji's more shallow DoF advantage. My logic is/was if I keep all my speciality lenses on m4/3 then I have one reliable, complete system for everything and an X-E1 on the side for when I'm in the mood to shoot differently.

    At the end of the day it's like you said - it's all about the confidence the camera will deliver consistently.
  13. Hey! Same first world problems here, just a different bunch of cameras to choose from :smile:
  14. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    Hate to repeat the same themes but I do have both.

    The E-M5 is a great athletic camera that can do many things very well. The lens selection is great. It can get the job done most of the time and operates like a charm after you read the manual 8 times.

    The X-E1 is a simpler camera with simpler AF,but quite insane image processing. Ok, the RAW workflow is currently crippled, but SOOC JPEGS can be catered to your taste like a science. I thought I'd never feel ok with JPEGS until this. The X-E1 screams to be picked up and held. It is as a very rewarding photography experience.

    If I only had to choose one system, it would be around a D600. Oops!
  15. Of course the flip side is (and not specifically referring to the X-E1 here); sometimes a camera that might have a smaller sweet spot for IQ, or may have some interface or operational difficulties, can be more satisfying to use when you get it right...
  16. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Also true... I have definitely been annoyed to discover I've taken out of focus shots with the X-E1 when I get home. Then again one of my favorite shots of my wife was taken my first day out with the X-E1 & 35mm:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30940068@N02/8244579207/" title="Layna on the Green by jloden, on Flickr">
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    "534" height="800" alt="Layna on the Green"></a>

    Or there's this shot from a few days ago of our friend at their annual holiday party:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30940068@N02/8256106685/" title="Greg &amp; Irene's Holiday Party by jloden, on Flickr"> View attachment 245727 "534" height="800" alt="Greg &amp; Irene's Holiday Party"></a>

    I've gotten many good shots on m4/3, and more reliably so than the Fuji... but it's the way the Fuji can hit the sweet spot combined with the enjoyable handling that makes me keep wanting to go back for more. I've felt the same way since I first tried the X100, but there were a few missing elements the X-E1 nails.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Hrm, none of this is probably very helpful for Jon F's question is it :rofl:
  18. Jon F

    Jon F Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 19, 2010
    Actually, it is . . . but all roads lead to buying both. (and a D600) :wink:

    Another way to look at it: I think I am trying to base the decision on "wow photos" which is not especially practical. If I really thought the images would be similar or very close, I would go with the OMD for versatility, and I like the dslr-like handling.
  19. Jon F

    Jon F Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 19, 2010

    Just played with both again today. From a handling standpoint, I really like the OMD. It would be an easy decision if I was confident the oly (with Pana 12-35 2.8) image quality would be in the ballpark of the new Fuji. Thanks all for the links and advice!
  20. ccunningham

    ccunningham Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 23, 2010
    I wanted(still do want) an X-E1, because it reminds me so much of the 35mm camera gear I learned on. I figured that the IQ isn't enough different between the X-E1 and E-M5 for that to be a critical difference. I eventually went with the E-M5 because of the environmental resistance. I have a D300 also and I've always liked not having to worry about it. No matter what the weather was, if I could make it out, so could my D300. I wanted that in my mFT equipment as well.
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