Quick look: Fuji X Pro1, Sony Nex-7, Olympus OM-D E-M5

Quick look: Fuji X Pro1, Sony Nex-7, Olympus OM-D E-M5

A quick comparison of the Fuji X Pro1, Sony Nex-7 and Olympus OM-D E-M5. Though I have to admit, the camera I am most obsessed about right now is the hugely impressive Nikon D800E, when I head out the door to run an errand or to grab some coffee, I reach for one of the above instead. Lightweight, small, unobtrusive and great image quality.

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22 thoughts on “Quick look: Fuji X Pro1, Sony Nex-7, Olympus OM-D E-M5

  1. mike.kobal Post author

    Hi Gabe, I haven’t played with the X-pro1 in a long time, however, I had the chance to try the 35mm 1.4 on the X-E1 and noticed serious af speed improvement, the same can be said for the Xpro1. Since you already have the x100s I think you would like the X-PRo1 very much. However, I do know from my days with the Nex 5n, Nex 7 and Nex 6 that af speed is very fast compared to Fuji’s – at least in good light.
    The 35mm is a fantastic lens and probably the crown jewel in Fuji’s line up if you like shallow depth of field. The 1.2 56mm will top it but won’t be as versatile.
    Now keep in mind af speed has been improved and can be snappy, however, it still isn’t as fast as the lenses you have for your nex cams. The results however, are worth the trade off, if you can live with a few misses and slightly slower af you will be rewarded with stunning results. The 35mm 1.4 will not focus as fast as the X100s the 18mm however, will come very close to that. For now, those are my favorite lenses for the Fuji, 18mm, 27mm pancake and the 35mm 1.4. The magnesium body/finish on the Nex lenses is quite nice, esp the primes, the fuji fx lenses are a little better,but not by much.

    As for Sony’s focus on ff, I am not holding my breath, I am almost certain their lens line up won’t be much better then what they ended up doing with the Nex line.
    I got the A7 primarily as a small ff video body to come along on photo shoots and am using it with my Nikkor lenses. Love it so far, the image quality is also there in case a disaster happens somewhere on location -I could comfortably finish the job shooting with that thing.
    Hope this helps!

  2. Gabe

    With the looming release of the x-pro1 replacement, I see the current x-pro1 is now selling for just $1100. I’ve also watched videos of the firmware 2.00 on it, and it seems the AF is almost as quick as my X100S. Have you used the x-pro1 with the new firmware and how would you compare it to your NEX cameras? I have an NEX-5N and NEX-6, but as of late have not enjoying shooting with them as much as my X100S. I only used them when I want a closer focal length than the 23mm offered by my X100S. I do find myself using my NEX-6 far more than my old DSLR (which I would sell, except it has no value on the used market with Canon’s recent price drops of several year old models).

    Curious how you would compare the performance of the x-pro1 with new firmware to say the NEX-6. It seems from all the reviews, the build quality of the x lenses exceeds that of the Sony lenses. Furthermore, I have started to notice that the focus peaking implemented by Fuji on the X100S is more accurate than my NEX-6. I’m not sure exactly why, but I get almost 100% keepers using MF and peaking on my X100S, whereas I would say my keeper rate on my NEX-6 is probably ~85%. My biggest reason for moving away from the NEX system is it seems Sony is now focused on their FF lineup and I’m honestly annoyed that Sony has never been able to really get their lineup solid on the E-mount. I loved my NEX cameras to death for some time, and do plan to keep my 5N regardless (super compact and my EDC camera), but as a system I’m feeling Sony never focused enough on building the ecosystem and has now totally shifted to FF lenses.

    My thought is sell my NEX-6 with kit 16-50PZ. Keep the 16, 35, and 50mm lenses for my 5N, then possible grab the x-pro1 with the 35mm, since I already have 23mm covered by my X100S. If I fall in love with the x-pro1, I can also sell the 50mm and 16mm E-mounts and just keep the 5N and 35mm as my “EDC camera”, as it is tiny. Take money from 16mm and 50mm and grab the 18mm f/2.

    Thoughts? Sorry for the overly long comment. Just thinking out loud so to speak.

  3. Pingback: sonyalpharumors | Blog | New Sony NEX reviews roundup...(fstoppers tests the FS700)

  4. mike.kobal Post author

    thanks REP96st. OMD and 20mm would make a nice package :) (once Oly fixes the high ISO banding related to this particular lens)

  5. mike.kobal Post author

    thanks Al. true, smaller sensor is a compromise, you can get nice shallow DOF with the Voigtlander 25mm f0.95, however it does add substantial size and weight

  6. REP96st

    Nice review. I’m shooting with a GF-2/20mm combo, so I’m not invested really. The OM-D is really tempting….

  7. Al Power

    Really nice overview mike – I’ve tried a friend’s X-Pro1, and totally agree on the AF issues – if they could get those sorted they would be onto a real winner, considering the output it produces when it gets it right, but until then on the fence. I’m a FF shooter, and looking for the nice DOF in a smaller package as a walk around, but unsure that M4/3 can produce that. At the end of the day when you go smaller it’s all about compromises in one area or another!

  8. mike.kobal Post author

    Exactly, m43 lacks dynamic range and color depth. If you can def compare the two. still have the Gh2, keeping it for video, got rid of the Gx1

  9. Mike P

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the quick response! It looks like I’ll have to get my hands on an X-Pro1 and compare it to the NEX-7. I was able to borrow an NEX-7 for a few days and I was pretty impressed…my only complaint is the noise at ISOs of 800 and over. I’d like to see faster e-mount glass so I could keep the ISO down but I guess you can’t have everything.

    I still think M43 is in the mix for me as well. I have a GF-1 that I still use and and there is some awesome glass for the M43 format but I’m not sure they can hang with the NEX-7 or X-Pro1 when it comes to dynamic range which is important to me for landscape photography. I believe you have a GH2 and/or GX1. Do you use M43 for video mostly?


  10. mike.kobal Post author

    Hey Mike, thank you! Right, I agree with your take on those cameras. My suggestion, prioritize, if shallow depth of field and great high ISO performance make the top of your list and you are about to switch from FF to APSC, you don’t have a choice, go with the Xpro1 and you won’t be disappointed. Don’t worry about af, though it can be frustrating at times, nailing focus at 1.4 with the 35mm is extremely rewarding. If landscape photography is #1 on your list, go with the Nex-7, the 24mp sensor is unbeatable and I favor APSC sized sensors over FF for landscape because it is easier to achieve serious depth of field. And for everything in between, go with the OM-D, fun camera, but it won’t excel at anything in particular, hope this helps

  11. Mike P

    Hi Mike,

    I just stumbled upon your blog/videos, great stuff! I’d like to ask you a question if you don’t mind…

    I currently have a 5D and a few L lenses but I’ve decided to sell everything and move to a smaller/lighter system. I’ve narrowed it down to these three cameras but I haven’t been able to pull the trigger on any of them. I do mostly street and landscape photography but I also enjoy shooting portraits of friends and family.

    So, my question is:

    If you had to chose one camera out of the three to be your sole camera, what would it be and why?

    I think the NEX-7 offers the most possibilities (alpha adapter, focus peaking, etc.) but the small selection of native e-mount primes and the noise at higher ISOs is concerning. The OM-D looks like an awesome machine but I’m not sure it can produce enough DOF for portraits or large prints for landscapes. I LOVE the files produced by the X-Pro1 (colors are amazing) but the price is a bit much and the AF seems to be pretty poor.

    Any help would be appreciated.


  12. mike.kobal Post author

    Hey Pascal, that will make for a kick ass combo, I love the Voigtlander 25mm, insane lens, really, I would still add the cheap 20mm Panasonic pancake to have a small standard lens for walking around, the 25mm Voigtlander is awesome but a little heavy and longish for leaving it on the camera all the time

  13. Pascal Vossen

    Hey Mike,

    No way around it for me…I hated the x100 for the bad autofocus and couldn’t live with it, sold it and bought a Leica m7. For pure digital IQ I was still grabbing my 5DMKII. But, I am now also looking for a lighter ‘good to go’ kit. Since the xpro-1 still has the same lacking AF as the x100 and no good possibility of MF( thats the problem for me), I am opting for the OM-D + grip with the MF voigtländer 25mm f0.95 as portrait lens and low light shallow dof combo. This lens focusses insanely close! Adding The 12mm f2 for wide angle shorts later.

    How do you feel abort that option?

    Gr Pascal

  14. mike.kobal Post author

    Hi Robbie. My Xpro1 has the latest firmware 1.1 installed, af has not been improved, however, I wouldn’t consider the slower af a deal breaker. I takes a little longer to get to know the camera and to adapt. The OM-D is just great right out of the box, charge the battery, insert the memory card, start shooting and smiling! The most fun no headache camera currently available. I have too many cameras and the only reason I didn’t keep it is video, IS is awesome, like a built in steadycam, video quality, not so much, waiting for the GH3. Back to your question, I would look at it this way: If you want full frame high ISO performance and shallow depth of field, the Xpro1 is it, there really isn’t an alternative, if shallow depth of field isn’t on top of your list, go with the OM D, you will have many more keepers and, to a certain degree, IS compensates for ISO performance (which is very good up to 3200), hope this helps!

  15. Robbie

    Hi Mike Thanks for the review! Out of the three, I was aiming initially for the x-pro 1 for its image quality and ISO performance but after hearing the AF lags from time to time, I started to consider more on the OM-D, however I would like to take pictures in low light have a range number of lenses available. Yes, the OM-D has more range of lenses available but I’m not sure of its low light capability. Also the camera is a tank fill up of various features, in body image stabilization, tilted screen for difficult angular shots and is weather sealed. Is the AF problem of the x-pro 1 has been fixed or is it still the same?, I’m aiming for travel photography (people, landscapes, street, architecture, etc). I want to ask your recommendation which of this two provides a better value and overall performance.

  16. Kaspar

    I own the black version, but yesterday I saw the silver one at a local dealer and tried it a little. Although it also looks good, I do prefer the black one.

  17. Zeusman

    Good review! I wish I could buy all of them and use for each distinct situation. Still shooting an NEX 5N, and GH2 for video but lusting for the OM-D. Also see you’re loving your D800, I have too many Canon lenses to switch. But must say the Mark III is a nice camera, far better in handling than the Mark II.

    Thanks for sharing! Always find your reviews helpful!

  18. mike.kobal Post author

    thanks Kaspar, I wish I could keep it. Have to send it back. Trying to control my GAS, lol. I was lucky BH sent a silver version, not sure I could return the black one

  19. Kaspar

    Nice and objective overview of those great cameras! They created quite a fuss…
    Will you keep the EM5 or do you have to send it back?

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