Last week I mentioned that the final rounds of The Societies (SWPP and BPPA) professional imaging competition had been marked and in the last few days the photographers nominated for the title of Photographer of the Year have been announced. I am still reeling from getting a nomination for the second year running, but I […]

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  • John Branes - December 12, 2012 - 11:27 am

    Lindsay, very many congratulations on this latest “set” of awards. Wonderful images as ever. As a great admirer of your work I am really pleased to hear that you have been nominated for Photographer of the year again this year…..hugely deserved. Well done ! All the best, John.

  • Lindsay - December 12, 2012 - 11:39 am

    Thank you John, I do hope I’ll see you at the awards dinner.

  • Mag D - December 12, 2012 - 12:07 pm

    Lindsay, absolutely delighted to hear your news. Then I looked at your winning photos….. brilliant as always…. a true deserver of such high awards, well done.

  • Lindsay - December 12, 2012 - 12:10 pm

    Thank you Mag, it’s great to be nominated. I will also have the chance to admire the work of some truly inspirational photographers on the big night.

  • Stephen Scharf - December 16, 2012 - 7:02 pm

    Congratulations, Lindsay, on your photos being elevated to Gold Medal status! Well deserved!

    Best,
    Stephen

  • Lindsay - December 16, 2012 - 8:57 pm

    Thank you Stephen, it’s been quite a good year in terms of awards but next year I must step back a little from the competitions and concentrate more on all the different kinds of work I’d like to offer my clients, the problem is there is so much to do and so few hours in the day!

As many of you will know there is currently a huge amount of interest when it comes to both of these exciting compact system cameras. On the basis of the many questions we’ve been asked I thought I’d summarise my current findings in a Fujifilm XE1 vs Olympus OMD EM-5 question and answer session. I’ll […]

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  • Nat - December 11, 2012 - 3:39 pm

    Thank you Lindsay, for another well balanced and informative report on two exceptional cameras. As you say they are very different and will appeal to different people. You raise some vital points as well which users often fail to consider. I can see that you prefer the feel of the XE1 but when the situation demands it you will use the OMD for speed. Great that you can own both cameras! (-: but I am still having problems deciding which one will suit me. I don’t photograph children or animals so your statement that the Fuji might be the better buy is probably correct.

  • Lindsay - December 11, 2012 - 3:44 pm

    Hi Nat, yes there are some things that I prefer on the Fuji and other things that I like on the OND. This really boils down to features, and whether or not those features may be applicable to you. For example the tilting screen on the OMD is not something I would have listed as being important to me, but I do enjoy using it particularly for street photography. Alternatively, I love the feel of the XE1, particularly the buttons – also the white balance on any Fuji X camera is outstanding. It’s a question of deciding which features and benefits are most relevant to how you shoot and what you shoot. I suspect that, given your budget, the XE1 and zoom might be all that you need. If you purchase the OMD and the equivalent fast zoom you will be spending a huge amount.

  • Neil Kristiansen - December 11, 2012 - 3:48 pm

    Hi Lindsay,
    I’ve just come upon your site thanks to a link by Fujirumours. A very interesting read on the pros and cons of the Fuji and Olympus cameras. I have subscribed to your Blog :-).
    I recently ordered the Fuji X-E1 but having not being able to handle it in any local camera store I was unsure whether it would be right for me. Unfortunately having handled it for a couple of days the slow focus and viewfinder lag just drove me crazy. It has therefore gone back. I’m in a difficult position of having no local dealer who has the latest CSC cameras in to try! I recently sold all my DSLR gear due to long term illness and being unable to carry the weight around any longer.
    I’d be interested to know if you looked at/considered the Sony CSC’s such as the NEX 7 and new NEX 6 and if so what were your thoughts. I know there isn’t a great lens range for these at the moment, although with focus peaking and adaptors there’s a whole world of manual lenses. Having sent back the Fuji I am now considering either the Olympus or the NEX 6, but I am going to have to find a dealer who has them in stock and do some travelling.
    Out of interest I notice you’re in West Sussex. My sister lives in Fareham, Hampshire and I was wondering if you know of any dealers who has these cameras in stock down there as I will be down that way over Christmas.
    Sorry for the long ramble, and once again I am glad I’ve now found your site and will follow your work/blog with interest. Thanks for any help you can give,
    Neil Kristiansen

  • Lindsay - December 11, 2012 - 4:20 pm

    Hi Neil, you have highlighted an extremely important point and that is handling and ergonomics, which can be a real dealbreaker irrespective of the other features and benefits of any given system. I can understand the slow performance frustrating you, it frustrates me a lot of the time and so I tend to reserve my XE1 for static work. I wonder if this could be improved in a firmware update, but only time will tell. In terms of a dealership with a comprehensive range (and good staff) the only place I can think of is Park Cameras at Burgess Hill, West Sussex. That’s a bit of a journey for you, but if you find yourself over that way it is well worth the visit (you may want to phone them ahead of time to check they have all of the systems available, but they normally do). I’m afraid I don’t know of any other large camera stores so you may need to do an Internet search in your sister’s locality. I greatly sympathise with anyone who has health issues, that is one of the reasons I am switching to compact systems. I haven’t considered any of the Sony Nex cameras mostly because the lens lineup does not cover my needs (and I don’t want to use legacy glass which will complicate the work I do) however I think the Nex 6 in particular sounds like a lovely piece of kit and well worth looking into. So far the best all-round performer I have come across is indeed my Olympus OMD, but depending which lenses you buy it can be quite an expensive option. It’s very hard for me to find fault with the EM-5 other than to point out that the buttons are very small and I would always advise having a play with one before making a purchase. It is also a little bigger and heavier than the Nex.

  • Luis Passarella - December 12, 2012 - 5:17 pm

    Hi Lindsay, my name’s Luis and I live in Brazil. I found your blog and I think that was a very interesting way to approach the two cameras. I have a question and hope you can answer. What size magnification pictures that we can do to a photo exhibition without losing quality and keeping the ISO under control? I used a D700 and knew where I could get but I sold it and think about buying one of the two because the “cost x benefit.” Thanks for your help.

  • Lindsay - December 12, 2012 - 5:42 pm

    Hi Luis. large prints from either camera are a few weeks away so I can’t comment fully I’m afraid. Print size does of course depend not only on ISO but on the tonality of the image – a shadow-rich image will benefit from a lower ISO value, and an urban landscape or monochrome will often tolerate higher ISO values. For my own work I don’t print exhibition work above ISO 800 from my non full frame cameras if the print is over 16″, but that is mostly because I specialize in portraiture. From the 5D MkIII I will print 30 inches and above from ISO 1600 images, but ultimately it boils down to the kind of image you have, the extent to which you can eradicate noise whilst maintaining detail, and your own personal aesthetics. The only answer unfortunately is to do some test prints from a crop of the enlarged file and see what you think.

  • Robert Yanal - December 13, 2012 - 7:04 pm

    Very helpful article, as I’m probably getting a new camera for an upcoming trip to China.

    It seems to me, though, that the shadow areas in the Olympus shots lack detail, which may be a function of the time of day the shots were taken or perhaps of your personal taste.

  • Lindsay - December 13, 2012 - 7:33 pm

    Hi Robert, I hadn’t noticed any loss of detail in the OMD shadows, but since you raise it I will scrutinise that a little more next time. The thing with the OMD is that it has very highly customisable, and the out-of-the-box settings are rarely ideal, whereas the Fuji JPEG engine is fantastic from the word go. I think this was the second time I’d used the Oly so I hadn’t finished setting it up, since then I have tweaked things further. However I do stress to people that they should buy the camera they like best given the performance attributes which are most important to them – pixel peeping should always be quite low on the list in my view given that most of the leading CSCs are all great in that department. I do envy your trip to China, that will be wonderful!

  • martin o halloran - December 17, 2012 - 12:14 am

    I am considering buying an xe1 for a forthcoming wedding. Thanks for your comments. Do you think an xe1 suitable for weddings? I have a canon 500d with kit lenses, and i think the xe1 will be a big improvment.
    Whats your opinion? I value it. thanks once again
    Martin o Halloran

  • Geoff - December 17, 2012 - 3:19 am

    Thanks Lindsay for your very informative review. I have both the OMD and the X-E1. Trying to decide which to keep. The thing is, there are things I like and dislike about both. I wish the OMD had a built in flash. I wish the X-E1 had a video button. Overall though, I love the AF speed of the OMD. I do own and love my Fuji X10, so that I’ll keep. I may do as you did and just keep them both.

    Thanks again for such a fine review.

  • Lindsay - December 17, 2012 - 9:57 am

    Hi Martin, I try not to make specific equipment recommendations beyond setting out my own personal view of any given camera, but as you can see from my report (and others) the autofocus on the XE1 is not particularly fast, particularly in low light. I would recommend that you ask a wedding photographer who is currently using X system cameras for weddings. However wedding venues vary greatly and the specific environment you are going to will dictate your equipment. If you are attending the wedding as a guest with no expectations placed upon you then I would simply take whichever camera suits you best. If you aim to undertake a paid wedding then testing all your kit thoroughly beforehand in typical wedding conditions is of course essential.

  • Lindsay - December 17, 2012 - 9:58 am

    Hi Geoff, many people end up owning both the OMD and the XE1 – they are very different machines but they compliment each other well.

  • Boris - December 28, 2012 - 4:18 am

    Hi Lindsay. Thank you for your time in setting out your experience with both of these camera.

    I noticed you mentioned that one can alter the white balance warmer or cooler using both cameras (I ask about the XE-1). Does this mean that in auto-WB a bias can be made for all pictures, or are you referring to the different WB options (sunset, incandescent, etc)? As far as I was aware, this is only possible with different film emulations, but all are quite washed blue. I particularly like the lenses of the Fuji, but I prefer the warm tones of the Olympus and I would like to emulate these (apparently I see the world through rose-tinted glasses!). I seem to see other people asking for the opposite often though (Fuji colours in Olympus).

  • Lindsay - December 28, 2012 - 10:04 am

    Hi Boris, you’ve raised a very important point and you are not the only person who prefers the Olympus colours. Personal preference should always come into play and it would be a very boring world is every camera produced output which looked the same. Yes, you can create a warmer or cooler bias in either camera (without resorting to manually setting specific white balance). It’s a case of playing around until you find settings which appeal to you.

  • Luc de Schepper - December 28, 2012 - 8:15 pm

    Hello Lindsay, so much useful info on your blog. Thanks a lot for sharing all this. Your X-E1 vs OM-D posting is packed with practical info with emphasis on the things that matter in real photography. Great stuff! I own a Nikon D700 with a set of fine prime lenses and a X100. However the weight of the Nikon set is becoming a problem for me, especially on holidays and city trips. So I’m considering the X-E1 or the OM-D. Or perhaps wait for a future X-Pro2 as I do like the Fuji X-series image quality. I’ve handled the X-E1 and OM-D. The X-E1 is nice but rather small and I don’t like that you have to press the AF button before being able to move the focus point. And there’s the slow autofocus of course. The OM-D is really small, it feels like an electronic toy, with very small buttons. Still, we are spoilt with these luxury choices these days. Thanks again and I’m looking forward to reading your future posts.

  • Lindsay - December 28, 2012 - 9:43 pm

    Hi Luc, it is a difficult choice but ultimately I think it may come down to ergonomics, and whether you need good autofocus ability and of course RAW – both of which are currently limitations of the XE1.

  • Iain Sword - December 30, 2012 - 10:24 pm

    Hi Lindsay. Thanks for sharing this really interesting article. I currently shoot with a crop-sensor DSLR but am thinking about switching to a CSC kit, so it’s great to hear your thoughts about these two exciting cameras.

    Just one small point to make – under the section about the OMD’s increased depth of field, you mention that 4 factors govern an image’s DOF: aperture, subject distance, focal length, and sensor size. However sensor size has absolutely nothing to do with DOF – the necessity of wider focal lengths on smaller sensors is what really increases the DOF. I don’t mean to sound pedantic, but thought this statement might confuse some of your readers.

    Keep up the great work. Look forward to reading more of your posts.

  • Lindsay - December 30, 2012 - 10:55 pm

    Hi Iain, IQ wise you won’t be giving up anything by switching to a modern CSC and your back/neck/shoulders will thank you for it. With respect to DOF perhaps I should have said that sensor size affects ‘apparent’ DOF. You are not being pedantic at all, but I normally leave the more scientific explanations from my articles since many readers are novices. Good luck with your purchase and do report back on how you find the system once you have it.

  • Daniel - January 2, 2013 - 5:00 am

    Hi Lindsay, I was wondering which camera you would be happy with if you knew you wouldn’t be able to upgrade for the next 2 or 3 years. I can see that the Fuji has better high ISO performance and a good future lens roadmap. But the Olympus already has many wonderful lenses in production. Do you think you would yearn for a better camera body with better high ISO performance if you picked the Olympus and knew you couldn’t upgrade for the next 3 years?

  • Lindsay - January 2, 2013 - 8:51 am

    Daniel, IQ and ISO ability of both cameras is great, and very close, so that would never be the determiner in my decision (as a professional I’m interested in real world performance so pixel peeping between the two is of no value). As a professional, for the work I do (your subject matter may differ) there are performance failings in the Fuji which limits its usefulness and therefore its cost/benefit ratio (not necessarily something which would trouble most amateurs or hobbyists). The OMD meets almost all of my performance criteria therefore that is the system I would choose to keep the longest and it is also the system I happen to prefer. The lens roadmap of the Fuji is only ‘good’ if those lenses meet one’s needs and they do not align well with my own needs, however the u4/3 lenses cover all my requirements and more.

  • paul miles - January 2, 2013 - 7:40 pm

    Hi Lindsay’
    Stumbled across your review by accident…but good it certainly is.
    I’ve had for the last 2 years a Nikon d7000 with various lenses including a nikon 50mm 1.4, nikon 18=200 and a Tamron 90mm1:1 2.8 macro which is my choice of lens for macro photography which is my favoured following.
    I’ve had some really good photo’s from the Tamron and I’m ready to give it all up in favour of a Fuji xe1….but will the image quality suffer as a result of me going to this kind of set up??
    I can accept that technology moves as fast in cameras as it does in computers but will I be making a big mistake moving across to this type of camera???

  • Lindsay - January 2, 2013 - 8:12 pm

    Hi Paul, I’m afraid I don’t really know anything about Nikon systems, but your decision will probably need to hinge on your subject matter (presuming you photograph more than just macro). The XE1 cannot be compared to a DSLR since it is completely different in pretty much every way. For example, currently there is no viable mainstream RAW support for X Trans and the autofocus will be much slower than your DSLR. In addition the X lens lineup may be limiting. Of course these limitations may change, perhaps even soon, but I think the best thing to do is to try and get to a camera store where you can have a play with the Fuji and see how you feel about it. On the other hand the OMD is rather like a miniaturised DSLR and so it may be a better choice.

  • Timothy Bell - January 5, 2013 - 11:19 pm

    Lindsay,
    Have you ever listed the settings you apply to the OM-D in regards to changes from the default. I am also a portrait photographer who has recently acquired an OM-D(in addition to my DSLR) and I have agreed with your comments and would appreciate this baseline info to set up my camera.
    Thanks,
    Tim

  • Lindsay - January 6, 2013 - 3:38 pm

    Hi Tim, as mentioned in my article(s) I turn sharpness and NR down, warming to off, and WB bias a notch towards blue. That’s it pretty much, I like a flatish neutral starting point but everybody is different and much depends on final workflow. But with portraits the colour and lowering of sharpness is the most crucial, in my view.

  • Sunil - January 21, 2013 - 4:15 am

    What OMD lenses do you recommend? What would say about the quality of the OMD kit 12-50 mm? Thanks.

  • Lindsay - January 21, 2013 - 2:56 pm

    Sunil, lens choices are very personal and are of course dependent on your subject matter. As a portrait photographer I use the PL25 f1.4, the 45 f1.8 and the 35-100 f2.8. I’m afraid I can’t comment on the quality of the 12-50 as I don’t use kit lenses as a rule (too slow for the work I do) but one of the key features of this lens is the macro capability.

  • Joel - January 21, 2013 - 9:48 pm

    Hello Lindsay, an absolute gem of a review. The approach and contents are perfect. Very useful. Thank you. When I first came across the X100 I fell in love with it. My only hesitation was its fixed lens. Then Fuji annouced the XE-1 with interchangeable lenses; huge smile on my face. I wanted to wait for well informed reviews before taking the plunge. Your review is it. I note that you still have and presumeable use your X100 and have now sold the XE-1. What made you sell the XE-1 rather than the X-100 (Perhaps you have written a comparative review of these two elsewhere) If so I would be grateful for the link. I love the retro look of the XE-1 and may well go for it. But if its advantages do not far outweigh those of the X100, then I have a dilema.

    Many thanks.

    Joel

  • Lindsay - January 22, 2013 - 9:07 am

    Hi Joel, many thanks indeed for the kind comment. We try to keep things as balanced and objective as possible, I have no brand allegiance but instead weigh up any purchases according to the intended purpose. On this occasion both cameras under discussion were brought into the business as professional work tools. It turned out that the XE1 was not suited to the kind of portrait work I undertake and therefore it was uneconomic to keep it. On the other hand, my X100 was purchased very much as a camera for personal enjoyment therefore the performance criteria applied to that decision was far less stringent. Why did I not keep the XE1 as my personal use camera? That came down to size, the fact I prefer the OVF on the X100 and also my preference for the files produced by the X100 (I am not keen on X Trans). Without a doubt a fixed lens can be limiting at times however the quality of the glass on the X100 is spectacular and I also have the X10 for personal use on the occasions when I think zoom will be needed. So ultimately it all comes down to what you will be shooting and how you like to shoot. But I agree it is a difficult decision!

  • Sunil - January 22, 2013 - 3:25 pm

    Thank you for your response, Lindsay. Is the fact that the sensor is exposed when changing lenses no longer an issue with mirror less cameras. I have not seen that come up lately. My main interest is travel photography and I was leaning towards zoom lens.

  • harold - January 22, 2013 - 7:36 pm

    Sorry; I lost interest when he mentioned no difference in dof.
    Clearly regurgitated 4/3s fanboy talk and somebody whos knows little about photography

  • Lindsay - January 22, 2013 - 7:47 pm

    I’m not sure what you mean Harold, nowhere have I stated there is no difference in depth the field – in fact in my articles I often refer to the fact that the DOF differences (less than a stop if comparing to APS-C) could be either an advantage or a disadvantage depending on the situation. DOF is controlled by a number of factors of which sensor format is but one. I am brand/format agnostic and shoot with a range of equipment from different manufacturers, including Fuji, Olympus and Canon. For the record I am a “she” and am reasonably well known in my field.

  • Ryan - February 2, 2013 - 3:53 pm

    Hey Lindsay, loving your blog posts and pictures!

    I currently own an X100 and although I love the image quality, the lens and the hybrid viewfinder, the EVF lags quite a bit until you half press the shutter button and the AF/having to press macro for anything <70cm or so is extremely frustrating.

    I mostly shoot candid scenes and street but a lot of the time I'll be taking casual pictures of family and friends, especially in houses/restaurants where AF is crucial.

    I'm currently looking at the Fuji X series and the OM-D series and was wondering what you would recommend. I would personally love something that's hassle free (quick AF and something that just works) but I also love the physical dials of an aperture ring and exposure compensation. What do you think of the two dials on the OM-D? are they easy to turn and do they give a positive feedback so you can feel confident about changing exposure compensation? also do you find the OMD's high iso comparable to the X100?

    Thank you,

    Ryan.

  • Lindsay - February 2, 2013 - 7:56 pm

    Hi Ryan, many thanks indeed for the kind words. I also have an X-100 and I agree that the image quality is sensational. It does of course have its quirks, like most Fuji cameras, and I also agree that the EVF can be quite frustrating (I tend not to use it very often). Where autofocus is concerned the OMD is very good indeed, vastly better than the Fuji X cameras (in fact the autofocus is one of the reasons why I recently parted company with my XE1). I found the aperture ring on the lens quite annoying, the slightest knock or movement and it would shift, slowing the photographic process down still further. With respect to the buttons and dials on the OMD, they are smaller than other cameras and I would say that if you have large hands they may prove fiddly. I would suggest trying to get to a camera store to see if the buttons would be a problem for you. I haven’t done any kind of precise comparison between the OMD and the X-100 on ISO, since these days most modern cameras are very good in low light. I advise people not to get too hung up on small differences between one machine and the next. But the OMD is very good at high ISO, I’d say it’s very close to the X-100.

  • Ryan - February 2, 2013 - 9:09 pm

    Thank you for the reply Lindsay,

    Seems like the OM-D might be the camera for me, unless the X series AF is drastically changes when they implement the phase detection pixels alas the X100s. So is the aperture ring a lot looser on the XF lenses compared to the X100? Since I have hardly many problems with the X100 aperture ring.

  • Lindsay - February 2, 2013 - 9:51 pm

    Hi Ryan, the X100 aperture ring is nice and firm, but the one on the 18-55 zoom (and the other X lenses I’ve used) is much too loose in my opinion, annoyingly so at times.

  • Steve - February 3, 2013 - 5:54 pm

    Hi Lindsay,
    Thanks for a great review, I am still torn between OM-D and X-e1. I am off to Mustang in Nepal in April/Maya nd want to take pictures for a book I am writing, (landscapes, buildings, people with some flash and low-light stuff). In your view which camera has the best image quality/sharpness of the two and is the AF on the X-e1 vastly inferior?

    Thanks again

    Steve

  • Lindsay - February 3, 2013 - 6:26 pm

    Hi Steve, as mentioned in the article image quality between the two is a non-issue (in fact image quality/sharpness is largely down to optics) and the lowlight capability of the OMD is very good, certainly good enough for the many professional wedding photographers who have now adopted this camera. Ultimately the quality of your images are of course down to your abilities as a photographer and has nothing to do with pixel peeping, however if you need to photograph moving subjects or if you need to work quickly in lowlight situations then the OMD is far more capable. They are very different machines, the OMD is a fantastic performer across the board (rather like a small DSLR) however the Fuji X cameras are better suited to slower more considered shooting. It all comes down to your personal style, preferences, and handling (so the best advice I can give is that you try to get both cameras into your hands before buying). If you’re travelling do bear in mind that the OMD and many of the Micro 4/3 lenses are weather sealed, and the X cameras are not. There are also vastly more lenses available for Micro 4/3 systems, from fast primes to fast zooms and beyond. I no longer have the XE1 as I found it to be unsuited to the work I do.

  • Steve Kemp-king - February 5, 2013 - 10:30 am

    Thanks for this, looks like it’s going to be the OMD as the dust on the Tibetan plateau can be a menace. There are hardly any camera shops left in London, and Curry’s/pc world don’t have either where i live. can you recommend a good dealer anywhere?

    Finally is the OMD kit lens 12-50 good? I’ve read mixed reviews.

    thanks again

    steve.

  • Lindsay - February 5, 2013 - 10:58 am

    Hi Steve, Park Cameras in Burgess Hill, Sussex, are excellent and usually have a full inventory. If you’re in the area they are well worth a visit (you may want to phone them ahead of time just to doublecheck they have what you want in stock).

  • Steve Kemp-King - February 7, 2013 - 3:49 pm

    I now have an olympus OM-D so that, at least, is settled. Thank you for your kind advice! now to get it out of the box. Hmmm……….

  • Lindsay - February 7, 2013 - 4:07 pm

    Hi Steve, many congratulations on your OMD! The hard part is ploughing through the manual, it’s quite a complex camera in many ways as I’m sure you know – it’s worth taking the time initially to set things up to suit your own way of working.

    The online manual can be found here: http://olympusamerica.com/files/oima_cckb/E-M5_Instruction_Manual_EN.pdf
    And a good quick start guide can be seen here: http://www.dpreview.com/articles/9115179666/user-guide-getting-the-most-out-of-the-olympus-e-m5

  • Eric - February 19, 2013 - 4:38 pm

    Lindsay, thank you for your real world review of the two cameras. May I ask what in particular you found most problematic regarding the XE-1 in its application as a tool for portrait photography? From my limited use of the camera it seemed like it would excel in these types of scenarios where blazing fast AF isn’t a necessity. The reason I ask is that I’m quite disenchanted with my 5DII for portrait work, despite the wonderful IQ it provides and was considering either an X-PRO 1 or XE-1 to replace it. I am, however, not a professional (although I do shoot the occasional headshot session) so I realise your requirements may be different than my own.

  • Lindsay - February 19, 2013 - 6:44 pm

    Hi Eric, the key thing to remember is that photographers are all very different and as you rightly point out professional requirements will be very different to those of an amateur or hobbyist. When shooting professionally there is not much room for error, we cannot miss our shots nor will a client tolerate even a relatively small proportion of mis-focused images. Portrait photographers vary wildly, particularly location photographers such as myself. My shoots tend to be quite fast paced where we work from one concept to the next, providing a wide spectrum of images for the client. This will involve different locations and very different kinds of light. Both the speed and the accuracy of the XE1 meant that it was not a tenable work tool for me. However on personal outings this is rarely a problem since I’m not repeatedly asking the camera to accurately focus on a human face, but I already have two Fuji X cameras for recreational use. I will add to that the lack of mainstream RAW support which is not yet good enough for many professional applications.The OMD on the other hand is proving to be an immensely capable professional camera and of course the lens selection for Micro 4/3 is fantastic. For me it comes down to using “the best tool for the job”.

  • Simon - February 26, 2013 - 4:05 pm

    Thanks for the review.

    I have a OMD EM5 and quite like it but find the buttons a bit small and irritating. The focus although it is fast sometimes missfires as I find the focus area on the EM5 too big; I therefore have to rewly on the eye focusing feature which is a bit hit and miss. I have only found a way to reduce the focus area size in live view; any thoughts?

    I also have problems with the kit zoom but the Olympus 9-18 mm I have is quite a nice lens; as is the 45 mm F1.8. The 17mm F2.8 is OKish.

    BUT I really need a good standard zoom for travel snaps as I don’t have time to change lenses with the family in tow.

    I have recently tried the XE1 and standard zoom in Calument and liked it. The focusing seemed fine to me, even in the shop light; the AF sensor was a little finer grained so it seemed that I could be more specific with the focusing. Not much point having fast AF if the camera hits the wrong spot. Am I the only one who would prefer slower but accurate focus to quicker inaccurate focus?

    I am going to Focus next week and if there is a deal I may come back with an XE1 and standard zoom. My tests seem to indicate it is a pretty sharp lens and I can get the whole camera and zoom for the price of the Panasonic 12-35 mm F2.8 zoom, which itself doesn’t get reviews good enough to warrant £900 expenditure.

    However I won’t sell my OMD EM5 until I am sure over the XE1, but as I don’t want to spend the dosh on the Olympus fast primes, it seems like the better camera for me at the current time. However before I buy the XE1 I want to find out how much the new 10-24mm Fuji is!

    Else I will end up using the EM5 with my 9-18 and the XE1 with the standard zoom! It seems life is never simple!

  • Lindsay - February 26, 2013 - 4:28 pm

    Hi Simon, I agree that the OMD buttons are small and can be a bit fiddly at times. However I have not yet had a single mis-focused image in any of the situations I have shot the OMD in. The focus area is a little deceptive, in that you need to ensure the centre of it aligns with the point where you need critical focus.

    If you are referring to the 12-50 kit zoom, it is of course very slow and not particularly good at resolving fine detail. If you’re seeking a high quality standard zoom then I would recommend the 12-35 f2.8 if budget allows. The PL25 f1.4 is a nice walkabout lens if that FOV suits you.

    When applied to professional situations the inadequacies of the XE1 focus became glaringly obvious, those flaws are rarely evident during my personal work (and there is no reason why it would not be perfectly fine for general travel photography) but were problematic when it came to environmental portraiture When accurate focusing on a face is crucial. These may not be considerations for many users but as a professional it is a dealbreaker, however there were also other reasons why I decided not to keep the XE1. In terms of autofocus the latest firmware is said to improve the accuracy somewhat. If the camera is simply for your own personal enjoyment then it becomes far easier to just buy whatever you prefer. But it is still a difficult decision and quite often the only way to determine what is best is to own it and see how you get along with it.

  • Randy - March 12, 2013 - 2:34 pm

    Dittos on the “Wonderful Article”
    I’m very glad to have fallen upon your blog.
    I sold my two Canon 2.8 zooms after a major financial hit and attempted to be happy with the 70×200 F4. I wasn’t! I sold the 30D and lens.
    After stumbling from one camera to the next I’d pretty much set my mind on the OM-D…. I’ve been looking for a quality camera that performs well in all areas and exceeds in others. I can’t go down the $2K per lense road again… Therefore 4/3 seems like a no brainer. However I’m 6’05 and have larger hands- longer fingers. I live on an island, so a trip to the camera store is out of the question. I’m starting to get the idea that I may need to go the route of a GH3 or back to dslr since the small/large size really isn’t an issue for me. With that said, I’m a bit disheartened… the OM-D seems like such a quality piece with endless options and within reason- quality glass at affordable dollar points- all good things, but if may be just too small and frustrating for larger hands so it seems. SO, if I have to jump to a bigger that can give me the OM-D level of quality and speed, where would you be looking? Or am I being too wrong to worry since I’m a hobbyist- so not something I’ll be using for work. Thanks Again :o)

  • Lindsay - March 12, 2013 - 6:17 pm

    Hi Randy, one of the things which makes the OMD so attractive is the combination of performance, image quality, all in a very small package. But as you rightly point out small cameras don’t suit everyone. Your island location will as you say make the choice more complicated, unless you can find a seller who will accept a return. I think you are correct in that the GH3 would be the next best thing size-wise, but it is more expensive than the OMD unfortunately. If size isn’t an issue then a DSLR such as a 7D or 60D might be worth considering, but then you may be forced to consider expensive lenses. Not an easy choice in the absence of a camera store.

  • offtheback - March 20, 2013 - 3:38 pm

    Lindsay-thank you for your unique perspective/review of the Oly/Fuji set.I’ve had an EM-5 for 6 months now as my first above point n shoot after several years with film SLR’s.While it took me a couple of months to figure out the menu systems and features(no thanks to the horrid documentation)it is an excellent overall system and the portability is a huge plus.I encountered a strange problem the other day while shooting in a light rain.The auto switching between viewfinder/LCD stopped working and was stuck on the EVF.The problem was a drop or 2 of rain that landed in the switching detector area and simulated my face being at the EVF.Another beguiling moment with the OMD-5.Kinda like a love affair.Thanks again for you wonderful blog+photos.

  • Lindsay - March 20, 2013 - 4:12 pm

    Hi offtheback – yes, it’s fantastic that really good portable systems are now a reality, it’s made a huge difference to my comfort level (I no longer dread packing my camera bag). Interesting you should mention your OMD playing up, good that you could spot the problem – my shutter button locked momentarily in the rain last week, I had to switch the camera off than on again, after which it was fine. I never believe that electronic devices are as water resistant as they say!

Portrait Photographer West Sussex Every year I make a point of entering the amazing professional imaging competition run by The Societies (SWPP and BPPA). This can be a daunting process at first, but it’s also a fantastic way to push yourself forward. The quest for self-improvement should be part of every professional photographer’s mindset and […]

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  • Stephen Scharf - December 5, 2012 - 3:43 am

    Congratulatons on your Gold Medals and Highly Commended, Lindsay.

    Certainly well, well deserved.

    best,
    Stephen

    PS I must look into joining some of the societies….

  • Lindsay - December 5, 2012 - 9:08 am

    Thank you Stephen. As for the various societies, as you can imagine all are different with a very different flavour and ethos. Some better represent certain forms of photography than others.

  • John Barnes - December 5, 2012 - 1:55 pm

    Lindsay, Well done. Many congratulations on this latest set of awards. The images are fantastic. The recognition is hugely deserved. All the best, John.

  • Lindsay - December 5, 2012 - 2:09 pm

    Thank you for the kind words John – and may I say I have watched your own work come on in leaps and bounds in the last couple of years!

I have a friend who manages a camera store and the question he is most often asked is “which camera takes the best pictures?”  The only viable answer to this is “any” simply because the picture will generally look fairly similar irrespective of the camera, given the good standards of most modern equipment. A big […]

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  • Simon peckham - December 3, 2012 - 8:18 pm

    Great piece on an important subject. I agree its a syndrome that will become more and more prominent. I am about to trading in my Nikon D300s and a whole bunch of lens for a Fuji Xe1. Why …. Because I have owned a Fuji X 100 for the last year and its been a revelation. The image quality is what I have been searching for for me personal tastes. The X pro 1 is now out of date and I almost never use the optical viewing on the X100. So I am daring to take the plunge and convince my existing and new customers. All is well look at the quality and remember the old days of huge DSLRs in years gone by. Wish me luck :-)

  • Lindsay - December 3, 2012 - 8:27 pm

    Hi Simon, lovely to hear from you and thank you for commenting. The lack of weight is wonderful and being able to comfortably shoot for as long as I want to has transformed how I feel at the end of a long working day. I too have an X100, which I love. I’m not sure that you will immediately notice a difference in image quality if you move up to the XE1, but I would say that in terms of ISO you will have about an extra stop when shooting JPEG. Just be aware that the autofocus speed has not really been improved, despite what was promised, and even with the new zoom lens the XE1 is really quite slow and this could be a frustration at times. It is not really a step up from the XP1. I am a big fan of the optical viewfinder on the X100 and I would gladly have paid more for this feature to have been included on the XE1 (I didn’t invest in an XP1 since it is a little too large). I will be holding back a couple of our DSLRs because there are situations when they will be the best tools. But yes, remind your customers that they are hiring you for your professionalism and your quality imagery, not the size of your cameras!

  • Samuel - December 6, 2012 - 3:33 pm

    Spare a thought for the poor old amateurs — I’ll have to take my big, heavy Slik tripod with me now if I want to look like a pro!

    I was recently comparing my X-E1 with my old Minolta XD7 and there isn’t much difference in size. Yet, in its day, Lindsay, it was commonly used among professionals. We’re so used now to seeing pros brandishing a couple of big black cameras and huge lenses. Times they are a-changing…

    I enjoyed reading your post.

  • Lindsay - December 6, 2012 - 3:44 pm

    Hi Samuel, indeed it is interesting how things are changing, but old attitudes die hard. I was at a local event a few months ago and there was an overwhelming number of snappers who were strung with DSLRs (or sometimes two) – how their backs held up I’ll never know. Anyway, I had a Fuji X camera with me. One of the big-camera gents came over and told me that if I wanted any tips on how to take pictures he would make himself available. Whilst we chatted, I noticed his cameras were set to Auto, and he didn’t seem to take many photographs throughout the morning. I always think of him whenever I have a nice small kitbag with me! I too started out on ‘small’ film cameras (I will not admit when) and it feels good to have a similar form factor in my hands again.

  • Kevin - December 25, 2012 - 7:00 pm

    Good stuff Lindsay. I’m a designer/photographer of too many years(!) and I’ve decided to ease myself into a smaller system with the XE-1, running side-by-side with my DSLR, until I’m confident that the compact can handle paid work, all on it’s own.

    For instance, I’m not prepared to risk an entire wedding on the XE-1… yet. Having said that, I’m a two primes (35/85) and two bodies man, so I don’t think the transition will prove too difficult. It might take the 24-70 / 70-200 ‘brigade’ a little longer to make this sort of change.

    From a client perspective – and I’ve commissioned and art directed dozens of photographers – they don’t care about your gear. Period.

    It’s only photographers with little self-confidence (and perhaps too little ability) that fret about such things.

  • Lindsay - December 25, 2012 - 7:13 pm

    Hi Kevin, lovely to hear from you and great to get your perspective on an area which many pros are currently grappling with. I think you’re very wise to keep a DSLR in the bag, I do that too since some situations are best served by a faster focussing body. I feel we also need RAW support for X Trans before larger numbers of wedding photographers will feel confident enough to jump ship (though I find there is tremendous latitude on the Fuji X series JPEGs).

  • Jason - December 27, 2012 - 3:17 pm

    That’s a nice leather case for the OMD!!!
    May I know what case is that?

  • Lindsay - December 27, 2012 - 4:11 pm

    Jason, it’s the Ciesta case – they’re on e-bay, there are now quite a lot of leather case options for the OMD, including Kenji, Gariz etc.

  • Dave - January 10, 2013 - 5:59 am

    I just picked up the OMD, with the idea of getting rid of my Canon 5D MKII because of all the weight associated with it, especially for travel! I’m having a hard time getting used to the EVF and split second where I don’t see my subject after taking a photo. I think I’ll get used to it though…

  • Eric - April 10, 2013 - 1:26 am

    Thanks for the post Lindsay. I’m in the same boat. I’m going from a 2 FF body setup to a m4/3 setup. I started selling my equipment (one of my 5D + a couple of lenses) but I’m still holding on my 5DII and some lenses (14 f/2.8, 35 f/1.4, 50 f/1.4 and 70-200 f/2.8) for this year wedding season. I’m not ready to ditch all this at the beginning of the season but I will try to go 2nd or 3rd shoot a wedding with only the OM-D, E-PM2 and the nice m4/3 primes I have to see how it goes. If all is well, next year, I’ll probably work with only micro 4/3. I now have shot some commercial gigs and some portraits/newborns with the OM-D and the clients never mentioned anything about the size of the camera. They know what I’m capable of since they hired me for the job so I guess they simply don’t care about the tools I’m using.
    It’s really nice to see other pros going the “light” way too. If you want to check my first 4 months with the OM-D, here’s a link to it: http://blog.ericcote.net/2013/01/quatre-mois-avec-lolympus-om-d/ . Feel free to remove it if you want though, I don’t want to promote myself on your blog.

  • Lindsay - April 10, 2013 - 12:18 pm

    Hi Eric, it’s great to hear from a fellow professional who has successfully adopted the OMD system. I enjoyed your article – your photography is beautiful. I feel that the OMD has helped me to become more creative, mostly because I can take it on trips where my DSLR system would be far too heavy and cumbersome, and of course I no longer get tired now that I have a lightweight camera. I find the Micro 4/3 lenses inspiring too, I’m blown away by the quality (I’m loving the 35-100 for portraiture). Do stay in touch and I’ll look forward to following your work.

  • Stephen Burke - August 5, 2013 - 11:48 am

    Hi Lindsay

    I’ve enjoyed reading your pieces on the Olympus OMD EM-5, and the Fujifilm XE-1, they have steered me towards buying the former. I have one question of a very non-technical nature, silver or black, which do you think looks best?

  • Lindsay - August 5, 2013 - 1:21 pm

    I’m terrible at making choices Stephen. I like the retro look so I went for the silver, and I told myself that when I’d saved up for a second OMD I’d get a black one. The camera looks great in either colour, it looks a bit more old fashioned in the silver and a bit sharper and more modern in the black. I’m probably not being much help!

I’ve been telling myself for the last couple of years that I really need to start taking a few hours out each month just to wind down and immerse myself in something relaxing. That’s all very well, but if you happen to be a photographer it can be virtually impossible to go somewhere interesting and […]

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  • John Barnes - December 4, 2012 - 4:54 pm

    Lindsay, another great set of pictures. Thanks for sharing these. I haven’t been to the Natural History Museum since I was a child but remember being fascinated by all the things in the glass cabinets (must go back at some point !). All the best, John.

  • Lindsay - December 4, 2012 - 5:01 pm

    Yes, you must go back John, but you will probably need more than a day to see it all!

  • mick - December 11, 2012 - 10:17 am

    I have had an XE1 for a couple of weeks now, and I think your comments are spot on. For me, it is a most enjoyable camera to use and the image quality is very good. It isn’t the best camera for every situation and I’ll continue to use my Nikon DSLR for macro, long telephoto, off-camera flash etc. But, for general landscape, street, reportage and informal portraits it is the best camera I’ve ever used. The 35mm f1.4 is the best lens I’ve ever used too, beating the best from Nikon, Zeiss and Leica. The 18mm lens is good, well made, good to use, but nothing extraordinary.

  • Lindsay - December 11, 2012 - 10:23 am

    Hi Mick, I agree that the XE1 isn’t always a good choice as an only camera since it does have performance limitations in some areas, notably speed and lack of current mainstream RAW support. Indeed, Fujinon glass is up there with the best and I hope Fuji will add further to its current lens lineup. A long fast zoom would be fantastic.

  • Jeff Rovner - January 8, 2013 - 6:28 pm

    Lindsay, I just bought the X-E1 with Fuji’s 35mm f/1.4 lens. I’m happy with it in general, with one exception: when I shoot manually, choosing the aperture and shutter speed myself, the EVF doesn’t reflect my exposure settings. Most important, the histogram in the EVF has nothing to do with the image I’m about to capture. As a result, I can’t figure out a way to use the histogram to avoid blown highlights in my images. When I use aperture priority mode, the camera often picks an exposure that results in blown highlights. I can use exposure compensation to try to reduce them, but often the two stop exposure comp range isn’t enough. Since your images are beautiful and don’t seem to have any highlight problems, I’d value your advice on how to shoot with the X-E1. Thanks!

  • Lindsay - January 8, 2013 - 7:42 pm

    Hi Jeff, it seems very strange that in Av mode you’re getting blown highlights and the exposure compensation you describe seems very extreme. It’s worth first determining if the issue is blown highlights or a general overexposure since the two can suggest different problems and different remedies. I’ve never seen any blown highlights from my own output so all I can suggest is that you check a few things, obvious as some of this will sound: firstly I would look at your metering mode, if you’re using spot metering inappropriately that would certainly give you exposure problems (I almost always stick to evaluative/multi area metering). Assuming you’re shooting JPEG (we don’t have much choice on the XE1 unfortunately, at least at the present) then your in camera JPEG parameters could be set too high, crucially the highlight tone which I lower to soften any bright areas. You can protect the highlights further but I tend to leave things at DR100. Shooting in Velvia or any high contrast film mode can exacerbate contrast – I stick to Provia. If you’re metering and controlling the camera correctly, and if you’re in control of your post processing that it is possible the sensor could be at fault and repair is needed. Unfortunately it’s very hard to comment further without seeing how you set up your shots, but hopefully you will find the source of the problems soon. Overall I find Fuji’s metering to be very consistent and the dynamic range is better than most.

Having very recently purchased both cameras today I took the Fujifilm XE-1 and Olympus OMD EM-5 on an outing to Hampton Court Palace just south of London. This is only the second time I’ve tried both of these cameras, having been somewhat delayed by the appalling weather we’re having here in the UK. Yesterday’s storm died […]

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  • Sam - November 26, 2012 - 2:41 pm

    Balanced comments again and quality shots. You got a lovely day for that. I think you have an advantage here by being able to compare results from these two cameras. Just today I read a glowing report about the X-E1 as a traveller’s camera, for street work and so on, but I feel comparisons in the same context on the same day are a better gauge. They are for me anyway. An interesting read.

    By the way, I was doing a bit of amateur writing recently about the X-E1 and kept getting the letters the wrong way round and the hyphen in the wrong place! It’s age with me…

    You’re worth reading as usual, and all being well you shouldn’t get murdered for it!

    :)

  • Lindsay - November 26, 2012 - 2:58 pm

    Hi Sam, great to hear from you and I must say I also enjoy reading your articles at theimageplane. As you say, balance is key and I do have the luxury of being able to compare both cameras. And that is precisely why the Fuji is lagging behind in several areas, had I not experienced the exceptional performance of the OMD then perhaps I would not be quite so critical at times. As for the Fuji being a useful street camera, that will be interesting, I will be putting it to the test within the next week or two and I will of course report back. Part of the problem is the EVF (which is not as responsive as that on the OMD) whereas the OVF on my X100 is a delight for street work (I was never tempted by the XP1 due to it’s size and feel). I’ve probably been getting the letters the wrong way around quite often as well, I’m terrible for that kind of thing. I can also blame my age!

  • Frans van Zomeren - December 3, 2012 - 5:20 pm

    Lindsay, A very nice, real use based review, with nice, very “clean”, uncluttered pictures. I would like to start thanking you for that. I am an enthousiast phtographer and I am contemplating to buy either the OM-D or the X-E1 as single interchangeable systems next to my X100 as replacement of my recently sold Oly E5 with bag of FT lenses. (I am reaching 60 and I really want a lighter system.) I might ask to much of this single system because I want to use it both for Landscapes, street and as a stealthy, non-intimidating camera to photog people outside and inside with available light. I also use my X100 as I make pictures at chamber music events.
    The questions I would like to ask are:
    1) how would you rate the AF performance of the X-E1 with the X100?
    2) how would you rate the EVF of the X-E1 with that of the OM-D?
    Thank you very much for your time,

    Regards,
    Frans

  • Lindsay - December 3, 2012 - 5:52 pm

    Hi Frans, the OMD and XE1 are very different and if you’re familiar with the X100 then the XE1 will feel quite similar in many ways. The image quality of both cameras is excellent, though slightly different and subject to personal preference. For the activities you describe the extra depth of field (just under a stop) on the Olympus may be an advantage. I would say the autofocus of the X100 and XE1 is similar but remember this is very dependent upon lens choice, the new Fujinon zoom lens is faster to focus than the primes. If focus speed and accuracy is one of your main concerns then the Olympus is better, particularly in low light. But if you are managing OK with your X100 then you should be fairly happy with the XE1. As far as the EVF is concerned, both are good, but again there will be an element of personal preference. I happen to prefer the EVF of the Olympus because it’s very like looking into a DSLR, and it gains up very quickly in bright light (whereas the Fuji is dimmer and does exhibit a bit of lag). When considering any new camera I always advise that you try to get to a camera store where you can compare them – handling is very important and you may pick up a camera and realise immediately that it doesn’t feel right. For example the OMD has very small buttons and if you have large hands it may feel a bit fiddly. Good luck with your decision.

  • Matt - December 6, 2012 - 9:42 pm

    Lindsay, your objective reviews and insight have been a tremendous help. I purchased a slightly used OMD and love it. I do love the Fuji colors though but had a hard time justifying the cost and “niggles”. To that end, concerning JPG settings on the OMD to somewhat mimic the Fuji colors, what exactly are the settings you are using? This is what I have learned so far so please add or delete anything you feel would help: turn off warming, turn off noise reduction, turn off noise filter, decrease white balance one notch towards blue and shoot in “natural” setting. Also, any other suggestions regarding the OMD that you found helpful would be appreciated.

  • Lindsay - December 6, 2012 - 10:13 pm

    Hi Matt, yes those are the JPEG settings I tend to stick to, this generates a fairly neutral file which can be tweaked easily in Lightroom. I would also recommend reducing sharpness a notch. Tastes vary hugely so it’s a case of playing with the settings until you find something which suits you. I think Oly colours are fantastic (providing you turn the warming off) and really pop. I think it’ll take another couple of months to really get to know my OMD but I’ll keep updating my blog as I go along. Lens-wise I’m loving the PL25 f1.4 and the 45 f1.8. The Oly 40-150 zoom is a corker too, very close to my pro glass for a fraction of the price (but slower, obviously, so I keep it for daytime outings).

  • Michael - May 18, 2013 - 6:04 pm

    Lindsay, I am a happy OM-D owner, and your suggestions to turn off the warming, and reduce sharpening have improved my jpegs substantially! I agree that turning the sharpening down makes the images appear more film-like. Thank you very much for that!
    I just bought a HLD-6 battery grip, and would recommend it to any OM-D owner. It dramatically improves the ergonomics, and makes the camera easier to use heavier lenses, such as the 75mm f/1.8. It can be used with the grip only, or with the battery extender attached to the bottom, which doubles the size of your battery life.
    best wishes,
    Michael

  • Lindsay - May 19, 2013 - 9:11 am

    Hi Micheal, one of the things I like about the OMD is the ability to fine tune almost all of its functions – as a professional that helps to make my life much easier at times. I like shooting JPEG in my personal work and the OMD does produce very good files, packed with detail. A few people have recommended the grip – I really must get one!

I thought it would be interesting to have an informal Olympus OMD EM-5 vs Fujifilm XE-1 discussion, simply because both of these cameras are fantastic but may appeal to different users for different reasons. It could be argued that both these machines are too different to warrant comparison, but you’d be surprised by how many people […]

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  • Alan (bl0at3r) - November 19, 2012 - 6:22 am

    This is a super post Lindsay – clearly both cameras perform well in your very skilled hands. It is all about the photographer at the end of the day. Love the images you have produced out of both cameras. For me the OM-D wins but purely on lens availability and interchangeability with the rest of the micro four thirds gear.

  • Lindsay - November 19, 2012 - 9:14 am

    Great to have your input Alan! The OMD wins for me too, the combination of image quality and performance is very hard to beat and the camera will do everything I ask of it.

  • Sam - November 19, 2012 - 5:40 pm

    Interesting read and proper shots to match. You know what you’re about.

    I have the X-E1. I’d read ‘reviews’ before and after getting it. Most of them liked to tell you about camera functions and design and IQ, but when I thought it through it seemed they were a bit slim on how well it handled in the real world. Sometimes I wonder if these folk are just a little too keen to get something out there on the back of a hot new release that hasn’t quite hit the shelves yet!

    Anyway, I appreciate your common sense approach. Actually useful. I’m not convinced about the focussing speed of the Fuji. Time will tell. I’ve been putting EF-lenses on it, which is interesting, and can look silly.

    :)

    Definitely worth reading your post. Thanks.

  • Lindsay - November 19, 2012 - 5:51 pm

    Hi Sam, many thanks indeed for commenting. I agree with the points you raise regarding functionality. Fuji are in many ways great innovators, but often at the expense of performance. The hype was such that I expected the autofocus speed with the new zoom lens to be better than it is, which is something of a letdown. There are niggles which surely could and should have been addressed prior to the camera hitting the marketplace, and perhaps some of these points can be addressed with firmware. But that will not do anything for the lens aperture ring (not firm enough) or the location of the tripod mount, both of which are irritations at times. As you say time will tell as to whether or not I will warm to the camera as much as I’d hoped. But right now the OMD is the one I am reaching for the most.

  • Mag D - November 23, 2012 - 11:42 am

    Brilliant write-up. Very informative and extremely helpful. As a professional photographer you have tried and used the absolute best, made a lot of comments, actually put photography in to a perspective which we ‘not so pro.’ can understand and put into practise. Your photos are fantastic, trees, lakes, flowers, all look so beautiful…. snake… not so lovable but brilliantly photographed. Thank you Lindsay.

  • Lindsay - November 23, 2012 - 11:45 am

    Thank you Mag D. I’m sure you would have liked Charles the snake if you had met him, he’s really very sweet. (-:

  • Audrey - November 24, 2012 - 1:42 am

    Thank you for this review. I’m actually on the fence about the X-E1. I have an X100 that I love so much, but have some trouble focusing on my 3 and 1 year old kids. Do you think the OM-D would be better at shooting active kids or should I get a dslr instead ? I’m not keen on that, since it’s bigger and heavier.

  • Lindsay - November 24, 2012 - 9:58 am

    Hi Audrey. It’s impossible to determine if a camera will suit any given individual and I never make recommendations on this basis. The best thing to do is go to a store and try one. The OMD is faster at focussing than the X100 but a DSLR will be better in that regard.

  • Rick - December 6, 2012 - 3:47 am

    I also have the OM-D along with a few great lenses and currently considering the XE-1 based on my fondness of the old fuji films I used to shoot with. Mainly the velvia and provia emulsions. Is there any way to emulate those from the OM-D? Since you use the OM-D more often what purpose does the XE-1 serve for you these days?

  • Lindsay - December 6, 2012 - 8:58 am

    Rick, the OMD is abundantly customizable and the tone and colour can be adjusted in-camera to suit. It’s a question of playing around until you find the settings you like best. However I personally prefer more neutral output, making any changes later in post-production. In that respect it’s quite easy to emulate the films you mention. As a full time professional it’s important I have at least two high quality mirrorless systems – I’m still new to the XE1 and I will attempt to build a relationship with it over the next few months. If the limitations remain a concern it will be replaced with something different.

  • [...] image courtesy: lindsaydobsonphotography.com [...]

  • Andy - December 11, 2012 - 11:48 am

    Hi Lindsey

    That was a great write up. It’s quite refreshing to read some real world use views on gear as opposed to having to trudge through a spec war! Lovely images too from both cameras. I myself have just bought an X-E1 and it is certainly a quirky little thing. I agree with your sentiments about the autofocus speed which can be frustrating. For me though, the amazing image quality and beautifully tactile nature of the camera makes it so fun and rewarding to use. One quirk I’d like to get your thoughts on…don’t you wish that AF point selection button was on the other side?!?

  • Lindsay - December 11, 2012 - 12:01 pm

    Hi Andy, lovely to hear from you and I’m pleased to hear you’re enjoying your XE1. It is certainly a unique and quite characterful camera, beautiful to look at in my opinion and I am impressed with the build quality. Indeed some of the quirks can be frustrating and I had hoped for better given this is the latest Fujifilm offering – it seems previous user complaints have not been addressed, which is a little disappointing. I hadn’t really thought about the autofocus point selection button …. I’ll make myself more aware of that next time I’m out. One advantage I have is that being female I have small fingers and I don’t encounter some of the handling issues which men may suffer from. That’s one area where the OMD might frustrate male photographers, it has very small buttons.

  • SD - December 12, 2012 - 12:31 am

    Hi Lindsay… Thank you for the post. I find it quiet surprising that you thought OMD is even comparable to the X-E1.

    I owned the OMD for 30 days before eventually returning it. I had not even tested or got my hands on the X-E1 to do any real comparisons, but other than the amazing video quality and the zippy AF, I thought the OMD was just not good enough (mind you, I am used to using a 5DMarkii). Furthermore, as an architect and avid designer, the look and feel of the OMD was a BIG disappointment. I know that sounds strange to most, but when you compare this digital version to the old OM film cameras, it is downright ugly. Bottomline, a fast camera with so-so image quality (kit 12-50mm lens) and a BIG dunce cap!! Bye bye OMD.

    I waited patiently for another 2 months before finally getting a copy of the X-E1. Within the first 24hrs, I was blown away by the image quality. Pardon my french, but I do not give a rats ass about anything else… a camera is for taking great pictures. Granted the AF is not perfect, but this is the first camera I have owned in 15 years of photography that I am willing to sleep with. Not to mention the STUNNING looks… you may say that the Bauhaus masters may have designed it. Leica has something to worry about,

    Sorry Lindsey, but the OMD is for the amateur photographers. A true purist like myself (and anyone who enjoyes the fine things in life will pick the Fuji). As far as I am concerned, there is NO COMPARISON with the NEX-5N, NEX-6, NEX-7 or that OMD.

  • SD - December 12, 2012 - 12:42 am

    Oh and one more thing… You may have been using the XE-1 with one of the ‘older’ 18, 35 or 60mm lenses with relatively slower AF. I started my X-E1 experience with a fantastic 18-55mm kit lens from Fuji. I cannot remember the last time a kit lens that shipped with any camera I ordered that was this sharp and fast. Suggest you give it a try. The images are a far cry from the mediocre grainy IQ from the Olympus kit lenses.

    I am looking forward to the Fuji roadmap for more fantastic lenses.

  • Lindsay - December 12, 2012 - 8:29 am

    Dear SD, many thanks for commenting, you have perfectly highlighted several of the points I have been at pains to raise in my article. Firstly, I have stated that the two cameras are not really comparable (since the OMD is more like a miniaturized DSLR in handling and performance) and are likely to appeal to different people for different reasons. Secondly, I do keep encouraging readers to consider ergonomics because the feel of any given camera may be entirely wrong for them as was the case for you. Perhaps my most important point is the fact that such decisions are quite personal and what will suit me may not suit the next customer – it is a case of prioritising one’s individual needs and preferences. It would be a dull world indeed if we all thought in the same way. I find the IQ of the OMD to be excellent and of course the XE1 is also exceptional. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what cameras I use, or which tools the next person prefers – what matters more is that you find the camera you are most happy with. Regards, Lindsay.

  • Lindsay - December 12, 2012 - 8:32 am

    SD, as stated in my article I use the XE1 with the Fujinon 18-55 zoom, which is optically excellent and very good value when purchased as a kit. I do not use the Oly kit zoom.

  • Nat - December 12, 2012 - 11:15 am

    I am still struggling to decide which compact system will suit me. I did try the XE1 in the shop but (unsurprisingly) the autofocus was slower than expected which would limit me in many everyday situations. I think the problem is that people expected the X system to evolve, and the XE1 is not a step forward, it appears to be a slightly smaller version of the XP1 without the optical viewfinder but with the same niggles I’ve read about on forums. Given the way the XP1 prices seem to be falling it’s hard for me to see where the XE1 fits in. I don’t have the budget for an OMD and fast zoom so it looks like I will need to consider other options! Lindsay I can see why you bought the XE1, it is beautiful but it is not for me.

  • SD - December 12, 2012 - 5:30 pm

    Lindsay… You are spot on about each person has a different take on the feel for what is right/wrong for them. I guess you can clearly see I am biased towards the X-E1. I never got a chance to try some of the other MFT zoom and prime lens offerings from Oly, Panny or even Leica for the OMD. I wish I did. But thats all history now. I will stay with the X-E1 unless Fuji decided to explode into the scene with a full frame compact camera.

    Keep up the good work and keep posting photos. Thank you for keeping an open mind to my comments:)

  • Lindsay - December 12, 2012 - 5:45 pm

    Hi SD – great to hear from you! Nothing wrong with being biased in favour of the XE1, it’s a beautiful piece of kit and I’m looking forward to working with mine more over the coming weeks, particularly where portraits are concerned. I was sceptical at first when I was sent the OMD, but when I tried it I was amazed at how far Micro 4/3 has come – the OMD is great for my animal and wildlife work. I am fortunate in being able to own both the OMD and XE1 and benefiting from the best points of each.

  • RH - December 14, 2012 - 1:58 am

    Lindasy, as you said lenses matter a lot in what you get out of a camera. To me the draw of the XE-1 includes lenses like 35mm 1.4 which seems stellar from what I have seen so far. And then they have the 56mm 1.4 coming up, which should be great for portraits. If you have the 35mm 1.4 then it would be interesting to know how XE-1 w that lens compares with E-M5 + 25mm 1.4 in your opinion

  • Tripod Jose - December 14, 2012 - 6:31 am

    Thank you for taking the time to put this together. It was clear, concise, and engaging.

  • Lindsay - December 14, 2012 - 10:24 am

    Hi RH, I will not be getting the Fuji 35mm since I have that focal length covered by my OMD primes. I agree the Fujinon 35mm is optically wonderful, but on the occasion I tried it the autofocus was too slow for this particular setup to fit in with my shooting patterns. I tend to shoot the EM-5 with the PL25 Summilux f1.4 and the 45 f1.8 which are both amazing lenses. The Fujinon 18-55 zoom is excellent in my opinion and gives me the flexibility I need at times, it is also a little faster to focus than the Fuji primes.

  • Lindsay - December 14, 2012 - 10:24 am

    Thank you Jose, you are very welcome. I should be adding further posts concerning people photography and some dedicated street stuff in the new year.

  • Eric - December 20, 2012 - 1:11 am

    Hi Lindsay,

    Just a quick thanks for your write up and intelligent approach in your articles comparing these two cameras which I’m also considering. As my daily camera is an M9 so I’m naturally attracted to the image quality of the fuji, and I think the tonality in some of your fuji shots is nicer than the comparable Oly shots for whatever reason and with the proviso that I’m looking at them on the web with an iPad. Despite that I realised from what you wrote that the Oly would be a better camera for me because it *isn’t* similar to my Leica. Image quality is only one of the important qualities of a camera and sometimes I find that concentrating too much on image quality makes me and perhaps others a bit one dimensional in approach, to wit, some of the great Daido Moriyama and William Klein images at the Tate modern right now which are fluid, loose and exciting though usually not sharp, frequently purposely blurry and in Moriyama’s case shot with a cheap point and shoot.
    I realised, living in London that a camera I don’t mind taking out into the rain brings a whole new dimension of possibility for my work and the Oly is the cam for that. Similarly, It’s been years since I had a camera with a swivel LCD and that too wouldsfor me be an added dimension.
    Seeking the ultimate in sharpness and tonality as desirable as they are, are also a slippery slope. As good as the Fuji is, a Leica is likely a bit better in those terms though clearly pricey. As good as a Leica M9 is, the Leica S2 clearly outshines the M9 though with tradeoffs of even more cost and weight. then there’s MF film and digital cameras and those of course pale in comparison to an 8×10 which in most cases is a terrible burden to carry around though some have done just that.
    Of course those are my issues and clearly other people will have other issues that will make the Fuji more desirable. Horses for courses. Thanks again for the considerable time and effort you’ve put into this question which I suspect is on the minds of many.

  • Lindsay - December 20, 2012 - 9:35 am

    Hi Eric, the photographic world is obsessed with pixel peeping often with no real-world rationale. The IQ of the XE1 and the OMD are both excellent, so good that differences are minimal and more about character than anything. With that in mind the purchasing criteria becomes either personal or performance-related. The former being the look and styling of the Fuji X cameras and the latter assuming more significance for professional users. In that regard, the OMD is the more useful camera for me, but as a long standing X user the XE1 with zoom is an affordable backup and travel camera. As you say, understanding your own needs and preferences is key.

  • Steve Solomon - December 23, 2012 - 4:39 am

    Season’s Greetings, Lindsay!
    First let me thank you for an insightful, detailed review and comparison of the Fuji X-E1 and Olympus OM-D EM-5. I currently shoot a Pentax K-5 for landscape, nature, and product stock images, and am considering these very cameras as a “travel” system! My dilemma is this: If you view my images, you can see that I am a “sharpness” fanatic, and want to capture every detail in my images, especially my product shots and those images that will be printed large (20×30 or so). Have you printed these systems, and if so, which do you think would retain the most detail at those enlargements? I have read stellar reviews of some Olympus primes, such as the Oly 60mm Macro, the 45mm, and the 75mm. Thank you very much!

  • Lindsay - December 23, 2012 - 9:56 am

    Hi Steve, I’m always slightly concerned when I hear ‘sharpness’ being placed at the top of the list – remember that sharpness and detail are two different things. I personally don’t like overly sharp images (I always turn down the sharpness a little in camera when shooting JPEG) but I do expect to record good levels of detail which is down to careful focusing, control of DOF and of course high quality optics (the Micro 4/3 primes are superb in this regard). Normally wjere detail is the concern we would shoot RAW but at the current time that is not a particularly good option for X Trans. I haven’t yet made any large prints but given that I have very large prints on my wall made from sensors which are several years old I would expect modern technology to be more than capable. When I compare the Fuji and the Oly at 100% they both looked excellent and the OMD has no obvious failings. At the end of the day you may have a preference for one output over the other, but only you can answer that. Obviously the XE1 is better suited to more static captures since the autofocus is noticeably slower than that of the Oly.

  • Steve Solomon - December 23, 2012 - 5:05 pm

    Hi Lindsay.
    Thank you for your reply! Yes, I do realize that “sharpness” and “detail” are two different things, but as they most definitely are “related”, I simply chose the word “sharpness” as my general descriptive criterion. (I could have easily said “detail” instead, but you get the idea.) Having used large format view cameras in the ’70s, long before I got into digital, I think I know sharpness (“detail”) when I see it. In fact, it’s from that era that I even became aware of Fujifilm, since they make superb lenses for large format cameras, along with Nikon, Schneider and Rodenstock. Shooting small products for catalogs, my 4×5 chromes were extremely sharp and full of detail, so, that is why I strive to get the most detail I can from my equipment. However, I do realize that the larger one enlarges an image, the more one loses detail, which is the main reason of my hesitation on the OM-D (4/3 sensor being somewhat smaller than the Fuji’s APS-C sensor). But I do need a “Travel” system, which places importance on system size and weight, but NOT to sacrifice overall image quality. That’s my conundrum! I want high quality (at least as good as my current Pentax images), but also a compact system suitable for travel, hiking, etc. Thanks again, Lindsay. BTW, your images are quite beautiful!

  • Lindsay - December 23, 2012 - 5:52 pm

    Hi Steve, I think it’s true to say that prior to this year it was quite difficult to find a system which combined high quality with compact size. The Fuji X cameras and the OMD were game changes in that respect. I remember a few years ago buying my first Micro 4/3 camera, I liked it a lot, but there were some failings and I got rid of it. The OMD excites me greatly because it really is like having a very small DSLR in my hands. I appreciate you come from a large format background and therefore you will have specific quality benchmarks, so I would say that if you are happy with your current APSC output then you should be quite happy with the OMD, given how far Micro 4/3 has progressed of late. If you can get to a decent camera store then it would be worth having a play and viewing some images on the computer, though I will say that the “out-of-the-box” settings of the OMD may not be to your tastes – the camera does need some setting up initially. It is a difficult choice, but if you need weather sealing and a great lens lineup then the OMD ticks all the boxes. If you don’t need speed or ruggedness then the XE1 might be a better purchase. For me, performance is as important as IQ, which is why I tend to use the OMD the most.

  • Nate - December 29, 2012 - 7:00 pm

    For me, my Nikon D90 was too big, too obtrusive, and image quality just wasn’t up to snuff. I was leaning towards the D600, then held one, and decided it wasn’t addressing many of my issues with the D90. I considered a Leica M9, but ultimately couldn’t justify the cost.

    Then I read about the XE-1…and saw sample images, and cropped images, and was totally blown away by the superb image quality, the bokeh, the true artistic nature of the images it produced, and that was enough to sway me.

    Also, Olympus has a horrible corporate record, with many of their executives being prosecuted for altering their publicly available information. I dislike the company as a whole, so the OM-D would have to mow my lawn for me to give them the business.

    Plus, Fujifilm just seems hungrier to me. They’re pushing the envelope with the XPro-1 and XE-1 more than most companies who are using micro 4/3 seem to be. If I was buying a camera for video, then I might consider something else. However, any camera should be a camera first, video recording device second. If I want video, I’ll drop 2 or 3 hundred on a camcorder or flip if its that much of an issue,

    Weather sealing is a great selling feature when you live in a country where it constantly drizzles. For most people though, I think weather sealing on their camera is like four wheel drive on an Acura SUV- something you’d rarely, if ever, actually use. However, I’d love for someone to take the XE-1 into that environment and use it as they’d use the OMD to demonstrate how different the two really are.

    As far as the sample images you took….some of the detail in the hands of the snake handler, are, to me, characteristic of why someone would buy the XE-1. If you want Image quality reminiscent of a Leica M9 at 1/8th the price, I would say get the XE-1.

  • Lindsay - December 29, 2012 - 8:34 pm

    Hi Nate, Fuji IQ is lovely and I have three X cameras in my bag. But there are certain performance attributes which may be crucial to some photographers and that is where the OMD shines. Ultimately it comes down to the kind of work you do. The IQ of the two is very close in real world situations.

  • James Grant - December 30, 2012 - 7:54 am

    Thanks so much for your comparisons on these great cameras. I really enjoyed your style of writing. I just bought the OMD E-M5 and at the time of purchase, handled the EX-1 which I thought was a really very nice camera. I chose the E-M5 because I needed a fast auto focus camera for capturing my three young boys and our pets. It’s going to make a fantastic camera for my fast moving family:).

  • Marek - December 31, 2012 - 1:19 pm

    Hi Lindsay,

    I simply love your websistes. I’v found them just now and you’ve done an excelent job. I am also considering the oly omd an fuji xe1. Is fuji has a really so slow AF ? I mean is it possible to capture runnig child or dog ?
    I am not shooting sport a lot but sometimes i need to capture some running children or animnals.
    Thank you for your feedback.
    Marek

  • Lindsay - December 31, 2012 - 2:27 pm

    Hi Marek, thank you for the kind words. For running children and animals a DSLR will probably be the best tool. The Fuji would not really be suitable (in my opinion), the Oly would be better however the tracking focus of most CSC systems is still not very good.

  • Marek - December 31, 2012 - 4:24 pm

    Hi Lindsay,
    thanks for your quick response. Its a shame, because I really like the fuji one.

  • Paul Crouse - January 3, 2013 - 1:08 pm

    Hi Lindsay,

    Thank you for your intelligent write up. I am glad I found someone who knows what they are talking about.

    I am former photojournalist who is getting back into the photo business after many years of away.

    I recently bought a complete Nikon kit and now dread picking up the heavy bag. I am seriously thinking about switching to either of these camera systems.

    I am curious to know if you have you had any experience with the flash systems? Amongst other things, I do location portraits and events and I am looking for an efficient, light weight system that won’t burn-out after quickly.

    I will take deeper dive into your website soon.

    Thank you in advance.

    Paul Crouse
    Kyoto, Japan

  • Lindsay - January 3, 2013 - 1:23 pm

    Hi Paul, from what I’ve heard many photojournalists are downscaling to compact systems which are obviously less obtrusive and will enable you to move around with a greater degree of comfort. Such equipment does of course need to perform reliably in the field and the more recent high specification systems are quite rugged in build and some are also weather sealed (such as the OMD). Micro 4/3 systems also benefit from an exceptional array of lens options which tend to have superb optics and lightweight construction. When it comes to flash I rarely use a dedicated flash system which tends to be expensive and also I am not particularly interested in TTL, preferring manual control. For that reason I tend to trigger my flashguns using inexpensive radio triggers which are not specific to any camera brand and will trigger virtually any flashguns. Obviously if you intend to use your flash on camera as you are probably likely to do in your work then the dedicated flash for your camera would be best (the built in flash on many systems will also act as commander should you wish to get the main flash off-camera). I always advise getting to a camera store to have a play since ergonomics also form a large part of the buying decision, particularly if the equipment will be in your hands often.

  • Francesco - January 6, 2013 - 5:29 pm

    You are a very good photography. I like your style. Can’t wait to receive my X-E1.

  • Wei - January 6, 2013 - 5:31 pm

    Hi Lindsay,
    I want to say thank you for the great review. I own both em5 and xe1 as well. :-)
    The IQ of em5 is good enough for me (i used in to take snapshot). It does feel like a small dslr. I sometimes don’t know how Oly build such a great camera in such a small body. Well, i have to say the image comes from the em5 is good for what it is, but it is not as good as XE1 IMHO. The performance of em5 may like a small dslr but the IQ is not. When i know i need IQ, i can take XE1 and leave my dslr at home without hesitation, i can’t say the same thing for em5. As you have mentioned, it has 0.75 stop advantage, i think it is huge (It means more when you use zoom lens) and WB is much much better compared to em5. And, yes, em5 is faster… but i have to say in my particle use, if i can’t focus something with XE1, em5 can’t do it 9 out of 10. I will keep both of the camera since they are so different. But if i can only keep one, i will have to say XE-1. By the end of the day, camera is used to take image. I keep the one which i think will produce the better image. At this point, i still can’t get ridof my dslr… :-(

    Thanks,
    Wei

  • Gene Rosenfeld - January 6, 2013 - 6:09 pm

    I have found your comments about the xe1 and the Em5 to be balanced and insightful. I enjoy taking photographs on trips of people in markets, bazaars and in temples as well as interiors of buildings like churches. I also take candid pictures of my grandson outdoors and indoors. I really thought the Em5 was an outstanding camera because of its: viewfinder, quick focusing, low light ability, image quality and image stabilization. I purchased the Em5 (with a Panasonic 20mm 1.7 lens for lowlight photos). I returned the camera and lens when I learned that the m. zuiko 12-50 3.5-6.3 kit lens was very slow and of less than acceptable image quality. I was considering the zuiko (not an m zuiko) 12-60 2.8-4 (which is out of my price league), but when I spoke to Olympus they said that the autofocus system was not compatible with the Em5 focusing system. My question is do I go with the em5 with the panasonic 20mm 1.4 and the m zuiko 14-150 4-5.6 (which is reviewed as good but not great in terms of image quality) or the xe1 and its kit lens 18-55 2.8-4 which has received very good reviews. Because of the kind of photos I take, I feel I must have a camera in the range of about a 14-50 zoom. If this is a reasonable question – I would really appreciate your thoughts. (I tried an xe1 in store and the focusing was quicker than the refresh rate. But your experience losing photo opportunities with the xe1 in real world shooting concerns me). Gene

  • Lindsay - January 7, 2013 - 9:34 am

    Hi Wei, we all have different preferences of course and every opinion is valid. For my part, I have found the image quality of the OMD to be as good as or a bit better than any of the APSC DSLRs I own, however this does raise a point I have made about personal preference and personal tastes being important. Different sensors often have different characteristics and rather than being “better” I think it’s probably more useful to think of them as being “different”. And of course we all have different needs – as a professional I need kit which will meet my basic performance standards and unfortunately the XE1 does not given the autofocus and more importantly the current lack of mainstream RAW support. Capture One 7.02 beta does address this but established photographers are very unlikely to completely change a long-standing workflow simply for the pleasure of processing Fuji images. However, if Fuji are about to bring out new cameras with X Trans technology (as is rumoured) then logically that would indicate that mainstream support would be forthcoming. But I did make that assumption when I purchased the XE1 and I was proved wrong! Abandoning professional arguments for a moment, if I had to state my personal preference for image quality then without a doubt I would say my Fuji X100 produces the most pleasing photographs I have ever seen.

  • Lindsay - January 7, 2013 - 9:45 am

    Hi Gene, the XE1 can make for a nice travel camera where your subjects are slow or static and if you don’t need mainstream efficient RAW support. It will be less useful for pictures of children unless they are very still. The OMD however performs in pretty much every situation I have thrown it into and the images are consistently excellent, as are the Fuji JPEGs. However picking up on Wei’s point, there is also a degree of personal preference when it comes to the images and the ergonomics. When comparing cameras it’s so important that they are compared with comparable glass (and I’m wondering which lens Wei had on his OMD, if it was the kit lens then I’m not surprised he was not particularly pleased by the level of detail he was seen in the pictures). I’m afraid I cannot advise you on what to purchase other than to reinforce the argument for good glass and of course ensure that whichever camera you choose meets your performance criteria. I use the PL25 f1.4 and the (cheap and wonderful) Pana 45f1.8 for general stuff on the OMD and portraiture, with fantastic results. There is of course the 12-35 f2.8 but this is very expensive (but it is a very good lens). For me, and my needs, the XE1 is not really useful enough for my professional work because I cannot afford to lose shots if the autofocus fails to perform and I do need RAW on many occasions. There are also other niggles with the XE1 But they may not affect you. Part of the problem is that the OMD with a decent lens lineup does work out quite expensive, but you do get an excellent system for the money. I will not be investing in any more Fuji cameras until they have sorted out some of the more enduring complaints which were carried over into the XE1. Fuji have a tendency to introduce technology which is not always quite ready for the marketplace! Whilst innovative, this is starting to alienate some customers.

  • Brandon - January 20, 2013 - 5:35 pm

    Interesting. I really thought on release the XE-1 might be the camera for me, but there just seem too many ‘not quiets’ to justify the spend.

    If there’s an Olympus with a form factor I like, with the internals of the OMD-EM5, I might jump that way.

    I’m surprised you integrate so many cameras into your life, I can’t imagine how you keep on top of it. After years of buying everything I could, a stable of bodies and lenses, I’ve sold it all. I now have two lenses, only ever use one of them, and one body. I’m just trying to nail every nuance of that one prime with that one camera. I’m not even close.

  • Lindsay - January 20, 2013 - 5:58 pm

    Brandon, I’m often fond of saying that a hobbyist should simply by what he or she likes but a professional needs to buy the right tools for the job. I have comparatively few cameras compared to some professionals, the core of my kit consists of my 5D MkIII bodies and L lenses, and my OMD and lenses. Professionals will obviously have more equipment than amateurs and in addition we must have backups of pretty much everything. For personal work I use either the OMD or the Fuji X100/X10. I no longer have the XE1.

  • John Nicholson - January 21, 2013 - 10:39 pm

    Have just come across your website and find the way you discuss equipment really helpful. Has finally helped me to see that it is the OMD and not the XE which will best meet my requirements.
    But I wish you could find a way of doing side-by-side presnetations of the comparable images. It just isn’t possible to whiz back and forwards and remeber what you have seen. I suppose I could open you up twice in my browzer…..
    But thanks.

  • Lindsay - January 22, 2013 - 9:23 am

    Hi John, because this is not a review site we don’t really do side-by-side comparisons and in fact such comparisons are not particularly helpful to the viewer. We show reference images, because the site is aesthetic in purpose, but at the end of the day the images I produce reflect my experience and workflow. This may not be representative of the output from the next person. Therefore my advice is always the same – visit a camera store if you can, and try the camera. Of course in doing this you don’t really get a chance to set up the camera as you normally would, but you will get a general idea of the most important things and that is feel and ergonomics, and performance factors such as features and speed. There is no doubt that both cameras produce exceptional IQ (the caveat being the skill set of the operator) and as I keep saying IQ is simply not a factor when it comes to comparing these machines. They are both excellent, but they are a little different and this is where personal preferences come to play. Getting obsessed with pixel peeping will not make anyone a better photographer and is in many ways counter-productive when ultimately the question purchasers should be asking themselves is whether or not the performance of the machine measures up to its intended purposes, and how the skill and experience of the photographer will influence the end result. When both cameras arrived here at our office my perception that the Fuji would produce noticeably better image quality was unfounded and in fact the widespread notion that the Fuji is capable of cleaner images at high ISO is also under dispute given that the XE1 ISO ratings are somewhat inflated.

  • Les - January 23, 2013 - 11:49 pm

    Great review Lindsay. Thanks for taking the time to do this. I am stuck in my decision. RAW support by Adobe is an issue for me with respect to getting the Fuji as I do HDR photography. It seems they now have it: http://www.adobe.com/ca/products/photoshop/extend.html

    Thoughts?

    Sad to see you sold the Fuji!

  • Lindsay - January 24, 2013 - 10:03 am

    Hi Les, Adobe offers the ability to convert the Fuji RAW files but the processing algorithms are currently limited. Having had a detailed talk with heads at Fuji a couple of weeks ago I can confirm that we can expect to see “an improvement” in the relevant algorithms over the coming months. I was not sad to see the XE1 go since it was fundamentally unsuited to my purposes and my decision to buy it, and then sell it, was purely a business one rather than a personal one (I already have two X cameras for personal use). I’m sure that over time Fuji will address all of the issues that many current X camera owners are experiencing, however I have no plans to purchase anymore of these cameras until there is a greater body of feedback on any new introduction. I say this because Fuji have a history of making outlandish marketing claims which are often responsible for the early adoption of the cameras in question, often leading to frustrated customers.

  • Les - January 24, 2013 - 2:07 pm

    Thanks again Lindsay for your thoughtful reply. You must be a detail oriented person! What a dilemma!!!! I simply love the look and feel of the Fuji. It harkens back to my youth when I had the aperture setting on the lens (where it belongs). It is so much like the M9 (which I cannot afford)….. I already have a M43 (Panasonic DMC-GX1). So the addition of a camera with a different sensor to my stable makes sense. However, I can use my current set of M43 lenses on the Olympus. But they are such an unstable company….. Oh dear. What to do.. what to do….

    Perhaps if I stick with JPG until they update the firmware or whatnot? It’s easier to purchase a car!

  • Lindsay - January 24, 2013 - 2:16 pm

    Hi Les, I love your comment, it did make me smile. You’re absolutely right in that some purchases can be a nightmare. Less so for me, because the XE1 was bought for light professional use it’s a simple matter of ensuring that the thing meets the relevant performance parameters (which it did not). As a work tool, how it looks and the emotions it provokes has no bearing at all. But when it comes to a camera for personal use the whole thing goes haywire, because we want to enjoy using it after all and it’s an added bonus if it looks good. I can fully appreciate why many are drawn to the look and feel of the X cameras, and that was very much part of my decision to keep two of them for my own personal use – I do emit a sigh of pleasure whenever I look at my X10 and my X100. Handling wise, although the XE1 feels very good in a tactile sense, and the buttons are easy to operate, it is not well balanced with the zoom lens attached. The OMD balances fantastically well with pretty much any lens I put on it, however I am of course speaking from the perspective of my professional needs and the fact that I will often have it in my hands for quite long periods. Of course none of this is helping you make your decision, but if your heart leans towards the Fuji, and if you don’t need to work quickly, and if you don’t need RAW support then the Fuji might suit you very well. However if you were drawn towards the M9 then I would heartily recommend the current X100.

  • Les - January 24, 2013 - 2:17 pm

    As a followup… I thought I’d post this fine discussion on the Adobe Forums regarding the (abismal?) conversion to RAW in Lightroom 4. There are some good points made and may be useful for others experiencing the same “indecision” I am.

    http://forums.adobe.com/message/4985858

  • Les - January 24, 2013 - 2:27 pm

    I would have purchased the X100(S) right away – except for the inability to switch lenses….. Do I need more lenses? Oh boy…..

  • Lindsay - January 24, 2013 - 2:30 pm

    Hi Les, I think there are a couple of difficulties at the moment with respect to RAW support for X Trans. Depending on which camp you fall into, the argument tends to surround who is most to blame for the delays. Having recently had a fairly in-depth face to face chat with two senior Fuji managers, the information retrieved did differ somewhat, perhaps understandably given that one was a technical head and one more of a logistical head. It appears that Adobe are probably reluctant to rush into throwing resources at developing X Trans algorithms given that Fuji do have a history of coming up with innovations and then abandoning them. Of course the recent new additions to the X Trans lineup suggest commitment to this technology and with that in mind I can confirm that we can expect to see “some improvement” over the coming months with respect to Lightroom 4 support. The various delays in furthering this have been put down to the time taken for Fuji to pass the relevant technical and legal documentation to Adobe and also the need for Adobe to have confidence in the project.

  • Les - January 24, 2013 - 3:07 pm

    Finding my wife was easier. You shop…. “kick the tires (tyres)”….. then adjust along the way…. The marketing hype was more realistic and believable.

  • Anurag - January 31, 2013 - 9:49 am

    Hi Linda,

    Like the article and that you’ve not gone down the route of gut instinct more than hard cold specs.

    It’s like pricing really. People initially compare the cold hard number of a price tag before purchasing rather than the potential of an object to produce the desired result.

    In reality, it’s more to it than numbers (price, ISO, DoF differences)…all matter of course but does what you use give you what you want.

    This is why this article is so ‘on point’.

    I own the OMD (3 in fact) but have never owned the Fuji. I use it for all my wedding and portrait commissions.

    I can categorically say there is more to the OMD than specs. Much, much more. The lenses for a start.

    I’ve written quite a detailed account of my experiences with the OMD and for those interested, you may also like to see the omni present Steve Huff’s review of both of these before committing.

    Again thank you for posting an honest account of your experience with the camera.

  • Lindsay - January 31, 2013 - 2:51 pm

    Hi Anurag, great wedding photography! I know quite a few wedding photographers who are now using the OMD and the excellent Micro 4/3 lenses. Given how long you’re on your feet during a typical wedding day, and the considerable strain that the weight of traditional DSLR equipment places on the body it’s a no-brainer that the OMD is becoming so popular. I read your account about using the OMD a few weeks ago, an excellent write-up which I enjoyed. Many thanks for your comment, and do stay in touch.

  • Lindsay - January 31, 2013 - 3:00 pm

    See Anurag’s excellent, balanced, and very comprehensive write up on the OMD as a wedding photography tool here: http://shutterleaf.co.uk/blog/olympus-omd-em5-for-wedding-photography-experience-with-3-micro-four-third-camera-bodies-a-review

  • Simon Downham - February 8, 2013 - 2:38 pm

    Thank you, Lindsay, for such an in depth and helpful survey!
    It has assisted me toward making my own choice between these two excellent systems.

  • Trisha - February 8, 2013 - 4:11 pm

    Great real-life comparison, thanks!

    Anybody have insight into the video performance of these cameras? I bought a DSLR that shoots video, but the focusing issues aren’t really conducive to catching my kids in action. Ideally, I would love a camera that shoots DSLR quality images and also good quality HD video…would either or both of these cameras make my dream come true? Or am I destined to keep buying bigger camera bags??

  • Lindsay - February 8, 2013 - 5:12 pm

    You’re most welcome Simon, enjoy your new camera.

  • Lindsay - February 8, 2013 - 5:15 pm

    Trisha, I’m ashamed to say that I am yet to switch on the video function on any of my cameras! Perhaps someone else here can help with your question otherwise I suspect some of the dedicated forums would be your best source of information. The process of constantly buying camera bags is something I suffer terribly from, a female photographer’s affliction perhaps!

  • Mark - February 14, 2013 - 8:46 pm

    Lindsay,

    I am in the process of deciding to buy the OMD. I currently own the Panasonic GX1 which takes admirable pictures. I have been a Nikon DX user since the D70 and currently own a D7000. I like landscape and nature (particularly bird) photography. I am told that the OMD does not have a quick autofocus like the D7000 needed for BIF (birds in flight). Have you found this to be true?

    Any accessories you recommend including the grip and a flash unit?

    Separately, since you are now focused on the M4/3 systems, I would recommend a GX1 to you as a backup body. It uses the M4/3 lens of both Olympus and Panasonic and is smaller for the walk around camera when you need it. It is what Thom Hogan (Sans Mirror blog) has in his M4/3 kit bag with the OMD.

  • Lindsay - February 15, 2013 - 2:22 pm

    Hi Mark. It’s true that mirrorless cameras do not yet have particularly good tracking focus, however the OMD’s focus is very fast in my opinion. When it comes to birds in flight, providing there is nothing else to clutter up the scene, then switching to multipoint focusing (allowing the camera to select the focus point) usually works better than trying to use the centre focus point only.

    I haven’t used the battery grip but it would certainly help to balance the camera if using something like the Fl600 flash, which I will probably purchase soon.

    I’ll definitely take a look at the GX1 – it sounds great.

  • Simon - February 16, 2013 - 4:26 pm

    Hi Lindsay,

    If you have time, I wondered if you could share some thoughts on the Fuji XPro-1 (if you have used it) and how it compares to the XE1 and your OMD system?

  • Lindsay - February 16, 2013 - 5:11 pm

    Hi Simon, I haven’t owned the XP1 though it has the same innards as the XE1. It does also benefit from a hybrid viewfinder however the EVF will not be as good as that on the XE1. As far as comparisons to the OMD go, they are such different machines – if you require strong/fast performance for the work you do then the OMD is the better tool and remains my tool of choice. Another reason why the OMD is the better choice for me is the availability of a wide range of excellent Micro 4/3 lenses.

  • Simon - February 16, 2013 - 5:28 pm

    Hi Lindsay,
    Thank you. That is really useful. I do appreciate your time and helpful comments.

  • Lindsay - February 16, 2013 - 7:28 pm

    You’re welcome Simon, good luck with your purchase.

  • stando - February 25, 2013 - 12:44 am

    Fuji considerably improved autofocus of XE1 and Xpro1 in january 2013. My AF experience with 18-55/2.8-4.0 lens is very positive now. Especially in low light and for moving subjects. According rumors next days should also Adobe provide improved RAW converter for Fuji X-trans sensor. Then these 2 largest Fuji XE1 problems would be solved or at least considerably improved.

  • Jon Allen - March 1, 2013 - 3:59 pm

    Hi Lindsay
    Thank you for a very interesting and honest post, very informative. As a Nikon and Canon user I can’t but help being amazed by the OMD to the point it is now scheduled the join my camera kit this coming spring, I have heard rumours that there could be a new version on the horizon. so I wait patiently. may here news at this years Focus show.
    Jon Allen :-)

  • Lindsay - March 1, 2013 - 4:12 pm

    Hi Jon, the OMD amazes me too, I am so impressed by both its performance and IQ. And the lenses are just glorious! I rarely have to use my DSLRs these days.

  • Giorgio - March 13, 2013 - 6:05 pm

    Hi from Italy, Lindsay!
    I agree perfect, also if I had the EX-1 only for a few moments in my hands. Just saw in the evf, pointing rapidly here and there. It seemed a tv screen, Oly omd seems to me more like a true reflex one (although I’ve to admit that in dim light it’s not at his best). I’ve loved Fuji cameras ad films since ever, so I think I’ll love the EX-1, I’m ready… but, what a shame, I think she’s not ready… maybe tomorrow, or in a few years, who knows? I hope it.
    I’ve began my photographic trip with Pentax spf, then Nikon Ftn Photomic, finally with Nikon Fe, little and well balanced for my taste. (For pro pictures I preferred medium format or 4×5 inch cameras). I only take stills pictures, landscapes and architecture. So I don’t need motor nor autofocus. So that’s why I can’t love those bulky D reflex, even much bigger as the biggest analog 35mm reflex. If only Nikon puts on the market a Fe like DSLR camera.. only then I’ll buy it.

  • Lindsay - March 13, 2013 - 8:11 pm

    Hi Giorgio, I enjoy my Fuji cameras but I agree that the XE1 will benefit from some further evolution which will help Fuji to keep pace with some very strong competitors. It’s an exciting time for mirrorless systems, many of the leading manufacturers are likely to produce some very interesting cameras over the next year or two.

  • Giorgio - March 13, 2013 - 9:14 pm

    But, I must confess it. I have sometimes “********” wishes… ther’s a young sexy lady, dangerous X20 age. EX-1 could be her mother.. but this young lady… wow!!! I could fall in love with here… perhaps you can understand. Do you think I’m mad?

  • Lindsay - March 14, 2013 - 11:45 am

    Hi Giorgio – I hope you don’t mind the slight edit of your comment (-: I don’t think you’re mad at all – I have an X10 and I love it. The small sensor means that you can enjoy a fixed high quality fast zoom lens whilst keeping the overall size of the camera very compact – much smaller than an XE1 with the zoom. Just be aware that the image quality from the X20 is not as good as that of the X100 or XE1, particularly in low light. But if you want high performance as well as excellent image quality, and a wide choice of lenses, then the OMD is an excellent choice (but it’s expensive).

  • Kimberly Lengel - March 14, 2013 - 5:52 pm

    Lindsay, Thank you for sharing your experiences with these 2 great cameras. I sadly sent my X-E1 back to Amazon yesterday. There was so much to love about it. But I also did not feel it was ready for prime time. So I’ve ordered the EM5 with the Pana/Leica 25mm lens. My husband and I are going on a trip to the Redwoods in a few weeks, so I will be wanting to get the camera set up asap. Would you be willing to share your in camera color, sharpening and noise reduction, ect settings?
    Thank you for a lovely and informative website!

  • Lindsay - March 14, 2013 - 7:26 pm

    Hi Kimberly – I’m so envious of your upcoming trip! One of the great things about the OMD is the fact that it is so customisable, so I would advise assigning various keys to your most used functions. With respect to picture settings I tend to turn the sharpness and noise reduction down a bit. The OMD JPEGs are very nice indeed and I prefer to select a muted JPEG style for a more natural and more neutral rendering. It’s really down to personal taste. You can also turn off the warming feature. A good starter guide to all of this can be found here: http://www.dpreview.com/articles/9115179666/user-guide-getting-the-most-out-of-the-olympus-e-m5

  • Kimberly - March 14, 2013 - 8:06 pm

    Thank you Linday! I was just reading that article when I saw your response. Very informative.

  • Lindsay - March 15, 2013 - 6:40 pm

    You’re welcome Kimberly, have a great trip.

  • Tom - March 24, 2013 - 3:50 am

    I have an OM-D, what is this orange tint you’re talking about?

  • Lindsay - March 25, 2013 - 5:24 pm

    Hi Tom, some users when shooting JPEG (and probably adding some saturation afterwards) have found their images to be quite warm – this is easily altered by switching off the ‘warming’ feature in the menu and adjusting the colour output to taste via the JPEG menus or colour balance sliders. I find the OMD wonderfully customizable, it can be fine tuned to suit every conceivable taste.

  • Paul - March 26, 2013 - 11:54 am

    I am joining you too Lindsay. I have an X-E1 and I am taking a hit trading it in for the OMD-E5. I didn’t click with the OMD the first time I used it, but I think thats because I wasn’t using the cute little primes. I am pretty sure I will lament the loss of the Fuji, but in everyday terms I will simply get more good shots with the OMD. I picked up a cheap GH2 to hack for video and certain features and AF speed that it has compared to the Fuji make it so easy to get great candid shots. The fact that Fuji’s own marketing says “this camera forces to to slow down” tells you everything you need to know!!! You should not be selling a camera and telling everyone “this has a crap AF system”. For portraits with a shallow DOF when travelling I missed a lot of shots as I couldnt change the AF area quick enough. Face detection is helpful in such situations. I am trading the X-E1 with the hope of actually using something like the x100s one day for my pocketable “i love” camera, and my OMD for when I need to depend on it. The weather sealing and the body stabilisation are killer features too, especially the latter for a prime user. Wish me luck – heres hoping I dont regret it! (The big concern remains the love affair I had with the OVF being rangefinder style, such a lovelyway to shoot instead of smearing your nose on the screen – I hate that!

  • Lindsay - March 26, 2013 - 12:51 pm

    Hi Paul, I have a Fuji X100 and I love it, the IQ is sensational and in fact I much prefer it to the output from the XE-1 X-Trans sensor. I have no idea why this would be the case, but my X100 is extremely accurate where autofocus is concerned, much more so than the XE-1, and I can confidently take my X100 out on professional assignments for those occasions when I need to grab a wider field of view but don’t have time to swap lenses. Unfortunately the XE1 proved much too unreliable in professional situations and as you have seen this is one of the reasons why I had to get rid of it. The OMD on the other hand has performed flawlessly in every scenario I have thrown at it and the Micro 4/3 lenses are sensational. I’ve just been away for a few days shooting editorial outdoors and fine art nudes (studio) and the OMD was a joy, particularly as I was on my feet for many hours at a time and certainly the heavy weight of a large DSLR and pro lenses would have become an issue. I will also add that the pictures are everything we had hoped for and more. For portraiture my most used lenses are the 35-100 f2.8, the 85 f1.8 and the PL25 f1.4 and the cheap but great 40-150 is also pretty handy for everything from people to nature. I find the OMD along with an X100 (not the X100s) to be a very lovable combination.

  • Paul - March 26, 2013 - 1:10 pm

    Hi Lindsay

    Does this mean you dn’t bother with the 45mm 1.8 and the 75 1.8? That 75 in particular, because of its longer focal length, really appeals on the M4/3 system because of the out of focus potential. I was going to try and avoid the Pana 25 just because of its size. I really do love the dinky Olympus lenses and given that I enjoy landscape shooting when travelling I will have to buy the 12mm. I would like Olympus to make a normal lens – but then maybe if I end up getting the x100 (which I can do locally for £350 that will sort of do even though its obviously 35 and not 50)

  • Lindsay - March 26, 2013 - 2:12 pm

    Hi Paul, lens choices can be incredibly personal and will depend not only on where one shoots but also how one works. I tend to work very quickly on location covering quite a lot of different concepts and for this reason the 75 would probably be quite limiting for me, so I didn’t buy it. I can cover the bulk of my location work (portrait, models, editorial) with the 35-100 f2.8 which is fantastically good and renders a mind-blowing level of detail. On occasion I will use the 45 if I have a little more time, or if the light is particularly low. The same goes for the PL25. Over the weekend in the studio I actually found the cheap but useful 14-42 to be a very good choice. In other words, just get whatever suits your way of working rather than worrying about what other people prefer. For me, I find the X-100 to be a wonderful machine, the IQ is magical and I would also say the focus is very accurate providing your subjects are not moving too quickly. If you can get one for £350 then that really is a bargain! It seems to be a lovely companion to the OMD.

  • Paul - March 26, 2013 - 3:55 pm

    Thank you Lindsay, I really appreciate your comments. I went and bought the x100 at lunch! :) Now about to formally order the OMD, which is great as I’d really like to use the free battery grip that it comes with at the moment

  • Lindsay - March 26, 2013 - 4:00 pm

    Result! I keep my X100 and OMD side by side in a small Billingham f2.8 bag … they seem to love each other (-:

  • Paul - March 26, 2013 - 4:20 pm

    Just had a great experience from Harrisons Cameras – telling you the inside knowledge that amazon will not – the OMD is having a price drop on Friday, so if I order then, I get the body only for £900 plus the battery grip offer is still on for 2 more days… Great news!

  • Will - March 30, 2013 - 8:31 pm

    It seems like you have a lot of naysayers following your posts, which seems unfortunate. I really appreciated your honest review AND frequent follow ups, sometimes you read a review and wonder xx weeks or months later, how do you feel now about the cameras?

    I really wanted to like the XE1 but your review further makes me consider the Olympus, and I have to admit I was tempted to even pickup an E-PL3 some time ago. I think I am leaning towards the Olympus as a carry-around camera to compliment, and save myself from the Nikon D800 weight. Thanks! :)

  • Lindsay - March 31, 2013 - 1:08 pm

    Freeing yourself from the weight of your D800 kit might become addictive Will!

  • Paul - April 5, 2013 - 1:16 pm

    Hi again Linday. Are you able to provide some feedback on the Panasonic 35-100? Although the internet is great these days I find myself overwhelmed with the information. A lot of the response to this lens has been luck warm. For me, the only thing that seems to be slightly unacceptable is the need to stop down to f4 to really get the resolution going, when to me, the m43 format is something when stopping down really needs to be limited for portrait work due to the increased DOF as a result. This is why I can see the benefit of the 75mm 1.8 which is has excellent resolution even at 1.8. What do you think? Thanks!

  • Lindsay - April 5, 2013 - 1:33 pm

    Hi Paul, I find the 35 to 100 to be an absolutely beautiful lens for my requirements, this is a lens specifically designed with portrait photographers in mind. I agree that the Internet can be overwhelming and I would urge anybody to restrict their readings to one or two respected review sites and the comments of working professionals or advanced photographers who are actually using the equipment in question. There is a lot of nonsense out there and I frequently read comments on forums which have little basis in fact, often written by users who lack both skill and experience. The comment that you need to stop down is a case in point – this lens is beautiful wide open. Amateurs also seem to judge optics based purely on sharpness when there are also other factors which are equally important, such as colour, contrast, and the general “look” that a given lens provides. For example the highly regarded PL25 f1.4 is not a particularly “sharp” lens but it nevertheless renders beautiful smoothness and colour. As a portrait photographer those latter attributes are much more desirable than biting sharpness (which I’m not particularly keen on). I will also add that I tend to soften my portraits during postproduction. But to answer your question the 35 to 100 is very sharp and renders beautiful results. The 75 is also a wonderful lens but is not suitable for me because of the way I work and my tendency to constantly reframe and change my viewpoint. Remember that depth of field is determined by a number of factors, sensor format being but one, and one of the least important.

    You can see some recent portraits where I used to be 35 to 100 here: http://lindsaydobsonphotography.com/blog/location-portraits-hampshire/

    You can see just how narrow the depth of field can be (even though I was not particularly close to my subject) in one of the last images where one of the model’s eyes is slightly out of focus even though the focal plane has only shifted by about 5mm. It is abundantly possible to get very shallow depth of field when using Micro 4/3 cameras, but more importantly you have the advantage of being able to shoot wide open at times and gather all the light you need without worrying about your focus area being compromised too much. Having that option can be very useful at times. And in reality there is a bit less than a stop DOF between micro 4/3 and APS-C, so not very significant. By the way I also feel that the 45 f1.8 is a beautiful little lens, unbeatable for the money.

  • Paul - April 5, 2013 - 1:54 pm

    Lindsay – thanks so much. The comment about stopping down related purely to the resolution charts I looked at, which proves your point entirely. I am definitely a beginner, but I was doing research because of the costs involved – but the key is, as you say, having the experience to know what to pay attention to and what to ignore! I really wanna do portraits, though, and I originally came across your site due to the pet photos…in fact, I got into photography due to my desire to take photos of my rabbits!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/90310851@N07/8205905149/in/photostream/lightbox/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/90310851@N07/8206994756/in/photostream/lightbox/

  • Lindsay - April 5, 2013 - 2:04 pm

    You’re welcome Paul – I tend to stay away from data charts, preferring real world results instead. Some of the finest lenses I’ve used would probably score quite badly in some of the tests. And as you’ve seen, pets can be challenging subjects but hopefully your rabbits have become used to being “furry models”!

    I forgot to add this link earlier – some animal shots with the 35-100: http://lindsaydobsonphotography.com/pets/panasonic-35-100-f2-8-and-100-300-f4-5-6-olympus-omd/

  • Geoff - June 5, 2013 - 1:59 am

    Thank you Lindsay for such a well written article. I have both the OM-D and the X-E1 and love both for different reasons. Each has advantages over the other. But I really need to sell one. An incident that happened today has me leaning towards selling the OM-D. I was shooting pictures at the local park when all of a sudden the main dial came off. It appears it’s held on by adhesive. Very cheaply made. The other buttons and seem flimsy, too. It doesn’t matter how nice the camera is, if parts start falling off, I’d rather not keep it. It’s a shame such an expensive camera like the OM-D is put together so cheaply.

  • Lindsay - June 5, 2013 - 10:02 am

    Hi Geoff, I’ve never heard of things dropping off an OMD, but at the end of the day you should always stick with the camera you enjoy the most. If performance isn’t too much of a consideration then the XE1 is a very pretty camera, but it does tend to scratch quite easily (I had a leather half case on mine to help prevent this).

  • Pat Jackson - June 11, 2013 - 5:50 pm

    Thank you for your insights and truly beautiful photos. I find that my dslr lives in its bag because of its bulk. I love the look of the ex-1, but due diligence requires exploration of all options before making a decision. My hands are large, and increasingly arthritic, so your comment on button size will have me paying closer attention when I am fondling the om-d in the store.

  • Lindsay - June 11, 2013 - 7:03 pm

    Hi Pat, since I have switched to mirrorless cameras I have dreaded picking up my DSLRs! I keep them as backups and for assistants or trainees to use, the weight feels horrible (however there are occasions when a heavy camera can help with stability). I can see myself phasing out all of our DSLR inventory over the next two or three years. Small buttons are a consequence of switching to compact systems but after a couple of weeks it’s likely you will simply get used to it, and after a couple of months small buttons will probably feel normal. However you are absolutely right to handle any prospective camera in-store before taking the plunge.

  • Alpha Whiskey Photography - September 4, 2013 - 6:51 pm

    Very nice images from Sheffield Park and Garden, I presume? I have my own collection from this terrific place here:

    http://alphawhiskey.slickpic.com/photoblog/post/SheffieldParkAndGarden

    I have also recently acquired the OM-D and am very pleased with its output. Particularly photographing animals:

    http://alphawhiskey.slickpic.com/photoblog/post/AnimalsWithTheOMD

    http://alphawhiskey.slickpic.com/photoblog/post/ButterfliesWithTheOMD

  • Lindsay - September 4, 2013 - 7:50 pm

    Sheffield Park is a lovely place for capturing autumn colour – and I agreed that the OMD with its high frame rate and fast focusing (and excellent viewfinder) makes it a good tool for animals and nature photography as well, as your images perfectly demonstrate.

  • Phil - November 7, 2013 - 12:18 am

    Lindsay,

    I’m glad I found your blog, whic is by far the ONLY one with such a professional and exceptional portraits from a compact MFT Olympus OM-D system. Other websites/blogs are full of snapshots or uninterested subjects & lighting. I carefully bookmark your blog and will surely revisit more frequently.

    I too have been a DSLR shooter (Canon 5dII) for over 3 years with lens kits: 35mm f/1.4, 28-70mm f/2.8 & 70-200mm f/2.8, 580EX, and Pocketwizard FlexTT5. After a while, I sold my short zoom. Even so, it’s still very tiring carrying that heavy bag all day particularly on a trip with young kids.

    So I’ve recently started to look into these compact MFT & APS-C mirrorless systems. After reading reviews and photos from top pros like David Hobby, Zack Arias, etc. who have begin to adopt Fuji X100s & X-Pro1, etc, I am more leaning toward with the latest X-E2 with a much improved AF system that you have suffered with X-E1. For my personal preference, I don’t like OMD although your exceptional skill as your photos show definitely freshened my view on Oly :) and MFT as a whole.

    By the way, wonder if you had the latest firmware on your X-E1 & 18-55mm lens when you tested. I know that X-E1 AF is still slow but i heard a lots of positive comments. Also, Fuji has just released Ver.2.01 for X100 which promise of 20% AF speed.

    Regarding RAW support issue, as of April 18, 1013, both Aperture and Adobe Lightroom 4.4 now fully support Fuji raw file.

    Cheers
    -Phil

  • Lindsay Dobson - November 7, 2013 - 11:10 am

    Hi Phil, Thank you very much indeed for the kind words. There are in fact quite a lot of professional photographers who have adopted smaller systems, but they don’t always blog about their choices (very sensibly, given the backlash this can sometimes provoke). As you say, the weight burden of DSLR equipment is enough to blight one’s enjoyment of any outing, or perhaps rule out taking the camera entirely. Luckily there are good alternatives these days. I would say that everybody has different needs, and as a professional my needs are quite specific, which is why something like the XE1 proved totally unworkable. The autofocus was only one of many reasons why I abandoned that camera (however I find my X100 very useful indeed for situations where I need to be absolutely silent, or where I need a very high x sync speed). I will also say that Lightroom support for X Trans is still not as good as it should be, and I’m afraid I have never liked the look of X Trans output. The OMD offers me a complete system which covers everything from dynamic portraiture to wildlife, however I must stress that if you’re not dependent on a high level of performance then it becomes much easier to choose your equipment since your personal preferences will come into play a bit more.

  • Jennifer - November 14, 2013 - 9:23 pm

    Hi Lindsay, a very interesting read and review and just what I was after. a portrait photographer using both a Fuji and OMD Em5 and your reviews. I am very happy to hear you like the OMD EM5. I too have DSLRs and am a portrait photographer – although having time out at the moment- so been looking around at these new mirror less systems and I did purchase a fuji X100s for fun and travel rather than work, which I love… but found restrictive and wondered if I should move up to the Xe1 or Xpro1…. and waited for a bit to see the xe2…. I tried the Xe1 in a shop ( not upgrade done in it) and i found it very slow compared to the x100s…… so researched the OMD…. wasn’t sure about micro 4/3s but heh managed to get the one I wanted on preowned at half the price. so waiting in anticipation to try it out. Very interested in the 35-100 lens you raved about as my fav lens is a 70-200 f4 ) 2.8 is too heavy . so keen to see your hampton photos and they are lovely. how did the lights ranger lights work out for you? I will keenly look back at your blog and reviews and let you know my views on the camera when I get my hands on it. I never thought it would be an alternative to my FF DSLR, more a travel and everyday camera, but who knows it could be just what I am after…. .

  • Lindsay Dobson - November 15, 2013 - 1:38 pm

    Hi Jennifer, historically with my DSLR cameras I have usually favoured the Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS – a fantastic lens but cripplingly heavy to hold. The Panasonic 35-100 f2.8 mirrors this field of view on a micro 4/3 camera and is optically superb.

    The Elinchrom Rangers are excellent and small enough to be portable. However they are expensive (I don’t own any) and it’s worth looking at the Lencarta Safari lights which have broadly the same specifications and are vastly less in price.

  • Tom Bell - November 15, 2013 - 11:37 pm

    Dear Lindsay,
    Thank you for such a helpful post. I am very much a happy amateur … mainly country and landscape as I walk on Dartmoor and on the coast. I have used Pentax … from LX onwards and love my K5 but it is still bulky. I have a Fuji X100 which is better now with Firmware 2.0 and I love it … but it is still slowish to focus …. and when you get the photo .. it can be lovely … but too often miss. I must say with a little compact XF1 and the X100 I really wanted to keep to just two makes .. Fuji and Pentax … but I was already worried about the focusing and I like the look of the EM5 which reminds me of my friends OM1 many years ago.
    Looking at your result, seeing the comments on AF speed and the fact it is Weatherproof … your blog has helped me towards mt decision … with the OMD being as low as £915.00 with the 45mm lens thrown in … with your help
    i think my decision is made. Best wishes Tom

  • Tom Bell - November 15, 2013 - 11:40 pm

    …also Linday .. the X100 I bought second hand .. and i bought the WA 28mm/F2 lens … this is beautiful … and i find the 28mm is also really useful. Well made. Good results .. and because it fixes on the end of the 35mm lens … no dust on the sensor !!

  • Lindsay Dobson - November 17, 2013 - 4:24 pm

    Hi Tom, I completely agree with what you say about the Fuji X100, I have one and I love it for the reasons you state. I also find it genuinely useful for those times when I’m using strobe in bright light and I need a high X Sync speed. But obviously a complete system will be much more versatile (although it is a luxury to own both) and given the weather here in the UK a weatherproof camera has real benefits!

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