Fuji X-T1 vs Olympus OM-D E-M1 | Romanas Naryškin

The new Fujifilm X-T1 has been greeted with great enthusiasm. Based purely on specifications, the newer camera seems to be at the top in Japanese manufacturer’s line-up, at least until  X-Pro2 comes along. That said, $1,299 is quite a lot of money for an APS-C camera, especially when it has some stiff competition to measure up against. In this article, I will compare the new X-T1 mirrorless camera from Fujifilm to Olympus’ top offering, the OM-D E-M1……

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I have the E-M1 and really have no complaints. It operates really well, the ergonomics and functionality are top notch, as well as the build and quality of available lenses. IQ is really good and unless you pixel peep, really need big ass prints, it is more than capable of delivery high quality results for both the enthusiast as well as the pro level, imho.

I’m on the fence a bit these days as to which side I want to be on. On one hand I love my E-M1 and all that MFT has to offer. But, this new X-T1 has me wanting to go back to Fuji again (note, I use to own a X100 & X10 and loved them also, great IQ and performance, no doubt, but the AF/MF sucked! Just wasn’t reliable enough, so I opted for the OM-D line for a more balanced and reliable high grade performance overall). They are just about on par in a number of ways, but the control layout, the notable and debated dials on the X-T1 (like the Nikon Df) are very cool and I can see the positives to having them as opposed to traditional modern control dials & buttons, have me very interested in the X-T1. Also, there is a bit of an advantage and liking towards what an APS-C sensor can do in terms of slightly better dynamic range (DR) & almost as important to me the better ability to get shallower depth of field (DOF). I can probably come close on MFT system, but you really have to have the right fast lens and be positioned in the optimum distance to subject and background/foreground to have something that measures the closest to what a APS-C (or Full Frame) sensor can produce bokeh-wise.

I’ve been debating a a few topics in my head for a while till this very day, between the X-T1 & E-M1, specifically comparing.

Like the Nikon Df, I do have a very strong liking to the direct dials and controls on top the camera to which they really help add to the retro styling cues. However, unlike the Df, the ones on the Fuji X-T1 are a lot more intuitive, less redundant, and seem to work more positively than the Df.

But, comparing the control dial concepts between E-M1(which I own & currently use) & X-T1, I will say that the E-M1’s is actually better to use, both ergonomically and functionally. That’s one of the top reasons I moved to the E-M1 from the E-M5, the control layout and having nearly everything you could most commonly want and will use right there at your fingertips without menu diving. With a quick press of a custom button and/or a flick of the 1-2 switch around the the AE-L/AF-L button, you can pretty much do everything in position without moving your eye and framing of scene to do so.

Where as the X-T1, perhaps at first, you may need to remove your eye to locate and see exactly the controls you are setting. With time, you will probably learn and know where and how to move your fingers and if you can do that, the changes to your settings should show up in the EVF (or rear LCD if you’re using that to compose).

BUT, the X-T1 has a slightly less smooth transition and operation. Think about it.

1) at least 2 of the exposure dials, namely ISO & Shutter, you have lock buttons on them so that’s an extra thing to push.. not hard, but it’s not as quick as turning the dial unobstructed directly like on the E-M1.

2) again, at least 2 of the exposure dials, again namely ISO & Shutter, you will probably need to put some effort into repositioning your hand and fingers to resetting them accordingly. I don’t believe it’s difficult, but it’s yet another extra movement and bit of effort to set your exposure, for example, which you wouldn’t have to do on the E-M1.

On the E-M1, everything is pretty much in position and you make little to no effort in adjusting exposure settings (and a number of other settings) right on the spot… they’re readily at your finger tips and there are no locks to contend with.

In reality, these are what I consider minor gripes, but none the less valid „obstacles“ which may make your shooting experience that less smooth, quick or slick, depending on your style.

I think for pure ergonomics and functionality and smooth operation, the E-M1 works and makes a bit more sense.

A slight advantage to the exposure dials of the X-T1 is that you can pretty much instantly see and set in advance the exposure settings on the outside before turning on the camera. In a way, it can be faster and quicker to operate if you look at it this way.

This is one area that causes me to keep going back and forth on my reasonings to stay with my E-M1 or switch to the T-X1.. besides a slight advantage towards the X-T1’s sensor because it is APS-C and should have better DR, ability for shallower DOF, higher ISO/low light, and overall IQ & resolution. The E-M1 is no slouch in the IQ & resolution department, but that extra DR & shallower DOF makes for a strong argument and tempting proposition to switch to the X-T1.

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