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adam m lucas
17th April 2017, 09:28 PM
Hi All - I am about to enter the world of photography once again following a few years in the wilderness. A question please and I would be grateful for any comments. I'm thinking of either the Fuji XT2 or Olympus omd 1 mark 2 ( 20mp )

Is micro 4/3 now on a par with latest offerings from Fuji / Nikon etc ?
Is DR now very similar to Fuji / Nikon offerings - Retention in highlights etc ?
Can micro 4/3 print as large and provide prints as crisp with great tonality as Nikon / Fuji can ?

Micro 4/3 appeals and I now some of the Zuiko glass is superb.

Thanks for your thoughts guys - Kind regards , Adam

pdk42
17th April 2017, 10:13 PM
Hi Adam,

I'm sure you'll get lots of opinions on this subject! As you'd expect of a member on this forum, I'm an Olympus user and enthusiast, but I do try to be as objective as I can when comparing to other systems. In the case of Fuji, I did in fact run a Fuji camera alongside my Olympus cameras for a few months to get a feel for how they compare. In the end I decided to let the Fuji go. Here are the main pros and cons as I see them:

Fuji - pros:
- Slightly better noise performance at high ISOs
- Old-school controls - aperture dial on lens, shutter speed on body
- (on XT2) Nice flip screen implementation
- Some excellent lenses - especially the primes

Fuji - cons:
- X-Trans sensor configuration yields raw files that are difficult to process well
- No in-body image stabilisation
- Lack of some worthwhile features found on Olympus cameras - see Oly pros below
- Lenses are generally bigger and heavier than u43 lenses
- Lens range not as extensive as u43 (although arguable all you need is there)


Olympus pros:
- IBIS is superb. For example I can reliably take shots at 24mm equiv FL at 8s using the E-M1ii + 12-100 lens.
- Some great features on the E-M1ii, for example:
... - Livetime & livecomp exposure modes make long-exposure photography easy - they are especially good for landscape shooting with ND filters
... - Focus stacking - great for macro photography
... - Hi-Res mode works extremely well for some subjects (still-life, landscapes)
- Lens range is amazing - huge and of great quality
- E-M1ii is amazingly fast - whether that be AF speed, burst modes (18fps with AF, 60fps without), buffer clearing or whatever.

Olympus cons:
- Will show noise more readily at higher ISOs (the E-M1ii will likely be between a half-stop and stop behind the Fuji XT2)
- Menu ergonomics can be complex
- E-M1ii is pricey

Things they both do well

- They will both allow you to produce big prints of excellent quality - at least up to 16x20 at up to ISO 1600. See the Imaging Resource review of the cameras and look at the printing performance section in each review.
- DR and noise handling is excellent with the nose going to Fuji
- AF on both the XT2 and E-M1ii is now snapping at the heels of the high-end DSLRs. It's not quite as good, but will be more than enough for most people.


To answer your specific questions:

Is micro 4/3 now on a par with latest offerings from Fuji / Nikon etc ?
Depends what you mean by "on a par".

If you mean image quality (IQ), then I'd argue that the latest 20Mp u43 is pretty close to the latest 24Mp APS-C cameras (so Fuji, Nikon). It'll show a little more noise at higher ISOs but only you can decide if that's important to you. There's probably a half to one stop difference between the E-M1ii and the XT2 and I'd doubt you'd ever see it on a print. Canon APSC is equal at best to the E-M1ii, and worse in some people's opinion. Jumping to FF cameras will provide a noticeable step up from both u43 and APSC - but only if you really need that step up. If all the walls you climb are 10' high, it won't matter whether your ladder is 12' or 20' (except for the size and weight)! If you do a lot of heavy PP or low light shooting then FF might be a better choice.

If you mean features, usability, speed etc - then I think u43 is actually quite a bit ahead - especially the E-M1ii. IBIS alone is a game changer and the Olympus IBIS is the market leader.

If you mean C-AF, then I think mirrorless in general is snapping at the heels of high-end DSLRs, but the DSLRs still reign supreme at that. The best mirrorless cameras for CAF are the E-M1ii, the XT2 and (maybe) the Panasonic GH5. If absolute AF performance is important, then something like a Nikon D500 or Canon 7Dii is probably the better choice.

Is DR now very similar to Fuji / Nikon offerings - Retention in highlights etc ?
Take a look at Bill Claff's site for comparisons. Here's a comparison of the E-M1ii vs the XT2:

http://photonstophotos.net/Charts/PDR.htm#FujiFilm%20X-T2,Olympus%20OM-D%20E-M1%20Mark%20II

Personally I think that DR on the E-M1ii and Pen-F is pretty good, and I do a lot of landscape shooting where DR is important.

Can micro 4/3 print as large and provide prints as crisp with great tonality as Nikon / Fuji can ?
Absolutely. Print is a pretty forgiving medium. Unless you mean mega-big (20" x 30" or larger) then I doubt you'd find u43 lacking. This what Imaging Resource said about the E-M1ii's print quality:


ISO 64 prints look absolutely superb at 30 x 40 inches (except for reduced dynamic range), with super-sharp detail, excellent color renditioning and an amazing amount of three dimensional "pop" to them. These are simply superb prints in every regard.

ISO 200 images also look quite good at 30 x 40 inches. They're not quite as super-crisp as the prints at ISO 64, but still offer an amazing amount of fine detail for this size, with rich colors as well.

ISO 400 yields outstanding prints up to 20 x 30 inches, with terrific detail and only a mild softening in our tricky red-leaf swatch. The 24 x 36 inch prints here are certainly usable as well for wall display purposes and less critical applications, anything but the most critical of printing needs.



Overall I think that it would be hard to go wrong with either. I doubt either would be a bad buy.

Zuiko
17th April 2017, 10:54 PM
Thank you Paul (pdk42) for a comprehensive and thorough reply. *chr

Crazy Dave
18th April 2017, 07:06 AM
David Thorpe writes about micro four-thirds cameras and lenses in a down to earth style.

http://m43blog.dthorpe.net

David

Rawcoll
18th April 2017, 07:11 AM
I don't do very much conventional photography these days, but when I do I use my Fuji XT1 and 100S, though still occasionally my old GH2. So I'm not very much up to speed, though I have to endorse Paul's comments regarding the general difference between the two paradigms.

There are a couple of things I'd like to add though. Noise is more of a complex issue than Paul's remarks might suggest, as in long exposure noise. I regularly use up to 30s exposure in my photography and I find that the dark noise to be well controlled. On the other hand, if I recall correctly, this was a bit of issue with the OMD 1 mk1, in that when it was released it was not insignificant and actually worse than than the EM5. Perhaps someone can correct me if I'm wrong. How the MkII perfoms in that regards I don't know; I'm sure there are many on this forum who can attest to its performance. Whether this is an issue for you only you can judge.

The fact that the Fuji sensor has no anti-aliasing filter has, I believe, allowed me to extract more detail. But, as the MPx goes up, this becomes less of an issue anyway. I wouldn't say that the Fuji sensor gives raws that are more difficult to process, but I do feel that it is very much down to the processing engine. I migrated from LR to Capture 1 because of the Fuji raws, and am more than happy with the output quality, apart from which it gets me out of the clutches of Adobe, but that's another story! Note that there are many proponents for using LR on Fuji raws: it's a bit like Brexit, you either stay or leave!

And on that note...

pdk42
18th April 2017, 07:36 AM
There are a couple of things I'd like to add though. Noise is more of a complex issue than Paul's remarks might suggest, as in long exposure noise. I regularly use up to 30s exposure in my photography and I find that the dark noise to be well controlled. On the other hand, if I recall correctly, this was a bit of issue with the OMD 1 mk1, in that when it was released it was not insignificant and actually worse than than the EM5. Perhaps someone can correct me if I'm wrong. How the MkII perfoms in that regards I don't know; I'm sure there are many on this forum who can attest to its performance.

Yes, the E-M1 mk i has very poor long exposure noise issues. Anything over about 30s produces salt & pepper colour noise that will ruin a shot. Turning on dark frame subtraction mainly fixes it, but at the expense of the shot taking twice as long. The E-M1ii doesn't have this issue at all.

adam m lucas
18th April 2017, 07:38 AM
Thank you much for your replies so far - Very informative - Thanks very very much.

Kind regards , Adam.

Growltiger
18th April 2017, 07:40 AM
If you use Hires mode then noise is reduced. If you take a 50MP hires image at ISO 200 there is no noise. To get a single image with that detail and no noise you would be pushing the upper boundaries of the most expensive FF cameras and heading towards medium format.

Don't forget weight and size when comparing. Work out the equivalent weight of the complete kit, not just the body with a standard lens. M43 is smaller and lighter and the most significant area for this is telephoto lenses.

c12402
18th April 2017, 09:06 AM
I can tell you why I choose Olympus, it was an advice of a veteran photographer that changed his big 1D for something much smaller:

"As of today, all cameras are good, normally much better than any of us, and offering possibilities beyond our ability to use. So the fundamental remaining thing to take pictures is to have the camera with you, all time...)". And this take us to the portability aspect.

I have a very good friend with a 5Dmk2, that is normally within a drawer. He makes very good pictures with his iPhone, good composition, decent colors... that's the real life.

drmarkf
18th April 2017, 10:09 PM
Paul has given you really excellent real-life advice.

I'd just add to his list of mirrorless cameras for CAF that is good enough for bird-in-flight photography, the Sony A6300 and 6500 used with a Metabones mkIV adapter and Canon 100-400 f4.5-5.6L mk2.

From what I've read on t'internet, in fact, the E-M1ii and Oly 300 or Panasonic 100-400, and the Sony/Canon combination, are the only ones I've seen recommended by 'independent' expert bird photographers.