Olympus E-M5 vs Fuji X-E1 vs Nikon D5300 handheld?

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Digital Cameras' started by fast_primes, Apr 12, 2015.

  1. I've narrowed my choice to one of these 3 cameras. Each one generation old, so less expensive when bought new or used.

    Ouestion 1--how significant is the dslr mirror slap from the Nikon (or any) D5300? Back in the day, rangefinders were judged to gain a stop handheld advantage against full frame slr film cameras. Has this changed?

    Question 2--does the 4 stop inbody antishake advantage of the Olympus E-M5 overcome the superior size/low-noise capability of the Fuji 16mp Xtrans sensor or the Nikon/Sony 24mp sensor? This is primarily in the street or travel genres with no flash and interiors as well. Particularly with prime lenses--I know Nikon and Fuji put antishake in their zooms.

  2. I'd be torn between the E-M5 for the outstanding sensor based stabilization, and the X-E1 for the outstanding in-camera JPEGs.
    On the one hand, the E-M5 would enable using my favorite manual non-Olympus lenses and still enjoy stabilization. Very important to me for dim available light photography since I never carry a tripod (back and neck pain preclude toting anything other than a monopod, which can double as a walking stick).
    On the other hand, I've examined many samples of Olympus in-camera JPEGs and while they're often more appealing to me than Nikon in-camera JPEGs (entirely subjective, of course), they don't quite grab me like Fuji JPEGs. Also, Olympus in-camera JPEGs tend to impose too much luminance noise smoothing, even at relatively lower ISOs where it isn't really needed.
    On the third hand, Fuji in-camera JPEGs suit my preferences, and if I used only one of the kit zooms with stabilization, I'd probably be satisfied. I do occasionally use my Fuji X-A1 with an adapter for my manual focus lenses, but it's not suitable for handheld candid snaps. Pretty much strictly for landscapes and relatively stationary subjects where I can use the focus peaking and magnifier.
    On the fourth hand, I've seen some outstanding handheld candid street and documentary photos by some folks whose work I really admire. They're tweaking the raw files to get the final results. The E-M5 seems nimble and responsive enough to be suitable for candid people pix, including kids.
    On the fifth hand... where did all these extra hands come from?
    Regarding mechanical vibration issues, you'd need to ask someone who's used both the E-M5 and X-E1. My X-A1 emits enough vibration from the mechanical focal plane shutter to present a challenge in some situations - usually with shutter speeds between 1/8-1/60th second, where shutter vibration can offset the advantages of optical image stabilization. Image stabilization is good for minimizing photographer-induced blur from hand and body motion, but it can't overcome sharp vibrations induced by shutters.
    For that reason, my favorite all purpose candid photography camera remains the Nikon V1, which offers a choice between a mechanical focal plane shutter, and a completely silent and vibration-free electronic shutter. The 10-30 VR kit zoom is very good and suits 90% of my needs, although I do wish Nikon would offer an f/2.8 or faster midrange zoom for the 1 System. I use the mechanical shutter only for high speed flash sync (up to 1/250th) for daylight fill flash, and for rare occasions where the shutter sound might help someone who's posing for me who seems to anticipate the shutter sound. Mostly I use the electronic shutter. But the Nikon 1 System image quality cannot match the Fuji APS sensor at any ISO. And while the V1 and E-M5 are very close in IQ at or near ISO 200, the Olympus pulls away at ISO 400 and above with clearly superior IQ.
  3. I came from Nikon DX to µ43 using an EM-5.
    I love the EM-5 because of the small size. There is an issue that is similar to mirror slap, btw, that you have to look into, based on the shutter closing and opening and closing really fast. I find it to be a non-issue. I also love the in-body stabilization, to be sure. It works terrific. I chose it over the Fuji, because I liked the way the camera fit my hands and the way the menus worked (kinda).
    Mirror slap? Not an issue with anything shot hand-held in low light, imho. There are far too many other factors at play that will blur your photo more.
    The ONLY reason I went with µ43 was size. DX was getting too big for me to carry around.
    I like Nikon's menus and functions the best, wish I could have them in an Olympus camera.
    If you can't get a great photo with any of these cameras, it ain't the camera. Pick the one that fits your hands and has the lenses you want, imho.
  4. Just my take on the D5300 mirror slap question: I use it with the Nikon 70-200 f4 with VR and have no issues with it. And, with the 70-200, it effectively gives me 105-300 mm for the zoom range. Attached is a picture I recently took across the width of the Cooper River on a very windy day, handheld with the zoom at 300.
  5. I'm quite used to shooting quite low light hand-held, and the problem more often than not is getting good contrast in low light more than shake/blur. I use a (much) heavier camera (and sub-f/2-primes), which I personally find that easier to balance and hold still than smaller cameras with smaller handgrips etc. It's completely personal, of course, but smaller and less weight are not advantages by definition.
    Rather than the vibrations of mirror-slap, the advantage of cameras as the Fuji, Olympus etc. to me would be that they make less noise. Given I've got good experiences with several Fuji digitals, I look at those most, but the X100s is still too expensive to my taste, and the 23mm prime of the X-series as well.... At least, Fuji has the really fast primes I'd like, so would I go for a mirrorless system I'd probably end up with a Fuji.
    A lot comes down to handling (and the necessity for VR can be very related to that) - I'd try them in a store in your own hands, and see how things work for you. I think that ultimately makes more of a difference than discussions of stablisers-versus-ISO.
  6. With static subjects and fast primes, an EM-5 with its IBIS would more than overcome the advantage of a larger APSC sensor. It also is extremely responsive with very fast AF (single shot) and there are a large selection of reasonably priced primes available. Never shoot JPEG so I don't care much about a camera's JPEG engine. That being said, I could certainly find happiness with a system based on a Fuji X-T1.
  7. Andy, I do not know whether this is the full frame or a section crop but unless it's a REALLY small crop, the sharpness would be unacceptable to me, regardless of the camera or lens. It's just a soft image. I cannot tell much since you did not include shutter speed or f/ stop data but I'd be returning any camera/lens that produced such images. Just curious, not trying to be critical of the photographer, just the equipment.
  8. lwg


    I was looking for a small camera with high image quality. I recently bought the EM5, mainly based on the IBIS. I have been very happy with the choice. Note, I have an FX DLSR for when I want better low light sensitivity or higher resolution.
    I don't find the mirror slap to be an issue with Nikon DLSRs, especially the DX models. I still use the mirror lockup on a tripod, but handheld it's a tiny factor compared to how much I move the camera just pressing the shutter button.
    The EM5 sensor is noisier than the Nikon, but it's not an issue for me most of the time. I was just experimenting with expose to the right on the EM5 and it does seem to make a big difference. The nice thing is with the electronic viewfinder it's easy to practice since you can see the over exposed areas. On my Nikon I don't bother with it much since I scared of blowing out the highlights and not knowing until after the shot.
    I think the Olympus 17mm and 45mm lenses are little gems. Very small and high quality. I hope to get the 12mm soon as well. I've also used adapted longer lenses on the camera and appreciate the IBIS with them.
    I have no experience with the Fuji, though I did consider buying it. In the end the smaller size of the Olympus lenses won me over, along with the IBIS.
  9. I think that if the idea is to have a small kit in addition to a larger DSLR kit I'd go with M4/3, to get the smallest kit. But if you want to move to mirrorless completely, that's a different thing. I owned M4/3 and NEX kits before settling on Fuji, and while the first two kits were reasonably capable, the Fuji wins out easily for combining a good balance of size, build quality and sensor capabilities with incredibly good lenses. If fast primes are your priority, the Fuji ones can't be beaten.
  10. I have a collection of M4/3 cameras, including the EP2, and also an XE1. If you need a camera that can focus quickly and instantly take a photo, the XE1 isn't it. But, those EX1 jpegs (especially B&W mode) , and high ISO performance up to 6400 are addicting. The XE1 with 18-55mm zoom is $700 now, maybe too good to pass up.
  11. Eric, I agree with your comments. Picture was at f4, and, as I recall, about 1/160th. The original frame showed both the Nina and the Pinta, so the one you see is less that 50% of the original. Knowing this, I put it up for the point of influence of mirror slap as not being a primary concern with this kit. Getting more specific, I was on as extended buoy dock section which was bobbing in the water and I suspect that was more a cause of blurr than mirror slap. As to audience for image(s), I certainly would never submit this image to Alamy, for example, but for Facebook, etc., at a small size, It is an easy choice. It's horses for courses.
  12. I generally am comfortable running the ISO setting on my E-M5 to 3200 and have that set as maximum on the auto ISO feature. If reasonably well exposed, ISO 3200 files are good, but I don't think I would venture much above that setting. Compared with the 12mp sensor in my E-PL2, the 16mp Sony sensor in the E-M5 seams to have at least a 2 stop improvement in high ISO performance and a similar improvement in DR.
  13. I wouldn't associate my X-E1 with real life high ISO performance since VF lag becomes relevant in that field. If you haven't gotten or fallen in love with f-mount lenses I would look at stabilized sensor DSLRs or Sonys too. - Pentaxes might be cheap enough by now?
    If you mail instructions what you'd like to see done I'd volunteer for a SLR RF Fuji handholding comparsion test. I guess the superior handholdability of RFs is an urban legend back from the days when all we wanted was something to get away with as a 4x5" letterpress print in the newspaper. - I'd use safe shutter speeds or tripods to get all their IQ potential used and am sad I can't use auto ISO to provide 1/250sec in auto mode.
  14. According to the EXIF data, Andy's shot was taken at f4, 100 ISO, 1/1250 sec. If that is so, then even at 50% crop it is very soft.
  15. Thanks Harry, Since the image was taken about 2:00 pm with sun almost overhead, I ran it through Nik plug-in recipe for soft sunset, which gives a soft appearance. This, added to motion of floating dock, combined to degrade sharp appearance.
  16. I'm now leaning very strongly toward the Olympus M5--thanks to stumbling upon a review of the Panasonic 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH MEGA O.I.S. Lumix G Vario on slrgear.com. It turns in an excellent (if not superb) performance, backed up by user reviews. Thus an extremely simple 12-32mm + 25F1.8 Olympus (or 20F1.7 Panny) + 60F2.8 Sigma 3 lens combo for the M5 suggest itself.
    In the case of Fuji XE-1, I had been contemplating the the 16-50mm kit zoom, the 27F2.8 and the 60F2.4 macro but the reports show the zoom poor at it widest setting and possibly uncertain in it's built in antishake as well. Also, the 16-50 isn't particularly compact at all.
    And in the case of the Nikon D5300, I had nailed down the new 18-55 VR II zoom (rated excellent at it's 18mm setting by slrgear.com), the 35F1.8 DX G and the 85F1.8 G FX lens as a base system. However, I'm beginning to wonder if such a system is now socially too obtrusive for general use. The 85F1.8G has a 67mm filter thread, although it is fairly light and has reputed SOA performance. I now rarely see anyone with a dslr in either Philly or NYC and wonder if I wouldn't feel severely constrained in walking around with such a system.
  17. Be careful relying on a panasonic lens as your main lens on an Olympus and vice versa.
    Because the firmware in these cameras corrects defects like CA in the lenses, but ONLY in the lenses from THAT company.
    I have the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 (the original) that I use with my EM-5, though, and it works very nicely.
  18. It would be hard to exaggerate the value of in-camera image stabilization. You can use any lens, with or without optical stabilization, with the proper adapter. I have a Sony A7ii, which uses essentially the same mechanism as the Olympus, but with a full-sized sensor. I rarely need to use a tripod with this camera, even for landscapes, and then only for leveling and consistency (e.g., panoramas, bracketed HDRs and group photos).
    Without stabilization, camera motion is a major detriment to sharpness up to about double the focal length rule. With stabilization, you only need worry about the subject moving (good to 1/15" or slower with a 50 mm lens).
  19. for pure street, the IBIS stabilization is a powerful tool i wish the Fuji had. that said, the 18-55 lens is effective at stabilization and reasonably compact, besides being great optically. i dont see a huge difference between that and the fuji primes.
    In the case of Fuji XE-1, I had been contemplating the the 16-50mm kit zoom, the 27F2.8 and the 60F2.4 macro but the reports show the zoom poor at it widest setting and possibly uncertain in it's built in antishake as well. Also, the 16-50 isn't particularly compact at all.​
    my fuji kit includes 2xXE1, 18-55, 27, and 60/2.4, also 14/2.8 and 35/1.4. its a reasonably proficient setup for street. the XE1+27 combo alone is a great street setup if you want compact. i dont need stabilization on that or the 14mm, but i really wish the 60 had it. the 60 is a great portrait lens btw and great in a 2-body setup with the 14. not particularly fast to focus but workable if you dont rack focus too much and work in good light. the 18-55 may be all the lens you need though if youre not a low light addict, ultrawide junkie or bokeh fiend.
    i considered the E-M5, but obviously went with Fuji. if i was going to go the Oly route, id want the 12/2, the 45/1.8, and the 75/1.8. but then i figured if i was going to spend that much, might as well get a larger sensor. YMMV.
  20. Another vote for m4/3 for Nikon shooters, since it makes sense to get a kit that is substantially smaller without too much sacrifice in IQ.

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