Well, well. What a journey I have been through with the camera gear over the past year or so. I went from a full equipped Fujifilm X bag to an Olympus OM-D E-M1 II too nothing else but an Fujifilm X100F.
You might rightly ask yourself why did I go from the Fuji camera to an Olympus one in the first place.
Well, that’s a simple answer. After shooting for about five years with the X-Trans gear I wanted to try something new. The Olympus was praised as an amazing capable camera and you know what? It is.
The Olympus OM-D E-M1 MII is a joy to hold. It is well balanced and ergonomically one of the best if not the best mirrorless camera out there. Not even the Sony A7M2 which I also had for a while is as good! On the Olympus I had the M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro lens and the M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 Pro lens. I also had some of the great prime lenses out of the M.Zuiko line. All are amazing pieces of glass.
The raw files are very versatile especially when using my favorite raw converter out there namely Lightroom Classic CC.
But why, oh why did I go back to Fujifilm with the X100F and not to something like an X-T2?
Simple! I had too much gear. Not being able to decide which lens to take on a vacation or on a short photo tour with friends was a bummer. If there is one thing I don’t like is having to carry a heavy camera bag with me and then switching from one lens to another while out and about.
That’s where the Fujifilm X100F kicks in. One camera, one lens. Take it or leave it. If you take it, then live with what you get. A 23mm f/2 lens which has the field of view of an 35mm lens in full frame terms. I could have just gone with the Olympus and the M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8 but there are other things which I will write about in a few lines. I just did not even want to have the possibility of changing lenses. A self-restriction. As I have had the X100T in the past and took some amazing shots with that camera the answer to myself was clear. I sold the Olympus gear and got myself the Fujifilm X100F.
Let me try and write some sort of comparison between both of them.
Body and build quality
The Olympus has an amazing body. I could throw it at anything. Rain, Dust, Sand. Anything. The weather sealing on these Olympus cameras is nothing short of amazing and that is the one of the major points I miss on the X100F. The build quality on both is top notch and right up there.
Let’s talk Autofocus.
Yes they both have autofocus and both cameras deliver what I personally need. Yes the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II has more options to choose from. But then again, this camera is the do it all tool and the one to compete with big DSLR’s out there. You want to shoot flying birds with the 300mm lens on the Olympus? You will get the shot. Try that with the Fujifilm X100F? Oh wait, you just got one focal length. Take a look at the bird but you won’t get the shot. Anybody who wants to shoot wildlife won’t be buying the Fujifilm in the first place. The autofocus on the Fujifilm X100F is fast enough. It has tracking capabilities if you need them and they work fine. But the Olympus is better in this discipline and wins. Hands down!
Customizing the camera
I would call this a tie. Both cameras can be set up in a very flexible way. On the Olympus and the Fujifilm you can designate near enough every button the way you want it. Not more to say.
Menus and operating the camera
The Olympus menus are a pain in the backside. Think of anything you ever want to set up in your camera. You name it, the Olympus can do it. For me it is too much. The Menus have been redesigned but are extremely overwhelming. Yes the Olympus has some amazing tricks up its sleeve and functions which are really great. Think of Time-lapses, Live composite and what not all. I never used anything of it. Not my kind of photography.
The Fujifilm X100F is an all different camera. In my personal view the menus are tidy and grouped in a very logical way. It seems that Mr. Spock himself laid his logical thoughts on these. Except for a few small niggles. But hey, no camera is perfect.
I will say this though. Once the camera has been set up one hardly ever has to delve into the menus of either camera unless in the Olympus’s case you want to use some very special features. But as stated, that is not my kind of photography at all and that is one of the reasons I went back to Fuji and especially the X100F.
Operating the Olympus is pretty easy if you stick to the PASM Modes. You can assign the front or back dial to do what you want. Changing the aperture or shutter speed can be set up as you want.
One thing I never got on with is changing the focus point. Yes you can use the four way controller. It works. The newer Fujifilm models including the X100F have a joystick to set the focus point. So simple.
I will not go into very deep technical details on what you can set up on the OM-D E-M1II as this would expand this to an extreme extent.
The X100F on the other hand is simple. Want to photograph in P. Set the aperture on the red A and the shutter speed on the red A. You’re in P. Want aperture priority? Set the aperture value you want and the shutter speed dial on the red A and you are ready to go. Same goes for shutter priority and so on. Simple! You want an Auto Mode? Set the dedicated dial on the red A. Want to set the value as you wish? Turn the dial.
That is what I just love about the Fujifilm X100F.
Color rendering and the flexibility of the files when processing
Now let us get to the point that really counts in the end. Image quality.
The Olympus uses the newest 20MP micro Four Thirds sensor with the amazing in body image stabilization. Colors are great from this new sensor. Typical Olympus, rich colors and wonderful tonality. But once I started processing the files a little heavier in Lightroom I got color banding. This is a no go for me and the type of pictures I take. Mostly Landscape.
Not that the image quality is bad, but I know that it can be better. The files can be used in a flexible way, no question about that. As stated, I got to the point where I had difficulty getting the result I wanted. Maybe it’s because I have been shooting with Fujifilm cameras for five years know and am more used to processing those files.
Please note, the Olympus OM-D E-M1II has a very capable sensor. I personally did not get used to it.
The Fujifilm X100F on the other hand has a slightly larger APS-C sized sensor. Personally I get better results with this sensor when working on the raw files. Color banding happens much later and I find the files more flexible. I just love the colors coming from the Fujifilm 24MP sensor. Lately I have been using Fujifilm’s X RAW STUDIO to convert the RAF files to Jpegs using the in camera processing power. Over the past weeks I have found my very favorite jpeg settings which I use.
I just love the jpegs coming out of this X100F. It is going so far that I am honestly thinking of changing my MacBook Pro and Lightroom Classic CC workflow over to a Jpeg only iPad Lightroom CC (the mobile version) workflow. But that’s another topic. What I want to say is that I am so pleased with the Jpegs OOC and am able to make some minor adjustments in Lightroom CC and am very pleased with the results.
The final thoughts.
You might have asked yourself at the beginning of this post why someone would choose to go all in and only use one camera with a fixed lens. Well the answer is simple really. I was getting overwhelmed with gear. Which lens do I take out on a city trip? Do I only take the 12-40? Or do I grab the whole bag? Oh wait, I hate carrying a big bag with me. Nothing worse than a pain in the neck and shoulder after walking in a city all day!
Over the past year my type of photography has changed. I got the feeling that I don’t need to get every shot I could ever take if I have the proper gear with me. Instead I have the feeling that documentary style of photography is my style. I like to document the vacations my wife and I take, new countries, interesting people and the landscapes as well.
Sometime last year I evaluated more around about 50.000 photographs which I had taken over the past seven years. You know what? Most of my really good shots had been captured around a focal length of about 35mm in full frame terms. What more do I need then than a lens with a field of view of 35mm. The X100F covers just that.
That is why I decided to go all in with nothing but the Fujifilm X100F.
“My name is Daniel Stocker and I live in the south west of Germany near Stuttgart. Photography is a main part of my free time and of course on vacations my wife and I take. The second passion is traveling the world and getting to know new people and cultures. I have been photographing for the past 14 years building up more and more knowledge on it. I never went to any class, it is all self taught.”