Fujifilm X100 vs Olympus EP2

A comparison of image quality between the Fujifilm FinePix X100 vs Olympus PEN EP2

|  X100 in Mirrorless Cameras
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We've now completed our review of the much discussed Fujifilm FinePix X100 which you will find here: Fujifilm Finepix X100 digital camera test. And last year we tested a similar sized and equally desireable Olympus PEN E-P1

So here is a quick photo comparison comparing the close up / macro features of the Fujifilm X100 with the Olympus E-P1's recent replacement, the E-P2.
Fujifilm Finepix X100 and Olympus E-P2

fuji x100 and olympus e-p2What we wanted to do is see how well each camera focused at close range and compare accuracy of focus, sharpness and rendition at the widest aperture, the optimum aperture and the smallest aperture. The shots are at ISO100. It's obviously not an all inclusive test but will add further evidence to help you decide which of these deluxe compact cameras to buy.

EDIT Please note I state above that it's not an inclusive test. Comments below have suggested we should be looking at other aspects and not close focusing as the cameras are not designed for this sort of use. If not why does one have a "macro" mode! And both offer extremely close focusing. So while not conclusive it will help you assess one aspect of the camera and I'm sure some street photographer will post a review sometime soon.

The shot is an old camera, in fact the grandfather of mechanical cameras, the Leica rangefinder. It's placed on its back on a cushion with sequins. This gives you an idea of the quality of the rendition of the subtle out of focus bits as well the main sharpest point. The cameras were mounted on a tripod and the same position was used for both. The Fuji has a fixed 23mm lens (and a 1.5x crop factor) , the Olympus has an interchangeable lens and was fitted with the 17mm (and a 2x crop factor). So we end up with a similar crop. The focus point was the Leica's slow shutter speed dial bang in the centre of the frame.

The illumination is a large patio door with a silver reflector on the other side to throw some light into the shadows.

The cameras were set to the correct exposure and a bracket was done. A shot at 1/3 under exposure proved to be about right.

Interestingly the Olympus was a much more decisive about what it was focusing on and snapped instantly into place, while the Fuji hunted around a bit. At one point I didn't think it was going to make it, but once locked on it was quick for each of the shots.  SEE VIDEO OF OUR FOCUSING TEST HERE

The results speak for themselves. Click on the full frame shots to see the full size original photos for detailed comparison.
Fujifilm Finepix X100 1/10thsec at f/8 ISO100 Olympus E-P2 1/10thsec at f/8 ISO100
Fujifilm Finepix X100 1/10sec at f/8 ISO100
Olympus E-P2 1/10sec at f/8 ISO100
Crop of above shot (actual size)
Crop of above shot on Fuji (actual size)
 Crop of above shot Olympus (actual size)
Olympus E-P2 1/50sec at f/2.8 ISO100
Fujifilm X100 1/140sec f/2 ISO100    
Olympus E-P2 1/50sec at f/2.8 ISO100
 Olympus E-P2 0.5sec at f/18 ISO100
Fujifilm X100 0.5sec f/16 ISO100     Olympus E-P2 0.5sec at f/18 ISO100

What do you think? Add your comments below

We also have a RAW file available for you to download and play with here:
Olympus E-P2 1/30sec at f/8 ISO400
Fujifilm Finepix X100 1/18sec at f/8 ISO400
(We just need to do some changes to our database to get the new file format of the Fuji uploaded). Adobe Raw doesn't have a converter yet so please bookmark and return to this page soon.

ADDED INFO: 22 Mar 2011
Thanks for the feedback (see comments below)
As a result of this I've done two more comparisions. Both on aperture prioirty at the indicated meter reading.
1 With both cameras set to f/2.8 rather than their lens' maximum. (Good point)
2 With both cameras set to ISO6400. 
Fujifilm Finepix X100 1/45sec at f/2.8 and ISO200 Olympus E-P2  1/100sec at f/2.8 and ISO200
Fujifilm Finepix X100 1/45sec at f/2.8 and ISO200 Olympus E-P2  1/100sec at f/2.8 and ISO200

Extreme noise test using same subject and f/8 aperture. Both cameras set to low noise reduction. The Fuji, as we reported in the Fujifilm Finepix X100 digital camera test is outstanding!
Fujifilm Finepix X100 1/250sec at f/8 and ISO6400 Olympus E-P2  1/320sec at f/8 and ISO6400
Fujifilm Finepix X100 1/250sec at f/8 and ISO6400 Olympus E-P2  1/320sec at f/8 and ISO6400

Fujifilm Finepix X100 shot of rust Olympus E-P2 shot of rust
Fujifilm Finepix X100 shot of rust Olympus E-P2 shot of rust

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Photographs taken using the X100

The Man in The Hood."  It's all up hill."" A bit of Nonsense "Ferry on the Hudson RiverFreddyHenley South" Majestic Statue Of Pythagorias "" You Dare "Winter Solstice Sunset- Grange jettyWinter Solstice sunsetRedruthRegardless of to the threat of "Precipitation"" Approaching Storm "with hint of redCoquet Estuary Northumberland

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22 Mar 2011 12:59AM
pfew... especially at f/8 but also at f/16 the fuji just blows the E-P2 out of the water. Just amazing detail.
the f/2 vs f/2.8 is where the fuji loses out I think. I really need to get used to that extremely soft, hazy look the camera produces at f/2.

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klok 8
22 Mar 2011 1:33AM
admin, can u do a review f/2.8 vs f/2.8. i think its not fair to fuji tested @ f/2.

after stop down to f/2.8 fuji may win over olympus!
boone 8 10 United States
22 Mar 2011 1:59AM
Move up to ISO 1600 & 3200 and see what happens. Grin
22 Mar 2011 2:50AM
I would personally like to see this comparison done with the Panasonic GF1 with the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens with a raw file. We all know that the Panasonic glass (especially this lens) is much sharper than anything that Olympus has to offer in micro 4/3. I think the Fuji X100 would still beat the smaller file format of Micro 4/3, but I bet the comparison would be much closer.
Olympus glass is just weak in general for this format. Nice to see that the Fuji file looks so clean, tho.
22 Mar 2011 6:22AM
Nice comparison; I've been waiting to see how the new X100 stacks up against current mirrorless cameras.

I just don't understand the f/8 setting; although reasonably sharp at wide open, the Oly pancake is sharpest at f/4.5 . Don't know which f-stop the X100 is sharpest at but both cameras should've been set at apertures where the lens are sharpest the most.

Also, you don't get the best dynamic range at ISO 100; ISO 200 is better in that regard (at least for the E-P2). It should also be noted that PEN's noise reduction/filter are relatively strong by default; most users simply turn off 'noise reduction' and to set 'noise filter' to low.

I understand that the E-P2 with 17mm has the same equivalent focal length and has a similar retro design catered to an enthusiast desiring manual controls, but the E-PL2 with Panasonic 20mm f1.7 may have been more interesting (and more applicable for a sharpness test) since it is newer, has weaker AA, and better processing. Also, the 20mm is arguably sharper than the Oly pancake.
strawman 16 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
22 Mar 2011 10:39AM
For me, this is the nail in the coffin for the X100. I have to say @ f8 its results look good. And at first I thought the X100 results were much better, but much that is down to colour response. @f8 it contains a bit more detail but its wide open results look very soft.

To my mind you have to ask why get one of these cameras. Well to be portable, ok so how is this type of camera better than a top compact like an LX5, S95 etc, well you expect better low light performance. For that you want good wide open performance. The X100 is too soft so do you stop it down to @ f4. but those compacts are @ f2, and have zoom, so what you gain from having larger sensor you throw away because to get the lens performance you end up bumping the ISO up.

I would still want to play with one, but I am wondering if in fact it offers enough performance over a top compact to justify the price?
Pete Plus
18 18.8k 97 England
22 Mar 2011 10:43AM
Thanks for the feedback so far. I've just taken two more comparison sets which I'll add soon. I've also done a video on the focusing which is interesting. For those who're new and register to post a comment, very much appreciated. Hope you stick around and join in other discussions in forums etc I also assume you found us via a link from another site. Would you let that site know we will be adding more photos. And the video will be very interesting!
22 Mar 2011 12:24PM
I posted a comment above...and have since looked at the test photos more closely and I don't mean to bash the Fuji...but I think a LOT of people were hoping that the X100 was going to be something approaching more towards a Leica M9. It's form factor and specs (and the fact that it came from Fuji ...sort of from left field), created a lot of excitement and expectation. If the tests above are accurate...the performance at f/2 are quite dismal. ...so ...at a $1200 price point...for a fixed lens camera...no thanks...I will take my GF1 with my 20mm f1.7. (and all the other lenses I can attach to it). The Fuji is quite cool and retro...but I just can't see spilling that many beans...for what boils down to kind of a novelty item in a market where such versatile cameras are available that have more lens options and very apt sensors and at a MUCH lower price point.
If you have the cash...it is a hip little side arm, tho!
Pete Plus
18 18.8k 97 England
22 Mar 2011 12:50PM

Quote: If the tests above are accurate

In what way wouldn't they be? The camera is on a tripod so no movement...anti shake is turned off, the controls are set up as described, and I then have to rely on the camera to focus and process the result. I could have switched to manual focus to ensure the point was spot on but I preferred (for the purpose of the test) to see how the AF performed.
joshwa Plus
9 908 United Kingdom
22 Mar 2011 1:13PM
This is from the Fujifilm Finepix X100 Review comments:

Quote:The f2 and f2.8 macro shots of the watch do not look good. The f2 shot is especially hazy. Why do you think that is?
I got an answer to my question in another forum. Someone posted the following quote from the X100 website:

"However, when shooting macro shots with an open aperture in the neighborhood of F2, spherical aberration tends to occur. It is therefore recommended that an aperture value of F4 is selected for macro applications."

That seems like a credible explanation to me.


The lens doesn't seem to be designed for optimum performance at f/2.0 - f/2.8 and macro photography.
22 Mar 2011 1:15PM
Pete, what do you think about the photos you put up... you said "the results speak for themselves", so what do they say to you?
NikLG 14 1.7k England
22 Mar 2011 1:51PM
I do find it a little odd that the touted f2-ness of the lens under performs so much comparatively ( unless as has been stated in other threads that it can be fixed with firmware* ).
On the other hand though, the noise control is pretty amazing.

It would be nice if you could use f2 in low light to get sharp AND low noise pictures, rather than having to maybe sacrifice one or the other ( if that's the case... )

*I think I read that somewhere at least...
Pete Plus
18 18.8k 97 England
22 Mar 2011 2:05PM

Quote:Pete, what do you think about the photos you put up... you said "the results speak for themselves", so what do they say to you?

I prefer the slightly warmer tones of the Olympus lens/processing (the Fuji if anything is a touch cold) and the fact it's much better at the wide setting. There really is no comparison at f/2.8 - the Olympus knock the Fuji for six. Fujinon lenses are really good but I wonder why they didn't use a Leica lens design as they have done in the past.

It's a different story at f/8 though and the Olympus starts to be over taken. Check the rim of the lens near the Elmar word. The Fuji is immaculate, while the Olympus shows some aberrations, slight blue fringing and considering it's not near the edge of the frame that's not brilliant.

Same at f/16. So for optical quality if you're shooting wide open the Olympus is the clear winner, but most of us want to stop down and then the Fuji leaps ahead.

It goes without saying the Fuji has really blown the Olympus away when it comes to noise too. The performance is incredible.
22 Mar 2011 2:11PM
I have to say... I'm not sure - even if the results at f/2 were excellent - that I would use the setting a lot. Not with that 35mm lens that is. For straight forward portraiture f/2 would be nice, but the 35mm isn't. street photography... 35mm... great. But not many will ever use f/2 for doing street. landscape... same story. Environmental portraits... personally I don't think that f/2 would be my choice for those.
So you got low light situations. But I would think I would often rather prefer a higher iso value then having to go to f/2. I can imagine some situations with low light where I might actually want to use f/2, but I think it will rather be an exception than the rule. And it's not that f/2 is unusable in case you really do need it.
22 Mar 2011 2:20PM
a bit what I was thinking too Pete. except that you prefer the slightly warmer tones of the Oly. I actually prefer the 'colder' (perhaps more accurate) tones of the x100.
22 Mar 2011 2:35PM
Hey Pete...
I wasn't taking a shot at you...I just haven't seen too many comparison tests like you did up above...
I apologize for the comment...I just felt I was making a comment based on one observation...which I like to have more info from other sources. Sorry...I don't doubt your results.
Pete Plus
18 18.8k 97 England
22 Mar 2011 2:38PM
Yes sure, don't worry about it. I was just asking in case I'd missed something - it's been known to happen.
So now you found us are you going to join in. Wink We have a large gallery, active forum and loads of reviews, news, techniques. It's a photographer's paradise Wink
22 Mar 2011 2:50PM
lol @ the 6400 iso comparison
Pete Plus
18 18.8k 97 England
22 Mar 2011 3:03PM

Quote:lol @ the 6400 iso comparison
I had to double check to make sure I had loaded the correct file for the Fuji!
gfc 8
22 Mar 2011 6:02PM
Thanks for the testing, I have some suggestions for further testing >
From this test I get the Fuji x100 is not a practical Macro camera, which I knew because of Fuji's specs and information. I understand the purpose of the test - to see the limits or restrictions of the Fuji Camera/design at macro photography-subjects, but if so I think it would be better used as Fuji suggests - f4/5.6 range and at no less than the optimal distance. (At what distance was the object (camera) from the lens?)
Doing so you'd conclude the same as you've shown in your test, that it's not meant as a macro camera, because the Olympus combo can focus closer with good quality(or another camera system with a macro lens), but it would show that the lens is not as soft for this type of photography.

I think a better test for the camera-lens would be a close distance (but not this close-macro) test scene more akin to street photography, candid portrait/environmental portrait, to see the performance of the lens/camera through its f range and at different distance to subject. Not long distance but something more like taking a shot across a table of a person or a person on the street - etc.

Another doubt regarding focus speed in the test, you mention it took long to focus and almost barely did. Was the camera in Macro mode? was the test done in OVF mode or EVF mode? what about the known settings that hinder AF focus speed> was the camera at its best settings for AF speed?

ggp 8
22 Mar 2011 6:14PM
Thank you for posting these. Regarding the comparison between the X100's performance at f/2 and the Olympus 17mm's performance at f/2.8, I too would like to see them both at f/2.8. Perhaps related to the X100's less decisive hunt for focus, the X100's zone of sharpest focus at f/2 seems to be behind the Leica's slow-shutter-speed dial bang.

At f/8, two features on the Leitz Elmar show clear differences between the X100 and the Olympus 17mm: (1) the concentric knurls on the Elmar's focusing knob and (2) the thin rim on the far edge of the lens. When I zoom to the pixels of these, the X100's images are free of color fringing. When I zoom to pixels, the Olympus 17mm's images have obvious color fringing.

It will be very interesting to see a similar comparison with the forthcoming "high-end" M Zuiko Digital single-focal-length lens whose mock-up Olympus showed in February at Japan's CP+ imaging show.
strawman 16 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
22 Mar 2011 6:23PM
I have been thinking about this more. With a rangefinder I tend to pre-focus and so @ 35mm on film then 5.5M on lens at F8 is pretty well @ 2.7M to infinity in focus. Drop to the X100 and I think f5.6 would give the same depth of field and EP2 f4 would give about the same. And on a compact like S95/LX5 @35mm equivalent they are at @ f2 to give the same result.

So if Olympus have optimised the 17mm lens for f4, that is not far off optimising a film lens for f8, just as a defence. So the m4/3 camera could run equal depth of field with the ISO 1 stop lower and the compacts 4 stops lower.

So ISO 6400 on Fuji compares to ISO 3200 on m4/3 and ISO400 on S95/LX5? I think my maths is correct. It makes the noise discussion interesting. And yes the Fuji looks good then. It all comes down to how you would use it.

Random thoughts.
Paul Morgan 18 19.4k 6 England
22 Mar 2011 7:16PM
The x100 results at f2 look a little disappointing, is this going to be addressed in any way. The results at f8 are as expected, pretty good.

Concerning the results from the EP1, the results would have been better if you had used the Pany 20mm pancake Smile

Would be interesting to see how well this lens handles flare, bright head on car lights, that sort of thing.

Most of the fixed lens rangefinders I have used are excellent in this department.
22 Mar 2011 7:29PM

Quote:Regarding the comparison between the X100's performance at f/2 and the Olympus 17mm's performance at f/2.8, I too would like to see them both at f/2.8.

Pete posted photos of both cams at f/2.8 already ggp.
Leif 15 777
22 Mar 2011 8:44PM
It has already been suggested that a close up with the aperture wide open is not representative of longer distance shots and I am sure that is true. There could well be greater field curvature at the near focus for example.

The ISO 6400 results from the Fuji are astounding. The sensor pixies must be rushed off their tiny little feet to record an image with so little noise.
Pete Plus
18 18.8k 97 England
23 Mar 2011 10:27AM
I've added a link in the article above to the Fuji RAW file now.
lemmy 12 2.8k United Kingdom
23 Mar 2011 11:23AM
I think it's safe to assume that most lenses perform well at f8. If you take a cheap kit lens from a DSLR and a top range lens from the same maker, at f8 there won't be a great sharpness difference between them. In general, though, the top range lens will be the better performer at the wider apertures and that is the test.

If you are paying a high price for an f2 lens, you expect it to have decent performance at that aperture. It looks to me as if that Fuji lens is faulty in some way.

Someone remarks that for street photography you don't need wide apertures. In my view that's exactly when you do need them - because much street photography is done at night.

The f1.7 20mm on my GF1 is stunningly sharp at f2 - there is no reason that the Fuji, at 999 cannot match that, especially when you consider that it is a fixed lens. And, a GF2 with 14mm AND 20mm lenses comes in at some 300 cheaper than the Fuji. Even if you buy the EVF for the GF2, you still save 150.

At a price of 500-600 and with a tack sharp lens this camera would be a stunner. At the current price, it looks like a retro fashion statement to me.
23 Mar 2011 12:19PM

Quote:Someone remarks that for street photography you don't need wide apertures. In my view that's exactly when you do need them - because much street photography is done at night.

We probably have a different understanding of the term street photography then.
have a look at In-public , one of the leading sites with regard to street photography. It probably describes better what it is I am referring to when using the term street photography. Only very few photos are taken at night. And of those few, how many would have been taken at f/2?

That said, if the night is your time of hunting, well yes, then the Fuji may not be the best choice because of the f/2 'problem' (even at f/2.8 it's not that great I think). But for me this would hardly be an issue.
Paul Morgan 18 19.4k 6 England
23 Mar 2011 7:08PM
Lol the streets the street, there are no rules but I still like using wide apertures.

Quote:Only very few photos are taken at night. And of those few, how many would have been taken at f/2?

In my case many if not most Koen, life becomes a whole lot more limiting using film and apertures between F1.7 and F2.8 are used a lot.

The images are plenty sharp enough but I`m not shooting subjects from a couple of feet away.

I see that Canon have a patent out, smaller lenses and a smaller mount, interesting times ahead Smile


lemmy 12 2.8k United Kingdom
23 Mar 2011 8:22PM

Quote:But for me this would hardly be an issue.

I can understand that for you personally this would not be an issue but speaking for myself, if I pay near 1000 for a fixed lens camera, I want that lens to be of exemplary quality.

After all, I do not always know what I will use a camera for - with an interchangeable lens, I can take off the poor lens if I want to shoot at wide aperture and replace it with one that does perform well at wide aperture. With this, I cannot.

You obviously know that you would never want to shoot at f2.0 - I can't be that sure about my own use of a camera so would prefer a camera where the lens performed well at wide aperture just as many much cheaper ones do.
klok 8
23 Mar 2011 10:45PM
That dreamy effect @ f/2 only if you r taking macro of foods, pets and flowers. And those subjects imo looks quite good in that way. And for flowers, I will use f/4 or higher anyway (that's what Fuji suggested us to do anyway!)
If u look at other photos @ f/2 on the net. U can see it really Sharp for all subject
s further than 80mm.
23 Mar 2011 11:58PM
very interesting links Paul.

(trying desperately to hide that I don't understand a single word of it. Wonder if I succeeded Wink )
Paul Morgan 18 19.4k 6 England
24 Mar 2011 2:57AM
I have no idea how old it is.

Quote:(trying desperately to hide that I don't understand a single word of it. Wonder if I succeeded Wink )

lol yeh some even got there rulers out and started taking measurements, i was left just scratching my head Smile
24 Mar 2011 6:39PM
Got it this morning. Somehow the package just works. Despite the slight niggles, they are blown away by the quality of the camera. Have a d3, and d3x. The Fuji has now become my street camera of choice. Great silent operation by the way.. Smile
24 Mar 2011 9:37PM
oh... hope we'll see some photos of it here !!!
24 Mar 2011 10:08PM
Kind of a silly comparison since the EPL2 is selling for $599 in the US and the Fuji goes for around $1200. One would hope at twice the price the image quality would be better. Basically the only point of comparison is the mirrorless aspect. I saying this as a person who has a Fuji on order.
Fluke 12 59 Wales
25 Mar 2011 11:58AM
I agree that the price differences don't really warrant a meaningful comparison. But I still think the Olympus is holding its own quite easily at the lower ISO's. Those mega-high ISO shots really are very unusual in day to day shooting and would only be used in exceptional circumstances.
Pete Plus
18 18.8k 97 England
25 Mar 2011 12:01PM

Quote:Kind of a silly comparison

Maybe to you, but we write to a larger audience! You only have to look at all the questions in the forums across the globe of people posting wondering which to buy.
25 Mar 2011 3:05PM
thanks Pete for the 'silly comparison'. It has been very helpfull.
If you still have the x100, would it be possible to see the medium and high iso results in a low light situation-photo?
Pete Plus
18 18.8k 97 England
25 Mar 2011 3:07PM
I no longer have the camera :-(
We'll hopefully get one again for longer term use once the initial journalist rush has ended.
25 Mar 2011 3:30PM
yeah, thought so. No problem
2 Apr 2011 2:50AM
Had photographer from Dreamlife wedding video&photo, just wondering what kind of camera I should buy to have that kind of professional pictures...anyone any advise?!
30 Jun 2011 8:25PM
Help - I have been reading the various comments and am wondering if I've just made a terrible mistake by choosing the X100 over the E-P2. Have I?
dusted 15 508 1 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2011 3:06PM
thank you for this pete ... just the sort of article Ive been looking for ..trying to decide betwixt the fuji and the olympus e-p3

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