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Fujifilm X-A2 versus Olympus PEN-F

The Fujifilm X-A2 and the Olympus PEN-F are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2015 and January 2016. Both the X-A2 and the PEN-F are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an APS-C (X-A2) and a Four Thirds (PEN-F) sensor. The Fujifilm has a resolution of 16 megapixel, whereas the Olympus provides 20.2 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Fujifilm X-A2 vs Olympus PEN-F

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Fujifilm X-A2 and the Olympus PEN-F is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the X-A2 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Fujifilm X-A2 vs Olympus PEN-F
Compare X-A2 versus PEN-F top
Compare X-A2 and PEN-F rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus PEN-F is notably larger (15 percent) than the Fujifilm X-A2. Moreover, the PEN-F is markedly heavier (22 percent) than the X-A2. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the X-A2 nor the PEN-F are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Fujinon X Lens Catalog (X-A2) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (PEN-F). Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.

Concerning battery life, the X-A2 gets 410 shots out of its NP-W126 battery, while the PEN-F can take 330 images on a single charge of its BLN-1 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Fujifilm X-A2» 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 12.3 oz 410 n Jan 2015 399- i
Olympus PEN-F« 4.9 in 2.8 in 1.5 in 15.1 oz 330 n Jan 2016 1,199 i i
Fujifilm X-A5« » 4.6 in 2.7 in 1.6 in 12.7 oz 450 n Jan 2018 399 i i
Fujifilm X70« » 4.4 in 2.5 in 1.7 in 12.0 oz 330 n Jan 2016 799 i i
Fujifilm X-A3« » 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 12.0 oz 410 n Aug 2016 399 i i
Fujifilm X-E2S« » 5.1 in 3.0 in 1.5 in 12.3 oz 350 n Jan 2016 699- i
Fujifilm X-A10« » 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 11.7 oz 410 n Dec 2016 399 i i
Fujifilm X-T10« » 4.6 in 3.3 in 1.6 in 13.4 oz 350 n May 2015 799- i
Fujifilm X-E2« » 5.1 in 3.0 in 1.5 in 12.3 oz 350 n Oct 2013 999- i
Fujifilm X-M1« » 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.6 oz 350 n Jun 2013 699 i i
Fujifilm X-A1« » 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.6 oz 350 n Sep 2013 399- i
Fujifilm X-E1« » 5.1 in 3.0 in 1.5 in 12.3 oz 350 n Sep 2012 999- i
Olympus E-M1 II« » 5.3 in 3.6 in 2.6 in 20.2 oz 440 Y Sep 2016 1,999 i i
Olympus E-M10 II« » 4.7 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 13.8 oz 320 n Aug 2015 799- i
Olympus E-M5 II« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 1.8 in 16.5 oz 310 Y Feb 2015 1,099 i i
Olympus E-M10« » 4.7 in 3.2 in 1.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jan 2014 699- i
Sony RX100 IV« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 280 n Jun 2015 999- i

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The X-A2 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 67 percent) than the PEN-F, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Fujifilm X-A2 vs Olympus PEN-F

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Fujifilm X-A2 features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus PEN-F a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the PEN-F is 39 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.0. The sensor in the X-A2 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the PEN-F offers a 4:3 aspect.

Fujifilm X-A2 and Olympus PEN-F sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the PEN-F offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixel, compared with 16 MP of the X-A2. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.34μm versus 4.80μm for the X-A2). However, it should be noted that the PEN-F is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year) than the X-A2, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the PEN-F has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

Unlike the X-A2, the PEN-F has the capacity to capture high quality composite images (40MP) by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).

X-A2 versus PEN-F MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Fujifilm X-A2» APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p----
Olympus PEN-F« Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38881080/60p23.112.489474
Fujifilm X-A5« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/15p----
Fujifilm X70« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p----
Fujifilm X-A3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----
Fujifilm X-E2S« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p----
Fujifilm X-A10« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p----
Fujifilm X-T10« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p----
Fujifilm X-E2« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p----
Fujifilm X-M1« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p----
Fujifilm X-A1« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p----
Fujifilm X-E1« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/24p----
Olympus E-M1 II« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.712.8131280
Olympus E-M10 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273
Olympus E-M5 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.012.584273
Olympus E-M10« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472
Sony RX100 IV« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the PEN-F provides a faster frame rate than the X-A2. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Fujifilm is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Fujifilm X-A2 vs Olympus PEN-F

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the PEN-F has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the X-A2 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Fujifilm X-A2, the Olympus PEN-F, and comparable cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Fujifilm X-A2»- n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 5.6 Y n
Olympus PEN-F«2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Fujifilm X-A5« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n
Fujifilm X70« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y n
Fujifilm X-A3« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n
Fujifilm X-E2S« »2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 7.0 Y n
Fujifilm X-A10« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting n 4000 6.0 Y n
Fujifilm X-T10« »2360 n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 8.0 Y n
Fujifilm X-E2« »2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 7.0 Y n
Fujifilm X-M1« »- n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 5.6 Y n
Fujifilm X-A1« »- n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 5.6 Y n
Fujifilm X-E1« »2360 n 2.8 460 fixed n 4000 6.0 Y n
Olympus E-M1 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 18.0 n Y
Olympus E-M10 II« »2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y
Olympus E-M5 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Olympus E-M10« »1440 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y
Sony RX100 IV« »2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 2000 16.0 Y Y

The PEN-F is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the X-A2 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the X-A2 was succeeded by the Fujifilm X-A3.

Review summary: Fujifilm X-A2 vs Olympus PEN-F

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Fujifilm X-A2 and the Olympus PEN-F? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Fujifilm X-A2:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better low-light imaging: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for better high-ISO images.
  • More compact: Is smaller (117x67mm vs 125x72mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 77g or 18 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (410 versus 330) on a single battery charge.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (67 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2015).

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Arguments in favor of the Olympus PEN-F:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (20.2 vs 16MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 920k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the PEN-F is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 8 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera.

X-A2 08:12 PEN-F

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the X-A2 or the PEN-F handle or perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Fujifilm X-A2»--4.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2015 399- i
Olympus PEN-F«-82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jan 2016 1,199 i i
Fujifilm X-A5« »----3.5/5 Jan 2018 399 i i
Fujifilm X70« »-76/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2016 799 i i
Fujifilm X-A3« »-74/1004.5/5-4/5 Aug 2016 399 i i
Fujifilm X-E2S« »-77/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Jan 2016 699- i
Fujifilm X-A10« »--4/5-4/5 Dec 2016 399 i i
Fujifilm X-T10« »HiRec80/1005/54/55/5 May 2015 799- i
Fujifilm X-E2« »-80/1004.5/5-5/5 Oct 2013 999- i
Fujifilm X-M1« »Rec77/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Jun 2013 699 i i
Fujifilm X-A1« »--4.5/5-4.5/5 Sep 2013 399- i
Fujifilm X-E1« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 999- i
Olympus E-M1 II« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2016 1,999 i i
Olympus E-M10 II« »HiRec80/1005/55/55/5 Aug 2015 799- i
Olympus E-M5 II« »HiRec81/1005/54.5/55/5 Feb 2015 1,099 i i
Olympus E-M10« »-80/1005/54.5/55/5 Jan 2014 699- i
Sony RX100 IV« »HiRec85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please send me an email, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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