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Fujifilm X-A3 versus Olympus PEN-F

The Fujifilm X-A3 and the Olympus PEN-F are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2016 and January 2016. Both the X-A3 and the PEN-F are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an APS-C (X-A3) and a Four Thirds (PEN-F) sensor. The Fujifilm has a resolution of 24 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-A3 vs Olympus PEN-F

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Fujifilm X-A3 and the Olympus PEN-F is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions 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 side – the X-A3 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Fujifilm X-A3 vs Olympus PEN-F
Compare X-A3 versus PEN-F top
Compare X-A3 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-A3. Moreover, the PEN-F is markedly heavier (26 percent) than the X-A3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the X-A3 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-A3) 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-A3 gets 410 shots out of its NP-W126S battery, while the PEN-F can take 330 images on a single charge of its BLN-1 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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)
Camera
Model
Fujifilm X-A3» 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 12.0 oz 410 n Aug 2016 399 i i Fujifilm X-A3
Olympus PEN-F« 4.9 in 2.8 in 1.5 in 15.1 oz 330 n Jan 2016 1,199 i i Olympus PEN-F
Canon SX730« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.6 oz 250 n Apr 2017 399- i Canon SX730
Fujifilm X-A5« » 4.6 in 2.7 in 1.6 in 12.7 oz 450 n Jan 2018 399 i i Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X-E3« » 4.8 in 2.9 in 1.7 in 11.9 oz 350 n Sep 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-E3
Fujifilm X-T20« » 4.6 in 3.3 in 1.6 in 13.5 oz 350 n Jan 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-T20
Fujifilm X-E2S« » 5.1 in 3.0 in 1.5 in 12.3 oz 350 n Jan 2016 699- i Fujifilm X-E2S
Fujifilm X-A10« » 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 11.7 oz 410 n Dec 2016 399 i i Fujifilm X-A10
Fujifilm X-T10« » 4.6 in 3.3 in 1.6 in 13.4 oz 350 n May 2015 799- i Fujifilm X-T10
Fujifilm X-A2« » 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 12.3 oz 410 n Jan 2015 399- i Fujifilm X-A2
Fujifilm X-A1« » 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.6 oz 350 n Sep 2013 399- i Fujifilm X-A1
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-M1 II
Olympus E-M10 II« » 4.7 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 13.8 oz 320 n Aug 2015 799- i Olympus E-M10 II
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-M5 II
Olympus E-M10« » 4.7 in 3.2 in 1.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jan 2014 699- i Olympus E-M10
Sony RX100 IV« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 280 n Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
YI M1« » 4.5 in 2.5 in 1.3 in 9.9 oz 450 n Sep 2016 349 i i YI M1

The camera’s price is obviously a critical decision-making factor. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The X-A3 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-A3 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 tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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-A3 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-A3 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the PEN-F offers a 4:3 aspect.

Fujifilm X-A3 and Olympus PEN-F sensor measures

With 24MP, the X-A3 offers a higher resolution than the PEN-F (20.2MP), but the X-A3 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.92μm versus 3.34μm for the PEN-F) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the X-A3 is a somewhat more recent model (by 6 months) than the PEN-F, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. 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-A3, 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-A3 versus PEN-F MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Fujifilm X-A3» APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Fujifilm X-A3
Olympus PEN-F« Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38881080/60p23.112.489474Olympus PEN-F
Canon SX730« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p----Canon SX730
Fujifilm X-A5« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/15p----Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X-E3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p----Fujifilm X-E3
Fujifilm X-T20« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p----Fujifilm X-T20
Fujifilm X-E2S« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p----Fujifilm X-E2S
Fujifilm X-A10« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p----Fujifilm X-A10
Fujifilm X-T10« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p----Fujifilm X-T10
Fujifilm X-A2« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p----Fujifilm X-A2
Fujifilm X-A1« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p----Fujifilm X-A1
Olympus E-M1 II« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.712.8131280Olympus E-M1 II
Olympus E-M10 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273Olympus E-M10 II
Olympus E-M5 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.012.584273Olympus E-M5 II
Olympus E-M10« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472Olympus E-M10
Sony RX100 IV« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170Sony RX100 IV
YI M1« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p----YI M1

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).

 

Feature comparison: Fujifilm X-A3 vs Olympus PEN-F

Beyond 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-A3 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-A3, the Olympus PEN-F, and comparable cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
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
Camera
Model
Fujifilm X-A3»- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-A3
Olympus PEN-F«2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y Olympus PEN-F
Canon SX730« »- n 3.0 922 tilting n 3200 5.9 Y Y Canon SX730
Fujifilm X-A5« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X-E3« »2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 8.0 n n Fujifilm X-E3
Fujifilm X-T20« »2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y n Fujifilm X-T20
Fujifilm X-E2S« »2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 7.0 Y n Fujifilm X-E2S
Fujifilm X-A10« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting n 4000 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-A10
Fujifilm X-T10« »2360 n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 8.0 Y n Fujifilm X-T10
Fujifilm X-A2« »- n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 5.6 Y n Fujifilm X-A2
Fujifilm X-A1« »- n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 5.6 Y n Fujifilm X-A1
Olympus E-M1 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 18.0 n Y Olympus E-M1 II
Olympus E-M10 II« »2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y Olympus E-M10 II
Olympus E-M5 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y Olympus E-M5 II
Olympus E-M10« »1440 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y Olympus E-M10
Sony RX100 IV« »2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 2000 16.0 Y Y Sony RX100 IV
YI M1« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 5.0 n n YI M1

The reported shutter speed and shutter burst refer to the use of the mechanical shutter. In addition, the PEN-F features an electronic shutter, which makes silent shooting and higher burst speeds possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (flickering).

Both the X-A3 and the PEN-F are current models that good online retailers will have in stock. You can check the latest prices, for example, at amazon. The X-A3 replaced the earlier Fujifilm X-A2, while the PEN-F does not have a direct predecessor.

Review summary: Fujifilm X-A3 vs Olympus PEN-F

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Fujifilm X-A3 or the Olympus PEN-F – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Arguments in favor of the Fujifilm X-A3:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 20.2MP) with a 11% higher linear resolution.
  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
  • More compact: Is smaller (117x67mm vs 125x72mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 88g or 21 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 modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 6 months after the PEN-F).

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Reasons to prefer the Olympus PEN-F:

  • 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.
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2016).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (9 points each). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.

X-A3 09:09 PEN-F

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the X-A3 and the PEN-F in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. This is why expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Fujifilm X-A3»-74/1004.5/5-4/5 Aug 2016 399 i i Fujifilm X-A3
Olympus PEN-F«-82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jan 2016 1,199 i i Olympus PEN-F
Canon SX730« »Rec-4/5-4/5 Apr 2017 399- i Canon SX730
Fujifilm X-A5« »Rec-4/54/53.5/5 Jan 2018 399 i i Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X-E3« »Rec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-E3
Fujifilm X-T20« »HiRec82/1005/5-4.5/5 Jan 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-T20
Fujifilm X-E2S« »-77/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Jan 2016 699- i Fujifilm X-E2S
Fujifilm X-A10« »--4/5-4/5 Dec 2016 399 i i Fujifilm X-A10
Fujifilm X-T10« »HiRec80/1005/54/55/5 May 2015 799- i Fujifilm X-T10
Fujifilm X-A2« »--4.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2015 399- i Fujifilm X-A2
Fujifilm X-A1« »--4.5/5-4.5/5 Sep 2013 399- i Fujifilm X-A1
Olympus E-M1 II« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2016 1,999 i i Olympus E-M1 II
Olympus E-M10 II« »HiRec80/1005/55/55/5 Aug 2015 799- i Olympus E-M10 II
Olympus E-M5 II« »HiRec81/1005/54.5/55/5 Feb 2015 1,099 i i Olympus E-M5 II
Olympus E-M10« »-80/1005/54.5/55/5 Jan 2014 699- i Olympus E-M10
Sony RX100 IV« »HiRec85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
YI M1« »-69/100-2.5/5- Sep 2016 349 i i YI M1

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please send me an email, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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