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Fujifilm X-E3 versus Olympus PEN-F

The Fujifilm X-E3 and the Olympus PEN-F are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2017 and January 2016. Both the X-E3 and the PEN-F are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an APS-C (X-E3) 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-E3 vs Olympus PEN-F

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Fujifilm X-E3 and the Olympus PEN-F. 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 – the X-E3 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Fujifilm X-E3 vs Olympus PEN-F
Compare X-E3 versus PEN-F top
Compare X-E3 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 Fujifilm X-E3 and the Olympus PEN-Fare of equal size. However, the PEN-F is markedly heavier (27 percent) than the X-E3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the X-E3 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-E3) 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-E3 gets 350 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 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)
Camera
Model
Fujifilm X-E3» 121 mm 74 mm 43 mm 337 g 350 n Sep 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-E3
Olympus PEN-F« 125 mm 72 mm 37 mm 427 g 330 n Jan 2016 1,199 i i Olympus PEN-F
Fujifilm X-A5« » 117 mm 68 mm 40 mm 361 g 450 n Jan 2018 399 i i Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X-T20« » 118 mm 83 mm 41 mm 383 g 350 n Jan 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-T20
Fujifilm X70« » 113 mm 64 mm 44 mm 340 g 330 n Jan 2016 799- i Fujifilm X70
Fujifilm X-A3« » 117 mm 67 mm 40 mm 339 g 410 n Aug 2016 399 i i Fujifilm X-A3
Fujifilm X-E2S« » 129 mm 75 mm 37 mm 350 g 350 n Jan 2016 699- i Fujifilm X-E2S
Fujifilm X-A10« » 117 mm 67 mm 40 mm 331 g 410 n Dec 2016 399 i i Fujifilm X-A10
Fujifilm X-T10« » 118 mm 83 mm 41 mm 381 g 350 n May 2015 799- i Fujifilm X-T10
Fujifilm X-E2« » 129 mm 75 mm 37 mm 350 g 350 n Oct 2013 999- i Fujifilm X-E2
Fujifilm X-E1« » 129 mm 75 mm 38 mm 350 g 350 n Sep 2012 999- i Fujifilm X-E1
Olympus E-M1 II« » 134 mm 91 mm 67 mm 574 g 440 Y Sep 2016 1,999 i i Olympus E-M1 II
Olympus E-M10 II« » 120 mm 83 mm 47 mm 390 g 320 n Aug 2015 799- i Olympus E-M10 II
Olympus E-M5 II« » 124 mm 85 mm 45 mm 469 g 310 Y Feb 2015 1,099 i i Olympus E-M5 II
Olympus E-M10« » 119 mm 82 mm 46 mm 396 g 320 n Jan 2014 699- i Olympus E-M10
Olympus E-M1« » 130 mm 94 mm 63 mm 497 g 350 Y Sep 2013 1,399- i Olympus E-M1
Sony RX100 V« » 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 299 g 220 n Oct 2016 999 i i Sony RX100 V

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-E3 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 25 percent) than the PEN-F, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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-E3 vs Olympus PEN-F

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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-E3 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-E3 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the PEN-F offers a 4:3 aspect.

Fujifilm X-E3 and Olympus PEN-F sensor measures

With 24MP, the X-E3 offers a higher resolution than the PEN-F (20.2MP), but the X-E3 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-E3 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 7 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 neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.

Unlike the X-E3, 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-E3 versus PEN-F MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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-E3» APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p----Fujifilm X-E3
Olympus PEN-F« Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38881080/60p23.112.489474Olympus PEN-F
Fujifilm X-A5« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/15p----Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X-T20« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p----Fujifilm X-T20
Fujifilm X70« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p----Fujifilm X70
Fujifilm X-A3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Fujifilm X-A3
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-E2« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p----Fujifilm X-E2
Fujifilm X-E1« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/24p----Fujifilm X-E1
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
Olympus E-M1« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p23.012.775773Olympus E-M1
Sony RX100 V« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.458670Sony RX100 V

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the X-E3 provides a higher video resolution than the PEN-F. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Fujifilm X-E3 vs Olympus PEN-F

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The X-E3 and the PEN-F are similar in the sense that both feature an electronic viewfinder, which is helpful when framing images in bright sunlight. Moreover, their viewfinders offer an identical resolution of 2360k dots. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Fujifilm X-E3, 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
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-E3»2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 8.0 n n Fujifilm X-E3
Olympus PEN-F«2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y Olympus PEN-F
Fujifilm X-A5« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X-T20« »2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y n Fujifilm X-T20
Fujifilm X70« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y n Fujifilm X70
Fujifilm X-A3« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-A3
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-E2« »2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 7.0 Y n Fujifilm X-E2
Fujifilm X-E1« »2360 n 2.8 460 fixed n 4000 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-E1
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
Olympus E-M1« »2360 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n Y Olympus E-M1
Sony RX100 V« »2359 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 24.0 Y Y Sony RX100 V

Both the X-E3 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-E3 replaced the earlier Fujifilm X-E2S, while the PEN-F does not have a direct predecessor.

Review summary: Fujifilm X-E3 vs Olympus PEN-F

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Fujifilm X-E3 and the Olympus PEN-F? 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-E3:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 20.2MP) with a 11% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 90g or 21 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (25 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 7 months after the PEN-F).

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Reasons to prefer the Olympus PEN-F:

  • High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
  • 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 8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • 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 (6 points each). 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-E3 06:06 PEN-F

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the X-E3 or the PEN-F. 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 why hands-on reviews by experts are important. 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). 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-E3»Rec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-E3
Olympus PEN-F«-82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jan 2016 1,199 i i Olympus PEN-F
Fujifilm X-A5« »----3.5/5 Jan 2018 399 i i Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X-T20« »HiRec82/1005/5-4.5/5 Jan 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-T20
Fujifilm X70« »-76/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2016 799- i Fujifilm X70
Fujifilm X-A3« »-74/1004.5/5-4/5 Aug 2016 399 i i Fujifilm X-A3
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-E2« »-80/1004.5/5-5/5 Oct 2013 999- i Fujifilm X-E2
Fujifilm X-E1« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 999- i Fujifilm X-E1
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
Olympus E-M1« »HiRec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 1,399- i Olympus E-M1
Sony RX100 V« »HiRec83/1004/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 999 i i Sony RX100 V

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

 

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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. 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, kindly get in touch, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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