Fujifilm X-M1 vs Olympus PEN-F
The Fujifilm X-M1 and the Olympus PEN-F are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in June 2013 and January 2016. Both the X-M1 and the PEN-F are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an APS-C (X-M1) and a Four Thirds (PEN-F) sensor. The Fujifilm has a resolution of 16 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 20.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Fujifilm X-M1 and the Olympus PEN-F? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Fujifilm X-M1 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 perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The X-M1 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, brown), while the PEN-F is available in two color-versions (black, silver).
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-M1. Moreover, the PEN-F is markedly heavier (29 percent) than the X-M1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the X-M1 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 compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Fujinon X Lens Catalog (X-M1) 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.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Fujifilm X-M1||117 mm||67 mm||39 mm||330 g||350||n||Jun 2013||699|
|2.||Olympus PEN-F||125 mm||72 mm||37 mm||427 g||330||n||Jan 2016||1,199|
|3.||Fujifilm X-A10||117 mm||67 mm||40 mm||331 g||410||n||Dec 2016||399|
|4.||Fujifilm X-E2S||129 mm||75 mm||37 mm||350 g||350||n||Jan 2016||699|
|5.||Fujifilm X-A2||117 mm||67 mm||40 mm||350 g||410||n||Jan 2015||399|
|6.||Fujifilm X-T10||118 mm||83 mm||41 mm||381 g||350||n||May 2015||799|
|7.||Fujifilm X-A1||117 mm||67 mm||39 mm||330 g||350||n||Sep 2013||399|
|8.||Fujifilm X-E2||129 mm||75 mm||37 mm||350 g||350||n||Oct 2013||999|
|9.||Fujifilm X-E1||129 mm||75 mm||38 mm||350 g||350||n||Sep 2012||999|
|10.||Fujifilm X-Pro1||140 mm||82 mm||43 mm||450 g||300||n||Jan 2012||1,699|
|11.||Olympus E-M10 III||122 mm||84 mm||50 mm||410 g||330||n||Aug 2017||649|
|12.||Olympus E-M5 II||124 mm||85 mm||45 mm||469 g||310||Y||Feb 2015||1,099|
|13.||Olympus E-M10 II||120 mm||83 mm||47 mm||390 g||320||n||Aug 2015||649|
|14.||Olympus E-M1||130 mm||94 mm||63 mm||497 g||350||Y||Sep 2013||1,399|
|15.||Olympus E-P5||122 mm||69 mm||37 mm||420 g||330||n||May 2013||999|
|16.||Sony NEX-5R||111 mm||59 mm||39 mm||276 g||330||n||Aug 2012||749|
|17.||Sony NEX-F3||117 mm||67 mm||42 mm||314 g||470||n||May 2012||599|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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-M1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 42 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Fujifilm X-M1 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-M1 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the PEN-F offers a 4:3 aspect.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the PEN-F offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 16 MP of the X-M1. This megapixels 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-M1). However, it should be noted that the PEN-F is much more recent (by 2 years and 7 months) than the X-M1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. 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.
The resolution advantage of the Olympus PEN-F implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the PEN-F for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Fujifilm X-M1 are 24.5 x 16.3 inches or 62.2 x 41.5 cm for good quality, 19.6 x 13.1 inches or 49.7 x 33.2 cm for very good quality, and 16.3 x 10.9 inches or 41.5 x 27.6 cm for excellent quality prints.
Unlike the X-M1, 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).
The Fujifilm X-M1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus PEN-F are ISO 80 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|2.||Olympus PEN-F||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||23.1||12.4||894||74|
|11.||Olympus E-M10 III||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|12.||Olympus E-M5 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73|
|13.||Olympus E-M10 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73|
|14.||Olympus E-M1||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||23.0||12.7||757||73|
|15.||Olympus E-P5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.4||895||72|
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, but the PEN-F provides a faster frame rate than the X-M1. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Fujifilm is limited to 1080/30p.
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-M1 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-M1, the Olympus PEN-F, and comparable cameras.
|11.||Olympus E-M10 III||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6||Y||Y|
|12.||Olympus E-M5 II||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|13.||Olympus E-M10 II||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The X-M1 has one, while the PEN-F does not. While the built-in flash of the X-M1 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The PEN-F has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the X-M1 does not have a selfie-screen.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the PEN-F is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Olympus PEN-F has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the X-M1 and the PEN-F write their files to SDXC cards. The PEN-F supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the X-M1 can use UHS-I cards (up to 104 MB/s).
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Fujifilm X-M1 and Olympus PEN-F and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|11.||Olympus E-M10 III||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|12.||Olympus E-M5 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|13.||Olympus E-M10 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
Both the X-M1 and the PEN-F have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. Neither of the two has a direct successor, so they represent the end of the respective camera lines from Fujifilm and Olympus. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Fujifilm and Olympus websites.
So how do things add up? Is the Fujifilm X-M1 better than the Olympus PEN-F or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Fujifilm X-M1:
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- More compact: Is smaller (117x67mm vs 125x72mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 97g or 23 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (42 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in June 2013).
Arguments in favor of the Olympus PEN-F:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20.2 vs 16MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
- 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 composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 920k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 7 months of technical progress since the X-M1 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the PEN-F is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 9 points). 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. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Fujifilm X-M1 and the Olympus PEN-F place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the X-M1 or the PEN-F perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Fujifilm X-M1||3/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||699|
|2.||Olympus PEN-F||..||..||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,199|
|3.||Fujifilm X-A10||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Dec 2016||399|
|4.||Fujifilm X-E2S||4.5/5||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||699|
|5.||Fujifilm X-A2||4/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||399|
|6.||Fujifilm X-T10||4.5/5||+ +||80/100||5/5||5/5||May 2015||799|
|7.||Fujifilm X-A1||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||399|
|8.||Fujifilm X-E2||4/5||..||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||999|
|9.||Fujifilm X-E1||4/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||999|
|10.||Fujifilm X-Pro1||5/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||1,699|
|11.||Olympus E-M10 III||..||+||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2017||649|
|12.||Olympus E-M5 II||5/5||+ +||81/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2015||1,099|
|13.||Olympus E-M10 II||4.5/5||+ +||80/100||5/5||5/5||Aug 2015||649|
|14.||Olympus E-M1||5/5||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||1,399|
|15.||Olympus E-P5||5/5||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2013||999|
|16.||Sony NEX-5R||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2012||749|
|17.||Sony NEX-F3||4/5||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2012||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date 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
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Specifications: Fujifilm X-M1 vs Olympus PEN-F
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Fujifilm X-M1||Olympus PEN-F|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Fujifilm X mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||June 2013||January 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 699||USD 1,199|
|Sensor Specs||Fujifilm X-M1||Olympus PEN-F|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.6 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||368.16 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16 Megapixels||20.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4896 x 3264 pixels||5184 x 3888 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.80 μm||3.34 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.34 MP/cm2||8.96 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 6,400 ISO||80 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||EXR Processor II||TruePic VII|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||74|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||894|
|Screen Specs||Fujifilm X-M1||Olympus PEN-F|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Swivel screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Fujifilm X-M1||Olympus PEN-F|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5.6 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Fujifilm X-M1||Olympus PEN-F|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Body Specs||Fujifilm X-M1||Olympus PEN-F|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||350 shots per charge||330 shots per charge|
117 x 67 x 39 mm
(4.6 x 2.6 x 1.5 in)
125 x 72 x 37 mm
(4.9 x 2.8 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||330 g (11.6 oz)||427 g (15.1 oz)|
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