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Fujifilm X-T1 versus Olympus E-M5 II

The Fujifilm X-T1 and the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2014 and February 2015. Both the X-T1 and the E-M5 II are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an APS-C (X-T1) and a Four Thirds (E-M5 II) sensor. The Fujifilm has a resolution of 16 megapixel, whereas the Olympus provides 15.9 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-T1 vs Olympus E-M5 II

The physical size and weight of the Fujifilm X-T1 and the Olympus E-M5 II are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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 toggle the display 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-T1 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Fujifilm X-T1 vs Olympus E-M5 II
X-T1 versus E-M5 II top view
X-T1 and E-M5 II rear side
Body view (X-T1 on the left)

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-M5 II is notably smaller (9 percent) than the Fujifilm X-T1. However, the E-M5 II is markedly heavier (7 percent) than the X-T1. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

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-T1) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-M5 II). 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-T1 gets 350 shots out of its NP-W126 battery, while the E-M5 II can take 310 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 Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Fujifilm X-T1 (⇒ rgt) 129 mm 90 mm 47 mm 440 g 350 YES 2014 1,699discont. check
Olympus E-M5 II (⇒ lft) 124 mm 85 mm 45 mm 469 g 310 YES 2015 1,099 latest check
Fujifilm X-Pro2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 141 mm 83 mm 46 mm 495 g 350 YES 2016 1,699 latest check
Fujifilm X-T2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 133 mm 92 mm 49 mm 507 g 340 YES 2016 1,599 latest check
Fujifilm X-T10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 118 mm 83 mm 41 mm 381 g 350 no 2015 799discont. check
Fujifilm X-A2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 117 mm 67 mm 40 mm 350 g 410 no 2015 399discont. check
Fujifilm X100T (⇒ lft | rgt) 127 mm 74 mm 52 mm 440 g 330 no 2014 1,299discont. check
Fujifilm X-E2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 129 mm 75 mm 37 mm 350 g 350 no 2013 999discont. check
Fujifilm X-M1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 117 mm 67 mm 39 mm 330 g 350 no 2013 699 latest check
Fujifilm X-A1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 117 mm 67 mm 39 mm 330 g 350 no 2013 399discont. check
Fujifilm X-Pro1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 140 mm 82 mm 43 mm 450 g 300 no 2012 1,699discont. check
Olympus E-M1 II (⇒ lft | rgt) 134 mm 91 mm 67 mm 574 g 440 YES 2016 1,999 latest check
Olympus E-M10 II (⇒ lft | rgt) 120 mm 83 mm 47 mm 390 g 320 no 2015 799discont. check
Olympus E-M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 119 mm 82 mm 46 mm 396 g 320 no 2014 699discont. check
Olympus E-M1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 130 mm 94 mm 63 mm 497 g 350 YES 2013 1,399discont. check
Olympus E-M5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 122 mm 89 mm 43 mm 425 g 360 YES 2012 1,299discont. check
Panasonic GH4 (⇒ lft | rgt) 133 mm 93 mm 84 mm 560 g 500 YES 2014 1,499discont. check

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 E-M5 II was launched at a markedly lower price (by 35 percent) than the X-T1, 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-T1 vs Olympus E-M5 II

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Fujifilm X-T1 features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-M5 II a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-M5 II 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-T1 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-M5 II offers a 4:3 aspect.

Fujifilm X-T1 and Olympus E-M5 II sensor measures
Sensor size

With 16MP, the X-T1 offers a slightly higher resolution than the E-M5 II (15.9MP), but the X-T1 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.80μm versus 3.76μm for the E-M5 II) due to its larger sensor. However, the E-M5 II is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year) than the X-T1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the X-T1 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

Unlike the X-T1, the E-M5 II 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-T1 versus E-M5 II MP
Sensor resolution

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). 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 Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Fujifilm X-T1 (⇒ rgt) APS-C 16.0 4896 3264 1080/60p - - - -
Olympus E-M5 II (⇒ lft) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/60p 23.0 12.5 842 73
Fujifilm X-Pro2 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p - - - -
Fujifilm X-T2 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 4K/30p - - - -
Fujifilm X-T10 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.0 4896 3264 1080/60p - - - -
Fujifilm X-A2 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.0 4896 3264 1080/30p - - - -
Fujifilm X100T (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.0 4896 3264 1080/60p - - - -
Fujifilm X-E2 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.0 4896 3264 1080/60p - - - -
Fujifilm X-M1 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.0 4896 3264 1080/30p - - - -
Fujifilm X-A1 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.0 4896 3264 1080/30p - - - -
Fujifilm X-Pro1 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.0 4896 3264 1080/24p - - - -
Olympus E-M1 II (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 20.2 5184 3888 4K/30p 23.7 12.8 1312 80
Olympus E-M10 II (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/60p 23.1 12.5 842 73
Olympus E-M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/30p 22.8 12.3 884 72
Olympus E-M1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/30p 23.0 12.7 757 73
Olympus E-M5 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/60i 22.8 12.3 826 71
Panasonic GH4 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 4K/30p 23.2 12.8 791 74

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).

Feature comparison: Fujifilm X-T1 vs Olympus E-M5 II

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The X-T1 and the E-M5 II 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Fujifilm X-T1 and Olympus E-M5 II along with similar information for a selection of comparators. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Fujifilm X-T1 (⇒ rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 tilting no 4000 8.0 no no
Olympus E-M5 II (⇒ lft) 2360 no 3.0 1037 swivel YES 8000 10.0 no YES
Fujifilm X-Pro2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1620 fixed no 8000 8.0 no no
Fujifilm X-T2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 tilting no 8000 14.0 no no
Fujifilm X-T10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 920 tilting no 4000 8.0 5 no
Fujifilm X-A2 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 920 tilting no 4000 5.6 7 no
Fujifilm X100T (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 fixed no 4000 6.0 9 no
Fujifilm X-E2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 fixed no 4000 7.0 7 no
Fujifilm X-M1 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 920 tilting no 4000 5.6 7 no
Fujifilm X-A1 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 920 tilting no 4000 5.6 7 no
Fujifilm X-Pro1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 1230 fixed no 4000 6.0 no no
Olympus E-M1 II (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1037 swivel YES 8000 18.0 no YES
Olympus E-M10 II (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 8.0 5.8 YES
Olympus E-M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 1037 tilting YES 4000 8.0 5.8 YES
Olympus E-M1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1037 tilting YES 8000 10.0 no YES
Olympus E-M5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 610 tilting YES 4000 9.0 no YES
Panasonic GH4 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2359 no 3.0 1036 swivel YES 8000 12.0 17 no

The E-M5 II is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the X-T1 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the X-T1 was succeeded by the Fujifilm X-T2.

Review summary: Fujifilm X-T1 vs Olympus E-M5 II

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Fujifilm X-T1 better than the Olympus E-M5 II or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


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Advantages of the Fujifilm X-T1:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better low-light imaging: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for better high-ISO images.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (350 versus 310) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2014).

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Arguments in favor of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • 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.
  • 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 8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (35 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-M5 II is the clear winner of the contest (9 : 4 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.

X-T1 04:09 E-M5 II

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the X-T1 or the E-M5 II handle or perform in practice. 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 following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites. The detailed reviews can be accessed, respectively, on the websites of cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
.com
dp
review
.com
ephoto
zine
.com
imaging
resource
.com
photography
blog
.com
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Fujifilm X-T1 (⇒ rgt) HiRec 84/100 Gold 5/5 4/5 5/5 2014 1,699discont. check
Olympus E-M5 II (⇒ lft) HiRec 81/100 Silver 5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2015 1,099 latest check
Fujifilm X-Pro2 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 83/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2016 1,699 latest check
Fujifilm X-T2 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 86/100 Gold 4.5/5 5/5 5/5 2016 1,599 latest check
Fujifilm X-T10 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 80/100 Silver 5/5 4/5 5/5 2015 799discont. check
Fujifilm X-A2 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2015 399discont. check
Fujifilm X100T (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 81/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2014 1,299discont. check
Fujifilm X-E2 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 80/100 Gold 4.5/5 - 5/5 2013 999discont. check
Fujifilm X-M1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 77/100 Gold 4.5/5 - 4.5/5 2013 699 latest check
Fujifilm X-A1 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4.5/5 - 4.5/5 2013 399discont. check
Fujifilm X-Pro1 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 79/100 Silver 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2012 1,699discont. check
Olympus E-M1 II (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 85/100 Gold 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2016 1,999 latest check
Olympus E-M10 II (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 80/100 Silver 5/5 5/5 5/5 2015 799discont. check
Olympus E-M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 80/100 Gold 5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2014 699discont. check
Olympus E-M1 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 84/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2013 1,399discont. check
Olympus E-M5 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 80/100 Gold 4.5/5 5/5 5/5 2012 1,299discont. check
Panasonic GH4 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 85/100 Gold 5/5 5/5 5/5 2014 1,499discont. check

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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. 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? 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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