Sony A7 versus Fujifilm X-M1
The Sony Alpha A7 and the Fujifilm X-M1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in October 2013 and June 2013. Both the A7 and the X-M1 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on a full frame (A7) and an APS-C sensor. The Sony has a resolution of 24 megapixel, whereas the Fujifilm provides 16 MP.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Sony A7 and the Fujifilm X-M1. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the A7 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Fujifilm X-M1 is considerably smaller (34 percent) than the Sony A7. Moreover, the X-M1 is markedly lighter (30 percent) than the A7. It is worth mentioning in this context that the A7 is splash and dust resistant, while the X-M1 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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 Sony FE Lens Catalog (A7) and the Fujinon X Lens Catalog (X-M1). 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. 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 comparisons there.
|Camera Body Specifications
|Sony A7 (⇒ rgt)||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||474 g||340||YES||2013||1,699||discont.||check|
|Fujifilm X-M1 (⇒ lft)||117 mm||67 mm||39 mm||330 g||350||no||2013||699||latest||check|
|Fujifilm X70 (⇒ lft | rgt)||113 mm||64 mm||44 mm||340 g||330||no||2016||799||latest||check|
|Fujifilm X-E2S (⇒ lft | rgt)||129 mm||75 mm||37 mm||350 g||350||no||2016||699||discont.||check|
|Fujifilm X-T10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||118 mm||83 mm||41 mm||381 g||350||no||2015||799||discont.||check|
|Fujifilm X20 (⇒ lft | rgt)||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||353 g||270||no||2013||599||discont.||check|
|Fujifilm X-E2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||129 mm||75 mm||37 mm||350 g||350||no||2013||999||discont.||check|
|Nikon D610 (⇒ lft | rgt)||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||YES||2013||1,999||latest||check|
|Panasonic GH4 (⇒ lft | rgt)||133 mm||93 mm||84 mm||560 g||500||YES||2014||1,499||discont.||check|
|Sony A6300 (⇒ lft | rgt)||120 mm||67 mm||49 mm||404 g||400||YES||2016||999||discont.||check|
|Sony A6500 (⇒ lft | rgt)||120 mm||67 mm||53 mm||453 g||350||YES||2016||1,399||latest||check|
|Sony A7 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||599 g||350||YES||2014||1,999||discont.||check|
|Sony A7S (⇒ lft | rgt)||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||489 g||380||YES||2014||2,499||discont.||check|
|Sony A5100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||283 g||400||no||2014||549||latest||check|
|Sony A7R (⇒ lft | rgt)||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||465 g||340||YES||2013||2,299||discont.||check|
|Sony RX1R (⇒ lft | rgt)||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||no||2013||2,799||discont.||check|
|Sony RX1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||no||2012||2,799||discont.||check|
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The X-M1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 59 percent) than the A7, 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony A7 features a full frame sensor and the Fujifilm X-M1 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the X-M1 is 57 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 24MP, the A7 offers a higher resolution than the X-M1 (16MP), but the A7 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.97μm versus 4.80μm for the X-M1) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the A7 is a somewhat more recent model (by 3 months) than the X-M1, 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 X-M1 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. 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.
|Sony A7 (⇒ rgt)||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||14.2||2248||90|
|Fujifilm X-M1 (⇒ lft)||APS-C||16.0||4896||3264||1080/30p||-||-||-||-|
|Fujifilm X70 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||16.0||4896||3264||1080/60p||-||-||-||-|
|Fujifilm X-E2S (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||16.0||4896||3264||1080/60p||-||-||-||-|
|Fujifilm X-T10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||16.0||4896||3264||1080/60p||-||-||-||-|
|Fujifilm X20 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2/3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||-||-||-||-|
|Fujifilm X-E2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||16.0||4896||3264||1080/60p||-||-||-||-|
|Nikon D610 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94|
|Panasonic GH4 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.2||12.8||791||74|
|Sony A6300 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.4||13.7||1437||85|
|Sony A6500 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.5||13.7||1405||85|
|Sony A7 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90|
|Sony A7S (⇒ lft | rgt)||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||1080/60p||23.9||13.2||3702||87|
|Sony A5100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.8||12.7||1347||80|
|Sony A7R (⇒ lft | rgt)||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.6||14.1||2746||95|
|Sony RX1R (⇒ lft | rgt)||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91|
|Sony RX1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.1||14.3||2534||93|
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 A7 provides a higher frame rate than the X-M1. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Fujifilm is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A7 has an electronic viewfinder (2400k 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Sony A7 and Fujifilm X-M1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Sony A7 (⇒ rgt)||2400||no||3.0||1230||tilting||no||8000||5.0||no||no|
|Fujifilm X-M1 (⇒ lft)||no||no||3.0||920||tilting||no||4000||5.6||7||no|
|Fujifilm X70 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||4000||8.0||7.9||..|
|Fujifilm X-E2S (⇒ lft | rgt)||2360||no||3.0||1040||fixed||no||4000||7.0||7||no|
|Fujifilm X-T10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2360||no||3.0||920||tilting||no||4000||8.0||5||no|
|Fujifilm X20 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||2.8||460||fixed||no||4000||12.0||7||YES|
|Fujifilm X-E2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2360||no||3.0||1040||fixed||no||4000||7.0||7||no|
|Nikon D610 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.2||921||fixed||no||4000||6.0||12||no|
|Panasonic GH4 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2359||no||3.0||1036||swivel||YES||8000||12.0||17||no|
|Sony A6300 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2300||no||3.0||922||tilting||no||4000||11.0||6||no|
|Sony A6500 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2300||no||3.0||922||tilting||YES||4000||11.0||6||YES|
|Sony A7 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||2400||no||3.0||1230||tilting||no||8000||5.0||no||YES|
|Sony A7S (⇒ lft | rgt)||2400||no||3.0||921||tilting||no||8000||5.0||no||no|
|Sony A5100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||922||tilting||YES||4000||6.0||4||no|
|Sony A7R (⇒ lft | rgt)||2400||no||3.0||1230||tilting||no||8000||4.0||no||no|
|Sony RX1R (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1229||fixed||no||4000||5.0||6||no|
|Sony RX1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1229||fixed||no||4000||5.0||6||no|
The X-M1 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the A7 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on ebay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the A7 was succeeded by the Sony A7 II.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Sony A7 or the Fujifilm X-M1 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Sony Alpha A7:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 16MP) with a 23% higher linear resolution.
- 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.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p vs 1080/30p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 920k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 3 months after the X-M1).
Reasons to prefer the Fujifilm X-M1:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.6 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (117x67mm vs 127x94mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 144g or 30 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (59 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2013).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A7 emerges as the winner of the contest (9 : 7 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the A7 and the X-M1 in practical situations. 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 expert reviews are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites. You can find the full text of the reviews, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.
|Sony A7 (⇒ rgt)||HiRec||80/100 Silver||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||2013||1,699||discont.||check|
|Fujifilm X-M1 (⇒ lft)||Rec||77/100 Gold||4.5/5||-||4.5/5||2013||699||latest||check|
|Fujifilm X70 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||76/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||2016||799||latest||check|
|Fujifilm X-E2S (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||77/100||4.5/5||-||4.5/5||2016||699||discont.||check|
|Fujifilm X-T10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||80/100 Silver||5/5||4/5||5/5||2015||799||discont.||check|
|Fujifilm X20 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||77/100 Silver||4.5/5||-||5/5||2013||599||discont.||check|
|Fujifilm X-E2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||80/100 Gold||4.5/5||-||5/5||2013||999||discont.||check|
|Nikon D610 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||87/100 Gold||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2013||1,999||latest||check|
|Panasonic GH4 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||85/100 Gold||5/5||5/5||5/5||2014||1,499||discont.||check|
|Sony A6300 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||85/100 Gold||5/5||5/5||5/5||2016||999||discont.||check|
|Sony A6500 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||85/100 Silver||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2016||1,399||latest||check|
|Sony A7 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||82/100 Silver||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||2014||1,999||discont.||check|
|Sony A7S (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||86/100 Gold||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||2014||2,499||discont.||check|
|Sony A5100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||2014||549||latest||check|
|Sony A7R (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||82/100 Gold||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||2013||2,299||discont.||check|
|Sony RX1R (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||-||4/5||reviewed||4.5/5||2013||2,799||discont.||check|
|Sony RX1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||79/100 Gold||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2012||2,799||discont.||check|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please send me an email, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.
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