Olympus Pen F vs Fuji X100T – Retro Showdown
Olympus Pen F vs Fuji X100T
Olympus Pen F vs Fuji X100T-
These two cameras are among the most popular retro styled cameras currently available. So I decided to put the Olympus Pen F vs Fuji X100T to see which camera is better built, has better handling and most importantly which produces better images.
I also shot a video if you don’t want to read all of this although I add a few more details here
So before we dive right in lets take a look at the features of each camera to see what you get before we put them up against each other in real World use.
Olympus Pen F features
- New 20mp sensor The new sensor gives an image size of 5184 x 3888 pixels
- 5 Axis Image Stabilisation built in to the body.
- 2.36 million dot OLED Viewfinder. The viewfinder on the Pen F is the same as that found in the Olympus OM-D E-M10 II offering 1.23x magnification.
- 10 FPS mechanical shutter and up to 20FPS with the electronic shutter.
- Fully articulating 1.04 million dot 3″ touch screen LCD screen.
- 50mp High res shot mode.
- 1/8000 mechanical shutter speed , 1/16000 with the electronic shutter.
- 1080/60p video.
- Colour Wheel control dial giving access to fine tuning of black and white, colour and ART profiles.
Fuji X100T Features
- 16mp APS-C X-Trans II Sensor . Sensor size is 23.6mm x 15.8mm giving an image size of 4896 x 3264 pixels.
- Hybrid viewfinder with 2.36 million dot LCD. This is both an optical and electronic viewfinder
- Fixed 23mm f/2 Lens with leaf shutter, in built flash and ND filter
- Mechanical 6FPS shooting speed.
- 1.04 million dot 3″ Fixed LCD
- 1/4000 mechanical shutter speed, 1/32000 with electronic shutter
- 1080/60p video
- Fuji Film Profiles
Now before I start, both the Olympus Pen F and the Fuji X100T are great cameras. Both have a large following and the X100 series from Fuji has almost legendary status.
However a lot of people say that at the price you would be crazy to choose a micro 4/3 sensor over an aps-c or full frame camera. If you think that’s the case then you might want to see my Micro 4/3 vs APS-C article
Sensor size is not the only factor to consider here though. You need to look at the camera as a whole when deciding between the Olympus Pen F vs Fuji X100T and in the Pen F’s case that includes all the light and superb lenses available from Olympus and Panasonic.
Before writing up this Olympus Pen F vs Fuji X100T article I have had the chance to use both these cameras for an extended period. The Fuji for nearly two years and the Pen F for nearly two months now. I bought these camera with my own money (as I do with all my gear). I have no bias to any manufacturer or system although I have to admit that both Fuji and Olympus are among my favourite brands for cameras.
This is because they both continue to innovate and bring us great new cameras, lenses and features. Both Fuji and Olympus cameras are feature rich, more so Olympus as they give us incredible tools like 5 axis IS, live bulb, live time and the new high resolution mode. Fuji keeps it a bit more simple but that’s fine with me also as they give us great film simulations and beautifully handling cameras with real external dials for shutter speed, exposure compensation and aperture rings on most of their lenses which are a joy to use.
The Olympus Pen F and Fuji X100T feel similar when holding them. The Fuji X100T is a little larger at 127 x 74 x 52 mm compared to the Pen F’s 125 x 72 x 37 mm and slightly heavier at 440 g while the Pen F is 427 grams. However don’t forget that the Fuji includes a lens at this weight. Once you add a lens like the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 to the Pen F it actually feels a little heavier than the X100T.
The Olympus Pen F feels a little more solid. Both are well made but when holding them next to each other the Pen F feels better made. The Fuji has a small grip on the front whereas the Pen F does away with any front grip. The thumb rest on the Pen F gives decent purchase which makes the camera comfortable to hold.
I have the silver versions of both and they look very stylish although I actually wanted the black Pen F but it was out of stock and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this stylish camera.
The design of both cameras is nice but the Pen F wins in the style stakes with its beautiful shape, luxurious metal finish and a higher quality faux leatherette grip.
The dials feel better built on the Olympus, giving better feedback and feeling more solid in use. For example both cameras have exposure compensation dials but the Fuji’s is a little easy to accidentally knock while the one on the Pen F is stiffer and requires intentional movement to change.
Both cameras have plenty of external dials but they go about implementing them in different ways.
The Fuji X100T goes for an old school aperture ring on the lens as well as shutter speed dial on the top. There is no ISO dial like you find on the Fuji XT1 but I don’t miss it that much.
Shooting with the X100T is very intuitive and it’s nice to be able to see your settings without having to look at an LCD screen or viewfinder.
The Olympus Pen F uses a more standard PASM dial and control dials in front and behind it to control your settings. I actually find this to be slightly quicker to use in practise but there is not much in it so choose what you prefer. It is nice to see Olympus putting a push to lock button on the PASM dial. You simply press it to lock and press again to unlock.
The Pen F also has a physical exposure compensation dial with +-3 ev available. The on/off switch is also nice to use. I actually prefer it to the on off switch on the Fuji which can be a little hard to use sometimes as it is just a bit too small.
As you can see in my video the Fuji features a small hand grip on the front whereas the Pen F doesn’t. However the thumb grip on the Pen F is larger and makes up for this. I actually feel that I have a better grip on the Pen F but again with both cameras the differences are quite small.
The Pen F features a fully articulating 1.04 million dot 3″ touch screen LCD. The Fuji has a standard non articulating 1.04 million dot 3″ LCD screen. Some people love articulating screens others despise them. That’s up to you to decide what you prefer. I hope the Fuji X100T successor has a flip up screen like the X-T1. That would suit this camera better.
Winner – Draw
Olympus Pen F vs Fuji X100T – Features
The X100T features the last generation 16mp X=Trans II sensor while the Olympus Pen F sports the latest 20mp Micro 4/3 sensor from Sony.
In reality 20mp vs 16mp doesnt make a huge amount of difference and in my testing the differences were minimal and any perceived increase in resolution is more to do with the lenses used on both cameras than the resolution itself.
The Olympus Pen F also features the new colour wheel on the front of the camera.
This gives you direct access to customise your Jpeg output using the new black and white simulation modes, the new colour mode or the older Art modes. If you shoot Jpeg (and even if you don’t) you will love the new black and white (Tri X simulation) from Olympus. It gives a fantastic contrasty image. What is even greater is the ability the Pen F has given users to customise the look of the images.
You can change the tone curves, introduce colour filters as well as add a grain and vignette.
The Fuji X100T added the Classic Chrome simulation mode to the other film simulations offered but nothing in there quite offers the customisation of the black and white output available on the Pen F.
You can add colour filters (red, green, yellow) to the monochrome mode in the X100T but again the Pen f has more options here with Yellow, orange, Red, Magenta, blue, cyan, greenand yellow-green. You can also vary the strength of each filter in three steps.
I’m dying to get my hands on the new Fuji X-T2 to try out their Acros black and white simulation as it looks beautiful. Some of the images I have seen Damien Lovegrove produce with it are simply stunning.
The Fuji X100T is not really about features and all the bells and whistles. It invites you to simply concentrate on your images. You wont find image stabilisation, live time or live bulb modes as in the Olympus but for some this wont matter. However it does have some advantages which are perhaps more useful in general photography. The X100T has a leaf shutter which allows fast flash sync speeds even up to 1/2000. Why does this matter? It allows you to add fill flash in daylight and for brightly lit subjects when you can’t decrease your shutter speed to the usual flash sync speeds of 1/200 or 1/250.
It also has a built in ND filter. This again is great when shooting in bright light when you want to use large apertures. Normally you would have to add an ND filter to your lens to enable you to keep your shutter speed below the maximum. However the X100T has this feature built in. There are basically very few situations where you can’t get the image that you want with the Fuji.
The Pen F on the other hand looks like a simple camera but in reality it is feature rich. The 5 axis image stabilisation built in to the body is the best that there is. It allows you to handhold shots at unthinkably slow shutter speeds and still get sharp shots.
One of the newer features (first introduced in the OM-D E-M5 II) is the High resolution mode. This combines 8 images in to 1 using sensor shift technology. Basically it moves the sensor a tiny amount between each image and then combines them in camera to give you an 80mb raw file or 64mb Jpeg. The detail that this produces is incredible and easily on par with 36mp full frame cameras such as the Nikon D810 and Sony A7R.
The only issues is that it is limited in use to still subjects and you need to have the camera on a tripod as the Image stabilisation doesn’t work at the same time. So any subjects with movement will not work in this mode. Uses I can see for it are architectural, still life, fine art and Art reproduction photography. I also noted that the colours produced by the camera in this mode were very rich and beautiful.
Winner – Draw
Olympus Pen F vs Fuji X100T – Auto Focus
Neither of these cameras are going to be useful for fast action or sports. The X100T’s auto focus is way too slow and the Pen F tracking is not up to scratch because there are no phase detection pixels. Instead it relies on contrast detection auto focus.
In reality no one in their right mind would buy these cameras with the intention of shooting wildlife or sports.
So in normal use which one is better and will give you more keepers?
Simple, the Olympus Pen F wins here comfortably. In good light it is closer than you might think but the Pen F locks on faster and more decisively. Don’t forget that the Pen F also has a better implementation of face and eye detection auto focus. On the Pen F you can select face detection, eye detection, left, right or near eye detection and it works really well most of the time. It also has touch to focus on the LCD screen so you can touch where you want the camera to focus and it will take a shot with your subject in focus.
The Fuji has face detection too but doesn’t offer the customisation of the Pen F with no eye focus selection.
In low light both cameras can sometime hunt. In the case of the Fuji it can hunt back and forth and still not find it’s intended target. The Pen F is pretty good unless your subject has very low contrast, in which case it can sometimes fail to lock on.
Winner – Pen F
Olympus Pen F vs Fuji X100T – Image Quality
Olympus Pen F vs Fuji X100T
So we have an older generation 16mp X-Trans APS-C sensor against a newer generation 20mp Micro 4/3 sensor.
The new sensor in the Olympus Pen F is a slight improvement over the older 16mp sensor in previous Olympus cameras like the OM-D E-M5II but it’s not a huge improvement in terms of resolution.
In terms of IQ the Pen F combined with the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 produces sharper images than the Fuji. It is very close unless you shoot close to your subjects. Then the difference is greater as the 23mm lens on the X100T is known to be a little soft at close distances.
The Pen F definitely seems to perform better at high ISO with less colour noise than the OM-D E-M5II. The grain produced at ISO 3200 is small and quite filmic so I don’t mind shooting at up to ISO 3200 for some subjects. I think 6400 is too far for this format at the moment unless your output is on the web or small prints.
The larger sensor in the Fuji X100T naturally gives it an advantage here and around half to one stop advantage at high ISO. I would max the X100T at ISO 6400 but again only for some subjects.
In terms of colour you can check out my Micro 4/3 vs APS-C article to see comparisons. Both produce great Jpegs with very nice colours. Which you prefer is really down to the subjects you shoot and personal taste. I would say that Olympus and Fuji produce the best SOOC Jpegs in the industry right now.
Despite the difference in sensor size these two cameras are very close when it comes to image quality. However all things being equal the Fuji will produce shallower depth of field at the same aperture and handles high ISO noise slightly better.
The Pen F is more customisable if you are shooting Jpegs thanks to the fantastic new colour wheel at the front and the ability to tweak and perfect your output.
Winner – Fuji X100T
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Olympus Pen F vs Fuji X100T – Conclusion
So which is the better camera overall?
If I had to pick one as my only camera it would be the Pen F due to the fact that it is an interchangeable lens camera. This doesn’t mean it is a better camera than the X100T.
For instance I have owned the X100T for nearly two years and for some of that time it was my only camera. I would prefer to have the Fuji as a second camera. One that you always take with you and know you can still capture great images. If the 23mm (35mm equivalent) focal length suits you then it is a fantastic camera. There is also something pleasing about having a fixed focal length as it teaches you to see in that format and to use the camera that you have. You wont spend time worrying about which lens to use. You will just work out how to get the shot. With that said there are some occasions where you wont get the shot because you are just too far away from the subject or you are too close and can’t fit everything in. There is only so much you can do with one fixed lens.
If you are trying to decide between these two cameras based on image quality then check out my full resolution files on Flickr. If ultimate image quality is what you want then again the Fuji would just sneak it. But it is close, much closer than many would have you believe. Don’t forget that the Pen F has in built IS and you can add a fast lens which will negate the Fuji’s slight advantage at high ISO’s.
In the end the Pen F is the more well rounded camera with better auto focus, better build quality, in built image stabilisation and of course you can switch lenses to suit your needs.
The IQ of the Pen F is very close to that of APS-C and as you can see from my Micro 4/3 vs APS-C shootout it is more dependent on which lenses you stick in front of the camera. For example the Pen F + Olympus 17mm f/1.8 was sharper than the 18-140mm kit lens on the Nikon D7200 and indeed it is sharper than the Fuji X100T.
If you shoot at high ISO a lot then you would probably want to look at full frame because the differences between Micro 4/3 and APS-C are not huge. Check out my quick look at the Sony A7II for a full frame camera featuring in body image stabilisation.
In the end both of these cameras are great fun to shoot with and give excellent results. You can take great photos with either camera and you will have a lot of fun doing so without lugging around all the extra weight of a DSLR and a bag full of lenses. The fact they both look great is just an added bonus and who doesn’t like pretty stuff.