Olympus E-M1 vs. Fuji X-T1 – after using both for a longer period of time

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In my Fuji X-T1 review I mentioned, that I’ll be doing a comparison between the Olympus E-M1 and the Fuji X-T1 and using the E-M1 for over a year now and the X-T1 since February, finally here it is. Well, like always everything written here reflects my point of view and that might not be suitable for everyone, please keep that in mind.

 

Ergonomics

X-T1:

Fits nicely in the hands, but grip could be more pronounced. The on/off switch is in the ideal position.

E-M1:

For a camera of this size the grip is almost perfect for me. The on/off switch on the left side is not ideal for shooting with one hand

 

Built-Quality

X-T1:

Body seems well built. SD-Card slot door not well implemented, very easy to open it accidently. Front and rear dials feel really bad. Overall buttons are too small and feel really mushy when pressed.

E-M1:

Body feels like a tank. Never had any issues with the SD-Card slot on the E-M1. The front and rear dials are almost perfect. All buttons are well designed and give a nice feedback when pressed

 

Autofocus (Single AF)

 

X-T1:

AF is fast enough for most situations, but can struggle to lock on from time to time. The camera sometimes confirms focus, but is way off. Shooting in backlit conditions can be a pain in the ass since the X-T1 has serious problems to lock focus. Face Detection is poorly implemented and not very useful

E-M1:

AF works noticeably faster and feels almost instantaneously when coupled with the 17/1.8 for instance. Backlit shooting environments are no problem at all. Using the Panasonic 42.5/1.2 and the Olympus 75/1.8 is a breeze. Face Detection works pretty good for portraits, you can even tell the camera on which eye to focus and most of the time the focus is spot on.

 

Autofocus (Continuous AF)

X-T1:

Used it only a couple of times and it seemed to work fine.

E-M1:

It works, but I don’t use it very often. I prefer just pressing down the shutter while being in AF-S mode, that gets the job done even for moving subjects.

 

Manual Focus

X-T1:

OMG, manual focus on the X-T1 is gorgeous. I love the dual screen feature, it makes manual focus very easy while keeping an eye on the composition at the same time. Focus peaking is ok, but nothing special and I don’t use it at all.

E-M1:

Manual Focus works ok, but is not as convenient as on the X-T1, period! You can magnify but you can’t frame your shot at the same time. Would be nice if Olympus can give us at least the option for a picture in picture mode. And then there is Focus Peaking which is really bad, because the refresh rate drops dramatically and the image gets really choppy.

 

Viewfinder

X-T1:

Big, bright and a joy to use. I use the bigger eye cup and that makes a big difference when shooting outside on a sunny day. When shooting in dark conditions the viewfinder gets a little grainy but remains a relatively high refresh rate.

When you are shooting in portrait orientation the shooting information will rotate as well, that’s a nice touch.

E-M1:

The E-M1 has a very nice viewfinder as well, that is just a little smaller. In general the EVF is nice, but the refresh rate drops when shooting in dark environments, nevertheless it doesn’t get as grainy as the X-T1’s EVF.

 

Features

X-T1:

There isn’t whether in body stabilization nor a touchscreen available, something I would love to see on a future Fuji camera. Video on the X-T1 is not usable at all thanks to massive moiré and artifacts.

E-M1:

The E-M1 has this gorgeous IBIS which works pretty well and especially in video it’s very easy to get very usable handheld results. Talking about video, framerates and codecs are very limited which is really sad. Too bad since the IBIS would be a killer feature for video shooters. And then there is the touchscreen which I really like especially for street shooting.

 

Ease of use

X-T1:

The X-T1 not only looks retro it even feels like a camera back from the days when the sensor was called film and autofocus was barely seen on any camera. The cool thing is, that you are able to dial in all the important settings even when the camera is switched off, that is really convenient. Therefore it’s a joy to use and if you are familiar with the basics of photography then it’s very easy to handle the X-T1 right from the start.

E-M1:

The E-M1 looks retro but is packed with features and can be a little overwhelming when trying the first time. The camera is very customizable and it takes some time and effort to getting used to it. The biggest complaint I have is that there is no dedicated switch for focus mode and you need to go into the menu to change it. Of course you can create a preset and link it to a position on the mode dial, but that’s not as convenient.

 

Image Quality (RAW+Lightroom)

X-T1:

I am really happy with the results I am getting out of the X-T1. The images show plenty of details and for most cases 16MP are enough. High ISO is good but nothing special these days. The dynamic range is as good as it gets in the APS-C sensor class. The colors are really really nice, love them.

E-M1:

Even though the E-M1 has a smaller sensor, the results are very nice too. When using good glass, the Olympus is able to deliver very crisp images. I am not a pixel peeper, but sometimes it can be shocking to go to 100% on a shot taken with the 42.5/1.2, it is absolutely stunning how sharp the images turn out. High ISO is slightly worse than on the Fuji, but there is only half a stop difference between those two cameras. Dynamic Range is also pretty good. Colors can be nice too, but I always preferred the Fuji colors and always will.

 

Battery Life

X-T1:

Battery Life is only average and I barely get more than 400 shots per battery when shooting a wedding for instance. Really annoying is the battery indicator which will display the max of three bars even when the battery is almost dead.

E-M1:

I usually get 800+ pictures out of one battery and that is great. The battery indicator is much more reliable compared to the X-T1’s.

 

Using Flash

X-T1:

I can sync up to 1/250 with the shutter blocking some light at the bottom. For an images fully lit by flash you have to stick with 1/180 or below. One thing I don’t like is that you have to turn off silent mode to be able to use flash.

E-M1:

Flash sync is very usable up to 1/400 and perfect across the frame at 1/320 or below.

 

 

Verdict

There are more things that separate those two cameras and my findings just represent the most important ones for me.

Either way both of these cameras are very capable and both have their strengths and weaknesses. If you want a lightweight and small kit then the E-M1 might be the way to go. But if you want direct access to the most important controls and you don’t mind a little more weight and a little bulkier lenses, then the X-T1 could be the camera of your choice. The bottom line is that you can’t go wrong with any of these cameras and in the end it’s more about personal preferences. No matter how you gonna decide, enjoy your camera and keep shooting.

 

If you have any questions, leave a comment below and I will try to answer them as soon as possible. And of course smack the like button and follow me on facebook!

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Images taken with both cameras.

 

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65 Kommentare
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  • LeifNovember 27, 2014 - 12:29

    Have you updated the E-M1 firmware to the 2.x version? It should have improved the focus peaking framerate.

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    • RobinNovember 27, 2014 - 12:38

      Hi Leif! I did, but it still feels laggy.

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  • Sam DoradoNovember 28, 2014 - 04:16

    You make very beautiful images and have presented this comparison review very well. Mind if I ask where you got the leather straps you are using?

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  • EricNovember 28, 2014 - 04:29

    Nice comparison and super good photos!!!

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    • RobinNovember 28, 2014 - 12:39

      Thanks Eric! 🙂

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  • AskBNovember 28, 2014 - 06:47

    Have the X-T1 myself, but can’t really forget about the E-M1. I love the Fuji for most stuff, but think the E-M1 is really nice. Sort of surprised by the results I see in photos taken by others, but when I had the E-M5 I wasn’t able to wow myself. Probably the photographer…

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    • RobinNovember 28, 2014 - 12:42

      Both are great cameras and you are probably right, in the end it’s more about the photographer. So, go out and shoot, show your Fuji some love, it deserves it. 🙂

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  • robNovember 28, 2014 - 14:12

    Nice review. I had both and decided at the end to get rid of the Fuji. I preferred the Olympus across the board especially with the IBIS. One thing though I use Capture 8 for my files and know how to process them.

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    • RobinNovember 28, 2014 - 14:41

      Thanks Rob! Whatever works best for you! 🙂

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  • AndreasNovember 28, 2014 - 14:23

    Thank you for taking your time to write this in-depth review. I decided to take the “Fuji-Path”, still wondering if they are sufficient to cover a full wedding. I own one X-T1 and will add another and/or an X100T soon. May I kindly ask which flash you use your Fujis?

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    • RobinNovember 28, 2014 - 14:51

      Hi Andreas! I got rid of my DSLR Rig at the beginning of 2014 and I shot an entire wedding season with X-T1 and E-M1. I am really happy with the results I got and my clients too! I use a cheap Yongnuo YN560-II and if I need more power I am using a 400ws portable studio flash. You can check out my wedding stuff here: http://www.hochzeitsfotograf-rs.de/

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      • AndreasDecember 1, 2014 - 14:34

        Hi Robin, thank you for your answer. I took a look at your wedding portfolio site, beautiful shots! And I had to smile, because we are not too far away from each other. Greetings from Karlsruhe!

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        • RobinDecember 2, 2014 - 11:24

          Thanks Andreas! That’s indeed very close! 🙂

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  • DennisNovember 28, 2014 - 16:08

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for the beautiful shots!

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    • RobinNovember 28, 2014 - 16:09

      Thank you!:)

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  • WeNovember 28, 2014 - 19:19

    Robin,

    Love your photos and particularly like the colors you achieve with Lightroom. I’m also a E-M1 shooter, shooting nearly exclusively in RAW (though sometimes just for fun will shoot a few using Color Creator or one of the Art modes for RAW+JPEG captures). Would absoluteley love to know your post-processing workflow and especially your LR settings for various subjects, conditions, etc. The tonal and color qualities are perfect, IMO, and certainly something I – and I’m sure many others – would like to be able to attempt to emulate. Again, many thanks for sharing!

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    • RobinNovember 30, 2014 - 15:22

      Thank you! I have created some lightroom presets to speed up my workflow. It took me some time and effort to find out what works best for me and what kind of look I am after. I can’t tell you the exact settings since this is my “signature look“, but there are plenty of tutorials out there, that might help you to create a look that fits your taste to 100%.

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  • Adrien BdNovember 28, 2014 - 21:49

    Nice review ! That would be cool if you could put from wich camera have been taken thos pictures.
    ++
    Adrien

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    • RobinNovember 30, 2014 - 15:25

      Thank you Adrien! It’s hard to tell which one was taken with which camera and that’s the point, because differences in image quality are few and far between.

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      • Adrien BdNovember 30, 2014 - 17:05

        Yes it’s hard to say who is who ! Anyway nice pics 😉

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  • Gonzalo BrotoNovember 29, 2014 - 03:11

    Very nice write-up and specially crispy pictures!

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    • RobinNovember 30, 2014 - 15:25

      Thank you Gonzalo! 🙂

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  • ScottDecember 5, 2014 - 16:23

    Very nice review – wondering if I should upgrade to the E-M1 from my E-M5, which is a joy to use.

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    • RobinDecember 5, 2014 - 17:57

      If it is still a joy to use and there is nothing missing…don’t change a running system 🙂

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  • AntonioDecember 5, 2014 - 23:59

    Try a DECENT raw converter instead of Adobe’s one. It doesn’t handle X-Trans files well and fine details are simply lost.

    Open you horizon and try Iridient Developer or Raw Therapee and you’ll see that the Fuji is far superior.

    Lightroom sucks. Honestly.

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    • RobinDecember 7, 2014 - 13:21

      The Fuji might show slightly more details, but at the moment that’s not an issue for me. A different converter won’t make high ISOs look better or give me more dynamic range. Lightroom fits perfectly into my workflow and is and will be the converter of my choice.

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      • AntonioDecember 8, 2014 - 00:45

        Just try. The difference in overall image quality is huge.

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  • Tony LiDecember 6, 2014 - 09:02

    Great photos,Robin!But how do you get 800+ photos from E-M1 with one battery?Mine doesn’t even close,have you used the battery grip?

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    • RobinDecember 7, 2014 - 13:39

      Thanks Tony! I don’t have a battery grip for my E-M1. I usually don’t check the display often or play arround in the menu. On a wedding a once shot nearly 1000 pictures with one battery.

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      • Tony LiDecember 7, 2014 - 14:15

        Thank you for replying!So you mean you’ve turn the EVF switch to manual?How about your IS setting?I guess maybe I should check my battery if it’s still working properly.

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  • […] at cliftonbeard / Olympus E-M1 vs. Fuji X-T1 – after using both for a longer period of time at fotodesign-rs / Los Angeles with the X-T1 at stockografie / Fuji X-T1: my favourite camera for travel at wimarys […]

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  • AmroDecember 18, 2014 - 18:31

    Really lovely images. Of course – you forget to mention that your skill makes them both good. I’d be happy with either – though I don’t think I could manage such good photos.

    Amro

    PS What great looking straps!

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    • RobinDecember 19, 2014 - 15:21

      Thank you Amro! 🙂

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  • SteveJanuary 17, 2015 - 16:11

    The wedding photography under the stars is outstanding!

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    • RobinJanuary 19, 2015 - 15:29

      Thanks Steve! 🙂

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  • DexFebruary 8, 2015 - 22:28

    Thanks for a great comparison that doesn’t have a fanboy feel on either side. And thanks for some beautiful photography!

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    • RobinFebruary 9, 2015 - 15:21

      Thanks Dexter!

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  • JessFebruary 13, 2015 - 03:27

    Hello, I am viewing reviews and all other details about each camera and cannot decide still… I have gone into the store to handle in camera and I have no idea which one I want. Please help

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    • RobinFebruary 14, 2015 - 22:06

      Hey Jess, at the end of the day that is unfortunately a decision that only you can make. But either way you can’t go wrong with both of these cameras.

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  • MartinMay 11, 2015 - 13:36

    Hi Robin,
    A theft from my home urges me to choose a new camera system. Although I hoped for a stronger verdict, your comparison helped me a lot. And for the pictures you presented, they confirm that it always is primaraly the person who makes the good pictures and secondly the interaction between photographer and camera. Your work looks very good, compliments! And from now I will mainly test the ergonomics before choosing one of these two camera’s. Thanks, Martin

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    • RobinMay 12, 2015 - 13:28

      Hi Martin, I am glad I could help you out! 🙂 You are right about the interaction with the model, that’s usually overlocked and at least as importang as the gear. If you can make your model feel comfortable, you can expect much better results!

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  • ErinMay 30, 2015 - 14:08

    Hey Robin,

    great pictures!
    Were you in Penang, Malaysia for the 17th picture?

    I too, am considering either one of the two, though I’m more Oly biased.

    I wanted to ask, which speedlite & triggers do you use
    for your EM1?

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    • RobinJune 23, 2015 - 14:52

      Thanks Erin. Yes, that shot was taken in Penang. I use the Yongnuo RF-603/C1 Triggers and a Yongnuo 560 Mark II.

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  • TerenceJune 26, 2015 - 12:57

    Hi Robin,

    Amazing photos and very helpful review! I am also considering to purchase XT1 or EM1, one thing I would like to know is in your opinion which company provide better lens option? I will mostly be using it to shoot people and portraits, thanks

    Terence

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    • RobinAugust 26, 2015 - 22:07

      Both have great options!

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  • Kim LarsenJanuary 21, 2016 - 08:22

    Hi Robin,
    Searching the web for info/tests/photos from these two cameras I found your test today. Even though it is some time ago you made it, I still find it very useful. I’m considering a system change from pro Nikon DSLR with the best Nikon zooms too to a small mirrorless system mainly due to the fact that I travel a lot = my photo bag are too heavy for the flight rules e.g 8 kg with Lufthansa and also because I travel a lot in Thailand = too hot for heavy photo bags.
    My biggest concern about the change is ISO. My old Nikon D3 is very good at high ISO. What is your ISO limit on these two cameras for photos you find usable at e.g wedding shooting indoor? I sometimes shoot indoor photos of motorcycles/cars and there I cannot use flash.
    Thanks in advance 🙂
    Kim

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    • RobinJanuary 25, 2016 - 18:23

      Hello Kim! If you want a smaller kit and high ISOs are often used, then you should take a look at the A7s.Compared to the Nikon D3 it is 2-3 stops better at ISOs above 6400 and has far better dynamic range. More expensive but really capable is the A7rII, which is really good at high ISOs, has a small footprint and a very good AF module. For weddings I usually use the A7s/rII and my Leica Q. I might review the new Fuji X-Pro II, but only if I’ll be able get one before my next trip in 4 weeks.

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  • BryanJanuary 23, 2016 - 13:28

    Too bad the photos aren’t side by side for comparison. Can’t really gain much from photos that haven’t been marked which camera they are from.

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    • RobinJanuary 25, 2016 - 18:13

      Hello Bryan. Simply read the text, this should answer all your questions. The bottom line is, that there is no substantial difference in terms of image quality.

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  • JuliaMarch 10, 2016 - 14:18

    I love all of the pictures but I can see a difference between them! I am going to purchase the Xt1 and if it was possible could you tell me 2 or 3 that are made with it¿
    Thanks so much, amazing skills btw

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    • RobinMarch 17, 2016 - 15:29

      Hello Julia, thank you for you comment. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter which camera do u use, both are great. Enjoy the X-T1!

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  • Paisley PolandSeptember 12, 2016 - 19:39

    Both cameras are great. I like OM-D E-M5 II even more. MFT lens size matters. Olympus is more street camera in my opinion, and Fuji is better with portraits / landscapes. The best thing is to have both and take best of all.

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    • RobinSeptember 22, 2016 - 12:46

      In the end it’s more important to have a camera with you and whether it is Fuji or Olympus is less important.

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  • Zachary YoungDecember 15, 2016 - 00:04

    Am I right in assuming that the photos that are 1200×900 (that is, 4:3) were taken with the Olympus and the ones that are 1200×800 (3:2) are with the Fuji?

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    • RobinDecember 15, 2016 - 00:34

      Hi Zachary! That would make sense, but I am more a fan of 3:2 and most of the E-M1 shots in this article are cropped to that aspect ratio.

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  • Zachary YoungDecember 15, 2016 - 04:36

    You’re not gonna give us any hints, are you? 🙂 They’re excellent photos but for the sake of comparison it would be great to know which is which….

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    • RobinDecember 15, 2016 - 23:03

      But the question is, can you spot a difference?

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  • Johnk9February 8, 2017 - 03:15

    A big thank you for your article.Thanks Again. Great. feebcecbkecd

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    • RobinFebruary 8, 2017 - 07:06

      You’re welcome! 🙂

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  • yannickMay 1, 2017 - 23:56

    Hi thx for this awesome post. I was looking at these 2 cameras second hand Because i am on a budget (around 1200). But for me its so difficult to make a choice . I do landscape (occasional night + stars), street and portrait. So i would like 2 lenses 1 wide and 1 street/portrait. Which camera + lenses would u recommend me ? Can u create the nice background blur with the e-m1 ?

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    • RobinMay 2, 2017 - 11:59

      Hi Yannick! Thanks for your comment. Both cameras are more than capable enough. For your budget the Olympus might be the better choice.
      I would suggest to get the E-M1 with 17/1.8 and 45/1.8. Don’t worry about bokeh, it’s easily achievable. Hope that helped?

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  • yannick bloemenMay 2, 2017 - 15:23

    Thx for the help !!  And  I Could get the x-t1 + xf 35 f2 + samyang 16 f2 for 1230 . Or E-m1  + samyang 12 mm f2 + sigma 30 f1.4 for 1200 . Still think the E-M1 is the better choice ? Thx in advoance for all the help 🙂

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    • RobinMay 4, 2017 - 10:42

      Like I said, I would recommend E-M1 with 17/1.8 and 45/1.8. The Samyang 12/2 is good, I did write a review about it. However, if you wanna go that wide, the Olympus 12/2
      is a lot smaller, lighter and an equally good performer. It’s more expensive but you can find them used for a good price. The Sigma 30/1.4 and the Samyang 12/2 are both designed for APS-C
      and therefore not ideal for M43 and I would prefer native lenses.

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