X-E1 vs. OM-D E-M5 Part 2: Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 vs. Panasonic 25mm F1.4

Fuji X-E1-vs-Olympus-OM-D-1 copy

X-E1 vs. OM-D E-M5 Part 2: Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 vs. Panasonic 25mm F1.4:

Welcome to part 2 of my Fuji X-E1 vs. Olympus OM-D E-M5 comparison.  For those who did not read part 1, and want to start there, you can check it out.  In part 1, I compare the two camera bodies, whereas in this part, I discuss two of the most popular lenses for these two camera bodies: The Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R lens, and the Panasonic 25mm F1.4 Summilux.

So just to recap, I had a chance to borrow the OM-D along with a choice of lenses, and I thought to myself, I definitely need to get my hands on that Panasonic 25mm.  First off, I’m a 50mm kind of guy, and second, it’s one of the lenses I always keep hearing about.  Plus, wouldn’t it be cool to compare the Panny with the XF 35mm?  Both are exceptionally sharp, they each have gobs of character, and who doesn’t love a fast aperture lens?

So, I ran a few tests to see what I could come up with.  Obviously, whether one lens is sharper than another doesn’t really matter because it’s not like you could put the Panny onto your X-E1.  Plus, both these are top tier lenses.  So, what I did was spend less time on build quality, image quality etc. because we all know already that these two lenses are awesome, and spent more time on how these two lenses compared with each other in terms of their ability to create a very shallow depth of field.  This comparison is just for fun, so let’s see what we got.

Build and Feel:

Both lenses here are built very well if not a little light for my tastes but then again probably good for the mirrorless class.  The Fuji lens is a bit larger than the Panasonic but it’s pretty light so there’s no need to worry about your X-E1 being front heavy.  Both lenses feel perfectly balanced on these cameras.  Tolerances are tight as well for both lenses with the Panny having a less hollow feel to it.

olympus-om-d-panasonic-25

↑ The Olympus OM-D E-M5 with the Panasonic 25mm Summilux F1.4.

One thing that I love about the Fuji lenses is that they have aperture rings.  The Panasonic does not have an aperture ring, which means adjustment of the aperture is done in the OM-D.  This is a personal preference of mine but I just prefer being able to adjust the aperture on my lens, and being able to manually adjust the shutter speed on my camera.  I find it’s a lot faster than using a wheel while looking at the LCD screen.  I often pre-adjust my speed before I lift my camera up to take a picture, and with the OM-D, I have to lift the camera up to actually see what shutter speed/aperture I want to change to.

Fuji-x-e1-xf-35

↑ The Fuji X-E1 with the XF 35mm F1.4 R lens.

Autofocus:

The 25mm Panasonic’s autofocus operates really, REALLY fast when attached to the OM-D.  I was running around taking photos during the Chinese New Year Festival, and couldn’t believe how fast the autofocus operated.  There is very little that you can’t catch with this lens on your OM-D.  The Fuji on the other hand, could not keep up with the OM-D in terms of the autofocus but most of you probably know this already.

When it’s darker, autofocus hunts a bit more with the X-E1 but the OM-D’s autofocus is still pretty quick.  If you had the zoom or the XF 18mm, the autofocus would be faster but unfortunately, both of those lenses still can not keep up with the OM-D.

Image Quality:

There’s not much to say about these two lenses other than they are probably the best 50mm equivalents that you can get for either one of these systems.  Both lenses are great when stopped down but their performance at F1.4 is just as impressive.

Here some opinions that I’ve developed after using both of these lenses: Both lenses are are top quality with very few faults.  Where they differ is in their characteristics.  I feel the Fuji sometimes produces a creamier looking image with great color pop.  Sometimes a photo just really comes out of the page.  The Panasonic 25mm F1.4 Summilux is a bit more analytical but also very sharp.  I was definitely pleasantly surprised when I first used this lens a while back.

Here’s some quick examples of both these lenses shot at F1.4 and at F5.6:

Is one lens really sharper than the other?  I realize more examples would help with this question but what do you think?  Personally, both these lenses are great with maybe the Panny being ever so slightly sharper but again, it’s so minute that it could just be slight camera movement from the X-E1.

Bokeh:

The quality of bokeh from both these lenses is excellent as well.  There are no complaints here, and there shouldn’t since most people who are going to buy one of these lenses want that creamy looking bokeh.  Shooting at a large aperture will give you wonderfully smooth looking shallow depth of field with really nice “bokeh balls”.  But does the larger sensor of the X-E1 give the XF 35mm more of an advantage over the OM-D/Panasonic 25mm Summilux?  I read one comparison that stated there isn’t much of a difference but I disagree.  I would argue that shooting at F1.4 with the Panasonic 25mm is almost equivalent to shooting at F2.8 with the Fuji xf 35mm and X-E1 combo.  Check out the results below (The X-E1 photo on the left, and the OM-D photo on the right):

Fuji XF 35mm at F2.8 vs. Panasonic 25 at F1.4 Summilux

Fuji XF 35mm at F2.8 vs. Panasonic 25 at F1.4 Summilux

Here are the rest of the comparison photos from F1.4 to F5.6.  Sharpness, contrast, etc. have nothing to do with this section.  I’m just concentrating on the depth of field.  The X-E1 and the OM-D were placed on a tripod, and I dimmed the lighting on purpose so you could see the bokeh balls a bit better.  In each comparison, the photos on the left are Fuji’s, and the photos on the right are Olympus’:

 

Obviously, these are not 100% scientific, and they were never intended to be.  But these photos should give you a general idea of what kind of bokeh you’ll be getting, and how the different sensor sizes in these two cameras can change that.  In general though, both lenses offer extremely smooth shallow depth of field as you can see here.

Here are some general examples taken at F1.4 from OM-D paired with the Panasonic 25 F1.4 Summilux.  Hopefully some of these photos will give you a feel of the way this lens performs at wide open aperture:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Below are some photos taken with the XF 35mm F1.4 R lens at F1.4.  I know this has nothing to do with the bokeh section but one thing I have to mention is sometimes I just love the colors coming out of the X-E1 with this lens.  This lens is also very three dimensional:

fuji-xf-35mm-fiat

fuji-xf-35mm-bokeh

fuji-xf-35mm-portrait

Which one?  Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R lens or Panasonic 25mm F1.4 Summilux?:

Well, there you have it.  I just wanted to write up a short comparison post comparing these two lenses just for fun.  Whether you have an X-E1 or an OM-D, both 50mm equivalents are awesome, and often times, can probably serve as your only lens.  I believe that both lenses are optically excellent but they seem to have their own characteristics.  My personal preference is the XF 35mm F1.4 R lens but that’s also because I prefer the X-E1 over the OM-D.  The good news is that there is no wrong choice.  Thanks for reading!  Take care!

 

30 comments… add one
  • finally patrick,it is done,haha…look like you still prefer xe-1 over omd even with the hunt,personally from all the photo in internet,i also prefer xe-1 colour but the focusing really worry me. so do you think that focusing can be an issue if it is for portrait shot??Btw i felt that oly 75 1.8 file are actually very good compare to others,haha

    • Patrick

      Hi Meng!

      Glad to see you back here! Lol, yeah I know, I was really sick, and then I got busy playing catch up. I don’t want to offend OM-D users but yes, I really do prefer the X-E1 overall image quality over the OM-D’s. It’s really got a nice “pop”. I don’t have much trouble with portraits but if you do use the 60mm, the focus can be a bit slower. But I’ve also seen plenty of great portrait work with the 60mm all over the web.

      The Oly 75mm is a great lens. I’ve seen some amazing stuff from it, and I’ve been trying to get my brother in-law to buy one so I could use it ;). I was just saying that you would need a longer lens to get the same bokeh that you would be able to get with a shorter lens on the Fuji.

      Anyway, glad to hear from you again Meng! Keep in touch!

      • haha,sure i am, consider you have won a daily reader,haha…..busy time too. ya,i am also stuck between the image of fuji xe1 and the olympus practicality….i want to step into portrait,which do you think is suitable??hehe….oly 75 look great but i the price is also as much as the camera body,haha….keep in touch 🙂

      • Patrick

        Hi Meng!

        Always glad to hear from you, and glad to have you as my daily reader :). Meng…you have a tough choice my friend. Both cameras are excellent but I really have to give it to the Fuji. The thing is, the OM-D is really fun to use at first but after a while, I felt kind of detached from what I was actually shooting. For me, I just didn’t really “bond” with the camera. I know there are diehard Oly fans so no offense! This is only personal preference.

        I heard amazing things about the Oly 75mm. But that’s like lugging around a 150mm equivalent with the crop factor. There might be times when that kind of length might be too much I would think. Also, for me personally, I just feel like the X-E1’s images have a bit more pop to them.

        If it was me, I would get the X-E1 with the upcoming 56mm F1.4 (which is like an 84mm) or the Zeiss 32mm F1.8 for portraits. But we don’t know how the autofocus will be with those lenses yet either.

        I might be doing a portrait session with my new M, and the 75 Lux soon if you want to check that out. If I get permission, I’ll post some images. Anyway to get back to your decision…For me, the X-E1 won out because of overall image quality AND the manual controls. I love the layout of the Fuji because it reminds me of the Leica. It’s simplistic, and it really doesn’t have the bells and whistles that most cameras have these days, which I like. But that’s me.

        The OM-D has amazing technology, and image quality is excellent. The autofocus is really quick as well. Can you rent these cameras where you are or maybe stop by a store that sells them? You really sound like you want that Oly 75mm though haha 🙂

      • i think the best is to try them out,i never know how bad the xe1 auto focus is actually, i also never know how the omd work,so is really hard to make decision, as much as i like the photo from oly 75, is just too expensive for me even if i own the omd,haha

      • Patrick

        Hey Meng,

        Is there a place where you can rent them? In general, everything about the OM-D is fast. The first time I started using it, I was amazed at the features but after a while, it kind of got to “gadgetry” for me. I like the simplicity of the Fuji. Autofocus is not as good as the OM-D’s but no camera is perfect. Plus, I really prefer the image quality over the OM-D’s. I also like the rangefinder like style. But yeah, if you really like that lens, you could always get it in the future after you buy the OM-D.

        The thing is, when you buy a camera it’s also buying into a system. If you really prefer the lenses for the OM-D over the Fuji’s, you’re probably better off buying the OM-D. It definitely is a more user friendly camera as well.

        Meng, just out of curiosity, what are you currently using?

      • good question, I am Fuji X10, that why have something about Fuji XE-1. well trying to buy first interchangeble system so better make sure it is worth,haha….the prob is i cant find one place for rental in my place and is really making me hard to come to an decision. after checking the price,the omd lens seem pretty expensive, as the kit zoom don seem to be so good compare to XE-1…..
        Actually i do write blog so it will be great if you would pay a visit
        http://www.mengyeap.blogspot.com.
        Meng

      • and because of my X10, it create a strong preference in me toward the XE-1(which i believe to be so much better) but because of sometime i do have some problem with the auto focus, it also create question in me about the XE-1.that why OMD come into my mind for fair in everything,haha…no offense,personally perfer XE-1 file too from what i see in flickr and so on

      • Patrick

        No offense taken at all, Meng :). Whatever camera you end up getting has to fit you. I have an uncle who thinks I’m crazy for buying Leica. He thinks I should just buy a Nikon but it’s just not me. There is no doubt that the autofocus on the OM-D is a lot faster than the X-E1’s. Plus, there is no Fuji lens currently available with the reach of the Oly 75mm. The OM-D is a great camera that still has some great image quality. Plus, you have a lot of lens choices.

      • haha,icic,leica is definitely one interesting camera but everyone have their own desire and preference. but leica have some really good second hand price so i think is good,haha….But my budget is pretty low so even if i have omd,to get the oly 75 will take quite some time,haha….and 150 focal is really long

      • Patrick

        Hey Meng,

        How about getting the Oly with the Panasonic 25mm F1.4 to start? You’ll still have a fast aperture, and it’s still a pretty nice lens for portraits. It’s also almost half the price of the 75mm

      • hey since we discuss so much,should tell you my decision too,i just jump into the slow ship of Fujifilm with 35mm 1.4 , make it worth :),i guess there will be some image soon…….btw from few touch under dark or bright,it aint that bad as i thought,just macro bit bad but it still work….i guess i am just used to it due to x10,haha

      • Patrick

        Hey Meng,

        You got a new Fuji with the 35? The X-E1? Congratulations! Yeah, I don’t think it’s so bad. It’s slower than the OM-D but I still think it’s ok. Enjoy it, and please let me know when you have new images up from it!

      • Patrick

        Hey Meng,

        Oh the Fuji X10! I love that camera. Do you have a camera store near you that sells both cameras? If you do, you should play with them there. You can even ask to check out the lenses. You know, if you get the kit zoom for the Fuji, the autofocus is a lot faster than the prime lenses. It’s also a lot quieter, and I believe it’s a bit more accurate. And you’re right about the kit zoom for the Oly. It’s not bad but I prefer the Fuji one.

        I’ve actually been to your blog several times, and it’s great! You’re photos are really nice! Maybe we can work out some guest posting in the future if you’re interested.

      • yeah,i love it too that why it XE-1 image quality remain strong point for me,haha. there are stores but the problem is they wont allow me to try them out.the time i bought the X10,i did the same but no store seem to allow me to do that,maybe they thought i wont buy it,so i have to wait till some sort of camera fair or thing like that which i don even know when,haha…..that what i heard and it is some really good lens from every reviewer. so after checking out some lens, i realise eventhough m43 have lot of lens, but oly zoom seem to be lack from there and all the prime are really expensive but on the other hand,a few lens from fuji seem to be enough for me,..
        that is great,thanks,been busy with something so did not update, but will update more,haha..it is an honour to do some guest posting 🙂

      • Patrick

        Hey Meng,
        Wow, they won’t let you try it? Sorry to hear that. How do they expect to sell a camera if they don’t let someone try it? You’re right, the Oly system has a lot of lenses but you only need a few good ones, which the Fuji has. In fact, I’m selling my XF 60mm, and XF 18mm, so all I will have for the Fuji is the XF 35mm and the kit zoom. I simplified the system, and it covers the whole range that I need. But one lens that that sounds really interesting to me? The upcoming XF 56mm F1.4 (85mm equivalent). If it’s not going to be as slow as the XF 60mm, and if it can produce the same overall image quality as the XF 35mm, I think it will be a killer lens.

        And btw, it would be an honor to have you guest post :). You have some really cool photos.

  • Eric

    Hi Patrick and Meng Yeap,

    It is so happening to read through this blog and i found it very useful. And comment contributes by both of you does teach me a lot on this two systems.

    Currently, i am having XE1 + 35mm.. probably will post my flickr site to share with you guys after house keeping.. but undoubtedly, OMD really wins hand down on XE1 for its AF speed… but i just love the color of Fuji !

    • Patrick

      Hi Eric!

      Glad to have you join in on the conversation! Meng wants to concentrate a bit more on portraits, and we’ve been talking about the OM-D vs. X-E1 in those terms. So, what’s your opinion about the X-E1 as a portrait camera?

      And yes, I completely agree with you about the Fuji. I know the Olympus is faster but I really love what the Fuji produces. Plus, I just love the rangefinder-like feel. The OM-D is a great camera but for me, after a while, I just started missing the X-E1 :).

      When you get your Flickr site, definitely post it here to share! The more the merrier!

      Patrick

  • Dab

    OK…today being the last day of the Fuji special…. I probably should pull the trigger. However, I’m still undecided as to the X-E1 or the X-PRO1. X-E1 smaller size and higher res EVF or the X-PRO1 OVF with a higher res LCD. What’s worse, I’m unable to handle the cameras before I purchase because no dealers within driving distance.

    • Patrick

      Hi Dab,

      Thanks for the comment! To be honest, ever since I bought my X-E1, I haven’t used my X-Pro1 much. Both cameras are great, and yes, the LCD is better on the X-Pro1 but in practice, I don’t really notice much of a difference. I usually prefer OVFs over EVFs but for me, the EVF on the X-E1 is good enough that I don’t really miss the OVF from the X-Pro1.

      Lastly, the pictures might not show it as well but the X-E1 definitely feels a lot smaller and easier to handle than the X-Pro1. That’s actually my biggest reason for why I use the X-E1 over the X-Pro1 more often. It’s almost like an X100 but with interchangeable lens capability. Seriously, the size is perfect for me. Too bad you can’t see them in person but know that which ever one you decide to get, you’ll still have a great camera. I hope this helps. Please feel free to comment back to me if you have any other questions. Take care!

      Patrick

  • Sigma82

    I don’t know if I can help u, but I do own the oly 75 1.8 and despite I thought it was a bit too long before i bought it, all I can tell is that the lens is so good that it pushes u to use it 😀 I recently had a trip in Copenhagen and I took at least 75% of my pictures there with the 75, even I own the pana 12-35 and the oly 45 1.8. @Ming: the 75 is just a jewel, if u can afford it, just buy it, it won’t disappoint u!

    • Patrick

      That’s really nice of you to help out, Sigma82. Thanks!

  • Sigma82

    Ps: sorry Meng Yeap, I wrote @Ming in my last post… I apologize for the mistake 🙂

  • 4054

    First, thank you for this very important comparison. This might be an older but relevant article for people like me. I am coming from a micro 4/3 format and have had all the fantastic fast primes – 12mm 2.0, 25 1.4, 20mm.. etc. They shoot very fast, lens quality is amazing and the raw or jpg absolute stunners.

    Was on the fence to get OMD E-M1 or FUJI X-E2. Now with the snappier autofocus, it real solves all the issues that I was initially concerned about. The 25mm 1.4 is no doubt a fantastic lens – but the bokeh on the X-E2 is just so good.

    I’m selling my entire 4/3s system and replacing with their respective Fuji counterparts X-E2, 14mm, 23mm, and 35mm. I can’t wait!

    • Patrick

      Thanks for taking the time out to read it! I really appreciate it. Wow, you have some really nice primes for the 4/3s system.

      I can definitely understand your dilemma. I used the E-M5, and the autofocus was insanely fast. But the new X-E2 has faster autofocus like you said, and while it may not be as fast as the OM-D, it should definitely help. I’ll be reviewing the X-E2 soon if you want to come back some time and check it out.

      Good luck to you and enjoy all of that new Fuji gear when you get it!

      Take care,

      Patrick

  • I own an OMD EM5 + 75mm and 25mm. Both are insanely sharp and on the OMD it focuses insanely fast. It’s the colors the is making me always look over the fence towards the Fuji lot. I have an X100s and the colors on that camera (Jpeg vs Jpeg) beats the OMD’s in almost every way. To be fair, the OMD’s colors improves a lot when you use RAW, but of course it takes more effort to bring out the colors in every shot, where as with Fuji you get great colors right off their Jpegs.

    If only there is a camera that focuses as fast as the Olympus OMD but gives Fuji colors!

    Recently I bought an X-A1 with two kit lenses for a cheap deal price. Actually I am eyeing the 56mm later, and I think the X-A1 is a good-enough body to test the Fuji waters.

    Basically in the end it all boils down to this: Would you prefer faster, more accurate AF but blander colors, or a slower AF system but with more gorgeous colors? I like a little bit of both.

    As for me, I choose to keep the OMD + 25mm + 75mm, but I will also get the 56mm some day. The 42.5 panasonic Nocticron is just way too expensive.. but if they were priced similarly, I would probably give a nod to the 42.5 vs the 56mm Fuji. But hey I might get the 35mm Fuji too. The Olympus cameras just gives you that reassurance that everything will be okay, that you will be able to capture every moment, every split second action in an event with ease. Fuji forces you to think more, to plan ahead and anticipate events because their AF is just so much slower compared to Olympus.

    • Patrick

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks for leaving a comment! My brother in-law has been using the OM-D series of cameras since the introduction of the EM5 and absolutely loves it. He travels a lot and every time he comes home, he brings some amazing shots to show me. I use his gear from time to time and yes, the autofocus is quite fast. But what I also like about the system is its overall size. Take for instance, the 12mm F2. It’s so tiny! Fuji makes some great lenses but some of them are getting a little big in my opinion.

      Again, thanks for leaving your thoughts. I’ll be adding some Olympus gear along with Fuji gear to my site in the near future, so I hope to hear from you again! You have a great travel blog btw!

      Best regards,

      Patrick

  • Derek

    Thanks for the great comparison!

    However, there is one thing that bothers me a bit…

    It looks like you cropped the Micro 4/3 image to be a 3:2 image. This puts Micro 4/3 at a disadvantage because you’re only using a part of the sensor. You would have needed to shoot further away so you could later crop.

    If you cropped the Fuji image to match 4:3 instead, then the Fuji would have shown less bokeh.

    I have no doubt that the Fuji APSC size sensor can create more depth of field and that sweet bokeh. But your test may have exaggerated the real world effect by cropping both images to 3:2, the native Fuji image size.

    • Patrick

      Thanks Derek!

      Sorry for the late reply. I got back from vacation, and I was more busy than I expected catching up on things :). Thanks for taking the time to read my review and for the feedback! It is always appreciated.

      Best regards,

      Patrick

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