M mount Camera comparison: Fuji Xpro vs Ricoh GXR M vs Sony NEX7 vs Epson RD1 vs Olympus OM-D

a comparison on epson rd1 vs olympus omd vs ricoh gxr vs sony nex7 vs fuji xpro1

Finally the comparison of all the 5 cameras I had for street photography with M mount glass. Jump in for the results.

 

Comparison

Image Quality

[Available light Image Quality]

Here is some comparison shots of the cameras with Voigtlander 35mm 1.4. I was not about to guess focus on this so I infinity focused on f/16 and left the ISO on 200. I upsampled the RD1 and downsampled NEX 7. Click to open full size, and try to guess who's who:

comparison between m mount camera fuji xpro, ricoh gxr, olympus omd, epson rd1, sony nex7

Here are the names:

comparison between m mount camera fuji xpro, ricoh gxr, olympus omd, epson rd1, sony nex7 with names

I am not understanding what is happening with the GXR in there, the edges are weird and I expected the opposite with a camera without the AA filter. The Fuji Xpro is sharp and clear, a bit more that the NEX7. The OM-D also plays in the big boys league even though it's smaller than an APSC sensor.

Other ones, click for full size:

comparison between m mount camera fuji xpro, ricoh gxr, olympus omd, epson rd1, sony nex7 with names

Download Raw files: All (zip) | RD1 | XPRO | GXR M | NEX 7 | OMD

comparison between m mount camera fuji xpro, ricoh gxr, olympus omd, epson rd1, sony nex7 image 3

Download Raw files: All (zip) | RD1 | XPRO | GXR M | NEX 7 | OMD

Here's one for kicks, the Epson RD1 vs Sony NEX 7. I upsampled the RD1 to 24 megapixels in OnOne resize and put a little high pass to spice things up. OnOne has crazy algorithms so it should be better than doing it in Photoshop.

epson rd1 vs nex7

I expected the NEX7 files to be great, but the Epson RD1 holds up in my honest opinion. Printing big would force someone to view at a certain distance, and I think the RD1 can hold its own in something larger than 8×10, many users report great A3 prints. For the last test shot below the light changed a lot and I did my best to equate:

comparison between fuji xpro m mount vs epson rd1 vs ricoh gxr m vs sony nex7 vs olympus omd

As humans we always have a need to quantify, and camera manufacturers found a good way to instantly rate cameras: Megapixels. Consumers would rate the NEX7 above the Xpro because it has so much more megapixels, but as photographers we know that megapixels are not everything but we are so engrained with it that we cannot help to make that judgement either.

If I take something out of this comparison, it is that all the cameras are “good enough” for superb large prints… it is something I always knew but seing the cameras side by saide really bought it home for me, I am officially oblivious to camera manufacturer lingo. Many others will not agree with this but remember that every one has different needs for gear, and for the purposes of street/documentary printed at A3, all the cameras do fine in the available light department. Don't bash me for this heresy, pixel peepers!

[High ISO Image Quality]

Here is a comparison between all cameras with ISO1600 at 1second on a tripod on f/16. Due to challenging white balance, it's all in black and white and I pushed the exposure to +2.

night comparison epson rd1 vs fuji xpro vs ricoh gxr m vs nex7 vs olympus omd

There is no running away with they are all “good enough” with this one! For the Epson RD1, the messy sign is what I expected in the available light shot, a garbled mess. To my great surprise the NEX7 is also a mess, I believed that I moved the camera during exposure but the pole is sharp, with no signs of vibration so the NEX7's sensor is to blame. The GXR holds great to its competitors.

Olympus has to be congratulated for making a smaller sensor beat a bigger one at higher ISO's. But the absolute clear winner of the bunch is the Fuji Xpro, you can clearly read the type on the sign and the grain looks like it's under control by the camera. I had to double-check that I did shoot it at the same settings as the other cameras, very impressive.

I also have the other cameras at their maximum ISO's for you to go through (RD1 can only go to 1600). The Xpro could go higher than 6400 but the higher settings were greyed out and did not find out how to access them.

Handling

If I had to take one camera based solely on handling, it would be the RD1, it is large, thick and solid and it is no problem getting a good grip. The whole analog interface is absolutely great and best of all you do not have to use a screen. Even if there is no directional pad, Epson did a great job using the film rewind knob for some killer interface design interaction with the LCD. The RD1 is a great camera with simple interface, a joy to use.

epson rd1 vs fuji xpro vs olympus omd vs sony nex7 vs ricoh gxr m without any lens

The Fuji Xpro takes design inspiration from rangefinders so it is second for the handling. It is definitely not the same feel but it is great in the hands. The GXR has the legendary Ricoh ergonomics and is only surpassed by the rangefinder form factor. The NEX7 has a weird form factor but the thick grip really feels great in the streets, it has two nice dials but unfortunately no mode change dial.

Surprisingly the OMD has the worst handling, it is incredible because the camera looks really good on paper and pics. I did not feel comfortable holding the camera, I was constantly afraid of dropping it because there was no grip and the front was slippery. The button placement is really weird and have no feedback when you press them.

 

Street setting

Street handling is linked with how easy it is to focus. The NEX7 never really interested me but I must say that this camera is the absolute best for street photography. Form factor aside it has a good grip and has dials to change settings quickly. Customisable focus peaking coupled with high fps and generous buffer makes this camera a ninja's tool in the streets with M glass. You can flip the screen and hold the camera as a twin lens reflex and focus easily and accurately.

sony nex 7 with m mount adapter and voigtlander 35

The Ricoh GXR is second because it also has focus peaking, but it is non customisable tho. You will have to slow down because you can only get 1 or 2 frames per second and the viewfinder is optional. Because these two have focus peaking you can put any kind of glass that has an aperture ring on these cameras and be able to focus easily.

ricoh gxr m mount module with voigtlander 35 and vf-2

The Olympus OMD has some of the strengths of the NEX7 (high FPS and nice buffer) but has no focus peaking. The EVF is pretty good and you will be able to nail you focus here and there, most of the time you are guessing what is in focus. What you think you nail on the LCD might be a nasty surprise on the monitor. Nothing can beat OVF so far but the high fps and buffer coupled with a nice EVF increases you chance of getting your focus, other than that it's zone focus.

olympus omd with m mount adapter and voigtlander 35

The Epson RD1 focuses easily because of the rangefinder but there is no depth of field preview so you are stuck with zone focusing for large scenes. But the photographic zen that this camera produces is pretty unique, there is nothing quite like it out there. I had to force myself to use the other cameras in hand because I was having so much fun with it.

epson rd1 with voigtlander 35

To my great surprise the Xpro is the worst for street with manual glass. The EVF is hard to nail your focus with (couldn't even nail some chains on a fence!) and OVF is useless for manual. You could use the OVF to frame your shots but the framelines and other info disappear in bright light. Every time I tried to shoot with EVF, I had to bracket my focus and pray in order to get something sharp. I was pretty much stuck with zone focusing, which is not my thing.  Update: You could use magnification by butting it in manual focus mode and pressing the rear dial, but make sure it's your thing first, I personally cannot deal with the distraction of zooming in and out.

While the NEX7 is the best camera for street (with M glass), it's too easy… wasn't Bresson that said something like it's shooting a pigeon with a machine gun? Of course in the end it's the image that counts of course, how you get it is baloney but for me the images from the NEX7 are not rewarding enough. Might just be me though. If you are good with zone focusing, then pick any camera because the focusing would not matter that much. I personally like to know what's in focus and like zone focusing only with focus peaking where I know I can zone focus with a little f/5.6 while moving.

side picture of epsonrd1 fuji xpro nex7 olympus omd ricoh gxr

Scales

[More expensive>less expensive (body only no adapter)]

Fuji xpro > Epson RD1>Nex 7>Om-D>Ricoh GXR

Xpro about $1700

Epson RD1 From $1400-1100

Sony Nex7 about $1200

Olympus OM-D about $1000

Ricoh GXR M about $950

[More megapixels>less megapixels]

Sony NEX7> Fuji Xpro>Olympus OMD>Ricoh GXR>Epson RD1

NEX7 is 24.3 megapixels

Fuji Xpro is 16.3

Olympus OMD is 16.1 megapixels

Ricoh GXR is 12.3 megapixels

Epson RD1 is 6 megapixels

Dealmakers/Dealbreakers

[Optical viewfinder]

– Fuji Xpro

– Epson RD1

[Electronic viewfinder]

– Olympus OM-D

– Sony Nex7

[Optional viewfinder]

– Ricoh GXR (Optional VF-2 accessory)

[Touch screen]

– Olympus OM-D

[No touchscreen]

– Epson RD1

– Ricoh GXR M

– Fuji Xpro

– Sony NEX7

Closing thoughts

Like I said in the very beginning the best camera is the one you love, the camera for you to get is the one that has the features that you must have and the drawbacks that you can deal with. The NEX7 beats all the cameras with M mount but I love my Epson RD1 more because I am willing to deal with the drawbacks to have features like the complete film experience. Feel free to ask questions and I will answer them.

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21 thoughts on “M mount Camera comparison: Fuji Xpro vs Ricoh GXR M vs Sony NEX7 vs Epson RD1 vs Olympus OM-D”

  1. Pingback: thef8blog: Life with a camera in hand » M mount comparison (1): Voigtlander 35 + Fuji Xpro 1 for street photography

  2. Pingback: Die X-Pro1 & der M-Mount. Adaption manueller Leica Linsen. | leichtscharf.de

  3. Why are you sticking the Epson RD1,an 8 year old camera in the mix? Perhaps you have the only used one for sale on Amazon…

    1. Actually, no, mine is looking at me right now, and me doing this would not be my character. This camera is still in high demand and wanted to see how it fared with newer cameras, it is for people who want the RD1 but wonder if they are better off with another camera. This 8 year old camera is still going strong, and a worthy contender so it’s not a ploy. Thanks!

  4. Thank you for your thoughts!  I own the OM-D and love it.  I 100% agree with you on the handling.  I didn’t love it until I purchased the grip for it, but at $300USD it makes it not as competitive if it isn’t your favorite of the bunch (which for me it is).  Like most things in life camera’s are a compromise.  In my instance, I wanted the smaller glass of M4/3 while not compromising quality.

    1. And thank you Joe for commenting, you are the perfect example of what I said in the very beginning, you chose the features you had to have (smaller glass, good IQ) and you were willing to deal with the issues (handling). I know the grip makes the difference, I want it, just can’t justify an accessory at that price point though 🙁

  5. I really think you owe it to your audience to reshoot the Fuji XPro 1 using the photo magnification feature. Without it your simply guessing something is in focus which is not a quality reflection on the camera. I owned the Nex 7 as well as the XP1 and the Fuji is better with manual glass. The focus peaking feature constantly had me missing focus and I had to use the zoom feature as well just to make sure I had correct focal spot and even after that I would come home to missed shots. Frankly speaking focus peaking is nor an exact science and I think gets way too much praise. In all honesty these camera companies need to come up with a focus confirmation function that uses AF technology. Right now using a EVF there is a lot of guess work involved which is very far from being considered professional.

    1. Hey John, I really like your comments on this. 
      Magnification is a big no no for me and I hope I made that clear! So even with cameras I knew had them I didn’t like it. Others are fine with it but it is really not for me and hope I made this point across.
      Some features seam simply not to work for some, focus peaking never failed me but it looks like it wasn’t cutting it for you. The XP1 is a great camera, but having to use magnification breaks it for me. But it looks like it’s the perfect choice for you!

      1. Oliver,

        I understand if in your day to day life if you do not want to use it, that is your choice. My comment is more directed to the fact you are reviewing these cameras for the public at large. There may be a lot of people who use your site to gauge their purchases and you are depriving them of a very important function just because you do not like to use it. It seemed like from your in depth Fuji + M glass review that you did no quite get how it worked as you stated you pushed it a couple times and nothing happened. The switch on the front must be switched to Manual; which makes sense. Just as if you were switching from Aperture to Shutter priority it’s a one time flick of the finger to enable this function seamlessly.

         Obviously this is your blog but if you are not going to alert the public at large about a very important function and how it can be implemented then I will by means of these comments. You do not have to be limited to zone focusing at f/16 with the Fuji or the OMD for that matter and I have to say it’s pretty amateurish to do so.

         I urge you to take the time to investigate these cameras to their full potential and give the public a balanced view on every function available. Who knows, in the process you might end up liking it. Coming from a rangefinder background it wasn’t second nature for me to focus with magnification but I have made it work seamlessly time and time again after some practice.

        1. You sure do have a point, but I hope I made it clear where I was coming from. I tried many times to get into magnification but couldn’t get into it, but that’s my preference. Check you email, I have a proposition for you, thanks!

  6. Looking at high ISO comparison, my feel is that there are different noise controlling algorithms in play. Seeing the words mean that there is a tendency to create high contrast in the picture, what gives usually would be the dynamic range within the photo.

    So depending on what the photographer wants, the words would be secondary and the general feel of the picture is more important, then the OM-D would have performed poorly in this test which is in line with the physical constraints of a small sensor. I have tested the OM-D before and the more it tries to cover up the shortcomings of the micro four third small sensor the worse it becomes.

    Hence people do have an understanding that there is a limitation to image quality if the sensor is too small, no amount of in camera post processing can help especially when it comes to noise control.

    Then there is the other extreme of going full frame but that is another story altogether.

  7. Having used or owned all of these (and more):

    – NEX 7 and Xpro1 leave me cold. Don’t like the controls, the menus. Seriously poor performance with various M-mount optical designs below 50mm. Fuji sensor is produces tricky to process raw files, no great benefit over standard sensor far as I can see.
    – Olympus E-M5 seems like a greatly improved upon Panasonic G1, which worked well. Good camera, excellent image stabilization; excellent EVFs but not really very sensible for optical viewfinders. Not at their best with short focal length M-mount lenses, however … adapted SLR lenses work better. SLR form factor is nice for some things, but not what I’m after.
    – Epson R-D1 was fun and amusing with its quirky user experience for a short while and produces nice files, but overall it’s a slow responding camera and the novelty of the user experience wears off quickly. The M8/M9 are far superior in every imaginable way, and if you want an optical RF camera, a used M8 is a better camera by far—and not much more expensive on the used market.
    – Ricoh GXR is the most versatile camera in the list. Not the best viewfinder but very adaptable to both optical and EVF. Extremely configurable body/camera unit. Does better with some RF lenses than even the M8 and M9 … less correction required. Despite only 12 Mpixel, image quality rivals the M9. Swap a camera unit and you have a different camera: the chameleon. Works brilliantly with SLR lenses too. A little down on responsiveness and shot-to-shot time.
    Conclusion:
    Overall, the GXR is to me the most cost effective and best performing TTL electronic camera to use with M-mount lenses, and has extensive adaptability beyond that. But if you want modern conveniences of dedicated autofocus lenses, etc, look elsewhere.
    If you want a digital RF camera, buy a Leica M8 or M9. Nothing else quite does what these do as well.

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  10. Wonderful reviews. I’d love to see the Leica M8 in this test as well. I’m a Nikon D3s-D700 user who shoots mostly weddings, but I want to try a smaller format (at least for personal stuff).

    I was excited about the X-Pro1 but when I held it I was disspointed. I’m really drawn by the Leica and a little by the RD1, but I worry about the sensor and age. The RD1 looks like the camera I want to shoot but the IQ isn’t up to par. The NEX-7 is interesting but I just hate the looks and mechanics of it.

    I already feel like I’m going to end up with a Leica. Want I really want is a rangefinder comparable to the D700 in high ISO and I want full frame.

    1. Thank you! I have someone on the case of the Xpro with M glass, but after that I am going to ask him if he is willing to give some thoughts on the relevance of the m8 in 2012 and maybe a little comparison with the xpro…. but that’s up to him 🙂

      Stick with your cameras for weddings, except maybe if you do documentary type weddings…

      The Epson RD1 is great, and if you see the comparison shots, it hold it’s own. I have a friend that blew them up to A3 with nice results.

      Just a reminder that the M8 is APSC and not FF…. if you want a rangefinder with FF it’s only the M9. Digital rangefinder choices are extremely limited, but I’m sticking with my Epson 🙂

  11. It seems a little strange to me that R-D1 is giving a similar color performance to other cameras. My R-D1 gives a very unique film-like color performance and it’s different from those DSLRs I own.

    1. I must say that I processed using lightroom and did not use jpg. I also tried to normalized the white balance. But I know what you mean!

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