High ISO performance: NEX-5N vs E-M5 vs X-E1+ review


How are the X-E1 High-ISO shots compared to those of the Sony NEX-5N and the E-M5? See the comparison pics at focus-numerique.com. (translated version). Remember, the E-M5 features a smaller m43 sensor.

And one more review:

grittymonkey (click here) tired the Sony NEX7, he tried the Olympus OMD E-M5 but he chose the “sexy-one“. First of all, because it looks great. “It smells like photography, It’s like it’s calling you to take it with you and go shoot something!” The dedicated dials, the ISO performance, the menu interface, the JPEG’s… but every camera has PROS and CONS. Fujirumors readers know: Adobe has no native X-Trans support, until now. The AF with the 35mm lens is not that fast. The EVF is great, but if the subject or you are moving fast, there is a little lag. But it’s still one of the best EVF’s. And the rear screen resolution could really be better.

His conclusions are: “If you are looking for a lightweight camera with outstanding image quality in all light conditions for still subjects, the Fuji X-E1 is exactly what you need.”


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  • That test is a bit hard to interpret since the sharpening (which affects noise of course) seems to vary across the cameras (the NEX images have clear fringing around the edges that are obviously artifacts of improper sharpening).

    What I also find interesting is that the Fuji seems to have some major chrominance bleeding even in the low-ISO shots, which are most obvius around the edges of the green object. This might have to do with the JPEG compression used, but it might also be an artifact of the X-Trans demosaicing process, hard to say (I’m afraid I don’t have time to check all the raw files right now).

    I think a more useful comparison would have been using images without any noise reduction, or noise reduction using the same raw conversion software (like all processed through Silkypix or using the upcoming C1 and ACR releases with proper X-Trans support).

    The Fuji at least has the most pleasing, natural noise and noise reduction combination and it seems to do the best job of keeping the edges of the cards straight. The NEX is fairly blotchy (particularly the ISO 3200 and 25 600 examples) and the Olympus looks just horrible, like early cellphone cameras. The white writing on the green object is a mess in the ISO 12 800 shot on the Olympus, whereas the other two are still fine. Using a 3rd party raw converter might solve that problem, though. The ISO 25 600 Fuji shot is the best in terms of luminance, but the chrominance is just blurred beyond all standards. The ideal shot at that ISO setting would be the luma NR from Fuji combined with the Chroma NR from Sony.

    Still, I think such a test can only be of limited usefulness (beyond reassuring potential buyers that their camera is not absolutely horrible or significantly worse than all competing models that is) since the choice between these cameras will always be based on ergonomics. What use is great image quality if the camera is a pain or uncomfortable to use? That is going to be the real determining factor in whether that camera is going to produce good results in the hands of a particular photographer or not.

    • Yes these comparisons are quite interesting, but often misinterpreted and given too much value. Unless you’re a Olympus user then indeed you really don’t want to be using jpeg without lowering the default sharpening and NR settings. I’m quite impressed with all i’ve seen from the x-trans sensor, especially the texture of noise, and the flexibility of its raw files. Easily silences the longing for fullframe, especially considering the small size and weight of a complete kit. :)


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