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By Rick Birt of Romeo Bravo Photo
Like most serious photographers, I mostly shoot RAW. However, both my wife and I have clients that just want jpgs straight out of the camera. This wasn’t a problem with my wife’s old Canon 1Ds mkII that I first started with, but it was with my Sony a7R II. The out-of-camera (OOC) jpg files produce less than desirable skin tones. I know about the glorious Fuji colors, and I use Fuji simulations in some of my post-processing. After reading numerous glowing reports about Fuji OOC jpg colors, I decided to rent a Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a 56/1.2. I’ve also read great things about Olympus jpg colors so I added an Olympus Pen-F with a Panasonic Leica Nocticron 42.5/1.2.
I wanted to judge skin tones in both OOC jps, and after processing RAW files in Lightroom (my version of Capture One doesn’t recognize the new Fuji RAW).
So, I grabbed my wife, and fellow photographer, Kelly Williams and we shot all Saturday afternoon.
So lets look at the OOC jpgs…
Fuji X-Pro2 with Fujifilm 56mm f1.2:
Push the READ MORE Button to See the Full Skin Tones Comparison
WOW! It’s been said before – Fuji produces some of the best OOC jpgs in the business. However, I found the backlit shots with Velvia simulation produced a slight waxy look to the skin. Even though the XPro-2 was supposed to have solved this issue, I saw it using both Velvia, and Astia (more with Astia) at fairly low ISO settings. This was with noise reduction set to -2. Maybe I need to crank it down to -4?
I also have to add (even though it has little to do with skin tones) that the ACROS simulation is GORGEOUS!
Now the Olypmus Pen-F with the Panasonic Leica Nocticron 42.5/1.2:
With the exception of color profile 3, I found the Olympus jpgs to be great. Although color profile 2 does have a yellow tone, Olympus also allows you to tweak these profiles with a color wheel for even more in-depth customization- brilliant!
However, the hidden gem up the Pen-F’s sleeve is Monochrome setting 2 – or Tri-X film simulation…
And now for the Sony a7R II with various lenses:
As you can see, there are some strong orange tones in some of the shots, and strong yellows in others. Not ideal, but I do think the shots with the Sony 85 GM are probably close enough.
So, judging jpg skin tones, I would have to rank the cameras as follows:
1. Fuji X-Pro 2
2. Olympus Pen-F
3. Sony a7R II
But, when we have a look at the edited RAW files, the skin-tone situation evens-out – see what I did there ;)
All of these photos can be viewed in higher resolution here
-I love the Fuji X-Pro 2, and I’m thinking about picking one up. When I say I’m thinking about it, I mean that I’ve already pushed the “buy” button at B&H :)
There is something magical about the photos the Fuji takes. It’s not as sterile as the Sony. I also love the 56/1.2! I feel it’s much better than the Zeiss Batis, and it’s pretty darn close to the Sony GM! Plus, it’s smaller and cheaper than both of them! I thought about waiting for the XT-2, but I really like the rangefinder/classic style of the X-Pro2. However, I did a Continuous AF/Tracking test with Kelly walking toward me, and it was pretty bad compared to the Sony.
-The Sony 85 GM is still freaking awesome! However, to my dismay, it hasn’t shrunk yet.
-The Canon 85L is also amazing, but in a different way. It’s not as sharp as the Sony, but that’s actually a good thing for female portraits.
-Sony’s Eye-AF is a game changer, and their implementation is way ahead of the competition. Using the other cameras reminded me how great it was.
-I’m really impressed with the little m43 Olympus Pen-F! I’m not a pixel peeper, nor do I make enormous prints, so the images on my 34″ monitor look pretty damn good against the Sony and Fuji. However, the AF-C/Tracking was just as bad as the Fuji, and the battery/SD Card door is pretty flimsy. I think I’d break it in a week.
Please understand that I only had these cameras for three days, so I was fumbling through menus, and settings. I may not have set them up properly (especially for AF tracking). Therefore, if you own one of these cameras, and have some tips, or suggestions, please comment.
Special Thanks to my LOVELY wife Kelly, and my friend and fellow photog/veteran Aaron Thomas for loaning me some of his lenses!