Sony RX1 and Fuji X100s - A Comparison (long!)

xdayv

Top Veteran
Mar 22, 2013
Tacloban City, Philippines
Dave
^Amin's post points out something that I think many people don't consider enough when looking at fast lenses. Control over DOF and the ability to easily throw backgrounds out of focus is nice to have, but sometimes you need more in focus than that f2 aperture on FF gives you and that is a big advantage of smaller sensor cameras with fast lenses, especially with the increase in high ISO performance with the newer sensors. I agree with Ray that its different cameras for different uses and its a good argument to have different sized sensor cameras in your bag as opposed to just two FF bodies, or two m43 bodies for example.
Agree. And I think this is why many of us have at least 2 or more systems.
 

Ray Sachs

Legend
Sep 21, 2010
Not too far from Philly
you should be able to figure it out...
Ok, let's pretend that money is no object. Do I buy the x100s or the RX1? I'm spinning my wheels. Somebody tell me what to do!
Well, you could read this write up and the many others floating around and add up the points in favor of each and decide that way. Or you could just decide which is more important to you: the ultimate in image quality or the ultimate in viewfinder technology. They're both great shooters, there are a lot of small differences in what works well and what could be improved, but basically if the ultimate in IQ is your priority, get the RX1. If having the coolest built-in hybrid viewfinder known to humanity is more important to than the ultimate in IQ, get the X100s. Those are the biggest and most obvious differences. And for the other relatively small differences, well you're just gonna have to read and decide...

-Ray
 

Neurad1

New Member
May 2, 2013
Birmingham, AL
Joel Cure'
Pulled the trigger

Well, you could read this write up and the many others floating around and add up the points in favor of each and decide that way. Or you could just decide which is more important to you: the ultimate in image quality or the ultimate in viewfinder technology. They're both great shooters, there are a lot of small differences in what works well and what could be improved, but basically if the ultimate in IQ is your priority, get the RX1. If having the coolest built-in hybrid viewfinder known to humanity is more important to than the ultimate in IQ, get the X100s. Those are the biggest and most obvious differences. And for the other relatively small differences, well you're just gonna have to read and decide...

-Ray
Bought the RX1. Thanks. But you guys who said "buy both"....did you have to put that idea in my head????? I'm an obsessive kind of guy and didn't need to consider that possibility. :frown: I can afford, to, but I have a wife to contend with!!!
 

Gary

All-Pro
Aug 19, 2012
Southern California
Gary Ayala
It's been a few weeks with the X100S, Gawd, what a pleasant camera to hold, to use, even just to look at. This is the first time in many decades that a camera seemed more than just a tool. The XP1 took me into that experience of bonding ... the X100S was the closer, it took the baton from the XP1 and sprinted me across the finish line. What a camera.

Gary
 

xdayv

Top Veteran
Mar 22, 2013
Tacloban City, Philippines
Dave
It's been a few weeks with the X100S, Gawd, what a pleasant camera to hold, to use, even just to look at. This is the first time in many decades that a camera seemed more than just a tool. The XP1 took me into that experience of bonding ... the X100S was the closer, it took the baton from the XP1 and sprinted me across the finish line. What a camera.

Gary
What sets the X100s apart?
 

Gary

All-Pro
Aug 19, 2012
Southern California
Gary Ayala
It is easy enough to be able to shoot without having to devote much brain power to camera mechanics, yet complex enough to deliver the shot you visualize prior to releasing the shutter.

Everything about the camera is good enough for what I'm looking for in a camera. By good enough, I'm looking at the X100S as pass/fail and good enough is passing. The physical size, weight and build passes my expectations for what I'm looking for in a single lens, general usage camera. The lens is fast enough and sharp enough to meet my expectations. The AF is fast enough, the IQ is good enough, the controls are clear enough, the menus and buttons are simple enough yet ample enough for my expectations, rendering the control of the settings easy and fast. The camera looks, feels and responds like a '70's rangefinder but the EVF and LCD has a cornucopia of sophisticated and modern conveniences. A single level takes you from OVF to EVF, a button will take you from normal to close-up, easy to break-up the monotony.

Easy to use, fun to shoot, sophisticated electronics, beautiful body and delivers a top-notch world class image.

Gary
 

Neurad1

New Member
May 2, 2013
Birmingham, AL
Joel Cure'
This will sound pretty lame, but one of the reasons I ordered the RX1 was simply that it was available. I hate to preorder something and not know when it will come. The Fuji x100s wasn't available at any US vendor and I was uneasy buying from DigitalRev for a price that was higher than the listed price on US websites. That fact reflects a greater demand/supply ratio for the Fuji, one must assume. I am not yet certain that I will be happier than I would have been with the Fuji. I was quite interested in that camera to supplement the OMD that I already have.
 

Ray Sachs

Legend
Sep 21, 2010
Not too far from Philly
you should be able to figure it out...
That fact reflects a greater demand/supply ratio for the Fuji, one must assume.
One must only assume that the X100s is a brand new product that was just released to the public in April and early shipments sold out quickly. The RX1 has been around since last November or so, the people who HAD to have them right away have all had them for a while (after pre-ordering and waiting) and now the supply chain had reached the equilibrium that they always tend to. I'd be willing to bet that within a couple of months, the X100s will be quite easy to find as well.

Based on my experience, everything Gary has said about the X100s is also true of the RX1 except for a couple of things - the viewfinder experience on the X100s is far far far better than "good enough" while on the RX1 that's about what it is. On the RX1, nearly everything ELSE is far far better than "good enough". And, of course, the price reflects the difference - for that price, it had better be a good deal beyond good enough! Another exception may be the "beautiful body" comment, which is in the eye of the beholder, but I suspect most would find the X100s nicer to look AT than the RX1.

-Ray
 

Gary

All-Pro
Aug 19, 2012
Southern California
Gary Ayala
One must only assume that the X100s is a brand new product that was just released to the public in April and early shipments sold out quickly. The RX1 has been around since last November or so, the people who HAD to have them right away have all had them for a while (after pre-ordering and waiting) and now the supply chain had reached the equilibrium that they always tend to. I'd be willing to bet that within a couple of months, the X100s will be quite easy to find as well.

Based on my experience, everything Gary has said about the X100s is also true of the RX1 except for a couple of things - the viewfinder experience on the X100s is far far far better than "good enough" while on the RX1 that's about what it is. On the RX1, nearly everything ELSE is far far better than "good enough". And, of course, the price reflects the difference - for that price, it had better be a good deal beyond good enough! Another exception may be the "beautiful body" comment, which is in the eye of the beholder, but I suspect most would find the X100s nicer to look AT than the RX100.

-Ray
Ray, you keep praising of the Sony's IQ, I've never owned or used a RX1, is the IQ of the Sony significantly superior to the Fuji? (Not the DOF, the resolution, sharpness, DR, noise, et cetera.) To me significance is ISO 3200 minus and less than 100% crop.

G
 

Ray Sachs

Legend
Sep 21, 2010
Not too far from Philly
you should be able to figure it out...
Ray, you keep praising of the Sony's IQ, I've never owned or used a RX1, is the IQ of the Sony significantly superior to the Fuji? (Not the DOF, the resolution, sharpness, DR, noise, et cetera.) To me significance is ISO 3200 minus and less than 100% crop.

G
Gary, at ISO 3200 and below there's not a lot of difference (although for the really serious low ISO shooters who want absolutely ZERO noise, maybe the sub-200 ISO's matter some - not me though). There probably is some pixel peepable difference, but nothing I'd ever base a decision on. At 100%, the Fuji can actually look a little better at some ISOs, because the RX1 has half again as many pixels, so until you downsample to a similar display size, it can be deceiving. I tend to use my 27" Mac screen as a default for comparison because filling that up is well less than 100% but enough to show the same kind of issues that might turn up on really large prints or otherwise large displays. I tend to look at a lot of images at full size on this screen so it also has the advantage of being a real life viewing size for me.

At that size, I can see a real difference at 6400, but its not huge. And then the really cool thing is that the RX1 is still quite good (by my street diluted standards) at 12,800 and pretty usable for B&W at 25,600, which are native ISOs on the Sony. On the X100s, 6400 is the highest native ISO and anything higher requires push/pull exposure and processing and it really falls apart very quickly at those ISOs where the RX1 holds up quite well. If you never find yourself using those ISOs, it shouldn't be an issue. I may conclude at some point that I don't really use them enough to matter, but knowing I CAN is intoxicating for now. And, for now, I'm finding reasons to use them...

The other thing, though, which I guess speaks to dynamic range, is the ability to pull detail of apparently blown highlights and buried shadows in post processing. The Fuji is really good here (although I tend to shoot Fujis in jpeg, which limits the processing latitude, although not by as much as you'd think), as is the OMD. And the RX1 is a good deal better than either. Sometimes I'l pull up shadows just for entertainment just to see how much it'll take and it'll take a lot.

In terms of resolution, I don't know. I guess there's a difference and I have noticed that the RX1 images are remarkably crop-able, on the rare occasion I've needed to. But for the most part, I'm not all that much of a high-resolution junkie - I think those are the same people who get bothered with anything above negative levels of noise at base ISO, and I'm just not that guy.

Do any of the advantages matter? Almost never. As you said, the X100s is good enough and in today's world, that's not faint praise - that's real real good. Clearly the sane thing to do would have been to get the X100s. But I just wanted to spend some time with one absolutely no-compromise, no excuses camera in my bag. You've been there - this is my first visit to that full frame neighborhood. And I like to really push the low light possibilities at this point. After I've had it for a while (and THIS camera I should have for a few years), I may conclude that it was silly and I'd have done just as well with the X100s, but its something I had to try.My one month trial run with it just sold me on it more and more, rather than making me question it, and that was a real surprise. And also, believe it or not, I really like the Sony interface more than the Fuji. Which was a bit shocking because I find the Fuji really nice in this regard. But the Sony has five fully programmable buttons that are always easily accessible, compared to the Fuji's one such button (the X100 has two with the latest firmware). And with the Sony programmed the way I like it, its as seamless an interface as any of the Ricoh's I've ever used. Which is really damn nice.

-Ray
 

Ray Sachs

Legend
Sep 21, 2010
Not too far from Philly
you should be able to figure it out...
Ray, would you comment on the AF speed on both cameras in lowlight? How does the 2 compare to each other?
I don't still have the X100s to compare, but I'll quote from my initial post and hopefully it will help. Bottom line - not much difference between them. Neither is super fast but both are pretty sure:

Auto Focus - Auto focus is likely to be an issue of some contention. I don't find AF speed all that critical in this 35mm (or wider) focal length, and I don't see a lot of difference between the two cameras here. Much has been written about how slow the RX1 is and how much faster the X100s is than any previous Fuji, but I'm just simply not feeling it. I guess I have a threshold of fast "enough" and if a camera meets it, I don't really notice the AF speed much beyond that. Speed tests seem to show that the X100s AF (with its new PDAF chip) is faster than the RX1. I don't doubt it, but I don't feel it much in actual use either. In the brightest possible light, I can detect an advantage for the X100s, but the RX1 is plenty fast. In less light, I honestly can't find a difference. The Olympus OMD with a modern lens FEELS fast! The X100s doesn't feel all that fast (no faster than the 18mm lens on the X-Pro) except in very bright light and the RX1 doesn't feel much slower. So either I'm horribly insensitive to these differences, or they're not that great to begin with. In low light, I like a camera to lock on reliably without a lot of hunting and both of these will do that, but you have to remember a couple of things. With the X100s, you get the best low light AF by switching the camera from single shot AF (AF-S) to continuous AF (AF-C). With the RX1, you have to remember to keep the aperture pretty wide open in low light - most cameras today do this automatically but the RX1 focusses at whatever aperture you've set the camera to, up to f8, so if you're trying to focus at something smaller than, say, f5 in low light (buy why?), you may get quite the hunting expedition. Maybe a slight edge to the X100s, but VERY slight in my perception...

-Ray
 

DHart

Regular
Feb 28, 2011
Arizona
Ray... I keep discovering these amazing threads you have created with such rich, in depth comparisons which touch on facets of usage and ownership that one just never finds in other reviews.

I've intently kept my photography focus limited to m4/3 for a few years now, fully exploring the bodies and lenses that have been springing forth. I haven't wanted to be jumping back and forth, round and round with all the new Fujis, Nikons, Ricohs, Sonys, and Canon that have been springing up during the last few years.

Now, I'm ready and willingly lift my eyes, finally and start to look at these newest offerings, which have matured while I've been ignoring them, and I find some really appealing products before me.

My interest in street photography has guided me to follow you (a street photography mentor of mine, of sorts) which has led me here (Serious Compacts). Noticing your absence "over there" I thought I might find you hanging out here. I've been away from this sight for quite a long time and now I find you have created a great body of review/analysis work here. It's a wonderful discovery. You are an amazing resource to this community.

Finally, I'm ready to add some serious compacts to my m4/3 system and my humble LX5. Your reviews and comparisons here are really fueling my quest! Thank you.
 

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