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addicted2light

Fuji X-T10 vs Sony A7r for landscapes, with samples

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I wanted to see if I can get rid of the Sony, given I enjoy much more the results I'm getting from the Fuji in terms of colors and ease of post-processing. So today I put them one against the other taking identical shots few seconds apart. You can see below a couple of twin crops (click on them to see them properly, albeit softened by the web compression probably used by the forum software backend) that on a normal, non-retina, screen will have the same dimensions of a print of a 100cm length.

 

In each, one of the images has been shot with a Sony A7r ("Vivid" picture style), the other with the X-T10 ("Velvia" film simulation), trying to match the colors to a reasonable approximation. Both using Contax Zeiss glass at f/11 (a 50/1.7 Planar on the Sony, a 35/2.8 Distagon on the Fuji; I know these lenses well, and from f/5.6 forward they are undistinguishable so any difference is due the sensor, not the lens).
 

Irident (or RawTherapee with deconvolution sharpening and microcontast) would be able to squeeze even more details from the X-T10, but for these examples I've used Photoshop CS 6.1

 

I'm extremely impressed, to say the least. 

 

Remembering that you will watch a print this big at least from 60/80cm apart, so please don't put your nose on the screen :D  , can you tell which one is which2? Hint: if I keep getting these results my A7r is hitting eBay soon!

 

 

Sony A7r vs Fuji X-T10 1m wide print crop

 

Sony A7r vs Fuji X-T10 1m wide print crop

 

 

 

 

1Using the following sharpening procedure, should you be curious.

 

SHARPENING METHOD USED

Keep in mind that the following values are indicative (you'll have to tweak them based on the picture content and the amount of detail) and based on fairly big prints, like 60x90cm and up. However, given that to properly apply them you will have to use your picture as a "Smart object", they might work even for smaller print sizes, especially toning down the radiuses.

 

In Lightroom or in Camera Raw (same thing) I give the files a fairly conservative (for an X-trans sensor) capture sharpening: amount 40 / radius 1 / details 60 / masking 10.

 

Then I open the file in Photoshop as a "Smart object" and I resize it to fit my desired print dimensions.

 

At that point I use first the old, classic "Unsharp mask": amount 120%, radius 1.5 pixels, threshold 0.

 

And finally "Smart sharpen" in "Advanced" mode to extract the textures and the small detail (this takes care of the watercolor effect, basically).

General tab:

amount 131%, radius 1.5 pixels, "Lens blur" with "More accurate" activated

Shadows: fade amount 60%, tonal width 50, radius 1

Highlights: fade amount 20%, tonal width 50, radius 1

 

OPTIONAL STEP (not used in the samples above): at this point, should you want results more comparable to Irident, but at the cost of a tad more noise, you should add another round of "Smart sharpen": amount 40, radius 1.

 

After these steps all that's left is print sharpening, but of that I usually let the now free Nik Sharpen plugin take care of.

 

 

 

2In both cases left Sony A7r, right Fuji X-T10

 
Edited by addicted2light

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Should someone be interested this developed into a full fledged post, and beside I've put a few more samples on Flickr, where they'll show up of the right size and hopefully less compressed.

 

You can find the links here:

 

Giving the boot to Sony? A7r vs Fuji X-T10

Edited by addicted2light

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This sounds really interesting, thanks for doing it!

 

I'm going to read it once I'm done with the work.

 

I come from Sony (A6000), but now and then I borrow my girlfriend's X-T10.

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This sounds really interesting, thanks for doing it!

 

I'm going to read it once I'm done with the work.

 

I come from Sony (A6000), but now and then I borrow my girlfriend's X-T10.

 

 

Yeah I know, I got a bit carried away :D  essentially because the more pictures I was looking at, the less I believed my own eyes!

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Well, I guess we share similar feelings.

At first, I didn't want to read the conclusion, so I looked at your samples on Flickr and I picked my favorite half... then I read the conclusion and I wasn't surprised :)

Nice article, thanks for sharing.

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Well, I guess we share similar feelings.

At first, I didn't want to read the conclusion, so I looked at your samples on Flickr and I picked my favorite half... then I read the conclusion and I wasn't surprised :)

Nice article, thanks for sharing.

 

 

You're welcome, I wish someone had posted a similar comparison when I was shopping for the A7r.

 

These are unedited files, but especially after a bit of "polishing" in Photoshop or Lightroom what makes the biggest difference are the colors (for example the dead leaves on the 2nd sample). And that difference you can see it even on the web or printing really small.

 

My guess is that your girlfriend will have to buy a new camera, because someone's going to permanently borrow hers ;)

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The reasons are several, some a matter of personal taste some objective differences, and some of them are probably classifiable under the "extra mile" category, so to speak. Always keeping in mind that they are both great cameras anyway, and that I shoot mostly landscapes and not portraits (where the full frame COULD have an edge, depending on your particular style).

 

The following is more or less the "pros and cons" list I've sketched up trying to decide:

 

 

The five biggest pros (together make up for 90%):

  • Ease of post processing. I can get Sony and Fuji files to look more or less the same with post processing. But with the Fuji I get where I want to be MUCH faster. To give you an idea, and not considering localized adjustment (dodging and burning etc.) that depends on the content of the single image and may or may not be needed on a case to case basis, I generally spend less than 2 minutes for each file in Lightroom / Photoshop with Fuji files, while with the Sony's the time can easily stretch to 10 or more.
  • Highlights. Related to the previous point: even if the Sony has more dynamic range both on paper and by my own tests compared to the straight (i.e. without any kind of compensation, DR, or curve adjustment; this is the key) Fuji files, in reality the highlights with the Sony look always strange and peeled off. Please keep in mind I shoot most of the times in the woods, where dappled light is the norm and the contrasts are extreme. So for me is fairly easy to have a couple of spot of lights on a lightly colored tree trunk that look (but are not) blown out. So most of the time I spend with the Sony files are to make sure the highlights are ok (underexposing and compensating) and using localized adjustments (brush etc.) to recover the single spots. With the Fuji all this is unnecessary. My guess they use a different, more film-like, curve in camera, so the highlights are always ok as long as you expose properly. This is a BIG point for me, probably 50% of the reason.
  • Colors: Fuji colors, possibly because I've shot for years with Fuji films, look the way I want most of the time almost straight out of the box. The same with Olympus, btw. And with the Fuji you get more color separation, for lack of a better term. Look at the dead leaves in the 2nd picture. Like I said you can almost get there with post processing with the Sony, but life is too short to spend it in front of a computer! :D
  • Shutter shock. This point is directly related to the A7r: no shutter shock. I love shooting with long lenses (200 and up). But with the A7r I had quickly forego this because unless you use a fast enough shutter speed (like you were shooting handheld) the images most of the time come out blurry. I could solve this buying an A7 II or an A7r II, but this wouldn't solve the previous points, though.
  • DOF. With the Sony, even with a 18mm lens @ f/16, is impossible to have everything in focus in most shots (remember, I don't shoot "landscapes at infinity", but "landscapes in the woods" most of the time). So for most of the shots you'll have to resort to focus stacking. Besides the added workload this means loosing shots, because something moved during the shooting or because the software algorithm made an error or because you made an error. The light can change, the wind can be blowing, etc., you get my point. With the Fuji one shot is enough 99% of the times...
  • Blue channel. With the various Sony cameras I've shot (not just the A7r) the second you start post processing your files, even at 50 or 100Iso, unless you aggressively expose to the right (but then you'll have troubles with the highlights, see the second point), the blue tones of skies and clouds (and sometimes the reds of trees bathed in sunset light) will become completely riddled with noise. To give you an idea, is like shooting at 3200 iso with the Fuji! Not ideal for landscapes...to say the least.

 

Several other reasons that could have made me buy an A7 II / A7r II instead (but thanks to the previous points Fuij is still the best solution for my needs):

  • Tripod. With the Sony to avoid shutter shock even with the wide angles I have to use the same tripod and head I used with my large format 5x7" setup. No need to say it is HEAVY. The Fuji is rock steady, even in mechanical shutter mode, even with the lightest tripod I own.
  • Haptics: I'm comfortable with the controls of the Sony, but all the same I found myself reaching for the Fuji every time I go out. Most of that has to do with the terrible shutter button of the Sony, mushy as hell without a clear point of detent. THE worst shutter button I ever used, and in several decades (I started shooting when I was 5) I've shot with a LOT of cameras.
  • Weight. In all a slightly lighter setup compared to the one I use now (taking lenses into the equation), possibly up to 1Kg less.
  • Lenses. Fuji has the focal lengths I need and at the right price point for my pockets (on a side note: a 3.000€ 50mm lens? Sony must be kidding!)
  • Iso. Base Iso of 200: faster shutter speeds to freeze wind-blown branches and grass
  • High Iso. No hot pixels at high iso. The Sony puts out hundreds of hot pixels most of the time (especially under artificial light) at 1600 and up, the Fuji is whistle clean.

 

There are as well cons, but they are outweighed by the pros, at least for me:

 

  • ​OIS only on zooms (come on Fuji...)
  • harsher out of focus transitions unless you use the same focal length (not the equivalent one), especially noticeable when there are defocused highlights in the background ("bokeh balls"). Not a big deal, like I said it suffices using a slightly longer lens stepping back a bit (1.5 times!)
  • The watercolor effect, especially noticeable with "aerial" shots where there is a lot of air between you and the subject (long lens landscapes). This is solvable using aggressive sharpening or Irident. And, to a lesser and different extent, is a problem even with the Sony, because has to do with the air currents lowering a lot your real resolution. The difference is that Sony files become muddy/blurry instead of "watercolored".

As you can see you shouldn't have asked me this question on a Sunday morning, I have too much free time on my hands!  :D

Edited by addicted2light

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Hahaha....I'm glad I asked you on a Sunday morning. Thank you for the detailed and insightful post. These are pretty solid insights which I don't read often on the web.

 

Having shot with the Sony A7R, I can concur with some of your points on the Sony. I had trouble with the Sony colors. At some point, it started to look "fake" to me and decided it was too "advanced" for me. Up until today, some of my friends still give me a hard time for choosing Fujifilm over the "greater" Sony. :lol: But it's all done in good fun as we love both Sony and Fujifilm.

Edited by Aswald

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Just an update: should you be curious, yes, my A7r just landed on ebay :) and it will be soon followed by a bunch of (great) Contax and Leica glass.

 

On a side note: after trying an XPro2 for a few short minutes, absence of a tilt screen notwithstanding, I might have found "my" camera...we'll see at the next Fuji event (or if I find an used one cheap enough on ebay)

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