• APS-C 368.2mm2
  • 24.3 megapixels
  • ISO 200 - 12,800
  • 4/3 226.2mm2
  • 20.4 megapixels
  • ISO 200 - 25,600

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Comparison Review

Fujifilm and Olympus have been producing extremely capable mirrorless cameras for several years now, with each company focusing on a particular technological edge that makes its cameras unique. For Olympus, it’s a Micro Four-Thirds body with built-in image stabilization that is compatible with the vast array of MFT lenses from Olympus, Panasonic and some third parties; for Fujifilm, the X-series ILCs use an APS-C sensor and Fuji has a very strong set of native X-mount lenses.

The Fujifilm X-T# series is the company’s flagship APS-C line, releasing the X-T1 in 2014 as a 16-megapixel camera with old-school physical dials for making changes to common shooting settings. It was superceded by the X-T2 in 2016 with an upgrade to 24 megapixels, 4K video and a second memory card slot among other updates.

The Olympus OM-D series is a digital redesign of its classic OM camera, however it uses a similar layout to conventional digital cameras: shooting settings like aperture, shutter speed and ISO sensitivity are controlled by buttons and dials. The camera series has been produced since 2012 with the OM-D E-M5, and the E-M1 Mark II flagship was released in late 2016 as a high performance 20-megapixel camera that can also shoot 4K video.

Design

While both cameras feature rugged, weather-sealed magnesium alloy bodies, the design differences between the two cameras are night and day and really appeal to quite different shooters. The Fujifilm aesthetic is old-school, with dedicated dials for the most common functions, and aperture rings on most of the lenses: however this is a little deceiving as the camera is highly “digital” on the inside, with all the advanced features you’d expect from a modern digital camera. Olympus, by contrast, follows a more conventional digital camera model, with forward and rear command dials to control shooting settings, a good selection of buttons for changing related settings, and then other changes being made within a menu structure.

Both cameras feature a large, 2.36-million dot electronic viewfinder. The Olympus viewfinder uses an LCD and offers either a 60fps or a 120fps refresh rate, compared to the Fujifilm viewfinder which uses an OLED panel and can offer 60fps or a “boost” rate of 100fps. The Fuji's viewfinder offers slightly higher magnification at 0.77x (35mm equivalent) versus 0.74x for the Olympus. Both viewfinders provide a sensor which activates the viewfinder when the camera is brought up to the eye.

The rear display on both of these cameras is similar -- a three-inch display with over a million dots (1,040,000 for the XT-2, 1,037,000 for the E-M1 Mark II). However in the case of the E-M1 Mark II, it’s a touchscreen display that can tilt and swivel, able to turn completely around to be used in a “selfie” mode, whereas the non-touch display of the XT-2 can tilt to a variety of angles, but can’t be turned completely around. Tilt-swivel screens are a boon for finding better angles to shoot at, however they are also flexible systems that perhaps may be more easily broken.

Both cameras feature dual SD memory card slots. In the case of the XT-2, both card slots support faster UHS-II cards, while in the E-M1 Mark II, only the first slot is UHS-II compliant; the second can support only UHS-I cards.

Neither camera offers a built-in flash, relying on an external unit to serve this purpose if required. For the Fujifilm XT-2 the camera comes bundled with the EF-X8 flash, and users also have access to the EF-X500, EF-42, EF-20 and EF-X20 models. For the Olympus E-M1 Mark II, the camera comes bundled with the FL-LM3 flash, and is also compatible with the FL-900R, FL-600R, FL-300R, FL-14 and STF-8 flash units.

Shooting performance

For pure shooting power, the Olympus E-M1 Mark II cranks out more shots in less time than the Fujifilm X-T2. When using the mechanical shutter, the E-M1 II is capable of 15 frames per second with AE and AF locked, or 10 frames with AE and AF active. The E-M1 Mark II also offers a “Pro Capture” function which allows the camera to keep the last 14 images while the shutter is half-pressed, so that when you decide to take the photo, you already have the preceding 14 images stored. The X-T2's top speed when using the mechanical shutter is normally 8 frames per second and that's with AE and AF active, but that can be boosted to 11 fps with the optional Power Booster Grip.

Both cameras can shoot in an “electronic shutter” mode, where the mechanical shutter is left open and images are captured as quickly as the sensor can be read and cleared. This mode is great for getting lots of images, but without a mechanical shutter to govern the exposure, images can be subject to unwanted side effects such as rolling shutter distortion and banding in artificial light. Again, the E-M1 Mark II has a marked advantage when it comes to burst performance: when using the electronic shutter, the camera can record full-resolution images at up to 60 frames per second with AE and AF locked, or 18 frames per second with AE and AF available. The X-T2 is also capable of faster shooting when using an electronic shutter, in this case it can shoot at up to 14 frames per second.

The E-M1 Mark II also has much deeper buffers, as you can from our lab test results below:

Camera/
Fastest Burst Modes
Shooting Speed (Lossless
RAW)
Buffer Size (Lossless
RAW)
Shooting Speed
(Best Quality JPEG)
Buffer Size
(Best Quality JPEG)
E-M1 Mark II
Mechanical shutter
15.4 fps
102 frames
15.2 fps
118 frames
E-M1 Mark II Electronic shutter
60.6 fps
51 frames
60.6 fps
51 frames
X-T2
Mechanical shutter
8.2 fps
48 frames
8.2 fps
55 frames
X-T2
Electronic shutter
13.7 fps
26 frames
13.7 fps
32 frames

The Olympus E-M1 Mark II also has more shots per battery charge, with a CIPA-rated result of 440 shots compared to the 340 shots of the Fujifilm X-T2. In either case, this isn’t an extraordinarily high number, so taking extra batteries would be the suggestion. It’s worth noting that using the X-T2 in boost mode results in significantly lower shots per charge (going down to just 200 shots per charge when using the EVF). Both manufacturers offer an external grip: in the case of the Olympus E-M1 Mark II, an additional battery can be employed, where the Fujifilm X-T2 grip can employ two extra batteries.

For autofocus, both cameras employ a hybrid system of contrast and phase-detect autofocus. The E-M1 II uses a system named Dual FAST AF, switching automatically between contrast and phase detection depending on the lens being used, camera settings and current lighting conditions. The sensor of the E-M1 Mark II employs 121 points which are a hybrid contrast / phase-detection style. Shutter response is quite snappy at 0.108 seconds in our tests (the time between pressing the shutter button and image capture). The E-M1 Mark II also offers a handy feature that takes advantage of the camera’s touchscreen display: you can use your finger on the touchscreen to select the focus area you want, while you have your eye looking through the EVF.

The combined contrast / phase-detection system of the X-T2 offers 325 autofocus points: the central 169 are phase detection points, while the remaining 156 points are contrast detection points. Fuji’s autofocus system also adapts between phase detection and contrast detection depending on the shooting situation, taking advantage of both models when appropriate. Fujifilm achieved slightly faster autofocus results than the E-M1 Mark II with a full AF lag of only 0.053 seconds in the lab.

Image Quality

Both cameras aim at the 20+ megapixel mark for image acquisition, with the X-T2 employing a 24.3-megapixel APS-C sensor, and the E-M1 Mark II employing a 20.4-megapixel Four-Thirds sensor. The pixel pitch of each camera is slightly larger on the X-T2 (about 3.93 microns versus 3.36 microns), meaning the X-T2's larger sensor is somewhat better in low-light situations, or other situations where boosting the ISO is required.

Neither of the X-T2 nor the E-M1 II employ an optical low-pass filter, which has been used traditionally to soften the image slightly and reduce the incidence of moiré. This results in sharper images, especially when the camera is used at its lower ISO settings. The X-T2 however uses Fuji's unique X-Trans color filter array which is designed to be eliminate the need for an optical low-pass filter by virtue of its more random pattern. The Olympus on the other hand uses a standard Bayer color filter array and is thus more susceptible to moiré. As you might expect, both cameras offer excellent options for fine-tuning contrast, saturation, sharpness and hue.

The Fuji X-T2 is capable of producing uncompressed or losslessly compressed 14-bit RAW files, while the Olympus E-M1 Mark II produces only lossless compressed 12-bit RAW files. Here’s a summary of the average file sizes produced by the cameras:

File Type
Fujifilm X-T2
Olympus E-M1 II
Uncompressed RAW
50.6 MB
N/A
Lossless Compressed RAW
24.5 MB
21.5 MB
Best Quality JPEG
14.1 MB
13.1 MB

While the E-M1 Mark II might not seem as “pro” for not offering an 14-bit RAW option, no Micro Four-Thirds camera does as of this writing, it's doubtful the extra bit depth would make a discernible difference, and one can only imagine that to do so would impact on the camera’s ability to shoot as fast as it does. As if to make up for this, the E-M1 Mark II offers a “High Res Shot” mode, which uses the built-in 5-axis image stabilization system to shift the sensor in precise half pixel increments, stitching together 8 images to produce a massive 50-megapixel JPEG or 80-megapixel RAW file with incredible detail, lower noise and fewer artifacts. The feature demands an absolutely still subject, though, and the camera should be locked to a tripod for best results (leaves moving on a tree, for example, will appear blurred or ghosted in the stitched result).

The Fujifilm offers in-camera sweep panorama shooting, however, it requires practice and patience to use the mode successfully: if you pan the camera too fast or too slow, the camera will inform you and cancel the sequence.

Video

Both cameras are impressively endowed when it comes to video work, however, both are also hard-limited for maximum shooting time: if you’re looking for a camera that can shoot video as long as there is space on the memory card, neither of these will fit the bill.

Both feature options for shooting in 4K UHD resolution, with both offering 3840 x 2160 video capture at 30p/25p/24p. The Olympus E-M1 Mark II can also record 4K DCI 4096 x 2160 resolution at 24p. HD video is also available at either 1920 x 1080 or 1280 x 720 resolution, at 60p/50p/30p/25p/24p; the E-M1 Mark II also offers Quick Motion modes with capture frame rates as slow as 3p. For both cameras, videos are encoded in a MOV file and compressed with the H.264 video codec (the E-M1 II also uses Motion JPEG AVI for its Quick Motion modes).

The X-T2 compresses video at a rate of 100 Mbps for 4K and 1080p HD recording, and offers a maximum shooting time of 10 minutes for 4K video and 15 minutes for 1080p. However, these limits are extended to 29 minutes and 59 seconds when using the optional power booster grip.

The E-M1 Mark II compresses video at a very high rate of 237 Mbps for its 4096 x 2160 24p resolution, offering a maximum recording time of 7 minutes. In other modes, the camera offers a maximum recording time of 29 minutes and a variety of compression formats between 18 Mbps and 202 Mbps depending on the mode selected.

Features

Both cameras offer a variety of connectivity options for transferring data, video and audio: USB 3.0 is the wired data transfer standard, and both offer HDMI video out in the form of a Type D Micro HDMI port. Both cameras offer built-in Wi-Fi, but neither offer other forms of wireless connection like Bluetooth, NFC or a built-in GPS. Both include a 3.5mm microphone jack, but only the Olympus E-M1 II offers a headphone jack on the camera; if you want a headphone jack for the X-T2, you’ll need the external battery pack, which adds this feature.

One of the biggest draws of the E-M1 Mark II is its very effective in-camera image stabilization, offering 5-axis stabilization for any attached lens, while the Fujifilm X-T2 offers image stabilization only in lenses which come equipped with the feature.

Conclusion

Functionally, the two cameras represent the apex of what both companies can currently offer in the realm of mirrorless cameras. Each camera offers a unique feature set with different shooting intentions. The Olympus E-M1 Mark II focuses on incredible speed, while the Fujifilm X-T2 arguably takes a more balanced approach between image quality and performance. Both offer excellent video shooting options, so long as you’re not looking to record sequences longer than 30 minutes. And both are smaller and lighter than traditional full-frame cameras, with the Olympus being slightly larger but lighter than the X-T2.

If price is a consideration, the Fujifilm X-T2 has the advantage: at the time of writing it’s US$400 cheaper, at US$1,599 versus US$1,999 for an Olympus E-M1 Mark II. Both prices are body-only.

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Buy the Fujifilm X-T2

Differences

Fujifilm X-T2 advantages over Olympus E-M1 II

  • Larger sensor
    APS-C vs 4/3
    More sensor area. Bigger is (generally) better.
  • Bigger pixels
    ~ 3.93 vs 3.36 microns
    Better low-light and dynamic range (all else equal)
  • In-camera panoramas
    Yes vs No
    Stitches multiple shots into a panoramic photo
  • Thinner
    49 mm vs 68 mm
    Thinner
  • More pixels
    24.3 vs 20.4 megapixels
    Higher resolution photos
  • Doesn't require an AA filter
    Yes vs No
    A unique sensor design provides sharp photos without moiré
  • Longer exposure
    900 vs 60 sec
    Long exposures for night shots
  • Higher extended ISO
    51200 vs 25600 ISO
    Higher extended ISO can give more low-light flexibility

Olympus E-M1 II advantages over Fujifilm X-T2

  • Lens selection
    Excellent vs Good
    Better lens selection gives you more options
  • Tilt-swivel screen
    Tilt-swivel vs tilt-only
    Tilt and swivel the screen for maximum shooting flexibility
  • In-Camera Image Stabilization
    Yes vs No
    Reduces the effects of camera shake at slower shutter speeds
  • Touchscreen
    Touch vs No touch
    Interact with your camera just like your smartphone
  • High resolution composite
    Yes vs No
    Combine multiple shots to form a super hi-res version
  • Longer stills battery life
    More info 440 vs 340 shots
    Capture more photos
  • Headphone jack
    Yes vs No
    Monitor audio recording while you shoot video
  • Faster JPEG shooting
    60.6 fps vs 8.2 fps
    Faster JPEG shooting (burst mode)
  • Faster RAW shooting
    60.6 fps vs 8.2 fps
    Faster RAW shooting in burst mode

Similarities

Common Strengths

  • Focus peaking
    Both provide
    Your camera will highlight what's in focus
  • Eye-level viewfinder
    Both provide
    You'll be able to frame photos even when the sun is out
  • Shoot 4K video
    Both provide
    Make sure you have a fast computer
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
    Both provide
    Share your photos wirelessly
  • On-sensor phase detect
    Both provide
    Usually improves live view and video AF performance
  • External Mic Jack
    Both provide
    Improved sound fidelity when shooting video
  • HDMI out
    Both provide
    Use an external screen to monitor or review video
  • Hot shoe
    Both provide
    Off-camera flashes open new possibilities
  • Dual card slots
    Both provide
    Gives you more storage flexibility
  • Bulb shutter
    Both provide
    Hold the shutter open manually for long exposures

Common Weaknesses

  • NFC
    Neither provide
    Simplifies pairing your camera with supported phones
  • Built-in Bluetooth
    Neither provide
    Always-on wireless connectivity
  • Built-in GPS
    Neither provide
    Geotag your photos
  • Internal flash
    Neither provide
    Useful in a pinch for fill flash
  • Top deck display
    Neither provide
    Check settings with a screen on top of the camera
  • Slow-motion videos
    Neither provide
    Shoot slow-motion videos

User reviews

The Competition

Compared to Fujifilm X-Pro2

Fujifilm X-T2
Fujifilm X-Pro2
  • $1499
  • APS-C
  • Less expensive
  • Shoot 4K video
  • $1499
  • APS-C
  • More dots on screen
Olympus E-M1 II
Fujifilm X-Pro2
  • $1799
  • 4/3
  • Lens selection
  • Less expensive
  • $1499
  • APS-C
  • Larger sensor
  • Bigger pixels

Compared to Canon EOS M5

Fujifilm X-T2
Canon EOS M5
  • $1499
  • APS-C
  • Lens selection
  • Larger sensor
  • $929
  • APS-C
  • Less expensive
  • Touchscreen
Olympus E-M1 II
Canon EOS M5
  • $1799
  • 4/3
  • Lens selection
  • Tilt-swivel screen
  • $929
  • APS-C
  • Less expensive
  • Larger sensor

Compared to Panasonic GH5

Fujifilm X-T2
Panasonic GH5
  • $1499
  • APS-C
  • Larger sensor
  • Bigger pixels
  • $1998
  • 4/3
  • Tilt-swivel screen
  • Lens selection
Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic GH5
  • $1799
  • 4/3
  • High resolution composite
  • Higher effective ISO
  • $1998
  • 4/3
  • Built-in Bluetooth
  • Bigger JPEG buffer

Compared to Fujifilm X-T20

Fujifilm X-T2
Fujifilm X-T20
  • $1499
  • APS-C
  • Fast startup
  • More viewfinder magnification
  • $799
  • APS-C
  • Less expensive
  • Touchscreen
Olympus E-M1 II
Fujifilm X-T20
  • $1799
  • 4/3
  • Lens selection
  • Tilt-swivel screen
  • $799
  • APS-C
  • Less expensive
  • Larger sensor

Compared to Panasonic G9

Fujifilm X-T2
Panasonic G9
  • $1499
  • APS-C
  • Larger sensor
  • Bigger pixels
  • $1698
  • 4/3
  • Lens selection
  • Tilt-swivel screen
Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic G9
  • $1799
  • 4/3
  • Longer video battery life
  • On-sensor phase detect
  • $1698
  • 4/3
  • Built-in Bluetooth
  • Top deck display

Review Excerpt

  • Excellent image quality from both JPEGs and RAW files; Superb high ISO performance; Very fast hybrid AF; Robust weather sealing; Dual UHS-II card slots; 4K video.

  • Precise manual focus is tricky with fly-by-wire focusing; Battery life is only decent; Video quality still not on par with competing cameras.

  • Excellent image quality; Very good dynamic range & high ISO performance; Fantastic C-AF performance; Incredible burst rates, even with RAW; 4K UHD & Cinema 4K (DCI) video; Clean HDMI; Dual SD card slots.

  • Expensive; Menus still confusing; UHS-II support only on one card slot; No optical low-pass filter means greater risk of moire; No built-in flash.

Fujifilm X-T2 vs Olympus E-M1 II Discussion

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