Fuji X-T1 Image Quality Comparison

Below are crops from our laboratory Still Life target comparing the Fuji X-T1 with the Canon 70D, Fuji X-E2, Nikon D7100, Pentax K-3 and Sony A7. These models all have current U.S. street price points between $1550 and $2000, and all models are APS-C except for the full frame Sony A7, which we included for a comparison between sensor sizes. These comparisons were somewhat tricky to write, as the cameras vary a great deal in resolution, so bear that in mind as you're reading and drawing your own conclusions. (We generally try to match cameras in these comparisons based on price, given that most of us work to a budget, rather than setting out to buy a given number of megapixels.)

NOTE: These images are best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). All cameras in this comparison were shot with our very sharp reference lenses. Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera. For those interested in working with the RAW files involved, we've put links beneath each crop set that will take you to the RAW file. You can access the full set of RAW images we shot via the Fuji X-T1's Thumbnails page -- links to the RAW files appear beneath those for the JPEG images, wherever we have them. And remember, you can always go to our world renowned Comparometer to compare the Fuji X-T1 to any camera we've ever tested.

Fuji X-T1 versus Canon 70D at base ISO

Fuji X-T1 at ISO 200
Link to RAW file (33.8MB):
XT1hSLI00200NR3D.RAF
Canon 70D at ISO 100
Link to RAW file (26MB):
E70DhSLI00100NR2D.CR2

The Canon 70D has roughly four megapixels greater resolution than the X-T1 and is also currently the most affordable of the bunch other than the X-E2. Even though the resolution is different, each appear to have similar sharpness and detail in the first two crops, but the fabric comparisons are interesting. The 70D clearly out-resolves the X-T1 in the pink fabric swatch, and while the red fabric shows more contrast, the X-T1 actually renders the red fabric closer to the way that it appears to the eye. In the first two crops, it's also interesting to note that the 70D is applying a good bit more sharpening than the X-T1 does (note the slight halos around the printed lines in the top crops). This has the effect of significantly increasing the contrast in the details of the figure's robe in the second set of crops, but it's artificial, not representing actual subject detail.


Fuji X-T1 versus Fuji X-E2 at base ISO

Fuji X-T1 at ISO 200
Link to RAW file (33.8MB):
XT1hSLI00200NR3D.RAF
Fuji X-E2 at ISO 200
Link to RAW file (33.8MB):
XE2hSLI00200NR3D.RAF

As expected, these two 16-megapixel cameras from Fuji appear virtually identical here, although the X-T1 seems to pull just a bit more detail out of the red fabric.


Fuji X-T1 versus Nikon D7100 at base ISO

Fuji X-T1 at ISO 200
Link to RAW file (33.8MB):
XT1hSLI00200NR3D.RAF
Nikon D7100 at ISO 100
Link to RAW file (30.9MB)
D7100hSLI00100NR2D.NEF

At 24 megapixels, the D7100 is roughly eight megapixels greater in resolution, and the images look so much larger that it's tough making accurate comparisons at base ISO. The mosaic tile image in the D7100 looks quite good, and it certainly does a good job resolving the fabric swatches as well. The X-T1 is perhaps still a bit more natural in the red fabric (reality is somewhere between the two), but loses much detail in the pink swatch. Overall, we have to give the nod to the higher-resolution D7100 here at base ISO.


Fuji X-T1 versus Pentax K-3 at base ISO

Fuji X-T1 at ISO 200
Link to RAW file (33.8MB):
XT1hSLI00200NR3D.RAF
Pentax K-3 at ISO 100
Link to RAW file (33.8MB):
K3hSLI00100NRAD.DNG

The K-3 clearly dominates the fine detail landscape here, with an even sharper rendering of the mosaic tile than the D7100, and far more detail than the X-T1. The K-3 has 24-megapixel resolution and simply outmatches the X-T1 in most respects. As you'll see with virtually all Pentax cameras, they tend to render the pink fabric swatch as appearing too magenta, but the rendering of the red fabric swatch is the best of all six cameras in this comparison, so there's only that one minor issue with the pink rendering from the K-3.


Fuji X-T1 versus Sony A7 at base ISO

Fuji X-T1 at ISO 200
Link to RAW file (33.8MB):
XT1hSLI00200NR3D.RAF
Sony A7 at ISO 100
Link to RAW file (25.1MB):
AA7hSLI00100NR2D.ARW

The A7 showcases what you get from a full-frame camera sporting 24-megapixel resolution, and that's a smoking amount of fine detail. You'll seldom see our mosaic tile crop look like this without going to medium format, nor the incredible detail in the pink fabric swatch, which is clearly in a different class than the X-T1 for those areas. It costs a few hundred dollars more, has a more limited lens selection and its relatively weak low pass filter means you may also suffer from moiré in certain instances like the red fabric swatch above, so there are still trade-offs.


Most digital SLRs and CSCs will produce an excellent base ISO shot, so we like to push them and see what they can do compared to other cameras at ISO 1600, 3200, and 6400. Recent advances in sensor technology have made ISO 1600 look a lot more like ISO 100, but there are still cameras whose quality starts to fall apart at this setting. We also choose 1600 because we like to be able to shoot at least at this level when indoors and at night.

Fuji X-T1 versus Canon 70D at ISO 1600

Fuji X-T1 at ISO 1600
Link to RAW file (33.9MB):
XT1hSLI01600NR3D.RAF
Canon 70D at ISO 1600
Link to RAW file (29.3MB):
E70DhSLI01600NR2D.CR2

This is where things really get interesting. The X-T1 clearly handles noise better in the shadows behind the top bottle crop, while the 70D has noticeable smudging apparent in the mosaic tiles. A definite nod to the X-T1 on this one.


Fuji X-T1 versus Fuji X-E2 at ISO 1600

Fuji X-T1 at ISO 1600
Link to RAW file (33.9MB):
XT1hSLI01600NR3D.RAF
Fuji X-E2 at ISO 1600
Link to RAW file (33.9MB):
XE2hSLI01600NR3D.RAF

Yet again as with base ISO we see virtually identical performance between these two 16-megapixel APS-C cousins. Not much else to report on here, other than a barely perceptible increase in fine detail from the X-T1 in the tiles and fabric areas.


Fuji X-T1 versus Nikon D7100 at ISO 1600

Fuji X-T1 at ISO 1600
Link to RAW file (33.9MB):
XT1hSLI01600NR3D.RAF
Nikon D7100 at ISO 1600
Link to RAW file (33.8MB):
D7100hSLI01600NR2D.NEF

Similar to the 70D comparison, the X-T1 does a better job than the D7100 at controlling noise. The D7100 doesn't smudge the images like the 70D, but certainly begins to lose some critical detail.


Fuji X-T1 versus Pentax K-3 at ISO 1600

Fuji X-T1 at ISO 1600
Link to RAW file (33.9MB):
XT1hSLI01600NR3D.RAF
Pentax K-3 at ISO 1600
Link to RAW file (37.4MB):
K3hSLI01600NRAD.DNG

Very interesting here as well, because where the K-3 clearly out-resolved the X-T1 at base ISO, the advantages virtually disappear here at ISO 1600. The X-T1 crops appear even-handed and natural, while the K3 exhibits more noise in the first crop, less sharpness in the tiles crop and loses all contrast detail in our red fabric swatch.


Fuji X-T1 versus Sony A7 at ISO 1600

Fuji X-T1 at ISO 1600
Link to RAW file (33.9MB):
XT1hSLI01600NR3D.RAF
Sony A7 at ISO 1600
Link to RAW file (33.9MB):
AA7hSLI01600NR2D.ARW

I had to double-check to make sure the A7 crops were actually ISO 1600! Once again, it simply outmatches the X-T1 in virtually all areas, including fine detail, less noise, etc. There is still a trace of moiré in the red fabric swatch, but it won't likely be a factor in the majority of real world images. A stunning performance for ISO 1600. The A7 is of course a full-frame camera, with its much larger sensor area, but it clearly belongs in this comparison, given the relatively small price difference between it and the X-T1.


Today's ISO 3200 is yesterday's ISO 1600, so below are the same crops at ISO 3200.

Fuji X-T1 versus Canon 70D at ISO 3200

Fuji X-T1 at ISO 3200
Link to RAW file (33.9MB):
XT1hSLI03200NR3D.RAF
Canon 70D at ISO 3200
Link to RAW file (30.6MB):
E70DhSLI03200NR2D.CR2

Similar to the ISO 1600 comparison, the 70D suffers from more noise in the shadow areas behind the bottle crop and a good deal of smudging artifacts in the mosaic tiles. The fabric swatches have differing issues with each camera, but are roughly a draw. In general, it's advantage: X-T1 here.


Fuji X-T1 versus Fuji X-E2 at ISO 3200

Fuji X-T1 at ISO 3200
Link to RAW file (33.9MB):
XT1hSLI03200NR3D.RAF
Fuji X-E2 at ISO 3200
Link to RAW file (33.8MB):
XE2hSLI03200NR3D.RAF

And, once again, virtually identical images between these two as we would expect.


Fuji X-T1 versus Nikon D7100 at ISO 3200

Fuji X-T1 at ISO 3200
Link to RAW file (33.9MB):
XT1hSLI03200NR3D.RAF
Nikon D7100 at ISO 3200
Link to RAW file (35.3MB):
D7100hSLI03200NR2D.NEF

Nikon cameras aimed at the enthusiast market tend to have noise that appears more like film grain as ISO rises than we see with most competing models, and that can sometimes be a good thing. In this case, however, there's just too much of it in comparison to the more even-handed rendering from Fuji.


Fuji X-T1 versus Pentax K-3 at ISO 3200

Fuji X-T1 at ISO 3200
Link to RAW file (33.9MB):
XT1hSLI03200NR3D.RAF
Pentax K-3 at ISO 3200
Link to RAW file (37MB):
K3hSLI03200NRAD.DNG

As with ISO 1600, the X-T1 pulls ahead of the K-3 for overall image quality, as the K-3 has too much noise in certain areas and too little detail in others. Low light shooters comparing these two models will certainly want to take note here.


Fuji X-T1 versus Sony A7 at ISO 3200

Fuji X-T1 at ISO 3200
Link to RAW file (33.9MB):
XT1hSLI03200NR3D.RAF
Sony A7 at ISO 3200
Link to RAW file (33.9MB):
AA7hSLI03200NR2D.ARW

We finally begin to see noise processing artifacts in the A7 here, which were virtually nonexistent at ISO 1600, but they're not bad at all. These are at default JPEG noise reduction and sharpening settings, so your output shooting in RAW will certainly vary, depending on the RAW converter you use, and the choices you make for noise reduction and sharpening. Either way, as you'd expect from a full-frame sensor, the A7 appears far superior as a high-ISO performer than the X-T1 in most regards.


Detail: Fuji X-T1 versus Canon 70D, Fuji X-E2, Nikon D7100, Pentax K-3 and Sony A7.

Fuji
X-T1
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Canon
70D

ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Fuji
X-E2

ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Nikon
D7100

ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Pentax
K-3

ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Sony
A7

ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Detail comparison. At first glance the eye is immediately drawn to the astonishing fine detail performance from the A7. Some may consider this comparison unfair, since it's a full-frame camera with higher resolution than all but two of the others, but the price point is the deciding factor on why we included it here. It only costs about 15% more than the X-T1, so it's in the same ballpark. In comparing the rest, the X-T1 clearly doesn't stand out against this field as a high-contrast fine detail performer, with the 70D and the D7100 out-resolving details in the lettering across the ISO range. The Canon 70D's images get a lot of their "pop" from fairly strong sharpening, which artificially increases the contrast between the dark and light lines in the text, though; the D7100's rendering is the most natural of the sub-frame cameras.

 

Fuji X-T1 Print Quality Analysis

Very nice 24 x 36 inch prints at ISO 100/200; a nice 16 x 20 at ISO 1600; and a good 5 x 7 at ISO 12,800.

ISO 100/200 produces very good, accurate images at 24 x 36 inches with excellent color reproduction. Wall display prints are possible at these settings up to 36 x 48 inches, looking quite good if viewed from the customary several feet away given the size of the print.

ISO 400 prints are still quite good at 24 x 36 inches, with no noticeable softness in the red channel, and wall display prints look good at 30 x 40 inches.

ISO 800 images look great at 16 x 20 inches. Wall display prints are possible up to 24 x 36 inches, which is terrific for this sensitivity on an APS-C camera.

ISO 1600 yields a good 16 x 20 inch print as well. There is the first sign of softness in our target red swatch here but it's not bad at all, and just a hint of luminance noise in flatter areas. Overall, a very good image for ISO 1600.

ISO 3200 prints at 13 x 19 begin to lose detail in our difficult red swatch, but are otherwise quite good with only mild, film-like grain in shadows.

ISO 6400 is where the red swatch and a few other areas, particularly reds, start to become too soft to be called good, even at 11 x 14. 8 x 10's print quite well here though, retaining very good color reproduction.

ISO 12,800 makes a nice 5 x 7 inch print, which is still quite good for this sensitivity.

ISO 25,600/51,200 prints are too soft at any size to be called good and are best avoided except in cases where a noticeable watercolor effect is desired.

The Fujifilm X-T1 performs admirably in the print quality department, as expected. Base sensitivity (ISO 200) and the extended setting of 100 each make very nice prints at 24 x 36 inches, and even larger for wall display purposes. And at ISO 1600, 16 x 20 inches is still a very respectable size. The remaining 1EV step settings all turn in solid performances until the highest two, which are best avoided. But all-in-all, the X-T1 delivers the goods here for sound print quality.

About our print-quality testing: Our "Reference Printer"

Testing hundreds of digital cameras, we've found that you can only tell so much about a camera's image quality by viewing its images on-screen. Ultimately, there's no substitute for printing a lot of images and examining them closely. For this reason, we routinely print sample images from the cameras we test on our Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer, which we named our "Printer of the Year" in our 2015 COTY awards.

The Canon PRO-1000 has a lot of characteristics that make it a natural to use for our "reference printer." When it comes to judging how well a camera's photos print, resolution and precise rendering are paramount. The PRO-1000's more than 18,000 individual nozzles combine with an air feeding system that provides exceptional droplet-placement accuracy. Its 11-color LUCIA PRO ink system delivers a wide color gamut and dense blacks, giving us a true sense of the cameras' image quality. To best see fine details, we've always printed on glossy paper, so the PRO-1000's "Chroma Optimizer" overcoat that minimizes "bronzing" or gloss differential is important to us. (Prior to the PRO-1000, we've always used dye-based printers, in part to avoid the bronzing problems with pigment-based inks.) Finally, we just don't have time to deal with clogged inkjet heads, and the PRO-1000 does better in that respect than any printer we've ever used. If you don't run them every day or two, inkjet printers tend to clog. Canon's thermal-inkjet technology is inherently less clog-prone than other approaches, but the PRO-1000 takes this a step further, with sensors that monitor every inkjet nozzle. If one clogs, it will assign another to take over its duties. In exchange for a tiny amount of print speed, this lets you defer cleaning cycles, which translates into significant ink savings. In our normal workflow, we'll often crank out a hundred or more letter-size prints in a session, but then leave the printer to sit for anywhere from days to weeks before the next camera comes along. In over a year of use, we've never had to run a nozzle-cleaning cycle on our PRO-1000.

See our Canon PRO-1000 review for a full overview of the printer from the viewpoint of a fine-art photographer.

*Disclosure: Canon provided us with the PRO-1000 and a supply of ink to use in our testing, and we receive advertising consideration for including this mention when we talk about camera print quality. Our decision to use the PRO-1000 was driven by the printer itself, though, prior to any discussion with Canon on the topic. (We'd actually been using an old Pixma PRO 9500II dye-based printer for years previously, and paying for our own ink, until we decided that the PRO-1000 was the next-generation printer we'd been waiting for.)



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