A lot has been said and written on Fujifilm’s X-Trans sensor image quality. While FUji has smartly stayed out of the spec and resolution war, a lot of people rave about it’s image quality, especially it’s detail, noise management, colour rendition and contrast. Fuji claims that its X-Trans sensor technology, because it doesn’t need a resolution robbing anti-aliasing filter, can show twice as much detail as a similar resolution CMOS sensor. I’m not sure if that’s completely true, but it does seem like the X-Trans sensor captures a lot more detail than regular CMOS sensors. Is it 50% more or 100% more? Hard to tell. The following video compares two Fujis with the same lens, one with a regular CMOS 16 Mpix sensor, the other with an X-Trans 16 Mpix sensor and the X-Trans is most definitely superior (NSFW).
The following comparison is astonishing. Comparing an X-E1 with a 16 Mpix X-Trans II sensor to the D800E 36 Mpix CMOS sensor. Some are debating the methodology here, pointing out that the Nikon is equipped with a Sigma lens (albeit a good one) but then the X-E1 isn’t equipped with Fuji’s sharpest lens either. Even accounting for that, the upsized Fuji files compare very well to the Nikon’s, bettering it in colour rendition, noise, contrast and detail up to 1600 ISO. Even accounting for the lens on the Nikon, I think it is clear that the Fuji provides very competitive image quality and that is with the old X-Trans II sensor. I think it’s safe to say that the new X-Trans III with it’s 24 Mpix and slightly improved noise would fare much better still.
And then in this overall comparison between the X-E1 and the D800, the XE-1, an older Fuji, holds its own quite well in terms of detail and colour rendition. It is slightly slower in the auto-focusing test, but then it isn’t Fuji’s latest technology either.
And finally, this video compares a Fuji X-T1 (16Mpix) to a Sony A7R II (FF, 42 Mpix) and the Fuji compares very very well!
So I think it is clear that Fuji’s X-trans sensors shoot well above their weight class both in terms of their sensor size and in terms of sensor resolution, comparing favourably to full-frame sensors with much higher resolution.
So without even doing a direct comparison, I think it is safe to say that the Fuji system provides much better image quality than the Micro Four-Thirds system (I will, however, go look for some comparison tests). But the MFT system has other advantages over the Fuji system, in terms of lens selection, lens weight and size, industry-leading in-body image stabilization and other high-tech features like focus bracketing.
So the next question is: Is the Fuji X-Trans’ image quality advantage enough to overcome the MFT’s other advantages? After-all, system size is my number one criteria in selecting my new system and the main reason why I’m moving away from my Nikon DSLR kit.
Stay tuned for more brainstorming.