My completely subjective and unscientific comparison will be performed on Sony A7 mark II and Fujifilm XT-20 with respective native lenses. I do not attempt to scientifically determine which camera is better or photograph my wall at different ISOs or apertures. I will simply try to see if the Fujifilm system is really as good as the Fuji fans claim, and if its APS-C X-Trans III sensor indeed produces results that are good enough to satisfy any of us not fully professional photographers or really anyone who tends to make alot of kilometers by foot with his or her camera on the neck. Or in other words, is the extra expense and weight and size really worth going full frame.
In this post we will be comparing Sony A7 II with 70-200 F4 G telephoto lens (SEL70200G) and Fujifilm X-T20 with Fujinon XF 55-200 F3.5-4.8
The first difference you notice is of course the size. Sony system is about 21cm long without the hood and weighs 1,5kg. Fujifilm on the other hand weighs only 970g and is 15 long when at 55mm and 20cm when at 200. The Sony lens that is equivalent to the Fuji would be 3cm shorter and weigh about the same (also, same filter size on the lens). This is of course caused be the difference between the sensors both cameras carry.
Most of the below photos were shot in aperture mode with auto ISO (max 800), so there might be different values on shutter speed and light sensitivity, but this is a real life test so we will look at real life results.
From the photos above you see that Sony RAW image appears to have more color and contrast. Also the bokeh is smoother, this may be caused the fact that with Sony I used 185mm focal length, but with Fuji it was 110mm, which is abouth 165mm full frame equivalent. The aperture on Sony was 6.3 while on Fuji 4.2, which should more or less be equivalent. Although Fuji RAW seems really flat, it has the famous film simulation built in, which adds much color and contrast right away, without having to rework the image.
As you can see from the photos above, there is not that much of a difference between RAW files in both cameras. Although with Fuji images you might have additional option of applying film simulations, with Sony you get right of the bat a more realistic representation of the scene.
Shadow Recovery – here
Same photos with +100 shadows
…and 100% crop
Please click the images above to enlarge.
As you can see, Fujifilm seems to hold up pretty well against the Sony in really extreme conditions, even with maximum shadow recovery the details are there. Sony in my subjective opinion still fares a bit better, but really there is no meaningful difference here.
Here Fuji takes the upper hand, especially when it comes to JPEGs where Fuji really does its magic.
In conclusion, I really thing that Sony still has the upper hand over Fuji as far as image quality is concerned, it is full frame after all, but Fujifilm is really close. The photos however still appear flatter, and I really don’t think that the APS-C camera producers will get around that anytime soon. That said, considering the cost of both systems as well as size and weight, Fuji really is a tempting proposition. After all, you will make much better photos with a camera you take with you than with a camera you leave at home. And ever since I got the Fuji, I find my self putting it in my backpack even with a telephoto lens, which is practically impossible in case of full frame. You can of course get around it by buying the Sony A7R series camera and using cropping instead of zoom, but this is a whole other story.
This will be enough from my side, below I will provide you with images to judge for yourself. All of them have EXIF data available.
…and here’s my video on the subject: