My main Fuji camera is the X-T10, which I’ve been talking about recently along with the Fuji 10-24mm super-wide-angle lens. It’s an old model with a 16MP X-Trans sensor. I also bought a smaller secondary Fuji camera called the X-A2. It’s also of the same vintage from 4 years ago. But, being an entry-level model, it uses a common 16MP Bayer sensor. I had both cameras with me when I was out testing my super-wide lens. Later that evening, after blue hour, I did a quick test of both cameras.
I wanted to find out if there were any tangible differences between the more premium X-Trans sensor, which is only used by Fujifilm, and the more common Bayer sensor design that all other camera companies use. Here are three sets of photos I took with both cameras. I roughly framed them using a similar focal length and composition. Far from scientific, but you can see the results.
Despite Fujifilm’s well regard JPEG color, I shoot all my Fuji photographs in RAW. That includes today’s photos as well as all the Fuji photos from the last two months. And, from what I can see, the images look pretty much the same. If there are any JPEG color differences, I was able to post-process the RAWs to match. I’m not really into scrutinizing photos and this quick test is more than enough for me. And, I think you would agree that, beyond the slightly different framing, the pictures look alike.
My photographer friend Mike, who also shoots Fuji mentioned that the X-A2 and probably the other Bayer sensor cameras have a different noise pattern, especially at high ISO. I believe him. He much prefers that X-Trans because he thinks the noise characteristics more resemble film. I have not analyzed the noise patterns with these two cameras. I pretty much just looked at the RAW colors.
Also, note that the ISO and apertures are different. I was really interested in the color more than anything else. In these two photos, the depth of field and the focus point is not the same. That’s why most of the X-T10 photo is in focus, while the X-A2 is focused mainly in the middle of the frame.
The other interesting note is that the Fuji X-T10 and 10-24mm lens combo is a lot more expensive than my budget Fuji X-A2 and 15-45mm kit lens. I bought all my Fuji gear used and, even so, the price difference is significant. About $925 vs $275, both before taxes. Is there that much of a difference in image quality? Not at these sizes. And, it’s barely noticeable full size my 27″ monitor. The X-T10 with the better lens is a bit sharper.
These last two photos show the biggest difference between the two. Notice the flare/ghosting above the bright “North” sign with the X-A2. I’m sure that’s because of the less expensive kit lens.
Here’s my take-way. For most people, at these web sizes, there isn’t much of a difference between X-Trans and Bayer. Also, even a cheap entry-level camera with a kit lens can create images that are not very different from the more expensive variety. Even in not so ideal dark conditions.
Are there differences? Of course. I’m sure if I really scrutinized these photos, I would notice sharper corners, more contrast and more resolution with the better stuff. I’m sure the noise characteristics are different too. The flare issue is the biggest concern. If I were using these photos more seriously, I would certainly prefer and use the better lens.
In general, however, I try to not get overly concerned about the technical differences. Unless I have to. And, most of the time, I don’t. I concentrate more on the color, the composition and the mood of the images. That to me are the more important considerations as a photographer.
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