In this post we’ll have an interesting comparison with four very popular interchangeable lens cameras, the Canon EOS 70D, Canon Rebel T3 / EOS 1100D, Panasonic Lumix G6 and Fujifilm X-E2. The first two are digital SLR cameras, last two are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. In this article we’ll take a closer look at the key features, cons and pros and image quality of those four cameras, and we’ll help you to get a good understanding of the differences between those four camera bodies, to make it easier for you to make up your mind.
We’ll start with a short introduction to each camera and then move on to the comparison itself.
Announced on October 18, 2013 — the Nikon Fujifilm X-E2 replaces the X-E1 which was announced a year earlier on September 6, 2012. The E-X1 already won dpreview’s Gold Award and was given high score in many online reviews for its excellent image quality and reliable metering system. However it was criticized for its somewhat slow AF performance. Fujifilm Doesn’t feature a lot of X-mount lenses, but the selection continues to grow and the X-mount is known for its very high-performing prime lenses, there are also two Carl Zeiss lenses which are available for the X-mount.
The Fujifilm X-E2 has a retro-style design which improved upon the X-E1 by quite a lot, including a much larger viewfinder, bigger rear-LCD with much higher resolution, faster AF performance, 24p video recording and more. This camera was designed for the enthusiast and semi-pro photographer who wants to harness the potential of Fujifilm’s excellent lenses and the unique X-Trans CMOS II APS-C sensor to squeeze out as much detail in the scene as possible. This camera is a pixel-peeper’s dream come true. Every part of this camera is optimized for maximizing the potential of its unique sensor and provide excellent handling.
Unlike the Micro Four Thirds based cameras, the X-E2 features a much larger sensor, same size that you can find in many DSLR cameras, including some mirrorless cameras like the Sony NEX for example. The unique design of this sensor eliminated the need for an anti-aliasing filter. Fujifilm X-E2 also utilizes an advanced Lens Modulation Optimizer (LMO) technology to correct diffraction blue depends on the lens and aperture used—further enhancing the image sharpness and more dimension.
The X-E2 is built with a mixture of polycarbonate and magnesium alloy and its similar to its predecessor in design. At the back you’ll find a 2,360K-dot electronic viewfinder with Organic EL Panel for super clarity and precise vision, as well as many dials and buttons which allow fast access to frequently used camera functions.
The X-E2 features a 16MP X-Trans CMOS II sensor that provides Hybrid AF solution using on-sensor phase-detection capabilities along with contrast detection. The camera can switch between the two for optimal results depends on the type of scene and conditions. X-E2 designed to be fast and responsive, with AF speed tested as low as 0.08 Sec., 0.5 Sec. Start-up time, 0.5 Sec. Shooting interval and 0.05 Sec. Shutter time lag—the X-E2 is fast like a daemon.
The X-E2 comes with a built-in Wi-Fi, focus peak focusing aid, 14bit RAW capture, sweep panorama and tons of other software-based features to help you get the most out of your current photographic skill and have fun with your digital camera.
All in all, the X-E2 is a stylish and very capable camera, which was designed from the group up to appeal to enthusiast photographers on a medium-budget.
Panasonic Lumix G6
Announced on April 24, 2013—the G6 replaces the G5 in Panasonic’s Micro Four Thirds camera’s lineup. The G6 is quite a large camera in Micro 4/3 camera’s terms. Although it’s larger than the GX7, GF6 and GX1, it’s a mid-range micro 4/3 that sits above Panasonic’s GFx cameras and below the GX7 and GH series.
The G6 grabbed very high rating in many camera review websites for its great image quality, built-in Wi-Fi, ergonomics and built-in software-based features. The G6 is aimed towards the advanced photographer whom looking for a micro four thirds camera with an electronic viewfinder, more controls, Wi-Fi and NFC for remote capabilities, as well as a camera that is more video-oriented one compare to what you get with the GF6 for example, which is an entry-level MFT camera.
Panasonic improved upon the G5 with much better low-light AF performance, which allows you to shoot in very dim-light and focus without the AF assist lamp in some cases. You can shoot at 7 fps at full resolution in burst mode and up to 40 fps using the electronic shutter. At the back of the camera you’ll find a 1,440K-dot OLED Electronic Viewfinder which boasts 10,000:1 contrast, which is amazingly high compare to the competition. The EVF plays a significant role in the enthusiast market segment, and Panasonic made this viewfinder standout with superb viewability—although it’s worth mentioning that there are EVFs which much higher resolution on the market.
The great thing about the G6 that it was designed to appeal to Videographers as well. It can record full HD videos at 24p and 60p (progressive frames) with the ability to connect an external stereo microphone (φ3.5mm) and adjustable audio levels to improve the sound quality.
The Panasonic Lumix 6 feature give customizable Fn buttons, which you can use to setup fast access to your favorite and most frequently used camera functions. I can’t recall any other camera that offers so many customizable buttons. This is in my opinion another feature that will impress the enthusiast photographer.
The G6 brings superb performance and low-light capabilities, as well as Wi-Fi/NFC and excellent control and handling—and all that for a very attractive price. This is a superb choice for those who planning to upgrade from the GF-series cameras and those who are searching for a DSLR alternative and want to buy into the Micro Four Thirds system from the get go.
Canon Rebel T3 / EOS 1100D
Announced on February 7, 2011 — the T3 / 1100D is old, but as of the time of writing, it grabs the first position on Amazon Best Sellers for Digital SLRs. The T3 holds this position for quite some time. You can browse through the user opinions and see that most of the people who bought this camera are very happy with their purchase. No doubt that the T3 offer a great value for who search for a sub $500 DSLR plus one lens.
The T3 is a solid choice for both advanced and novice photographers who are making their first steps into the DSLR world. It was designed to be easy to use without any features that will throw you out of your chair. The T3 is fast and responsive, especially if you are coming from a point and shoot.
So what’s the downsides you ask? — Well, you get a 2.7-inch fixed LCD display with 230K-dots resolution, very low for today’s standards. You get an earlier generation DIGIC 4 image processor and sensor, no full HD video recording (only 720p), only 3.0 fps burst, plastic body and small viewfinder. The good news is that it delivers the goods when it comes to image quality and performance for general photography. Those of you who are searching for bargains, we’ll find the T3 to be a great camera for a great price.
The T3 is very successful for a good reason. Most people won’t take advantage of advanced features anyway, even those were in the T3 / 1100D. This is the perfect camera for the family photographer, beginners and enthusiasts on a tight budget — this camera won’t disappoint.
Canon EOS 70D
Announced on July 2, 2013—the Canon EOS 70D grabbed many high ratings in many camera review’s websites and considered an excellent choice for advanced photographers who are willing to invest more and enjoy the latest technology features from Canon in return for their investment. The 70D is also the obvious upgrade path for those who come from the T3 / T3i / T4i and T5i.
The EOS 70D lacks the magnesium alloy built and weather sealing of the 7D, but is loaded with advanced features, including Dual Pixel AF CMOS sensor for superb AF performance in Live View and Video, fully articulated touchscreen, 20.2MP resolution, in-camera HDR, 7 fps burst, DIGIC 5+ processor, 19-point all cross-type AF sensor, advanced dual-layer metering sensor, built-in Wi-Fi, excellent ergonomics, silent shutter mode, AF microadjustment, in-camera RAW processing, etc. The list is long, but it just hints on the intents of Canon for this camera.
Enthusiasts photographers are very picky and pay attention to every detail in the camera. Canon does have fierce competition from Nikon and Sony, as well as from the Compact system camera’s market. In order to compete well in this market, Canon needed to bring a large arsenal of advanced features and new technologies in order to keep customers satisfied.
The Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology grabbed the most attention when the camera was first announced. Each pixel on the sensor is split into two photodiodes, A and B. The amount of lens drive is calculated based on the difference in signal between those two photodiodes. This allows the camera to provide high-speed phase-difference detection AF when shooting in Live View for both stills and videos.
As you can see in the video, both photodiodes capture light and output the image signal as one pixel. This means that no light is being lost during this procedure and all the pixels on the sensor function as phase-difference AF sensors. However only 80% of the area of the sensor can be used for this purpose.
The above feature adds to the EOS 70D video functionality. The 70D was designed to also impress the video enthusiast, not just the stills photographer. Those of you who love shooting videos will find the 70D to be a superb HDSLR in this regard. You can choose between IPB (205 MB/min.) or All-I (610 MB/min.) compression when shooting your videos and a mic input to connect an external microphone. However, Canon has decided not to offer a headphone connector and there is no uncompressed HDMI output. So although it’s innovative video AF and the ability to choose between two compression modes, the 70D stills stays at the consumer level in the video category. Some will see it as a big disadvantage, others will be happy for what they got.
The 70D is a great camera for enthusiast photographers in general, but event photographers will find it also useful due to its advanced video capabilities and fast AF performance. 70D suffers from stiff competition from the Nikon D7100. If you are interested in the 70D, you also might check the D7100 out which offers a more advanced AF system for stills and lacks the low pass filter.
So let’s see what we have now. We’ve got the X-E2 and G5, both are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, with the X-E2 being the most advanced and much more expensive model of the two. Canon 70D and 1100D / T3, both are APS-C DSLR cameras, with the T3/1100D being an entry-level / basic model and 70D aimed towards the enthusiast photographer / video shooter with innovative AF system and advanced video recording capabilities.
I assume that some of you are seriously considering paying more for a more advanced model, but not sure whether this is the right move. It’s important to understand the differences between the cameras and also know in advanced what you need are in order to make a smarter buying decision. Buying the more expensive model, buying the X-E2 for example over the G6, doesn’t necessarily say that you will benefit from its advantages. It really depends on your shooting style and specific needs. You might as well spend that extra money on a second/better lens instead of paying for a more expensive body with features that you won’t use anyway. Just keep your enthusiasm in control, so you won’t throw money for nothing, that’s all :]
|X-E2||70D||G6||T3 / 1100D|
|Announced||October 18, 2013||July 2, 2013||April 24, 2013||February 7, 2011|
|Camera Type||Mid-range Compact System Camera||Mid-range DSLR||Entry-level Compact System Camera||Entry-level DSLR|
|Build Quality||mixture of polycarbonate and magnesium alloy top and front plates||Aluminum and polycarbonate resin with glass and conductive fibre||Polycarbonate||Polycarbonate|
|The X-E2 enjoys the most robust and durable body of the four cameras, but you also pay a premium price (not just) for it as well.|
|Size||129 x 75 x 37 mm (5.08 x 2.95 x 1.46″)||139 x 104 x 79 mm (5.47 x 4.11 x 3.09″)||122 x 85 x 71 mm (4.80 x 3.35 x 2.80″)||130 x 100 x 78 mm (5.12 x 3.94 x 3.07″)|
|Weight||350 g (0.77 lb / 12.35 oz)||755 g (1.66 lb / 26.63 oz)||390 g (0.86 lb / 13.76 oz)||495 g (1.09 lb / 17.46 oz)|
|X-E2 is the smallest and lightest camera in the group by a large margin, whether the 70D is the largest and heaviest. I personally prefer to carry a lightweight camera, but some people will prefer a heavy and more bulky camera in order to better stabilize the camera when shooting with heavy telephoto zoom lenses and / or using an external flash that can unbalance the weight and make it easier to operate the camera in a proper way. If you don't intend to use those type of lenses or / and accessories, I would probably aim towards the more portable body. APS-C cameras like the 70D and T3 also have larger and heavier lenses compare to the Micro Four Thirds cones, and that something that you should consider as well, not just the camera body, but also the lenses that you intend to mount on your camera.|
|Optional Battery Grip||No, but you can buy the Fujifilm HG-XE1 hand grip.||Yes (BG-E14)||N/A||Yes (Neewer)|
|Sensor||APS-C X-Trans CMOS II|
23.6 x 15.6 mm
1:1, 3:2, 16:9
- No optical low-pass filter (OLPF)
- on-sensor phase detection AF system
22.5 x 15 mm
1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
- Low-pass filter with fluorine coating
- on-sensor phase detection AF system
|Micro Four Thirds|
17.3 x 13.0 mm
1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
- Low-pass filter
22.0 mm x 14.7 mm
- Low-pass filter with fluorine coating
|The G6 has the smallest sensor size of the four--all the others have APS-C size sensor.
Unique to the X-E2 is the lack of OLPF which should allow more resolving power, as well as a unique color array pattern for improved image quality. Many performed analysis report zero to slight improvement in favor of the X-trans array in terms of details, but noise levels reported better on the Fuji.
I personally will always compare images and not rely on general assessments because different cameras have different sensors with different type of technologies that can result in much better image quality regardless of the sensor's color filter array.
The 70D offers the most advanced phase-difference technology for movie recording and Live View than the X-E2, and should provide superior AF performance when shooting video or stills via the Live View function.
|ISO||200 - 6400||100 - 12800 (25600 with boost)||160 - 25600||100 - 6400|
|AF Points||49||19 (all cross-type)||23||9 (center point cross-type)|
|Fujifilm X-E2 feature 49 AF points, which compare to the other cameras, it should theoretically provide more precise and faster AF tracking performance. An important feature when shooting fast moving subjects.
Worth mentioning that the 70D has an advantage in Live View because all of its pixels in 80% of the frame function as phase-different detect AF sensors, which give it an advantage over the X-E2 when shooting videos for example.
The T3 has the least impressive AF specs.
|Both Canon EOS 70D and Panasonic G6 have the best monitor specs with large high-res display and touch-screen with touch user interface. The X-E3 has a high quality display as well, but it's not tilting one. The 1100D is behind the competition obviously, but you get what you paid for in this case - although latest generation entry-level DSLRs offer better displays.
I personally don't mind not having a touch screen, but I find the tilting display to be useful at times when I need to take low or high -angle shots as well as for when recording videos. For video shooters, I think that the articulating display will help quite a lot and you should consider getting the 70D or G6 if you are serious about shooting videos (although it's not the only spec that counts).
- Built-in eye sensor
0.95x / 0.59x (35mm) magnification
- Transmissive LCD
1.4x / 0.7x (35mm) magnification
- Built-in eye sensor
0.80x / 0.5x (35mm) magnification
|All the four have eye-level viewfinders. The T3 and 70D use an optical viewfinder, with the 70D having the larger and more advanced one (Pentaprism made of one single glass, Pentamirror made of several mirrors -- pentaprism provides improved viewability with less loss of light).
The X-E2 and G6 use an EVF. Today's EVFs are getting better and better, and although they have some advantages over Optical ones for providing real-time info and enhanced visibility in low light and when shooting with high apertures, many photographers still prefer the feel of shooting through an optical viewfinder.
Having said that, the X-E2 EVF is a really impressive one and you need to see it in practice to appreciate it. It's better than what you get with the G6 in terms of resolution, and the difference is visible.
|Shutter Speed||30 - 1/4000 sec||30 - 1/8000 sec||60 - 1/4000 sec||30 - 1/4000 sec|
|The 70D has an advantage here as it offers twice the maximum shutter speed compare to the other cameras models. I assume that many photographers won't take advantage of it, but fast action shooter and sports photographers will find it very useful, I personally love having a better shutter speed range to gain more control over the exposure when using fast prime lenses and when shooting with the aperture wide open, and at times when I need to reduce the exposure to prevent overexposure.|
|Built-in Flash||Yes (7m)||Yes (12m)||Yes (10.5m)||Yes (9.2m)|
|Flash X Sync||1/180 sec||1/250 sec||1/160 sec||1/200 sec|
|Burst||7 fps (28 JPEG, 8 RAW)||7 fps (65 JPEG, 16 RAW)||7 fps (Unlimited, 9 RAW)|
40 fps in SH mode (electronic shutter)
|3 fps JPEG (830 JPEG)
2 fps RAW (5 RAW)
|Exposure Compensation||±3 (at 1/3 EV steps)||±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)||±5 (at 1/3 EV steps)||±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)|
|AE Bracketing||±1 (at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)||±3 (2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)||±3 (3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)||±2 (3 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)|
continuous: up to 14 min.
- choose between IPB or All-I compression
continuous: up to 29:59 min.
continuous: 150 min.
|Stereo Jack||Yes ø2.5mm||Yes ø3.5mm||Yes ø3.5mm||No|
|Wireless||built-in Wi-Fi||built-in Wi-Fi||built-in Wi-Fi|
|optional (Compatible with Eye-fi cards)|
|Advantage for the G6 for both Wi-Fi as well as NFC protocol allowing faster connectivity without the need to manually set up the wireless connectivity, less complicated when connecting your camera to your mobile phone or tablet device.|
The above table gives a good understanding of the key differences between the four cameras. This is a good place to find out whether one or more cameras might not suit your specific needs due to specific missing features which you are looking in a camera. There are not surprises here, the most expensive cameras indeed offer the most robust features.
In terms of video recording features, we can see that the 70D and G6 lead the pack, with the G6 offering more frame rate shooting options, but the 70D gives you the option to choose the video frame compression, which I am sure that video editors will use. The T3 is far behind the other cameras and offers only 720p HD video recording with no stereo sound nor a mic to connect an external stereo microphone.
The 70D looks like the be a better camera for the action photographer as it offers 1/8000 sec maximum shutter speed, as well as faster X Sync speed and large buffer.
Let’s take a look at the pricing for a moment.
- Canon EOS 70D: $1100 (body only)
- Canon Rebel T3 / EOS 1100D: $290 (body only)
- Panasonic Lumix G6: $700 (body only)
- Fujifilm X-E2: $1000 (body only)
Prices as of 11/11/2013 via Amazon.com, rounded up. Visit amazon.com for update prices for those mentioned camera models.
Canon EOS 70D and Fujifilm X-E2 are relatively close in terms of price. The 70D is more video oriented than the X-E2, it’s larger and therefore can provide better handling with extra accessories and big lenses, industry-leading on-sensor phase-detection AF, official optional battery to extend shooting time, higher ISO range, fully articulated touchscreen, 24p video recording and the ability to choose between IPB and All-I—and although it lacks 60p, it’s the better tool for video shooters in my opinion.
For stills photographers, I find both cameras to offer unique advantages over each other, with the X-E2 lacking an AA filter and have more AF points for better tracking when shooting via the viewfinder, and the 70D offering larger buffer for continuous shooting, faster flash sync, faster max. Shutter speed, articulating display, higher ISO range and optical viewfinder (if you see this as an advantage).
The X-E2 also enjoys the superb Fujinon X mount lenses, especially the primes. I personally wouldn’t base my buying decision on that, as Canon certainly enjoys a wider selection of high-quality lenses, as well as 3rd party lenses from Sigma, Tamron and others. The lens selection plays a significant role for many photographers. After all, you need to purchase a lens to fit your specific shooting style, and budget, and although Fuji offers a nice selection of lenses, it’s still lacks behind Canon in terms of selection and availability. This is something that you certainly need to consider before buying one of Fuji’s excellent mirrorless cameras, and X-E2 in particular.
Which one should you get?
- “I have a low budget but want a camera that can produce high-quality images”: Canon EOS 70D or Canon Rebel T3.
- “I am an enthusiast Videographer and want the camera that is best for video shooters”: Canon EOS 70D or Panasonic Lumix G6
- “I don’t care about video, I want the best camera for stills photography”: All are good, it boils down to personal preference – however I recommend the X-E2 or the 70D
- “I am a sport photographer, which camera is best for my needs?”: Canon EOS 70D
- “I am an absolute beginner and want to start shooting with an interchangeable lens camera”: Canon Rebel T3 / EOS 1100D
I recommend asking yourself these types of questions in order to understand which camera to get.
The image quality plays a significant role in ones decision when buying a new camera. The G6 is the only camera with a micro four thirds sensor, which is smaller than APS-C one. The thing that I am interested to know is whether the G6 with its small sensor can compete against those APS-C cameras and I also want to know whether the unique design of the X-E2 sensor with the lack of AA filter can push the image quality above the 70D and T3 APS-C sensors?
This is a summary of my observation when comparing sample images of those cameras using dpreview, imaging resource, photography blog and other websites.
- 70D has better high ISO performance than the T3 but the difference is not significant. The 70D has a newer sensor, but I believe that larger pixels of the T3 make up for the fact that the 70D uses a new updated sensor. High ISO performance up to ISO 3200 is very good and start falling fast from that point on. The 70D also wins with a more detailed image, which is quite significant when you consider the resolution difference, and it’s certainly visible in the photos. Canon 70D wins
- G6 can’t match the 70D at ISO 1600 and above, but at ISO 800 and below, G6 produces sharper JPEGS. All in all, I was surprised with the G6 performance, but the crown goes to the 70D. Canon 70D wins
- I must say that I was blown away with the X-E2 sample images, I didn’t expect the high ISO performance to be that good, I was really impressed. I compared the X-E2 sample images against those of the 70D on photographyblog.com and I found the X-E2 to be better than the 70D, by approximately 1.5 stops. Fujifilm X-E2 wins
I also compared the G6 versus the T3 directly on imaging resource and although the fight was very close up to ISO 1600, the T3 perform better overall and had a clean win above ISO 1600.
Let’s sum up the high ISO performance:
- Panasonic Lumix G6 – 4th place
- Canon Rebel T3 – 3rd place
- Canon EOS 70D – 2nd place
- Fujifilm X-E2 – 1st place!
The Canon 70D is a superb camera for those who needs advanced stills and video camera, as well as for those who are searching for a very capable and fast DSLR camera. Although the 70D comes with some great features, the T3 still beats it hands down for sheer value. I highly recommend the T3 for beginner and advanced photographers on a tight budget, and those who prefer investing the extra money on a second or better lens instead of a better camera body. Not everyone needs a camera like the 70D, but then if you do decide to get it, you’ll get plenty in return for your investment.
The Panasonic Lumix G6 is a mixed bag for me, probably because of its relatively big for a CSC, but overall it offers a good alternative to an entry-level DSLR, but if you are not impressed with its advanced feature and just want an interchangeable lens camera for its great image quality, the T3 is much cheaper and will give you better image quality. If you find yourself shooting lots of videos, the G6 wins in that category hands down.
The Fujifilm X-E2 is a real gem, and one of my favorite right now. It comes for a a pretty hefty price tag, but it’s worth the money in my opinion. If you are searching a stills camera with great image quality for critical work, the X-E2 won’t disappoint. Just mount one of Fuji’s X-mount prime lenses and your X-E2 will rock!
So which one should you buy? — If budget plays a significant role here and you don’t shoot lots of videos, I recommend getting the T3 and get it over with. There’s nothing that beats the T3 value and this is the reason why it captured Amazon.com best seller’s top spot. You can’t go wrong with this camera.
If you find yourself shooting both stills and videos and cannot afford buying the 70D, the G6 is a good alternative and the image quality is very good too. It’ also makes it very easy to share photos with your friends using Wi-Fi and NFC via your mobile device. The 70D is aimed towards enthusiast photographers who wants an all-in-one great performer, and nothing beats the 70D in that regard. It’s fast and responsive, image and video quality is superb and it’s certainly a great camera to expand your creativity without any hard limitations.
If I had to choose, I would probably would have gone with the X-E2. I liked the look and feel of this camera, it’s high-res EVF, image quality and built-in Wi-Fi. If I was on a tight budget, I would go with the T3 without thinking twice, and spend a bit more for a good prime lens, maybe the 50mm f/1.8 lens.
Which one would you pick and why? — Share your opinion by posting your opinion in the comment section below. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to LIKE.
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