Light is Everything!

Fuji vs. Nikon Color


I read a photography blog post the other day where the author responded to the general claim that Fuji’s colour reproduction is magical. He claimed that the consensus of celebrity pro-togs who love Fuji have their heads up their posteriors. It’s all hear say and media hype. Now, I love Nikon and I also love Fuji (specifically the X100s). I’ve had great success with both. But is the colour really that much better on the magical Fuji? Well I had the opportunity to really test that out today at my daughters birthday party. One of the fun activities was making bead necklaces. So we had lots of different coloured beads available. I brought my cameras and here’s the skinny. 😎

Caveat: Any of these “scientific” colour tests are inherently skewed because it’s impossible to get everything the same across camera platforms. Lenses are different, sensors are different, blah blah blah. You get the idea. 🙂

I normalized the cameras as much as I could across the settings and exposures. I decided that I would use an on camera flash to bounce the same exact light across each exposure. The frame is lit entirely by flash with no ambient bleed. The settings were: JPEG files straight out of camera with no editing whatsoever (other than the down sample of the full res files to 1024px). Fuji was on factory Provia and Nikon was on factory Standard settings.  1/250 f4 35mm ISO 200 WB Sunny/Fine. SB-600 Speedlight on Camera zoomed to 35mm shot in Manual mode at 1/32 power for both. FujiFilm X100s (23mm = ~35mm on FX) vs Nikon D800 with 16-35mm f/4 AF-S VR. Take a look at the results and see for yourself.





I put the photos side by side in Lightroom and did screen captures. I didn’t downsize the D800 so they don’t line up. I put them both at 1:1 just to compare the colour. In all the shots, the Nikon file is on the left side.

So, what do you think? I noticed that there was about a 1/3 stop exposure difference between the two files. I made the histograms the same in post and brought the Nikon exposure down -.35 in Lightroom – but that difference is not shown here. These are all SOOC. Even with the slight exposure tweak, the files to my eye are different. The Fuji has an extra little bit of contrast and pop straight out of camera. And whatever it is, this magical Fuji special sauce is what all the Fuji hype is about. 😎 Just look at the difference in the pinks (read SKIN TONES), it’s quite remarkable!


4 responses

  1. Bill

    So…I’m not imagining things! I had a Pentax K-r for a long time, until it died. I went without a SLR for a year or so and came across a good deal on a Nikon D7000. I like the camera, but the colors don’t “pop” quite like the Pentax did. The K-r would take superb photos of flowers on overcast days, and the Nikon’s are so-so.

    I know it’s in the post-processing somewhere. Now that I know I’m not insane I’ll have to start hunting.

    May 20, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    • It’s true. From what I’ve seen with Pentax there is very contrasty colour. Much more than Nikon!

      May 26, 2016 at 5:18 pm

  2. photomon

    I have shot both Pentax and Nikon (not at the same time — the stolen Pentax was replaced with a Nikon). I never did any technical analysis but the Pentax images seemed a bit more soulful to me, albeit with noticeably less resolution and sharpness (replaced the APS-C Pentax with the D800, so this goes without saying).

    I wonder how much this has to do with the camera and how much it has to do with the glass? (The mojo, the magic, whatever you call it.) I primarily (pun intended) shot with Pentax Limited lenses. They were nice lenses, especially the 35mm Macro. I bought into Pentax before they dramatically raised lens prices so I was able to purchase quite a few of those Limited lenses with the camera. Those were the days… (the lenses were stolen as well…. sad emoticon here)

    August 18, 2016 at 12:04 am

    • Sorry to hear about the theft! From what I’ve seen of Pentax I’d agree. Definitely more heart in the images. That extra image snap is discernible. I think certain glass does impact the image with distinct oh look and feel. But I think the XTrans sensor really parses colour nuance incredibly well.

      August 18, 2016 at 12:09 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.