On the face of it comparing these two superb cameras with each other is absurd. The Fuji X-T1 with its 16.3mp APS-C sensor is just not going to be a match a full-frame, 36.3mp sensor in the Nikon D810 -- unless you decide to compare them on equal ground.
I recently began using the D810 instead of the D4 I normally use for all of my lifestyle photography, but for a long time now I have been using the Fuji X-T1 also. I usually do not use the X-T1 for the bulk of the shooting, but have it around to take advantage of its specific features. As I am editing the shoots I am not always paying attention to the camera used for the shot. Every now and then, a shot will jump out at me as being a cut above what I had been working with that day, and invariably it turns out to be an image from the Fuji. In a recent shoot I went back and compared the X-T1 images with the D810 images where there was an overlap of the same subject matter, and was surprised to find that I generally like the X-T1 shots the best. They showed more contrast in deep shadows with a full, pleasing tonal range. I am often pushing the limits of these cameras by doing away with reflector fills in very harsh, back lit situations.
The D810 produces a final 103.4MB file measuring 7360 x 4912, where as the X-T1 delivers a 45.7MB file at 4896 x 3264. This would be about 16" x 25" vs 11" x 16" print size, and at full print size is where the quality difference can be seen. Without some talented massaging of the image it would be difficult to take an X-T1 image up to the 16" x 25" size of the D810 and have them look exactly equal. However, for most of what I do professionally, I don't need the larger file size. Much of my professional work is done for traditional stock where the maximum image requirement is 50MB. That means when I have a D810 image I have to severely down-size it from its original 103MB size, but only have to bump my X-T1 45.7 images up a bit to hit the 50MB mark. So bottom line in these circumstances is how do the images compare at the 50MB size.
Sounds like I'm using a little slight-of-hand in this comparison, but, truth is, we often forget to compare cameras based on the ultimate use of the final images.
All of the images below were brought in from the RAW to the same 50MB size (17.5MP) because that is the size I need to submit. Other than some dodging/burning here and there, no retouching has been done on them. Take a look and see if you can tell the difference between the Nikon D810 and Fuji X-T1 files, and which, if any, you prefer. There are two links below each photos and a key to let you know the results is supplied at the bottom of this post. No fair peeking!
All were shot of the same scene back lit with available daylight. It was a sunny day but occasionally the sun went behind a thin cloud and could cause a slight color shift. The Fuji X-T1 had the Zeiss Touit 50mm f/2.8 macro on it. The Nikon D810 had the 85mm f/1.4 lens.
|Click here to download image A1. Click here to download image A2|
|Click here to download image B1. Click here to download image B2|
|Click here to download image C1. Click here to download image C2|
GUIDE TO THE IMAGES: