A comparison between the Nikon Df and Fuji X-T1 at high ISO settings.

OK. It's seriously grainy and I had to convert it into black and white (green channel only) to get something decent. But look at the ISO setting. ISO 144,815  !!!!! You'll not be surprised to learn that it was taken with my Nikon Df. Now while the Fuji X-T1 doesn't go to those dizzy heights, it is regarded, like the rest of the Fuji X-Trans sensor range of cameras, as a low-light high ISO specialist. So I thought I'd check out just how the two sensors compared when attempting to capture images in very dark conditions. 

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Below are some comparisons between the two cameras at ISO 3200, 6400 and 25600. I used a 24-85mm zoom on the Nikon, the 18-55mm Fujinon zoom on the Fuji. Aperture of f/4 on both.

Now while it's the case the the Nikon Df has more detail in each of the samples, it is astonishing just how good the X-T1 results are. These are certainly the best high ISO files I've ever seen from an APS-C sized sensor and indeed a mirrorless / CSC / E.V.I.L. camera. 

It was in Fuji's initial advertising that they were marketing the X series sensor as something that could give 35mm film size / 'full-frame quality at high ISO's and these tests show that they are pretty close to achieving that. The above are from OOC jpgs. but using raw files gives much the same results. Both sets of raw files are noisier, both in Adobe software and Apps. like Photo Ninja and Iridient Developer and all the raw conversions need noise reduction applied to get a relatively clean image. I use jpgs, as a comparison because of the infinite possibilities available in raw conversion and for my part I'll always use the OOC jpgs. at these high ISO settings anyway.

So for extreme low light work, the Fuji X-T1 is a real viable alternative to cameras like the Df and the Nikon D4. It's not quite as good and it has to borne in mind that Fuji's 'interpretation' of ISO settings is somewhat different to Nikons. By that I mean that the Fuji files, when you look at shutter speeds is probably up to 1/2 stop out. This has been spotted before. In real terms it means that the Fuji is probably at around ISO 2000 when it's set to ISO 3200 compared to the Nikon, if exactly the same shutter speed and aperture are used.

Even so, it's still an extremely impressive performance for what is after all, a significantly smaller sensor. All of this adds weight to the idea that in many ways the Fuji X-T1 is perfectly capable of being using as a professional 'workhorse' camera, capable of handling whatever it's asked to do. Certainly you would be hard pressed to see significant differences in files printed from both these cameras at these high ISO settings. And compared to what I was using to shoot weddings and indoor events not so very long ago, it's a significant step forward in our options to capture the world when the light is less bright than we would want it to be. 

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