My Leica X1 and Fuji X100 Comparison Shots
or “Fuji X100 vs Leica X1″
By Steve Huff
Just got back from my mini road trip today where I took along the Fuji X100 and Leica X1 so I could compare shooting them side by side. I wanted to write about the experience AND the image quality results of both out of camera JPEG and RAW conversions. First off, the light was harsh today so these were all taken between 9:30AM and 2PM, not the best light but still was able to get a feel for each camera and compare them.
What I will do here is post straight from camera JPEG images from each camera, as well as a few processed in RAW and a couple of FULL size samples from RAW. When I show JPEG output, each camera was set to the same color setting. If Velvia on the X100 it was Vivid on the X1. If it was standard on the X1, it was Provia on the X100. IN every comparison the same Aperture was used. For ISO, the base ISO of each camera was used for best image quality. ISO 100 for the X1 and 200 for the X100.
With the RAW comparisons, each shot was processed from RAW with NO ENHANCEMENTS AND NO PP.
NONE OF THE SHOTS HERE, even the out of camera JPEGS, HAVE ANY processing done to them. They are straight from camera.
I’m Loving the EVF of the X100…
While out today I found that the viewfinder of the X100 is a godsend. While framing images in the bright sun it was so much easier to do so with the OVF/EVF compared to the X1′s LCD. On the flip side, the X1 started up much quicker and was ready to shoot when I was. The X100 startup held me up a couple times (even with the fast card you must reformat EVERY TIME you put it in the camera to gain the fast start up speed) but all was good for what I was doing.
I did notice a difference in the output of the cameras though, and I think it will all come down to personal choice.
First, the Poll answers…
On Saturday I posted a side by side picture with a Poll and asked all of you to guess which image was from the Leica X1 and which was from the Fuji X100. The Poll was pretty evenly split and finally the top image broke away with the most votes, meaning that the majority thought the top was from the X1.
Here is the answer…
The top is the X100 image and the Bottom is the X1 image…
More than half of you were wrong here which goes to show that BOTH cameras are capable of fantastic output. To me, the X1 file has LESS distortion in my sons face. In the X100 file, he is suffering a bit more from the big nose syndrome, meaning the barrel distortion is blowing up his face a bit. The X1 is better in this regard without question.
The images above were shot RAW and exported from ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) untouched. Both are at F2.8 and both are sharp but you can see the different color and WB of each image. Personally, I prefer image #2. Someone in the comments pointed out that they thought it had more “soul” and I somewhat agree. I also dislike the distortion in #1.
Oh, as for the 2nd comparison this morning, the TOP image was shot with the X1 and as you guys noticed, my shadow gave it away!
I’ve shot the X1 MANY times and came away with loads of great shots. I’ve shot the X100 A TON over the past three weeks and also have gotten some nice shots.
What it comes down to for me is overall IQ in various situations, control, and usability/joy of use. So how did it go today shooting both? Very good. Each camera gave me good quality results though I must admit, after looking at images side by side, I am preferring the color of the Leica X1. Also, the Leica images are somewhat “crisper”…if that is the right word. BUT the X100 is really just as capable, especially with some PP as you will see later down in this article.
Instead of jabbering on and on, let me post some images so you can see what I mean…
1st – OUT OF CAMERA JPEGS
Many who are shooting these cameras are shooting JPEG, so which camera will give you the nicest out of camera JPEGS? See what you think.
Here is an image shot at f/4. The 1st one is the X100 out of camera JPEG and the 2nd is from the X1.
YOU MUST CLICK ON THE IMAGES TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION OF EACH.
These are not full size as I will post crops below from RAW conversions. These 1st few sets are to give you an idea of color and rendering.
The following are #1 Fuji, #2 X1. In this 1st set of the dog, I DO see a more 3D pop from the Leica shot.
Ok, so that was a ton of JPEG images! After looking through them at the larger sizes (You must click on the image to see the correct version) I do indeed prefer the X1 out of camera JPEG images. I’d go as far to say if your main concern with a camera is the image quality, the X1 wins due to having less distortion and extra pop or crispness in the files.
Then again, I have to keep telling myself that the X100 has the ViewFinder, is cheaper, and has better high ISO capabilities. It also has HD video capability, which can be good to have at times. What if these two cams were the same price? $1200? Id have to go with the X1 just for the image quality being slightly better (to me), in JPEG mode at least.
JPEG output from these cameras is decent with the X1 winning in this area IMO.
Processed from RAW files
The next couple of samples were processed from RAW. No PP was done to these. This shot was at f/2.8
Full Size from RAW, shot at f/8
1st the Fuji X100- – Click image for full 12 Megapixel image
Now the X1
So which do you prefer? The two shots above were taken at f/8 and to me, when I view the full size version, the X100 is sharper and shows more detail in the trees at the top. At the same time, the X1 image seems a little more “lively” and less flat. Or is it just me?
But look at this one, two more full size images shot at f/5.6. What is going in with the Fuji on the left side?
So what about “Usability”?
After shooting both the X1 and X100 side by side I have to say it was a draw. I loved the Viewfinder of the X100. If the X1 had one, built in, like the X100′s EVF/OVF it would be game over for me. X1 would be my choice HANDS DOWN. As it is, the X100 was a joy to use mainly due to being able to frame with the EVF (I still prefer the EVF over the OVF) in the harsh AZ sunlight.
At times I had a hard time framing the X1 due to the LCD being washed out from the sun.
On the other hand, the X1 was always ready to roll and started up quick. The X100 took a few seconds to get ready to shoot, maybe 5-8 seconds. Unless you reformat the memory card every time you put it in the X100 you will get a slow start up. This seems like a bug that needs to be fixed with a Firmware update.
Usability wise, I loved the X1 for its no nonsense settings and straight forward menu (which I never needed to get into really) as well as the sleek design and light weight.
Focus speed was similar for both with the nod going to the X100 for AF speed, but not by much. I am using Firmware V2 on the X1 and while it seems a tiny but faster than before, the X100 seems a little quicker still.
Both cameras were fun to shoot and carry. Build wise, they are about equal. In my X100 review I mentioned the X100 was built slightly better but really, they are about equal. The X1 is one handsome camera in black and when staring at both side by side, I prefer the clean lines of the X1. I also love the X100 design though the X1 seems more “classy” and the X100 more “retro”.
Id be happy with either camera. The X100 has the f2 lens, better high ISO performance at 3200 (less grain, but smoother image), HD video, EVF/OVF, and manual aperture and exposure comp dial. All for $1199. The X1 has a sleeker design, faster operation, slight better IQ (IMO) and comes with a nicer leather strap :) $1999 but deals may be found here and there if you look around.
If you are looking for an X100 you can try B&H photo as they get stock from time to time. If you are looking for a Leica X1 (sexy in black) Leica dealer Ken Hanson has TWO in stock now. He sent me this one for this comparison, so thanks Ken! You can e-mail him HERE.
My final conclusion? YOU DECIDE! Look at the images, the color, the rendering and body style/features and price. I love both but am giving the IQ nod to the X1 and usability nod to the X100 due to the viewfinder.
The images presented in this article so far have been without post-processing. Below are three images from each camera, that have been converted from RAW and slight processing applied. They are in random order but each pic is stamped with the name of the camera that shot the image…click on them for the 1600 pixel wide much better versions.
So, do any of you see much difference in these processed pics?
I didn’t shoot too much high ISO but did see that at ISO 3200 the X1 has quite a bit more noise but the image is SHARP and retains all the detail. The X100 seems to use NR so the files are smoother and less noise. Here is one I processed to B&W. In real use, not much difference but the X1 has that crispness I sometimes see…
UPDATE: This comparison is CONTINUED HERE with 10 FULL size images processed from RAW files!
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