Jun 162011
 

Crazy Comparison! The Leica M9 with 35 Summicron vs the Fuji X100

By Steve Huff

I have been getting emails for a few weeks now asking me to post some full size images from the Leica M9/35 Summicron vs the Fuji X100…side by side shots, same settings, etc. What some of you want to see is just how the little X100 stacks up against the Leica $10,000 combo in the image quality department. This comparison will ONLY be on image quality as the usability of each camera is WAY different.

The M9 is a manual rangefinder camera and the Fuji is pretty much a point & shoot, though a very nice point & shoot. I have been shooting both while here in Tallinn, Estonia and I have to say that the little X100 has been a joy to use. Quick, easy, and reliable. I can’t help but imagine what would happen if Fuji released this in all black WITH the capability of interchangeable lenses. Something like an X200 with a 24, 35, 50 and 90 f2 set of lenses. Wow.

On the other hand, the Leica M9 still shoots and feels like a “real” camera. I have  that “bond” with it that is hard to beat. When you have this bond, and the took becomes a part of your eyes and brain, then it is  tough to beat in actual use. BUT, if the Fuji can come close to the M9 and 35 cron, it would be cheaper to buy an X100 instead of a 35 and take the savings for another lens! Then again, if you own and love your M9 and have no need for a 2nd camera, then the 35 cron would be the best bet as it is a superb lens as is every Leica 35mm.

Also, let me note that my M9 and lenses just came back from Leica last week where they calibrated the camera and lenses, so the focus is dead on.

Lets see how it goes…

Before I get to the pictures I have to say that Tallinn has been AMAZING! Such an awesome place to just walk and roam. I walked 8 miles yesterday, and a few hours today and enjoyed every second of it. From the cobblestone streets of Old Town to the even more scenic things we saw off the beaten path. Tallinn Estonia is full of life, great people and GREAT light!

The images below were converted from RAW using Adobe Camera Raw. You can see the full size file by clicking on the images (for those that have a full size file).

Ok, first up..FULL SIZE FILE COMPARISONS with CROPS

Leica M9 – f/2 – click image for full size RAW conversion

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Fuji X100 – f/2 – click image for full size RAW conversion

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Leica M9 – f/4 – click for full size image

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Fuji X100 – f/4  - click for full size

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Leica M9 – Click for FULL size image! I have to admit, I prefer the X100 version!

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Fuji X100 – f2.8 – click image for full size

and the crops if you cant download the full file..

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Leica M9 – f/2 – click image for full size

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Fuji X100 – f/2 – Click image for full size (see the slight distortion)?

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Lets stop it down….Leica M9 – f8 – click image for full size!

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Fuji X100 – f/8

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and some crops. You can see the M9 gets the prize for detail but at $1200 for the X100 and $10k for the M9, in the IQ department, the Fuji does quite well.

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So what are your thoughts?

My thoughts are that the X100 is quite the little camera if shooting 35mm is your thing! Sure, the M9 is better but is it $8800 better in regards to Image Quality alone? NO it is not. Add to this that the high ISO is better on the X100 and this makes the X100 the buy of the freaking year in digital camera land.

My M9 is not going anywhere though :)

A Fun Test – Can you tell which image came from which camera?

The EXIF info is intact so you can cheat, and I am not doing this as any sort of contest but look over the following images and see if you can tell which came from which camera. When sized down (you can click them for a larger 1400 pixel wide version) it gets tougher to  see the differences.

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My quick thoughts on the IMAGE QUALITY ONLY of the M9/35 and X100..

  • M9 files are bigger, more megapixels at 18 vs 12
  • M9 files will be somewhat smoother and noise free at full 100% view
  • Metering seems spot on with the X100 due to its three metering modes
  • White Balance is better on the X100, no question
  • M9 files can be sharper if focus is nailed
  • X100 has some distortion, 35 cron doesn’t really have any!

Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments below! If you are looking to buy an X100, you can try HERE or HERE. The M9 can be found HERE, HERE or through Ken Hansen at [email protected]!

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  143 Responses to “Crazy Comparison! Leica M9 and 35 Summicron ASPH vs the Fuji X100”

  1. That is scary shocking, and no doubt the folks at Leica are scrambling. The M series, like you said, will always have a place but it is downright difficult to tell the difference. In some cases, I actually prefer the X100 to the ‘cron/M9.

    If I am Leica I am dumping some serious resources into the X2.

    • In many of these comparisons (closeups of walls and so on) even a small sensor point and shoot will compare well. A more telling comparison involves distant scenery with fine foliage. Take the aerial shot, for instance. In this comparison the X100 renders all the foliage of the trees as mush. The M9, on the other hand, renders all the fine detail with amazing clarity and detail.

      • That is simply because M9 have more pixels and therefore more details :) but do you think its worth $9K more ?

  2. Interesting results. They are very close but the M9 just wins out for me. The bokeh has more of a unique Leica look I think.

  3. The M9 wins out, but like you said, the Fuji is so much cheaper, and the results are fantastic. Both lovely cameras. There are some photos from the Fuji which I find better than the Leica, but overall, the M9 takes the prize. That Fuji is one gorgeous camera too.

  4. Very informative. Leica just seems to have that je ne c’est que. But if on a budget the fuji seems to deliver very nice images. If price were no object, definetly the M9 (my dream can). Thanks for sharing , now i have another option camera option , while i dream of leica.

    • There are many, many cameras out there that will compare favorably to both these. And all will most likely cost less than the M9 Leica. But the Leica M9 itself also compares favorably to many medium format digital cameras.

      The truth is that unless you enlarge these images to beyond 24″x36,” you won’t have a chance to see any significant difference… and, unless such enlargements are important to you, there’s really little reason to prefer one over the other.

  5. 1) Leica
    2) Leica
    3) Fuji
    4) Fuji
    5) Leica
    6) Fuji
    7) Fuji
    8) Fuji
    9) Leica
    10) Fuji
    11) Leica
    12) Fuji
    13) Fuji
    14) Leica

    What do I win? :)

  6. i own a fuji, but have to admit the summicron looks better.

    • I own the Leica, but I have to admin the Fuji is damn right impressive.

    • The Fuji’s exposure is consistently brighter in the first several shots (like it was when Steve did the X1 comparison). Adjust the histograms to similar levels and they would be very hard to differentiate (other than white balance – which too can be tweaked). The M9 is warmer by default.

      I wouldn’t call the X100 the poor man’s M9 (because $1200 is still a lot of money) and it doesn’t have interchangeable lenses. But if the M9 is shooting with the 35 cron, the X100 files can be made to look all but identical until you pixel peep.

      Thanks Steve. I’m loving my X100.

      Wonder when/if we will ever see some company make a high quality 2X tele or wide angle screw on lens adapter for the X100.

  7. I didn’t even try to distinguish which shots were from the M9 vs the X100 since they all looked good to me. I am however astonished at how photogenic that town is. Nice job.

  8. To me it looks like at f/2, the Fuji’s actually better, at least near the image borders. But at f/4 and further, the Leica trumps it. But impressive nevertheless. If only the Fuji had 3-4 changable lens options instead of one fixed. Didn’t Fuji big shots actually mention somewhere that they’re testing the waters with this and who knows, they might release an exchangable lens one. I sure hope so.

  9. For real life photography I cant make out the difference. I mean when beauty is being captured or a story being told, both cameras will work great.
    I love your picture of the arch with the green window…

  10. great test and know what you mean about the leica……..btw hope you hadn’t forgotten to shoot the seal concert whilst doing all these amazing articles and insights on the gear. i am sure he’d understand though

  11. I’m really impressed with the Fuji X100. The Leica however wins me over for detail.
    They are both impressive though.

    I still want an M9.

    • @John.
      ….from that link: “Get a 28MP or 36MP sensor into an M10, which will not only deliver more detail, but reduce the excessive aliasing problems.”

      I dont think it makes a difference. Just do the framing correctly the first time, then there is no need for cropping huge pictures with many MP. Also a lot of Mega pixels does not necessarily do anything to enhance image quality. And think about storage – the raw files would be huge.

  12. I am just a pure amateur but it’s also in the hands that hold the camera… And the vision behind it. I would go for Leica, as always. I don’t want an M9 first because I cannot afford it. Then, because even if I could, I have to “grow up” a lot before even thinking about it.
    Cheers!

  13. I think people are missing the point. Obviously the M9 is a winner in terms of the quality of imagery it can output. The astonishing (and exciting) part is that the x100 is so good that it CAN be compared to the M9 in terms of IQ. Winner or not, it’s a tremendous feat for Fuji.

    And I completely agree.. an x200 with interchangeable lens…. I’d sell off my pro gear.

    • i’ve already sold my D90 and lens :)

      but what is missing to the Fuji, is an adapter for a wider angle.
      anyway can still use it for interior shot, just have to stich the photo…

      Y

    • I don’t think that we will immediately see the x200 until Fuji has developed a line of lens specific to the “X” series. Sure they could have easily made the X100 interchangeable right off the bat, but in terms of business strategy and intended market only leica will benefit from this move. Let’s face it a lot of people are frustrated because they could not use their precious Leica lens on it. Imagine saving a heap of cash from just buying the fuji and a lot left to buy the Leica lens. To the consumer this would be heaven but not beneficial to the company as they would ultimately driving the sales to another brand.

      The most effective way of getting customer to sticK with you aside from quality of performance of a product is if he is heavily invested in your equipment. You wouldn’t be changing brands as easily if you have already spent $10K, 20K, etc on your lenses and brand specific equipments among other things would you? That is why almost all mounting adapters are made by independent brands.

      I’d say best scenario is if Fuji and Leica sit down and work together, just like they did with the pana_leica cams but considering the FUJIFilm camera division is small compared to panasonic, it will be hard for this to happen.

    • Even more astonishing and exciting is that my DLUX5 is so good that it CAN be compared to my X100 in term of IQ !!!

      In many of these comparisons (closeups of walls and so on) even a small sensor point and shoot will compare well. A more telling comparison involves distant scenery with fine foliage. Take the aerial shot, for instance. In this comparison the X100 renders all the foliage of the trees as mush. The M9, on the other hand, renders all the fine detail with amazing clarity and detail.

      • Vin,

        That is not too far off the mark actually. A very good PS (Panasonic LX5, Canon S90) will look good for a lot of outdoor shots in good light, although there are still teeny-sensor artifacts — it is like shooting around ISO800 on an APS-C sensor. However, as soon as you get out of the base ISO around 50 or 80 it falls apart quickly. Also, the colors can be a little blech at ISO80, and totally puketastic at ISO800, there’s only one choice for DOF (very deep), and there are also handling issues.

        With all that said, I have definitely been appreciating my S90 these days, even the lowlight mode, which is rather dirty and lores of course but no worse than TMAX3200.

        I’d like to see a fixed-lens PS with a 35-40mm equivalent field of view. Maybe they could make a f/1.4 or even f/1.0 lens.

    • I am not sure if an interchangeable lens option will be necessarily better. I believe that it is the customized lens and processor pairing that allows the Fuji to deliver images with such high IQ. The Fuji is not a primary camera, it is meant to supplement your more serious kit when the situation demands (e.g. street photography). I would never throw away my Nikon kit with its excellent 105 portrait lens just for this camera, however, I would use the Fuji extensively for all situations where that kind of precision is not required.

    • … or perhaps an X2 with interchangeable lens. Then sell off your pro gear.
      Better yet, Leica and Fuji should pair up for the next X2/200. Nothing can beat the Fuji’s proprietary optical/electronic viewfinder combo. So too, nothing can beat Leica’s elegance and simplicity, well, that is until Apple comes out with an iCamera. ; )

      • Hmmm … the last time Germany and Japan paired up, things got a lil messy.

        • That’s right! But at the end both were the big, defeated losers (not for long though, economy wise at least!)
          Sadly, no French or Russion can even play in photo equipment field, so let the Germans and Japanese compete rather than unite.

  14. Steve – Wonderful test, and a lot of really amazing pictures!

    Honestly, the x100 delivers amazing results. The M9 might have a tiny edge in terms of details (as it should, with a full frame sensor!) but honestly, for real life photography, there is no way the M9′s image quality results are worth $8800 more than the x100. Anybody saying anything else is just deluded.

    Sure, if you want the RF experience, and you love the brand and like some luxury, the Leica might be worth that money to some people. But image quality-wise? There just is no justification. The x100 is almost equal, and in some regards actually better (like white balance, for example).

  15. thank you Steve for the comparison.
    I would love to see the same shoot-out by night in really low light situations with iso at about 1600 (and more) , I am very curious about the result :)

  16. Interesting comparison! That Leica does some amazing stuff. Shocker.

    Steve, I am curious about your experience and methods using the x100. It is essentially a fancy point and shoot, but I find when I’m using it in full manual mode it is more work than a dSLR and it slows me down because of its combination of manual dials and menu diving.

    Did you shoot full manual with it, or put it in semi-auto, shoot, and adjust if need be? I’m just curious about how it actually would operate if treated as a point and shoot with little user input.

    If these are questions that don’t belong in a conversation about image quality, I apologize! I just can’t stop thinking about it.

    • Adam,

      I don’t think, from your comment, that you are considering this x100 as it should be. (IMO)

      If you want a quick and efficient camera, why choosing this kind of equipment ?

      A Lumix could be faster and way much easier to use if you’re looking for a good point and shoot.

      A D300s could produce image quite as good as a X100, with the advantage of a way much more efficient AF and much more possibility in term of lenses.

      When comparing this X100 to a M9 (thank you btw for this great great test !), Steve is comparing two cameras with a close philosophy : a camera to be used when you’ve got more than 4 seconds in front of you to make the picture.

      You don’t have a zoom on it, do you consider that you will loose time when walking to arrange your frame ? Don’t think so…

      The Leica is a viewfinder camera so the usual use of it is not at a F1 speed… (except when using in hyperfocal a war scene, but it’s not my daily activity…), I think that the X100 follow the same idea : take your time, think a bit and walk a lot !

  17. I am not surprised by the comparison. However, I have the X100, the X1, and the M9, and I am still struggling to bond with the X100 – just too many menus and options compared to the Leicas.

    I really have more fun using the X1 and M9. Sean Reid just published an interesting article on using the X100 at an event – he found the X100 very difficult to use for manual focusing, and described how using it in autofocus made him miss many shots and caused people to notice him more since the camera took longer to shoot. Still, I am not ready to give up on the X100 since the output is so good, and I do like some of the options like the ND filter and movie mode….

  18. Steve seems to remember that this comparison is only about IQ in which both cameras are great. However, while the Leica is $8800 more, there are many things that go into that money other than IQ…some of these things are qualitative, some are ergonomical, some are technical. The X100 was built from the ground up, while Leica had basically shove a digital camera into a 50 year old body. If people read into all of the design obstacles that Leica had to overcome with the digital M, the fact that their cameras are not mass produced, and that they are even nicer feeling in your hand then the X100, they might understand the price more. That said, it’s a luxury product and not a mainstream consumer product and that means it IS overpriced…and will continue to be regardless of what other manufactuers choose to make and release, Leica is not a great example of a value proposition, but they still do well.

  19. I have seen some very nice shots taken with the X100 but I would choose the M9 again over the Fuji. The M9/Lux 50 asph combo is quite amazing, some of the shots I get are astonishing and I just love using that camera, which is very important for me.

  20. As always, Steve, kudos! I’m thinking that the M9 is more like a Maybach and the X100 a 3-series BMW?? Bad analogy? Can you come up with a better automobile analogy?

  21. I contend that much of the X100′s excellent performance is a result of its sensor’s micro-lenses being designed to match the angle of the light rays as they exit the lens rear element.

    Different locations on the sensor use different micro-lenses and the micro-lenses are specific to the properties of the 23 mm lens. The X100 is not just an OVF/EVF compact body using the standard DLSR/APS-C design.

    For this reason, an X100 body with interchangeable lenses would no longer have anything to do with an X100. There may be an EVF/OVF body that employs the stabdard APS-C micro-lens configuration. There may be a X100 camera with a different fixed focal length in the future. I have no expectation there will ever be a X100 camera with interchangeable lenses.

    I some times wonder if people realize how long the X100′s lens really is. This is not a pancake lens and the distance between the lens rear element and the sensor is surprisingly short (much like the M8 and M9).

  22. Hello Steve,

    It is so nice to have you here in my hometown – Tallinn – performing this very interesting test between Leica and Fuji. Fuji really delivers such wonderful pics and hopefully Leica will answer in return of making something similar or even better in their X line.
    But as it is said many times already about those small cameras which can be real good alternatives to the big DSLR cameras to walk around and to take the nice pics which needs not the big outprints.
    I’m happy with my Leica D-Lux 5 too :))
    Here’s some samples: http://www.flickr.com/photos/56252317@N04/

  23. U have gone x100 crazy u got stock in the company? in the right hands an iPhone 4 can look good
    It’s usually about the glass and the persons eye I use an m9 because it forces me to be a better photographer I have owned most of the 4\3 cameras they don’t come close and all have major limitations I find the m9 almost like using any film rangefinder

  24. Thanks Steve, ive made up my mind…saving $8800.00 and buying a ticket to Europe and bringing my new love MISS FUJI X100 ;)

  25. Here’s my .02. The M9 photos seem to have more dynamic range. This translates into more highlight detail (top right wall in first photo) as well as a little bit more in the shadows (detail in clothing and stand in second shot). The Fuji shots look too contrasty in comparison. And the Fuji greens do not look as natural, perhaps they contain a bit too much cyan (trees on bottom left of third shot). A few Photoshop adjustments could make the M9 shots look like the Fuji shots but you will never get the Fuji shots to look like the Leica shots.
    Still, the Fuji’s performance is impressive.

    • hmm I don’t agree with that… in fact, in the first shot, right above the blue umbrella, the x100 shot has more shadow detail.

      • yes, Leica underexposes every shot when compared with x100 and therefore the illusion of wider dynamic range is created. I am not arguing that doesn’t have better DR but from the comparison shots here this can’t be concluded

    • Not that it means a lot (I don’t care too much for DxOMark) but according to DxOMark the x100 has better DR than the M9 – 12.4 EVs versus 11.7 Evs.

      Anyway, I had the x100 for 5 days and sold it again. I was I bit disappointed with the output. Maybe because I thought it would be a lot closer to the IQ of my D700, but unfortunately it didn’t even come close. My first reaction was that the X100 is more like a Nikon D90 or maybe not even as good regarding image quality.

      I guess the same is true when comparing to the M9, but I must admit that the images presented here are pretty close in IQ – even if I think that most of the M9 images looks better.

      Maybe I should have used the X100 a month or so to really get to know it like Steve suggested in a previous post.

    • all details and DR can be altered by lightroom or aperture… fact is M9 users love to present their pictures in Black and White…. and X100 users love to shoot color…. what does that say? M9 has more detail and depth (due to bigger sensor and higher resolution)…. X100 has better default color rendering….

      but after bring all pictures to lightroom or aperture…. M9 win.

      • yes, I think X100 have better and accurate color rendering compared to M9
        “when unaltered”.
        especially skin tone…. but when people can afford M9 or X100, they will have enough money to afford lightroom or aperture.

  26. There”s not a lot of bokeh from the x100. People simulate it and most of the time, it never comes out right even if best attempt is tried.

    • Bokeh isn’t everything…

      • I didn’t buy my X100 for bokeh comparisons. I bought it for street photography use and stealth shooting. I sold my great bokeh camera: Canon 1Ds MkII w/ 50mm f1.2 because too many people were simply aware of that tank before I even look through it to take any picture. And the money I saved from not buying an M9, I took a trip to Japan, Thailand and Mexico. I’ve had my X100 for 4 months now, and it travels with me everywhere.

  27. Fuji, I hope you are listening. Less is more. That’s what will take this camera from great to fantastic.

  28. Dangit Steve.. Now I’m wondering if my M system is worth it.

  29. Wow..thanks for the comparison, Steve….the X100 IS impressive!!!!!!!

  30. Everytime a comparison like this comes up, I try very very hard to justify to myself that spending the 4 x to 5 x $$$ on Leica M and lenses is worth it….until I pick up the M9 and start shooting with it, then all doubts are gone. Shooting experience is a joy in itself, and digital wise, not many cameras can match the joyful experience of shooting a Leica M (R-D1 comes very close though).

    Fanboy rambling aside, X100 is a sexy camera.

  31. The responses this “comparison” has received so far are really interesting because so many people are actually taking it seriously, like its a real comparison, which I guess does say a lot about the X100.

    I’ve owned a M9 and now own a X100 and to me there is no question the M9 is the better camera. In terms of IQ (high ISO aside) I don’t really even see how it could even be a question. I mean not to knock the X100, its great and I love mine, but there is nothing “better” about the X100 in any way.

    Detail, sharpness, clarity, overall drawing style of the lens, bokeh et al are better with the M9.

    I mean can anyone actually say they think the X100 looks sharper ? No, because its not. It simply doesn’t resolve as well as the M9.

    X100 sensor is very good, but the M9 sensor is excellent as well and has 12 vs 18 megs.

    X100 lenses is very good, but the M9′s 35 Cron is excellent as well and given its a true 35mm on a FF sensor, instead of a 23mm on a 1.5x crop sensor, its going to be able to produce a shallower DOF effect.

    There really is not contest in this comparison, rather a known conclusion known before it even started.

    However, it is pretty interesting that so many people actually can see some room for debate, and what that means to me is while the M9 is no doubt better, the margin is surprisingly less that one would expect with a $1200 vs $10000 camera kit.

    That $8800 of course is the real variable as well.

    You can certainly look at the two images and judge edge performance, fine detail rendering etc, but its pretty hard to keep the $8800 out of the back of your mind.

    Am I seeing better detail in the Leica shot,or am I seeing what is still very good overall detail in the X100 shot and realizing that there is also $8800 left in my bank account ?

    If money wasn’t an issue I’d have a M9 still, no question, but money is an issue, a big issue.
    $8800 to me is something I notice far more than the differences between two images of different cameras.

    So one really has to stop and think if they are seeing just a difference in pure IQ or if they are also seeing some dollar signs in these images.

    • There’s no doubt that people take these comparisons seriously. Some are even “scared and shocked”. And all seem to miss the point. The M9 is not a fixed lens camera. The price premium buys a lot more than just higher detail. The M9 allows you to shoot with a vast array of amazing lenses. I would never leave home without a 21mm or a fast 50.

      • Thats certainly true Vin. Being able to use different focal lengths is a huge feature for some users. Other users still value different focal lengths so that they use a DSLR over a M9 because they want to shoot at longer than 135mm. Everyones got really different taste and needs.

        I went with a 18, 35, 50 and 90 setup with my M9 though found I really enjoyed shooting the 35 Biogon about 75% or more of the time. The Zeiss 18 and Elmarit 90 were both fantastic lenses as well, but they really stayed in the bag for me much of the time, only getting mounted for specific shots and I always sort of worried I’d miss something and be way too wide or tight with them mounted. If only I could walk around with TWO m9′s!

        For me, seeing that I really enjoyed the 35mm focal length, and that my bank account really couldn’t justify the m9, I felt pretty confident selling the m9 and going with the X100. Lets me shoot in a similar style and with the focal length of my liking, so it was a great camera for me.

        For other though, while the price is great, if the focal length isn’t to your liking, then its just not a good buy. Sure you saved some money but you still spent $1200 for a camera with a focal length you might not like. I’d rather have a camera I can’t afford but enjoy shooting in that case.

        If you like the focal length though, and don’t think you’ll miss wider or longer lenses, or maybe can’t really budget for more than a m9 w/ single lens, X100 is worth a try though.

        Being able to fill your needs and save $8000 or more is a pretty big win/win in my book

    • Ken Rockwell says that X100 has better color rendition than M9. Link: http://www.kenrockwell.com/fuji/x100.htm

      • Is he the guy that has been posting images of his kids for the past 10 years?

        • But is Mr Rockwell wrong though in this?

          I’m a complete Leica nut but even I concede that straight out of the camera the Leica M8/8.2/9 does not always produce the most pleasing colours compared to many other digital cameras (Why my old Ricoh GRD II does a better job of that) and that you almost always have to work at them in post.

          The Fuji X100 (as much as it pains me to say it myself) produces far more pleasing colours straight outta the camera and this in JPEG too! Why, my ancient old Nikon D2X “usually” produces far better colours from the camera than my Leica’s – IMHO. But of course the Leica digital M is an entirely different animal in so many respects and users accept that and work(harder) with it to get the best from the cameras wonderful capture ability.

          Rockwell may say many crazy things from time to time but in this matter (again IMHO) he is 100% correct and it’s pretty easy to see. But YMMV as ever of course. :)

        • Thats a riot !

          Very aptly commented .

          He is generally considered a broken clock right twice a day !

        • Thats a a low blow… not that I am a fan of Kens, but from what little I have seen on his website there is nothing wrong his images. Also, his X100 review did not say anything very different from what the others are saying or have already said about this camera.

  32. [...] Mr Huff got an interesting article up.. one of his crazy m9 vs Crazy Comparison! Leica M9 and 35 Summicron ASPH vs the Fuji X100 | STEVE HUFF PHOTOS [...]

  33. Remember….this is with just the one lens on the M9. If that is all you shoot (35) then perhaps this is more meaningful. But I am not going to orgasm over a 35 cron when I shoot a 35 cron 30% of the time. I enjoy my M9 and don’t mind spending the $ on it. I will be in Tallin in early September (and Berlin and Helsinki). So you can have the camera AND the experience. It doesn’t have to be an either or thing.

  34. If one cannot tell the difference between the 10,000 and the 1,200 camera, what’s the point.

    • If one cannot tell the difference between these two cameras then one shouldn’t even be spending $1200 on camera. One should save $1000 and buy oneself a $200 camera. Because it will look just as good.

      • So handling means nothing ? A photographer who perhaps enjoys shooting with a RF styled camera, but who perhaps either isn’t experienced in post processing or simply doesn’t care about pixel peeping on in the internet like the rest of us here should be stuck with a $200 point and shoot ??

        Seems a little crazy to me. I think plenty of photographers, some quite talented even, could enjoy a X100 simply for its OVF and familiar design.

        Saying that any camera is only for pixel peepers or measurbaters is just silly

  35. So there are only two reasons to purchase a Leica
    (1) Money means nothing.
    (2) You will buy anything with the Leica name.

  36. Another interesting comparison to get the blood pumping in the comments section but I’m going to be good and just say, nice photos Steve.

  37. One day, some unscrupulous blogger will post a review of a Leica product, with a bunch of sample images. Everyone will comment on how much they love the ‘classic Leica rendering,’ and a day later, the blogger will disclose that they were all shot with something that does not pass for neck jewelry. Half the Leica guys will scramble for excuses and rationalizations and the other half will simply pretend it all never happened. And, all of them will continue to buy Leica products so that they can be sure never to be confused with the riff-raff.

    • CK Dexter Haven makes a salient point. I was once tempted to do something ‘unscrupulous’ like that. Some years ago, with photographs taken with an old point and shoot 6 mega pixel Pentax Optio, I decided to try to create the look in a series of my pictures of an old 19th century plate camera and then as a kind of April Fool’s joke, publish them. In the pictures, I purposely would leave some contemporary clue as to the real date the picture was taken – a cell phone in a corner of a table, for example. Well, I did not have enough leisure time to complete the project so it rather fell to the wayside. But, I am pretty sure that I would have indeed fooled quite a number of people. Maybe I will resuscitate the project one day…
      The photograph here is a ferrotype taken in the Paris back-streets around 1857 with a hand made plate camera signed: ‘fabriqués par Charles A. Pentaxman à Optio 1840′ ;)
      [img]http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/oldsteps.jpg[/img]

    • haha that’s hilarious, and so spot on!! :-)

      • Very true. I think alot of people have missed the idea of photography completely. Many seem hung up of name brands and models before actually producing moving/telling pictures. Its sad that many fail to realize…cameras are only a tool regardless of price. It’s not how big you have it, it’s how good you work it.

  38. Fun and interesting article, and no doubt the X100 is a good “point and shoot”, but no real alternative to the M9 if money is no problem
    For me, M9 and rangefinder a lifestyle that can not be found with the X100. But the X100 and M9 is a great combination – until there comes a Leica X2 – it never ends :o)

    But in the end, I love my M9, and not least, Leica lenses

    • Ib M brings up a good point that for some, the M is in fact a lifestyle choice, sometimes more than a camera, and I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that.

      Plenty of things in life can be thought of as lifestyle choices more than simple product ownership. A Harley Davidson motorcycle for example.

      Good bike, but really not any better than a Honda Shadow etc. Lots of well made bikes with all the same features and looks as a HD these days.

      However what those bikes don’t have is the ability to say your a Harley guy. That certain kinship with everyone else that wears a HD tshirt etc.

      That connection when you see another HD rider on the highway

      Thats as much what some people are buying into with with either a Harley or a Leica

      It puts you among a rather elite group of photographers and can build friendships etc.

      I mean how cool is it that people here can actually talk with someone like Seal via a message forum because of a common interest in Leica cameras ??

      Very cool if you ask me!

      I of course had a Shadow 750 instead of a $30k HD, and I’ve now gone to a X100 as I couldn’t really afford the M9 with going back for grad school and all the money thats costing me.

      I’d certainly rather ride a true Harley though and I’d love to have a m9 and a Nocti in my saddlebag. Not going to happen right now, maybe again someday. I’m sure I’ve not owned by last M series

      Back to the point though, one really can’t ignore than intangible sense of ownership that certain brands/products bring. Its a luxury, and not surprisingly such things are called luxury items or luxury brands.

      Nothing wrong with that, I mean who doesn’t enjoy some luxury in life right ? But it does go a ways to helping understand a bit of the mindset of some users who may seem a bit overly defensive

      Try to claim that the latest Yamaha Star line of bikes are better values, better made, have more power and a better ride than a HD and people will be up in arms, just like some M users might not a suggestion that a $1200 Japanese P&S is a viable rival for SOME people.

      Not all of course, I’m not grouping all M users together of course, but just trying to explain a little of the mentality that we sometimes see on these forums and others

      All just human nature really

      Cheers

  39. Hi Steve
    First let me state I am a Leica owner/user
    BUT
    Every forum and site as endless lists of users sending (a great expense_ the bodies/lenses for re-calibration. service/repair – I do see or experience this with other makes.

    30/40/50 years ago the frame lines were excellent-these days poor in comparison to modern DSLRs, X100, EP-2 EVF et al.

    $10,000 with no dioptre correction without spending more money.
    Just a thought

    David

    • David, I think there are plenty of DSLR etc shooters sending bodies in. When I had a Canon 1D mk3 I sent that thing in more times than I’d like.

      Many DSLR shooters send a body in yearly for cleaning and calibration.

      Now, true they don’t require it as much, but thats just the nature of the mechanical RF design.

      Its one of the reasons most people don’t use RF’s anymore, its a bit of an outdated technology and it is prone to get knocked out of alignment etc. Its just an old design, that still works, but that can’t escape its limitations

      Its like driving an old classic car. Its very fun, and the simple mechanics are kind of cool, really makes you appreciate the very act of driving, however, you can’t expect that car to go 30,000 miles with nothing more than putting gas in the tank, like a modern Toyota.

      65 GTO is going to take some wrench work to keep on the road, just like a RF needs more finetuning over its life

      Both are pretty sweet though and I’d love one of each!

  40. Must admit that I got fooled at pic no. 3 . But as soon as I move the mouse over the picture I could see that it starts with DSC… ( fuji ) or L… ( Leica ) . Hence I cheated and can confirm the following .

    By the way , the pic no. 3 is amazing .

    1) Leica
    2) Leica
    3) Fuji
    4) Fuji
    5) Leica
    6) Fuji
    7) Fuji
    8) Fuji
    9) Leica
    10) Fuji
    11) Leica
    12) Fuji
    13) Fuji
    14) Leica

    [img]http://www.flickr.com/photos/ravirajamadan/5571054188/[/img]

  41. I think the Adobe Camera RAW conversions don’t do the Leica justice – the Fuji shots certainly look nicer in the colour department. Surely photos aren’t just about sharpness and resolution?

  42. No one seems to have mentioned that we are not only comparing lenses and so forth, but we’re also comparing a full-frame sensor to an APS-C sensor. So the Fuji starts out with a physical disadvantage. I would think that very fine detail, like leaves in the distance, will always be slightly “mushier” with the smaller sensor. It’s pretty amazing that the Fuji is a close as it is.

    Another interesting (and fairer) comparison would be between the X100 and a high-end APS-C camera, say a Canon 7D, or Nikon D300, both pretty nice cameras, and closer the the Fuji in price. My guess is the Fuji would win, hands-down.

    • well i could say the IQ is close/sometimes better than the nikon d90, but in high iso the fuji is hard to beat.

      Y

      • My words. The x100 is close to the Nikon d90 IMHO, but only sometimes. High ISO may be a little better, but it does not compare to the Nikon D700 at all, so why do people think that it compares to the M9. Pictures taken with the M9 or D700 full frame is a lot cleaner than anything from the x100.

        • Have to disagree with you there. My D700 pictures really only differ from the X100s shots in terms of the depth of field, thanks to the longer lenses. For the most part I’d say the X100 resolves much more detail than the somewhat soft Nikon files (from a 50mm 1.4). I LOVE the D700, but I also love the X100, and I gotta say it’s the finest file I’ve seen out of a digital camera.

          That’s partly why I switched to an APS-C system recently. The cost of doing business in full frame didn’t pay off when the K-5 and the X100 are kicking some serious butt, at a much lower price point.

          • Well, I had the x100 for 5 days and it didn’t perform the way I would have liked it to. Maybe it is because I’m used to the D700 which is spot on most of the time with very clean output.

            I suppose you know that the default sharpening of the D700 is set very conservatively or should I say rather soft. Anyway, sharpness has little to do with great images.

            I would still say from my somewhat limited experience with the x100 that the output it is closer to the output of my Canon s95 than the to the d700 in normal daylight. I know it is a bold statement, but that is my conclusion after 5 days with the x100 taking several hundreds of photos.

            If I had keept it longer I may have changed my opinion – Steve says it takes a little time to get the best out of the x100, so 5 days is maybe too short a time to come to a final conclusion.

          • I switched from S95 to X100. There is no comparison between them. s95 is excellent, but if you compared them side by side. You will never pick up S95 ever again (unless you loved 2cm Marco shots).

            I am no expert, but x100′s strength is its “leaf shutter” on APS-C sensor. Quiet, stable, and flash FAST SYNC SPEED which no one seems to be aware of. I can used the little flash on X100 and fill light 40-50ft with excellent skin tone. I am not sure if M9 can do that. Ops, M9 does not have a flash…

            Gentleman, take m9 to and X100 to minimum light situation…….m9 can not compared to X100. especially skin color tone… No question M9 can produced better images 80% of time. But I appreciated both company has their own innovation. Both excellent camera. You just need to know the strength of each machine.

            After all, it is photographers like us are making the image. Not camera it self….

        • I’m curious – did you actually look at the pictures above?

          • Yes, I saw them and they are quite close in IQ even if the M9 still wins on technical quality.

            I can’t explain it, but I had a hard time making my x100 photos look anything close to my D700 – and as I said the output I got was a lot closer to the Nikon D90 which is not bad at all, but still far from the D700.

          • Maybe there was a problem with the camera, or maybe there wasn’t enough time to figure it out. The menu system is not the best and if/when you change modes, some properties/settings change. I find it to be pretty dumb and it ruined a day of shooting.

            Cheers!

          • I just looked at some of the x100 images again. Actually a few of them are pretty amazing, but most of them are not very good.

            Looks like they easily gets a bit washed out in the highlights and details not very clear.

            Looks like the results are not so good in difficult lighting conditions (which is common for many cameras). Anyway under good to perfect conditions it is possible to get very nice images, but that is also the case for many other cameras.

            Maybe it is a matter of praticing a lot more than I managed to do in the 5 days I had it.

          • “Looks like they easily gets a bit washed out in the highlights …”

            I’m still struggling to get the color quality out of my X100 that I see in on-line samples.

            One thing I think I’ve learned is that it needs 1/3 to 2/3 stop minus exposure compensation in bright sunlight, to avoid blown highlights and a generally “washed out” appearance.

            But with that compensation, deep shadows can disappear into a black hole.

            I’m not comparing to an M9, but to my Canon 7D, which seems to have more dynamic range.

            Setting the highlights and shadows to “soft” increases the DR, but gives a weird Pseudo-HR look that is unrealistic.

            Plus, even in Standard/Provia mode, the greens are psychedelic. I turned the green response down a little.

            Sharpness is just fine for 11×14 prints.

            Maybe it’s just my example. I seem to be the only actual X100 owner who’s not thrilled with the image quality.

            This is off-topic for the current thread, but if anyone has suggestions for color/contrast/exposure settings, I’d love to hear them.

        • Okay. Bought the x100 again. And I must say after that some more testing that the output is generally very good. The images just need a little post processing – and voila – pretty convincing results comes out of this camera. Also high ISO is nothing short of amazing.

  43. [...] Moving on from rumors to photography related news, Steve Huff posts one of hi “crazy comparisons”: Leica M9 with the 35 Summicron vs. Fuji X100. Can [...]

  44. This comparison is CRAZY.

    And I can’t wait to get my hands on an X100.

  45. [...] Moving on from rumors to photography related news, Steve Huff posts one of hi “crazy comparisons”: Leica M9 with the 35 Summicron vs. Fuji X100. Can save [...]

  46. I have used Leica equipment most of my life and career, partly for the joy of how it operates, but mostly due to the photographs produced. The look of the glass with great slide film really shows well. But after having an M9 for nearly a year, I sold it once it came back from repair for the second time. The first time was tilted frame lines, the second was a processor on the fritz. In terms of the image quality, it is really good, but it is also digital, so it is a lot easier to match my D3X or D700 to the look of the M9 and vice versa. In other words, as a photographer, not a gear aficionado, the image quality of the M9 is great, but not $7,000 great when compared to other cameras, especially above ISO 1,600 where it suffers increasingly.

    So after two weeks with my X100, I am blown away, the color is spot on, the metering is fantastic and the auto white balance is the best out of any digital camera I have used…and I started using them in 1994. For what I wanted the M9 to do with my 35 Summicron, the X100 just does it that much better, without much fuss ( once you get used to navigating the menus and set it up for your style of shooting ). The X100 is small, light, super quiet and thus far, very reliable. For the price of a new 35 Summicron, you could buy an X100 and a backup.

    I still have two M film bodies and three lenses left, I use them all the time with Tri-X, but in using the X100 and some of Nikon’s new primes, I *highly* doubt I will ever buy another Leica product again. The reason being that they have put the pricing at an insulting level and are still not very good in the electronics end of the deal and that is a shame, but what can you do? I am a photographer and always will be, the image comes first, the gear, ultimately does not matter. Leica seems to make gear for those who love gear more than photographs…I hope that serves them well.

    • +1

      Well said. That is exactly how I feel. Interesting that my previous post was removed. Maybe my opinion about Leica was too much. If Fuji’s line of X100-ish cameras evolves and Canon and/or Nikon jumps in, Leica’s outdated philosophy and bad pricing will finally be treated as the dinosaur it is.

    • well said.

  47. [...] hat die Bildqualität der M9 und der X100 verglichen, bei Spaziergängen durch Tallinn bei Tag: Crazy Comparison! Leica M9 and 35 Summicron ASPH vs the Fuji X100 | STEVE HUFF PHOTOS Nicht geprüft wurden leider die unterschiedliche ISO- und Makro-Leistungsfähigkeit … Viel [...]

  48. Comparison between X100 and M9 don’t make sense for me because I never use AF lenses.
    And all the reviews say that X100 is pretty unusable in MF mode…

  49. Comparisons of results from digital M-Leicas and other high-end digital cams blessed with good glass can be seen very often.
    However, I think these comparisons miss the point: the specific and unique character of Leica lenses (which are supported by a honed M-sensor and M-engine machine). Experience tells me that Leica lenses don’t give me the best results when I shoot any scenes in good daylight. I don’t mean that they wouldn’t be sharp – they are indeed of painful sharpness – but the character of the scene, its colors and lights are often rendered in such a way that I think other glass, e.g. from Zeiss, would have yielded a much nicer result. This is particularly true when I shoot on film.
    Now, when light gets worse, when clouds diffuse light, when light sources get dim, then Leica glass starts to shine and show its full potential. Those are the moments when it creates this dramatic expression in your photos. Leica glass has got an incredible potential to render traces of light in the worst situations, that I couldn’t find in any other glass (including Zeiss). Leica glass keeps shadow areas colorful and contrasty, with tons of detail in them. Now add the wonderful bokeh (e.g. of the stellar aspherical 28mm Summicron-M), which flatters human shapes, and you will have those works of art that Leica glass can give if you give the right situations to this glass.
    Leica M photography is at its best when you find those wonderful niche moments in life that are made for and worth an M.

  50. Agree with JR. An Aston Martin and a Volvo are both great for picking up groceries. Not much to compare there.

  51. For the results I like the Fuji more. I have the M9 and the 35 ASPH as well as other Summicrons and have had Leica since 1969 but ultimately I want the image and I don’t have to have the camera. Leica could do better, period. IMO

  52. I’m surprised that no-one seems to have commented that in the third image down (what I’d call the town square) the Leica shot suffers at full size from chromatic aberration. This is noticeable at the top left corner (extremely so on the brick chimney) and top right (on the steeple spire). The X100 is very clean by comparison.

    I’m really interested in this post and all your comments. I’ve had a Fujifilm X100 on order for so long that I’ve become frustrated by no sign of delivery yet, and I’ve begun looking at alternatives. The Leica M9 stands out as the obvious other choice, with the 35mm F2 Summicron-M ASPH.

    So I’ve studied the images on this site very carefully.

    I saved both the full size files of the “aerial” view of Talliin to my PC, and printed them on A4 Epson Premium Glossy paper from Photoshop CS5 without any adjustments.

    When comparing the Leica and Fuji X100 A4 prints, I can find no difference in image sharpness. As A4 prints are all I can make these days, the Leica and X100 are equal for my needs.

    But when comparing the A4 prints, I did notice a subtle colour difference between the two. It really is quite subtle, but once you notice it, it can become a reason to judge one print better than the other, and in this case the X100 wins by a small margin. It’s sky and sea are bluer, and the building wall colours are brighter.

    Thanks to this website and many reader comments, I’ve decided not to spend A$12,000 of my hard earned money (in my retirement) on the M9 and the 35mm f2 Summicron-M ASPH, and I’ll settle for my order for the Fuji X100, no long it takes.

  53. All this measurbating about whether one or the other is sharper is neither here nor there. Both are good enough, in principle, for most of us. But you will never achieve the same result with both given that one has just a 23mm lens and the other allows the use of hundreds of lenses. Based on my experience, the X100 is a lousy portrait camera. You need to be very close to your subject to avoid distracting background bokeh. An M9 and 50 Summicron achieves a look that is impossible to compare. I have yet to see a single full length shot of a person that looks half decent with the X100 (unless shot against a plain background).

    • No one is claiming that the X100 is as versatile as the M9, just as no one would claim that the M9 is as versatile as the K-5. It’s a one trick pony, but its trick is a useful one that it performs very well.

    • If you stop masturbating maybe others will stop too. What is your point comparing a total different focal length and shout about that cannot be done with X100?

  54. I think that we should wait the Leica X2 and the comparison will be more fair and accurate. If Leica will put the same Sony sensor into the X2 then the colours will be very fine.

  55. [...] Zitat von flying_student Könntest Du dann den Thread von dort verlinken? Kenne kein X-100 Forum. Ich habe leider auch keinen Link, aber guck mal hier: das gibt Zoff: X100 vs M9 – Seite 3 Insbesondere der Vergleich mit der vielfach teureren M9 (die vielen als Maßstab für alles gilt) ist interessant, natürlich nur rein von der Bildqualität her, nicht vom Preis oder Konzept. Crazy Comparison! Leica M9 and 35 Summicron ASPH vs the Fuji X100 | STEVE HUFF PHOTOS [...]

  56. Dear Steve
    Thank you for your rich content website. I have found very useful.
    Question: Do you use Polarized filter on your M9 or X100? Can they auto focus through linear Polarized filter?
    Thanks in advance.
    Albert

  57. Considering that the M9 has 18MP vs. 12MP for the X100, I would say that the Fujifilm camera and lens have acquitted themselves quite well.

  58. No comparison just a crazy comparison (own both)

  59. An interesting comparison. I own an x100 and have hardly put it down since I got it the first week in April.
    The biggest difference in the look is the difference between full frame and aps. A 35mm lens has less depth of field at any given aperture than a 23mm lens.
    The x100 makes the best quality files I’ve ever seen from an aps sensor. The camera is the right size for carrying around, focusing is bang on, low light capability is astounding. Aside from the quirks, which I’m learning to live with, it is just about perfect.

  60. sorry for the abrupt wake up call, but anyone who thinks a crop camera (albeit a very nice one) is as good as a full frame needs to learn a bit more abt photography and possibly have their heads examined.
    but please, go ahead and believe both cameras offer the same iq-lol.

    • It is you who need a wake up call, generalizing the statement crop camera is not as good as a full frame camera. There are lots of dim light situations where a modern APS-C is way better in IQ compared to a full frame camera such as Leica M9 or older full format cameras. Any top modern APS-C camera with way better dynamic range and high ISO produces better image quality technically speaking. Chromatic aberration is one of the aspects of IQ technically and for example X100 is superior in the comparison.

      • my thought after one month using X100 (firmware 1.10)
        //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

        wow, I can not believed this crazy comparison is getting so much and so long attention as I have been following this blog for long time. Like Steve Said this was a “crazy-comparison-leica-m9-and-35-summicron-asph-vs-the-fuji-x100″. By putting them side by side and getting this much attention have been a huge success for X100′s PR already.

        As result, we as consumers will only benefit from the dog fight between Leica and Fuji. Leica will need to raise its standard and stayed unique and competitive in this market, especially Leica is so much more expensive than others.

        Personally I have put aside all my DSLRs among all zoom lens and used ONLY X100 (35mm focal length) and my Mamiya 7II 43mm (21mm focal length) with Velvia 50 for about 40 days…

        This has been very good practice for me. I can visual my photo subject without even picking up my camera. This has been a very good practice for me (Thanks Steve for this advice!)

        YES, M9 still have much better and color rich image mainly due to Leica’s fantastic Lens system. This Summicron ASPH 35mm may be the BEST optical system for 35mm and under. This lens (and most of Leica lens) have better sharpness and clarity compared to all Nikon, Canon and every other brands 35mm and under especially wide open aperture.

        X100 is NOT a rangefinder like M9. It may looked alike, but it does not work the same. X100 is more like Canon 60D with live view. OVF is “almost” useless in X100 as it has some difficulty focus and meter (took me too long to mess around setting to get it right before photo opportunity disappeared)

        With some practice, 85% of all time, I used ONLY “P” mode, auto ISO, EVF as live view before every shot (turn off LCD / OVF / and photo preview to preserved battery life) as X100 does excellent job focus (center focus only) metering light and color. I can do exposure compensation without taking my eyes off my subject. “Live View” is great. I know exactly how my photo will turn out before I pressed my shutter release. I saved all editing time at home. I ended up more than 450 frames per charged battery and I can spent more time enjoying my photo experience …. (M9 can not do LIVE VIEW and battery does not last long)

        Flash is another superior designed. This little flash is so smart that it will never over take the natural ambiate light. It works just fine in any situation. All my flash photography only “lightly kissed and supported” my subject and never over powered its surrounding natural light even it was fairly dark situation or subject is looking directly towards strong light source. With its high ISO quiet and stable Leaf Shutter, I was able to get fill light up to 45-50fts. (M9 can not do that)

        X100 has fairly excellent “optical” design and many outstanding “electronic” designs that is superior and modern technology (M9 is so so so …………2009).

        I have used Alien Skin Bokeh 2 to enhanced the DoF image from X100. It has worked great for me. Personally I have found very minimum difference in print size of 8 x 10.

        As far as my medium format Mamiya 7II 43mm with Velvia 50 setting. It can produced color richness, sharpness, DoF and min lens distortion that is much greater than M9 can offered.

        Like I have heard it from Scott Bourne’s Photofoucs Podcast, “99% of all lenses are better than 98% of all photographers”. It is useless to spent this much time to compare these fundamentally different cameras. M9 is the king of 35mm format and under, although X100 is not far off optically. Both has its uniqueness and character. There is no need to make it so personal. I just enjoy it….

        • “….YES, M9 still have much better and color rich image mainly due to Leica’s fantastic Lens system….”
          Yep, but if you want a Leica lens, you have to visit another planet, cause in ‘our real world’ they only exist on paper and ‘forums’. A Nikon can take pictures, a leica without a lens can’t :). Leica is a nice feature to fill up the internet blabla, but if you want to take pictures, you have to step into the real world and buy an available camera :) Cheers!

        • X100 is still slow but fun; especially OM-D was introduced. but it is still a wonderful camera.
          BEST for people photography.
          OK to take landscape. in Lightroom or post-work it tends to be on blue side. need to shift to red a little bit more) and preferred NOT to use lens correction as it will flatten (no 3D effect) pictures.

          best to utilize zone focus as it is kind of slow machine.

          but other than that, it is still a great camera.

  61. Why would someone who can afford an M9 even consider the X100? What can the X100 do that the M9 cannot? What value would the X100 add to the M9 owners bag? For those people who cannot afford an M9, then the X100 is a reasonable choice. For the DSLR owner the X100 would be a good compliment to the DSLR.

  62. [...] Celebrity photographer and long-time Leica user Steve Huff now carries the Fuji X100 in his gear bag. Huff recently compared the Leica M9 with the X100: [...]

  63. One quick question to really judge both cameras performonce. All the images above were converted from RAW using Adobe Camera Raw, but… which sharpening settings did you use? I guess it would be specially interesting to see images with zero sharpening ( and perhaps clarity ) to really now what each camera RAW files are capable to.
    In my case, I shoot stock, and most agencies ask for images with zero sharpening… but still sharp.
    Anyway, if it´s really so close to the Leica at the same levels…
    Regards,
    Luis Dafos

  64. Try some shots at ISO 800 and 1600.

  65. In the end I decided against buying the Fuji X100. The killer for me is the 2 seconds or so it takes to “wake up”. It means I would have missed most of my best shots. So as I have not yet got with the 21st century (I lie – I carry a Canon G12 asa sort of photographic notebook) I will continue to use a Leica M6, 35mm Summicron (non-aspherical) and film.

    And as it costs me about 5GBP to buy and develop B&W film for 36 exposures (of which I can scan the 2 or 3 “keepers”) I am not in such a great hurry to buy an M9. The 5000 GHBP or so that it would cost will get me 1000 x 36 B&W films paid for and developed, and that will fuel my photography for the next 10 years.

  66. Steve
    Firstly, glad someone who is so publically affectionate about Leica had the balls to do this, yes it’s not one of those serious comparisons. Any thinking person should be able to work that out….that would be like comparing a 40K TVR with a 160K Ferrari and trying to say that the TVR was better because it did almost the same 0-60 time and was a third of the price.

    I used to shoot a Leica M6 and for me there is something very special about the entire Leica experience – but….and it’s a whopper of a but…if you are not working on a day to day professional basis I don’t know anyone who can really justify spending the (min) £7-10K (GB) on a camera for personal enjoyment alone. My advice – spend the money on going places where you shoot amazing pictures. I now shoot Canon DSLRs for the odd amount of commercial work I do and whilst I have been hankering for an M8/M9 and a 35mm lens for sometime my wife suggested that it would be divorce time if I did so.

    So given that Mr Lottery has not come in and I have to consider things like mortgage payments the X100 seems to be a really good compromise. From all I have read and from the wealth of great images photographers have achieved with this cheap (yes guys it is cheap) camera it gets my vote. Thanks to your reviews I have just ordered a black one, frankly it’s almost a no brainer. As a small camera that is capable of producing images that only the best would ever criticise it’s a bargain… M9 killer, no, don’t be stupid, that is a professional tool and its abilities extend much further than an x100…in just the same way you can’t compare a 1dsmk3 with a medium format and a 60MP back it’s all about the appropriate tool for the right type of work (or in commercial terms the right Return on Investment) .

    When you start spending thousands on something that others pay hundreds for there is one fact that you need to keep in mind : It’s not a question of whether it’s good enough…..its whether YOU are good enough for it. I once watched a golf pro hit a ball three times as far as I could with my cheap driver….up until that point I thought a £400 driver would make me a better golfer….at some time in life you have to grow up….or become very rich.

    I wonder how many here who squabble about whose expensive kit is better have actually sold a single image or indeed done anything meaningful with their multi-thousands of pounds worth of kit. When you work under studio conditions or out on a shoot with the client breathing down your neck you need the kind of handling, control and response that professional tool like the Leica M9 or the full frame DSLR’s and better give, mainly because you only get one chance and the results will be scrutinised by people who could not care less what sort, let alone what make of camera you used.
    If you shoot for fun who the hell cares if the camera takes a couple of seconds to do things…..as long as the end results are as good as what is possible on something like the X100′s….
    Excellent site and all – put some links to UK companies and I (like other UK readers I think) will try and help by buying through them when possible.

    • Well said ! and good thought of supporting this site for us and keep Steve brave ” in line ” to say WHAT IT IS regardless the BIG brand or HIS ( Steve ) own Favorite !
      Thanks Steve and You guys sharing your thoughts.
      Nathan

  67. Seems like many people including the test are suggesting that these photos are THE final results comparing these two setups. These are all large DOF shots. There’s so much more to it than this. Most people here know this but some are just walking in the photography door.

  68. I just came across this article, first very nice pictures. I feel the M9 is the better of the two cameras. But not a big difference. The M9 is full frame, more suite the fine Leica glass. The X100 is APC. That will give an edge. The X-100 is 12MP and the M9 18MP. After working with all the numbers you come up with. Two fine camera makers, with two fine products. The excellent photography suffered noting from either cameras. Film is good.

  69. “I can’t help but imagine what would happen if Fuji released this in all black WITH the capability of interchangeable lenses.” Looks like you predicted the X-E1 right on the head there Steve! A modern prophet! Seriously, the world is blessed to have your insight and positive spirit–thanks for all the great work!

  70. What about now that the X100s is out?

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