Can the Leica X1 beat the Fuji X100?

I know, I know…another X1 post! With all of the excitement of the upcoming Fuji X100 I am preparing for the showdown between it and the camera it is taking aim at, the Leica X1.  I have high hopes for the Fuji X100 but as I sit here looking at the samples posted online so far I am not 100% convinced that the file quality will have the same “snap” as that of the X1. I have been shooting the X1 again for the past few days and while it is still painfully slow at times, the IQ just can not be denied. I’ve been taking the little black X1 with me almost everywhere, even though I have not shot anything really worthwhile in the past week. Even so, the snapshots I have taken all have a brilliance and “shine” to them and when viewed at 100% the detail is pretty damn good for the size of this camera. This is all due to the sensor and the way Leica designed the X1 around it.

If Leica can speed up the AF (Auto Focus) to compete with even the slowest of the Micro 4/3 cameras then the X1 will be a force to be reckoned with, even with the X100 hot on it’s heels! How cool would it be if Leica released the new X1 firmware just before the X100 hit the shelves and the AF speed equaled  the X100? Doubtful, but you never can tell. It does seem that if Leica could have improved the AF speed of the X1 they would have done it already so even I am starting to have doubts.

Even with its slow and sluggish AF the lure of the Leica pulls me back in again and again.

Here are some quick snaps I shot today with 100% crops included. Be sure to click on the image for a closer look. One thing they all have in common is the crispness, detail and brilliance that I have not seen in ANY other compact to date. I am not saying other compact/big sensor cameras are no good, just that none have equaled the flat out IQ of the X1. I wonder of the X100 will be able to provide this level of quality out of the camera?

All of the images below include 100% crops embedded in the image.

You must click on the image to see it in larger size for the full 100% crop.

Also, ALL of these were converted from RAW in ACR and everything you see is out of camera in regards to color, etc.

So the question is this: Can the Fuji X100 beat or equal the file/image quality of the Leica X1? It just might, and if so the Fuji will be a slam dunk winner. If the image quality is not as good as the X1 we all know it will be a faster camera. We will have to ask ourselves if it is better to pay less for a faster, slightly larger camera, or better to have the ultimate IQ, even if it is dog slow. Also, the Fuji is coming in at $800 LESS than the X1 with a built in VF so even if it does not match the Leica IQ it will still be a fantastic camera IMO.

I’ve said it again and again…Leica, IF AT ALL POSSIBLE, get the AF to where it should be with the X1. If you can not, and eventually release an X2 then give it a manual lens with aperture dial, fast AF, and a built in viewfinder.

Personally, I adore the quality of the X1. I adore the body for its style, it’s feel, it’s size and light weight. I think the X1 looks better than the X100 and if the X1 had the speed it could be my only camera if need be. Hopefully I will have an X100 in my hands within 2 weeks as I am buying one blind. If it lives up to the hype I think Fuji will sell LOADS and LOADS of the X100. Hell, I think they will sell loads and loads of them regardless. Classic design, classic feel, Fuji colors, Hybrid VF, F2 lens…so far so good.

I’m starting to get excited for its release….can you feel it?

The black X1 is gorgeous though and it feels SO good when strapped around you with the included Leather strap. It seems to fit flush against my body and I hardly notice it is even there 🙂 I bought my black X1 from Ken Hansen. He has one or two more in stock if anyone is interested. Even with the X100 nearing, If the new X1 firmware comes out and speeds up the AF to a decent level I have a feeling the X1 will start selling out again! It is a Leica after all and for some of us, that red dot is hard to pass by.

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More from the X1…just snaps…

This next one was shot back in 2009 when I first reviewed the X1. It says a lot that here I am in 2011 and I just bought myself the X1 even with all of these new cameras available.

This one was at ISO 1000, f/2.8, handheld inside a church with very low light. Look at the brilliance and look of the image when you click for a larger view. This is the X1 quality that I do not see in other small body cameras.

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124 Comments

  1. Greg. Just as an aside, your assertion that “They (Leica) have a certain business model that they’ve been using for years and it works for them” is not true. If you go through Leicas History and financial statements from as recently as (2009-10), they have been quite inconsistent– hence the validity of their business model is still questionable.

    I dont want to appear fixated on this issue nor do I intend my comments to serve as an anti Leica rant. It is just another tool, and if paying the premium gives you the edge in your profession, or makes you a more content human being, then be it.

    • Arjun, I see it this way: the’ve been around for 100 years and they are very successful today. They had their ups and downs but the fact is, they have survived through all their downs and are doing extremely well now. I think, Leica can safely be called a successful company.

      My wife is an economist and when she was preparing for her ACCA exams I saw Leica all over their textbooks, as an example of a company with very good, successful business model. They know what they are talking about, I suppose.

      Price-policy wise, if Leica dropped their prices (although, economically, it’s difficult to justify) then they would suffer such a devastating effect they would probably never recover from. The thing is, they would lose their target user base. A few people here and there will be jumping around in joy but the majority of Leica’s customer base would just walk away. Leica is perfectly positioned as a prime photographic product company and that kind of stuff costs money. Besides, it’s a niche product, and that, too, costs money. People would get suspicious and gradually drop out. And Leica would never be able to go back to the same segment and thus go out of business. They are too small a company to compete in the general segment.

      I am also not fixated on this issue but dialogue is a dialogue. You say something and I say something. Like that.

      Cheers,
      Greg

      • Greg,

        For your benefit, let me recount some of Leicas strategic blunders (broadly) over the years. These facts are easily available on the net if you do a little digging:

        1. In the 50s and 60s they were thrashed by of the likes Canon and Nikon in cost and quality, resulting in them getting almost completely shut out of the market
        2. In order to counter this, they partnered with Minolta, but the resulting product from the joint venture failed to take off due to its pricing, (sound familiar??)
        3. In the 90s they refused/were late to get into the digital market and hence nearly suffered bankruptcy in 1995 and 1996.
        4. In the past decade, they have switched 2 CEOs who have struggled to deal with Leicas entrenched management
        5. Prior to the M9, the M8 was a big commercial flop

        It is primarily the recent success of the M9 series, coupled with “outsourcing” some of their R&D to companies such as Panasonic to cut costs, and revamped marketing strategy, that has buoyed them in the past 2-3 years

        Yes, they undoubtably have a strong brand, but how long can they milk it for?? being popular is not the same as being profitable; can they survive with a portfolio of one or two strong products over the long run?? To give you an example, take Apple: it is roughly the equivalent of Leica in the computing industry. They too purport to manufacture high quality and uniquely designed products aimed at the premium segment. However, they have been, over time, able to create a broad product portfolio and judicious about their pricing (i.e. initially keeping it high and then bringing it down before launching a new model). This pricing flexibility has allowed them to increase their revenue by creating economies of scale. Hence, today, you can buy a MacBook Pro or an IPad (primarily made in China), which are arguably better quality products, at an equivalent or cheaper price than what their competitors are offering. I am not suggesting that Leica is incapable of achieving the same feat, it will be great for us if they do. However, if a company is not strategically nimble and efficient in managing their operations, the resulting cost gets passed to the consumer.IMO, looking at Leicas past performance, they haven’t displayed either strategic foresight, or efficient operations, so for the moment I remain a sceptic. And yes, whichever way you want to turn it, their products are overpriced. On that particular point, we can agree to disagree 😉

        • Arjun, I want to be honest with you. I am not very interested in the business side of Leica. I wish them well and I see they are doing good now. And I know they have survived through some down times in the past, so I hope they will stay around. I happen to like some of their products, particularly, the M9 which I own and love to use. I got rid of my Nikon D700 DSLR with assortment of good lenses in order to shoot Leica. And I never regretted it. If someone will give me another D700 for free, I won’t keep it but, rather, sell it and get myself some cool glass for my Leica. So, for me it’s about the M9 and the way it suits my needs and not about business plans. Frankly, I don’t care who made my M9, as long as it performs the way it does and lasts long enough without breaking.

          I am not a Leica advocate. I just happen to like their product. And I know that such great products don’t come out of nowhere. There are decades of history behind it and that is worth something.

          They’ve done their share of blunders, as well as Apple, Nikon, Sony and just about everybody else. That’s all right with me. Some of your facts may be true, some sure not (I mean it but I don’t want to discuss that, please). Who cares? I don’t have a vested interest in Leica as a business. But I do want them to stay in business and continue making great cameras and lenses. My interest is in good tools for photography. And I don’t mind paying some extra for it, especially when there is no alternative. I’d rather not pay at all but I don’t have that option.

          I suggest we end this pointless conversation as it is way out of this site’s theme. I want to talk about Art and photography, not about business and gear (well, at least not too much…)

          Cheers,
          Greg

          • “I suggest we end this pointless conversation as it is way out of this site’s theme. I want to talk about Art and photography, not about business and gear” – Ditto

  2. To clarify in case there is any confusion.. I do admire Bresson, Avedon and the other classic photographers, of whom I know Bresson was responsible for putting Leica on the map. However, since this debate is centered around digital cameras, I am referring to professionals who currently use this medium (Liebowitz, Steven McCurry etc…)

    On a different note: it would be fun to debate whether Bresson would have actually preferred an X100 over X1. Given what I have read of Bressons style, I would say he would have gone for the former.

    • Arjun, you see, Leica is a business venture. They have to make money just like everybody else. They have a certain business model that they’ve been using for years and it works for them.

      Besides, imagine that you would have to go to Germany (unless you already live in Germany) and set up a state of the art plant and research facility and hire 1000 highly trained professionals to work for you and provide them all with excellent pay package and perfect working environment. Then, on top of all that, you would have to do a lot of expensive R&D, testing and marketing. And, of course, you would need to come up with a great product that your intended user base will be happy with.

      Taking into account all of the above, plus your own interest in making a profit and developing your venture further, you would have to come up with a price for your product. Believe me, it won’t be cheap! Some guys may come to you and say, well, it’s too high. But at the same time you notice that your customers are buying like crazy and you are barely able to keep up with production. I bet, you wouldn’t listen to those few people who complain about the price and accuse you of usury now, would you? You wouldn’t be willing to cut your income substantially just to satisfy their request. You’re in it to make money.

      All I am talking about here applies to a hypothetical new business with some hypothetical new product. And now, imagine that your operation is not brand new but an established 100-year-old company with a great legacy and a legend behind it. Would you move your operation to China to satisfy your complaining friends? Please, no offense intended to the nice Chinese people: I use this as a figure of speech.

      You will surely want to maintain and improve your brand, Arjun. And that is expensive for any sort of brand. And ten-fold expensive for a premium brand like Leica. You will have to fork out the money wether you like it or not. And you will charge premium prices for your premium products, believe me! Or you will be out of business in no time.

      If this looks to anybody like a paid marketing stunt for Leica, I swear on my grandmother’s grave it isn’t. I just happen to like common sense and naturally respond to anything I deem a threat to it.

      Of course if Leica Marketing is hiring, I am all ready! Give me good money and I’ll write even better praise for you on a daily basis. Unfortunately, you will have to mark up your arrogantly high-priced product even more to hire my modest self. So, maybe, better keep me on the fan list and have me do nice write ups for you for free and totally on my own will. “Even better!”, as Frank Abagnale Jr. would say.

      Arjunji, no offense, please! I hear this kind of complain very often (ironically, mostly from people who don’t own Leicas) and today I felt like responding to all of them collectively.

      Cheers,
      Greg Shanta

      • Dear Greg,

        Thank you for your thoughts. Your points are valid though I think you may have misinterpreted my intention. I do not want to get into a debate about the finer nuances of business models/strategy and the impact of macroeconomics and wage disparity on firm competitiveness. Having worked as a management consultant with a big four firm I understand and appreciate the choices that a business has to make in order to provide returns to its stakeholders. That said, even from a strategic point of view Leica’s choices have been schizophrenic. I don’t buy the whole argument about Leica having to increase the margins on its products in order to justify their higher SG&A expenses due to higher cost of R&D, welfare etc etc.. As I mentioned in my post, the Leica Dlux is a great example that refutes this argument up to a certain extent. The Leica Dlux is EXACTLY the same camera as the Panasonic DMC LX series, manufactured in the same plant and yet sells for a much higher margin (=>50%). Additionally, in todays globalized supply chain environment it is foolish to assume that any piece of equipment is 100% localized. For instance, Leica M9s run on Kodak processors and I would be willing to bet that a large number of their components are outsourced. Similarly, SG&A expenses (which include R&D, testing etc..) in Japan, where Fuji manufactures the X100 are probably as high if not higher than that of Germany.

        All said, as a customer, I am not interested in these issues. To me, the primary concern is the VALUE that I am getting. Value is a function of multiple variables, of which, PRICE in one.This, I admit, is a subjective judgement. As I stated quite clearly, I admire Leica and its heritage, however I feel that they are in danger of pricing themselves out of critical segments by competitors such as Fuji and Panasonic, thereby not only loosing business but also confining their products to the category of “toys for rich people.” Whether I am right or wrong, only the future will tell.

        Best,
        Arjun

        • Hey, Arjun, don’t get me wrong. I would be happy to have my Leica gear cheap, provided that the product quality and image IQ is same or better. And I wouldn’t drop out. But I am just one customer. Leica occupies a segment and it is in their best interest to stay in that segment. And gradually and safely try other niche segments, too, like they are doing now with their S2 system. Or like their co-branding with Panasonic. But you see, all this co-branding thing is more marketing than real sales, I think. Although, I may be mistaken.

          I didn’t know about your background, so I am politely stepping down. I am not an economist. I run a successful business before but that was long time ago. Now I am just a guy with an opinion.

          Regarding value, I see a lot of it in my Leica and nothing else on the market that can match it. I’m talking about M9, of course. So, I am willing to pay for it, as I don’t have any choice. There aren’t any other digital rangefinder cameras out there, period. It’s a niche segment and no big companies are interested in it. Thank God Leica still is. I love shooting rangefinders. What am I supposed to do?

          Cheers,
          Greg

  3. I am a big fan of Leica and the M9 is probably the finest camera ever concieved. However, I feel that Leica prices are absolutely usurious and unjustifiable to the point of being arrogant (the Panasonic LX and Lieca Dlux price disparity is a good illustration). I find it interesting that pretty much all the photographers whose work I admire (e.g. Nachtwey) use Canon or Nikon equipment. These are professionals whose themes range from documentary, wildlife photography to fashion.

    I feel its futile to speculate as to the precise reasons why professional photographers select one camera over another. My guess is that it ultimately boils down to familiarity and value for money. With regards to the ongoing argument about X1 vs X100, if the X100 delivers what it promises then it will triumph over X1 for the latter reason. Personally, I hope they do.

  4. Once again, a Leica for the fanboys. Yes, it looks cool. Yes, it features a Red Dot. Yes, it’s lens has great resolving power. BUT – NO build-in viewfinder compared to the Fuji’s gorgeous optical – and electronic – viewfinder. F 2.8 lens v. Fuji’s F2. Autofocus reportedly so slow you might has well have a sketch pad instead of a camera, compared to Fuji’s fast autofocus. Leica’s usual subpar high iso performance compared to what, from posted samples, appears to be Fuji’s stunning performance up to 6400 iso. And so why the Leica? Besides the fact that it says Leica and has a Red Dot?

    B. D.
    Former Leica film shooter who believes that the aspherical M lenses are unquestionably the best group of film lenses available for any camera – ever.

  5. well the x1 didn’t last long this time round… guess I can’t sell mine here 🙂 you’re fire saling that one!

  6. Some comments purely from a personal perspective here…
    Not sure about an X1. I like the design and the IQ for a camera of its size, and the slow AF doesn’t phase me as I think I could work around it. The slowish lens is what makes me hesitate. Doesn’t allow the relatively clean high ISOs to be used to their full potential. Therefore losing some of its appeal as a low light camera for me. I have an M9 and 35mm summilux and feel that removes the need for an X1. Neither camera are really pocketable, but I have no issue carrying the M9 around all day. It’s not exactly heavy. And for times when I want to travel really light my compact Panasonic LX3 with the red dot does the job. Pretty well balanced feature set for a compact camera if you think about the specs it launched with. And still good enough that I’m not tempted by the D-Lux 5. It might not be a real Leica, but as a relatively new photographer the enjoyment of shooting with it is what got me interested in finding out more about their “real” cameras. I started with a Canon, then Nikon as they’re kind of obvious initial choices. (My father had an old film Leica when I was a young kid, but I didn’t really pay any attention to it growing up.) As someone who shoots a lot in low light, I’d be tempted to replace the D-Lux 4 with an X1 type camera when they make one with a faster lens to take full advantage of that APS-C sensor at high ISO. Ironically my next purchase will probably be an MP. Going backwards here. But maybe there are few who were introduced to rangefinder photography in the digital age like me? No real comment on the X100 as I don’t feel the need to buy one. But it does look like they are filling a gap in the market with a product people are hungry for. Good for everyone.

    • Ironically my next purchase will probably be an MP. Going backwards here.
      @J, Not backwards at all. Go for it!
      I think maybe there’s a temporary phenom going on, where high-end buyers are dumping their MP’s to buy M9’s.
      I got a near-mint black MP with add-on winder for about half the retail price at KEH. Best film rangefinder ever, so I’m selling my M2 and M4.
      I you have real interest in a film M camera, you can’t do better.

  7. After skimming the comments about the X1 vs X100 I am all the more convinced that I did the “right” thing buying the X1. Why? I’ve had the camera for nearly a year and have taken some wonderful photos. Had I waited for the X100 or Xwhatever, I’d have missed those photos (from a month-long road trip with my wife, from vacation with my grandson, from Christmas, etc.). I used to sell computers and there were always those who would never buy something for fear of missing the next big thing (or fear of spending money they may or may not have had). The point being the X1 was THE BEST small form light weight camera available — regardless of price — a year ago. Maybe it will no longer be so after the X100 has been in circulation for a few months. Who cares. I’ve had a wonderful time with my X1 and look forward to wearing that little jewel out. I also have an M9 with several lenses and I’d bet I use the X1 as much as the M9. Why? It’s just as good in the one thing that counts: the pictures are almost always stunning (IQ, color, etc.). If you don’t like the X1 price, get the X100, save some money and have a wonderful time taking photos. Just like me with my X1. Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

  8. A lot of emotions in the last four posts, and not so many facts. Some prefer a fully loaded Toyota Camry (an excellent car by the way) over a barbone stick shift Porsche 911.
    But back to the topic, there is a lot going for the X100 on paper, but let’s not forget about the quality of the lens, not an unimportant part in the IQ equation ;). And this is where Leicas shine, including the X1.
    As posted earlier, I own a X1 and pre-ordered the X100 and look forward to compare the two.

    • ‘….And this is where Leicas shine, including the X1….’ Could be, but we have to wait for comparing the shoot samples. After that, your statement might be true…, or?
      Maybe it’s wishful thinking you do?… you never know 🙂

  9. @Ben Mathis: well spoken! Due my native Dutch language, I couldn’t have done better :). Your story exactly covers my thoughts about the ‘Leica-lovers/hardcore fans/Leicaphiles’ > just emotionally investment :). Showing 50 mixed images from a M9 and D3, I bet nobody would be able to pickup all the “Leica look” ones…. Or… 🙂 ?

  10. I always get the impression that people who insist on a “leica look” are investing that emotionally because of the price they paid. You can read about it in reviews of the Leica digilux 1 and 2 that are extremely outdated at this point (though the lens was good) that people were fooling themselves because of name and price, despite a very crappy (by today’s standards) sensor.

    In the past, Leicaphiles always went to the viewfinder, being able to see outside the frame to compose as one of the main reasons for the M experience. Well now compact cameras have a leica version without a VF (and an unsightly add on with no electronic coupling is something you can add to any camera with a hotshoe) vs a Fuji with a very bright built in viewfinder with frame line projections that are parallax corrected and more info than an M could ever display (but can also be turned off if you desire simplicity). Now where is all the ballyhoo about viewfinder? Hardcore fans must fall back on some kind of “look” in out of camera jpegs to justify an inferior product.

    It falls down to this. The x100 is superior in every way that matters other than weight and slightly taller from top to bottom than the X1 (assuming no viewfinder). Anyone trying to come up with a noticeable IQ difference is blinded either by fanboism, or sadness at X1 money spent.

    Ansel Adams is the one that compared the taking of the photo to writing a composition, and the darkroom as performing the score. Maybe a few people despise the digital darkroom, but if you have a strong vision, it’s rare that film processed normally with no dodge/burn or adjustments, or OOC images with no post work are going to give you what you need. So why compare out of camera jpegs? Some images need to be sharp, some should be smooth and have rich tonality with not too glaring of edges. Each image, if you took it with a vision in mind, needs it’s own “seasoning” to bring out your artistic goals, and that means that what really matters to the true artists, is the information recorded on the film or sensor. And the only possible thing the X1 can best the X100 on, is possibly an mtf chart (and that remains to be seen if so), because dynamic range and noise have both shown to be superb on X100 samples, and it hasn’t even been given to more than 1 or 2 good photographers putting out sample images.

    So, if absolute sharpness, OOC jpegs, and a brand loyalty is the name of the game, the X1 seems to be the camera for you.
    If you’re a photographer looking for the best small camera that delivers modern IQ with a viewfinder and manual controls in an all metal body, there is only one choice. And it happens to be the cheaper one.

    We are nearing, (and really actually past) the point people can say “on paper it seems better”. And it will really become evident in the next months. If you already have an X1, and can deal with the operational speed, it’s a great camera that delivers amazing images that can be printed at any reasonable size, no need to worry about other cameras with newer features. However if the operational speed bothers you, or you haven’t yet chosen which to buy, there really is no contest.

  11. Sorry, but the X100 absolutely SLAUGHTERS the X1. Leica should be utterly humiliated that Fuji has come up with a camera that completely cleans their clock. It is hilarious to think that some pay $2000 for that Leica turd.

    • ratty – go back to dpreview with the trolling, the bloody camera isn’t even out yet.. we have no idea of the capabilities.

      It may be better.. it should be better.. it’s over a year newer.

  12. Hey ~6, not sure how relevant this is but you looked so cool at Elton’s party especially seeing the Titanium M9 getting an airing. Are you able to post any pics taken?

  13. Hi Guys,

    I want to update a post I sent yesterday. Whilst I’m sure that the new X1 firmware will bring much needed improvements, I can neither confirm nor deny that it will “dramatically improve” the AF speed due to not having tested it myself. Might I add that I have not been told by Leica that this is the case, I just don’t want to give anyone false information. Basically, I was wrong. Like you I hope that the AF will improve having just bought another one in black but once again I do not know if this will be the case.

    Thanks,

    `6

  14. Oh just saw pics of the X100 and it has the same controls as the X1 now the size might be the difference, the X1 seems to be fitting in a rather large (but still) pocket with the OVF off. With the X100 if you find it too big you are stuck with its size… more M9ish than D-Lux-ish.

  15. The good thing about the X1 is that you have the ISO on a knob, the speed on a knob and the Aperture on the lens (correct me if I’M wrong). This is getting pretty close to what photography is all about: Adjust your sensibility, Adjust the aperture for the mood you are looking for, adjust the speed (or let the camera do that) and shift the exposure by a stop or two pnger or shorter if your artistic eye tells you so. I think I see 4 things requireds to make a picture. I have not seen the X100 yet but if it has as much manual controls, it will rock if the AF is sanppy. I have not used the X1 I just hope they have a DOF scale like on the D-lux4 for prefocussed shots.
    Anyways I think the X1 is doomed by its speed and they should fix that with the X2. Is it true it is coming in 2011? We read all kinds of baloney on the net.

  16. Man, I love reading this stuff as I sit on an airport terminal… The entertainment value is priceless 🙂

    How about we stop worrying about charts, specs and all that non-sense and instead try to be the best photographers we can be?

    If instead of wasting countless hours looking at gear specs that will be “outdated” over the next 18 months we use that time learning to master what will really make us better photographers regardless of the gear used (i.e. the relationship between ISO, aperture, shutter speed and their impact on the resulting image, or how to better learn, understand, read and use the light that is available to us or that we bring to a shoot or study the masters and how they used something unheard of in gear sites such as composition to create a truly amazing body of work) I can guarantee you that you will be better prepared to capture that fleeting, once in a lifetime shot wether you are using an X1 or X1000000.

    Remember, gear comes and goes but an image that emotionally connects with its viewer (by evoking feelings of joy, sadness, laughter, etc…) is what the art of photography is all about and something we should all be striving for.

    Cheers!

    Riccis

    • Riccis- I agree completely, but Steve’s site is entirely for equipment reviews & comparisons, so I’m unclear as to the limits of your criticism. I value his reviews. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying I get out to practice, upload to flickr and discuss with friends for feedback, visit museums, other websites, libraries, etc. for learning photography, while visiting Steve’s site for it’s own merits regarding equipment. That’s his site’s niche. That said, yes, some people are a more than bit over the top with their latest greatest obsessions. I bought a Leica to get away from that rat race. Amazing work by the way!

      ‘6- Thanks for the update! I hope the X1 improvement is as dramatic as the GXR! I love my X1 as is and any improvement is a bonus.

      • Bradley, I somewhat disagree. What separates Steve’s site from so many others is the blend of technical and the aesthetic, and a showcase for others’ work. Articles on comparisons and such are interesting but tiresome when they approach constant pixel-peeping because it simply plays into the hands of manufacturers. It’ll never end. In the hands, through the eye experience of someone who seems to know something and can take pictures I like, is important to me; sort of like reading the movie reviews of a critic whose sense of a film is aligned with mine, even if it’s not to other people’s liking.
        I spend some time at the at Amazon’s DPReview buffet but I come here for dessert.

        Riccis, I also agree except it’s more like 18 days. Ever wonder how much of this was on the shelf a year, or even two ago waiting to be meted out?

        Let’s just take pictures…

  17. Steve, your name abbreviates nicely to St’uff, and I value this website for your canny analysis of high ticket camera goodies. But may I ask a stupid question of the gearheads here? For those of you who have an M9, X1 or GXR, why would you be attracted to the X100? What are you hoping for in this Fuji that those terrific cameras do not provide? I’m sure I’m missing something important and would appreciate a deeper understanding.

    • Hey Princess Leica…

      Thanks for the comments. I am interested in the X100 because if it turns out to be as good as it looks it will be a camera combining all of the features many photographers have been waiting for into one great looking and feeling camera.

      Classic design – CHECK
      APS-C Sensor – CHECK
      Integrated Hybrid Viewfinder – CHECK
      HD movie mode – CHECK
      Fast manual aperture lens – CHECK
      Great High ISO Capability – CHECK
      Speedy AF – CHECK

      The X1 has the design, the sensor, and good high ISO up to 3200 but lacks the built in VF, MOVIE mode, Fast lens, and speedy AF (the speedy AF may change in March)

      The M9 is gorgeous but is a totally different beast/category. The X100 can provide a way for those who can not afford an M9, or who want a cheaper backup to the M9, to own a camera that has similar qualities (mainly design and feel, fast prime lens). Or maybe someone who doesn’t want to always shoot with his/her M9, or requires better high ISO performance, etc.

      The Ricoh GXR only has an EVF attachment, has a totally different design and feel, does not have a good movie mode, and the aperture can not be changed on the lens itself. While it offers superb build and IQ it is still a different type of camera.

      The X100, on paper and in the previews we have seen, seems to offer just about everything many of us have been asking for. If the IQ is good the camera will be a hit. I think the IQ will be great, but probably not as good as the X1. So far, nothing I have seen shows me it bests the X1 in the IQ Dept but it may not have to as it is cheaper and will still offer superb IQ.

      Can’t really say until I get a hold of an X100. I also am of the belief that a really good camera, and Leica cameras as well, will impart a sort of confidence in the photographer. When shooting an M9 or X1 I know exactly what my photo will look like before I even take it. Sometimes I find photos that I know will look great when shot with something like an X1 or GXR, etc.

      Each camera, no matter the brand or model will give its own unique look. No two cameras render an image in the same way. There is a Nikon look, a Canon look, A Leica look and even a Fuji and Ricoh look. My problem is I like almost all of them!

      Can’t wait to test the X100 but I am certain it will be a home run hit for Fuji.

        • +1
          Good point on the GXR contrast Steve. What makes this upcoming review so anticipated is the anti-DSLR, manual dial, nostalgic, tried-and-true photographic-tool philosophy the three share, and their market exclusivity in that regard. The E-PL2, GF-2, NEX-5, and GXR are great cameras but different in their design philosophy. I’m looking forward to your head-to-head!

      • I can’t think of a single instance where pre-production samples from a camera received glowing praise. I have applied PP to the X100 DPR samples and IQ is pretty much on par with my X1, except with respect to high ISO. The X100 at ISO 3200 and above is unmatched by the X1. The X100’s f2.0 lens, being twice as fast as the X1’s f2.8 lens, will make the X100 the king of RF style, low light photography. Short of shooting with a Noctilux, even the mighty M9 will struggle to compete with the X100 in low light.

        BTW, early image samples from the Leica X1 were also greeted with much the same criticism and disappointment:

        http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1038&thread=33604437

        http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1038&thread=33604430

  18. I remember a few years ago I went to visit a local camera club with a view to joining. On the wall where about thirty photographs that had been entered into a competition. You could tell the difference between the digital pictures and those photographs taken with a film camera. The one photograph that stood out for me was taken with a leica (although it did not come first). I do not know why, it was just a feeling I had that it was taken with a leica. It was that feeling I had that made me save up for a number of years to get my first Leica. silly I know but true.

  19. Here’s one of the x100 shots recently put up on dpreview:
    [img]http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/x100-1.jpg[/img]

    It is followed by the same image…but I clicked the “auto-tone” command on PS4:
    [img]http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/x100-2.jpg[/img]

    And, finally, here’s a crop of the lower right corner. Note that this image was shot wide open at f2.0:
    [img]http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/x100-3.jpg[/img]

    Most of the x100 samples shown have been pretty neutral. Probably to account for many monitor variations. You can see that it doesn’t take much to add a bit of “snap” to this file.

  20. Steve….here’s an interesting test for you. When you get the X100 and go about putting it through its paces pitted against the M9 and the X1, BEFORE your write up one of your terrific summaries..pput your own minions to a vote by FIRST posting a number of shots for the Leica cognoscenti here to decide. See if people can tell if there’s a Leica ‘look’ in digital. You might do things two ways one set totally random and another set nearly identical (23mm vs 24mm vs 35mm(M9). If you REALLY want to be mischievous, throw in a shot taken by a mFT camera or a GXR.

    Obviously they’ll be looking at smallish screen shots. But, of course, if the ORIGINAL files could be downloaded for inspection so folks could compare side-by-side and vote that would be even better.

    Then post your thoughts of having lived with the camera and put it through it’s paces.

    After all the yammering and predictions and revisiting and reconsiderations about what camera with what sensor and what lens will do better I’d be curious about how it would all sort out in a REAL world test. jpeg-a-jpeg.

    🙂

    • But what would be the point Peter? Even if people couldn’t tell the difference between one or the other, what does that really prove in the end? Why not simplify things instead of waisting time and ask the question, ‘If presented with 100 images from an X1/M9 and 100 from this new X100 (that I haven’t yet seen mind you), would I be able to tell the difference between the two with 100% accuracy?’ The answer of course is probably not. Yes, there is a Leica look but it’s not just actual, it’s also psychological and therefore actual in my world!
      There have been plenty of times when looking through my old files that I’ve mistaken a 5D file for a Leica file. I would sigh ton myself saying “ahh….Leica, you just can’t beat that glass” only to find out that it wasn’t even a Leica file. So does that then make one a fool or a liar… of course not! It’s not about catching people out, it’s about making people happy and therefore enabling them to take what they feel are better photographs

      If people think that one camera gives them better IQ and nothing can come close to it then let them if it means they make better pictures. Part of it is in the mind and therefore to them…..a reality.

      `6

      • Hey 6,

        Yeah you’re probably right. Wouldn’t serve much of a point.

        I think the earlier point you made summed everything up perfectly. In that the X100 would not have the same IQ as an X1..or for any other camera. As another bloggist, Sean Reid, has often stated, every camera with its lens and sensor ‘draws’ its image in its own unique way. And I concur. As to whether the X100 which on paper is presenting itself to be one extraordinary new option in the digital age can match the robust files that the X1 produces is, at the moment, anyone’s guess. And again I agree with you.

        Does the X1 have that signature Leica look? That I don’t know. From the vast images of the X1 I’ve seen on Flickr and LFI’s only Masters of the Leica website it does in one respect but I’m not sure it has anything to do with how the camera makes you feel which I have to admit there might be a slight modicum of truth in that regard, I suppose, from the user’s standpoint of belonging to a special club with a lot of renowned members like Erwitt and Eisentstadt who used it so successfully and somehow feeling by default you could be part of that. And that can easily have affect how one interprets or views the output they see.

        Personally I think that what many call the Leica ‘look’ may have to do with two elements. One is certainly the optics, which are the most notable and most widely discussed. Leica’s idea of how a lens factors like lens resolution, micro contrast and color fidelity are certainly different from how the lens designers at Nikon, Canon, Sigma, Cosina/Voigtlander, Zeiss, et. al. view it. And, no doubt Fuji as well. Each has it’s own unique look. And I suppose that is a contributing factor as well. Interestingly enough, in the digital era, however, post production tweaking of things like chromatic aberrations, contrast and scores of other variables I feel has reduced the once subtle differences between optics. But before going into CS5, Lightroom 3.3 or whatever, those signature differences are probably there.

        Personally I think the look comes from how the camera makes you ‘see’. That is, via a rangefinder window with frame lines vs the ground glass of an SLR or DSLR an LCD showing 100% screen coverage. This is something I’d come to realize when I’d gone from a rangefinder (a Yashica Electro 35) to an SLR (Canon Ftb) and back again to a rangefinder (M6). With the rangefinder’s view I noticed that the user ‘finds’ a picture in a large scene. No lenses or outside optics other than the optics within the viewfinder distort that view to affect how you see it other than what you see. Using the VF of an SLR/DSLR/LCD the user tends to ‘compose’ a shot on the screen or LCD by adjusting either distance and/or zooming to crop things ‘just so’. I think with the rough framing nature of the RF VF over the SLR/LCD VF that is chiefly responsible for the ‘intimate’ look in the vast majority of Leica images I’ve seen.

        When fitted with it’s optional OVF, I’d dare say that the X1 achieves that more times than not. And that I wonder may be the chief reason the X1 has that look. And the X100 may actually come close to mimicking it.

        Diehard X1 fans will say there’s a major difference and that the X1 still rules APS-C while others will say at $1200 (U.S.) the X100 is what the X1 should have been in the first place.

    • Steve has done these sorts of test before, and the Leicas (X1 or M9) absolutely wiped the floor with the contenders. This is to be expected — the X1 lens is better than anything out there with the possible exception of the Panasonic 20/1.7. However, the X1 sensor is twice the size of the mFT cameras. The M9 has the best sensor of any full-frame digital camera, and of course state-of-the-art lenses.

      With the Fuji, we now have a pretty good sensor, but also a very nice Fujinon lens with MTF charts that are even better than Leica’s.

  21. I think that there’s no doubt the X100 will be an outstanding camera. I think that the IQ will be great, the AF great and the general handling and overall performance, stella.

    What it won’t be.

    It will NOT have the same IQ as the X1 or any other digital Leica for that matter and I’m not talking about the Leica branded Panny’s because the only thing Leica about those is the red dot….period. I feel that Leica IQ is superior but that’s subjective and down to my own personal tastes. My point is that it’s like comparing apples and oranges and at the end of the day they will both have great IQ. Leica have their own look and I haven’t seen anyone come close to what they do. It’s not better, it’s just their look. The closest has been Ricoh but other than that…no one has managed to come close.

    What does matter.

    The way the Leica makes you feel and therefore take pictures. It’s the same issue I have with Leica digital compared to Leica film cameras. Overall my pictures taken with my film Leicas are better than the ones taken with my M9. It’s the way that it affects me psychologically that’s the difference. What I’m trying to say is that the constant comparing is really nonsense, the X100 will be what it will be and the X1 will remain what it is. At the end of the day it will come down to what camera instills levels of confidence the best for the individual.

    `6

  22. There IS an X1 update coming very soon that dramatically improves the AF speed, believe me when I say that I know this to be true. So all the skeptics will just have to find something else to pick on now and for the time being. How about price? That seems to be an old faithful that’s guaranteed to bring out the worst in us 🙂

    `6

      • I have a Ricoh GXR which was also much maligned for it’s ‘slow as molasses’ AF. People said it couldn’t be improved just like they’re doubting here regarding the X1 (to be fair I was one of those people). Ricoh released an update that literally made the GXR a different camera, I couldn’t believe it. I would expect similar performance here.

        `6

  23. I find it very strange the comments that the X100 is such a good camera and it is going to be better than the X1, How many of you have actually touched an X100 or in fact an X1 and compared both cameras side by side, my guess is not many. It is all just hot air at the moment and all the hype is playing into the manufactures hands, No wonder camera prices just keep on getting higher.

    • I ordered an X100 yesterday but on Thursday I have able to spend 10 minutes using the X100 and the day before that I used an X1, I was only use them in the camera shop but I did not notice a difference in auto focusing speeds.

      I picked the X100 over the X1 because it has a viewfinder and faster lens plus it was a little cheaper, I hope I picked the right one.

      I did want to try a GXR but the camera shop did not have one

  24. I truly wish that Leica will upgrade the microcode to make the autofocus faster. If it will bring it closer to the competition I will buy the X1 right away. I take a lot of pictures of moving people and the current speed is just too slow.

  25. Steve says: “Also, the Fuji is coming in at $800 LESS than the X1 with a built in VF so even if it does not match the Leica IQ it will still be a fantastic camera IMO.

    Actually, in order to compare apples to apples, you would have to include the X1’s add-on viewfinder, and probably the add-on Grip. So the price difference is $2470.00 to $1200.00 for the Fuji, a difference of $1270.00, not $800.00. Basically twice as expensive!

    In addition, the difference in size between the X1 and the X100 is .12in in width, .56 in height, and .84 in in depth. (but I’m not sure if that’s with the X1’s lens retracted) If you add the add-on viewfinder to the X1, it’s TALLER than the X100.

    The difference in weight is 119 grams, without the X1’s viewfinder, which is solid glass and probably pretty heavy. That’s 4 ounces, hardly a big deal, and likely almost wiped out if you add the viewfinder.

    I’m not hating on the X1. It’s a very cool camera. If it was $800,00, or even $1200.00, I’d own one now. At $2500, I’m voting with my wallet, and not buying one.

    I’ve pre-ordered an X100.

    • I pre-ordered a X100 as well, despite still having a X1. However, I’m concerned that the X100 will not live up to the unrealistic expectations posted by many in this thread. Expecting first rate optical performance and DR and high iso “several levels above the X1” would make the X100 the best comparatively inexpensive aps-c sensor equipped package ever (including DSLRs). I’m too old to believe in miracles.

  26. Also, Steve’s X1 samples are fine and “snappy”…but the crops are from the center or near center. Most lenses do well there.

  27. The X1 just wasn’t for me, Bradley. I sent it back after one day. I don’t remember any waiting list for the X1. I had no problem getting one about a month after it was released.

    The X1 was dead on arrival because of the $2000.00 price tag.

    Sarcasm is fine…these forums should be fun!

  28. If IQ is all that matters stick with the X1.

    But like an anagram of X100 suggests, the new FUJI with it’s lightning fast AF (that the X1 can’t match no matter what firmware tweaks Solms comes out with), a built-in finder which combines what Leicaphiles and other RF adherents loved about a rangefinder, it’s open view of a crystal clear scene with projected frame lines showing what the camera will be capturing along with projecting (brilliantly I might add) exposure information (that doesn’t intrude into the frame line area) along with other data you love from a DSLR you can CHOOSE to have displayed like some HUD in an F18 fighter plane via its 1.5 mega pixel EVF (all in a finder, by the way, that you DON’T have to pay extra for–not to mention a grip), a nearly silent leaf shutter, larger, sharper rear LCD, svelte, lightweight magnesium clad body with analog dials and apertures to set may turn out to be 100X better.

    • Today I saw a 10 minute video with two guys in Alberta showing off the Fuji for The Camera Store. Along with all the features mentioned here, they also demonstrated the 5 frame burst mode, use of the ND filter with flash to darken backgrounds outdoors in snow, and a multi-shot, auto stitch, spin panorama mode! Maybe a bit gimmicky, but with the 720 video, a lot of flexibility even if you don’t use it much. I thought I’d never shoot video on the Canon S90 but there I was when I actually used it to better describe an event.
      Great site, Steve!

  29. It’s pretty clear that the X100’s dynamic range and high ISO are several levels above the X1. I really don’t think the X100 is “taking aim at the X1”. The X1s never did fly off the shelves while X100 seems to be sold out before it hits the stores.

    Plus, the X100’s handling is miles above the X1s ( I played with one at the CES show in Vegas).

    I really don’t see any comparison besides them having a fixed focal length lens.

    • Wow no need for the review then! Thanks Jim!

      Although what’s with the growing chorus of newspeak around the X1’s original demand? Am I the only one who remembers how hard it was to get one, the buzz, and the waiting lists?

  30. excited to see this myself. got a chance to play with the X100 at WPPI and I must say I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. Can’t wait to shoot one more extensively soon. Looking forward to especially hearing your thoughts Steve.

  31. From what I have seen of the Fuji X100 samples on the web (emotional or not)…there is no comparison to the Leica X1 (I am not a Leica owner). There is no comparison whatsoever and I think it is probably the glass. Are you kidding me…the contrast and sharpness on the Leica here makes the Fuji look like mud.

      • Vlad..those samples from the Fuji look more promising….also…(I have not worked with either camera..)….but there are a LOT of complaints about the lethargy of the Leica in real working environments (Steve Huff would be one of the nay sayers in that area)…
        It will be interesting to see what Steve says when he actually compares both.
        Both cameras are to rich for my blood for a fixed lens camera. Too limiting no matter how good it is for that price point. VERY cool design on the Fuji, though!

      • Vlad,

        I spent 15 minutes browsing ramdiboy’s pictures and only found one that mentioned what camera was used (and it was a Canon dslr).

        Is there a whole set of X1 pictures that I’m missing?

        Thanks…

  32. For me it comes down to the Fuji having a viewfinder and feeling like an actual camera. I don’t want to look at a LED screen to compose a picture and you shouldn’t have to pay extra for a viewfinder.

    • Yep, exactly. Funny as I’ve barely heard anyone mention this… rather the internet seems to be flooded with tech geeks who debate over pixels.

    • Yep. What Shawn said. No viewfinder, no sale. Maybe it’s different if you started in photography with digital point & shoots, but I don’t see the “arms outstretched squinting at the reflections on the lcd’ technique as a method I’m interested in using.

      And, all of this talk about image quality is premature. The only Fuji images that anybody has seen are the 8 or 9 samples that Fuji published.

      In the real world, I make 8×10 and 11×14 prints. If the Fuji will do that as well as, say, my Canon 40D, in a much smaller and faster package, I’ll be thrilled. The X1 makes amazing images, but pixel peeping is not photography.

    • I agree. I miss the OV on cameras. Heck, my little Canon SD800 has one. When did it become okay not to have one? I’ve always used the OV on cameras much more than LCDs!

      • “When did it become okay not to have one?”

        Interesting question. The answer involves history, economics, and probably psychology.

        Pretty much every film camera, even the cheapest, had a viewfinder, because there was no other way to see what you were shooting. The earliest digital cameras all had viewfinders too, just from habit. (I’m thinking of an Olympus 406 something that I had in the early 2000’s. It had a viewfinder that was like looking down a soda straw.) They also had lcd’s, and manufacturers discovered that, to meet a price point on the low end, they could make the viewfinders smaller and smaller, and worse and worse, and finally eliminate them altogether.

        Now here’s the psychology: Everybody starts out with an entry-level camera, so now almost a whole (marketing) generation has started out its photographic life with an lcd-only camera. They’re used to it, and don’t mind glarey reflections on a finger smudged lcd, and don’t think there’s anything wrong or awkward about the zombie-holding-a-toasted-cheese-sandwich shooting stance.

        Now some more economics: the manufacturers, having discovered that a large chunk of their market didn’t demand viewfinders, started leaving them off of even high-end cameras, even though the economic saving, as a fraction of the total cost, is minimal. (That is, a $20 increase is a big deal on a $150 camera. On a $2000 camera, not so much.)

        Note that for companies that make both VF and non-VF cameras, there’s not much consistant difference in price between the two types.

        Notice also that pretty much every company that makes a no-viewfinder camera is doing a respectable business in selling add-on viewfinders, and that these make the camera taller than it would have been if it had a built-in viewfinder in the first place.

        So that’s how it became OK not to have a viewfinder. Actually it’s not OK with me at all.

  33. You know what guys, Leica, Apple and Nikon are playing in the same legue. Arrogant, don’t listen to their customers and doing their own things. Apple is playing with the pods and phones, Leica with Tiroler Leather, titanium and collector items and Nikon, well the are playing ‘silence is golden’ :). Custumers…? oh, well, fine!

  34. The more I use the X1, the more I love it. Quirky focus issues aside, it is fabulous. My first day of fun with the X1 was in the Irish Chanel area of New Orleans. I could not have been happier with the character and feel of the files it produced. Here is a link to my first days adventure. http://www.artoflightgallery.com/p752664494

    (Note the last couple of rows are film scans, hence no exif.)

  35. Leica- I recommend at least getting your new firmware to Steve for his shootout against the X100 or else things might get ugly. You wouldn’t want your X1 left behind in the OK Corral and it posted all over the internet’s best Leica review site. A lot’s on the line!

  36. And photography turns slowly into a tech competition… but what if one camera photographs a plate with a burger and fries, and the other a beautiful rice field in China? Would it matter much which one wins the pixel sharpness fight?

    • You are absolutely right. (Take a look at some of the boring photos an Flickr taken with for instance an M9 or other top of the line camera – that says it all).

      • Instead of purchasing an M9, something I’ve been lusting for after seeing so much of it here, plus the pure lens love that would for sure drain my bank account, I realized I’d not have much money left to actually use it for anything but taking pics of my cats and friends. Which in itself is a nice subject, but it can be done with any camera really, probably even better with an autofocus p’n’s. The money I was almost willing to spend equalled five trips to various countries still high on my to-see-list. So instead of buying yet another great camera, I booked a ticket to Cambodia for next month, booked a couple of hostel nights in various towns, and off we go with an Leica X1 and a Lumix LX5. They might not provide me the pixel perfect images that an M9 would guarantee, but at least I’ll be having a blast taking images of temples, fishermen, markets and people that I otherwise never would have been able to enjoy. If I were richer, this dilemma wouldn’t occur, but for now, I think I’ll be perfectly happy with the pictures I do make. Photography in the end is about shooting images, much less about discussing pixels with other obsessed 🙂

  37. Take a look at:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/andreasvoegele/

    I’ve often thought of the X1 as a genius type product. It is undeniably brilliant in some ways (see Andreas’s wonderful X1 landscapes), but with certain genius “compensations” in other areas.

    But the real reason for the link to Andreas Voegele’s stream, is that, despite the gorgeous X1 work, he’s started to shoot the GXR 28mm/2.5 A12 module that Steve has spoken so highly of. He has some very interesting side by side shots of the same scene from X1 and GXR 28 (as did Steve in his various pieces on the subject). I think it’s plain to see (again, as Steve has elsewhere suggested) that this should not be a two way debate, X1 v X100, but that the Ricoh deserves to also have a place in that discussion

    As I’ve said before, I LOVE that all black X1, with finder and grip… money no object, I’d own one (or maybe the GXR intending to get the lens mount module when it comes out) , but alas, the budget does not allow, given my desire to do things with the camera that neither the little Leica nor the GXR will do.

    • The GXR and 28 module are fantastic and up there with the X1 though render slightly different. Id call it “creamy” vs “crisp”. I love the GXR and 28. For about $900 you can have both, new. The only niggle I have with the GXR is its shutter speed limitation when shot wide open. Other than that it’s much faster than the X1, slightly bigger but the lens quality of the 28 is superb.

  38. Has there ever been such anticipation for a compact camera release before?
    The marketing from Fuji has been fantastic.

    • Fuji has anticipated/met the needs of many hopeful buyers.

      For me its simple – a small camera+lens, biggish sensor, and fastish glass. I like the X1 but 2.8…, for $2K, and the aforementioned speed/performance issues. No thanks.

  39. But, the X100 sample images are all shoot in JPG right? Steve would you mind posting some OOC JPG’s from X1 so then we can see the details etc?

      • In my experience, X1’s OOC jpegs are better than what I can squeeze out of RAWs in LR/ACR. I’m talking about high-contrast b/w jpegs, haven’t tried the colour ones. With CaptureOne I could get comparable results. I don’t know why LR can’t give me better quality. Maybe due to camera profile or something. I have no such problem with M9’s RAWs.

        • I hear a lot of people unsatisfied with LR’s handling of X1 raw files. Try Aperture-then they BLOW AWAY the jpegs. I only import raw now and jpg is just for the LCD preview.

          • Thanks, Bradley. I don’t have Aperture but I do have CaptureOne which does the job just fine. It’s way better than LR in terms of image quality. Even with my M9, which LR handles quite fine, CaptureOne still outperforms it. Pity that Leica dropped it.

  40. As far a IQ goes, they are both “more than good enough”. The X1’s optics might be a tad better and the Fuji’s sensor might have a slight edge over the one built into the Leica, we will see. But I don’t think such marginal differences will matter. Size, weight, AF performance, MF functionality, user interface are the key criteria for me. I’m presently on the slopes in Switzerland and thanks to its small size and light weight the X1 provides the highest IQ possible still comfortably fitting into a ski jacket pocket. For street shooting, action etc, the Fuji might be the one to have. I might end with both….;)

    • I completely agree with retow: for the majority of us, they will both produce “more than good enough” photographs. Of course, there may be some of you with more demanding requirements, and perhaps the X100 will fall short of your personal “good enough” line. But for me, once a camera reaches a minimum acceptable level of image quality, I start to pay more attention to handling, ergonomics, feel, weight, size, battery life, etc. etc. And I am very much hoping that the X100 surpasses my “good enough” IQ requirements and pays dividends in the other categories. No matter how good the X1 IQ is, it’s not the camera for me, because I hate composing on an LCD screen. Maybe the X100 will be the one for me, to complement the m9. I’ll know in a few weeks. 🙂

      • “No matter how good the X1 IQ is, it’s not the camera for me, because I hate composing on an LCD screen” – I’m glad Steve is testing the X1 with the optical viewfinder for this reason. I have the Black 35mm Voigtländer viewfinder ($169) on my X1 and learned quickly where center is on it. Either it or Leica’s viewfinder for the camera is a great combo – I refuse to compose in zombie stance.

  41. I owned the X1 and providing you’re shooting subjects that remain very still (as per your samples) then it is very capable. But the samples I have seen from the X100 look better. The ISO 6400 samples on DP REVIEW are streets ahead of anything I saw from my X1. And the X100 has the added advantage of a fast f2.0 lens that is twice as fast the f2.8 lens on the X1. I also like the RF style lens on the X1 complete with aperture ring rather than the P&S pop-out lens that needs to retract and extend on the X1. Other than slightly more compact dimensions, the X1 offers little to no advantage over the X100.

  42. I have a Leica X1 and pre-production sample of Fuji X100. Comparative shots and prints shows, that Leica lens is a bit sharper, resolvs a little more details, but this was a pre-production model with unstable firmware, so everything can change..

  43. @Vlad: Wow awesome pics on flickr!
    Leica forget the firmware update, because that won’t speed up the AF. Bring us a X2 please :). Imo the X1 has the better looks.

    • I think so to, if AF was meant to be fixed with firmware upgrade I’m guessing it would have happen until now. I actually prefer the looks of X100.

      • Who said the firmware update would come in march, this year?
        Is it to hard to get contact with Leica and know more details about this?
        And is it really possible to make a better AF with an update in this case?

        “I’ve said it again and again…Leica, IF AT ALL POSSIBLE, get the AF to where it should be with the X1. If you can not, and eventually release an X2 then give it a manual lens with aperture dial, fast AF, and a built in viewfinder.”

        I don’t really think its necessary the X2 comes with a built in viewfinder, it would loss all the good portability that x1 brings. And if the x2 comes with all that improvements, the M9 would loss market space, even knowing it’s a totally different camera.

        Please, Steve, use your power to bring us news about the firmware update! =P Knock the Leica door, bring us the Sun! haha =P

  44. No doubt that that X1 can put out amazing quality, even the 100% crops look good and there is great amount of details, and the “leica colours” are amazing!

    But looking at the photos from the other post where someone have posted a link to flickr,
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ramdiboy/

    I cant see much of the difference? It is my old pre-hostoric macbook pro’s screen thats stopping me?

    Sure the widest image there is 1024 and there are no 100% crops but still the quality looks to be there…

    • Also price wise, there is nothing mentioned here for a German market, i check my local camera store everyday for updates but nada… I think i will be getting mine when i travel back home (Australia) in May, there is a price of $1199 AUD which when you convert to Euros comes around 850. Which is a half price of new X1 here 🙂

      • From what I’m seeing it isn’t going to work like that (Dollar for Euro) and rarely does. In fact usually there is parity on the number. The preorder pricing I am seeing is 1199 euros… in which case, not too much less than the x1.

        • Why not? You can order X100 in Australia for $1199 and that comes to around 850 Euros. That’s where i am planning to buy mine when i travel there in May. Home sweet home 🙂

          • Could you please let me know where did you find the AUD$1199 Leica X1 in Australia? I’m from Melbourne and the best price I could get here in OZ is $1916, that’s not too far from the Euro price I believe?

    • That´s true! Amazing quality and even Steve didn`t tell us ISO I would guess it at 6400ISO, of course taken with 16ND filter. I have seen X100 picts at 3200ISO (fruits with dominant banana) and I couldn`t descern any noise. Fuji must be cheating. Leica is the lovliest, cutest, sweetest thing on earth. Oh, how do am I in love with this Balaleica!.

        • Hi Greg! I thought balaleica is something russian play when they are happy. Well maharaj, I heard this Bala word not knowing what exactly it ment. But I do like to listen now and then to Radio Krishna. Photowise I guess I am too critical. I must admit b/w pict of catedral has tremendous quality for 1000ISO to be. Last thing. I really do like to read your posts. Not that many humorous and witty people like you around. Cheers Stanis

          • Hi Stanis! Thanks for your kind words. I think your sense of humour is in the top league, too. You know, I do this ‘forum thing’ for fun and friendship, not for finding the sacred truth about some piece of gear. I mean, really, how can you be seriously talking about some strange metallic and glassy objects. That would be kind of insane in my book. I enjoy photography and cool gear but I’m here for the people. I do care about the X100 outperforming the X1, or vice versa but no more than a child would care about his toy gun outperforming his toy sabre.

            Regarding the cathedral picture, if you mean this one http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregshanta/5480862890/ — it’s ISO1600, not 1000.

            Balalaika is cool. Russians do enjoy playing it when they are happy or too drunk to play anything else.

            The Sanskrit word ‘bala’, interestingly, has another meaning: ‘a child’. Strange but true.

            I don’t listen to Radio Krishna, I don’t even know what it is. I assume it has something to do with the Hare Krishnas. I’m not one of them, if that’s what you mean. They are nice people but a bit too strange for my taste. I prefer the authentic Indian spirituality, not the ‘neo’ Western versions of it. But, I guess, this is way out of context of this thread or this entire blog. Drop me a line in email, if you want, so we could talk more freely.

            Cheers,
            Greg

    • I have a X1 for 2 weeks now, and one thing I can tell is that beside IQ (no doubt for me it is just splendid !), handling, speed, aperture settings, AF and manual focusing, zone focusing, etc, …. when you are knowledgeable with these things, are at a snappy level when you have acquired the camera ergonomics.

      I will never change X1 IQ to X100 IQ even if this one is far more better. Real life usage has nothing to do with the title sorry. Not telling the OOC results, or looking at HD television screen ! I am now fed-up with all the camera I bought. No doubt that money engaged in camera”S” will heavily stop down now.

      For me, the search for “the camera” ended . Thank you Mr Leica, even at 1500€, no regrets.

      X1 IQ + X1 ergonomy is a twin pack winner. + last but not least, the beauty of X1.

      Thanks !

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