Lengthy and Detailed Leica X1 and Fuji X100 comparison coming..

Ok guys…all of this Fuji X100 craziness is driving ME crazy! Lol. My e-mail inbox has been flooded in the last week asking me the question “What should I buy” – The X1 or X100? First of all, I can’t tell you WHAT to buy as I have no idea what fits your style, your needs, or your wants. I love both the X1 and X100. Both are capable of taking beautiful photos. One is made in Germany by Leica, one in Japan by Fuji. One is $1995, one is $1200. One has a viewfinder, the other is smaller and sleeker. One has a fast F2 lens, the other a slower 2.8 lens. When I reviewed the X100 I did NOT have a Leica X1 on hand to properly compare it to, but one is now on the way!

Leica dealer Ken Hansen (email: khpny19@aol.com) is sending me an X1 which will arrive Monday and I will finally be able to compare the two, side by side to showcase the differences in the way each camera operates and renders the image. I will shoot RAW and JPEG and will be taking a trip for this one so I have some fresh photographic opportunities. Maybe I will still do my Showdown in Tombstone..maybe I will take a trip up to Sedona AZ to photograph the red rocks..maybe both.

I will shoot both cameras equally. Same settings, same ISO, same everything. After my trip I will report back here with my experiences of shooting BOTH and which I preferred. There will also be plenty of images as well as discussion about  the usability of each. This way you guys can read it and then decide what will work best for YOU, if any of them!

I am looking forward to this. I am ready for a photo road trip! As for the cameras,  The X1 is almost 2 years old but still packs a punch even though the X100 is newer. I will also be reviewing the new firmware 2.0 of the X1. I am also still enjoying the X100 almost daily and am finding it to be a fantastic camera. I am ok with just a 35mm lens, and could easily live with just that focal length if I were just an everyday hobbyist.

So be on the lookout NEXT WEEK for this comparison. I am not going to get overly technical or worry about ultimate sharpness as there is MUCH more to a photo than that. I do know that each camera renders differently, that is fact! I will also be publishing my Olympus XZ-1 review next week as well as talk about a few other cameras that I had here for the last two weeks that just didn’t do it for me.

As always, thanks for visiting the site!



  1. “I will also be reviewing the new firmware 2.0 of the X1.” That’s great Steve! I haven’t found anything of significance anywhere on the web that’s done this. I really wish you would do a M9 (with equiv. 35mm lens) and X1 comparison just to see how good our X1’s compare.

  2. Steve, I am really looking forward to your review and your opinion, as I value them highly. I own both cameras having received my X100 a couple of weeks ago. To be honest, I like the images rendered by my X1 more than those produced by the X100. I bought the X100 with the intent that one of the two cameras would wind up on eBay. After reading the overwhelming number of reviews that seem to favor the X100, I fully expected that I’d be able to sell the X1 and pocket the savings. But now having played with the X100 for a while, that may not be what happens after all. I am very interested in hearing your insights. Hopefully you can help tip the balance one way or another. Thanks and I sincerely appreciate your website.

  3. Steve,
    thanks for Your enthusiasm! Please post the pictures without PostProcessing them, if this is possible. In my opinion a fair comparison is only possible without PP… Looking forward for the review/comparison!


  4. Seems like they’re pretty much even image quality wise from what I’ve seen.

    Still wanna see some “verus” the M9 (or M8)! As I recall some commenters, and myself included were not swayed by the two turtle photos in your review.

    I’m at a point where I’m convinced the Fujinon 23mm can hold it’s own against a 35mm Summicron in every way but bokeh shots (obviously because of the abundance of depth of field at 23mm).

  5. Without pixel peeping with a quantum microscope, I don’t think there is much difference in IQ. The X100 is a stop brighter and will do better at low light, bug up to 3200 the results will be much of a muchness.

    Still I’m secretly hoping the X1 “wins” lol

  6. Once all the features, issues and performance are put to one side and we see just the side by side photographs from the X1 & X100 I suspect that there will be no suprise which will produce the better photographs.

    how about some side by side shots with no information on which camera took which just to tantalize us before you post the full comparison

    • Tyler, that’s a fantastic idea!

      Steve, I think this is the way to go. Strip the EXIF info off the pictures and just run them side by side without any explanations. Then wait for about a week or so for the comments to build up (and some overly enthusiastic commenters maybe kill each other in the process) and then reveal the truth to the surviving readers! Really, seriously, Steve! Do it this way please!


      • Given that they have ever so slightly different focal lengths (they do right?) it might pretty easy to tell them apart simply by the FOV.

        By the way, I already know how this will turn out. Even though Steve does a good job discussing non-Leica gear and many who view this site (myself included) will never own a Leica camera or lens (due to cost not desire), this is still a Leica-driven site. Many here will be looking for confirming evidence (which is human nature). The majority of the comments will be pro Leica.

        And I’m ok with that. Just looking forward to seeing some lovely shots made with two extraordinary cameras.

  7. Can’t wait to see your photos steve, I’ve been waiting fot your road trip for a while. You seem to have been reinvigorated with the Fuji and your artistic and creative juices are thoroughly flowing. Really, bravo for the work on your sight recently. Keep up the good work!

    IMHO it will not matter which camera comes out on top here, (the X100 should really as its much newer), but these two cameras are two pea’s in a pod and both liberate the photographer to think in a much simpler and more pure style of photography. Also, it highlights a lot more of the photographers ability when you can achieve versitile and unique shots using just one lens. Relying on your imagination and technique rather than overly specialised and specific tools for each particular desired outcome.

    Good luck Steve, have a safe journey and go wild with these two stunning little travel companions!

  8. Nice! Take the highway past slide rock up to flag. It will be STUNNING right now. Can’t wait to see tue shootout!

  9. Steve, can you try to shoot some landscapes with both cameras which will have some leafless tree branches against the sky? If you will find any in your area of course. It will be interesting to see how both cameras handle the edges of those branches.

    I have a friend who is a very meticulous landscape photographer and he taught me this trick to check the “landscapeability” of cameras and optics. I tried it both with my M9 and my wife’s X1 and I found that in that particular area the X1 gives fantastic results, seemingly better than even the M9. I haven’t tried it with the X100 as it is spring time now in Russia and all the local trees are inconveniently green already. Maybe you will find some bare ones in your area. Or you can shoot those landmark Arizona cacti. They should do fine, I think, as they have those thorns sticking out.

    The thing is that most cameras, even top DSLRs, resolve the edges of micro details (like tree branches) with a little blur or softness, which can be seen at the magnification of 200% or so. As a result, those branches are not completely and clearly separated from the sky. Interestingly, the X1 handles the job very well. But that can be observed only with OOC Jpegs as Lightroom applies some other sharpening algorithm thus killing the crazy sharpness we’re after in such tests. So, if you decide to try it, use OOC Jpegs for both cameras. Try both colour and B/W. I found that X1 produces a bit sharper results with B/W.

    Here’s my favourite X1 shot from those tests:



  10. Thank you! For your explanations. Reading them is so clear and easy. The beautiful “toys” that you are exposed too expensive for my small budget, but I continue to dream with small snopshots or unusual. Thank you again for sharing both your passions. Bonsoir, à bientôt. Sylvie

  11. I really am still enjoying my X1, I got a really good deal on a slightly use one with grip and leica optical view finder for $1800. I own a m9 also so I wanted the smallest PS camera that yeilds excellent IQ and the X1 delivers the goods. I know the X100 produces excellent images also but the X100 is not much samller them my M9.
    I am looking forward to Steve’s upcoming comparison of the 2 cameras.

  12. Hi Steve
    While your at it, it would be great to get the GXR in there as well if you still have it.
    That would be great.
    Thank you

  13. Something tells me that whatever the outcome it’ll stir up a lot of “conversation” again… ha. Looking forward to your comparison, but I just love my X1 camera for its simplicity and iq.

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