A quick look at 4 cameras: The Leica M, ME, Sony RX1 and Fuji X100s (Video)
Just a quick look at these 4 camera side by side. More than anything just to see size differences and the EVF on the Leica M. In this video I take a look at the Fuji X100s, Sony RX1, Leica M and Leica ME (which is the M9). Enjoy!
steve, for the love of god lose the ring it’s disgusting
I’m sure not nearly as disgusting as what you walk around in 😉 – sorry, I like my ring. The funny thing is, I did lose it..but replaced it after I did. I’d say worry about your own fingers, not mine.
Great review thank you, it helped me make a decision on what to buy
Has anyone compared the RX1 shutter sound to an M9 or the new M, or some of the most popular DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras? I would like to know if it really is as silent as it gets? I dont have a chance to hold the RX1 at the moment, but I will soon, and then I will test it myself, but in the meantime, would like some input from people that have.
I already asked this question once, but i cant find in which post was it, sorry
If we are being pedantic and our definition of silent is the total absence of noise then no, its not silent.
But it is very quiet. Compared to my DSLR its like comparing a shotgun with a fart.
I did a blind test at home and with no other noise such as TV etc my wife, (who has excellent hearing), while concentrating on listening, could hear the RX1 at a distance of twelve feet but no further.
In real world use it’s as good as silent.
It is pretty much silent as long as you turn off the fake shutter noise in the menu. It is a leaf shutter. Sounds like the X100 (without electronic noise) , Nikon V1 with electronic shutter, the Fuji GF670 film RF, etc. It is a teeny tiny near silent click. The Leica M uses a real shutter so it is louder.
Thanks for the input, both of you. Exactly what i wanted to hear.
I tested both x100s and Sony at the store. Both great cameras to hold and operate. I need to play around more to give any opinion. And I’d like to do a print test to see which gives better results in color, less noise and detail. I had the x100, sold it and now have XE1 and XPro1. Love the fuji systems but find myself using the XE1 more. Faster focusing, pop up flash, smaller and better EVF. I’d like to know if Steve is going to be doing any test prints in his review?
Only goes to show that the DxO Mark doesn’t mean much. After reviewing a lot of RX1 images, I’m not impressed with the resolution nor sharpness.
You must have cataracts 🙁
Thanks for the review Steve!!
I know the review is forthcoming, but any initial thoughts on the image signature for the x100s vs. x100? Most of the updates sounds great, but many of us are keen on seeing whether the “magic” from the x100 lives on with the x-tran sensor. I’ve been holding out for the x100s reviews, but stock of the x100 is disappearing fast…
Tanks again and love the site!
The IQ is a little different than the X100. Much more like the X-E1/Pro-1 than the X100. Some may not see a difference but to those who know and have shot the X100 extensively will see it. Is it better or worse? All depends on the look you prefer. The X100s is highly capable though and (spoiler alert) well worth the upgrade from the X100. It’s alike an all new camera in use.
Thanks for the spoiler, and good to know. By now I think we all know it’ll come down to subjective measures, but I can’t wait to read your full review knowing how much you love(d?) the X100!
Great video. I am a little confused about your opinion on low light ISO performance of the RX1 vs the M240. On Facebook you claimed that the M has better ISO performance but the images and your comments on this site seems contradictory? RX1 sertainly doesn’t have any banding at 6400 iso.
Thanks for a great site!
In real shooting – as in taking photos in low light – with all NR turned OFF. The Leica M has less noise than the RX1 when using the built in camera metering at 3200 and 6400. The M CAN show some banding at 6400 in certain situations. The RX1 DOES NOT. The RX1 can be pushed all the way to 25,600, the Leica M max is 6400. The sensor in the RX1 is superb, like having a mini D800 and Zeiss 35 in your pocket. One reason it was my cam of the year 2012. The entire RX1 and Zeiss lens that is built in It costs less than a Leica 35 Summicron lens alone.
Thanks Steve, now I see what you mean. I will just have to get both:-)
You know, the more and more I look at the M-E the more I think the gray and black color scheme is sexy as hell. I don’t know why, but I’m really drawn to it.
Granted a camera is a camera and shouldn’t necessarily be thought of as a fashion accessory, but I keep thinking to myself it would look really great over my shoulder when I’m wearing a black business suit.
Yeah, i really like the militaristic look of the M-E =o]
I like its no nonsense, minimalstic kind of utilitarian look too.
Had no trouble getting my EVF through BH Photo. I waited quite some time on Amazon and could get no information on ETA, so cancelled my order for the EVF and Lens Hood. Went to BH and got EVF immediately, but it took quite awhile to get the Lens Hood. NOW, I have the EVF, Lens Hood, but no RX1! The control dial in front stopped working so I sent RX1 in for repair! Thank goodness I got my RX100 backup! A good lesson for travelers; I’ll never travel with one camera! Got some fabulous RX1 images before it died. Some will be on my website TheArtfulToad.com in the near future, but a new RX100 photo will be up within a week (“Union Pacific”) as well as a new Leica X1 photo (“Lucky Pigs”).
Man…the new “M” got CRUSHED by the RX1 at DXOMark. Good thing it’s all about that Rangefinder experience…
No it didn’t unless you know something everyone else doesn’t. As of today they have not posted their results for the M240 but they should in a few days. If you are referring to the M9/ME and M9P tests they just posted a few days ago then yes, the Sony crushed them as the Sony has one hell of a sensor, one of the best made today. It would surely beat the 4 year old M9 sensor (which is really 6 years old). I am guessing it will also beat the M sensor but not by much.
Yep you’re right! I saw the side by side at SAR and didn’t notice the 220…my bad Steve!
I’m still pulling for the new “M”, though not yet convinced. I was hoping to make it, my first Leica. It would have been a forgone conclusion if not for the RX1, which I just can’t seem to put down 🙂
Thanks Steve for introduce Ken Hansen to us.
A BIG SHOUT OUT to Ken……
He helped me get a ME this week. He did not have it, but he was nice enough to point me to place that has it.
Merely the fact that Steve Huff (not a Fuji fan) puts the x100s in the same league of those other three expensve FF cameras, makes it the “winner” of the bunch. Because it’s not even intended to compete those cameras. I think I’ll upgrade my x100.
this was pleasure to watch.
but man… wasup with you restlessly touching viewfinder windows of theese cameras?
one day… when I won’t be able to get me non of my favorite films, I’ll go for an M.
but until then I can just thank you for sharing your love for all theese great cameras and fuji x100s
Thanks. As for the Vf windows, they always get touched no matter what..I gave up trying to avoid it years ago. They are easily cleaned anyway.
I don’t want to be negative, but honest: I wonder if I am the only person on earth who sees serious banding in dark areas of type 240 DNG files, even if they are shot at low ISO. Knowing the X2 very well, I wouldn’t have expected that kind of issue with a larger CMOS sensor. The type 240 may be a nice camera overall, but, if I were still in the market for a rangefinder system, this would be a clear deal-breaker for me. I prefer the banding-free noise of the M9/M-E. Let’s be grateful, that Leica decided to keep the M9 sensor on the market.
I see banding at 6400 and that is it. Never seen it at any other ISO and I have quite a few shots under my belt with the camera. Can you point out images where you see banding at lower ISO?
Always great pleasure to read your articles and watch your movies
i am a big fan
Great stuff, Steve. Was wondering how you’d react to the AF improvement in the X100S as compared to the old X100 and current RX1. Ever think the RX1 and X100S could live peaceably under the same roof (i.e. another camera you’d keep)? Just got myself an RX1 and am fearful that X100S might sway my allegiance due to the AF speed (picture small kids moving fast in poorly-lighted rooms). But if you’re sticking with the Sony then maybe I ought not to worry. 🙂 Thanks again.
Well, I have the RX1 and X100s and the X100s is being sold when I am done with it in about 8-10 days. Not because it is bad, but because I have the RX1, which I enjoy more. No need for two 35mm cameras for me. PLUS I have the M! 🙂 The new X100s is a speedy little devil though!
Hi Steve. Would you be able to test Fuji’s ISO inflation issue? There are a few tests out there that show that Fuji’s ISOs are actually lower than the rest of the cameras.
I have an X Pro and the NEX 7 and I find that the X Pro would need 3200 where the NEX would give me 2000 iso for the same shutter speed and aperture. If you change that and make both the same ISO, I get a slightly slower (sometimes 1/3 sometimes 2/3 stops) shutter speed on the X Pro compared to NEX all else being equal, in order to get the same brightness in a photo.
Does it matter? After all everyone’s ISO is different. (Its weird as its a standard but it is what it is.) The thing that’s important is your satisfaction with the exposure. No? I.e. if the NEX 7 and Fuji provide the appropriate final exposures, does it matter if Fuji calls it 3200 and Sony calls it 2000?
After switching from Minolta/Sony to Canon I went through a phase where I compared all sorts of exposures, settings, etc. At the end I figured all that matters is getting the image I want.
Hey Steve. Will you be testing out the Coolpix A DX camera? The images so far looks fantastic.
I hope to check it out as soon as I am done with the Fuji X100s…
Finally got the chance to test RX1.
Sony engineers sure did fine.
Design wise …Steve Jobs said design always came first and it was the job of engineers to fit themselves around design.
I cant help but feel if this approach was take we would have a gorgeous Rx1 to go with its gorgeous photos
Just wanted to say thanks for making these videos and writing up your reviews. I stumpled upon your website from Fuji Rumors last week when I started researching the Fuji X series cameras. I’m still waiting on the guts from the X100s to get thrown into the X-E1 or X-Pro1 body. When that does happen, I’m sure your site will be the first one I visit for a review.
Thank YOU for stopping by 🙂
We really live in the best of all times – at least photography wise. Wonderfull equipment popping up like mushrooms. There´s no excuse not to go out and make some great photos. Thank you for your reviews and all those inspiring guest posts.
You always make us drool with your ‘toys’ Steve. Appreciate your feedback and perspective when reviewing the latest in imaging technology. Incredible to think the thou$and$ of dollars you have in that video. Most of them are out of reach for the average enthusiast. I guess we’ll continue to dream about the Leica’s and RX1. I’d get the X100s but the lack of interchangeable lenses is my rate limiting step. Going to go NEX 6 or OMD in about 3 weeks. Thanks. (from Canada)
Stev, I think you were having loads of fun getting all those great desirable cameras out to play with! So how often do you get them out to drool over…. I cannot blame you and if I had the available cash I would do exactly that on days that I was not going out to take pictures.
Well, the ME is not mine..it was a rental that went back today. The X100s will have to be sold when I am done (at a loss due to scratch) and I will be keeping the M and RX1 🙂 I take a camera everywhere I go.
Sell me the X100s =o] Let me know when it’s available and i will sell my XP-1! =oD
I like the idea of the RX1 but I feel that depreciation will hit it hard being a fixed lens camera. The sensor in the RX1 will look outdated generations before the lens will but it can’t be removed! Camera bodies come and go but the lenses stay for the long haul.
Craig….I wonder about comments like yours….’ The sensor in the RX1 will look outdated generations before the lens’.
Really…does it matter?? If the sensor is listed as one of the top 5 sensors ever produced (at least on DXO), who cares about 5 yrs from now. Assuming the camera still works the image quality will be no worse than it is today. Sure maybe in 5 yrs people will have stratospheric ISO’s that are perfectly clean but this camera will do what it is designed to do today…just as well 5 or 7 years from now.
Hell, if you can produce a world class image from the RX1 today than why not 15 years from now. This isn’t the first time someone made a fixed focal length camera…Heck, the Contax T3 still fetches $600 for an ‘outdated’ P&S film camera from a bygone era.
Agree Clint nothing will look outdated that’s a strange comment. Folks still shoot cameras much older than 5 years ago and they look great. Some even shoot film! EEK!
The M8 at base ISOs looks fantastic just as it did in 2006.
By the way…depreciation is going to hit that M harder than anything. That’s the way it is though the more expensive you go, the more it will depreciate. In 3 years that M will go for 1/2 of what it is now when the next one is released.
Good post Clint. Photography is not about the retained retained value of cameras.
No point in waiting for the next big thing when you can have fantastic IQ right now.
I currently have two small grandchildren and another on the way. One of my reasons for choosing the RX1 over a camera with a smaller sensor was that I know that the RAW files I capture of the kids now are the best I can get on my budget. And irrespective of future developments, those files will be capable of producing top quality images on screen or in print long after I am gone.
Steve, keep it up. Your efforts are much appreciated.
I can understand his concern. Many thought the Canon 5D was terrific, finally better than film!, etc. etc. and then the Mk2 came… then the Mk3 and although it probably wasn’t as substantial of a jump, it did fix the focus irritation of the Mk2.
The sensor may still be viable in 5 years (as the 5D is now) but it’s every thing else… GPS, LTE connection with unlimited storage in the cloud to instantly backup every shot.
Technology moves forward but being able to retain an investment in a lens is somewhat of an comfort when the cost starts becoming significant. It’s one thing putting $1200 in a X100 , EX1, OMD, etc every year or two but $3k is a little more painful, at least for me. Investing in a reusable lens gives me an excuse!!!
So… where is that FF NEX 9? of that FF Fuji so we can start debating those cameras!
The X100 series is a camera most will update almost on an annual basis, or at least whenever the nex generation is released. The RX1 is a purchase to last 5 years and longer. If you do the math, cameras like a M9 or RX1, eventually, are less costly as they are cures for GAS.
Top 5 Bayer sensor, mind… DxO does not mean much
I agree with you Clint. And I’d like to add that I think of my RX1 as a superb Zeiss lens that just happens to have an outstanding FF sensor attached to it. Like many of the other Zeiss and Leica lenses that are timeless, so too is the RX1. Stereotypical anecdotes simply do not apply to this camera.
Oh! Oh! The red Artist & Artisan strap has been moved to the Leica from the RX1, I wonder what we can read into that?
My vote is for the Sony RX1 as the most desirable camera of the bunch; It’s tied in first place with the Leica for picture quality but it has AUTO FOCUS and costs only 1/3 of the price of the Leica.
But it is useless for street photography because there is no optical viewfinder, the EVF lags and there are no zone marking on the lens – too bad, otherwise it may have been a good buy.
Oh, and the battery sucks on the RX-1 too…
For me the only true street camera is the Leica, although the new Fuji may be good, but I don’t want a fixed 35mm camera…
Great review, Steve when you go out and shoot, what do you take with you? Could be very confusing!!
Well, the X100s due to me reviewing it. When that is done, back to my M or RX1…oh, or OMD 🙂
oh, or MM 🙂
I had to check the stats. The photo you took of the Godfather in low room light in your Fuji X100s review apparently only required an ISO of 1600, presumably set wide open at f2.0. No shutter speed given. So, I would guess that you could have shot it at ISO 800 and f1.4 on the new Leica M9 with a Summilux . . . at much greater cost, of course. But with a different look too?
Nice (visual) overview, but you forgot to mention which cameras have interchangeable lenses. This is the most serious limitation of the Sony camera. You also could have mentioned that the Leica M lenses that are f2.0 and especially f1.4 or 0.95 were designed for low and natural light use. I’ve used the M8 and M9 with f1.4 Summilux lens and had little difficulty shooting (lighted) night scenes at ISO 800 or less. Of course, if you did mention the lenses, it would be fair to mention their high prices as well. The cost value of the Sony and Fuji cameras is remarkable, to say the least. I have two friends who want to buy a new camera to start taking photos again; I’ll make sure they see this video.
May be they can consider buying the Sony NEX 6. One of the best sensor for your buck … It has a better sensor than the Leica or the Fuji … Unfortunately the lenses are less may be … In quality and quantity
I am saving my money for the NEX 6 … DSLR quality in a compact body …
Peace … 🙂
According to DXOMark I have to add 🙂 … Not that I can speak of my own experience unfortunately … 🙂
I love the real life shots of the Leica M type 240 by the way … they look so crisp/sharp … beautiful …
I have a Nex 6 and it’s IQ is nowhere near either the Fuji X-Pro1 or XE-1 (I have both).
I have the kit 16-55mm zoom and the 50mm F/1.8 but it doesn’t help.
The Fuji’s give my Canon 5D MK3 a run for it’s money…
Well Larry I don’t think that’s the objective of the video.
Youd be surprised at how many people (like me) check out your site regularly to get objective, informed reviews on some of the most current cameras worth investing in. You (and your readers) got me into fujifilm over a year ago. X100 and XE1. Traditionally a Canon 7d user. Site= Its original + full of comparisons we all want to see. Love the humour, style and honesty. Well done and keep rocking. Jonathan T. Caerphilly, South Wales. UK.
I love Steve’s reviews but “objective” is not a word I would use to describe them.
Of course they are objective. I compare to other comparative products and provide the facts and truth. Just because I write with excitement does not mean I am not objective. When I praise a camera I am attacked for being overly enthusiastic and not objective. When I am lukewarm on a camera I get attacked by that certain cameras fanbase. What I do can never be a win/win for me but that is already a known fact. But the reviews I put out, while full of enthusiasm are very objective.
There is nothing objective about them, but that’s why they’re so much more enjoyable than most technical reviews everywhere else.
You do however make an effort to be *balanced* which is a different thing.
This is not criticism, this is why I read your reviews;)
I do not care if you criticize me..happens every day 🙂 But I do have objectivity in my reviews. I present fact, truth and just how it is. Just because I may love Leica does not mean I will not be objective. In fact, I tell people to stay away from the D-Lux 6 almost on a daily basis. Why? Because you can get the Panasonic for $299, $500 less. Same camera, and the Sony RX100 is a better choice anyway.
My Leica review may have excitement and passion but it is objective. Nothing in that review can be pointed out as false and I clearly list many cons of the camera.If I were not Objective I would not be stating any cons. Fact is that it is a huge improvement over the M9 in many ways. Again, facts.
Thanks for the comparison, it´s nice to see them side by side! And I´ms specially grateful for the M review… Great Job!
I wanted to ask you about the SquareTrade protection plan that B&H offers for the M at $925. What is your opinion on it?
Thank you again!
Most bang for your buck; the Fuji X100s.
The Sony RX1 cost’s $2798 and you must add a 5-600 dollar viewfinder.
Sadly, I don’t have a budget for a Leica with lens(es).
I rather spend $1300 on a X100s and travel around Europe with all the money I save by not buying a RX1…
The last trip I made was to Turkey (under $1000) and the trip before was to Venice, Italy ($1300)…
Looking forward to your review 🙂
And the truth is that the X100s is no slouch in the IQ department, anyway.
Everything that was wonderful about the X100 + new industry-leading autofocus speed & accuracy + faster processing + the wonderful X-Trans sensor. Win-win in almost every respect.
Some folks hate on the X-Trans sensor — but the truth is that, used correctly, it produces stellar image quality.
Yes, the X100s offers the biggest bang-for-the-buck here, by several multiples, actually.
“Used correctly”? Please explain.
That figures since there is more to a good picture then the performance of the camera and lens (ass some M240 “test shots” from a certain rocket scientist prove so beautifully).
Focus, shutter time, DOF, correct exposure, right amount of sharpening in post, etc. etc. need I go any further. In the right hands even a humble OM-D can outshine any Leica (even the M240) in the wrong hands……(Lenscap removal service needed, mrs Beckham?).
Ed that is true, although the OMD in the wrong hands will also lose to Leica M 240 in the wrong hands.
Meaning if the camera containing it is used correctly: proper photographic technique for a given situation; nailing the focus; proper post work if shooting RAW; etc, etc, etc.
A friend and I did some parallel shooting two weeks ago. He has a D4 and I have an X-Pro 1. Overall, the X-Pro images held up very, very well against the 16 megapixel sensor in the D4, with the latter only pulling ahead in reduced noise in low light past ISO 3200. But sharpness and resolution were virtually indistinguishable.
We were both practicing very careful technique (tripod mounted shooting, etc.).
Great and comprehensive video. Do you ever use a UV filter to protect your lenses? If not, why? Thanks!
No, never have and never had an issue because of it. I figure…if you spend thousands on a lens using exotic glass…why put a cheap-o piece of glass in front. Just never been a fan and luckily never had an issue due to not using them.
Thanks, Steve. 🙂
Depends on your shooting condition Steve and your shooting habbits…..if you use 2 body’s and ditto glass and your Leica’s M6’s look like brass from cling-clanging together like the once’s from a Dutch professional photographer I once met (I believe Steije Raviez) back in the 80th…..well a UV filter might be the thing for you……but if you are as carefull and loving as you Steve, well nah, no need.
Heavens, a “cheap-o piece of glass in front…”! Leica makes lens filters – around £92 for their UV filter; I doubt if they use ‘cheap-o’ glass. But seriously, for photographs who bash around their cameras, an expensive-o’ piece of glass in front of the lens can give one piece of mind. I do a lot of landscape photography; recently my (non weather-sealed) camera fell into the snow and mud. Mud as an abrasive, is the sworn enemy of (relatively soft) camera lenses. As a student I was taught: “Put a UV lens filter on your lens, then forget about it”…
I was just stating that I do NOT ever use them and never have, even when banging around my cameras in a pro environment. They have their purpose for many shooters though.
cheapo is right! $5000 on a summilux lens, but $92 on a uv filter? Maye if they sell $1000 uv filters it would be matched up with the quality.
I’m pretty sure that Leica made filters match up to their lenses in terms of quality. I used them (I no longer own Leica equipment) without qualms. I doubt very much if the use of a filter would have a detrimental effect on image quality, especially a filter made by the company that makes the lens.
Except the UV filters are not cheap o pieces of glass if you buy the good ones. I’ve always used them and never had any noticeable reduction of quality in my images.
Have you tried taking the same shot with or without the filter? see any difference?
You suggest getting an ME instead of a used M9 because a new ME comes with insurance ( warranty). Well a filter is very cheap and effective insurance for any Leica lens.
The scratch on your Fuji’s back screen shows what could happen!
I have a B&W filter on each of my lenses. It gives peace of mind and the resolution of the Leica lenses is still fantastic. I’m not a pixel-peeper so am not bothered about doing a with/without comparison. And it’s probably letter than cleaning the actual lens several times a year, even with a gentle lens pen. As it is, if it’s covered with rain or muck or dust I just use a blower brush and a Zeiss lens cloth. Filter still looks perfect.
It has never seemed important enough to care. Twenty or thirty years ago most pictures were taken through them and somehow they came out just fine. For clumsy people (like me) it is reassuring. I envy people who can keep their stuff in excellent shape.
Steve, lucky you having the EVF for the RX1. I’ve had one on order for at east a month and still waiting!. The Leica M wait list appears to be worse!
Yea I am not sure why they are in such short supply but it’s nice to have.
Yes, the EVF, in my opinion, is a “must” to enjoy the RX1 fully…
That is why they are in short supply I guess…..usually you sell on EVF for 10 units sold (like the GF1 and GX1 and the Penn’s do (based on experience with fellow micro 4/3 shooters). The RX1 is aimed at a more wealthe clientelle……so more EVF’s are bought on the spot with the camera then Sony calculated. I wonder how many Olympus VF2’s are being sold these days…..with or without the Leica brand.
Love the design of the EVF on the Leica, the EVF on Sony is ugly 🙁
Hmm, I have a brand new, unopened RX1 EVF that I’m selling on eBay. I don’t think it’s in short supply any more.