Leica M9 vs Fuji X-E1 with Metabones Speed Booster by Christophe Carlier

Leica M9 vs Fuji X-E1 with Metabones Speed Booster by Christophe Carlier

Hi steve,

Firstly I want to thank you for putting my daily inspiration on your site.

I recently received a Metabones Speedbooster ring that allows me to get my Nikon F lens on my fuji X-E1 while keeping their 24×36 angle. A 50mm is a 50mm, a 35mm is a 35mm ….. and the more it will keep the effects of depth of field.

Manufacturing side of the ring is good quality, well-built. Its size is limited (see photo below) and reasonable weight 200 grams.




  • The weight of the whole XE1 + SpeedBooster plus 35mm f2 about 740 grams
  • M9P + 40mmf1.4 about 820 grams and FM2 + 50mmf1.8 about 740 grams.

The results photos, first 3 pictures are taken at 35mm (fuji XE1 SpeedBooster + nikkor 35mm f2 afd, facing M9P + Voigltander 40mm f1.4 at 1.4),

Image on the left image will be with the X-E1 – right side is with M9-P – MUST click them for larger version

S.B. comp fuji leica 35mm I

S.B. comp fuji leica 35mm III

S.B. comp fuji leica 35mm II

The following 3 images are at 50mm (XE1 fuji SpeedBooster + nikkor afd 50mm f1.8, facing M9P + canon ltm 50mm f1.2 at 1.4).

the pictures left XE1 and right M9P – again, you must click them for larger

S.B. comp fuji leica 50mm I

S.B. comp fuji leica 50mm II

S.B. comp fuji leica 50mm III

All pictures are taken in jpg, and only to compare the bokeh from each camera and lens.

What do you think?






  1. i was excited when i saw this title ….but !!!! a more interesting comparison would have been with the same focal l and f stop …..thanks but ???? what were you thinking …..do this again …. borrow some lenses or something …..alll the best

    • also i own the speedbooster , and enjoy using it [ nikon mount ] on my xe1 … it is an exciting lens adapter ….i use it alot with 85mm 1.4 rokonon and that same 50mm 1.8 youve got and 50 1.4 ai and even with the 60 and 105 micro afs …..im sold on this remarkable device …. i believe it truely provide a full frame bokeh experence an test withd that extra stop of speed is , well , awesome …do the test with more similar lenses and f stops . thank you

  2. I have heard of this metabones speedbooster and I find it very interesting. However it doesn’t really provide the “exact” shallow dof of the lens that is intended to on a FF camera. It does create shallower DOF than 1.5 aps-c crop when not using the speedbooster. Can you confirm this?

    Also, is the bokeh shape/harshness created by the lens, of is an effect of adding the speedboster? I never remembered 50/1.8 has that harsh of a bokeh.

  3. I appreciate the concept for this article but it would be much easier to draw accurate conclusions if you shot your ltm 50 at 1.8 instead of 1.4. Comparing a 35 f2 and 40 1.4 doesn’t help much either.

    The only conclusion I can see is that both the Voigtlander and Nikon lens have very distracting bokeh.

  4. I’d like to see a comparison using higher quality Nikon glass. I know the point here is to compare a cheap Fuji+Nikon setup to an expensive Leica, but those two Nikon lens aren’t not known for being good. The 35mm f2 doesn’t have a good reputation – I’ve never used it myself, so I can’t comment from experience. The 50mm 1.8D is reasonable for $100, but has terrible bokeh. A comparison with the $215 50mm 1.8G would be more interesting, but I’m guessing the G (gelded, no aperture ring) lens don’t work with the speed booster. The 50mm 1.8g has rounded aperture blades, yielding much less “nervous” looking bokeh.

  5. Where is your white balance set? auto? The pictures of the white truck are so vastly different. The leica is too cool, almost blue ,,,, I prefer in that case the fuji.

  6. Images are small and the lens choices are an “apples and oranges” comparison. A 35 is not a 40 and the Nikkor 35/2 AFD wasn’t one of their better designs; the 35/1.4 AIS stopped down to 2.8 or 4 would be great. Likewise, the fifty year old Canon 50/1.2 LTM is just plain soft until stopped down to maybe f/2.8 while the Nikkor 50/1.8 is a far newer design, much sharper but still not a great one when compared to the latest iteration. A better comparison are comparable optics and higher resolution images.

  7. It’s interesting to see that the color of green is obviously more pronounced on Leica, and it is favorable for many people here. I personally do not like a small body with a big lens + adapter.

  8. I have a Metabones’s Speed Booster to attach Leica R lenses with my Nex 5N. It has some gains and disadvantages.

    The gains: FOV increases (from 68% to 92% of full frame}, aperture increases one stop(you can reduce the shutter speed in low light)as promised by Metabones.

    The disadvantages: wide angle lens may have vinghet(I have 35mm f2.8, 50mm f2.0, 60mm f2.8,135mmf2.8 and 250mm f4. Only the 35mm has this problem.), color is a mixture of two different glasses(in LightRoom’s processing, it will take more tweek to regain the charm of Leica lenses- maybe up to 90-95%).

    It’s a fun tool to play with before you step up to FF. When the NexFF become available, maybe I still can play with it and see how it mess up the pictures.

  9. The images are really too small for much of a detailed analysis. From a color standpoint though, I prefer the warmth of the Leica images (except the fence shot on the first series). In addition the M9’s sensor does seem to have more dynamic range. However I disagree with most on the out-of-focus areas. The Nikkor’s look much smoother to me. Also it appears that the speed boosters really do work. As I see it, the DOF looks less in the Nikkor sets, despite the fact that the Voigtlander and Canon were shot at bigger apertures.

  10. It is a bit hard to compare. Because as we should all know, its mostly about the glass. You may have a very capable camera but if you dont have good glass to utilize it then its going to crap out not-so-good images. Its true that the m9 files produce more attractive dynamic range and colors but the details such as sharpness, quality of out of focus areas, etc is mostly dependent on the glass/lens used.

    Having said that, its pretty awesome what the metabones speedbooster can do, when you add the huge price differences, i believe that the metabones speedbooster+good lens+XE1 is a great combo.

    Thanks Christophe for this post 🙂

  11. Well – with the 40/1/4 you chose one of the worst lenses for the Leica system. I had one myself and Zeiss and Leica and also the other Voigtlanders are so much better.

    Anyways, doesn’t really matter: Leica people don’t buy Leica for IQ – they buy it for handling, feel and user interface. And some maybe for status. Therefore I find all these Leica comparisons sort of pointless :). To cut these short we can simply agree: “There are lots of cameras that have a similar or better IQ for a lot less money”.

    • @Michael, what you said is very true. 🙂

      Cameras are all just tools, its just the matter of finding the one that works best for you and finding the one that enables you to capture images the way you want to. No matter the cost or technical specs if the camera does not help you utilize and maximize your photographic vision then its not fit for you and would only be a waste of effort and money.

      So its basically that, leica users use leica because it is the one that fits them most and it is the one that enables them to capture the images they like. just like with fuji users, nikon users, canon users, pentax users, m4/3 users, etc.

  12. Thanks for the comparison. I preferred the colour of the Speedbooster combo. It looked more natural and less artificially enhanced than the set of images on the right.

  13. The bokeh on the Leica is much more pleasant. In fact the busy bokeh on the Fuji/Nikon would put me off using that setup if I was to do shallow depth of field work.

  14. Leica M9 color space is my favorite. Nikon lenses are my favorite. What to do? Build quality of Nikon F film camera superior to M xxx Leica any day. Nikon conquered the world and let it go to canon. Canon makes copies not cameras. Zeiss makes lenses, Leitz makes boutique items, Sony makes video/sensors, Nikon makes glass. Glass is the transmission of light onto whatever sensor. But Leica M9 is still my favorite color space. Must be the CCD. Cell phones will one day be used to take professional wedding pics. The ultimate wedding would be to hire court room artists to draw each scene of the wedding. Definitely a feeling thing would happen. The hand is better than the machine. End of discussion.

  15. MAy have been more interesting to post “A” v “B” without saying which was which – a kind of blind test. As a XE 1 shooter I still have a bit of a Leica inferiority complex so go for the Leica image as more soulful because I can’t afford one. I’ve not seen many Hi Fi style blind comparisons here. It would be interesting to see how far people judge name against image.

  16. There is not much to gain from comparisons like this. The more you take photos the less the details seem to matter. And the better the subject of the photo the less the technical qualities of an image get noticed.

  17. They both have their merits. I personally like the the Leica, since it is a bit warmer. The Fuji has a blue overtone, which may or may not be fixed in post.

  18. In fact i will be very interesting with user review about the Fuji and Metabones kit. Because it’s again possible to increase again if we use an old Canon 50mm 1.2 for example.

    CHRISTOPHE you ar french like me and i’m waiting for an longer report about it on Chassimages for example.
    Best regards.

    • Agreed Cory. Both the Nikon 50mm 1.8 and 35mm 1.4 exhibit nervous looking bokeh in general. I’d rather see the same lenses applied as well. All in all though, I’d say that the Fuji with the adapter is standing up quite well on its own! I can’t wait to see what becomes of the XE-2.. Have the itch, need to scratch it!


      • I disagree, the influence of the optics has far more to do with the IQ than the sensor ever will. This is interesting and fun, but as Cory infers, it is an apple vs orange comparison. The only variable if the same lens is used is the sensor and the speed increase. There is no change in the DoF, nor would there be a significant change in the bokeh for this is more of an affect of the lens than the sensor.

        Disagree? Cool, that’s what makes it interesting. Now go do the thing you say is nonsense, bring the results back here and prove us wrong… My guess is Cory and I have have a long wait on our hands 🙂

        Like I said though, this was fun to read and view… Thanks Christophe!

      • It is meaningless as are the comments about preferring the Leica rendering or bokeh as there is no Leica lens involved in the comparison. It simply confirms that the speed booster seems to be a capable tool.

        • OK, now this is just silly… if it can confirm anything then clearly it has meaning.

          It has meaning, but clearly it failed to scratch a number of itches, mine included.

          • The title says M9 vs Fuji, which it simply is not. And thus it`s a meaningless comparison as are comments about the rendering considering the mis mash of bodies, lenses and adapter. If anything is silly, it`s your comment as it misses the point by country miles.

  19. Other than some color differences I don’t see much in it. I expect, barring gross differences in lens performance, there won’t be much difference in IQ in terms of pixel level sharpness. Resolution is similar between both sensor 16 vs. 18.

  20. I use the Fuji X-e1 + Speedbooster combo. I have Voigtlander lenses for Nikon (20mm, 40mm, 58mm) And it’s quite nice. The 40mm and 58mm work wonderfully with the speedbooster. But, I noticed that the 20mm lens when stopped down and focused to infinity wasn’t a great performer and had really soft corners. I think it must be the fact that it is an ultra wide angle being focused to infinity and the speedbooster couldn’t keep up. the 40mm and 58mm look great, sharp, colorful even at 100%. With a little post-processing the fuji X-e1 can look quite close to the Leica in my opinion, and for the price difference… It’s not a bad setup.

  21. I can see the difference, but considering the Metabones setup is 22% the cost of the Leica setup, I’ll take the metabones anyday.
    Most of the complaints of dynamic range and color can either be prepared for during shooting or fixed in post.

  22. Great to see a test of the Speed Booster – it seems to get you close to that FF look without the expense. As others have said, it would be nice to see some shots of how well it retains detail too though (higher res). Thanks for sharing.

  23. The first set were at 35mm with the Fuji set to f2 and the Leica at 1.4. The second set at 50mm had the Fuji at 1.8 & Leica at 1.4 – On Aperture alone the Leica images will be more out of focus notwithstanding any other factors.

    I viewed the photos first, preferring the color signature of the left and was actually shocked they were the Fuji – I expected to prefer the Leica files even though I shoot the X-E1. Combined with the ridiculous price difference I feel very good especially considering there is no way I could afford the M9P.

    • If there’s one area in which the X-Pro1 excels FAAAR over the Leica M9, it is in white-balance accuracy, color rendering and true dynamics. I’m not fully believing in this kind of comparison. I also don’t think you need this Metabones adaptor to get better results. Look at the factor in the aperture setting. Use a 50mm on the Leica and the 35mm on the Fuji, and take in mind that the F1.4 matches up with F2.0 on the Leica-lens: you’ll get in this case about the same bokeh. Or a 28mm on the Leica, and the 18mm on the Fuji, F2.8 on the Leica equals with a F2.0 on the Fuji, the result in any respect won’t be too different. I tried it and was surprised how comparable both camera’s became.

  24. I would have to agree with what others have posted. The Leica images have a little more pop due to the better bokeh. I suspect it would be even more distinctive if you had used a Leica lens as this is where Leica really excels. The other factor is you need to ensure that field sizes are the same, irrespective of FL, otherwise, the eye is always drawn to the more magnified image.

  25. I think there is a definite quality difference in the out of focus areas. Even though the depth of field is roughly the same, which is very nice, the quality of that region isn’t up to the other. It seems obvious to me.

  26. Hard to draw any valid conclusions re tone because most of the xe1 photos seem a bit darker. Depth of field is definitely shallower with the M9.

    Would have been more interesting and informative to see Leica glass on the M9.

  27. IMHO at the degree of magnification possible from the pictures there is very little if anything in it. There is a difference but I think it is personal taste as to which one might like more. Bokeh a little better on the m9 combo but in my opinion none of this can justify the huge price difference between the two outfits.

    Just my opinion though.

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