Crazy Comparison! Leica M 240, Fuji X-M1 and Panasonic GX7 – Part 1

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Crazy Comparison! Leica M 240, Fuji X-M1 and Panasonic GX7

Part 1 – static subject

 

Part 2 IS HERE

(Part 2 will be up tomorrow. High ISO and Blind Test)

Goes to show..any camera these days will do the trick 🙂 Below are a few sets of images from three cameras and three equivalent lenses.

1. The Leica M 240 and Leica 50 Summilux ASPH 1.4 Lens – Total Value: $11,000 US dollars. – 50mm true FOV

2. The Fuji X-M1 and Zeiss 32 1.8 Touit Lens – Total Value: $1,600 US Dollars – 50mm equivalent

3. The Panasonic GX7 and Voigtlander 25 0.95 Lens – Total Value – $1,900 US Dollars – 50mm equivalent 

I wanted to see if the less expensive options could even get close to the Leica in overall image quality. I believe that most cameras today can give you superb quality with the right lenses. The three cameras listed here all have a different size sensor, which means the depth of field will be different with each result. From the 1st test below I am listing which image was shot with what camera and lens. You can click on any of the images to see the full size file from RAW. I matched the white balance on all to the same settings during the RAW conversion and I let the cameras meter the scene using their base ISO. My favorite rendering  came from the Leica M and 50 Lux at f/2. On image quality alone though, you will not see a $9,000 US difference here.

That difference in price comes from the fact that it is A: A Leica and Leica cameras are always VERY expensive. 2: It is a rangefinder, and the only digital RF available, and 3: Usability is a WHOLE other thing with the Leica. It’s a fantastic thing. 

My least favorite of the 1st shots came from the Fuji even though there is no lack of sharpness. Something about them just seem off to me and they seem to fall flat a little. I would choose a GX7 or E-M1 with a Voigtlander prime any day of the week over the Fuji and Zeiss 32 Touit. That’s just me, your tastes will vary but shooting the GX7 and Voigtlander was much more enjoyable in all ways to the Fuji set.

All of these were shot on a tripod at base ISO of each camera. You can click each image to download the full size file. These were shot as RAW with white balance adjusted to match (3000). Details are on each image and EXIF has been embedded. I let each camera choose its own exposure metering because that is what you will expect to get from the camera when in real world use. You would not use  the Leica meter in a Fuji camera and vice versa, so what you see is what you get.

1st up, the Leica shots…f/1.4 and then f/2

leicaechoat1.4

leicaechoatf2

Now the Fuji shots..1.8 and then f/2 – Typo on the images, I know the lens is a 32 not a 35.

fujiechoat1.8

fujiechoatf2

and the Panasonic GX7 and Voigtlander set starting at 0.95, then 1.4 and then f/2

gx7echoat095

gx7echoatf1.4

gx7echoatf2

And a 100% crop from all three at f/2 – GX7 is sharpest, then Fuji, then Leica. Color? Leica, then GX7 then Fuji. To me, the IQ champ is Leica and GX7 hands down even though Leica is the least sharp. When looking at the entire image and rendering  this is how I judge things. 

compcropM

Many say that Fuji is the new Leica but this is actually far from fact. In fact, Micro 4/3 is more like the new Leica. How so?

When Leica started they were all about SMALL size, SMALL fast prime lenses and fantastic usability. The Fuji X-M1 may be small, but the lenses are not and there is no viewfinder. The Fuji is also the worst of these three when it comes to usability (had 4 mis-focused shots during this test due to the camera not locking on to the right spot, and I told it where to AF). Micro 4/3, specifically the new E-M1 and GX7 are superb with usability, AF, speed, build and feel and they specialize in small size WELL MADE bodies and small size well made fast primes. With the right lenses, these cameras are superb in quality and when shooting with one of those Voigtlander 0.95 lenses you feel like you are shooting an old Leica or similar.

So to me, Micro 4/3 is closer to being the new modern day Leica than Fuji. I see the Fuji X IC Bodies as an immature imitation in looks alone. Maybe in 2-3 more years but today? No. (X100s is a different story). The X-M1 is an odd camera. BAD ergonomics with big lenses on a think tiny body with dodgy AF, no EVF, cheap feel, and other odd ball things going on with it. A departure from the X-Pro 1 and X-E1 for sure, and not sure why. Next to the GX7 set, the X-M1 FEELS like a toy made for a child while the GX7 FEELS like a tool made for a photographer. Sounds harsh but I am telling you my honest opinions after shooting and handling all three of these. Of course the Leica is in another league  when it comes to build and feel as it should be. The Fuji also had the worst color as the pedal in the photo is closest to the Leica and Panasonic. The Fuji is quite a bit off so I am hoping Fuji ups their game in 2014 with something that takes it all 3 steps up.

So what about Leica? They are still around so why even talk about “A new Leica”? Well, unfortunately Leica has priced many out of their cameras and lenses as to where only the hardcore Leica fans and hardcore enthusiasts are buying them. $11,000 is a lot of cash to spend on one camera body and one lens, especially when other full frame cameras can meet or exceed its capabilities. We are all waiting for some sort of Sony announcement of course (as per the rumor sites) and if Sony does release the rumored Full Frame IC camera with Olympus’s 5-Axis IS built in and a killer EVF with the ability to mount and shoot Leica M glass for half price or less of a Leica M..well, what do you think is going to happen?

Well, then maybe we can say “Sony is the new Leica”, and for once, that statement may turn out to be 100% true. We need to wait and see what pans out of these rumors.

I think it is all about vision, creativity and pushing the envelope. Sony is doing this. Olympus is doing this. Leica is not really doing this in 2013. The M is a huge improvement to the M9 of course and I love mine to death but facts are facts, and in 2014 we may be seeing some very huge leaps once again in camera tech and what we get for our money. Of course, it is all about the person behind that camera and in all of this reality, none of these silly tests mean a thing. All of these cameras will create works of art if the person looking through them has the vision to create.

Still, these are always fun to do  and most of you seem to enjoy it 🙂

So a quick breakdown of comparison #1:

My opinions…

Leica M wins this one for me in IQ and camera build, feel, usability.

GX7 comes in 2nd with great usability, decent build and nice IQ with that Voigtlander lens. Plenty of “Bokeh” for my tastes. I highly recommend the 25 0.95

Fuji X-M1 comes in last for build (feels cheap) and IQ and usability due to no EVF, slow and sometimes inaccurate AF. 

Look for part 2 tomorrow – HIGH ISO and three shots that will be unmarked for you to tell ME which camera took which image. Should be fun 🙂 I expect the Fuji to win high ISO though I will be testing with zero NR.

Part 2 is HERE

My GX7 review should be up next week as well, and then I will be starting to shoot the Olympus E-M1 for 2 weeks before that full review. Stay tuned!

 

157 Comments

  1. Nice Review, but, The Zeiss Touit Lenses are known for their soft images, the Fuji 35 F1.4 would have been better for comparison. Not many Fuji Users even use the Zeiss lenses, double the price of the fuji an a lot less sharpness

  2. I know this is late in the game but I just sold my Fuji X-e1 and 35 f1.4 lens. Both felt really light and cheap. Focussing in dark environments is impossible and I was generally not impressed. I still have my handy Panasonic GF1, which still, after all these years feels ahead of the curve. A solid camera with a real connection to photographers. The attachable viewfinder is crummy granted but even modern EVFs on all mirrorless cameras are crummy.

    • Did you apply the latest firmware update to the camera and the lens? Fuji continuously makes improvements on the firmware base on the latest learning and offering. AF on my X-E1 with the latest firmware update can focus in low light very, very accurately even without the new CMOS sensor. How about the near offering of the XF 56mm f/1.2 at $900 price point? It’s very hard to beat Fuji for the IQ and price. Not everyone of us are Doctors or lawyers…..and we certainly are not pros either…..

  3. This is a crazy Q but her it is: Is there an adapter for Fuji lenses to Leica M bodies? The reason why I am asking is the following: I have an M8 and love it. I will soon travel with it again and want to use a Fisheye lens. As you all know, there aren’t too many options for Leica Ms. But there’s the korean manufacturer Samyang/Rokinon/Bowers and what not, who produce excellent manual focus lenses at low prices, e.g. the 8mm fisheye lens f2.8 for Fuji X cams. So That’s why I am asking. Of course I could get an EF-S lens to Leica M adapter, but the lens for Canon bodies is double as big and heavy. Cheers

  4. To be fair to each camera (and all are great cameras) you need to use the same glass on all three. Steve you always favor Lieca…why does the M240 get the superior glass? I always leave these “crazy” compare reads with the sense that the whole test is designed to give Lieca a slight edge over the other cameras.

    • No. 50mm lens on FF will differ much from itself on 1.53 crop and even more so on µ43. The only thing that must be the same is FOV and, possibly, effective DOF (i.e. f4 on FF, f2.8 on APS-C, f2 on µ43). The same lens either won’t cover the same area on different size sensor or will have different perspective distortion. In this case Steve did almost everything right (except comparing at pixel level).

      • No. The same glass on each different camera would show what each camera can do with that lens. I care more about that, than scientific word theory on paper that everyone who actually shoots a camera, intuitively already knows by just looking at the numbers.

  5. I do not understand why one would compare such different cameras with no objective criteria as bench marks. Leica has no autofocus–Fuji body cheapest one without a Fuji lens on it—all cameras have different design/ use purposes and price points. And, Leica bias here too strong to discount.

    • Then you do not know me very well 🙂 Been doing these for 5 years and when I do, they are one of the most popular things readers enjoy. Many times the underdog wins or comes very close to, so that makes it fun and validating.

  6. Based on color and depth, I think the Lux at 1.4 blows the doors off everything else. In my opinion, that is some yummy warmness. Even with the GX7 slightly more sharp in the crop, the color and grain take away from it. Leica all the way for me on this one.

  7. Hi Steve

    I think you are saying they are all good. I agree they all are. I use one camera over the other because, well I like to. That’s good enough for me. The enthusiasm or passion for one thing over another is what helps me try to take a better image by trying to get the best out of the equipment.

    I note that there is one mirrorless camera not in any comparison. The Canon EOS M. I have used both the EOS M and the Panasonic GX 7 ( I own both) . I bought the GX 7 on the recommendation of Ken Duncan. He thought it was a game changer and I agree with him. It’s fantastic. Love it to tears.

    I bought the EOS M because no one wanted one and no salesman recommended it. I had to find out why.

    The Panasonic is a better system camera and is definitely more flexible a system. I think the EOS M is half the size, less than half the price and every bit as good as the GX 7 in image quality and some because I consider it renders colours better. It’s an EOS 60D in a compact camera. I wouldn’t waste the money on an RX1. The EOS M does it’s job at a quarter of the price with the 22mm f2 lens.

    After the firmware upgrade, the EOS M is a different beast. I think the auto focus as fast as the GX7. The EOS M also has one thing that makes a huge difference. Touch focus. Just touch the screen you want the camera to focus on, it will track that point and take the photo. No messing about trying to teach the camera where to focus. It’s great.

    I earnestly recommend you try it.

    Thanks for the great website.
    Noel

    • Latest Canons has the worst color separation on the market (obviously in prior of high ISO performance, in attempt to catch superior Sony and Toshiba sensors in this regard as the most noticeable, without owning the right tech that can do well everything, like these two do). It can be not so bad in case of high contrast scene, but once you need some subtle difference. Well, canon is just isn’t there.

  8. Interesting reading. Panasonic indeed well designed and made GX7. In fact, the design of GX7 combines together some of the best ideas starting from their Four Thirds Lumix L-1 (their expertise in digital cameras actually goes back to a first Nikon’s Still Video Camera (SVC) prototype in 1986), followed by their best Micro4/3 cameras. GX7 incorporates many features which so many people were asking for: build-in EVF in the left corner, sensor-shift “in-body” image stabilization, improved sensor, better grip, etc. Taking each feature separately, one may argue that few of the GX7’s specifications stand out as revolutionary, but incorporating all of the GX7’s features in the compact user-friendly camera-design is outstanding. Nonetheless, the power of the camera system is its lenses. Let’s also not forget that Panasonic has a close cooperation with Leica and Olympus, which makes Micro4/3 system is so promising for photo-and videographers.

  9. I’m sure someone has already commented but the first Leica shot is back focussed compared with the others. You can see it in the grain of the table wood.

    This was well said – “So to me, Micro 4/3 is closer to being the new modern day Leica than Fuji”

    • Yes, maybe Micro 4/3 is becoming the new Leica, we just have to convince the next generation of HCB’s and Robert Capas that this is indeed the case. Professional photographers scorned these great masters way back then when they took up the “miniature” Leica and Contax format… today seems history is repeating itself.

      • I’m not sure that analogy applies. Each subsequent generation cannot point to a smaller sensor size and call it “the new Leica.” The miniaturization of the CAMERA will continue this trend, not of the sensors―hence the emerging industry trend towards placing APS-C and full-frame into smaller bodies. As this becomes more commonplace, I’m not sure where M4/3 goes next, frankly.

        • I expect It will go full frame 35mm eventually – that is, full frame sensors in this size package. It’s really only a matter of time.

          • Yeah, I think the general trend is going to be larger sensors in smaller bodies. Miniaturization of components and tech will continue to pave the way for this.

            Imagine a camera identical to the OM-D E-M1 with a 24 megapixel full-frame sensor. And, yes, lenses with a large enough exit pupil AND autofocusing mechanisms CAN be designed for a full-frame camera with this form factor. Again, just a matter of making the tech smaller. Rest assured it’s coming, just like everything else is being miniaturized.

            I also think you may see medium format shrinking into the size of today’s current DSLRs. The Leica S2 proves that a medium format camera can be made that fits into the approximate size of a D4 or EOS 1D body size.

            Meanwhile, point & shoots will become the sole province of ever-better smartphone cameras.

            There’ll be some straggling exceptions to all of this, but I think this will be the general trend going forward.

        • You right, Dan.But its not really about small or large sensor… as we all know large sensors are not as easy to shoot as small sensors – they need more care and thought, user errors are amplified. It’s about instant success to get a technically reasonable image with little or no effort. For the working pros that shoot weddings and events, the clients seldom know the difference between a Leica FF or a 4/3 print anyway. The test above shows that very well. Pity that Steve did not do the “blind test” he promised, that would have had many feathers ruffled.

          I made the point of the historic progression as a probable not a definitive progression. Now, if the 4/3 would incorporate a cel phone ( an espresso machine too 🙂 ) in the body that would maybe see the appeal and sales of 4/3 cameras soar and balance out the upsurge of the use of cel phone cameras. Most people need little more than a cel phone camera for their imaging tastes, abilities and output anyway. So why not ?

          Difference is that in HCB’s time you still had to learn the craft, today just learn the menu or shoot AllAuto and then use all those instant-groovy plugins (Alien Skin, DFX, SFX, HDR, Focus Pocus, etc) and get “interesting”results that took us many years to learn and explore. Now that we can all do it (or rather the camera can do it for us), it somehow looses its magic or uniqueness. We are all the same, but that’s not really what we want, is it ?

          I just wonder what else is there for us to spend our time on after all these tech advances that make all cameras almost equal. No more need for gear lust or comparisons and bickering between budget orientated purchases. Not much fun left maybe.

          Now that the playing field has almost been leveled out, we will need to find another bone to grind. It may make many get out of this gear-race fixation and get them either either go back to their superb cel phone cameras or take more and better pictures by studying the art and the masters ( most had art backgrounds and mostly seemed to pay little attention to the gear itself ) .The masters we all so admire used whatever worked for their needs to create their work – in most cases the work was first, the gear second.

          To me the tests that Steve so generously shares here show an amazing democratization of the craft… no excuses anymore about not having the right camera IQ, dynamic range or low light capabilities… just shoot to show the images for the overall artistic vision and expression, not the dazzling bokeh or low light abilities, etc that this new tech affords all of us to achieve now. I think by now we all know there are many great cameras out there. Now the shots have to speak for themselves.

  10. Steve, can you add Panny to the list of “Monster of IQ Camera” this year. right behind Leica, Fuji and Oly..

  11. Steve, not hating, but I can personally add that I would get more out of the crazy comparisons if you would shoot each camera as an owner of the camera would. That is, adjust for exposure differences in the cameras, at least. Shooting the camera like someone who picks it up at the store doesn’t say much. I mean, only an @sshat would spend over 1k on a camera (or a lot more in the case of the leica) and not bother to learn how to get the best out of the camera.

    • As an owner..if I owned say an E-M1. I would not go out and adjust exposure to match a camera I do not even have. That would be ridiculously silly. The GX7. E-M1, Leica..all expose fine. The Fuji Overexposes. But 90% of Fuji users shoot it as is. That is why you see so many bright Fuji files. Part of their “look”. So I do shoot it as everyone would shoot. If you owned an RX1 would you adjust the exposure to match a camera you did not even own? That sounds odd. 🙂

      • Fair enough. I either adjust to what i think is best before the shot, or use the histogram and adjust in post.

  12. Both the Fuji and Panasonic are impressive. Looking closely, I think the Leica appears less sharp because of focus and depth of field. I don’t doubt Steve focused the M as he said but notice that the right side of the Echorec is less in focus than the left side in the Leica shots. That could be caused by the lens–which I doubt–or the Echorec is not exactly aligned with the camera. Any misalignment would be more apparent with the Leica because of its full frame sensor and shallower depth of field. Notice also how much less focused the Echorec knobs and the blue device in the background are in the Leica shots.

  13. Loving these crazy comparisons Steve.

    The truth is that cameras are so damn good today that we are probably very close to the peak of how good they can get… and all that IQ shown here can be had to suit the wallet size and cater to personal preferences of camera brand, size and ergonomics. Democracy in photography is here again as was in the old Kodak days of “you press the button we do the rest”. Everyone can have their cake and eat it today.

    I sincerely think that this test shows such little difference in usable IQ that it is not really worth the blood some people shed for their chosen brand of camera. But then again, most of us are only amateurs who thrive on pixel peeping and nit-picking who has the right and best gear…validating our choices and money spent.

    Shooting great images is just so damn hard nowadays ( always has been). Can we no longer accept that we can all be great technical photographers thanks to the amazing tech available to one and all. We are all the “same” now… or very close to being the same. But being the same for little effort and money is not that exclusive any longer. The next challenge is to invest in the eye and the mind of being real photographers. That is the real holy grail.Lets go shoot and have fun with these amazing machines.

    Sincerely
    Jorge

  14. of all fuji cameras why would you pit that low end non evf fuji against a leica and and an inbuilt evf gx7? honestly?

    you title this a crazy comparison, but in truth , by not choosing a xpro or xe1 it is merely foolish , and pointless… im curious is the cast metal gx7 still plasticy till a casual camera?lol ….dude get your sXXt together or i will stop visiting your site …. ive followed you for years … but this is a new low

  15. Excellent discussions, I do look forward to the next part.
    I just wish there was some Leica cameras around and lens, so many delays if you want one, so we must make do with the Panasonics and Fuji until then.

    New Fuji out this month! New Leica soon? its been out some time now so must be due for replacement, then we can compare all over again. I do envy you with all these choices to evaluate. All cameras will have flaws built in so that they can sell a new model every year.

  16. I also wonder about the comparison.

    Why not compare the micro-fourthirds Panasonic with the Panasonic/Leica 25mm instead of the Voigtlander?

  17. Love the crazy comparison also and would love to see the Nikon 1 here also, not for pixel-peeping but overall image comparison.

    My Fuji with 35mm yields fantastic results especially with Iridiant raw developer, but the AF sucks sucks sucks an makes this camera wortless in many situations, 18mm AF is better but Nikon 1 nails every single shot. Too much money for “testing” fuji gear.

    Fuji colors are fantastic, something maybe wrong with your settings.

    Cheers,Chris

  18. ” “EVF” + “magnify assist” + “peaking” = best way to achieve focus accuracy ”

    Yes, but if the calibration is off, it will still be out of focus. The Leica shot is out of focus.

    Not defending Leica, because this shows that the technically ‘perfect’ system is only perfect if everything is calibrated perfectly.
    The much cheaper Fuji and Panasonic make things much much easier on the user.
    If that is your bag, baby.

    My Leicas take much more effort to use ‘properly’ than my other cameras. But I get such exquisite pleasure from the experience, that well, it borderlines on masachism!

  19. How many times do we have to hear Steve say, and for us to understand, that these are Steve’s comparisons and no one else’s. He’s always very clear about that. I like to see “his” comparisons, so I eagerly read these threads. There’s no way to do an objective comparison without special equipment, and in the end most of us don’t like those either. “They” aways use the wrong lens and end up comparing sensors as well.

    What may be just as important and most of us (certainly myself) immediately do very similar comparisons ourselves at home whenever we get a chance. How can you not? I cannot count how many times and different cameras and lenses I’ve tested (hand holding!) with photos of a small clock on the mantel in my family room, followed by the labels on the bottles on top the refrigerator visible in the next room over. I reach my own, similar types of conclusions. If I want to see other cameras and/or lenses I rely on Steve to do it for me. He manages to get his hands on lots of cameras, most of which he sends back to somewhere in camera land. So, what’s the big deal here?

    Well, it seems to me it stems for a mindset that is trying to establish the [ONE] best camera you should buy, regardless of purpose, type of photography, and yes sometimes even price. The reality created by the last 10 years of camera, sensor, and lens development is that most of us can now afford more than ONE camera. So, we don’t have to be a Nikon guy or a Canon guy, and so forth. Give up this source of personal identity: it’s no longer necessary. In my opinion and own tests of experience, I have never taken or seen images better than the ones “I” get from my Leica M9 (old 35mm Lux Asph, 50mm Lux Asph, and 28mm Cron.). But I like wildlife, bird, and macro photography too. So, I’ve now become attached to the rapid auto focus of the Olympus DM5 and its lenses, which include a very lightweight 200-600mm FF equivalent. I also bought a Sigma DPM3, for a mere 1/8 the price of Leica MM, to see what all the fuss was about. About a lot, it turns out. But what a limited camera! for such beautiful images. I already had Leica lenses from my M6 days, so I’m not purchasing any digital M from scratch. That would be a very hard choice for me now; I really like the latter two cameras. But they’ve never produced as nice an image (yet!) as the ones I have from my M9. I don’t argue with myself about which ONE I would keep if I had to and won’t unless my finances dictate it. Then the most expensive would have to go first. Alas, a new criterion would have to be added to resolution, color, and OOF blur: Resale Value. Everyone of my Leica lenses has gone up substantially in value. I should know. I just sold 3 of them to afford the other cameras and to keep living harmoniously with my wife, who ultimately has to sign off on everything. This was a total but happy surprise to me. (Oh, the sale prices and the wife who knows won’t ever ask for a red convertible.)

    If someone can take better photos than Steve with a Fuji camera or any other camera–a very likely possibility–then the best comparison would be to have participants on this web site send it and post the best photo they can take of the same, agreed upon subject. But alas, isn’t that what Steve already does with the Daily Experience series that we all eagerly read as well?

  20. The main problem with the X-Trans cameras like the X-Pro1/X-E1 and X100s isn’t the sensor its the user,
    sure the X sensor quite often smears colors and fine detail, gives patterned surfaces odd texture etc but if the X-Trans users keep denying this or just saying its down to your post processing software then Fuji will never do anything about it.

    Having had and used for a long time all X-Trans cameras except the M1 and having used all of the recommended RAW processing options and OOC Jpegs I know for a fact that the sensor has issues, so if the users keep denying and defending it then Fuji will never fix it and ultimately the users will kill the system.

    I really like the Fuji cameras and lenses so the faster they either fix or drop the X-Trans sensor the better

  21. Love those Crazy Comparisons – please keep the coming! 🙂

    I have to agree as well – to me, M4/3’s small size and great lenses give it that modern-day Leica spirit.

  22. The Fuji X-Pro 1 with 35mm F1.4 Fujion. A little over two grand.Why is new low cost modle. The Leica is FF, it has more MP. It should win. A Nikon D800 should beat that. A Hassi with a 60MP back and on and on.
    Leica is Leica. Fuji has introduced a camera that is break from DSLR, not Leica. My father had a friend who with a second hand Rolli. In his day he had national reconnation. Pick your choice, I may get GX-7 because it makes great movies, not as a replacement, but to add to. I would have pick Leica, Fuji then Panasonic. The sensors size, as it should be was the difference.

  23. Hey Steve – I love your site and especially love your “crazy comparisons”. As a devout micro four thirds fan (started with the GF1) and OM-D EM-5 user who jumped to the Fuji X camp this year (with NO regrets), I have to agree with some of the other comments regarding how this comparison is is a little unfair to the Fuji.

    While I realize that you probably didn’t have one available, I think the Fuji 35/1.4 would have been the better lens to use on the Fuji. The Zeiss is not getting rave reviews, but the Fuji 35 is generally thought to be a stellar lens with amazing color rendition and, being f/1.4, it would have had slightly shallower DOF.

    Also, the X-M1 is a “budget” body. The XPro or X-E1 body would have been closer in parity to the Leica and GX7. I know the IQ would essentially be the same, but you dinged the Fuji on build quality, saying it “feels cheap”, which it is! So I had to point that out! 🙂

    Keep up the great work. I love your enthusiasm and “real world” testing!

    • Well, I also said the X-Pro 1 and X-E1 felt cheap 🙂 To me, they do when compared to most other cameras. Very hollow, buttons are cheap, dials, etc. Thanks for reading!

      • I really enjoy your site Steve, but your bias against Fuji really is evident in some cases. All writers have some bias, so it’s understandable and should just be understood that it comes with the territory.

        You youself described the GX7’s buttons and dials in your review as feeling “kinda cheap.” Not to mention, you’re comparing Fuji’s low end XM1 against Panasonics flagship camera (other than the GH3) in build, use and feel. They are targeted at completely different markets!! It would seem that there should be some mention of that if you’re going to start knocking a camera for it’s build in this case.

        The image quality test is a different story where the results are easily comparable and speak for themselves. All cameras are damn close in image quality these days.

  24. Love your crazy comparisons Steve! The responses are almost as entertaining as those to your 7/26 post “name the camera and the lens” (which was a classic, by the way).

  25. Steve you never answer my emails anymore. You were my photographic hero but you have abandoned me like a sheep without a Shepard. Just playing. These are just crazy comparisons people. Some people on here act like Steve insulted there family name! For the record the Panny gx7 is sexier than the OMD and I never thought I’d say that.

  26. I know the Fuji been bashed all over the internet, but with the new Photo Ninja raw-developer, you get much more detail. Try it out if you have not done it yet http://www.picturecode.com/ , I was blown away how much better it is compared to the in-camera JPGs, or Lightroom! Almost as good as my trusty Canon 5DII.

  27. Steve … How do you interprete the sharpness deficiency with the leica combo … Misalignment, misfocus in the setup or indeed technical deficiency on leicas part?

    • Well, I shot several images with each camera and chose the sharpest from each. The Leica was focused critically with the EVF using magnification and peaking.

  28. nice comparison, but cellphones are the new leica! all those csc cameras are more like the new compact medium format cameras. and the nex ff and the rx1 are the new sinar handy.

    • Cellphones are the new Polariod, not the new Leica. Despite the hype about how great cellphone cameras are now, cellphone image quality compared to any decent larger-sensor camera is crap – just like those old Polariod photos that still plague family photo albums.

  29. at this point, i find there to be little difference in actual usable quality for sheer IQ. yes it’s obvious and it’s there but what i have come around to is the shooting experience and handling. all newer cameras are, for most practical purposes, comparable. the only really noticable diffrrence is handling for your purpose and use.

    EM5 level quality IQ has been more than enough for my use. I do still hope to eventually own a FF but that really depends on if i really need it for my work. the handling and reliability of the em5 just works for me. i preferred the IQ of the nex 7’s 24 mp sensor but tbh, it wasnt so drastic a diffrrence that i would give up the overalk superior handling of the em5.

    a camera is more than just sheer IQ. granted, given work where i have time to sit around and adjust and prep to my hearts content (studio) i would rather take IQ, but what i use my camera for falls outside that scenario so usability and reliability becomes key.

  30. Well done, Steve. Throw a rock in the placid lake of certainty! Make some very unconfortable waves! You’ll have angry stares from the fanboys of all three camps, but many others will appreciate a point of view very different from corporate kool-aid… 😉

  31. Hi Steve. I do respect your opinion and enjoy the site very much, being a former Olympus and Fuji user. Im going to have to agree with what Alex and Corey mentioned. I see what you are saying about some of your conclusions, but I don’t agree with your thoughts on the Fuji. Just the part with lens choices/sensor pairings, and the colors you mentioned. Which is ok. I suppose ultimately you where there taking these pics and would truly know the difference, and we as readers only see the final outcome of the photos and take that at face value. You must know we have our own opinions as well from viewing them on your site. I still enjoy these Crazy Comparisons. Please keep them coming. All in all, we as readers do make up our own conclusions, however the efforts made are greatly appreciated.

  32. Why did you change the WB on the conversion and then slag the color and feel on the Fuji images afterwards? This does not seam fair at all! The ISO metering differs on all these cameras, and so does WB metering since you had to adjust it! Agree?

    • If I left the WB as is I would have slagged it even more – they all were matched WB wise as they were all three all over the map with the GX7 being the best with the AWB setting. Even matching WB you can see the color differences as there is more to color than WB.

  33. I agree with Steve….before starting reading this blog a couple of years ago i didn’t care about m 4/3 systems. I must say that i am not a pixel peer fan and i love character about images. For sure a camera must be reliable and should produce a file without flaws, but judge a picture only on the quality of pixel can be very frustrating cause next year you’ll be forced to change it….it will not be the best one anymore! I now love m 4/3 Olympus system. Images produced by also the old 12mp sensor inside E pl3 satisfy me a lot. Who cares about sharp images? When you compose the shot what do you expect? Only to enlarge photos at 100%? I do print a small amount of pictures every year in A2-A3 format. Never seen any difference from one camera to another from about 5 years ago. How many of us print larger than A3? How many do print at all? So a well composed picture with good color goes far beyond a sharp image!
    One day I found myself ruin images, adding blur or grain, cause i see them too much clear…..i ended up going down on sensor size……i now own cx sensor and i am very proud to go around with my Nikon V1!

  34. The Leica shots appear to be back focused just a bit. That particular Leica lens should produce a sharper image.

    • Quite possibly – but I’m sure most 50LA owners would be happy with such a shot – it is a challenging lens for the rangefinder and many need a trip to Leica for adjustment if what you’re after is accurate focus wide open on digital bodies. I know – mine just came back from Solms and is now fine on my M9.

      Unless you focus bracket and shoot from a tripod, the sharpness wide open will be more dependent from operator technique and focus accuracy than camera potential IQ.

  35. Dear Mr Huff, I absolutely love these comparisons because it always rattles folk. They can’t just see it for what it is “a fun comparison”. It’s as though you hurled insults at their mother or something, going by the retorts. As such, the replies are always entertaining, so please keep up the Kwazee Comparisons *thumbs up*

  36. I really enjoy these comparisons, keep up the good work. I am looking forward to your other thoughts about the GX7. One question: Are there any MFT lenses that you feel are in the same ballpark as the Voigtlander? I am the kind of hack who would give up (a little of) the color and sharpness to get the fast AF.

    • I do not put any effort into destroying anything. I just state my 100% honest opinions after using everything. Many claim Fuji is the new Leica. Not even close. Many claim the Fuji is the second coming, not even close. The Fuji can take a pretty picture in the right circumstance but it lacks in usability, speed, build, AF, etc. Facts are facts and when you compare them to what is out there today the differences are obvious. I have given the X-Pro 1 and X-E1 a dozen tries and chances. They just do not compare to the other systems I have used. Would I take an X-E1 setup over a Samsung NX300? Sure, but would I take one over an E-M1 or GX7? No way. Not for me. Many love their Fuji cameras, and that is all that matters. IN fact, I say this right here in this article, that any camera today can exceed our skills. But I like to use what is not only good with IQ, but hassle free and enjoyable to use. I say what I feel with hopes that Fuji listens to these complaints (that are not only from me, but MANY others as well) and comes out with a killer body in 2014. I love fuji. I love the X100 and X100s. Those are the best Fuji’s IMO by far.

      • That’s fair. It’s just difficult for some of us to understand your subjective opinion. I have done numerous side by sides and find the build quality and useability of my X-Pro to be better than the E-M5 or the E-P3 (haven’t held an E-P5). Not as dense, no, but there is more that goes into build than density (button quality, fit and finish, feel of knobs etc).

        AF sucks. It is useable, but not without practice. Then again, only Fuji (from what I have seen) dedicates as much time and resources to correcting product flaws (flaws that probably shouldn’t have been there in the first place).

        Keep up the fun site.

    • Usually, the ones who feel attacked are the ones unsure of their choices. I’ve seen it about motorcycles, I’ve seen it about cameras… 🙂

    • Pretty night and day difference lens aside from their focal length. One is a $1000 ultra fast manual focus only super heavy hunk of glass. The other is a $500 moderately fast AF lens with minimal size and weight.

      Whats important to you ? Cost, size/weight, do you need AF etc ?

  37. That GX7 sure does look nice. I do like the images better than the Fuji in this comparison. The GX7 actaully reminds me of the NEX-6/7 in terms of looks. Only silver instead of black. I’m really happy to see m4/3 cameras evolve into serious cameras. I’ve always enjoyed that system.

  38. Hey Steve. What abot the NEX system with the zeiss touit 32 or the sony 35? I think the Nex cameras have a huge following too 🙂

  39. The photo which shows the 100% crop of all three together shows that the Leica is not ‘correctly’ focussed. You can see that the little scratch on the metal knob just to the middle left of the letter E is in focus. The letters are slightly out of focus.
    That is why it appears to be the least sharp of the three.

  40. Firstly I do enjoy your site, reviews and other peoples reports.

    But I feel that this test is a little unfair and does not truly compare like for like.
    You are using Leica body & Lens so why not Fuji Body & Lens and Panasonic body and lens.

    Using different manufactures lens does not show what was designed to work together and it is well known and documented by yourself the difference in other manufactures lens on bodies, especially in the resultant colours!

    Martin
    pbase.com/mjlamoon

    • Thanks, but there is always someone…you can not please everyone — ever. The Zeiss 32 1.8 is just as good as the Fuji with IQ. Bokeh is a bit different, but that is really it. The Zeiss is a higher end lens. The Voigtlander was used because it is a fantastic lens and has the faster aperture which gets you close to APS-C and even FF. I could have used the 25 1.4 but I do not have the 25 1.4 on hand. It would have been an even sharper result for the GX7 if I did. The Fuji would have been the same. It’s a fair test, plain and simple. It is what it is and shows that all three are great and more capable than most of us. Also shows that M 4/3 is not a toy as some say. 🙂

      • Thanks Steve,
        I did do some tests with the Zeiss 32 and thought it was great, just slightly different colours when viewed on screen, so decided to stick for now with the Fuji lens to keep the same tones when photographing scenes on the same day with my 14mm and 35mm. I also stick to Nikon Lens when using the D800E, though I am sure other makes are great! old habits die hard!

    • I fully agree. You should compare body & lenses from the same manufacturer. If you ride a Ferrari with tires of a Bentley, you shouldn’t expect the best results, even if both are best in class in their own category

      • Who is to say that a camera brands native class is the best though ? Is every Olympus lens going to perform better than a Panasonic or Voigtlander lens on an Olympus camera ? Of course not, it would be silly and naive to think that. Olympus makes some very good lenses that can give excellent performance but so does Panasonic. Both brands also make some duds, just like any other brand.

        Is every Sony lens for the NEX automatically better than the Sigma E-mount options ? Again, not hardly.

        Why limit oneself to only a given brand of lenses when there are a lot of choices in the market ?

        • Its not about the best but about testing brand and comparing it with other brands not a combination, Perhaps the test should have been Leica with a zeiss lens to even things up!

    • The answer, of course, is that Steve has a long-standing bias against Fuji. So he rigged a test to make Fuji look as weak as possible.

      (I mean, I don’t know whether he is really biased. That’s just my opinion. I’m just speaking from the heart and telling you guys what I see when I read his website.)

      • I think Steve realizes Leica’s days are numbered as a logical choice. So he puts down the competition. 🙂

        • Lol, but I praise the competition! Sony, Olympus, Panasonic. Even say Leica’s days will be numbered if we see what we think we will see soon. But not from Fuji. I do not see them as competition for Leica in reality as they shoot, feel, look and have output that is nothing like Leica. Fuji has a few years to go.

  41. Hi Steve, I know this is about output, but you do put a lot of emphasis on build quality between the three cameras – which I think is a little unfair to be honest. The X-A1 is an entry level camera competing with the GF6 rather than the GX7. Yes yes I know this is a ‘crazy comparison’, but these have always been about whether you can get similar IQ for little outlay, not build quality differences between 3 vastly different cameras. Also you reference the build of the X-A1 when talking about whether the Fuji’s are the new Leica’s – you infer that the build of their cheapest model extends to the whole range.

    I guess the point is, you are comparing the build of two flagship models against one entry level model – again I know this is a kerazy comparison.

    For what it’s worth in crazy comparisons a nickel is better built than any Leica, ever. Something to think about anyway.

  42. The GX7 is a very interesting mix of camera. I really like the flip-up EVF. I am shooting with the EM-5 and really like it. The EM-1 may be just that much better.

    I have been looking at the Pen EPL-5 as a walk around camera but I am very tempted by the GX7. I cannot wait for your EM-1 review.

  43. Hi Steve,

    I just put these pictures into lightroom and it shows the Leica M at f1.7 and f2.4. Is it because Lightroom don’t have the correct EXIF?

    Thanks!

      • I see, I can tell it was shot wide open because the f1.4 shot didn’t have any aperture blades on the bokeh circles but I just wanted to make sure. Stopped down the Leica makes a stop sign look where the Zeiss doesn’t.

        I also see that from my limited experience with Zeiss and Leica that the Lecia seems to have more purple around the edges. I know people say it’s easy to get rid but I still have a hard time since they are usually 3 or 4 shades of purple. Maybe you can post some more tutorials (that section hasn’t been updated in awhile).

        Thanks!

  44. Frankly, I don’t see anything in the photos above that would cause anyone to reach an absolute conclusion one way or the other. I have an M3 and love the ranger finder experience but today’s Leica’s are way overpriced and have become the Hermes or Louis Vutton of cameras. I can get an M6, X-Pro, the Panasonic and a D600 for the priced of an ME.

  45. In my opinion apples a d oranges should not be compared. Fuji XM does’t have a view finder so for this reason X-E1 should have been put into comparison, not XM model.

    • “Crazy Comparison” – I have done 30-40 of these.. that is why it is in the title. Still, X-E1 would not have had different IQ. Just an EVF that is a notch below the GX7 EVF.

    • Buying decisions are seldom apples to apples. The typical consumer is likely looking at the m4/3 camera’s like the GX7 or maybe APS-C like a Sony NEX or Fuji, or maybe instead of buying a system camera and a few nice lenses they also consider a FF fixed lens RX1. All totally different choices with unique pro’s and con’s. Users have to choose what features are most important to them.

      Looking at IQ samples between choices is just of those decision making tools.

  46. Leica will NEVER beat Sony, Fuji, Panasonic, Olympus, etc. in terms of technology. Those companies are called electronics companies for a reason — because they make ELECTRONICS. Sony’s sensor in the D3 in 2007 was superior to the sensor in the Leica M ‘Type 240’ CMOSIS sensor in 2013. But you know what? Photography is not all about the latest technology!!! It’s about the glass in front of the digital sensor, where Leica excels, passion about the gear being used (+1 for Leica), and the imagination of the photographer (no kit can make-up for the lack of this). I love the M but I love the MM more … the MM had the old CCD of the M9 and can’t even see color, but something intangible about it makes me want to shoot and use it. If it’s my muse, then it’s all the kit I need. I see very little need for people here to defend their choice of kit as being technologically superior or inferior. As long as you are happy with what you chose, then you’re good!!!

  47. I’ve got to admit, the Leica shots have such great color richness.

    Aside, I owned the Fuji X-E1 and enjoyed the ergonomics and feel of the camera in my hands, but needed better video capability (do not want to carry a camcorder for video) and more reliable autofocus that the Fuji X-E1 was lacking in my experience. Technically speaking, the Fuji pictures were superior in terms of noise and sharpness compared to many other cameras but for some reason the Fuji colors and rendering never excited me. We’ll see what the future brings and maybe try Fuji again.

  48. Given the Voigtlander 25 f0.95 reputation for not being the sharpest knife in the drawer wide open I am surprised how well it did.

  49. steve like you’re work, but i just don’t get it this people, “this is good, this is bad, this is more noise, this is lack something, the bokeh is this, the bokeh is that bla bla bla …”
    like always steve say, in this real world, if u had camera that speak to your soul, make u want to get out n shot … and give what u need … and that’s it right ?

  50. I can see the DOF is wider on the M43 but I made that trade off with sharpness over the APC-S. .I once owned a Zeiss 24mm f1.8 and it couldn’t match the sharpness of the Panny 25mm f1.4 so I sold the Sony.

    I bought the Sony NEX because of Steve Huff and I switched to Olympus because of Steve Huff. This pattern suggests that it’s too expensive to read Steve Huff’s blogs -)

    One day, because of Steve Huff I bet, I would switch to Leica (only if Leica release something that’s just a little expensive over the FF-NEX).

  51. Non photo related comment but isn’t that Echorec awesome! I got one because I am a huge Gilmour fan (though he didn’t really use the multi repeats ironically enough) but darn if that pedal isn’t an instrument into itself with the percussive nature of its repeats

  52. Thanks for the interesting comparison. Not surprisingly, the GX7 images are noisier than the Fuji images.

  53. i find fuji x-e1 and the fantastic lenses 14mm and 35mm are much more enjoyable to use and produce better images that m43

    • Eeek! Then you have not used a GX7, E-M1 or E-M5! The X-E1 is one of the better Fuji’s, I will say that… but compared to the E-M1 and a 25 1.4, no contest for me in usability, speed, grip, feel, build, etc. I also prefer the IQ of the Oly. The Fuji 14 is fantastic though. Not a fan of the 35 due to slow AF and cheap feel. Prefer the Zeiss. The Fuji X100s is the only Fuji body I really enjoy. Maybe in 2014 they will finally move that tech to their new IC bodies. As for IQ, the GX7 beats the Fuji here in this test at f/2 in color accuracy and is just as sharp (if not slightly sharper). There is more detail in the GX7 image beating the Zeiss and Fuji combo. So the IQ is on par, which is something I have said for a long long time.

      • the Fuji 35 doesn’t have a cheap feel at all! And combined with a X-E1 it’s a wonderful combo with great IQ, beating the GX7 any day…

        • But it does when compared to other lenses. For example, the Zeiss 32 1.8 feels MUCH better built, more solid, sturdy..will last a long time. When next to the Fuji the Fuji feels empty, hollow, and well, cheap. Again, my opinion after using everything there is to use. I do not say these things for the sake of bashing anything or anyone, just speaking truth and I always say what I feel. The Fujis are wonderful cameras but when you compare them side by side with others they fall short in so many areas. Just facts.

          • Steve, I agree that the 35mm feels hollow….and…well….lacking in substance for lack of a better word. With that said, it does not feel, nor look cheap. It’s not an accident that it’s lightweight, it was part of the design philosophy. It took me a while to appreciate the ‘lightness’ of my XPro1 too after selling my M8, but the build quality is certainly not cheap…unless you define ‘cheap’ as lightweight.

            That said….if I had my way the XPro would have the same heft as the M8/9 as that is actually my personal preference.

        • In my opinion, cheap is the wrong word, but I know what Steve is talking about. It does feel a little hollow. I don’t personally feel a big difference between it and the Zeiss though, and as compared to the Panaleica 25mm, the Panaleica 25mm feels more robust, but somehow cheaper to me. maybe it is the plastic.

          In any case, once it is on the camera, the hollow feeling goes away, and I like the feel of metal.

    • Those are both excellent images for such with great rendering and the 14mm is especially nice and well corrected for an ultra wide, HOWEVER, the IQ is really only part of the experience.

      I had an XE-1 and just hated the EVF and how it would freeze up when it focused and also the laggy nature of it. That alone drove me crazy, and then the AF was a bit lacking at times as well.

      On top of that you’ve got no stabilization and the LCD doesn’t flip out for low level shooting which really is a fun thing to do with the 14mm (Guess the new X model does flip out at least, but then no EVF)

      On top of that there is much less customization with the Fuji, and while a pretty nice interface, the E-M1 has something like 10 different buttons that can be dedicated to whatever you want.

      Want HDR ? Press a button

      Want peaking ? press a button

      Want a zoomed in view ? Press a button

      Want to shoot RAW and then do an HDR ? Press a button, camera will do HDR and switch to jpeg mode, no telling you a feature isn’t available and require to you change the file type and then forget to set it back.

      Long exposures ? Watch them “develop” before your eyes on the LCD or watch them in realtime on your smartphone or tablet via wifi, super cool!

      Fuji’s aren’t bad camera and do produce great files, but there are just so many really cool and well thought out usability features in m4/3 these days

      • Meh, it’s a first generation camera (X-E1). Horses for courses. The two things that prompted me to go Fuji over the Oly E-M5 was 1) buttons too small for me, and 2) too many customization choices. FWIW, on the X-Pro 1 you can get peaking, and zoomed in view with the push of a button.

  54. Steve,

    When you do your iso test please pin aperture/shutter/ and iso so everything is equal.

    You can -/+ gain the raw to show equal presentation. That we can see equal exposures

    • I will do the ISO test as I have done them for 5 years, which is 100% fair and REAL. Why would I change it in RAW to match, which is in fact changing the exposure? Each camera rates ISO differently and each camera has a different size sensor, which affects ISO as well. By showing what the CAMERA puts out at a set aperture and ISO using the cameras meter (what we can expect when we really use it) is the only REAL and FAIR way to test ISO for real world shooting and results. By manipulating and changing each camera to match each others exposure is doing harm as they all rate their ISO differently. Makes no sense. By using it as it was meant to be used, as in, how you or I would use it when we take it out is the way to test ISO. What the camera gives me in exposure is what I get in real life, so that is how it will be tested. Same aperture, same ISO, same focal length equivalent.

      • Yup that’s why you have to compensate exposure differently from one camera to the other, for example, my Nikon D90 always overexposes by 0.3EV, even with the same camera and different lenses at the same aperture the exposure can be different (the Sony NEX 5N in my case). Steve one question why did you use the Zeiss Touit 32mm instead of the Fuji 35mm f1.4?, the fuji files look a little more green and a little overexposed it’s the color rendition of the camera?, or the color rendition of the Zeiss lens?

        Thanks Steve, and good comparison!

        • The Fuji always has non accurate colors..Fuji colors as I call them. Its not the lens, its the sensor and the way that Fuji sets the color. The X100 was like this, as is the X100s so appears the X-M1 is as well. I always show what comes out of each camera as it is also a test of the camera exposure system as well. WYSIWYG.

      • Steve I love your site and everything you write but I have to say sorry but you are indeed wrong. The biggest difference in noise is caused by the amount of physical light received by the sensor. If both aperture and iso are pinned in your test and shutter speed is varying one camera is getting more physical light than the other if shutter speeds are different. This then gives one camera the appearance of superiority because they exaggerated their iso. You are then not testing true noise performance you are only testing noise performance based on what the manufacturer says the iso is.

        • Exactly..which is why I test how I do. YOU GET WHAT YOU GET..as in, use each camera as 99% of people will. What you will see is what each camera gives as NOT ONE camera rates ISO to any standard, they are all different – though slight. Ive been doing this for many years and will continue to test for real world use, what you get out of the camera is what you will see as when I use it I will not be trying to set ISO to the standard of a Leica or Sony or Fuji, but will use the ISO standard of what the camera I am using is giving.

  55. Good review but I do disagree with your conclusions.
    If you get the full images, the Echorec stuff has a 9v-18v-DC marking on the left. The Fuji is as sharp as the Leica, though has not the super thin DoF.
    The GX7, on the other hand, is clearly less sharp and/or misfocused.
    When people say the Fuji is the new Leica, it is for its IQ, not for features like AF.
    From those samples, I’d pick a Fuji over the GX7 at any day.

    • Not sure you are looking at what I am looking at. I added a three camera 100% crop from the f/2 shots as that is where each performed their best. The GX7 is a hair sharper than the Fuji and with better color and a less flat rendering. Fuji is in now way the new Leica in IQ or build, or feel or use. In fact, they are quite the opposite in most ways. But again, all my opinion after using just about everything there is to use.

      • I beg to differ Steve. I tried both the Leia M8 and the Fuji X pro fairly extensively before I sold my Canon DSLR gear. The Leica is a brick, but its images are not superior to the Fuji. And it has a bunch of usability issues. The Fuji is different in feel, but still super solid, AND its usability far exceeds my Canon 5 D, and blows the M8 away. I would rate an M9 slightly superior to my Fuji in a 24X36 print and would buy one if the price was reasonable. But not worth the extra dollars. And trying to assess image quality on a monitor is an exercise in futility.

          • Because of Steve’s reference to build and file quality vs Leica. The M8 and X pro are roughly APS size sensors.

          • I never compared the M8 to the Fuji, ever. The M8 sensor is good at base ISO and that is about it. It also has IR issues and can not be compared to a cutting edge sensor from 2013. I was comparing the M to the Fuji in all areas. Just for fun, which is why it is called “Crazy Comparison” – Ive been doing them for 5 years. But the M8..no.

          • In terms of base ISO IQ, build and usability, an M8 is basically identical to an M9 and there isn’t much difference with an M 240.
            I think “usabiliy” is a very personal stuff and depends on what you want to shoot. I love using my M9 for its clean interface and manual focus. I hated the NEX I once had and I understand the Fuji X are not great at all if you want to manually pre-focus.
            On the other hand, I took a V1 and its tiny 30-110 along with my M9 on holiday because the “usability” of the M9 for tele work and moving subjects is very limited…

          • right, like a Olympus E-P1, which is basically identical to a E-P3 and there isn’t much difference with a E-P5…

        • There’s no question that the XP1 blows the M8 out of the water on every count. Having not shot with the M240, however, I cannot say how the XP1 would compare with that. Given that the Leica is 24 megapixels and full-frame, it has the definite advantage on paper … and I suspect in real shooting, too.

          I’m also not a fan of the Fuji X-M1. The company needs to focus on the mid-to-high-end range of the X-series, IMO. The X lineup wasn’t fully matured — as Steve has pointed out — when first introduced, but for a brand new system introduction it’s been impressive (particularly given Fuji’s dedication to regular firmware updates … something other manufacturers seldom, if ever, do). Once the X cameras have had a couple of more years to mature, they will be industry leaders, I believe.

          I anticipate the XP2 will be a bit of a game changer.

      • Steve, you should use the Fujinon 35mm f/1.4 instead of the Touit. Less expensive, larger aperture and nicer bokeh. You are giving the Fuji some disadvantage in this test since the maximum aperture of the Touit is f/1.8, which in FX-DOF is equivalent to f/2,7, whereas the Fujinon f/1.4 would be equivalent to f/2,1. Especially when the Voigtlander f/0,95 is equivalent to f/1,9. Also, the Fujinon 35mm f/1.4 is better at f/2 than the Touit. The correct lenses to use in this test should have been the 50 Summilux on the Leica M, the Fuji 35mm f/1.4 on the X-M1 and the Panasonic 25 f/1.4 on the GX-7. I know you call it “Crazy comparison”, but I feel that the test is just a cover to show that MFT can have a small DOF too (with extreme glass).

        • Indeed, very right. What kind of comparison is this? The Fuji’s AF is bad, but it’s being compared with two cameras using manual lenses. The Fuji’s color is bad, but how can this kind of test tell something reliable about color accuracy? (If there’s one thing about Leica worth mentioning for me, it’s the poor AWB and exposure in so many cases while the Fuji is every time snap on it. Only for these reasons I would never buy a Leica). The Fuji’s lens is bad, but it’s not even a Fuji lens. If there is one thing bad, it’s this so called ‘crazy comparison’, once more you found an excuse to dislike the Fuji X-system and overpraise Leica and MFT.

          • The Fuji lens is bad? This is the Zeiss Touit 32 1.8 which is just as sharp as the Fuji 35 1.4. It has different Bokeh, but a tad more 3D pop. That is about it. Not sure how you say the Fuji lens is bad 🙂 Silly nonsense. As for AWB, the Leica did better than the Fuji in this shot. The OOC WB was WAY WAY WAY too warm and bright reds on the Fuji. The Leica was also too warm but not as much. The GX7 was fine as is with a slight hair or warmth. No excuse, I just always state my honest opinion after USING ALL cameras. Just how it is. Some do not like facts because they see it as an attack. The facts are stated here by me and by MANY others on the internet. When you compare side by side – a Fuji X IC body with say a GX7 or E-M1 or even E-M5 you will see VERY little difference in IQ. The next thing to look at is build quality, speed of operation, responsiveness, etc. The Micro 4/3 cameras such as the E-M1, E-M5 and GX7 easily surpass any Fuji X IC body in this areas. It is fact. The AF is silly good on the E-M1, and fantastic on the GX7. When comparing them side by side it is painfully obvious. So I am supposed to lie and say the Fuji is equal in all of these areas? Sorry, that will never happen. Always the truth.

            here are some facts:

            The Leica is overpriced by about $3000
            The GX7 is a great buy right now at $900 for the body
            The X-M1 is a camera that should not have been made, makes no sense. Get an X-E1 or X100s instead
            The GX7 is built better than the X-M1 and X-E1
            GX7 focuses faster than any Fuji IX body, and more accurate
            GX7 and E-M1 are much more responsive than any Fuji X Body
            Ergonomically the Fuji is in last as well.

            I do not say this because I hate Fuji. I love Fuji. The X100s is awesome. X100 is on my all time fave list. I say these things BECAUSE I love Fuji and they are factual. I truly hope Fuji will improve their top line cameras in 2014. If so, then I am sure I will love them. All they need is better AF, better build and feel and to be more responsive. Easily done and am confident it will happen. Then everyone will be saying how much better the NEW Fuji is with AF and speed. 🙂

          • Steve, I am a little confused here. You said “When Leica started they were all about SMALL size, SMALL fast prime lenses and fantastic usability. The Fuji X-M1 may be small, but the lenses are not and there is no viewfinder.”

            This is a little disingenuous in my opinion for a few reasons.

            First, the X-M1 is the low level X-trans. The X-E1 does have a viewfinder and is only marginally larger than the GX7. Not that it was in your comparison, but the E-P5 is the same size as the X-M1, and doesn’t have a viewfinder (built in), and is more expensive than either Fuji camera.

            Second, the prime lens you used for the GX7, the voigtlander 25mm, is actually larger and heavier than either the Zeiss 32mm or the Fujifilm 35mm. A more just comparison would be the Fuji 35mm with the Panaleica 25mm. Same max aperture…and turns out they are the same size.

            I recognize that this is a crazy comparison, and that you do them with the equipment you have available, not every conceivable combination, but at least acknowledge that options do exist. The systems seem roughly comparable to me but for one area: AF.

            m43 AF destroys Fuji, and most other systems. But Fuji is gen-1 AF. The X100s is significantly faster. I am also wondering at your missed focus. There is a very simple technique: ensure that the line of contrast runs along the y-axis. Doing this I hardly ever miss AF with my Fuji, whereas if it runs along the x-axis I frequently do. Not a perfect solution to a problem that shouldn’t exist in the first place, but at least there is a workable solution.

          • I fully admit that from my point of view as well, Fuji released way too many X-Trans models, but it’s up to them to decide whether this makes sense. It’s the same phenomenon as we see with many other consumer products, it is what it is.

            Whether a GX-7 is built better, I don’t know, it’s conceived by a company that is very deep in the red numbers, so we can assume they need to do a little extra to survive as camera manufacturer and this niche is becoming an important one. But on the other hand, I never had the feeling that my X-Pro1 or X100 were lacking built quality. Sure it’s not like Leica, but I don’t have to hammer a nail in the wall with my camera, so this doesn’t matter too much for me as long as the IQ is fine.

            And there again, I see statements that surprise me. First of all, I don’t use OOC jpg’s, neither LR, but Aperture (I think you do, too). I’ve been using my X-Pro1 under the most impossible light conditions, and NEVER, NEVER I have been thinking colors were wrong. Contrary to that I can show you pictures made with an M9 versus Fuji ones on identical spots, where the Leica AWB or exposure is COMPLETELY (YES COMPLETELY) wrong, fully turned into a filthy green/yellow and the Fuji is snap on it.

            Also Leica’s lens quality… yes, there must be a difference if you can afford +7K for a single piece of glass. For the rest if you go with the cheaper Elmarits, if there is difference, it is getting smaller by the day as competition has also entered the (multiple) aspherical lens design since a very long time, a lot of care is taken for glass and coatings and most of all, the development is done using very powerful simulation software nowadays. I was very impressed when I saw one to one comparisons of Fuji lenses to Leica equivalents. That’s all I want to say about it.

            For me Leica deserves to be the best, I don’t have a problem with that, but I’m still missing some essential qualities and features to make that happen at such a price level.

            In the mean time I’m very happy with the results I get out of my X-Pro1, it still amazes a lot of people, even Leica owners having far more problems to achieve the same kind of results and that is nothing less than a reality.

            I could tell some very surprising stories about that one, but it really would make my post far too long. Look at what kind of phenomenon the X-Trans range has become on the internet, how many decent photographers went for this choice, there must be something worth to invest in these camera’s, after all.

          • The XE-1 would probably have been a better choice for the test, if it had been available, but would it have changed anything as far as the results go? It has the same sensor with equal or worse AF.
            This is the new camera Fuji released at the same moment as the EP-5/GX7, so it’s fair to test it against them. Did it improve AF issues ? Apparently not. So the point is, why does Fuji release uncompleted, cheaper bodies every 3 months now?
            Some people argue that all brands do this, but there are differences : each new top Olympus body brings improvements and new features, while each cheaper Pen benefits from the technology of the previous top body. On the other hand, each Fuji X body has “less”, hardly improves any issues and downgrades the value of the previous body.

            I own the XE-1 and I also feel it’s cheap, and for me it should have remained the lower end X body. Though I love the Fuji skin tones (and actually prefer them here) and like Fuji colors in most situations, I feel Fuji is really to blame for their unfinished products, and I totally agree with the criticism that is formulated in this post. I wish Fuji would improve overall quality and technical
            issues.

      • And, still comparing Fuji’s using the worst RAW converter, which is silly. MFT is far from the new Leica, to say the least. We know you do not like Fuji, and that is fine. However, I ignored all the complaints and bought an X-Pro 1 last spring, and I couldn’t be much happier. I haven’t had any problems with it, and I shoot all types of shots and in different lighting conditions. There are a lot of people that blame their cameras for their own weaknesses. It reminds me of when I used to skateboard, and one of my friends used to blame his shoes, board, and/or wheels for his missed tricks, when in fact he just wasn’t good enough to land those tricks consistently or at all. Photography isn’t much different ~ there are a lot of complainers who should recognize that, in most cases, they need to look no further than themselves.

        • Yes, I blame Fuji for my own weaknesses yet I have none of these weaknesses when shooting any other camera 🙂 Just my opinion and my experience after using EVERYTHING. You are not aware of the issues as you only shoot the X-Pro 1. If you compared it to something else you would see where the Fuji needs help, and help it will get in 2014. Finally.

          • Actually, I also use a Canon DSLR, which is faster, but not as accurate or as sharp. I have also tried an OM-D, and I didn’t like it at all. That said, everyone has different experiences and preferences.

        • Yes, some do blame the camera for their own weaknesses. But cameras are a tool, like any other, and some tools are better suited to certain jobs.

          I would prefer not to take the X-Pro 1 to Africa to shoot wildlife from the back of a Land Rover, for example. Nor would I choose to take it to a sporting event to cover a big game. The responsiveness isn’t good enough.

          On the other hand, I’m betting the OM-D E-M1 would handle both brilliantly.

          What I like about the X-Pro 1 is the styling, the form factor, the perfect balance of size/weight … and, of course, tremendous file output; intrinsically the best APS-C sensor on the market today, that punches about its weight class.

          When autofocus speed and accuracy is improved, processing gets a bit of a horsepower boost, and some weatherproofing is added, voila! Add to that a 24 megapixel X-Trans sensor with full-frame quality in an XP2 and you have a camera with a Leica form-factor that can actually handle 95%+ of shooting situations.

          The advantage the X-System has is that over the coming years it will grow better and better, whereas M4/3 has almost run out of road, IMO. I don’t think M4/3 will be around in six or seven years, so investing in that format and the glass that goes with it is a bad bet, based on the industry trending I’m seeing. Smart phone cameras are getting better all the time and will have completely eroded the compact camera market within two or three years. Meanwhile, APS-C and full-frame sensors are being placed in mirrorless bodies with smaller form factors.

          At the same time, the prevalent rumor is that both Nikon and Canon will soon introduce medium format systems (I’m guessing they will target a form factor more akin to the Leica S2 than a Phase One―probably going for the DSLR form factor that they already know & do so well).

          In my opinion Olympus and Panasonic have painted themselves in a corner and will have to address this issue sooner or later.

          • I think that you have it completely backwards. It’s the APS-C sensors that make no sense in the long run. Sony will soon put out mirrorless Full-frame camera, which will make the whole Fuji system obsolete the moment it appears. Meanwhile, m4/3 does not even compete directly with full-frame/APS-C: it simply offers the best compromise in terms of size – small lenses with good quality. If you want best quality, get yourself FF, not APS-C. If you want a smal, vesatile travel camera with whole range of lenses, m4/3 remains the best choice.
            As for phone cameras, they are no threat to larger cameras, if you want different focal lengths or DOF control.

          • Wait till more lenses come. The reason Fuji still gains popularity is Sony weak mirrorless FF lens line-up, as well as lack of good APS-C lenses from Canon&Nikon.
            I stand by what I said (although in terms of price/quality ratio, Fuji lenses are of course excellent choice).
            In the long run, once decent small primes for FF Sony will appear, other APS-C systems will come
            under strong pressure. M43 will stay as the smallest
            sensible interchangable system available, as it beats the advanced compacts and has the same size (look Panasonic GM-1).
            There is even a rumor now that Fuji are going to release a FF camera (XPro-2).

      • talking about the color accuracy….the Fuji is said to be least accurate…and that is great! If it was accurate people would not recognize it as the Fuji. Fuji colors are amazing…for those who love them. Steve may not like them at all….he has legal right to do so but at least shall not blame them for what they are…and they are Fuji!

      • DP review……..”We’ve long been fans of Olympus’ color response – it’s not got anything to do with being accurate, it’s a question of making the colors punchy and pleasing without looking too un-natural.” So? It is not about accuracy but about special character a camera make. Some like Fuji for that, some Oly

        • yes,accurate will be false of them ,and characteristic of them is right over all,
          that like something make the fool bound space and anti – information that is dark world for theme (best way send them to hell 😉 )

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