Quick Compare – Full Frame DOF vs APS-C DOF at the same aperture (Leica vs Fuji)

Quick Compare – Full Frame DOF vs APS-C DOF (Leica vs Fuji)

Hey hey to all! It’s FRIDAY which means it’s time for the weekend, so I hope everyone will be getting some R&R in or just having fun. Today I was shooting with my Leica SL and Fuji X100F The Leica SL has the Zeiss Zm 35 1.4 M mount attached, and the Fuji has its 23mm f/2 attached, giving a 35mm equivilant FOV. I LOVE BOTH OF THESE cameras right now but have been in love with the SL since it was launched (I only use it with M glass though the 24-90 is the best zoom I have ever used). It’s interesting seeing the differences in IQ between them in regards to color and DOF, ISO etc.

Speaking of Depth of Field, as always the Fuji lens will not give us the depth of field of the Zeiss ZM 35mm on the Leica SL as the SL is full frame and the Fuji is APS-C. We all know what that means in regards to DOF so I will not rehash it here. All the really matters to me, or anyone who uses these tools is the image, and what one can accomplish with a specific camera or a lens. I am not about scientific numbers or comparisons because while the Fuji at f/2 delivers DOF of a full frame 35mm lens at f/2.8, my SL will shoot and give me the DOF of 1.4 using this Zeiss lens. Again, the Fuji, it best will give the depth of field of f/2.8 when shot at f/2 when thinking in 35mm full frame terminology.

So to test the SL at f/2.8 against the Fuji, IMO, is nonsense because my SL will give me more power to shoot at the true aperture for DOF control and of course I will shoot it at f/1.4, quite often. I like to show comparisons in a real world way…as in, if I have an f/1.4 lens I will use it at f/1.4..etc. I work with the tool I have and exploit its strengths. So what I like to see is what each camera can do for me when wide open. What does the Fuji look and perform like at f/2? What does the Zeiss and Leica do when wide open at f/1.4? Honestly, I own both of these cameras and 90% of the time, they are shot wide open.

The Fuji is easy to take anywhere, is small, quick and for street or everyday…just about perfect. My SL is heavier, larger and for those times I want that full frame look and feel. BUT the images are indeed different. Of course, this Leica combo is 9X the cost of the Fuji and for that you get unrivaled build, clean smooth menus, huge window like EVF, weather sealing, dual SD cards and a fully pro feature set as well as being allowed to use all kinds of lenses for creative uses. The Fuji is a one lens camera mean to compete with the Leica Q and Sony RX1. BUT here, I decided to show the difference in DOF only. So that does not matter what camera was used. It’s basically just showing what one can expect from full frame with a 35 1.4 lens, and the Fuji with it’s 23 f/2 lens. The Fuji gives us the DOF of a 23mm lens, which is why it is the equivalent of f/2.8 at f.2 for DOF. The Leica will give us the DOF of a 35mm lens, and a true f/1.4 aperture as it is really a 35mm lens, the Fuji is not.

So with that out of the way, here are two images. CLICK THEM for larger and sharper and better (otherwise they are compressed and do not look as good). One from the Leica with 35 Zeiss at f/2 and one from the Fuji X100f at f/2, both ISO 400.

So two images, same shot – TOP from the SL and Zeiss 35 1.4 ZM and bottom from the Fuji X100F. CLICK ‘EM for larger and better! 

So this test shows you the DIFFERENCE between f/2 on a Fuji X100f and f/2 on a full frame sensor camera, the SL using a 35mm lens. Of course I prefer the SL for its more smoother and more “cinematic” rendering but is it worth the extra $8k for IQ alone? No, but it may be for some just for the body, build, EVF, usability and the fact it can use SL lenses or T lenses or M lenses or R lenses or Canon or Nikon lenses, or vintage RF lenses, etc. The Fuji X100F is smaller, lighter and is wonderful for everyday use, street, vacation, and making memories. The Leica setup feels like a premium crafted machine and is a 100% different experience so these are never meant to be compared in a “which one should I buy” scenario. This was just to show the difference between APS-C and full frame for DEPTH OF FIELD. So to those who will comment “You should have shot the Leica t f/2.8” then you did not read what this simple fun test was about ; ) I enjoy both of these cameras, and use different ones depending on my mood or needs for the day 😉

Thank you all and have a great weekend!



  1. Steve..this is a fun and informative comparison. I picked up a Fuji X100F. You seem to be getting more detail out of your X100F than I have gotten out of mine so far. For instance, Debby’s hair looks so detailed and natural in your shot, not over sharpened. Did you do any post processing on the Jpegs in Photoshop such as sharpening? Or can you share your in camera Jpeg Fuji settings as to NR, Sharpness levels?

    I love Leica, and Fuji, but darn to my eyes, the X100F pic of Debby looks a bit nicer overall by a percent or two,forgetting about the more pronounced soft Bokeh from the SL obviously. But for almost a $9,000 difference? I say WOW to the Fuji. Still curious if you tweaked any settings on the X100F. Thanks…

    • Yea, this is an OOC JPEG and OOC color for the Fuji. When I resize them to 1800 pixels for the site, I add SLIGHT sharpening using “smart sharpen” with a very low amount. IN camera I have NR to -4 (it was -3 here I think though should not have come into play anyway) and sharpness was at +1.

  2. The Zeiss 35mm 1.4ZM is my favorite lens, perhaps the best lens I’ve ever owned. It’s not cheap ($2300) but then again it’s still less then a Summilux. The Zeiss 35mm on my M240 is an amazing combo, simply fantastic image quality.

    At the end of the day I guess it’s no surprise that a $2300 lens attached to a $6500 body produces amazing quality…at that price it should!

  3. With the backdrop far from the subject like on your shots, the difference is small, try the same with a backdrop nearer and you will see a big difference in DOF.

  4. Thank you for posting Steve. Considering the two cameras i shoot with are a m10 and a xpro2 it was very nice seeing comparison like this. Sorry that you had to let the M10 go but that VF in the SL is amazing as well.



  5. Colour is so subjective

    But physics isn’t and a 23 f2 lens will always be a 23 f2 lens, no matter what body it’s on!

    In some ways, Fuji V Leica would be best done with their respective 1.4 35s or the 50 summilux V the 56 f1.2

    You seem to be enjoying the X100F though Steve?

    • No, you are wrong. You can not compare a 35 1.4 on Fuji and a 35 1.4 on a Leica as the Fuji will give you the FOV of a 50, so a 100% different lens, period. That’s the issue with APS-C and crop sensors. But it is what it is, and one must compare the same FOV as if I want a 35mm FOV I will not use a 35mm lens on a Fuji as that would give me more of a 50. That would be a ridiculous comparison to have. Also, DOF would still be different. The X100F is as I expected..a Fuji X100. Not much has changed over the years. Feels the same, shoots the same, and IQ with the latest sensor is good. It’s not a “wow” camera but it’s a beautiful little daily driver.

      • FOV is not just the lens though is it Steve? It’s the image projected to the sensor that gives the 35-50 APSC-FF equivalence (or in the case of a FF on a crop sensor, its the part of the image that’s actually hitting the sensor)

        If you mount a 35mm Summilux on a APSC camera, it won’t suddenly become a 50mm summilux it’ll still have all the specs of a 35mm lens, eg COC, view angle etc also the DOF will be same, it won’t change only the viewers PERCEPTION of DOF will change because the image is smaller

        There’s more to a lens and it’s look, than just what sensor it’s in front of.

        For example, 18mm on APSC will give a FOV like 28mm on FF, but a 18mm doesn’t draw a scene like a 28, you’ll get more field curvature with an 18, so the framing would be about the same, but the character of the image different

        Equivalence is important and worth looking at, but it’s not the whole story of what makes a lens, and only part of the story of what an image looks like!

        • You said exactly what I have said for eight years and have shown examples of as early as long as 7 years ago on this website. “If you mount a 35mm Summilux on a APSC camera, it won’t suddenly become a 50mm summilux it’ll still have all the specs of a 35mm lens, eg COC, view angle etc also the DOF will be same, it won’t change only the viewers PERCEPTION of DOF will change because the image is smaller” – I say this ALL THE TIME.

      • Your logic is inconsistent as in the X100F review you compare a 25mm 1,2 Olympus on a mft sensor with the 23mm Fuji on an aps-c sensor.

        • Lol, you can never please everyone. Last time I did a test where I match equivalents, some complained that I did not use the same lens type (same focal length instead of matching the equiv). Here I used the same focal length on each camera (23 vs 25) and to show you what you get in REAL WORLD use. So both lenses are pretty much 23mm/25mm – very similar in focal length. They will give different equivilant but they are at their core, similar in focal length. So here you see what you get from a Micro 4/3 with a 25mm lens and what you get from a Fuji with a 23mm lens, nothing more or less. I also added the other test that you seem to want, a 35mm lens on full frame vs the 35mm equivalent on the Fuji, so you have BOTH here, take your pic.

  6. The Zeiss is sharper at 1.4 than the fuji at f2. Not surprising really….the fuji is an 8 year old lens but holds up still pretty well.
    The colours are not too dissimilar if you ask me. But the skin tones of the fuji look a little nicer. Maybe due to not being as sharp?

    • Well not really, as full frame will always offer a richer, deeper file. When you look at the large size the Leica file is smoother, has better tonality and looks less “hard” or “digital”. It’s a better camera 100000%. In build. features, capabilities, etc. But the Fuji is not going to compete against an Sl in any way, so this test was to just show DOF differences between full frame and APS-C.

  7. Nice to see you shooting with Fuji again. Hopefully they will start giving you their gear to review, for instance it would be nice if you review their new medium format!

    • Oh I could care less if they let me have review gear, I would rather get it elsewhere so I can be honest as they are too touchy. Any company that pulls you from review units because you gave an honest opinion is not one I would want to work with. ; )

      • I agree with your way of thinking, however, I doubt it that you will invest in Fuji medium format and therefore, unfortunately you will not review it.

  8. Of course the facial expression is nicer w. Fuji but this looks more real as well. Compare hair detail falling over left shoulder. And (although I had that Zeiss lens and sold it for weight reasons, but later wished I still had it!) I must say the blurred french window in the Leica camera shot just looks awful!

  9. Colors are quite similar, it is the expanse of the smile 🙂 that looks better on the fuji. Obviously background is better in the Leica.

  10. Steve, could you tell us a little bit more about focusing a rangefinfer and getting older… I kind of never trusted my focusing with the M240. 50, using glasses… Any readers finding that rangefinders, age and high resolution images is not a great combination?

    • Well my vision for distance has degraded quite a bit over the last two years. Just hitting that age I guess. I never wore glasses but as of two years ago, I need them but I find it hard to use with a RF (wearing glasses). So without I was finding my shots being OOF, more often that not. When I used the SL, no issues as the EVF is so huge, and built in diopter makes it a breeze. I could have added a diopter to the M for a few hundred more dollars but to be honest, I also missed the SL! So I am back with SL and happy as can be for use with small M lenses.

  11. The Leica image has a more neutral tone. You can see that in the face and more clearly in the pillar behind the model.
    An aside – Steve does this mean you got rid of your M10 for the SL? I tried out the M10 and the SL at the local Leica shop and could not see a reason to trade up to the M10 from my M240, but could for the SL. You still cannot see the 28mm frames w/ glasses on with the M10, and the size difference in reality suddenly did not become a big deal. But the EVF in the SL and being able to nail every single shot wide open w/ it, w/o needing to magnify the image – fantastic.

    Best regards

    • Yes, I mentioned this a week or so ago. My eyes are not what they used to be, and the M10 had me missing many shots for focus. I missed the SL, so went back to it even though I loved the M10 for its size and color. But the SL, for me, is a wonderful camera.

      • You may want to try their diopters. I was using my Mamiya 645 ProTl the other day and was wondering why I could focus so much better with the waist level finder vs the metered prism head. I then noticed, for the first time, that the wlf had a -1.5 diopter in it!
        Guess what I ordered about 5 minutes later!
        Some cameras already have them built in – I think the SL does -which makes it even easier to focus than an M!

  12. For me,the Leica shows more detail and colour contrast within the skin tones.I was not there,but the Leica image appears more natural,characterful.

    You pay quite a few thousand extra for that.

  13. I see two different expressions from Debbie, I’m curios to know which camera she felt more comfortable being photographed with? It’s a question we never ask our models, is the camera I’m using intimidating or natural?

    • Lol, well…I am not sure she had a preference 😉 She is so used to me saying “hey I need my model for a test shot”! She does not even know what I am testing these days. She was smiling more with the Fuji though!

  14. Both systems deliver amazingly sharp images. Wow. Colour is fine on both. I don’t see a major difference. As for DOF, it’s a matter of taste. Like water from two different springs.

  15. Steve, thank you for the comparison… somewhat off topic, but which lens do you prefer for the M or the SL: the Zeiss you used for this or the Leica Summilux… disregarding the price which is substantially different off course.
    Thank you!

    • The Leica 35 Summilux is a tad better IMO but not by much. It has a cooler color signature also, but for the money (this Zeiss cam be had for $1850 new) I’d go Zeiss. It’s a promo lens, and beautiful on the M and SL.

  16. as i expected background looks better with the leica but the foreground , debbie looks better with the fujifilm.

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