Fujifilm X100 vs. Leica M9 video

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  • Brian

    Good review.

  • robert y

    Obviously this guy is partial to Leica. Of course the Leica will be better but I do disagree when he said the leica sensor would eat the fuji. Totally the opposite. I bet if you can only put a leica lens on the fuji he will be singing another song. The greatest advantage that a leica has is it’s lens because they are the best but not necessarily their camera. HOw come he didn’t compare both camera in terms of high ISO capability? This is where people will see whose got the better sensor.

    • grumps

      I completely disagree. I usually go out with just one Leica lens. However, the added bonus that I DO have more than one and lens I can go out on a different day with a different lens. The full frame sensor clarity paired with a Leica lens is simply amazing. It is a lot of money. ISO isn’t everything, I shoot with the D700, 5D2, M9, sony NEX5 and Nikon D5000. WHen I shoot with the APS-C sensor cameras, I still try to maintain low ISO. This isn’t because they cannot go higher, but I think technique paired with gear is essential. The M9 with its lenses are by far the most pleasing imagery.

      However, different cameras do different things well. The Fuji X100 is fun and pleasing, but I don’t think it’s as good, but may be close!

  • Dave

    Having seen test shots side by side, I would say that Leica should be worried.

    Even though the Fuji is only APS-C, the results are somewhat sharper even at base ISO. At high ISO it becomes even more dramatic. The Fuji’s color reproduction, particularly with skin tones, is superior. The lens is not quite as sharp at 2.0 as the 35mm ASPH but it gives it a run for the money. Throw in the viewfinder and the Fuji becomes a Leica-killer.

    The reality is that the Fuji is technologically far more advanced. The M9 was groundbreaking when released, but that was 2009… An eternity in digital imaging. The M9 sensor was never that great compared to the flagship Nikon and Canon sensors, but Leica had the advantage of being the smallest pro-quality camera around. That’s not the case anymore.

    Leica is going to have to pull out all the stops for the M10. The sensor is going to have to be at the level of top-of the-line Japanese cameras: more resolution, higher ISO, higher dynamic range, better JPEG engine.

    As for Kai’s review, I sense that he got a free M9 from Solms — the review was incredibly slanted. And I say this as a Leica shooter.

    • Dutch

      I disagree, Leica doesn’t have to consider the M10 yet. Just look at M9 sales. Part of that is the strength of the brand, but I think in most part it is because Leica is unique. If you are looking for a digital camera with a high build quality, genuine manual controls and no goofy features, there is only Leica.

    • regular

      what does sharper mean when the Fuji’s AF is said to be slowish?
      I prefer to have a camera which is in focus on the subject I am targeting. Not on the subject picked by the camera, even if sharper (‘but not sharper as with a 35 asph’).

      • Slowish compared to what? The X100 AF is plenty fast and the latest firmware has vastly improved the focus accuracy in OVF mode – giving a very nice tool to correct AF parallax. Focus was always dead accurate using the EVF or LCD.

        Understandably people want to compare these cameras but they really do provide distinct shooting experiences. The X100 certainly generates impressive files that can compare favorably to the M9 but so can many high end DSLRs. You buy an M9 for the RF experience and to use all that classic glass. The X100 gives you most of the same IQ but in a self contained, high tech little package with a classic form factor.

        Both are awesome.

    • themarzo

      Dave said, “As for Kai’s review, I sense that he got a free M9 from Solms — the review was incredibly slanted. And I say this as a Leica shooter.”

      As the owner of three Leica’s myself, including an M3 and M9, I hate to say I agree with Dave. I really like Kai on DigitalRev but this review cleverly bashed Fuji while it sold Leica. The fact that DigitalRev compared the X100 to the M9 is the first tip off. They should have reviewed it against the X1 which is more apples for apples. The fact that the X100 hung in there with the M9 is saying more for Fuji than Leica.

  • Distreal

    Guys who think that the Fuji sensor is better than the Leica M9, should probably have at home pictures from both cameras. ASP-C will never beat the full-frame sensor, both in terms of depth of field, detail and most importantly, tonal range. And in the case of X100 and M9 perfectly clear that M9 beats X100.
    Most importantly, the Leica is a rangefinder camera and while Fuji will not create a model with a rangefinder, forget about any comparisons. It’s completely different cameras and each rangefinder user will tell you this. I’m not a user of Leici M9 but I preferred to buy a new Voigrlander Bessa analog rangefinder than digital Fuji X100 without rangefinder.

    • JTO555

      But would the Fuji X100 be an M8 killer? Smiler sized sensors so a better match.

      I don’t think that Fuji really are trying to pit a €1000 camera against a €6000 camera plus a €3000 lens. I think that Fuji had the Leica X1 in their sights. However it does say a lot for the X100 to be compared in reviews against the Leica M9.

      By the way the sensor itself has nothing to do with Depth of Field. That will be influenced by the lens (generally a wider lens with smaller sensor cameras) and the magnification of the print.

      • Peter

        Smaller sensor size will give you a greater depth of field than a larger one.

        • John

          Hi Peter, that is a common a misconception. The lens has the biggest effect on depth of field, but the sensor has no effect.


          • rearanged

            Wrong. A bigger sensor is not cropping your lenses. It makes you get nearer to your subject for the same framing >>> less distance to subject means less depth of field.

          • Distreal

            Damn, it’s obvious that the sensor affects the depth of field. This is due to the distance between sensor and lens. Of course, you can get the same depth of field with two sensors, but in the case of ASP-C sensor, we need to be further away to get that shallow depth of field as in the case of full-frame sensor.

          • Unless I am missing how you are attempting to characterize/frame the issue, sensor size absolutely affects the DOF, a reason why most compact cameras and video cameras are rarely out of focus (even when shot at f/2.0). Am I missing something here? this is so fundamental to the understanding of camera physics that there shouldn’t be any dispute on that issue?

          • Nicolas

            No, sensor size does not have any impact on depth of field!

            The circle of confusion depends on the magnification ratio (from sensor to print) and the distance from which the print will be viewed.

            So you can print very large even from a small sensor as long as you view from far away….

          • Peter

            Tell that to all of the camera men I know that have been working in documentary, film and news, who had real troubles getting any sort of shallow depth of field with their small sensor camera’s over the last 10 years.

            That’s what made HD on the 5D so exciting for a lot of these guys. At last shallow DOF was easy.

          • I don’t follow what Nicolas said at all . . .

          • John

            Hi Peter, the reason for the shallow DOF with the 5D is that you use a longer lens to get the same angle of view. In other words a standard lens on a 4/3 camera is 25mm and on a full frame camera it is 50mm.

            A smaller sensor, by itself, cannot give more DOF. If it did then as you crop a print, to give you the same angle of view as a smaller sensor camera, the background/foreground would get sharper. But as you know, enlarging a print enlarges the circles of confusion (CoC) and you lose apparent DOF.

      • Distreal

        For comparison, M8 to X100, the answer is simple. Sensor used in the M8 is already quite old and is worse in comparison to Fuji Leica X1 and X100. I will not go into battle X1 vs X100. I’ll just say that I think the tonal range of the sensor X1 beats what we see in the X100. Fuji is a lot of interesting functionality, the viewfinder is great, but lacks the sharpness and overall IQ of X1. Image quality is first-rate thing for me.

        Leica M8 is still a great camera, but for people who care about IQ offered by the Leica lenses. The feeling that comes from an image made with ​​Leica lens, it is something that should not be discussed. And I remain still the case that the M8 rangefinder and have access to a range of great lenses, and X100 is a camera designed in a completely different way. Fixed-length lens causing it is a camera to a specific situation, and if in some cases may be sufficient so far is not as versatile a tool as Leica M8 and M9.

        Therefore, we can compare the X100 with the X1, but the X100 comparison with rangefinders only because it is in retro style and has an optical viewfinder, which is obviously not a rangefinder, not causing the X100 in any way be compared to a Leica M.

        • Pikemann Urge

          “Damn, it’s obvious that the sensor affects the depth of field. This is due to the distance between sensor and lens.

          This is incorrect. Sensor size does not affect DOF. In addition, the distance between the sensor and the lens has no bearing on DOF.

          What you may be trying to convey is that to get the same field of view with two differently sized sensors, the smaller sensor will require a lens with shorter focal length.

  • I love his videos, they are very entertaining and I think he approaches the whole comparison from the light hearted mood; photography is a positive experience (for the most part after all. I have the x100 as well as the M9, and I have taken the different cameras out for different purposes. I think the most informative part of this video is to keep in mind that the X100 lens is actually a 23mm lens on an APC sensor, which means when shot at f/2.0, you will not get the same shallow depth of field as shooting a f/2.0 on a larger sensor, such as the Summicron 30mm on the M9. That said, the X100 is a good enough camera that I think I will not be reaching for my Summicron 35mm/M9 combo as much. If I want light weight and convenience, I will probably grab the X100, knowing that I won’t be sacrificing that much in terms of IQ, but if I feel fancy I’ll take out the M9 with either a lens that the X100 cannot compete, such a Summilux 35mm or a Summilux 90mm or any of the other wonderful lenses that Leica makes.

    The x100 is an alternative to the M9 for certain situations, you have to give it at least that. It’s the fanciest point-n-shoot camera I’ve owned to date. But like all point-n-shoots, it is not a substitute for the M9 with respect to lens versatility. For the same reason people spend twice as much money to get that one extra stop on a Leica lens (summicron vs. summilux), there is 10-20% of the situation where you wish you had the M9/your lens of choice combo. There is certainly diminished return for the extra money you pay for that M9 just for those 10% of the situations, but then when you are using the M9, there is 10-20% of the time you wished you had a DSLR with a long zoom lens, etc. Isn’t that true with everything else in life . . .which is wonderful we have all these choices.

    • grumps

      Sir, you have explained it very well, and I truly wish some of the people with their earlier comments can withhold their tongue or fingers from typing if they don’t really know what they are talking about.

    • BO

      Holly Cr@p… never even knew about a 90lux that gotta be a big piece of glass.

      • Sorry meant Summicron 90mm ha ha.

  • My problem with this comparison is it’s a $1200 camera vs a camera that can easily cost $10,000 with a 35mm lens. A better question, is the M9 and 35mm lens 8 times better ?

    • The problem with the price comparison is that the M9 can be paired with any of the Leica M lenses. So the right question isn’t $1,200 x100 vs. $10,000 M9 + Summicron 35mm ASPH. The right question is $1,200 x100 vs. $7,000 M9 for the ability to use whichever Leica M lens (at additional costs, of course). And, as I said, as with everything in life, point of diminished return is subjective. My Nikon 400 AF-S VR f/2.8 costs $9K (though I paid “only” $8K” when it was first introduced). Is my $9K Nikon 400mm f/2.8 lens six times better than, say, the $1,500 much lighter 80-400mm f/4,0-5.6 zoom? The answer is, it depends. When I was shooting sports and wild life, absolutely no questions about it, many times better and glad I had it.

      Here, how much is it worth to you go be able to shoot, for extra money of course, a Leica Summilux 50mm ASPH at f/1.4 or the new Summilux 35mm at f/1.4? Is it worth 8 or ten times to you? My answer is yes no questions asked, considering especially every single (and I mean every one) of my Leica lenses can be sold on eBay today for more than I paid.

    • BTW great work on your website, Michael.

      • grumps

        Yes, I agree. Great work on your website!

    • grumps

      Why would that be a better question? There are times I’ll take out a APS-C sensor camera over a full frame for specific reasons and other times I take out a point (say costing 20x less than a M9) and shoot knowing I will get poorer quality images. Is this an example of something being better or to fit specific circumstances. Let’s introduce another scenario, is a Hassleblad H4D-50 or whatever it’s called that much better than your Fuji X100 or is it for a specific need.

      Many times, the answers may have an absolute yes and no, but once you have all this at hand, it’s about determining the specific needs of your endeavors. The Fuji is simple a great little camera and can be left as that, and I will be daring enough to say that I feel the M9 is better (others might feel different), likewise the H4D is better than the M9, but I’ll choose one over the other in different circumstances in any given day!

  • Jo

    Always the same…
    Leica owners want to justify the money they spend in their toys (and I am among them).
    Frustrated non-Leica owners want to find cheaper options that will still deliver great photographs for a fraction of the price (and they are right) but it will never be a Leica (not in terms of brand, but built quality, lenses, etc.).

    But it is good to see a bit of competition in Leica’s market (more for the X1 than the M9) it will force them to be more innovative, but in their own way… please no fancy features or viewfinders for my Leica Ms…

    • I have to say the OVF on the X1 is pretty awesomely addicting . . . . I don’t see the harm of adding that to the M9 . . . (or do I . . . , hum . . .)

  • peter drijver

    What I like from this review that both cameras are taken to the typical RF habitat: available light documentary pics form everyday life. Leica’s intelligent cine-film cameras revolutionized photography many decades ago -although a tripod, a technical camera with glass plates would have been the obvious choice for sharpness, detail and contrast…
    and yes all of them are worth the money!

  • Nathan

    I found it funny that he had a lot of time to take a photo of one of his fans and the resulting picture was a bulls-eye head shot. I’m guessing that perhaps photography composition isn’t his forte. I also noticed he had one really good shot of the guy standing in front of the store where there’s food but he cut the guy’s feet off. Too bad.

    I like his videos though. It seemed he liked using the X100 more than the Leica. If you noticed he had no problem bringing the X100 to his eye and shooting, but with the M9 he was hesitant to take pictures and in fact one time he thought about it then decided against it. I wonder why?

  • Nathan

    One more thing, is the X100 a manual focus camera? If it’s autofocus then why is he always fiddling with the knob in the front of the lens? He can’t be playing with the aperture all that time.

    • Ke

      You can manual focus on the X100 if you want. I guess that’s what he’s doing.

  • leica

    The M9 is better.

  • Highfield

    I find it a little odd that the M9 and X100 were even considered for comparison save for the fact that the X100 held up extremely well. Clearly it’s a credit to Fuji that such comparisons are being made. I don’t own either camera but, if I had the cash to spare, I’d stop saving at around the £1000 mark and buy the X100.

  • martin bergmann

    sorry but what is this guy talking about?
    First.. a M9 is a totally different storry then the x100 … its like comparing a ladyboy with a miami beach girl … or like i want to compare speed from a ferrari to a golf… seriously…
    This was the most sense free review i have ever seen online.
    And for this guy.. absolutly unprofessional… no photography skill at all and just making stupid joked to get peoples attention away from his “non skill” … serously… its pain to see someone like this holding a nice leica M9
    Next time search a good photographer who actually know what he is talkign about and then review X1 – X100 … this would actually match! … nite and good luck

    • Pikemann Urge

      I think that the idea of the review was a good one. But the execution was pretty poor. E.g. lack of useful technical details.

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