Leica X1 vs Fuji X100 – The Imaging Wars – Final Thoughts

I have now been playing around with the X1 and X100 for a couple of weeks now and, to be honest, finding it very difficult to chose between the two cameras.

As an aside, the images in the original blog had Leica first and Fuji second in each of the aperture comparison shots.

With regards to the two cameras, on the one hand I find the simplicity, image quality and, in a totally fickle way, the red dot of the Leica brand make the X1 extremely appealing.

Then I pick up the Fuji X100 and find it hard to resist the combination of retro looks, image quality, flexibility and high ISO capabilities,

But, the intention of this blog, as is more than suggested by the title, was to focus on the imaging prowess of each of these cameras. And so I must put aside looks, brand and facilities and concentrate on the main aspect that will determine which of these cameras will remain as companion to the M9.

Having looked at the images I have been getting from the two cameras I have found myself consistently coming down on the side of the Leica.

On first look I love the punchy colours that the Fuji produces . This is especially apparent when viewed side by side with the Leica’s output. Don’t get me wrong the X1 produces beautiful colours but on first glance they are a little subdued. It is not hard to do some tweaking in Lightroom or Aperture but I would prefer to get the image out of the camera as close to what I want rather than fiddle around on my laptop.

After a while I have come to realise that the images the Leica produces are, to my eyes, more natural and closer to the truth of what I see. I also believe the the Leica images have more of that 3D quality that seems unique to Leica (and Zeiss ) lenses. The Fuji images look a little flat to me. Still incredibly good and comparable to the Canon 5D I had. The problem is that they just don’t seem to speak to me like X1 images do.

Throughout the course of looking at these two cameras I was really, really hoping that I would grow to love what the Fuji produces. And in lots of ways I do. It is just that I think the Leica has the slight edge to me.

So bottom line will I be keeping the X1. Err, no. So I will be keeping the X100 then? No, again. I am going to be selling both cameras for the pure and simple reason that I want to spend more time with the M9 getting as much as I can out of it. Whilst I am used to the rangefinder style of shooting now I want to get better at it and it be more instinctive and natural when taking photographs.

In the meantime maybe Leica will come out with an X2 and surprise us all with a camera that takes what Fuji has done in terms of style and build and incorporate a Leica lens. Hang on, surely that’s an M9 I am talking about? It is, but the ultimate in quality comes at a price and, perhaps perversely, functionality. Maybe Leica will come up with an M9-lite version? Who knows.

All in all I think that Fuji can be congratulated for taking a brave step to develop the X100. It isn’t original in terms of design but it is in terms of application. It has demonstrated to other manufacturers what can be achieved in these fundamental areas.