Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Naked Eye: Leica M9 vs FujiFilm X Pro-1





Another poll for those who like playing the game.

Here are JPEG #A and JPEG #B; one is made with a Leica M9 at 200 iso with a Leica Elmarit 28mm at f2.8while the other was made with a Fuji X Pro-1 at 200 iso with a Fujinon 18mm (equivalent of 27mm) at f2.0. The photographs were made within a few seconds from each other under the same lighting conditions, and using an automatic shutter speed.

The lower two are the same images after using Auto Fix in Photoshop. No other processing was done to either of them.

So what's your call? Which image was made with the M9, and which with the X Pro-1?

After having handled the M9 for about 15 months and the X Pro-1 for just over a week, I feel that both have a place in my tool box.  It took me a few hours to understand the ins and outs of the X Pro-1, and I haven't had frustrations to speak of once I ironed out its quirks. In contrast, the Leica M9 is a difficult camera with which I had considerable frustrations (and some pleasures) so far.

I am neither a Leica cheerleader nor a X Pro-1 groupie, and as I imply earlier, I consider them both to be useful tools for different jobs. That said, while the M9's build is better (more solid) than the X Pro-1, its many shortcomings (lack of AF, abysmal display, image quality issues at ISOs higher than 640, etc) are difficult to tolerate with the appearance of the X Pro-1 that is also well-built, has reasonable quality glass, has good image quality to 6400 iso, and a lovely display, apart from its many other technical advantages, such as its revolutionary hybrid viewfinder as one of numerous examples.

"Will the FujiFilm X Pro-1 dethrone the Leica M9? "

Sure, the Leica M9 not only has a mystique, but more tangibly, also provides a special 'feel' to the  photographs it produces...but the X Pro-1 image quality is excellent. Does it have the Leica "feel"? No it doesn't. The M9 is a full frame camera, and the X Pro-1 isn't. However, it has an APS-C sized sensor, which produces images that are said to be equal, if not superior, to those of full-frame cameras.

Will the FujiFilm X Pro-1 dethrone the Leica M9? I doubt it...but it's a very serious contender, and fills a niche for photographers who seek to add a digital rangefinder-like camera to their gear, and do not want to spend upwards of $7000 for a body to do it.

And for those who have voted in the previous poll in which I ask for the readers preference between photographs made with a Leica M9, a Fujifilm X Pro-1, a Canon 7D, a Canon 5D Mark II and a Panasonic GF1, the results favored the Leica M9 which got 38.5% of the votes, then the X Pro-1 which got about 33%.