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Fujifilm X-Pro 1 vs Leica M9

Fujifilm X-Pro 1 vs Leica M9

on 7Feb2012 in photo, thoughts

Can the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 beat the Leica M9?
That is an interesting question. You may say they are of different breeds; and of course of different values of money.
Some claim that the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 is a poor man’s Leica.  I do not agree as it is not cheap compared with some DSLRs.
Don’t estimate the ambition of Fujifilm.  This X-Pro 1 is truly a Leica M killer although at this stage we could only tell from comparing an actual Leica M9 with Fujifilm X-Pro 1 on paper.
From its outer appearance, with no Fujifilm logo at the front, resembling very much the Leica M9-P, the X-Pro 1 is always reminding you that it is targeting Leica M9.
Their body dimensions are giving you further hints on their similarity:  the Leica M9 is 138 x 80 x37mm (WHD) and the Fuijifilm X-Pro 1 is 140 x 83 x 43mm (WHD), which is a bit bigger in all aspects.
If the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 is designed to compete with the Leica M9, there are three things it ticks the boxes:

  • a hybrid viewfinder: a switch and a sensor for switching from the rear LCD minitor to the viewfinder (which is not new if you consider the Fujifilm X100)
  • three interchangeable fixed focal length lenses available plus some zoom lenses in development.  Have you thought of using zoom lenses on a rangefinder like Leica M series?
  • all lenses with autofocus capability

The only thing we may complain is that the Fujinon lenses are inferior to the Leica lenses.  But it may be true in strict lab tests.  In real world the difference could be very minimal and of little significance.  We have seen the image quality of the X100.  I think the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 won’t disappoint us.
I am in particular interested in the XF 60mm F2.4 R Macro lens.  In 35mm equivalent focus length, it is 90mm.  The Leica Summarit-M 90mm lens has a minimal focus of 1m but on this Fujinon XF60mm it is only 0.27m (with Marco).  There is no reason why you won’t agree Fuijifilm is making a breakthrough.
We used to say the Japanese copies.  This time it copies with strategy and makes more advanced development.
I believe Leica optics are still the winner.  But the competitors are catching up fast.
The launch of new cameras never stops.  Today we just heard of the announcement of the 36MP Nikon D800.  Tomorrow we may hear some more fascinating news.

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