Fujifilm X-T1 VS Leica M9 (35mm, 50mm, 75mm)

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*Updated with full size images with EXIF data.

The full frame Leica M9 with its beautiful CCD sensor vs the APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor is an odd comparison, but it works, because there are a number of users out there with both systems. If not an owner of both systems there are a lot of FujiFilm users out there that are interested in trying some of Leica’s beautiful lenses.

Regardless of the outcome you get from the images below, there is one thing that is impossible to quantify, the feel and interaction you get from using the M9. The experience of using a rangefinder is a unique photographic experience that’s hard to describe.

I enjoy the act of photography as much as the images that are produced. Leica’s M9 adds something special to that engagement that a modern camera does not return.

On the other hand, a modern, well designed camera like the Fuji X-T1 offers an efficiency and accuracy that a rangefinder has a hard time matching, at least in my hands.

For this reason I can not see one of these being a complete replacement for the other. The one thing the Fuji X-T1 and all Fuji X mount cameras have is the ability to use Leica’s lenses via the Fujifilm M Mount Adapter. In fact, using manual focus lenses on the Fuji X-T1 is quite a joy.

Gear used for the tests were:

  • Fujifilm X-T1 body
  • Fujifilm 35mm f1.4 lens
  • Fujifilm M Mount Adapter
  • Leica M9 Body
  • Leica 50mm Summicron Type V
  • Leica 75mm Summarit (f/2.5)
  • Canon 50mm LTM f1.4 Type I
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Fuji X-T1 with Fuji 35mm @ f1.4 (52mm equivalent)

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Fuji X-T1 with Fuji 35mm @ f2 (52mm equivalent)

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Fuji X-T1 with Fuji 35mm @ f2.8 (52mm equivalent)

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Fuji X-T1 with Leica 50mm Summicron Type V @ f/2 (75mm equivalent)

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Fuji X-T1 with Leica 50mm Summicron Type V @ f/2.8 (75mm equivalent)

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Fuji X-T1 with Leica 75mm Summarit (f2.5) @ f/2.5 (112.5mm equivalent)

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Fuji X-T1 with Leica 75mm Summarit (f2.5) @ f/2.8 (112.5mm equivalent)

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Fuji X-T1 with Canon 50mm LTM Type I @ f1.4 (75mm equivalent)

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Fuji X-T1 with Canon 50mm LTM Type I @ f2 (75mm equivalent)

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Fuji X-T1 with Canon 50mm LTM Type I @ f2.8 (75mm equivalent)

The next set of images was taken with the Leica M9.

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Leica M9 with Leica 50mm Summicron Type V @ f2

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Leica M9 with Leica 50mm Summicron Type V @ f2.8

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Leica M9 with 50mm Canon LTM Type I @ f1.4

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Leica M9 with 50mm Canon LTM Type I @ f2

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Leica M9 with 50mm Canon LTM Type I @ f2.8

And just for fun, here’s the same scene with the Sigma DP1 Quattro.

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Full Size Images with EXIF data:

10 thoughts on “Fujifilm X-T1 VS Leica M9 (35mm, 50mm, 75mm)

  1. Wanting to convert to Leica a few times too – I have had the opportunity several times to compare pictures made with the Leica M9 & M240 a few times with my own X100, X-Pro1, X-T1 & Nikon FX gear (with the higher end primes and also Sigma ART) under identical shooting conditions. As an allrounder, Leica M disappointed in the first place due to its poor white-balance and exposure management. There has never been one occasion where my friends owning a Leica could convince me of what they claimed to be a superior optical performance. In low light, Leica is really beyond par of anything in the DSLR and the current CSC world. I also notice that the pictures of Leica-shooters are slightly out of focus due to the limitations of the RF-system. I think that Leica’s R&D starts understanding that even their RF’s won’t live forever, that could be the reason to give birth to their new SL Typ601-range (they in fact reinvented the X-T1 in a FF-version, but typically Leica, with a not an equally convenient user interface). Leica has also never been a zoom-lens developer and several tests I’ve seen all seem to confirm that their first new 24-90mm f/2.8-4 ASPH zoom isn’t worth that fabulous +6K$. I don’t know, I think that my next camera will be the X-Pro2 and I’m very sure I won’t regret that decision (as I did btw with the X100 and the X-Pro1, it were both way too early released concepts). To my opinion, the Fujinon, Sigma Art & Zeiss Otus primes outperform anything commercially existing in the world below MF, including Leica. Leica has become a bit the Harley-Davidson of the camera world – it’s more an expensive kind of ‘toys for boys’ preference than really a well considered ‘best value for money’ kind of choice.

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    • Interesting comment, but missing the point a bit. Yep, the M9 sensor is a relatively poor high iso performer and so, probably, is that in the m240. However unlike, say the Sony A7r it provides a working full frame digital solution for an entire lens history and, perhaps even more importantly, it allows a consistent working approach for photographers that have used 35mm rangefinders for years – letting a bunch of people continue shooting what they want, how they want with digital capture (ugly word).

      Probably also worth considering that just because a choice isn’t based solely on the best value for money doesn’t mean that it leads directly to purchase of ‘boys’ toys’ or veblen goods;)

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  2. The Leica photos “pop” right out at you. Having been a heavy user of both cameras. I use my my Leica more than 90% of the time and only use the T-1 for casual photography.

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  3. I owned an M9 (the last after 30 years sooting with Leica), in mid 2014 bought an X-T1 and a couple of lenses, today I use only the Fuji and sold all the Leica stuff, no contest, Leica is outdated full stop!

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  4. Nikon shooter here for 15 years. High end Nikons. Picked up a Leica, top glass. My photography is now mostly on Leica while I still shoot Nikon for when need it for fast action moving objects. I tried Fuji, Canon, Nikon and Leica… Still prefer Leica. But that’s my personal opinion.

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  5. Pingback: miXed zone :: Fuji X-Pro2 & X70 First Looks :: XF100-400 Samples & more – Fuji Rumors

  6. I’m wondering if you could help me. I have a Fuji X-T2. And I recently bought a Canon LTM 50 f1.4 to use on this camera, after reading a blog post by Jonas Rask about using this particular combo. So, I have bought two different M39 to Leica-M Mount adapters to use with the Kipon l/m-fx/m helicoid adapter that I have. I can’t get the lens to stay on the Kipon with either adapter. Do you have any words of widom for me? I would greatly appreciate your help.

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    • Odd that it doesn’t stay on the Kipon adapter. Is there an issue with something not locking into place? I wish I had some better words of wisdom for you, but I can’t think of a solution. It’s worth looking into though, since it’s such a nice lens.

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