Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Leica T versus Fujifilm X-E2: Modern Art vs Retro Cool

Taken with Ricoh GR @ Matchstick Coffee in Chinatown, Vancouver. 1/250th F/5.6 @ ISO 800. Window light only.

I got the email from my local Leica rep. It was coming. Yes, the all new Leica T was on its way. The week before, I almost flew down to L.A. for the worldwide release of Leica's newest interchangeable lens system. Was it going to be M43, APS-C, full-frame? Most guessed it would be APS-C, but what would it look like? Would they go with the X styling (X1, X2, X-Vario), or more M styling? Would it have a built in EVF or OVF? So many questions... Then the Leica T was finally released... what the?

It was nothing like what I expected. It was very different, and a very bold departure from what we were expecting from a very traditional camera brand. Was I disappointed? Nope. Confused? A bit. Excited to try it? Yes!! I watched the crazy 45 min video showing how each Leica T is hand polished (with German labour!) and Steve Huff's enthusiastic first impressions video. Clearly this camera is well built, but can it shoot? More importantly, is it good for a street-style photographer? It was time to test Leica's latest, greatest camera.



Same shooting specs as above. Notice the different design philosophy. The Leica T is a solid brick of aluminium.
I was actually preparing my quick preview of the Leica T when I decided to do this comparison first. I thought it would be fun to compare the T to it's closest rival (not really), the Fujifilm X-E2. Knowing that the Leica T was coming with the all new Vario-Elmar-T 18-56mm lens, I asked Fujifilm Canada to send me the XF18-55mm for comparison. I knew this comparison wasn't going to be a serious one, since those who want the T will buy the T, and the same for the Fujifilm X-series cameras. Although they may share basic specs (APS-C, mirrorless, kit 18-55(56)mm lens) each camera and brand is marketing to their own specific target consumer.

However, just for fun I did try some back to back shots between the two cameras (JPEG only) and some AF and exposure tests and see the differences. The Fuji focuses quicker and is more accurate, but not significantly so. In low light, both slow down significantly, but both still lock on confidently when there's adequate contrast. With the new firmware update on the X-E2, the EVF was significantly better on the Fuji than the Leica in low light, although less noticeably better in bright daylight. The switching from EVF to LCD was also faster on the Fuji, at about 1/4 sec versus Leica's 1 sec.

Fuji's JPEGs are punchier and better right out of camera, although the Leica has better RAW images. As for lenses, the Leica is actually smaller and lighter than the Fuji, although Fuji does have a built in aperture ring and image stabilization. Curiously, the lens mount on the Leica is much larger than on the Fuji. In fact, it's larger than the full-frame M-mount, and the same size as the Sony-Minolta A-mount! The question is, why? Some speculate a full-frame T in the near future. True or not, by the looks of the mount, it sure looks like it can accommodate a full-frame lens and sensor.

Both lenses have a similar design (telescoping zoom), although the manual focus feel on the Leica is more natural than on the Fuji. The lens hood on the Leica is also half metal (the part that attaches to the lens is metal) so it feels solid attaching on and off. Both lenses are made in Japan and are of high build quality and both produce great images. I've always said that the Fuji XF18-55mm is the best, current model kit lens available on any ILC system, and I still hold to that. However, the Leica Vario-Elmar-T lens is very, very capable. It's not image stabilized, but all corrections to image quality is done optically (recent information from DPReview shows this not to be true. Check out article here) , where Fuji utilizes the now normal practice of correcting images both optically (multi-coated glass, aspherical lens elements) and digitally (lens optimization technology). I don't have an issue with correcting in-camera, and I've been very happy with the results coming out of the Fuji X series lenses.

The Fuji lens has a half stop advantage at 18mm, and a full stop at the long end, although it doesn't really make a difference shooting in daylight. Image quality? Both lenses are sharp wide open on either end of the zoom range, although I can't help but feel the Leica is a tad sharper than the Fuji at equal aperture, although not much more.

How do the cameras feel in the hand? Very different (clearly visible in the pictures). The Leica is definitely heavier and more solid feeling, but also slippery. I wouldn't shoot this camera without the strap, or at least invest in a half-case. It does feel really good in the hand though, but a completely different feel from the Fuji X-E2. The Fuji feels like camera in the hand, functional, ready to shoot. The Leica feels like a piece of art in the hand, that can also take great pictures! Is this a bad thing? It is if you're a pro photographer or someone who wants utility over aesthetics. Where am I? Well, I care what a camera looks like (just like how I care how my car or bike looks like) but I still want it to function as a proper, image-making machine. As a street photographer, I would probably pick the black version to be more stealth, and I would never shoot without the strap attached for convenience and safety.

The Leica T shares the same sensor as the Leica X-Vario, which all of you know I simply love (check out my recent Tokyo-X-Vario project). Yes, it had a lot of quirks and outright frustrations, but nobody complained about the files coming out of the X-Vario... simply beautiful. The Leica T is the same. Decent JPEGs (very neutral colours), but shoot RAW, trust me. I compared the files against the M240, and although the resolution is lower, the image feel is exactly the same. How does the Fuji compare? The Fuji is also amazing, but in a different way. Fuji files have more punch, more colour, and great skin tones. It's a little smudgy when it comes to fine details, but the overall aesthetic is very pleasing. As I've mentioned before, when it comes to Fuji and the X-trans sensor, I prefer shooting their JPEGs. The Leica is noisier at high ISO, but it has a grain-like quality. It has a Leica look that I really like, but remember, shoot RAW to get the most out of this camera. 


Fujifilm X-E2 w/XF18-55 @ 55mm. 1/680 F/4 @ ISO 400. JPEG.
Leica T w/18-56mm @ 56mm. 1/640th F/5.6 @ ISO 400. JPEG.

But let's be honest here, there is no real comparison between the Leica T and any Fujifilm X series body or lens. It's like comparing a Rolls Royce with a Lexus. I'm sure the Lexus can outperform the Rolls Royce in many areas, but those who are looking to buy a Rolls aren't auditioning the Lexus as a second choice. Those who are lining up to buy the new Leica T want it not because it can outperform the Fuji X (or any APS-C format ILC system camera), but because of the status, style, and history associated with the Leica brand. They also know its a capable performer, without a doubt. Is this a bad thing? Of course not! We don't buy something as personal and stylish as a digital camera for function only (at least I don't). Even DSLR photographers often pick brands based on how the body and lenses look and feel (I remember in the film days, many hated the look of the Canon EOS 1, versus the dial-happy Nikon F bodies, even though the Canon often outperformed the Nikons).

The Leica T is a sexy camera, and I wouldn't hesitate buying it (if I had the money!). The cool strap system, the slick rear smartphone-like LCD interface, the beautiful body lines, the solid aluminium body feel, the quirky looking pop-up flash and Cyclops-like EVF with built in GPS-tagging. People were coming up to me and asking me what it was. It looks really cool in person (I must admit I wasn't impressed when I saw the first pictures), so don't judge it until you see it and hold it in your hands. It looks and feels impressive.


Leica T with Vario-Elmar-T 18-56mm @ 56mm. 100% crop. RAW converted. 1/2000th F/5.6 @ ISO400.


We can compare the Leica T with the Fujifilm X-E2 on a image-making level; but because of the large price divide, it's not really a fair comparison. If I had to choose just on image quality only, I prefer the better detail (albeit more noise) and the smoother light transition quality of the Leica file (RAW) versus the Fujifilm X-E2. The lens quality is also higher with the Leica, again at a much higher price point. However, for shooting ease and speed, hands down the Fuji is superior. Price point, again the Fuji is the winner... but Leica buyers don't care. The quality of presentation (cameras, lenses, packaging, accessories) is almost ridiculous, no different than buying a Rolex watch. Each accessory and item comes with its own cloth bag, each with the Leica logo on it. The lens comes with a really handy pouch as well, and even the EVF case comes with its own cloth pouch! You also get a full copy of Adobe Lightroom. That's what you get when you buy a premium product. Is it worth it? If you can afford it, sure, why not.

Let's go over the quick advantages of each camera and system:

Fujifilm X-E2
-mature system camera with smooth operation and function
-really good JPEGs. You can almost present images right out of camera!
-quick built-in EVF and fast switching between EVF and LCD screen
-ergonomic feel and good grip. Lots of quick access dials and buttons and custom features
-high quality and fast kit lens with built-in image stabilization with lots of lens options
-great price-performance on bodies and a wide range of high performance lenses

Leica T
-beautiful design, high quality build, solid feel.
-unique innovation (strap system, battery compartment, all new interface)
-huge 3.7" screen with unique interface with lots of customization and double thumb dials.
-really nice images when shot in RAW. Free copy of Adobe Lightroom to edit images.
-A real Leica lens (open for debate) with high quality lens design and build (made in Japan).
-exclusive camera (if that's your thing)

Thanks to both Fujifilm Canada and Leica Canada for allowing me to do this comparison. I know both manufacturers realize that neither are each other's competition, but I'm sure were curious to see how their own cameras held up against the "competition". My Leica T preview will be up soon with more pics and details, as well as my Fujinon XF23mm and XF56mm lens test on the Fujifilm X-E2 body.

Thanks for dropping by and happy shooting!

Munetake

BHT

19 comments:

  1. "A real Leica lens with high quality lens design and build (made in Japan)."
    It's NOT a real Lieca lens if it's NOT made by Lieca .......

    The lens is also In camera Corrected not as you say "Oprically Corrected"

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    1. Hi Richard,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, I do appreciate it. I was led to believe that the majority of the correction was optical, but you are correct, DP Review just came out with a test that shows otherwise. They themselves initially believed it to be true as well, but as you can see by their test, it is not true. I will change my above statements to conform to the latest findings. Thank you.

      As for the "real Leica" debate, I guess we can argue all we want about what makes something "real". Are iPhones real Apple products? They're made in China via a Taiwanese company called Foxconn. My Ricoh GR is also made in China and not Japan. Leica doesn't make any of their own sensors. Is that what makes a camera body real, if they make their own sensors? If the optical design and engineering isn't just a re-labelled Panasonic or Olympus or Fuji lens, and it's built with Leica specs, I will take their word that it is a real Leica lens. Yes, I wish it was made in Germany, but Japan isn't a horrible country to make a lens is it? Like the Kyrocera-Contax era of camera and lenses, I believe German engineering with Japanese manufacturing is a great combination.

      Thanks for your comments again, and we can open this up for more debate. I will be coming out with my preview soon, and I should have the Leica T back again for a full review soon.

      Munetake

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  2. when i first saw the Leica T i thought that Leica had put the cart before the horse Leica is really famous and respected for its lenses ..I think It would have been a better idea for them to have made the lenses and farmed out the body to Japan (as they did with the CL in the 1970's" ... A Leica Body and someone elses lens (with a Leica badge) seems the worst of both worlds ..In my humble opinion " It's not a "REAL" Lieca unless it's been MADE by Leica ... It might be a gret lens ....just not a "Leica" in the same way Modern "Zeiss" lenses are really Cosina or at best Zeiss/Cosina (The 1970's Contax lenses were really Zeiss/ Tomioka lenses )

    as to the whats "Real" debate "Apple has never made anything just a design company so it's not a real comparison

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    1. Hi Richard,

      I applaud Leica for the courage to come out with something so different, but I too was quite surprised by the direction of the new T system. I too would have preferred for everything to be made in Germany, but I guess that's just the way of the world these days. Being Japanese, I was always proud that something was made in Japan... but this is no longer the case. Smaller manufacturers like Ricoh have to find cheaper labour to compete with the big boys (Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm, Sony, etc.). Leica is still a small company compared to the other big camera manufacturers, and they often have to make business decisions.

      In the 70's at the height of SLR sales, Leica had to approach Minolta for help, as their previous attempts at making SLRs were disastrous. From the Leica R3 to the R6.2 Minolta provided Leica with the chasis, as they were too small a company at the time to develop their own bodies. Leica had never built a zoom lens before either, so rumour is that most of their zoom lenses were also Minolta design, which makes sense. Unlike what people think, in 1970, Minolta did not need Leica. Most German camera companies were either going bankrupt or bought up by Japanese manufacturers (similar to the Swiss watch industry vs Japanese watch manufacturers). Not until the Leica R8 did they finally come out with an all new Leica only design SLR body.

      Leica again is venturing into new territory with both eyes open and cautious. They again are partnering with a Japanese manufacturer (they claim it's not Panasonic) because they trust Japan's high level of quality and volume capabilities. It is true that most wanted the lenses built in Germany, and would have 'forgiven' them for having the bodies made in Japan. That's a good point.

      Although I think it's novel that they are spending 45min hand polishing the body, it adds to the cost of the camera. I think they could have better spent the resources somewhere else. Sure if they created a limited edition 100 only Hermes version, then spend 4 hours hand polishing it and sell it for $10K or more, but on a $1800 USD body, 45min of German labour is probably equivalent to including the M-mount adaptor in the kit!

      Let's give Leica a chance to maybe come out with some limited edition made in Germany primes. This is an all new system so its still very immature. Look at the direction Fuji has taken their X system. Hopefully this won't be a one-off body, but just the first of many new bodies to come, both higher end and more entry level models.

      Delete
    2. Some slight corrections:

      1.
      The early Leica SLRs were not "disastrous" -- in fact they were very nice compared to the competition. But Leica, like Zeiss -- and the rest of the world back then! -- was falling behind in electronics where the Japanese excelled. Hence the reason for German-Japanese cross collaborations by Leica, Zeiss and other German makers.

      2.
      What lens is NOT optically corrected, maybe Richard Dixon can tell us.

      3.
      What compact system lens is NOT software corrected, maybe he can tell us, too.

      If you'd like a huge Zeiss Otus cannon hanging off your NEX, sure, by all means, insist on having just optically corrected lenses.

      4.
      The main issue with the whole DP Review thing was that DPR said Leica said their T lenses are ONLY optically corrected. You seem to be making that assertion, too, so perhaps it is true that Leica reps have been going around telling people that?

      5.
      There is a big difference between saying "T lenses are optically corrected" and "T lenses are ONLY optically corrected". With (a), see my response above: pray tell, which lenses are not software corrected these days?

      6.
      It is not about lens design, it is about SENSOR design. Today's sensors simply do not permit traditionally designed lenses to function as if designed for film. This is why most compacts cameras do badly with wide angle M lenses. Even the Leica M digitals need to apply software correction to deal with some wide angle lenses. Yet these lenses work perfectly on film cameras. What does that imply? It's not the lenses' fault, it's the way sensors are built using current technology. Even high quality Zeiss lenses built _specifically_ to match just one sensor like the RX1 applies heavy software correction. Test it and see.

      7.
      Leica haters gonna hate. Just like people who can't afford an Audi will say you could get more with a Honda. It's nothing new. People want something they can't afford, so when the object of desire shows some fault they are happy to come out and gloat and thank the stars they're not so "stupid" to buy one of those "junk". The litmus test is to to offer them one for free and see if they would take it.

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    3. "(The 1970's Contax lenses were really Zeiss/ Tomioka lenses )"

      Funny that most of my CY lenses say "made in Japan" on them. I have 5 Contax lenses. Only the 85mm 1.4 says "Made in Germany". The 50/1.7, 50/1.4, 25/2.8 and zoom all say "Made in Japan". Did Zeiss set up a factory in Japan behind everyone's backs?

      Delete
    4. Hi Origamy,

      Thanks for your extra info and insight. Leica did indeed make it seem like the new T lenses were more optically corrected than the competition (I assume they mean mirrorless ILC lenses) and used less software correction, but DPReview seems to think otherwise. I do believe that they may have put more effort to correct for distortion, vignetting, light falloff, etc. than most, but still needed to rely on software to correct the rest.

      Perhaps I may have overstated the Leicaflex SLRs as disastrous, but they weren't great. But that's fair, it was Leica's first attempt to get into the exploding SLR market, where their focus was rangefinders. They were smart because while other German and Swiss manufacturers were disappearing, they did their best to adapt to the changing market. I'm happy they collaborated with Minolta. I'm a huge Minolta fan and I have the CLE with all 3 lenses. I'm also a huge Leica fan, or else I wouldn't be reviewing their cameras.

      As for envy, I do agree that some don't understand the function of luxury versus function. Some think that paying for a $4 coffee is ridiculous, and that a McDonald's McCafe is all anyone needs. Even if you can 'prove' that the McCafe is just as good (most of the time its not), there's more to a fancy coffeeshop than just the coffee. It's the nice ambience, an actual ceramic cup, the status of enjoying a coffee from an independent roaster.... there's a lot more to the coffee than just the coffee.

      I believe if you're looking for a bargain, bang for your buck, don't look at Leica. As you will notice from my blog, I don't review any of Leica's rebranded Panasonic cameras. There's no point. It's a Panasonic. I understand why Leica rebrands, but I only want to review a 'real' Leica camera.

      Thanks again for your insight and comments. I do appreciate it very much.

      Delete
  3. On an unrelated note:

    May I applaud you for not applying moderation? That takes some balls, these days. Well done, sir.

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  4. @Origamy "but all corrections to image quality is done optically" the emphasis is on the "ALL" which gives the impression that the lens does not rely on in camera software wizzardry

    and if we are being pedantic my 25mm Holga lens might fit your question ;-) ....."What lens is NOT optically corrected, maybe Richard Dixon can tell us. "

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  5. "Made in Japan". Did Zeiss set up a factory in Japan behind everyone's backs?
    the 1970's 35mm camera Zeiss lenses (for Contax/Yashica) were designed in Germany by Zeiss on thier massive computer but Manufactured by "Tonioka" in Japan. Tomioka were owned by Yashica .. some Contax lenses were made in Germany but most were made in japan

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    1. Yes, and I believe without collaboration with Kyocera-Yashica, the Contax brand would have disappeared from the camera market in the 70's. When electronics became big in cameras, the Contax brand lived on while working with Kyocera. Look at the Contax T2, G1, and other famous 'Contax' cameras that were really a collaboration between Kyocera and Contax. I don't think this is a bad thing is it? I don't think Contax could have made these cameras on their own and with German labour and manufacturing. The Japanese needed the design and engineering know-how of the Germans, and the Germans needed the mass production capabilities at high quality of the Japanese. I think Leica working with Japanese manufacturers to ensure quality and decent production volume is a smart business move, don't you think? But Richard, you are right, I would have rather seen a Japanese built body with a German built lens...

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    2. sorry to disagree with you once more ... but once kyocera bought Yashica (in 1983) it was down hill all the way .... the 1970's Yashica (Cameras) and the Yashica lens making subsidiary "Tomioka" .... made great Cameras and some of the best lenses from that time ... an interesting bit of history is that Tomioka started its business by making "Tessar type lenses " and ended by making lenses with "Zeiss" badges on them ...

      Delete
    3. Hi Richard,

      Thanks for the extra bit of information. My point was more about Contax having to work with Japanese manufacturers to survive in the camera market at that time in history. Perhaps the Tomioka lenses were superior to anything that Kyocera did afterwards, but their 'success' in reviving the brand and innovating (such as the Contax G series and T series, Yashica T cameras) was very positive for the Contax brand. I think Leica using Japanese manufacturing is a good thing (back then as well as today), but as you mentioned, maybe the lenses should be made in Germany and the body made in Japan. I agree with you on that point. Thanks again for your comments.

      BHT

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  6. I'm still smarting from the demise of my beloved M8. I'm not very happy with Leica at the moment and considering selling my M4 and lenses. I understand the prestige and love the quality of images but I'm not stupid. I am honestly not sure I want to buy another Leica product. I believe a disposable mentality is morally questionable. I just sold my 1995 BMW to someone who will get more use out of it and expect my new diesel Audi to last as long - electronics and all. I don't mind spending the money but I'm not a fool.
    Sorry just a bit confused. I'm currently renting an X-E2 and a M mount adapter. I still carry and love my Fuji GA645Zi. Doubt if I could get that repaired but - Leica - REALLY!

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    1. Hi Loren,

      Thanks for sharing your opinion. I understand the fast pace of technology and the constant feeling that we need to upgrade. I respect both Leica and Fuji for having more of a 2 year life cycle for camera bodies, vs most companies 1 year (sometimes Sony is 6 months!!). I especially respect Fuji constantly coming out with new firmware updates that include discontinued cameras, and Ricoh has done this as well with their GR cameras.

      Leica is a small company and needs the help of other manufacturers to keep them competitive in this very fast changing digital camera market. I understand why they re-badge Panasonic cameras (D-Lux series) to fill out their product line, and why they needed a Japanese company to help with building their lenses.

      I"m sorry to hear about your M8 and I respect that you kept your 1995 BMW until now!! I have the X-E2 right now on loan and it's a great camera, and I'm sure you're getting beautiful images from it with the M-adaptor. I had a Fuji GA645 before and it was a great camera too. There's lots of companies still fixing these cameras. It's worth it!

      Let's see if Leica makes a lower-end body (but not cheap quality) in the T-mount (maybe Japanese built to keep costs down?) so you can still use your legacy lenses. It's a new system, so I'm also curious to see where this is going to go in the near future (including a possible FF T body?).

      Thanks again for sharing your story and your opinions. I appreciate it very much!

      BHT

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  7. Hi, as one who since earliest film days (started with an OM-2n) has hankered after a Leica, the M6 and primes were my then dream (dream because I'd have to win the lottery to buy them), I ask which camera and kit lens would deliver the higher proportion of keepers for the average photographer? The one without an integral view finder or image stabilization where one has to hold the camera at an unstable arms' length or the one with a view finder enabling stability from both elbows trucked into the body and a view finder braced against the forehead and aided by image stabilization? I suspect that if one gave both cameras to many people and conducted the equivalent of a blind tasting/shooting (if that were even possible) that the winner would be the one with a VF and OIS. happy to put myself forward for the challenge!

    Jules

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    1. Hi Jules,

      In the old days, you definitely needed more skill and ability to create a good image. Technology has now made it easier for everyone to at least make a decent image. I don't think its necessarily a bad thing. I think it's great that more an more people are taking pictures, and not just a chosen few who have the money and time to learn the mechanics of photography.

      Saying that, I also believe that a camera doesn't make a photographer. There will always be great photographers who don't just rely on equipment to take great pictures. I've reviewed many cameras and shot with many over the years as a professional, and I can tell you that good equipment helps, but the image itself comes from within myself and not the camera.

      I just finished doing a photo-walk this afternoon with some youth, teaching them some street photography skills. Just to prove my point that equipment is not as important as the eye of the photographer, I purposely used only my iPhone during the photo-walk. I posted just a few of the pics on my Instagram acccount (@bigheadtaco). So an M6 and a 50mm Summicron is awesome, but its still only a tool. A hammer is just a tool until someone picks it up. Same as a camera. I've known some really good photographers who have proper shutter release technique (squeeze, not push down), breathing, as well as proper posture, who can hand-hold 1/6th sec images from a 50mm lens. That's pretty impressive.

      Thanks for your comment and I hope you can reach your dream of owning an M6 (they are reasonably priced now) and a few primes (21, 35, 50 are my choices).

      Best regards,

      BHT

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  8. Hi,

    Found your blog just last night and I have to say I really enjoyed your reviews. It is extremely balanced and definitely sounds like it comes from someone who really sees the cameras as tools and objects and minimize the marketing speak. Great job.

    I have the Fuji X-E2 but before that owned a Canon dSLR system and a Leica M6-TTL with a few lenses. Like many who own a Leica, I absolutely love it and it was my go to camera, especially when traveling to far off places. It was seriously used and got banged around quite a bit, but I didn't mind. But I was also fully aware that film is mostly dead and as a tool to make pictures the M6 was somewhat of a relic. So despite my emotional attachment I sold the system and got a Fuji (can't justify an M9 at that price range). I have to say I really love the X-E2. The image quality is better than the Leica (after you scan the negs or slides into the computer using a consumer scanner) and having the range of ISOs at your fingertips really opens up the opportunities to use the camera.

    I know the build quality is not as good as the Leica, but for the price it was a great bargain. The only thing I sorely missed was true mechanical focusing instead of the focus by wire system. It really makes zone focusing more unnatural than it needs to be. Because of this, I never felt the zen with the Fuji like I did with the Leica, and unfortunately, probably never will.

    Having said that, I don't feel a yearning for the Leica T like I do the Leica M9, mainly from a mechanical standpoint. Do you feel that from an operational standpoint, does the Leica T make you feel more or less "connected" to the process of photography compared to the Fuji X-E2?

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    1. Hello Sir,

      Thanks for reading my reviews and thanks for sharing your journey from Canon and Leica to Fuji. I've heard the same story over and over as people stop me on the street and share with me their stories.

      Your main question is if the Leica T feels more connected versus the X-E2. Knowing where you're coming from (mechanical rangefinder and SLR and film era) I would say no. It is mostly interacting with a touch screen interface. It can be intuitive once you get use to it, but it really depends where you're coming from. If you grew up in the digital generation and love using touch-sensitive interfaces, then the Leica T will feel "connected" for these ones.

      Like you, I grew up in the film era (I was born in the 70's and shot professionally in the 90's and 00's) and my first real camera was my dad's Minolta X-G1, so I like the tactile feel of real dials and buttons and real focusing. I have a whole collection of film cameras still (I actually have more film cameras than digital cameras!) and still shoot film. Luckily it's the youth that's revived film (new photographers, hipsters, nostalgia seekers) more as an art form than a way to share images. I can see film co-existing with digital, just like how LP's have survived every format that was suppose to eliminate it's existence.

      The closest digital camera that still gives the old school feel that I've shot with recently is the Leica M cameras. If money was no object I would get the M Monochrom. I don't mind the idea of buying adapters to mount old manual lenses on newer digital cameras, but due to the crop factor, you lose much of the appeal of the lens (angle of view is completely lost). That's why the Sony A7 series of cameras is the first full-frame mirrorless camera that is reasonably priced that can mount older manual lenses and still retain the proper focal length. With the addition of focus peaking for focusing aid, I think this is great.

      Going back to your original question, the Leica T is a new direction for digital cameras. It's a completely different way to interact with the camera. it's neither better or worse, just different. It's like going from a touch keyboard of a Blackberry phone to a touch-screen interface of a smart phone. Some like it, some can never get use to it. I can appreciate both. I love my iPhone and most of my recent Instagram images are taken with my iPhone 5S.

      I hope this helps. I will be getting the Leica T to test more long term soon so I'll get a better feel for it. I found that manually focusing on Leica digital cameras (X-Vario, T) actually feels more like mechanically coupled focusing than Fuji's, even though both are focus by wire. However, it's hard to manually focus the Leica T unless you use the EVF, and even then, I wish it had focus peaking.

      Check back later for more info, and don't hesitate to ask more questions. Thanks again for visiting.

      Best regards,

      Munetake

      BHT

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