Leica T (Typ 701) + 18-56mm zoom compared to Fuji X-T1 + 23mm and 56mm primes. The appeal of the Leica T system for me.

As a follow-up to a previous post looking at the differences in sharpness between a zoom and primes on my Fuji X-T1, I used a similar set up to see how the 18-56mm zoom on my Leica T (Typ 710) compared to the Fuji X-T1 + 23mm and 56mm primes

As you can see the results are, in terms of sharpness, very similar. In fact if you discard the different colour balance it would seem as if the same lens was used. This leads to a situation where both manufacturers could legitimately claim credit. Leica for producing a 'kit' zoom that compares well with two very highly regarded prime lenses and Fuji for producing lenses that are the equal of Leica.

I would point out that all of the above comparison shots were processed from raw using Iridient Developer. I used the same settings for all camera / lens combinations to get consistent results. This was the Fuji X-T1 defaults in the software. There is a set of defaults for the Leica, but I kept it the same for both. I did this because of the issues about using Adobe raw conversion (Photoshop and Lightroom) for the Fuji X files. If I had used Photoshop then the Leica, with it's .DNG raw files, would have appeared to be slightly sharper.

The similarity is interesting and before I did the test I really had no preconceptions about what the results might be. The Leica zoom is the best 'standard' zoom I've ever used (as indeed it should be for the price!) but then those Fuji primes are pretty special too. In fact the zoom / prime choice in this case is only a difference in terms of the 'speed' of the lenses and the Fuji's with their wide apertures have the advantage there. 

This is the second time I've done a Leica T > Fuji X comparison. In a previous post I compared the T + zoom to my Fuji X100s.

In that comparison the Leica produced the sharper results and the post also pointed out the distortion problems with the Fuji lens. 

I've written a couple of times that, as far as I'm concerned, the Leica T system is shaping up to be the 'best' mirrorless system. I suspect that I'm very much in a minority here and I am well aware that Leica have some catching up to do on the lens front. However in terms of image quality, size, handling and the simplicity of operation, for me Leica have got this seriously right.

I still think that a mirrorless / CSC / E.V.I.L system should offer something different to a DSLR. While I'm very impressed by the Fuji X-T1, the Sony FE cameras and the GH4 / E-M1 options from m4/3, these are pretty much, in terms of everything apart from the mirror, slightly scaled down DSLR's in appearance and use. And that's OK, but I still like the rangefinder influenced body shape of cameras like the Leica T, The Fuji X100 series and cameras like the Panasonic GX7. 

The current retro influenced camera fashion has changed recently, from that rangefinder 'lookaleica' style to the small DSLR, as embodied by Fuji and Olympus and that does have an appeal for me, but the Leica T (Typ 701) is a modern slant on that rangefinder aesthetic, which I really love. It IS my favourite camera and I won't be naive and attempt to assert that red logo on the front isn't a factor in that, but then often the label on something and the ownership of that label can give us pleasure. Materialistic maybe, but how many of us can claim to be totally immune from that.

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There is an interesting article on the BBC website HERE, which deals with many of the issues above.

Many Thanks

David Taylor-Hughes