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Paul Reading

Leica CL vs Fujifilm X-Pro 2

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If you own an X-Pro 2 and have bought a CL how do you compare them in use? The technical comparison is interesting as both cameras have different strengths. The CL is much smaller. The sensor sizes are almost identical. The X-pro has discreet and shutter speed controls just like the Leica Q.

 

Personally I doubt that there will be any decreeable difference in picture quality, but the colour balances will be different. The big difference is going to be how they handle, a camera has to be used so if it is too fiddly or too big and heavy either important shots will be missed or it will be left behind.

 

Personally I don't like the "any colour you like as long as it is black" approach of the CL, the "leaked" silver version looked much nicer, why isn't it an option, I think a silver one with that gorgeous green leather would look fantastic. I like the look of the Graphite X-Pro 2 (See Torsten's video on You Tube). The size of the X-Pro puts me off but the lack of manual controls of the CL put me off too, I wish the TL lenses had a manual/A apertures just like the Q or Fuji X series.

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I've owned an X-Pro 2 and the Leica T (with the Summicron 23mm) and as you indicated, the difference was the "colour balance".  With Lightroom 6, the Fuji files still do not work well; never got the colours I wanted, they seemed all flat and somehow dull imo. Some say it is better with the Iridient Developer, but I never gave a try.

 

Besides that, the sharpening of the Fuji files seems to produce quiete a lots of artifacts. In short: I sold the Fuji X-Pro 2 soon. Only with Leica glass I had pleasing results. And yes: the lack of manual controls on the TL lenses is a pity. Outcome is much better than with Fuji glass, though.    

 

If it's just a matter of size, you might consider the Fuji X-e3.  

 

https://stefanenator.smugmug.com

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I had an X-Pro, but have not owned the newer version 2. I felt that the X-Pro was really let down by the X-Trans sensor. The Lightroom support is pretty poor, and I never could get consistent results out of Iridian Developer (which does a better job on average, but I found needed different settings from picture to picture). Nothing intrinsically wrong with an X-Trans, but until there is better mainstream software support for it the camera is not for me. If you have any ‘M’ glass you want to use, there is no comparison. The CL does a much better job in the corners than the Fuji.

 

I really liked the viewfinder in the X-Pro, but it’s more effective with the Fuji lenses since you can use it as either an optical viewfinder for situations where you want that, or as an EVF for when you want more magnification or need the precise framing or want to focus manually. The Fuji lenses are actually very good—small, fast, and high quality.

 

As a backup for another Leica camera (either M or SL), the CL is, in my opinion, a much better option. If it is going to be your primary or only camera, or if you don’t have any M glass the Fuji could make sense. Just recognize that for situations where you really want the best the X-Trans sensor can provide, you will probably need to look elsewhere than Lightroom, e.g., Iridian. The colors are definitely quite different out of the two systems with Leica (in my opinion) being especially strong on greens and Fuji doing a much better job with yellows and reds.

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I have both. I haven't picked up the XPro2 since the CL arrived.

 

While I doubt there's a huge IQ difference, I think the CL lenses are better than their Fuji counterparts. Of course, there's a lot more choice in the Fuji. The XPro2 files have fantastic colour. OTOH they take an eon to import into Lightroom. The Xpro body is bigger but the primes are smaller. Personally I prefer the controls on the Fuji but the menus on the Leica. CL has better battery life.

 

I can afford both so it's not an issue. For my use the Leica will almost certainly replace the Fuji simply because of how it fits into the Leica systems I already own.

 

Gordon

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I agree with Gordon.  The X-Pro2 is a fine camera, but...

 

I have and use both the X-Pro2 and M10.  Am getting a CL someday, and expect that it could displace the X-Pro2, simply because I would prefer to have a consistent look from using similar lenses on M10, SL, and CL, choosing which ever suits the setting in which I will be shooting.  Of course, there might be occasions for preferring Fuji digital colors over Leica's, just as there were times to choose Fujichrome over Kodachrome.

 

Fuji's  X-Trans color mosaic reduces Moire artifacts, but it complicates de-mosaicing.  First some individual efforts like AccuRaw figured it out, then Capture One and Iridient came up to speed, but Adobe seems to resist modifying their one-size-fits-all image pipeline.  So blaming X-Trans for poor LightRoom performance is not the whole story.

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Fuji's  X-Trans color mosaic reduces Moire artifacts, but it complicates de-mosaicing.  First some individual efforts like AccuRaw figured it out, then Capture One and Iridient came up to speed, but Adobe seems to resist modifying their one-size-fits-all image pipeline.  So blaming X-Trans for poor LightRoom performance is not the whole story.

 

Since everybody is complaining about the de-mosaicing: There is a Iridient Plug-In for Lightroom:

http://iridientdigital.com/products/rawdeveloper_history.html

 

Anyone got good results with it?

Edited by clavewifi

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I have both and much prefer the Fuji X-Pro 2, I even find it better with my M lenses than the CL is and I greatly dislike the CL's Menu system which I regard as a non too clever go at reinventing the wheel, or rather two very naff wheels. Shame because such as the CL's Viewfinder is far better than the Fuji's, and I do like it in most other ways, it is just that I find the Fuji to be the more versatile and handy photographic tool. Don Morley

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Since everybody is complaining about the de-mosaicing: There is a Iridient Plug-In for Lightroom:

http://iridientdigital.com/products/rawdeveloper_history.html

 

Anyone got good results with it?

I'm not complaining.  I think of it as a solved problem, since I haven't  used LightRoom in years.

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Since everybody is complaining about the de-mosaicing: There is a Iridient Plug-In for Lightroom:

http://iridientdigital.com/products/rawdeveloper_history.html

 

Anyone got good results with it?

 

It's not a complaint so much as an observation. I'm not going the C1 or plug in route because of my workflow. I often need to work on images in bulk and I use several systems including medium format. Only Lightroom supports all the cameras I use and makes working with hundreds of images at a time easy.

 

Therefore, *I* am in the position where a raw file will end up in Lightroom. I'm not changing my workflow for a camera. That means how those files work with Lightroom is a purchase decision point for me. Other might just be able to use different software without penalty.

 

Gordon

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I have both and much prefer the Fuji X-Pro 2, I even find it better with my M lenses 

 

 

That is astonishing. May I ask you to post a photo taken with the M lenses? What lenses did you use?

Thank you 

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That is astonishing. May I ask you to post a photo taken with the M lenses? What lenses did you use?

Thank you 

 

Yes, I'd like to know too. I believe that goes against all the other reviewer's claims. I was going to purchase the CL over the other APS-C cameras because it works better with my M lenses.

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In terms of image quality, the Fuji X-Pro1 was ok with midrange M lenses (say, 35mm an above) and useless with almost all wide angles. This, in my personal experience, has not changed with the X-Pro2. 

 

However, in terms of handling, the X-Pro2 easily wins when simply comparing the features.

 

If you use the Fuji adapter, you will be able to select the M lens (the Fuji adapter is electronic and has a button). This will then apply image corrections including CA, shading and perspective - the values are pre programmed. The CL's only advantage would be the 6Bit decoding (so, no need to actually select the lens used) and of course anything Leica has done to the sensor to compensate for weak borders.

 

The X-Pro2 has a hybrid finder which allows you to use the M lens in an optical, range finder style viewfinder with a fairly accurate LED frame and two zoom levels to adjust for shorter or longer lenses. The lower right corner can show a digital image (EVF embedded in an OVF), allowing you to focus in a zoomed view while seeing the entire frame in the optical viewfinder.

 

Bottom line: if you only use a Summilux-; 50, then I a can imagine you being happier with the X-Pro2 than the CL.

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Thanks Bernie, 

 

I would love to use the 50mm Summicron, but for my purposes it is to long. 35mm in terms of 'Kleinbild' would be perfect. But then there are the demosaicing issues with the X-Trans files....

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Yes, I agree. To achieve 35mm eqfl you would need something around 23 on the X-Pro2 and this already dipping into border-desaster-land. Plus, Fuji actually has a fairly decent 23/1.4. There is no point in using an M lens on the X-Pro2 unless you just happen to have one sitting around at home. I certainly wouldn‘t buy one for the Fuji.

 

I have shot Fuji since the x100 (the first model uses a Bayer sensor), going through all iterations of X-Trans including the latest 24MP model. I have also been with an M8.2, all the X models, the T and the Q.

Currently, I use an X-T1 (I think that things didn‘t only get better during the transition from one X-trans to the next generation) and no Leica. I am about to abandon Fuji because processing X-trans really annoys me. I am looking at the CL, but I am not 100% convinced. I am also looking at the Sony A7RM3, which just seems to be the ultimate camera right now. On my rather slow Lightroom station, processing the 42MP Sony files is faster than processing the 24MP X-trans files. On a fast machine the difference is there, but since everything is faster, you would probably not notice it.

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I've owned an X-Pro 2 and the Leica T (with the Summicron 23mm) and as you indicated, the difference was the "colour balance".  With Lightroom 6, the Fuji files still do not work well; never got the colours I wanted, they seemed all flat and somehow dull imo. Some say it is better with the Iridient Developer, but I never gave a try.

 

Besides that, the sharpening of the Fuji files seems to produce quiete a lots of artifacts. In short: I sold the Fuji X-Pro 2 soon. Only with Leica glass I had pleasing results. And yes: the lack of manual controls on the TL lenses is a pity. Outcome is much better than with Fuji glass, though.    

 

If it's just a matter of size, you might consider the Fuji X-e3.  

 

https://stefanenator.smugmug.com

 

you need to use irident x-transformer, and then they are superb

 

personally I think a xt-20 is a better comparison in size

 

the xt-20 is let down by the plastic auto button and the plasticy front and back dials. otherwise its superb construction

 

still waiting for a 2.8 zoom from Leica and some 1.4 primes to make it worthwhilst

 

otherwise the 16-55m f2.8 Fuji + xt-20 is superb ...

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you need to use irident x-transformer, and then they are superb

 

personally I think a xt-20 is a better comparison in size

 

the xt-20 is let down by the plastic auto button and the plasticy front and back dials. otherwise its superb construction

 

still waiting for a 2.8 zoom from Leica and some 1.4 primes to make it worthwhilst

 

otherwise the 16-55m f2.8 Fuji + xt-20 is superb ...

 

The 16-55 2.8 is superb. It's also enormous for an APSC zoom and has no IS. I think the CL is more about compact than fast. If I want huge I can use the SL lenses.

 

I'd pay for a 16-80mm 2.8-4 with IS though.

 

Also, many of us don't want or can't switch from ACR/Lightroom. Have you tried processing a 500 image batch in ID? Bloody awful experience.

 

Gordon

Edited by FlashGordonPhotography

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The 16-55 2.8 is superb. It's also enormous for an APSC zoom and has no IS. I think the CL is more about compact than fast. If I want huge I can use the SL lenses.

 

I'd pay for a 16-80mm 2.8-4 with IS though.

 

Also, many of us don't want or can't switch from ACR/Lightroom. Have you tried processing a 500 image batch in ID? Bloody awful experience.

 

Gordon

 

About the CL being compact, I think Leica should capitalize on that rather sooner than later.

 

They already have a compact 18mm and 23mm.  They should add a compact 14mm and a compact 35mm.  It would make for a fantastic travel kit.

 

It is perhaps not my personal preference but from a commercial point of view it makes all the sense in the world IMO.

 

Hopefully over time that then enables other perhaps less obvious lenses as well.

 

About  Iridient, I personally like it very much, I agree with your comments about batch processing though.

 

Just out of curiosity, do you use LR for the Leica S as well?

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About the CL being compact, I think Leica should capitalize on that rather sooner than later.

 

They already have a compact 18mm and 23mm.  They should add a compact 14mm and a compact 35mm.  It would make for a fantastic travel kit.

 

It is perhaps not my personal preference but from a commercial point of view it makes all the sense in the world IMO.

 

Hopefully over time that then enables other perhaps less obvious lenses as well.

 

About  Iridient, I personally like it very much, I agree with your comments about batch processing though.

 

Just out of curiosity, do you use LR for the Leica S as well?

 

Couldn't agree more. The next lens needs to be a super compact 35 followed by a compact(ish) 60 and 16. Then maybe a fast 60 (1.2??) and a fast wide prime. Then I'd add a couple of larger but a bit faster zooms with IS (16-80mm f2.8-4IS and a 75-240mm f3.5-4.5 with IS).

 

I use Lightroom for everything, including my S. I do have C1 V9, Irident and OnOne Raw 2018 (which is pretty crap to be honest. I don't see what other people do in it) but hardly touch them now I have LR where I want it. I am interested in DXO's new offering with the u-point technology. I *think* it can also round trip from Lightroom with a returned DNG raw file. That's be pretty snazzy if it works.

 

The problem for me (a unique and first world one) is that I have many systems including 3 digital medium format ones. Lightroom is the ONLY one that plays with all my cameras. I have no problems getting quality out of Lightroom so I'm one of the happy ones who pays his USD10 per month. I'm not interested in a program like Capture one in the same way I'm not interested in a D850 because if it's not mirrorless I'm not a customer. I don't have any ill feelings toward Phase One for making a business decision to only support non competitive cameras but I'm not a customer because I only want to learn one software platform. And I'm perfectly happy where I am. I would give other programs like C1 a deeper look though if they supported ALL my cameras.

 

Gordon

 

p.s. And no matter what people say the S system makes shi* hot images. It's very close to the X1D and the lenses are better and much faster. IQ is stellar. My only gripes about the S are the zoom lens and the fact it's not mirrorless. The sensor differences are minor at best apart from the different aspect ratio.

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I wonder how the IQ of the X-T2/X-Pro2 with the XF 35/1.4 compares to the CL with the 35/1.4 TL. I still own that Fuji lens because I really liked the rendering. I don’t mean corner sharpness but overall rendering and color balance.

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