Leica M9 vs Fuji XT1!
Matthew Osborne Photography
I was teaching in the studio today and the photographer brought his Fuji XT-1 along to use. I know many Leica photographers use Fuji cameras as a backup camera or as a cheaper alternative but I have never really given them any thought to be honest. I know they can take nice images but there has never actually been enough interest there for me read up on them.
Today I saw a Fuji camera up close in action and to be honest I was a bit surprised and less than impressed. The Fuji XT1 camera seemed to have a million different menus that hindered the photographer from being able to do what you want to do with a camera and that is take a simple photo. I was teaching portrait photography using speedlights and in this instance his lens was stopped down to perhaps f5.6 or f8. He mentioned it was difficult to compose photos accurately as there was no constant image on the LCD (other than a brief preview that flashed on and off). This was crazy to me. How can you use a camera when you can’t see what you are taking a photo of? I realise in brighter conditions or with the lens at a wider aperture this issue would be resolved but they are many occasions when you might be shooting in low light. At a wedding for example you really do need to have your photo composed ‘correctly’ and in focus so you need to be able to see. (Original paragraph reworded to avoid confusion).
New photographers have absolutely no hope of learning photography with a camera like this. They just get bambozelled by the menus before they can even start. I guess this goes for some DSLR cameras but I found Nikon cameras easy to use in the past.
It really highlighted to me how valuable it is to shoot with film caemeras if you want to actually learn photography and improve your skills. An old film camera only has a few settings to control – shutter speed, aperture and film choice / ISO. The next best thing after film to me and from my experience is using a Leica M8 or Leica M9. They share much of the simplicity of film cameras yet they have a digital output. Learning with only a film camera can be slow as you need to remember the conditions and settings used for each photo for when you get your film developed. With digital cameras you can see instantly the effects of changing aperture, shutter speed and ISO and the different looks achieved using different lenses or lighting.
In a professional photographer’s hands i’m sure the Fuji XT1 can be a useful tool and I know it can produce good photos. For beginners however or someone wanting to go beyond a point and shoot automatic camera I highly recommend you try a Leica M8 / Leica M9 or get yourself a cheap film camera to use along side your Fuji camera. That way you can start to appreciate photography and as learn with the film camera you can then improve your photos with the digital camera too.
*This is only based on my own experiences but I really was not impressed.
Here is a Leica M9 shot from today with model Becca helping me