Is Leica Worth Five Times the Price of Fuji?

Leica is a legendary brand, well known for a very specific camera experience and a desirable, unique look to their images. Fujifilm has made significant strides in the past decade, though, and their X-Pro series offers an experience similar to a rangefinder with a variety of interesting advanced and hybrid features. So, is Leica worth its significantly higher price? This great video review compares the Leica M11 to the Fujifilm X-Pro3 to find out. 

Coming to you from Gajan Balan, this excellent video review compares the Leica M11 to the Fujifilm X-Pro3. No one will argue that Leica makes some of the most expensive consumer photography equipment on the planet, but a lot of their users absolutely swear by both the experience and the images, and the company has maintained a fiercely loyal following over the years. On the other hand, Fujifilm has established itself as a unique brand that offers forward-looking features and capabilities in retro-styled bodies, endearing them to many users. Of course, one fundamental difference is that Leica cameras use full frame sensors, while Fuji's X Series bodies use APS-C sensors, but depending on what you shoot, that difference may not matter to you that much. Check out the video above for Balan's full thoughts on both cameras.

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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fuji xpro isnt needed to get the same image quality
the xe-4 does it all, and cost 1000 less - put it in better glass

It's kind of like Porshe versus Tesla. The Porshe 911 is richer in tradition, but the Tesla Model S is newer and faster. I would still go with the Porshe. (The Porshe is only a few times more expensive.)

Sorry for the off topic, but the Tesla is fast in a sprint. Tesla vs Porsche in a 20 lap race around the Nurburgring and the Porsche wins by a couple of laps and probably more. Foot to the floor for Tesla means the battery is going to fade quickly. Then there's the poor brakes of the Tesla (poor for high performance driving). After a few maximum braking efforts, the brakes start to fade badly. The Porsche brakes are made for such abuse. You're correct...get the Porsche. ;-)

But the 911 has an ICE. Better to compare apples to apples, and use the Porsche Taycan.

Leica is for those who can afford it. Or those who purchase because they find pleasure in having Leica. Some get a fancy car, other a fancy house. It’s more about to have something then about photography and the images that are created. I can not say photography is about images only, because people find pleasure in different aspects. What I can say is that to me the greatest part are those moments of beholding a finished image I am happy with, before I move on:) I actually think the the small Sony A7 is a better choice then Fuji. But for geek gadgets Fuji is the closeted to Leica, for sure.

Id rather give up Photography than swap my Fuji for a Sony A7 of any model, and it has nothing to do with geek gadgets, i just have zero desire to own a Sony camera, they mean nothing to me.

I can say the same of Fuji as a current Sony owner. But that doesn't contribute to the community; This sort of comparison (see video) and usual brand bashing afterwards is inane.
Fstoppers does little to stop the stupidity and in fact enables it.

And I wouldn't expect anything else, I was just addressing the above assertion that one is better than the other, and that one is nothing more than a 'geek gadget' which is what they were implying, whilst also implying that would be the only reason to own it.

If you use a camera to make images then brand is less important. I suggested people purchase Leica because to own the camera gives them pleasure. I understand you wold rather not take pictures then change from Fuji to Sony. That just confirms my point. And that is totally fine. I don’t suggest Sony gives more pleasure but to me this little Sony A7c is option. Of cause the Fujifilm X-E4 is a really desirable gadget. I have seen pictures of it thinking I shuld have one:)

I would suggest the X-T30 is a better camera than the E4, especially the mk2 version.. I have a T20 and it’s a marvel of size and performance.

Too many buttons removed from that E camera for my liking.

I had to switch from Nikon to mirrorless in 2018 for business reasons. I loved the Fuji and was seriously considering it. The system is good within certain limitations. But I cannot sell out of focus images from fast-paced events so I settled with another system which I am ok with as it delivers time and time again. I am also shooting 8k and the ability to extract frame grabs for clients is a huge win. I have spoken to other Fuji users and they said that they have to other systems when the action gets heavy.

I can’t speak for other people but I’ve dabbled in motorsport, street, surfing, wildlife and tried out the various AF modes and don’t really see the issues. I even shot a wedding with my X-T2 last year during the Covid restrictions, and again the shots came out sharp.

Again this isn’t the status quo, just my own experience.

In my opinion, no. You can get the same results from a Fujifilm camera as you can with a Leica. You can also do it while getting better value and more features for your money. With the money saved, you can upgrade or add to your gear collection.

I do think Leica's have overall better image quality but the most important factor is the photographer, their ability to see great images and how they edit the final images. A less skilled photographer will get worse results shooting on a Leica than a professional with decades of experience using a Fuji camera.

I still have my M6 from 2000. Prices have really shot up for film cameras but I cannot part with this beauty.

Goddamit, yes.

It is to the person who wants to use a Leica and not a Fuji... the end.

I used to take photos with the Nikon system. 10 years ago, I borrowed my friend's old Leica M3 with a standard Summicron lens and was blown away by the improvement. Today I use a Sony G lens and a 40" monitor and am blown away by the quality. The Leica system may or may not be better but for the price? I'm slightly curious but not interested in shelling out that kind of money.

Wrong question. Value is always what someone is willing to pay.


The answer to this is very personal. Some may even look at their iPhone photos and decide the X-Pro is not worth it... I'm using or have used both for personal work and I must say the experience is quite different.

The X-Pro (I've had all three iterations and decided only to keep v2) is first of all not a rangefinder. It's basically like any other Fuji X-T camera, but with a off-center hybrid viewfinder. The OVF of the X-Pro is no match for the more recent Leica M cameras. Esp. with the X-Pro3 when Fuji decided to drop the dual magnification. Overall, the X-Pro's are fine cameras for those who want something different in looks than the regular 'DSLR' style body, without sacrificing an EVF, AF and video capabilities.

The M is a very different camera that needs some time to get proficient with. The manual focus, but also the different light metering (until the M11) needs some getting used to. Besides that, the camera is rather minimalistic in features. But if you do find the time (and money) it's a great experience. On paper the specs are not spectacular, but in reality the output (depending on the lens you use and your experience) can be awesome. Next to that, Leica is for those who do not only look at the end result, but also enjoy the process of photography. Finally, the craftsmanship and eye for detail is stunning and makes up for a great part of the price and experience.

I also dare to say that with my M10 (and M7) I've shot some images that would not have been possible with other cameras, incl. the X-Pro's. For my personal work I do street photography and esp, street portraits. I've had many encounters with strangers where the Leica broke the ice. People shy away from regular cameras, but as soon as they spot the Leica they get interested and are more willing to pose. I've met very interesting people when walking the streets with my M. The X-Pro has a bit of that 'Leica effect' but usually when someone asks 'is that a Leica?' and I reply 'no, it's a Fuji' they look disappointed and move on. It's what I call the 'heritage factor' of Leica.

Now, you can't put a price on that but picking up my M gives me much greater satisfaction than my X-Pro.

After being a Leica photographer for the past 11 years, my answer is an emphatic no. Sure, Leica M cameras are very unique and produce wonderful files with amazing colors, which is why I use my M and have owned Leica lenses from 21mm to 90mm over the years. But limitations they have, and just like every other camera. In a studio, if your model is frozen in place, then those M can definitely do the trick. However, have the model assume different poses or walk towards you like in a catwalk, and you'll soon discover that manual focus is a severe limitation, specially when the lights are dimmed. Use those wonderful f/1.4 or Noctilux lenses, and the ability of nailing the focus in lower light will become a lifetime pursuit if you intend to use the cameras in their rangefinder mode. Add no weather sealing, slow to start, very limited burst mode, and the fact that you can not use many of the Leica lenses in their native mode as a rangefinder (like anything below 28mm which will require an external EVF adapter or live view mode), and you begin to see some limitations when compared to today's tech cameras. Still great for those artistic shots and built like tanks, but for most people there are better choices if you intend to make a living as a photographer and that is your only camera.

I agree, and you've summed it up very well. I was a Leica M user for a time and found the manual focus to be a big limitation. I suppose the autofocus Q and SL cameras would work better for me, but the price will keep them out of my hands.

You’re absolutely right. I’m a fashion and make-up portrait photographer and in the studio I rarely use M cameras. 90% is done with Hasselblad and when there’s faster action required (like splash shots) I use Nikon.

However, two years ago during a shoot for a fashion campaign while having a break, I pulled out my M10 and a 75 Noctilux I had on loan from Leica CH and when the images showed up in Capture One, the Art Director was wow’ed. In the end he asked us to re-shoot half of the campaign with the Leica set. It was challenging to nail focus with some shots, but very rewarding.

For those of you sharing my age, we shot manual focus for decades and managed to pull it off as well. Not that I wish to return to those days, but it can be done ;-).

By the way, the SL2 is indeed a great camera also for studio work. If it would have had Profoto and Capture One tethering support I would have picked that camera over the Z7II. Nowadays Leica SL is supported by C1 for tethering but not yet by Profoto for remote triggers.

I maybe older than you, but agree with you, we got the job done and got paid. I still shoot manual focus at times when I want/need critical focus. AF can be tricked.

If money was no object most people would shoot Leica over Fuji. There's nothing wrong with either. It's just about funds and choice.

That's certainly not the case. Fuji provides more functionality in just about every camera model over the competing Leica model. With money being no object, you also get far more lens options with Fuji as well. Other than for luxury and status, there isn't any significant reason to buy Leica over any other brands.

' also get far more lens options with Fuji as well.'

That's not true. Leica can use any M mount lenses without an adapter, going back many many decades not to mention current (and past) Zeiss and Voigtlander lenses (plus some cheaper Chinese lenses that have X-mount options too).

As the owner of a couple Leicas and a couple Fujis, all I can say is that I shoot w the Leicas 85% of the time. I learned on a 1970s Minolta, then used Zeiss glass on Canon, so the manual focus feels like second nature and I don't find it problematic. (I rarely shoot fast-moving subjects)

Your point about shooting fast moving subjects is good. My son uses a 24-70 and 70-200 in places where the action is changing quickly. But for the stills work, he uses his Zeiss lenses.

When I shot Canon, that's exactly what I did. I bounced between Zeiss 50mm and Canon 70-200mm. I was fast w the Zeiss focus but when I briefly shot sports, it just made sense to use fast AF. A camera is a tool...a tool you can make art with, but still a tool. Some tools are easier for specific tasks than others. I try and stay away from "better" and "worse."

Same could be said for any sort of camera equipment. Many photographers, including my son, opt for non-autofocus lenses like Zeiss and pay a premium for them. Is the Otus 85 that much better than Nikon's 85mm flagship? Nope, and you have to focus the thing. It's what the buyer wants. If he/she is willing to spend a lot more for a little bit of gain, then have at it. I admit that if my photo piggy bank had a bunch of dinars in it, I'd have a lot of really expensive stuff because my budget would allow. Referring to the question, even with the extra money, I wouldn't by a Leica. But that's just me.

Most people just use their phone, and see both of these cameras as waste of money. Believe me, I've tried to explain to Gen Z family members why a dedicated camera offers some advantages. They're not buying it!

I was shooting an M8 and then an M9 when the X-Pro1 was coming out. I held off on the X-Pro1 until Fuji had enough lenses in the wider range and then I got one. For about a year I had both the X-Pro1 and the M9 and was shooting back and forth.

I really, really like shooting Leica RFs...Liked them when I had two M6s. I shot nothing but DNGs in both the M8 and M9 and those files were a dream to work with in PhotoShop.

But at the end of the day (and this is just about what I was shooting at the time) I could get more good shots in more situations with the X-Pro1. So I sold the M9. (I still have one M8 and a mix of Leica, Zeiss, and Voigtlander lenses).

I found it interesting that the photographer would spend the insane money for a Leica but was shooting with cheap Godox lights. That's not to say that Godox lights aren't useful and practical and can get the job done but to me that is like buying the best stereo system in the world then buying cheap speakers. What's the point? Photography is all about light. Why spend that huge amount on a camera and buy cheap lights and modifiers. Just an observation. I don't use either of these cameras but why bother to "upgrade" only one aspect of your gear but limit the other things to cheap versions. Makes no sense to me.

You practically answered your own question, "That's not to say that Godox lights aren't useful and practical and can get the job done" lol smh

A thousand dollar camera can get the job done also but you don't see too many people buying Broncolor lights to go with it. The point is obvious to anyone but you. Why buy a $20k camera and $200 lighting equipment. That is not really a good match. You could drive a formula 1 racing car but you wouldn't put the cheapest unleaded gas in it would you?

Oh man, stop it with your exaggerated asinine automotive analogies. They are so far fetched and over the top they are not even comparable.

The point is most definitely obvious; Godox is kicking ass and so popular even with professionals that armchair elitists, such as yourself, are losing their minds.

I want to get paid to write articles like this... I have been a photographer for 40 yrs and I started with a Leica rangefinder my grandfather gave me. I have shot Leica, Nikon and Canon. I do contract PJ work, news and sports and shoot personal projects. I have a couple of Nikon D500's for PJ work, a Nikon Z6 for personal, studio work and a Leica DLux 7 that is a great throw it in the pocket and hit the streets. Great little travel camera. Point, they are all just tools and if one wants to pay a higher price for a tool they like, who cares. If they don't, they will find a tool in their price point that will meet their needs. BTW, the Leica Dlux7 was only 200 dollars more than the Nikon Zfc. Yes, you can spend 10 grand on a camera. Any pursuit be it photography, or my other two hobbies, golf and bike riding all have a variety of levels of price points. Just because I can buy a 10k bike doesn't mean I am a Tour de France rider, but a Tour de France rider can get on my 2k bike and kick my butt... if you can afford it, buy it. If you can't I guess you don't. Just remember this, I have never once stood in a gallery and heard someone say " I bet they shot that with a Leica, or Nikon, or Sony or Fuji". unless someone tells you, you have no idea and at the end of the day, it's the image the matters, not the gear. My two cents at least...

Very interesting and thoughtful. I'm not going to question the author's conclusions with respect to his own use - I understand them. I do disagree with one specific comparison point - lens ecosystem. I don't understand basing the M11's win there on the sheer number of lenses available. Most of those hundreds of options are manual everything, so would be slower and more awkward to use, and exceptions notwithstanding, may not measure up to modern performance standards, so, they contradict Balan's overall conclusion about the camera. (And clearly price is no concern, but if it was . . .)

It’s a meaningless photographic question that has a pretty pointless photographic answer. Will having a red dot help make better images. No. Does buying the red dot option have anything to do with photographic reasons? No. Buying any such high price exclusive brand is all about the purchaser. It’s all about their image, it’s all about making a statement that you the owner of the camera with a red dot have the means that allows you to own one. It’s all about the owner and nothing to do with the photography. A red dot camera will not produce better images than a Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Olympus, Sony….. name your brand. It’s smoke and mirrors with the company pandering to people who feel the need to be exclusive. It’s exactly the same as those who spend thousands on a handbag with a certain name on the front. Take away the red dot and you are left with a camera that’s much the same as any other good camera. In the end it’s all about what the red dot projects. All hail the 🔴.

PS. A friend of mine along time ago, back in the 70s,was left two Leica bodies with various lenses all kept in a lovely velvet lined wooden box. They were left to him by a family member, an Uncle who had no children. I imagine the cameras may have been circa 30s/40s They were all silvery and very very beautiful. Would I like to have own them. You bet your sweet life.

Generally, no.

Dollars have a different value to different people depending on how many they have as compared to their obligations, and THAT is what will determine their camera choice, esp as any camera, really, can take great images.

No its just a status symbol

No it's not a status symbol. That is a pretty crass statement.

I have a Leica M 240 (among other cameras), 100% of my friends do not even know what a Leica is, or what Leica do.

The times I have been at a friend's social 'do' and asked "oh, what is your camera?" To wit I reply "a Leica". I watch as their face turns into a blank expression "is it film?" they ask.

What use to happen next is 1) Not for the faint of heart and 2) Not repeatable. Nowadays I just roll my eyes and say "would you like another drink?" Instantly the blank expression is replaced by a smile and a "yes please" and the previous few minutes is expunged from their memory.

I have been stopped twice by passing photogs who actually noticed I was using a Leica. Once when using my Contax RTS and a couple of times when using my OMD. Zero times when using my Canon.

If I wanted a status symbol I would buy a Porsche or whatever so EVERYBODY would know it was a status symbol, but not a bloody camera.

Opinion based unsubstantiated nonsense. I’m a working photographer, I’ve used everything from completely manual Mamiya RZ/RB bodies with phase one backs, to Leica M, fuji XT, XH, GFX, Nikon D850, canon 7D, 6D, 5D, 1D (too many generations to mention)several Hasselblad H systems. The cameras I stick with are the ones that get out of the way of the creative process. A camera shouldn’t be a consideration and should have no effect on the creative process. If it does the photographers doing something wrong. Would I go back to an entirely manual focus system for professional work? No. If it’s still life I always keep focus manual for marrying up layers in post production but anything involving people or moving subjects? No. Your camera is a tool, nothing more. Lighting and creativity has nothing to do with the camera. If you want to spend 5 times the price on a camera just because you like it, go ahead. But don’t p*ss on me and tell me it’s raining. I’ve bought and rented camera systems far more expensive than the Leica and lenses he’s using but they’re like a saw to a carpenter they aren’t a status symbol nobody I meet except creatives would have the first clue what any of my equipment is and I don’t care my clients are looking at capture one on a screen and appreciating lighting and technique. Nobody has ever said “ your ability and creativity would be far superior if you shot “x” camera and if they did their opinion is meaningless, they don’t know what they’re talking about. Buy what ever camera you want but don’t expect it to improve your creative process or ability by 10% like this poor fool claims.

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