Moving from Fuji to Leica M: After a year, would I do this again?
Over the past week there has been a great deal of comment on Macfilos about the new Leica CL in comparison with the Fuji X series cameras. Fuji is the big competitor for Leica in the APS-C sector, mainly because the design and handling of cameras such as the X-Pro2 and X-T2 attracts former Leica users. They see similarities which they like.
But can Fuji be seen as a competitor for the venerable rangefinder M? There is no doubt that it can. I have friends who have been lifelong M users but have now migrated to Fuji for a variety of reasons, including the design, the excellent lenses and the feeling that APS-C is plenty good enough for their way of doing things.
There has been a sea-change in the capabilities of the APS-C sensor, as evidenced by the latest Fujis, Sonys and the Leica TL/CL. Indeed, Leica’s lens design guru Peter Karbe is now said to be increasing in his enthusiasm for APS-C. He is reported to have said that if Bacnack were designing his "miniature" camera in 2017 he would go for APS-C rather than full-frame.
But what we seldom here of, however, is anecdotes of people selling up on Fuji and buying a Leica M digital. Yes is does happen. Indeed, it happened suddenly to Italian photographer Sabino Parente last year. In what could have been a rash decision, he sold out all his Fuji gear and bought a Leica M262, the back-to-essentials version of the M240. As he says:
“It was not a simple choice because I used the Fuji X system for four years and I was completely satisfied. I still think it is one of the best on the market. But there was something missing for me, the full sensor, or full frame. Not only because of the deeper depth and richness of the details, but also because the reduced sensor, APS-C, did not allow me to fully use the vintage lenses that have been adapted, dimming them into their original focal length.”
After a few months of doubt he eventually began to love his Leica. But would he still make the change in the light of what he has learned over the past twelve months:
“If I had to base my judgment on the first three months, I would doubtless say NO!
“I think that for anyone, got used to fully automatic reflex systems, switch to a rangefinder system, it’s almost a self-punishment. In the first months of use I came to hate it, everything seemed unnecessarily difficult and tedious, and the out of focus shots were wasted.
“But once fully learnt, when the mutation occurs, first of all, mental than physical, in conceiving differently the way photography is done, well, I started to really love my Leica M.
After a year Sabino still relishes his M262 which he believes is the perfect tool for street photography. But he has discovered that it isn’t the total solution for him. For other types of photography he is now considering models from Sony and Canon. But the M262 will remain.