Rangefinder Camera vs Fujifilm X-Pro Series

Came across this article the other day on the internet. It’s an article shared on Fuji Addict website which compares Leica M to Fujifilm X-Pro 2. The author talks about the similarities and the difference between the two cameras, the pros and cons for both, and ultimately what are the factors that made him decided to use or to keep his camera. At the same time, YouTuber Matt Day has shared his experience on why he sold his Fujifilm X-Pro 2 and bought a Leica M Typ 262 instead. (Video has since been deleted)

These two posts have actually garnered a whole lot of discussions, debates and even flamewars from the netizens. Well, this has always been the case since the introduction of X-Pro 1. People tends to compare the Fujifilm X-Pro series cameras (X-Pro in short) with a Leica M (rangefinder camera, in general) because it looks like one. However, X-Pro is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that doesn’t rely on rangefinder mechanism to focus, instead it basically performs focusing through the lens and on sensor phase / contrast detection. Hence, it isn’t really a “rangefinder” camera, it just looks like one. And honestly, it isn’t really “fair” to compare these two different types of camera head on as they are pretty much a different camera on their own. However, I’ll share a bit of my view and experience in why I decided to make the switch.

I have owned the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 before and had used it a lot especially during my trips oversea. I have sold it and now I’m using the Leica M-P Typ 240. I didn’t purchase the X-Pro 2, but I get to play around with it on a few occasions. Both systems have enough lens selections to cover your shooting needs, and both cameras performed admirably to create great pictures. Of course you get to use auto focus with the X-Pro and electronic viewfinder was built in the hybrid viewfinder, but on the other hand the experience of using the optical viewfinder is much better on a rangefinder camera.

I sold off my Fujifilm system and went for a rangefinder camera instead. One of the reason was that I prefer to shoot with the optical viewfinder of a rangefinder camera as opposed to the hybrid viewfinder offered by X-Pro. I had never managed to master on how to make full use of the optical viewfinder of X-Pro, hence ended up using the electronic viewfinder all the time. To me, this is perhaps the biggest deal breaker which influenced me in getting a rangefinder camera over the X-Pro. The former gives a more engaging experience when using the optical viewfinder.

For rangefinder, you get to see the focus patch at the center of the optical viewfinder, hence you can focus and recompose your shot on the go and get your shot right easily. With the X-Pro, there are a few boxes showing you roughly where is the focus point, but they are often not accurate. To be fair, you will get used to it after sometime and you’ll be able to estimate roughly where the auto focus will hit, but still, the hit rate is not that encouraging, at least for me. With X-Pro 2, you get to trigger an additional electronic viewfinder window at the bottom of the finder (electronic rangefinder or ERF) in order to confirm where the focus point hits. This sort of mitigated the issue mentioned earlier, but it introduces another problem. My eyes will be wandering around the viewfinder to frame and to check the focus point. I was a little annoyed by the trouble and “disconnection” in the shooting process, hence degrading the overall shooting experience.

Everyone has their reasons in choosing and using one camera. We just need to learn to respect their decision and get over it. Something that suits you doesn’t mean will suit others as well. There is no need to start a flamewar over it. Stop being a fanboi and start shooting more pictures. Anyway, I really wished Fujifilm can continue to refine their hybrid viewfinder and improve on the experience of using the optical viewfinder. Who knows one day the hybrid viewfinder on the X-Pro might become so good that I am willing to go for it and make it my main camera system. Till then.

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