Can Fujifilm Stand Up to Leica?
2017 is an exciting year for mirrorless digital cameras.

High performance digital cameras with retro-looking bodies aren’t just a gimmick. Naturally, die-hard photo purists were wary of the first digital Leica rangefinder, over 10 years ago. Perhaps rightfully so at the time. But the current M10 and its 24-megapixel full frame far surpass the detail and tonal range of 35mm film. With a nearly $7,000 price tag for the body only, the M10 is the camera equivalent of a Bentley. If you can’t afford the new M10 or TL-2, Fujifilm offers similar nostalgic form and dynamite function for a fraction of the cost.

Superior Performance Per Dollar in XE-3

Both specification and appearance-wise, Fujifilm’s newly announced XE-3 mirrorless camera looks a lot like Leica’s new TL-2, which rings in at double the price for the body only. For photographers who want modern features and a rock-solid, retro feel, the XE-3 offers the best value in this lineup.

Workhorse Potential, Retro Rangefinder Form Factor

Fujifilm’s year-old X-T2 mirrorless camera has the sturdy build and reliability professional photographers need at half the cost of similarly-spec’d SLR’s. Functionally, there is little difference between this camera and the $7,000 Leica M10. If mirrorless cameras keep progressing at this pace, SLR’s will soon be an obsolete concept.

TL-2 Makes Leica Brand More Accessible

The ultra-minimalist appearance of Leica’s new TL2 mirrorless camera make it a formidable weapon of choice for street photographers – but without the meteoric cost of an M10 and M-series lenses. With 4K video, 20-fps shooting capability, and weight under 1LB, the TL2 is a great SLR alternative for travelers. Although it’s much more affordable than big-brother M-series, we still rate Fujifilm’s XE-3 a better overall choice.

Perfection.

Leica’s engineers in Germany finally designed a camera body truly worthy of the M-series label. Like the M-series film cameras, the M10 has no gimmicks. No video. No autofocus. Just a true rangefinder. Its staggering cost place it out of reach for all but the most die-hard enthusiasts, who want not just the best camera at any cost, but a hand-assembled work of art. Rational? Nope. Romantic as hell? Omg, say M10 again!

Nothing stands up to Leica’s level of luxury and craft. But as they say, it’s not so much the equipment as how you use it. Fujifilm’s lineup of solid, practical mirrorless cameras are the best choice for most people. The question is: Do you want a nice piece of jewelry, a fine camera, or both? Me? I just like to hit the streets and shoot candids, so you can bet the Fujifilm XE-3 will be near the top of my fall photography wish list.