Really Random Shootout - Fuji 18-55mm f/2.8-4 and Fuji X-E1 vs Zeiss ZM 35mm f/2.0 Biogon and Leica

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by Amin Sabet, Jun 2, 2013.

  1. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    I'm using a lot of different camera systems these days, and occasionally I do some really random shootouts around the house. I've decided to start posting them in case any of the other pixel peepers around here find them interesting as I do.

    In this shootout, I have the excellent Fuji 18-55mm f/2.8-4 zoom lens shot on a Fuji X-E1, and I'm comparing it to a Zeiss ZM 35mm f/2.0 prime lens shot on a Leica M9.

    In order to match angle of view and depth of field, the Fuji lens was set to 23mm and f/5 while the Zeiss was at 35mm and f/8. This also means that both lenses were at their respective optimal apertures for edge sharpness without noticeable softening due to diffraction. Files were shot in RAW and processed in Lightroom 4.4.

    Center crop:


    Right edge:


    Left side:


    As always, the RAW files are linked below for download:
  2. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Real Name:
    the last 5% of increase in performance is always the most expensive.....sports cars, tube amps, cameras. This really shows what an amazing kit lens that Fuji is....and at the new price......whoah.
  3. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    It's really an impressive zoom. I did the same test against my Oly 17/1.8, and the Fuji zoom came out on top against that prime.
  4. flash

    flash SC Veteran

    May 6, 2011
    Real Name:
    Thank God I can see a small (very small) difference. I've got serious X-E1 lust at the moment. This helps. Not much, but a bit.


    p.s. Chances of me folding by months end are high though.....
  5. Biro

    Biro SC All-Pro

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Real Name:
    Same here. Even if I can only swing the 18-55 with the X-E1 body.
  6. Irenaeus

    Irenaeus SC Regular

    Apr 2, 2011

    But really ~ the Fuji's obviously a nice lens, but, when you put it up against the Leica? The Fuji couldn't even resolve the pigeon at the bottom of the right edge in the Leica frame! OTOH, do you think it might have been the Zeiss glass on the Leica?


  7. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    In fairness to the Fuji, that is a very small bird :smile:.
  8. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    Would still love to see the 17/1.8 comparison in this set (at that lens' optimal sharpness)
  9. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    In all fairness, I didn't shoot the Oly 17/1.8 at it's optimal edge sharpness (f/5.6) for this comparison. I shot it at the f-stop (f/4) where it has the same DOF as the other two. The Oly's edges actually get a little better in going from f/4 to f/5.6. Anyway, here is the comparison of Oly at suboptimal f/4 compared to Fuji at f/5:



  10. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    The 17 didn't do too badly. Yes, it's a prime, but it's also tiny compared to the Fuji. It's the sensor noise that gets in the way a bit.
  11. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    True, also Lightroom loses a lot of sharpness in barrel distortion correction. If you process the file without distortion correction in C1 and then subsequently fix the distortion in Photoshop, you get sharper results.

    Sent from my SCH-I605 using SeriousCompacts mobile app
  12. rbelyell

    rbelyell SC Top Veteran

    May 14, 2013
    NY Mtns
    i personally pixel peep all the time and wholeheartedly enjoy random comparisons of this kind. considering the price differential, and that the fuji is a zoom, the comparison is quite extraordinary. just a bit of friendly advice, dont post this on the 'Rangefinder Forum'!:eek:
  13. zapatista

    zapatista SC Regular

    Jul 28, 2012
    Denver, Colorado
    Real Name:
    Amin, thanks as usual. :) I wonder how the 17mm Olympus performs relative to the 22mm EOS M lens. I have an OM-D coming back (return) and maybe I'll pick up the 17mm if I can find a cheap copy to compare--the OM-D/Sony sensor scores higher (better DR and Low Light) than the Canon 18mp sensor. My hunch is that the 22mm will outperform the 17mm even with the sensor advantage. The Fuji 18-55mm is an impressive lens for the money, no doubt.
  14. madmaxmedia

    madmaxmedia SC Veteran

    Nov 10, 2010
    Los Angeles
    MY eyes are bleeding from the M9 moire...just kidding. The Oly looks fine, a lot of color fringing though off-center.

    Amin, didn't you do a kit zoom test at some point in the past? It would have been nice to compare the Fuji zoom to those.
  15. Krugman

    Krugman New to SC

    Mar 13, 2013
    Image comparison, and a bird

    Hi, Amin,

    To me the Leica image is better for the paintings at the back of the garage, and the Fuji image is better for the fender of the car. This brings up the question as to where the focus was in the two mages.

    In my opinion it is better to compare cameras with images of objects that have very little depth. This would help ensure that the two cameras were focused at the same place.

    But not test charts, they are quite artificial and have lots of artifacts having to do with research design errors by people who don't understand research with human participants.

    I modestly suggest that an example of a reasonable comparison is that between the G!X and the RX100 on my dprevew web site. Three dimensional, so there is some depth but not enough that the two camera could have been focused at different places.

    As for the bird, there is no evidence of it at all in the Fuji image that I can see. I think it had flown away by the time Amin took that image.

    Thanks Amin for a most interesting post. I infer that you are impressed with the Fuji camera and based on this comparison, I agree with you.

  16. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    I was only kidding about the bird :).
  17. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    I did a long while ago, but I don't have the kit zooms anymore. I agree - would make for an interesting test. I also agree about the M9 moire. It pops up more than I think it would. I still like the sharpness-aliasing tradeoff with that camera though.
  18. stanleyk

    stanleyk SC Top Veteran

    May 23, 2011
    Taylor, Texas
    Honestly, it's the best zoom lens I have ever used for that price. The 55-200 is really good too.