My bias is always toward the Leica M bodies and for street shooting they still set the standard. But the X100 on paper has a few things that the M9 doesn t and since you can t really lose on buying the camera ..I bought one . Took it to NYC for some comparison shooting with the M9s.
Of course I base everything on the M9 s as a starting point because its a real life relevant standard . I feel I could use either camera in most every situation on the street (which I can t say even for small DSLR like a Nikon D7000).
The one big negative is the awful user interface ..probably missed a dozen shots do to things like displaying the play back in the viewfinder . The software team should be abandoned at sea . But this will get better as I become more familiar with the options.
The positives are much better than expected . The viewfinder options put the X1 to shame . With optical I use manual focus with the rear button set for AF ...this is perfect . I can prefocus on a spot and let the scene develop. (You don t really use continuous focus on a moving subject and expect to have anything but a centered image? ). The EVF is brighter than real life and allows for an enlarged view . Manual focus is easy to fine tune and no recomposition required . The rear LCD allows for viewing on shots from your knee level or putting the camera overhead (for crowd views) .
The high ISO is superb almost like a D3 file(up to 1600) . ISO 1600 only suffers a loss in DR ...noise isn t an issue . It appears to be a full EV better than the M9 where ISO 1600 requires a “never underexpose “ mentality. It also doesn t hurt that metering and auto WB seemed dead on even under mixed lighting. Of course I can use the M9 with a 1.4 or even the Noctilux to even things up on light gathering. But consider that a APS-C size sensor has more DOF and the chances of getting a sharp image at night are better with the X100.
SILENT...can t get much better than this for shooting inside and this comes from a guy that shot his daughters wedding from the front row with his iPhone and never got caught .
IQ is excellent ... not an M9 level but closer to the D3 and processing makes a huge difference. I am sure others can comment but an M9 file in LR is near perfect with the standard presets and profiles. I normally work curves bit ,add maybe 20 clarity and use mild sharpening . The X100 files are more like .NEF files . Will accept and benefit from stronger presets ... about the same curve settings but clarity can go above 50,vibrancy 17,saturation 15 and stronger sharpening . For my use comparing the best presets I can come up with is the only relevant comparison. Frankly I am surprised at how good the x100 files look at ISO1600. At this is shooting at F2 .
So for Street Shooting the X100 seems to bring some real advances and in certain situations may even be preferable to the M9 .