Leica X1

Last Updated (23 February’11):
– Review by SteveHuffPhoto

Leica X1 is a 12.2 megapixels pocket digital camera features Leica Elmarit 24 mm f/2.8 ASPH Lens, 23.6 x 15.8 mm CMOS sensor, full manual control, ISO 100-3200, and 2.7″ TFT 230,000 pixels LCD monitor. The camera measures (WxDxH) 124 x 32 x 59.5mm and weighs 286 g (10 oz).

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆ | Latest Price Info

Expert Reviews

Leica X1 Reviews

SteveHuffPhoto reviews the Leica X1 and writes;
“The one thing it does extremely well is record your life. Your memories. The images I have captured with the X1 seem to give me more smiles than those captured with the other small compact cameras. Hmmm. Maybe Leica DOES have some sort of magic going on in their factory.”
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Telegraph reviews the Leica X1 and writes;
“. The camera flat out trounces its compact competition in areas of light where most sensors would struggle. However it still doesn’t quite compare with a DSLR of the same price..”
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Lenstip reviews the Leica X1 and writes;
“As for a compact camera, the autofocus is moderately fast. Going from minimum focusing distance to infinity and locking focus takes Leica about one second. Additionally, we didn’t see much difference between the modes. After going to Spot the only thing that changes is the size of the box informing about the autofocus mechanism.”
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Ephotozine reviews the Leica X1 and writes;
“At this early stage, I can say that the level of noise is impressive at the higher ISO settings. At ISO 3200 digital noise is noticeable but it is not horrible. In fact, the noise looks very filmic and perfectly acceptable. I converted several Adobe DNG files to black & white and they look great, bestowing images with a gritty, reportage feel.”
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WDC reviews the Leica X1 and writes;
“The X1 is no ordinary camera. Designed very specifically to facilitate a fairly niche area of the market, its fixed 24mm (36mm equivalent) will rule out many buyers looking for something altogether different – and for less than the £1395 asking price. For those in the know, however, the combination of a large APS-C sized CMOS sensor and an f/2.8 24mm (36mm equiv.) fine lens does result in excellent images. “
Rating: ★★★★☆

Digitalversus reviews the Leica X1 and writes;
“At the widest possible aperture, the sharpness is ‘merely’ very good–and that’s across the whole frame. Adjusting it to f/5.6 is incredible: the detail is razor-sharp, thanks in part to a little accentuation but mostly to the incredibly high resolution. Looking at these images makes the case for Lecia’s fixed-focus lenses loud and clear,”
Rating: ★★★★½

Photographyblog reviews the Leica X1 and writes;
“The combination of a fantastic prime lens and large APS-C size sensor result in outstanding image quality that easily beats most other compacts and also most other entry-level DSLRs. Low-light images are excellent too, with the X1’s faster ISO settings delivering low-noise results. Add the ability to shoot DNG RAW files as well as JPGS, and it’s clear that the X1 is a real class-leader.”
Rating: ★★★★☆

Photoradar reviews the Leica X1 and writes;
“The image files are exactly Leica’esque. ISOs up to 1600 are very good and even 3200 is printable. What is very evident is the Leica signature look, and this is ultimately why people buy into the Leica brand.”
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Luminous-landscape reviews the Leica X1 and writes;
“One performance aspect that was very impressive during our brief demo was the shooting speed. I didn’t count the FPS, but it was damn fast, with a seemly large buffer.”
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User Opinions

Leica X1 User Reviews

Leica X1 Review – 2 Weeks of Use | Rating: ★★★★☆
“..Much has been said about the image quality of the X1, and that quality is on a par with other cameras having APS-C sized sensors. Due to the Leica lens used in the X1, and given the Leica processing engine in the camera’s internal firmware, the resulting images captured by the camera will have a unique look that many afictionados describe as the “Leica look”. While the X1’s images will probably not in most cases be better than those produced by cameras of equivalent price (about $2000 U.S.), they will be better than images produced by most cameras of equivalent size..” – By Dale Thorn

Leica X1 a New Favorite | Rating: ★★★★★
“In mid-March 2010 I spent a week abroad with the Leica X1 and the Leica M9. The X1 competes well with the superlative M9 and among the results of my trip the photos taken with the X1 — many in the fog and at night, all hand-held — are among the best of some outstanding photos being requested by people who see them… This little camera is more fun to use than most any other camera I’ve ever owned. I would compare it with the superlative Rollei TLR cameras of a couple of decades ago. The X1 is well worth the price.” – By Louis H. Hamel Jr

Best camera I have ever owned! | Rating: ★★★★★
“..It’s easy to use and very intuitive. There is no zoom which I love…the colors are rich and images crisp. They look beyond real…now I just need to get a Leica M9 to fulfill my dream.” – By Christy Destremau

Not for everyone | Rating: ★★★★★
“..In dark bars you can shoot in silence at ISO 3200 ( no flash needed) and still be amazed at the image quality. It is clear that in the design there was no compromise on image quality and like most other owners I’m happy to live with the result. Blow your photos into Posters and be amazed at the quality..” – By barclay

Out of this world Wonderful! | Rating: ★★★★★
“…It does exactly what I want it to do–sharp, gorgeous photos even when cropped severely and the color is just amazing…must be that Leica look (I’m serious–some photos look like a work of art, and I am only an amateur photographer). By all means, buy it if you can afford it.” – By Tigertail

Three Stars for Value, Five Stars for Everything Else. | Rating: ★★★★★
“Image quality is indeed SLR-like. Reviews and comments online usually have images attached that have been photoshopped to a degree. My out of camera jpeg photos are wonderful! I guess I had to see this to believe it. I have a D-Lux 4, and the difference is very evident (not to discredit the D-Lux 4).. ISO quality is superb. Blown up on my screen, it’s very comparable to my 7D, with a Leica flare to it.” – By Ms_Ladi

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Leica X1 Sample Photos

Leica X1 Sample Photos @ Photographyblog
Leica X1 Sample Photos @ Dpreview
Leica X1 Sample Photos @ Flickr.com
Leica X1 Sample Photos @ Amazon.com


Leica X1 User Manual (PDF)

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Leica X1 Features

There’s one thing that all Leica cameras share: each is born of the desire to develop cameras that deliver the best picture quality in the world.

As spontaneous as life itself
The similarities between the Leica X1 and the classics of the M system go deeper than merely their stylish exteriors. In terms of image quality in particular, the X1 fears no comparison with its larger cousin. Remarkably compact and easy to use, the X1 gives photographers the flexibility to capture moments and impressions exactly as they are – authentic and unrehearsed. That’s what makes the Leica X1 the perfect everyday companion for demanding photographers.
For example, the photographer’s assistant at a fashion shoot in Havana had the X1 in his backpack. Discrete and unobtrusive, it let him take photographs of events as they unfolded, telling a whole new story – and naturally with brilliant images.

The Leica X1 is the direct beneficiary of 100-plus years of German engineering experience and it delivers the best picture quality in its class – in the proud Leica tradition. This elegant camera features a professional CMOS image sensor that’s as large as those in high-quality SLRs. Combined with an outstanding Leica lens it captures images of unmatched brilliance. Any way you look at it, the Leica X1 is a winner: It’s conveniently compact, its controls are intuitive, and it offers a full range of sophisticated automatic functions. A real Leica “Made in Germany”.

The Leica Elmarit 24 mm f/2.8 ASPH.
Countless iconic images in the history of photography were shot with a fixed focal length of 35 mm. This focal length is considered to be a classic for reportage photography, and has lost none of its timeless charisma today. The Leica Elmarit 24 mm f/2.8 ASPH. is a true Leica lens with terrific optical performance. When seen in terms of 35-mm film format, it has precisely this legendary focal length of 35 mm.

Simple Handling & Complete Control
The Leica X1 offers versatile photography in terms of its numerous automatic functions and manual individual settings. The photographer can choose the easy way and let the camera take the lead over exposure or shutter settings in the automatic mode or switch over to manual controls by using the wheels on top of the camera. Thus the X1 allows the photographer to keep full control for individual creative art work and at the same time provides the automatic mode to ensure the capability for quick response.

Autofocus Competence
The autofocus of the X1 enables photographers to react in an instant. At the same time, the autofocus mode can be modified to suit the situation. Photographers have a choice of 1 or 11 AF segments and an additional high-speed mode for each. When taking photos of people, face-recognition mode allows complete concentration on the composition and framing of the picture.

Universal Formats & Workflow
Whenever you want, the X1 transforms image data into JPEG files for immediate use as quick as a flash. At the same time, photographers may also choose to store image files in the Adobe Digital Negative Format (DNG), a format that allows image-relevant exploitation of all the benefits of the recorded sensor data. With Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom®, a professional digital workflow solution, also available as an online download free of charge for all Leica X1 customers.

Optional Accessories
Single-handed operation? No problem at all with the hand grip. The hand grip ensures that the fingers of the right hand have a significantly better grip. In addition to the this, a 36-mm bright-line accessory for a clear view and a comprehensive range of camera cases are also available for the Leica X1.

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One Response to “Leica X1”

  1. Leica, the perfect cam for street photography. Sweet cam, definately next on my list of equipment to get.

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