Leica X2 review

Features

There are only a few differences between the Leica X1 and X2. The most significant change is the 16.2-million-pixel, APS-C-sized CMOS sensor, which is 4 million pixels more than in the X1. Along with this increase in resolution, the new sensor has an expanded sensitivity, with a maximum ISO 12,500 setting compared to just ISO 3200 in the X1. A further significant change is the addition of an accessory port, which allows an electronic viewfinder to be added to the X2's hotshoe. I'll cover this in more detail later.

One of the reasons Leica is held in such high esteem is the quality of its lenses. Optically, the X2 is unchanged from the X1, and is fitted with a fixed Leica Elmarit 24mm f/2.8 lens. As the X2 uses an APS-C-sized sensor, the 24mm lens offers the angle of view of a 36mm lens when used on a full-frame camera. This is a fairly standard focal length, but it is wide enough for landscape images and street photography, while being just about long enough for documentary portraiture. In short, the camera should appeal to travel and documentary photographers, in much the same way as the Fujifilm FinePix X100 does with its 23mm f/2 lens.

As the Leica X2 is designed with the enthusiast and professional photographer in mind, it is no surprise to see that once again the Adobe DNG raw format is used for raw image capture. This format is widely compatible with most raw-conversion software, including the superb Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4, the full version of which comes included with this camera.

There are few shooting modes on the X2. It is very much a camera for the ‘conservative' photographer, with basic aperture and shutter priority and manual exposure modes. Shutter speeds range from 1/2000sec to 30secs, in 1⁄3EV steps.

Should more illumination be needed, there is a flash hotshoe compatible with Leica's SF 24D and SF 58 flashguns, as well as a built-in pop-up flash, the design of which has been changed since the X1. The older camera has a flash that pops up when it is pressed down, but this causes it to sometimes pop up when accidentally pressed while the camera is in use. Some photographers have even reported that it popped up while taking a slight knock in a camera case.

This time, the pop-up flash, while still sunken into the X2's top-plate, is activated not by pressing it down but by releasing a small catch on the rear, just to the left of the accessory port. The flash also has a hinged bracket that raises it higher than the previous flash, moving it a little further away from the lens, which in turn helps to produce a more flattering effect for portraits and a reduction in redeye.

Image: Raw files reveal that the lens does suffer from chromatic aberrations, but these are automatically removed in-camera for JPEG images