The Leica X (Typ 113) sports the fastest prime lens on any large-sensor compact, but is this enough to justify its premium price? Andy Westlake investigates in our Leica X (Typ 113) review

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Leica X (Typ 113)

Metering:
Autofocus:
Features:
LCD viewfinder:
Build/Handling:
AWB Colour:
Dynamic Range:

Pros:

  • Fast, high-quality lens is extremely sharp
  • Analogue control dials give intuitive handling
  • Easily readable DNG raw files give impressive image quality
  • Attractive retro styling

Cons:

  • No built-in viewfinder
  • Camera limits maximum aperture at closer focus distances
  • Relatively slow top shutter speed limits ability to shoot wide open in bright light
  • Video mode is very basic

Product:

Leica X (Typ 113) review

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£1,550.00

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Focusing

Leica X (Typ 113) Review – focusing

Leica X image sample

AF speed is fine for static subjects, but for quick grab shots, manual focus often works better

If the Leica X has a weak point compared to its peers, it has to be focusing. I found that the autofocus, while accurate, simply isn’t as fast as its peers. This isn’t a big problem for static subjects, but it does mean that the camera isn’t necessarily the best choice for anything that moves.

Pressing the AF button allows you to select between modes, including multi-area, single point or spot (which uses a smaller focus area for improved accuracy). Holding the button down for a second ‘activates’ the focus area, allowing you to move it around the frame using the D-pad to match your subject. I found this was quite a slow process, so generally used the centre point and recomposed instead. Other cameras offer more direct approaches to moving the focus area.

Of course, you can always switch to manual focus, which is accomplished by simply rotating the focus ring away from its AF position. There’s a simple distance scale, but no depth-of-field scale for zone focusing, which is a bit disappointing. The only manual focus aid is an optional magnified view. But critically, the X doesn’t necessarily open its aperture up fully for manual focus, making it impossible to focus accurately in bright light. For a camera of this type, this is unacceptable (especially as the old X1 had the same problem, and Leica fixed it with a firmware update).

  1. 1. Leica X (Typ 113) Review - at a glance
  2. 2. Build and handling
  3. 3. Viewfinder and screen
  4. 4. Focusing
  5. 5. Performance
  6. 6. Image quality
  7. 7. Image quality: Dynamic Range
  8. 8. Image Quality: Detail and Noise
  9. 9. Conclusion
  10. 10. Page 10
Page 4 of 10 - Show Full List
  • entoman

    A beautiful-looking camera. Overpriced of course, but it’s the designer look, exclusivity and high price that makes it desirable to its intended target market. If however Leica wish potential buyers to take it seriously, they should dispense with the silly little pop-up flash, and fit a high quality EVF in its place! Until they do so, the camera remains a bit of a joke!

  • Stephen Garratt

    It looks VERY….like the new Canon EOS M MKIII.
    As an extremely pleased EOS M user (purchased at an insane low price!) , I know which camera that I would rather have and at just over 1/3rd the cost.
    My EOS M was purchased as a back up to my 5D MKIII and is giving me fantastic results.

  • Andy Whiteman

    Back in the 60s I always thought I’d love a Leica – an uncle had one – but now I’m afraid they are a bad joke – £1600 for this camera – you must be joking or stupidly rich. Come on Leica produce products that justify their absurd price tag and come on photographers don’t get sucked in by nostalgia and that little red thing.