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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Image quality

Leica X (Typ 113) Review – image quality

The Leica X uses a 16-million-pixel APS-C CMOS sensor, most likely a version of the stalwart Sony design that’s been used for over three years. This is in no way a bad thing, as it’s a very good sensor indeed. It may look dated in comparison to newer 24-million-pixel designs, but the X’s excellent lens makes the most of the pixels, giving sharp images across the frame.

To get the most from the camera, though, you need to shoot raw and process yourself, which will reveal more detail than Leica’s somewhat unrefined JPEG processing. Few modern camera show such a large disparity between JPEG and raw.

Resolution

It’s in our resolution tests that Leica’s JPEG processing most clearly shows its limitations. At around 2600l/ph at ISO 100, it lags well behind raw, which can yield almost 3200 l/ph. Indeed this is essentially at the theoretical limit for the sensor, implying that Leica hasn’t installed an optical low-pass filter. The large APS-C sensor means that resolution doesn’t suffer immediately as the sensitivity is increased, only dropping to around 2800 l/ph at ISO 1600 in raw. Thereafter it falls more quickly, to about 2200 l/ph at ISO6400, and 2000 l/ph at ISO 12500.

Leica X resolution - ISO 100 JPEG

Leica X resolution – ISO 100 JPEG. Note the haloes from wide-radius sharpening

Leica X resolution - ISO 100 RAW

Leica X resolution – ISO 100 RAW. More subtle processing maintains fine detail better

Leica X resolution - ISO 200 RAW

Leica X resolution – ISO 200 RAW

Leica X resolution - ISO 400 RAW

Leica X resolution – ISO 400 RAW

Leica X resolution - ISO 800 RAW

Leica X resolution – ISO 800 RAW

Leica X resolution - ISO 1600 RAW

Leica X resolution – ISO 1600 RAW

Leica X resolution - ISO 3200 RAW

Leica X resolution – ISO 3200 RAW

Leica X resolution - ISO 6400 RAW

Leica X resolution – ISO 6400 RAW

Leica X resolution - ISO 12500 RAW

Leica X resolution – ISO 12500 RAW

  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 6 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.