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: Dynamic Range

Leica X (Typ 113) Review – Image quality: Dynamic Range

Leica X Dynamic Range

Leica X Dynamic Range

Looking at the dynamic range chart shows reasonable results for an APS-C sensor. Our Applied Imaging tests reveal a dynamic range of 12.2 EV at ISO 100, which drops off only gradually up to ISO 800, where we see a perfectly respectable 11.2 EV. But beyond this, it falls more quickly as noise becomes in increasing problem, and at ISO 3200 it reaches a just-about-acceptable 8.8 EV. The two higher settings give decidedly low range, indicating that there’s likely to be excessive noise in the shadows. So we’d avoid using ISO 6400 and 12500 if possible (indeed the camera will override these settings if the light is sufficient).

Real world example

In practical use, the Leica X’s dynamic range at low ISOs allows you to recover shadow detail that would ordinarily be lost in the camera’s JPEGs. The example below illustrates this. The default Adobe Camera Raw conversion has little shadow detail, but adjusting the Shadows slider brings up plenty more detail in the doorway without excessive noise.

Leica X image sample

Similarly, the default ACR conversion shows little shadow detail

Adjusting the Shadows slider reveals lots more detail in the doorway

Adjusting the Shadows slider reveals a lot more detail in the doorway

  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
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  • 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.