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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Conclusion

Leica X (Typ 113) Review – conclusion

 

Leica-X-conclusion2

There’s plenty to like about the Leica X. It looks like a ‘proper’ camera, it feels great in your hand and it’s refreshingly simple to use. Indeed, with its fast prime lens and top-plate shutter speed and aperture dials, it encourages a creative approach to shooting that’s more akin to using a rangefinder than a conventional compact.

The lens is beyond reproach, giving impressive results wide open and getting even better stopped down. The sensor produces output every bit as good as we’d expect from a 16.2-million-pixel APS-C design, too. I’m really not a fan of Leica’s JPEG processing, particularly in terms of colour rendition, and was much happier with the results I got from shooting raw and post-processing. Here, Leica’s decision to use the open standard DNG format, and include a licence for Adobe Lightroom, pays dividends.

Unfortunately, there are a few areas where the camera falls short. The relatively slow autofocus and unreliable manual focus are its biggest flaws, and I really don’t like Leica’s decision to restrict the available maximum aperture for closer focus distances (I’d prefer to make that choice myself). I’d love to see a firmware update fixing these issues, which I think would improve the X substantially. The lack of an analogue exposure compensation dial also stands out, given the increasing popularity of this control on other cameras, but in practice the electronic thumb dial does much the same job.

Ultimately, though, the elephant in the room is the Fujifilm X100T, which manages to be faster, offer more external controls, include a viewfinder, and give excellent JPEG output, all at two-thirds of the price. Rationally, it’s a better choice in almost every way. But rationality doesn’t always come into it with Leica – the lure of the red dot can be hard to resist.

BLUE 3.5

  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.