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
Leica X (Typ 113) Review – conclusion
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.