Overall Rating:


Leica X1

  • Star rating:



Price as Reviewed:


A compact camera from a prestige brand such as Leica always attracts attention, yet its APS-C-format sensor makes the X1 even more enticing. We review the Leica X1...

Leica X1 at a glance:

  • 12.2 million effective pixels
  • APS-C-sized sensor
  • Fixed 24mm f/2.8 lens (equivalent to 36mm)
  • DNG raw format
  • Street price approximately £1,395

While a full-frame sensor of 35mm film proportions is seen by many as the most desirable option for DSLRs, an APS-C-sized device is akin to the Holy Grail for compact models.

Whereas full-frame DSLRs are now available from the mainstream manufacturers at a relatively affordable price, until now only Sigma, which is much better known for its lens production than its digital camera manufacturing, has offered a compact camera with an APS-C-format sensor.

Although it has its loyal devotees, the fact that Sigma has opted to use a non-standard sensor from Foveon may have restricted its compact cameras’ popularity.

The introduction of the X1 by Leica means that there is now an APS-C-format compact digital camera available from a manufacturer steeped in both camera and lens-production history. In photographic circles, the name Leica provokes a similar reaction to the Rolls-Royce, Bentley or Bugatti monikers among the motoring fraternity. It evokes an expectation of high build quality, excellent optics and superb images at a marriage-threatening price. The £1,395 X1, therefore, has a lot to live up to, but if it can deliver what we hope, the air could be ringing with the sound of smashing piggy banks.

  • AF Assistance: Yes, built-in lamp range approximately 3m
  • Built-in Flash: Yes – GN 5m @ ISO 100
  • White Balance: Auto, 5 presets, plus 2 manual, fine adjustment along amber/blue, green/magenta axis and Kelvin values
  • Viewfinder Type: Optional optical device
  • Memory Card: SD and SDHC
  • Output Size: 4272x2856 pixels
  • LCD: 2.7in TFT with 230,000 dots (approx 76,600 pixels)
  • White Balance Bracket: No
  • Sensor: CMOS with 12.2 million effective pixels
  • Max Flash Sync: 1/2000sec with built-in flash
  • Weight: 615g (without battery or card/s)
  • Exposure Modes: Program, aperture priority, shutter priority, manual
  • Power: Rechargeable D-LI50 Li-Ion battery
  • Lens: Leica Elmarit 24mm f/2.8 Asph (equivalent to 36mm on 35mm format)
  • File Format: Raw (DNG) + JPEG simultaneously, JPEG
  • AF array: 195 individually selectable points, or automatic selection of one of 11 points. These 11 points can also be grouped into 5 collections to target the focus area
  • Shutter Speeds: 30secs-1/2000sec in 1EV steps
  • Drive Mode: Max 3fps in Continuous High, for up to 6 raw (DNG), 6 JPEG or 6 raw + JPEG files
  • Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
  • Connectivity / Interface: USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
  • Compression: Two-stage JPEG
  • Exposure Comp: ±3EV in 1/3EV steps
  • RRP: £1,395
  • ISO: 100-3200 in 1EV steps
  • Focusing Modes: Manual or single-shot AF
  • DoF Preview: No
  • Dimensions: 141.5x101x70mm
  • Metering System: 256-area intelligent multiple metering, centreweighted and spot

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