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...

Product Overview

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Leica X1

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Leica X1 review


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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.

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Features
  3. 3. APS-C sensor and f/2.8 aperture
  4. 4. Build and handling
  5. 5. White balance and colour
  6. 6. Metering
  7. 7. Autofocus
  8. 8. Resolution, noise and sensitivity
  9. 9. Dynamic range
  10. 10. Viewfinder, LCD and live view
  11. 11. The competition
  12. 12. Verdict
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