Leica X1 review

April 24, 2010

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...


Viewfinder, LCD and live view

As I have already mentioned, the X1 doesn’t have a built-in viewfinder, but an optional unit is available for £250. This slips into the camera’s hotshoe and provides a bright, clear view of the scene, with brightlines indicating the framing of the 24mm (36mm equivalent) lens.

The viewfinder proves useful when it is too bright to see the image on the LCD screen clearly, but it cannot display any shooting information. However, provided the ambient light isn’t too bright, it is sometimes possible to see the focus confirmation light on the back of the camera while looking through the viewfinder.

Given the price of the X1, I am surprised that its 2.7in LCD screen only has a resolution of 230,000 dots. This is very low by modern standards, and even though there is a magnified view, there just isn’t enough detail visible to be absolutely confident when focusing manually. As ever, the screen is difficult to see outside, so it is sometimes tricky to tell if the camera has managed to get the subject sharp.

On several occasions when composing and reviewing shots during this test, I noticed that the on-screen image was less saturated and had lower contrast than the final captured image. The screen refresh rate is also quite slow, especially in low light, and the image sometimes appears to freeze or blur any movement. It makes shooting a moving subject very difficult.

  • 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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