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Leica X1 review

April 24, 2010

Overall Rating:

3

Leica X1


  • Star rating:

Manufacturer:

Manufacturer:

Price as Reviewed:

£1,395.00

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...

Verdict

The Leica X1 looks and feels like a proper camera that is worthy of the Leica name, and it is capable of recording high-quality raw files.

However, it is let down by its poor AF performance, low-resolution screen and intermittently slow processing. Those who have grown up using Leica M-series cameras may feel that an AF system is anathema, but the problem with focusing manually with the X1 is that the view on the LCD screen isn’t clear enough to be confident or accurate.

Fortunately, there is a distance scale that appears on the LCD when the manual focus option is activated, and this enables hyperfocal distance focusing.

A pricetag of £1,395 is more commonly associated with a high-end, enthusiast-level DSLR than a compact camera and, like most photographers, it is not a price I could pay at the drop of a hat.

Despite this, I was excited at the prospect of testing the X1 and was genuinely hoping that it would be the compact camera I really wanted to own. However, afterwards I was left feeling deflated. I have some nice shots, but getting them was more frustrating than I had expected.

  • 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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