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...

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White balance and colour

Image: The X1 is small and discrete, making it a good choice for street photography. This colour original was almost monochrome, and I converted it to black & white post-capture using Adobe Photoshop CS4.

I primarily used the X1’s automatic white balance setting during this test and it performed well on most occasions. There were only a couple of times when it didn’t produce the result I was looking for. When shooting under mixed artificial and natural light, for example, I set the custom white balance manually.

Also, when shooting a scene that contained lots of leafy green foliage and mossy tree trunks on a sunny day, the automatic setting produced a rather yellow series of images. Had I been able to tell this at the time – the screen was difficult to see because of the bright ambient light – I would have switched to the daylight setting. Fortunately, I was shooting simultaneous DNG and JPEG files so I have raw images that are easy to adjust.

In its Standard Preset Film setting, the X1 can produce JPEG images that look very different from the raw files. Whereas the raw files usually have quite natural colours, on some occasions the simultaneously recorded JPEG files look artificial with higher contrast and greater saturation.

Pale-blue skies are a particular concern as they are often rendered an unnatural cyan tone, and green grass looks much too vibrant. The effect is most noticeable in overexposed areas as the X1 attempts to darken them to bring out hidden detail.

  • 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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