Conclusion: No video recording, sub-standard JPEG quality, a tardy focusing system, and an asking price that comfortably makes it the most expensive compact on the market, the X1 won't be to everyone's liking.
Conclusion: From the moment you pick up the Leica X1, it's a camera you want to love. So much about it is just 'right' - not just the feat of squeezing a relatively large APS-C sensor into a compact body, but also the lovely design and the fluid, intuitive analogue-style exposure controls. It's one of those tactile objects that simply begs to be picked up and used, and its silent operation means you can shoot with it in situations when a DSLR would be unacceptably intrusive.
Pros: Excellent image quality - at least in raw, Best high-ISO performance of any compact camera, bar none, Reliable metering and exposure, Extremely quiet in operation (AF and shutter), Straightforward control layout with analogue-style shutter speed and aperture dials, Good quality build, but still relatively small and lightweight, Well-integrated operation with external optical viewfinder, Price includes copy of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
Cons: Autofocus distinctly slower than most, Unimpressive battery life, Accurate manual focus impossible (lens stops down uncontrollably), Low light operation relatively poor (very slow AF and screen refresh rate), Live histogram unreliable, disappears when setting exposure compensation, ISO only visible in detailed display mode; Auto ISO doesn't show selected value at all, Click stops for control dial 'A' positions not positive enough (particularly on the shutter speed dia...
Summary: The Leica X1 is a very well-built, cool, yet extremely expensive compact camera that is every bit a luxury item. It will more than satisfy both the photo enthusiast and the casual user wanting a top-quality camera for longer than just the holidays.
Summary: If you enjoy shooting with manual focus and selecting aperture and shutter speed yourself, then you’ll likely enjoy the Leica X1. It is able to produce very pleasing images and, unless you plan to print very large, its resolving power should be enough for most photographers.
Summary: The X1 is no ordinary camera. Designed very specifically to facilitate a fairly niche area of the market, its fixed 24mm (36mm equivalent) will rule out many buyers looking for something altogether different – and for less than the £1395 asking price. For those in the know, however, the combination of a large APS-C sized CMOS sensor and an f/2.8 24mm (36mm equiv.) fine lens does result in excellent images.
Excerpt: The Leica X1 is a compact camera with a fixed lens and an APS-C sized sensor. The camera has the largest sensor in it’s class, dwarfing Micro Four Thirds and the Sigma Foveon. I received some personal hands-on time with the camera. While I wasn’t able to put a card in to take samples (I handled a prototype) the short experience with the camera was overall quite positive and, in fact, it may very well be a camera that will put more pressure on other companies to start...
Summary: 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.
Summary: I don’t often reprise products I’ve covered previously, but a firmware upgrade for the Leica X1 ( reviewed here last year ) has made it even more extraordinary than it was then – almost a new camera, in fact. On the surface, the only difference is that the baby of Leica’s most serious, German-made range is now available in black.
Summary: Is this the compact camera enthusiasts have been begging for?
Pros: Excellent image quality with raw files, Sharp lens right up to edges of the frame, Beautiful, lightweight and pocket-friendly body, Analogue dials provide immediate and easy control over exposure, Reliable metering system
Cons: Slow and hesitant AF system, Below-par LCD quality, JPEG quality could be better, Priced far higher than competing models, Minimum focusing distance of 30cm can be limiting