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.
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.
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...
Excerpt: The Leica X1 has a large DSLR-like APS-C CMOS sensor in a compact body for the ultimate quality, but is the X1 the ultimate luxury fixed-lens compact? The What Digital Camera Leica X1 review...
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...
Field Report: Leica X1: A “Traditionalist” Compact
1 December 2007
Excerpt: The Leica X1 ($1,995) is a fixed focal length, non-interchangeable lens compact with a fast f/2.8 lens and 12.9MP CMOS APS-C sensor. Introduced over a year ago in silver and recently in black, it keeps apace with firmware upgrades, the most recent of which is claimed improvement of JPEG quality and enhanced AF speed in low light.
Excerpt: Leica's foray into the digital world may have been at a slower and more considered pace than what we're used to seeing, but working in partnership with Panasonic has nevertheless meant that it's managed to saturate a healthy range of the camera market.
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: Few camera companies can boast the pedigree and sheer brand muscle of Leica: the German firm has a reputation for stunning lenses and beautifully-made cameras that, in the hands of a skilled snapper, produce some of the very best images around. The X1 feels like an attempt to bring a premium Leica camera to the masses.