The Leica X1 Web Review*

The Leica X1 looks like an analog camera. It has a compact body with a high quality finish and offers two setup dials on the top. If both dials are set to A-mode the camera will set aperture and shutter speed value automatically. If the photographer changes the aperture setting manually to a value between f2,8 and f16 the camera will work in aperture priority mode and set up shutter speed automatically. Similarly, a change of the shutter speed dial and setting the aperture-dial to A will switch the Leica X1 into “shutter speed priority mode. It’s a very efficient and easy system. The camera doesn’t offer any scene modes.

The X1 is Leica’s newest compact camera. It is based on an APS-C-sized image sensor and a lens system with fixed focal length with 36mm (35mm film equivalent). The camera has a small and compact body, offers easy handling and creates very crisp images.

The Leica X1 has a standard sized LCD monitor on the back. The 2,7 inch sized screen offers standard resolution (230.000 pixels), which isn’t state of the art, especially for a camera in this price range. In addition Leica offers an optional optical viewfinder which is positioned on the accessory shoe.

The Leica X1 offers a nearly perfect white balance system. The GretagMacbeth chart test showed absolutely neutral colors. The saturation in standard color mode is a little low. The Leica X1 offers additional color modes with higher saturation. Skintones are realistic but also desaturated.

The combination of the new image sensor and the Leica lens with 36mm (35mm film equivalent) will produce sharp images. The very crisp look of the images is enhanced by intense USM filtering (25,8 percent over sharpening). Even in corners, the resolution is nearly on the same high level as in the center of the image.

The LCD on the back offers only 230.000 RGB-dots, which isn’t exactly state of the art. Many function buttons and a standard cursor field (4 way) allow an easy and quick setup of all parameters. The display here is in German; of course, the readout can be had in English and other languages.

Noise is on a very low level. The camera uses an APS-C-sized sensor with 12 MP with large, single RGB-cells on the sensor. The noise results are on the same level as for SLR-systems with APS-C-sized sensors, which is an excellent result for a compact camera.

At up to ISO 1600 the luminance noise is under 1.0 percent, in highest speed setting with ISO 3200 the luminance noise is only 1.25 percent. Color noise will be slightly visible in images taken with ISO 800 or higher, but remains on a low and acceptable level.

The camera got has dials on the right which will allow use of standard exposure modes like P, S, A and M (see “Comments on Handling”).

Pro:

1) Compact camera, top-quality finish

2) Nice handling, easy manual setup of aperture and shutter speed due to large dials on the top

3) Very sharp images

4) DNG-format; camera is supplied with Adobe Lightroom to convert raw files

Con:

1) Low res LCD (230.000 pixels)

2) Low saturation in standard mode

3) Optical viewfinder only as optional accessory

Very good sharpness even up to the corners of the image are visible in our standard test shot. The colors are neutral, but a little low in saturation. Dynamic range is good; the camera offers up to 10,1 f-stops in standard JPEG mode.

*This review of the Leica X1 was supplied by BetterNet to Shutterbug, the exclusive US member of TIPA (the Technical Image Press Association).

SPEC SHEET: Leica X1
BASIC TECHNICAL DATA:

 

Resolution:

4272x2856

Resolution Sensor:

12.2

Size of Sensor in mm:

23.6 x 15.8
LENSES  

Focal length (wide angle; 35 mm equivalent) in mm

36
Speed 2.8 - 2.8

Manual focus, controlled by function elements

yes
TAKING PICTURES:  

Startup time (in sec)

1.80

Shutter delay (in sec) without pre-focusing

0.90

Shutter delay (in sec) with pre-focusing

0.02

Continuous shooting speed (frames per second)

3.0

Max. burst during continuous shooting speed

6.0

Fastest shutter speed in sec

1/2000

Long time exposure/shutter speed in sec

30

Self timer

yes
Exposure Settings:  

aperture preset, shutter speed preset, manual exposure settings, automatic bracketing,

 
Exposure Programs 0
White balance:  
Auto yes
White balance settings 5
Individual white balance yes
ISO:  
ISO min 100
ISO max 3200
ISO Steps 6
manual ISO control yes
FLASH:  
Integrated flash yes
Flash Mode on, off, automatic-flash, slow-sync, anti-red-eye, rear curtain sync
External Flash:  
x-Sync: no
Accessory shoe: yes
FILE FORMATS:  
Standard file formats: JPEG, RAW, DCF
JPEG-Compression grades: 2
LCD AND PREVIEW:  
Size in inches 2.7
Resolution of LCD in pixel 230,000
Zoom-Mode during preview yes
Index during preview yes
Slideshow during preview yes
VIDEO:  
Video available no

POWER SOURCE:

 
Rechargeable battery yes
Battery type Li-Ion
Battery charger included yes
STORAGE SYSTEM:  
Supported memory cards SD-Card, SDHC-Card
PC-CONNECTION:  
PC-connection USB, HDMI
TV-Out HDMI
DIMENSIONS:  
Dimensions in mm (width x height x depth) 124 x 59 x 32
Weight in g (body without battery and memory card) 268

Contact: http://us.leica-camera.com

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