Leica X1 review

Is this the compact camera enthusiasts have been begging for?

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Leica X1 review: Our conclusion

By any standards the X1 is certainly expensive, particularly when you consider that many of its specifications are bettered elsewhere. Then again, together with the Sony NEX series of models and Sigma's DP range it's among the smallest and lightest camera to incorporate an APS-C sensor, and Leica models have the added advantage of holding their value extremely well. Crucially, what it sets out to do it does well: that is, to provide high-quality images in a small and compact body.

Still, with the arrival of Fujifilm's X100 and, to a lesser extent, Ricoh's GXR system, it's less of a unique proposition than when it first came onto the market. Unfortunately for Leica, in that time those two companies have managed to leapfrog the X1 with better-specified models delivered at a cheaper price point, and while it's true that each is affected by its own issues, for the enthusiast market they have more than just price to tempt buyers away from the X1. To that end, the best thing Leica could do now is to release a successor to the X1, with a better LCD, a revised focusing system and video recording, and perhaps even an expansion to its sensitivity range, too.

Leica X1 review: We liked

With its large sensor in a small format body – and a beautiful one at that – the X1 is a pocketable but serious camera that can deliver sharp, noise free images with a superb amount of detail.

Leica X1 review: We disliked

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.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Effective Camera Resolution12.2 Megapixel
Wide AngleYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card
Digital ZoomNo
Brand NameLeica
Screen Size6.9 cm (2.7")
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)286 g
Image Sensor Size23.60 mm x 15.80 mm
Maximum Image Resolution4272 x 2848
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height59.5 mm
Width124 mm
Depth32 mm
Focal Length24 mm
Image FormatsJPEG
Focus ModesManual
ManufacturerLeica Microsystems GmbH
Product ModelLeica X1
Product NameLeica X1 Compact Camera
Exposure Control
  • Program Automatic
  • ,li>Aperture Priority Automatic,/li>
  • Shutter Priority Automatic
  • Manual
Manufacturer Part NumberLeica X1
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.leica-camera.com
Marketing Information

The Leica X1 is now available in an elegant all-black finish that, in addition to the new colour scheme, also has a more coarsely structured leather trim than the steel-grey model. With its combination of refined styling and high-performance technical features, the LEICA X1 is the ideal companion for discerning photographers in whichever finish they prefer.

Package Contents
  • Leica X1 Compact Camera
  • Rechargeable Li-ion Battery
Limited Warranty1 Year