Leica X1 digital cameras

The Leica X1 is a beautifully constructed hybrid digital camera with a great quality lens, but is it worth the hefty price tag?

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
Leica X1
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Large sensor, takes amazing images

Cons

  • Expensive, no interchangeable lens system

Bottom Line

The Leica X1 is beautifully engineered, and enjoys solid yet lightweight metal construction. It has a great quality lens and is capable of delivering almost three dimensional lifelike images. So what's not to like? Er, have you seen the price? Also users are 'stuck' with the one lens.

Would you buy this?

Leica is known for the exquisite craftsmanship of its cameras and for the hefty price tag that accompanies them. The story here is exactly that: the Leica X1’s knobs and dials recall a traditional Rangefinder camera such as the Leica M8 beloved of photo enthusiasts while the $2799 price tag will be enough to make all but the truly smitten blanche. Quality costs, as they say, and we can’t help but admire how the camera body incorporates a disc-shaped flash that rises effortlessly when pressed gently.

We were also delighted to find the Leica X1 incorporates a 12.9Mp APS-C sized sensor. This sensor is as large as those found in most consumer digital SLRs. This proves the rule that the bigger the chip the greater the light-gathering property and the better the resulting images.

Despite a robust all-metal build the Leica X1 manages not to feel like a dead weight in the hand. It can be used in automatic mode as a point-and-shoot camera – though you’re unlikely to buy such a pricey and capable model for this purpose. Manual adjustments to shutter speed and aperture are made via chunky top plate dials rather than tabbing through onscreen menus. If you know what you want to achieve it’s fairly fast and easy to use. Most importantly, if you need the ultimate in picture quality, it’s worth spending the extra that the Leica demands to get it.

Panasonic Micro Four Thirds cameras equipped with Leica lenses trumped close competitors in the Olympus' PEN range in past tests. Their pin-sharp detail and smooth film-like colour tones proved exceptional. The Leica X1 ramps up the effect still further. The results we got using it were stunning. Yes, it’s costly and – perhaps just as much of an issue for some – the 24mm lens on the front, (equivalent to 36mm on a 35mm camera), cannot be changed. But it’s a Leica lens, and that comes with its own cachet.

There are sacrifices to be made. The close focus distance is around 30cm and there’s no movie mode on the Leica X1.

Another disappointment is that while the 2.7in LCD is generous enough in size, its 230K dot resolution is no better than you’ll find on point-and-shoot cameras. Still as we’ve noted image quality is what counts and on that score the Leica X1 produces crisp results that are more life-like and less obviously digital in origin than we’re used to seeing.

Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Read more on these topics: Leica, photography, digital cameras
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?