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Leica X1 12.2MP APS-C CMOS Digital Camera (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

3.0 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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  • Exceptionally fast wide angle, Leica Elmarit 1:2.8/24 ASPH Lens.
  • 12.2 megapixels, large APS-C size CMOS Sensor, 23.6 x 15.7 mm.
  • 3 Frames per second shooting speed- RAW & JPEG Capture, fastest in its class.
  • Fast autofocus with simple, intuitive controls and image stabilizer, as well as, automatic and maual options, plus built-in pop-up flash.
  • Made in Germany with a 2-year international warranty.
1 new from $1,999.00 10 used from $599.88

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Technical Details

Product Description

Product Description

A 12.2 megapixels digital compact camera with a Leica Elmarit lens, 1:2.8/24 ASPH. Made in Germany, the Leica X1

From the Manufacturer

Leica Camera AG presents a new generation of Leica digital cameras--the Leica X1. The Leica X1, made in Germany, is equipped with a CMOS sensor in APS-C format, similar to those used in semi-professional DSLR cameras. Together with an all-purpose Leica Elmarit 1:2.8/24 mm lens, the particularly large sensor for this class of camera offers outstanding picture quality that need not fear comparisons with professional cameras. In addition to its technical specifications and a broad spectrum of setting options ranging from manual operation to automatic functions, the Leica X1 is an ideal companion for quality-conscious and creative photographers. The camera’s compact form makes it a constant companion for spontaneously capturing the unique moments in life.

Leica X1 digital camera highlights

The X1 features a 12.2-megapixel CMOS image sensor; as each individual pixel has a large sensor area and receives more light, this guarantees low noise levels, a high dynamic range and accurate color differentiation. The crop factor of the sensor is 1.5 in comparison with 35-mm film format, meaning that the fixed-mount Leica Elmarit 1:2.8/24 mm lens of the Leica X1 is transformed into a universal reportage lens with an effective (35-mm equivalent) focal length of 36 millimeters. This is a true classic among prime lenses and has captured innumerable iconic images.

The Leica X1 is characterized by clear lines and an intensely focused design. The straightforwardness of its design, with a focus on pure essentials and a compact, handy form, is strongly reminiscent of the legendary M cameras. In combination with its famed aesthetic, the robust, all-metal construction and the tactile experience of its high-quality leather trim make the X1 a true Leica camera.

The Leica X1 has clear, intuitive functions thanks to its simple operating concept. For uncomplicated photography, the X1 offers numerous automatic functions ranging from precise autofocus to automatic exposure. When set, these functions guarantee photographers perfectly exposed, sharp images by simply pressing the shutter release. This lets the user concentrate on the creative aspects of composition and framing.

Thanks to its numerous automatic functions, the X1 remains quick and versatile in any situation. Photographers have additional creative freedom with the camera’s manual control options - both aperture and shutter speed can be selected manually to influence the final image by using the dials located in familiar positions on the top deck of the camera. Even the plane of focus can be set manually, along with white balance and various other image capture parameters. In this way, the X1 offers photographers complete manual control of the creative process while simultaneously guaranteeing rapid reaction ability with its automatic functions when required.

The large size of its image sensor, a maximum sensitivity of ISO 3200 and its large aperture make the Leica X1 an ideal choice for ‘available light’ photography when only the last rays of natural light are exist. Whether in adverse lighting conditions, or for conscious manipulation of depth of focus--the X1 offers numerous options for individual and creative composition.

The brilliant 2.7-inch display practically fills the entire back of the camera and reveals the finest details even in bright surroundings. The live-view function replaces an optical viewfinder and shows an accurate preview with all essential image information. Its "Live Mode" also makes the X1 particularly versatile for shots taken from unusual perspectives.

The Leica X1 offers a comprehensive range of accessories that expand the abilities of the camera and adapt it to the photographer’s personal photographic style: a 36-mm bright-line accessory, for instance, can be inserted in the camera’s accessory shoe and ensures a clear view without unnecessary power drain. If required, the camera display can be turned off when an accessory finder is used. In this case, a prominently placed LED indicates successful automatic focusing. In addition to the LED, there is an accessory handgrip that aids the safe and secure handling of the camera. A comprehensive range of camera cases is also available: the ever-ready case offers sufficient room for the camera (with handgrip) and features a small case attached to the carrying strap to hold the accessory finder. The high-quality transport case offers perfect protection for the camera, while the attractively designed system case has space enough for the camera and all its accessories.

The Leica X1 features a retractable flash that, in addition to simply replacing other sources of light, serves as a fill-in flash that can be synchronized to the second shutter curtain. If more power and flexibility is required, the Leica SF 24D and SF 58 system flash units are also compatible with the X1.

The Leica X1 is supplied with a battery charger and a high-performance battery, and also includes a comprehensive software package. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, a professional digital workflow solution for Apple Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows, is also one of the standard features provided with the X1. The software is available as an online download for all registered Leica X1 customers. This also ensures that the latest release is always readily available. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom offers a vast range of functions for the management, processing and presentation of digital images, quite independent of whether the images are in space-saving and fast jpeg format or in DNG format to preserve all image information. If the images from the X1 are saved as raw data in the standardized and future-proof Adobe Digital Negative Format (DNG), Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, with its sophisticated and precise processing options, guarantees direct and extremely high-quality image processing with maximized image quality.

Product Information

Product Dimensions 4.9 x 1.3 x 2.4 inches
Item Weight 10.7 ounces
Shipping Weight 5.2 pounds
Item model number X1
Batteries 1 Lithium ion batteries required.
Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #24,478 in Camera & Photo
#2,726 in Camera & Photo > Point & Shoot Digital Cameras
Date first available at August 10, 2009

Warranty & Support

Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here


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Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. Qaisar on September 4, 2010
I bought this camera in May 2010. Given the price, it took a while for me to take the plunge (I am not rich). Prior purchasing this camera, I was using DSLRs including Nikon D40, D90, Pentax K100D Super and others. I wanted something light and small without sacrificing image quality. While M4/3 format has quite a few capable offerings (Panasonic GF1, Olympus Pen) I was/am not quite convinced that this is something I wanted to invest in. With Sony Nex, the range of small cameras with DSLR like image quality has increased and this is good for all of us.

Now on to the Leica X1:

I have used this camera heavily in the past four months and have taken over 4,000 shots. In my recent trip to Europe I took over 2,000 pictures in 8 days. If you want to stop reading at this point and get to the bottom line, here it is: This camera's image quality is stunning. The details, sharpness, colors and tonality is astounding. It surpasses my Nikon D40/ + Nikon 35mm f/1.8D combination by a wide margin (yes, I realize that D40 is 4-5 times cheaper). The output of the X1 easily matches Nikon D300/D300S.


Now that we have covered image quality, let us talk about other things.

- Out of camera JPGs: Usable, but do not reflect what this camera is capable of. If you are a JPG shooter, do not bother with this camera.

- DNG (RAW) Quality: The X1 is king-kong here. Processed properly in Lightroom (which is included in the price of X1), the resultant output from the DNGs is simply breathtaking. It would not be a stretch to say that X1 can easily stand upto the likes of Canon 5D Mk II at lower ISO (100-400). A friend of mine, who is an experienced photographer remarked that the outout of the X1 has a cinema like feel.

- AF Accuracy: Very accurate.
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I have been looking at purchasing some form of Leica camera for the last year or so. Originally I was going to get a D-Lux4, but wasn't sold on the idea. The X1 was pushing my pricepoint but something about it intrigued me. I didn't know what to make of the fixed lens, the slow speed, the high price or the varying reviews. I read everything I could, watched everything on Youtube and finally decided on Friday I had to have one. I ordering with one day shipping and paced all morning long on Saturday until the doorbell rang at 11:30.

I should preface this review by saying I am a professional architectural photographer and use a Canon 5DMarkII with a variety of L glass for my day job and have been a very satisfied Canon customer for many years and will continue to be. I was looking for a walk about camera for being creative and restoring my love of photography for the sake of loving photography. I bought a Canon G11 recently and like it a lot as a tool for holidays, snaps of family etc but didn't love it or want to use it for the sake of using it.

The minute I opened the box and held the X1 in my hand I felt an urge to go out and shoot for no other reason than pure enjoyment. I charged the battery, impatiently pacing as it charged, read the instructions and then set out with a friend to Abbott Kinney in Venice for some street test shots. It has been a terrible grey weekend in LA so I thought this would really test the Leica.

It took a little while to get used to the camera just because it was different to what I was used to but once I got used to it, I realized it made perfect sense. The dials are exactly what you need, the buttons are minimal but do the right things.
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In mid-March 2010 I spent a week abroad with the Leica X1 and the Leica M9. The X1 competes well with the superlative M9 and among the results of my trip the photos taken with the X1 -- many in the fog and at night, all hand-held -- are among the best of some outstanding photos being requested by people who see them. Charging the battery using the (provided) European plug inserted in place of the American plug was (contrary to one review) much better than using a hinged American plug, which would require a separate adapter, spacing the charger too far from the bathroom wall receptacle. At home, also, photos of family and little kids moving around fast indoors at birthday party and similar events yielded an unexpectedly large number of superior photos which coulc be cropped aggressively to get a no-noise individual portrait out of a group shot. This little camera is more fun to use than most any other camera I've ever owned. I would compare it with the superlative Rollei TLR cameras of a couple of decades ago. The X1 is well worth the price.
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The greatest drawbacks with this camera are the price and that it has no optical zoom. The payback is that the image quality is astonishing - especially for a compact camera. With a large CMOS sensor as found in larger digital SLRs and 12 megapixels, you can obtain raw image files in Adobe DNG format of about 18 MB and JPEGS of about 5 MB with beautiful image quality. You don't need to magnify your images to a very large size though to see the quality of the lens. I carry my X1 in my (large) purse, and keep an optical viewfinder in the hotshoe - with the viewfinder, it is on the large side for a purse, without it would be perfect.

I have found the autofocusing and metering to be very good, but the user has everything from totally manual control of exposure and focusing to completely automated operation. I have found this camera to be excellent for landscape and close-up (not macro) work. Closest macro is only 30cm, but the results are superb. Portraits would be good I think with this camera. It's not as good at indoor party scenes, and it wouldn't be my camera of choice for sports (too slow, no zoom).

I had to relinquish my old Nikon because without reading glasses I could no longer see the 1" screen images clearly or read the menu options. This camera has a nice large 2.7" screen with big font and highly legible menu options. Note however that due to the small size of the camera, the font on the small top dials is small and difficult to read - especially in low light. However, the LCD screen shows the shutter speed and aperture stop in a slightly larger font which is more legible. This may seem trivial, but to those of us who need reading glasses but cannot wear them when out and about with a camera, this is actually a huge plus.
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