The Leica X1 – Lustworthy

2011 PhotoPlus Camera Reviews Events Featured Leica Point and Shoot

The Leica X1 - LustworthyIn spite of its $2000 price tag and fixed prime lens, the Leica X1 is still 100% lust worthy. I wouldn’t mind finding one in my Christmas stocking, Santa. The Leica X1 is a (very) high-end compact camera with a Leica Elmarit 24mm f/2.8 lens and a big 12-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor. The 24mm lens is equivalent to a 36mm on a 35m or full frame camera – a traditional focal length for travel, candid portrait and street photography. The X1 also has full manual exposure controls and a retro body design that’s an obvious nod to the historic Leica M-rangefinder cameras. You might even call it a mini M9.

Leica X1 - It's Like A Mini M9

Superstar New York commercial photographer Bob Scott and I visited with Leica at the PhotoPlus Expo this year and checked out the X1. Bob actually attended the Leica X1 / M9 launch event back in September 2009 and wrote a detailed report on the X1 (Bob Scott’s Leica X1 Intro). It’s not a pocket camera and it doesn’t have a zoom so it’s not going to appeal to everyone. But for serious photographers who value a great lens, manual controls and know how to compose with a prime and zoom with their feet, the Leica X1 will be a definite object of desire. Bob’s already a Leica M8 digital rangefinder owner so I have no doubt he’s trying to figure out how to convince his wife he needs an X1, too.

Bob Models The Leica X1


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About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.

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  • Wayne Rokicki says:

    Good luck with this camera.

    I’ve returned my, twice, for repairs and need to return it a third time.

    To date, some of the leatherette peeled off, the eyelet that holds the neck strap fell off, and installation of the V2.0 firmware update broke the camera. Now, the slider that holds the battery in place has cracked and needs to be replaced.

  • Photo-John says:

    Sorry to hear about your bad experience with the X1, Wayne. I would certainly expect a better build than you’re describing. How did you find the image quality and performance before the firmware problem?

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