Leica X1 – first impressions

Yesterday we spent an hour in the company of the Leica X1, the luxury camera maker’s latest compact. Priced at a shade under £1,400 and equipped with

Yesterday we spent an hour in the company of the Leica X1, the luxury camera maker’s latest compact. Priced at a shade under £1,400 and equipped with a fixed 24mm (i.e. non-zoom) lens and 12.2-megapixel DSLR-sized CMOS sensor, it’s very much the antithesis of the average compact camera. Or is it?

Wandering the streets of Mayfair snapping away (and trying to avoid getting arrested under anti-terrorism laws), it quickly became clear that the X1 is a very different beast to the likes of the Olympus PEN and Panasonic GF1. The lens might be fixed, but it’s tack sharp and delivers beautifully detailed, low noise shots in conjunction with the huge sensor.

Equivalent to 36mm on a film camera, the lens makes the X1 perfect for reportage/street photography – think Henri Cartier-Bresson – and the camera itself is a joy to use.

There are full manual controls, natch, but amateur snappers can flick everything to auto and still capture great scenes.

Check out some of our photos below and look out for a full review soon.