As I begin my review of the Leica X Vario camera I want to briefly talk about the two previous cameras offered in the “X Series,” the Leica X1 and X2. First up is the X1.
The Leica X1 was introduced on September 9, 2009 (9/9/09) and was the first Leica compact camera made in Germany. It is not a rebranded Panasonic camera. The X1 is the first Leica camera that I owned and I still do. I was using an Olympus OM-D m43rd’s camera at the time but was interested in trying a Leica. I had heard about the great images that Leica cameras produce and I wanted to find out for myself. I found a mint X1 on Craig’s List and after meeting the owner and briefly trying the camera, I purchased it with the original box and all accessories, including an extra battery, for $950. At the time of this writing that seems to be about where the X1 is running price wise- in mint condition.
When I tried it for the first time I loved the way it fit my hand. The controls are easy to navigate and operate and I have never had to look at the manual to figure out how to set it up or use it. This is completely different than my experience with the Olympus OM-D which is extremely confusing to set up and the menus are not easy to use at all.
The X1 is a fixed lens camera with an excellent Leica Elmarit 24mm 2.8 lens and an APS-C sensor . I find the controls to be very intuitive along with the menus. I was going to do an in-depth review of the X1 but there are many already on the internet. Anything I would write would be redundant at this point especially considering it is going to be four years old at the end of this year. If you are interested in an excellent, in-depth review check out the review on Photography Blog by Mark Goldstein.
I love the camera except and this is a big except- it is slow as can be. It is slow at everything including taking and writing a pic. It is slow at formatting. It is slow when auto focusing. It is slow. Then why would I or anyone else purchase this camera? Simply put, it reproduces great photographs. Really, isn’t that what photography is all about? I love my X1, I just had to learn ways around certain things like the slow auto focus. For my street photography I use zone focusing. This has solved the problem for the most part.
Next up I will write about the X1’s successor, the X2. After that the current X camera from Leica, the X Vario.