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Leica X1

The already brilliant Leica X1 now delivers even sharper pictures

Leica X1

Image: Hugh Threlfall

December 04 2011
Jonathan Margolis

I don’t often reprise products I’ve covered previously, but a firmware upgrade for the Leica X1 (reviewed here last year) has made it even more extraordinary than it was then – almost a new camera, in fact. On the surface, the only difference is that the baby of Leica’s most serious, German-made range is now available in black. But I have to say, when I read the bullet points of the X1’s upgrade (which can be applied to older X1s as well as the latest) it didn’t sound that exciting, concerning for the most part improvements to focusing. One item, however, should have taken my eye and didn’t. “Improved Jpeg image quality,” it says.

Now, the X1 already gave image quality that, courtesy of the camera’s huge sensor and Elmarit 24mm f/2.8 lens, was stark-staring obvious even to non-photography nuts. What I wasn’t quite expecting was a new level of sharpness that I don’t believe I’ve ever seen, even from DSLRs at several times the X1’s price. I actually wonder whether Leica’s engineers quite realise what they’ve achieved.

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Leica