Leica X2

The new X-factor snapper

Image: Hugh Threlfall

Two years ago, I introduced you to the Leica X1, the most beautiful digital camera yet seen, with its stylistic echo of the 1925 Leica 1 model, and ridiculous ease of use and peerless image quality.

Since then, the market for retro-styled super-cameras has grown, most notably with the FujiFilm X100, which was more adaptable, had a faster lens, produced stunning photos and was cheaper. Leica came back last year with a free firmware update that boosted the X1’s functionality and image quality still further. But now they have this, the new X2, and it’s an absolute beauty.

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On the surface, it’s the same as the X1, but chunkier and even better made. This being our fashion edition, I have to say that just dangling the X2 round your neck from its sublime leather strap (the best in the world by a very long way) will almost justify the price. But the X2 brings some unshowy yet important technical enhancements, too.

It has the electronic viewfinder you see here atop the camera, which brings a new level of joy to taking photos, as opposed to posing, with the X2. If you research it, you will read that the finder is an Olympus model slightly adapted and with the price almost doubled for the Leica branding. Maybe so, but I have a feeling Leica has tweaked it electronically too.

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Other X2 enhancements? A bigger sensor and better low-light use. It also has faster focusing, which is a big deal; much improved battery life, ditto. The dials on the top have been stiffened, so the problem of accidentally changing settings (which also plagues the X100) is solved. So, for a camera that’s a work of art to hold and behold, and takes photos with a look that isn’t seen anywhere else, the X2 is probably your one. Better than the X100? In some ways, not in others. Best choice? Own both. The X2, like the X1, has no video, remember.

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