Leica X1 - anyone with experience? Vs DSLR


macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 12, 2008
Looking for input on this camera - I have read a bunch of reviews and it overall seems to do pretty good, albeit expensive even relative to the next closest competitor in its class.

I currently have a 5DmkII and 35mm 1.4L. Its a great camera and while I don't regret buying it I do regret that I never want to take it with me. I don't mind the weight but the size makes me feel a little out of place with it most times.

An M9 is out of the question (wow $$) but given that I could buy the X1, sell my 5D/35L, and still maybe pocket a couple thousand bucks, I am tempted. Low light seems good on the X1, the fixed focal length doesn't bother me (I only use my 35L on the 5D), and if the Leica lens "draws" like the samples I have seen of the M9/Leica glass, well, its a pretty strong competitor. Granted its only a 2.8 lens, but how does it compare to "real" Leica glass? I also like that it has an APS-C size sensor compared to the other P&S' and 4/3s cameras. So I am not really looking for anything smaller like the canon S90 of G11, or even lumix models.

My major hangup is the autofocus speed. I want to still be able to catch those quick moments with fleeting children or other semi fast moving action and I am not sure the X1 is up to snuff. Has anyone used the X1 for any length of time compared to a DSLR? Again, I have read some reviews but I am curious what you all think?

And fwiw, my camera to me is sort of all purpose. Vacations, family pics, landscape, etc. I don't really shoot sports or wildlife or even macro-type shots. Lastly the video, while nice on the 5D, isn't overly user friendly. I understand the value of the DOF and the manual focusing, but to me its almost unusable when something is moving. I am sure practice would go a long way but video isn't a priority. Ultimately I know this is a personal choice but I wouldn't mind hearing what "you" would do and why.



macrumors 68020
Nov 14, 2003
Washington, DC
Have you considered the Panasonic GF1 or Olympus Pens? The difference between APS-C and 4/3rds seems less to me than the difference between $2000 and $750. Also the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens will give you over a stop advantage over the f/2.8 24mm on the Leica. Autofocus should be much better as well.


macrumors 68030
Apr 14, 2001
Sendai, Japan
I second miloblithe's suggestion: my best friend has just gotten a GF1 with the standard zoom and the pancake lens and I must say, it's a very nice camera. In fact, I got so jealous that I got out and bought a Sigma DP1 (I would prefer that the DP1 had a 35 mm equivalent lens, not 28 mm, though). Finally, I can take pictures in subways again without being noticed! If you take out your big dslr with battery grip, everyone notices when you take a picture of them, but with a small handy camera, you can just go out and shoot.

Leica's X1 is certainly a very good option -- if you have the money. I don't. Otherwise, have a loot at an Olympus or Panasonic m4/3 camera with a pancake lens.

Regarding speed, if you've been spoilt by a dslr, prepare yourself for something slower. But, in my opinion, once you accept those downsides and work with them instead of against them, you will be able to take wonderful pics. The DP1 is really slow as a camera and it made me slower as well: you think twice before making a shot. With my dslr, in case of doubt, I take another picture.
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