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Leica X2 Hands-On First Impressions Review

The Leica X2 is the latest large sensor compact camera from Leica and features improved auto focus and accessory port.

| Leica X2 in Compact Cameras

Leica X2 Hands-On First Impressions Review: Leica-x2 (1)

The Leica X2 is the latest serious compact camera from Leica, replacing the Leica X1, and features a 16.2 megapixel APS-C sensor, ISO100 to ISO12500, improved focus and is one of the smallest cameras available with a large APS-C sized sensor.

Leica X2 Features

Leica X2 Hands-On First Impressions Review: Leica-x2-black (2)

Key Features:

  • 16mp APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • Leica Elmarit 24mm f/2.8 ASPH. Lens, equivalent to 35mm
  • 2.7 inch 230k pixel screen
  • ISO100 - 12500
  • 5fps continuous shooting
  • Manual aperture / shutter controls
  • RAW Adobe DNG 
  • Pop-up flash
  • Flash hot-shoe
  • Accessory port
  • 450 shot battery life
  • Available in black or silver

Leica X2 Handling

Leica X2 Hands-On First Impressions Review: Leica-x2 (10)

Handling - Auto focus (AF) is said to be much quicker, and when we were using the camera it was certainly reasonable, although at very close focussing distances the camera occasionally struggled, causing us to revert to manual focus to be sure of a successful shot. The screen appeared quite sharp even though it's a low resolution 230k pixel screen, and it was possible to clearly see when the subject was in focus from the screen. The EVF with 1.44m dots is very clear and was a good experience with a decent refresh rate.

Leica X2 Hands-On First Impressions Review: Leica-x2 (9)

Design - The design of the camera is quite classical with a two-tone black and silver metal body, or alternatively an all-black model. Additional grip is available if needed with the optional hand-grip, although this blocks access to the bottom battery and memory card compartment and we found the camera was comfortable to use without the optional grip. The rear of the camera gives quick access to controls with dedicated WB, ISO, EV, Focus and Flash buttons, with the aperture and shutter speed dials on top of the camera.

Leica X2 Hands-On First Impressions Review: Leica-x2 (6)

Leica X2 Performance

Here are a number of sample photos from a production version of the camera, click the image to view a larger version, or click "High-Res" to view the full size originals. Additional sample photos and product shots can be found in our Equipment Database.

Leica X2 Other sample images

The camera produces very clean images with very low noise at the lower ISO settings, and detail is good with sharp crisp images possible, although we did wonder if the flash performance was a little weak. We will need to perform additional testing when we carry out a full review.

Leica X2 ISO test images

Images look very clean up to ISO800 and even ISO1600 produces good results. It's not until ISO3200 that you start to notice a decrease in image quality due to noise, although images are still very usable. At ISO6400 and above noise becomes quite dominant and further work may be needed on the images to get usable results.

Value for Money - The Leica X2 is available for £1575 - this makes it very expensive for a compact camera with a large sensor, more expensive than the Leica X1, and the nearest competitor, the Fujifilm X100 with APS-C sensor is available for around £649, and while it may not be as compact, it offers a built in optical / electronic viewfinder, brighter f/2 lens and excellent build quality, as well as a much lower price. Alternatives to look at include the new Sony Cybershot RX100 with 1 inch sensor with an RRP of £550, or a mirrorless compact system camera.

Leica X2 Verdict

The Leica X2 is one of the most compact cameras available with an APS-C sensor, and with a stylish body it features improved resolution, design and importantly focus speed. However, since the introduction of the X1, there are now a number of alternatives available that offer a large sensor such as the Fujifilm X100, as well as numerous mirrorless cameras for a fraction of the price of the X2. From what we've seen so far, the X2 offers excellent image quality with low noise up to ISO3200, but without video and an optional electronic viewfinder it may only appeal to Leica fans, or those with a large wallet. Find out more when we get our hands-on the camera for our full review shortly.

Leica X2 Specifications

Max Aperturef/2.8 - f/16
35mm equivalent35mm
Optical Zoom0x
Image Sensor
Pixels16.5Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4928
Pixels (H)3264
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor SizeAPS-C
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 3:2
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor2.7in
Screen resolution230k
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus30cm
Focusing modes
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • Multi
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 12500
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-3
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting5fps
Movie modeNo Data
Video Resolution
    Video FPSNo Data
    Stereo SoundNo Data
    Optical Zoom with VideoNo
    Other Features
    Image StabilisationNo
    USBUSB 2
    Card Type
    • SD
    • SDHC
    • SDXC
    File Type
    • RAW
    • JPG
    • RAW + JPG
    Power Source
    Battery TypeLithium-ion
    Battery Life (CIPA rating)450shots
    Box Contents
    Box ContentsBattery (Leica BP-DC8), battery charger (Leica BC-DC8), battery case, leather carrying strap, USB cable, lens cap, user manual.

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    Photographs taken using the Leica X2

    A postcard from RegensburgFast Food (Part III)Regensburg AbstractFast Food (Part II)"The Lovers of Regensburg"Fast FoodThe Catherine GardenPalace SquareChurchGateThe Lakebeech forestsunderwaterII YTILAERYTILAER

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