Leica X-E (Typ 102) Review

 
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Basic Specifications
Full model name: Leica X-E (Typ 102)
Resolution: 16.20 Megapixels
Sensor size: APS-C
(23.7mm x 15.6mm)
Lens: Non-Zoom
(36mm eq.)
Viewfinder: No / LCD
Native ISO: 100 - 12,500
Extended ISO: 100 - 12,500
Shutter: 1/2000 - 30 seconds
Max Aperture: 2.8
Dimensions: 4.9 x 2.7 x 2.0 in.
(124 x 69 x 52 mm)
Weight: 12.2 oz (345 g)
includes batteries
Availability: 09/2014
Manufacturer: Leica
Full specs: Leica X-E (Typ 102) specifications
16.20
Megapixels
Non-Zoom APS-C
size sensor
image of Leica X-E (Typ 102)
Front side of Leica X-E (Typ 102) digital camera Front side of Leica X-E (Typ 102) digital camera Front side of Leica X-E (Typ 102) digital camera Front side of Leica X-E (Typ 102) digital camera Front side of Leica X-E (Typ 102) digital camera

Leica X-E (Typ 102) Review -- First Impressions

by
Preview posted

Announced alongside the brand-new Leica X, the Leica X-E (Typ 102) further hones a strategy that began with the Leica M-E. That camera was near-identical to its predecessor, the Leica M9, but with a couple of features removed and a new, lower pricetag. Now the Leica X-E (Typ 102) arives, and in a nutshell, it's a Leica X2 by a new name.

This time around, there are no feature subtractions that we can see: If you're already familiar with that camera, you already know everything you need to know about this one bar the price. Instead, the Leica X-E (Typ 102) is all about retaining existing, proven technology, and making it a little more affordable.

Normally we come to the price and availability at the end of these previews, but for those of you who already know what we're dealing with here, we'll come straight to the meat of the story. The Leica X-E (Typ 102) is available immediately, and it costs around US$1,800, some US$200 (10%) less than did the Leica X2.

Made in Germany, the Leica X-E (Typ 102) is based around a 16.2-megapixel, APS-C sized CMOS image sensor paired to a 24mm f/2.8 prime lens, offering a 36mm-equivalent focal length after accounting for the sensor's focal length crop. Sensitivity ranges from ISO 100 to 12,500 equivalents, with burst capture speeds of three to five frames per second, and a buffer depth of just eight JPEG Fine or DNG raw frames.

Autofocus is catered for with an 11--point contrast-detection system that also offers single-point and face detection modes. Images are metered using multi-segment, center-weighted or spot metering, and exposure modes are much as you'd expect on an expensive, enthusiast-oriented camera: Program, Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority or Manual. There's also +/-3EV of exposure compensation in 1/3 EV steps, and bracketing with a 1/3 to 3EV step size and a limit of three exposures.

The Leica X-E (Typ 102) also retains its predecessor's now very dated 2.7-inch, 230,000 dot (320 x 240 pixel) LCD monitor, which out of the box is the only optional available for framing or reviewing images. An optional Visoflex EVF2 viewfinder is also available, and provides a much higher resolution of 1,440,000 dots (800 x 600 pixels). It costs a steep US$500, but as it's simply a rebadged Olympus VF-2, you can use that accessory instead at half the price, if you don't need the word Leica emblazoned across the front.

The downside to the viewfinder accessory is that it mounts in the flash hot shoe, but you do at least have a built-in, popup flash strobe as a backup. Alternatively, without the viewfinder mounted you can use standard shoe-mount flash strobes for more reach and versatility.

It seems incredible in 2014, but the Leica X-E (Typ 102) lacks any support for movie capture. Still images, though, can be stored in 110MB of built-in memory, or on Secure Digital cards including SDHC types. A high-definition HDMI video output is provided, along with USB 2.0 High Speed data. Power comes from a proprietary lithium-ion rechargeable battery, and the X-E (Typ 102) is rated as good for 450 shots on a charge. (No mention is made of whether this is tested in compliance with CIPA testing standards, however.)

One nice touch: Adobe's Photoshop Lightroom is included in the product bundle, or rather, available as a free download after registering your camera.

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