Leica X (Typ 113) Review

 
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Basic Specifications
Full model name: Leica X (Typ 113)
Resolution: 16.20 Megapixels
Sensor size: APS-C
(23.7mm x 15.6mm)
Lens: Non-Zoom
(35mm eq.)
Viewfinder: No / LCD
Native ISO: 100 - 12,500
Extended ISO: 100 - 12,500
Shutter: 1/2000 - 30 seconds
Max Aperture: 1.7
Dimensions: 5.2 x 2.9 x 3.1 in.
(133 x 73 x 78 mm)
Weight: 17.1 oz (486 g)
includes batteries
Availability: 09/2014
Manufacturer: Leica
Full specs: Leica X (Typ 113) specifications
16.20
Megapixels
Non-Zoom APS-C
size sensor
image of Leica X (Typ 113)
Front side of Leica X (Typ 113) digital camera Front side of Leica X (Typ 113) digital camera Front side of Leica X (Typ 113) digital camera Front side of Leica X (Typ 113) digital camera Front side of Leica X (Typ 113) digital camera

Leica X (Typ 113) Review -- First Impressions

by
Preview posted

At the Photokina 2014 trade show in Germany, Leica unveiled a successor to its Leica X2, which remains in the product line under a new name as the Leica X-E (Typ 102). The followup Leica X (Typ 113) is still based around a 16.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS image sensor, but it's significantly bigger, heavier camera than that which it follows, and brings several worthwhile improvements to the table.

Before you rush off to place your order, though, you'll want to consider that increase in bulk and heft, because it's greater than photos would make it appear. Width has increased by a third-inch (9mm), height by about 0.2 inches (4mm), and depth by more than an inch (26.5mm), while weight has risen by five ounces (141g), loaded and ready to shoot. The Leica X2 was already a coat-pocket camera, but the X (Typ 113) is even more so.

But for that increase in dimensions, you get a brand-new lens that, courtesy of a more complicated optical formula of 10 elements in eight groups (two of them aspherics), will capture more light than ever. The new lens has a focal length of 23mm (or 35mm-equivalent, when compared to a 35mm camera body), just slightly wider than the previous 24mm optic.

The difference in maximum aperture is much more significant, though: Where the X2 had an already-bright f/2.8 max. aperture, the Leica X (Typ 113) sports an f/1.7 aperture. That's good news for available-light shooting, and also if you're a fan of isolating your subjects with depth-of-field blur. You're quite a bit wider than the typical portrait lens, though, so don't picture a tightly-cropped portrait with a blurred background -- at least, unless you want the distorted facial features of a wide-angle portrait to match. Instead, think of the macro possibilities, which are also increased thanks to a shorter 20cm focusing distance, versus the 30cm of the X2 / X-E (Typ 102)'s lens.

The new optic is clearly the big story, but there are also a couple of other tweaks. Most notably, the Leica X (Typ 113) answers our criticism of the previous-generation camera with a larger, higher-resolution LCD monitor. The new 3.0-inch, 920,000 dot (~640 x 480 pixel) LCD monitor is merely par for the course these days, but it's a much better option than the positively archaic 2.7-inch, 230,000 dot (320 x 240 pixel) LCD of the earlier camera.

Also new is the ability to capture videos, and while again, this is something that is taken for granted on much more affordable cameras than the Leica X (Typ 113), it's still good to see the box checked in the next-generation camera. You'll be able to record at Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels; 1080p) or HD (1,280 x 720 pixels; 720p) resolution, with a fixed rate of 30 frames per second.

Accompanying these changes are the removal of the 110MB internal memory in the Leica X2 -- the new model relies solely on Secure Digital cards, as do most cameras these days -- and a shortening of battery life. The good news on the storage front is that the Leica X (Typ 113) now supports SDXC cards, as well as the SDHC types that its predecessor was compatible with.

The drop in battery life from 450 to 350 frames is surprising, though, given the most significant power-robbing change is the somewhat-larger LCD. It means you'll get about 22% fewer shots between charges, so a second battery would be a wise purchase.

In other respects, the Leica X (Typ 113) is much like its predecessor, sharing the same 16.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS image sensor, 11-point autofocus system, five frames-per-second burst performance, and exposure features as its predecessor.

The Leica X (Typ 113) is available immediately. Pricing hasn't been officially disclosed, but retailers are currently asking around US$2,300 for the camera, which is an increase of about US$300 (15%) over pricing for the earlier camera.

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