The X2 is the latest compact camera from Leica housing a DSLR sensor (APS-C CMOS), and offers full manual control like that found in a DSLR camera. Thanks to dials placed on the X2, it is really easy to change the shutter speed and focal length. In many compact cameras and some DSLR cameras, these functions are frequently hidden under the menus where you really have to browse through the menus just to change the shutter speed. In my personal opinion, the design of Leica X2 is really ergonomic and makes it extremely easy to control the settings.
The principal functions of the Leica X2 are namely automatic program (P), automatic aperture priority (A), automatic shutter priority (S), and manual setting (M). You choose the appropriate menu by selecting the A mode on the dial or by selecting the desired values. Of course, you need to be familiar with photography to get the most out of these settings; otherwise the results may not be at their full potential. However, having these easy controls will also allow you to become familiar with the fundamentals of photography with ease.
The main advantage of the APS-C sensor within the X2 is the improved image quality thanks to the ability of larger sensors, which bring in more light than those, which are smaller ones. Even in low light conditions. Moreover, you don’t need to bear the extra weight of a DSLR camera, and fundamentally the Leica X2 is a camera with a DSLR sensor, which can fit right into your pocket.
The Elmarit 24 mm f/2.8 ASPH lens is Leica made as well and is comprised of, 8 elements in 6 groups, as well as 1 aspheric element. The 8 elements are a major plus for improved picture quality, when you have less elements in a lens, the light received by the sensor gets better. Moreover, the f/2.8 value (it goes up to 16) enables the sensor to receive more light, which creates blurred backgrounds.
Also, the Elmarit lens gives you amazing results and extreme sharpness and detail on the pictures. This does not happen coincidently as Leica is renowned as one of the best lens manufacturers in the world and their lenses are used in a wide range of areas.
The ISO levels on the Leica X2 are; 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, and 12500. However I never needed to use more than ISO 400 as the APS-C sensor receives a lot of light in any conditions. Even in low light, the Leica X2 produces very good pictures. Back to ISO levels, it is not good to use high ISO levels, because this increases the noise level in the picture and reduces the quality. Therefore, go for the lowest ISO level, mount the cameras on a tripod, reduce the aperture value and increase the shutter speed. For the X2, Leica should have a lower ISO than ISO 100, because in many cases the camera receives more than enough light and I felt the lack of a lower than ISO 100 level.
Image saving formats are DNG and JPG with fine and super fine levels. However, the Leica X2 does not enable you to save solely to DNG files, but you have to save with a JPEG copy as well. Unfortunately, this consumes memory space and extra work to delete JPEG files when you transfer the pictures into your computer.
Lastly, I really like the gold-coated USB connection port and the battery performance. Gold is the most conductive material and improves the data transfer speeds! Other disadvantages of the X2 include no video recording facility, but this is of course not critical for everyone. Another point is that the macro focus range starts from 30 cm and sometimes you may struggle but not a big problem as well. Many people never use macro function at all.
Every product has downsides but you can compensate these with the superior advantages. This is especially relevant to the Leica X2, which boasts great ergonomics, ease of use, and superb picture quality, which of course cannot be ignored. Also the battery performance was more than adequate. I did not need to recharge the battery for two days.
Finally, Leica X2 is an excellent camera from packaging to picture quality. You will not be disappointed with your purchase, and also you will have a DSLR performance that can fit into your pocket without any extra weight and a complex menu structure. Also, during the events I attended with Leica X2, you will be treated as a professional photographer and receive plenty of attention!
Photos were taken in: Birmingham City Centre, University of Birmingham Business School, Main Campus and Vale Village Mason Hall, London SMMT.
The price of Leica X2 is £1500 and more information is available on Leica's website.
The rest of the photos are in Cars & Life Facebook Album.
Train travelling around 200 km/h