Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Just what is it about the Leica X1? There’s no putting it...

Just what is it about the Leica X1? There’s no putting it down.

Leica’s oldie digital, the X1, snaps into action as the River Thames bursts its banks — but it leaves selfies to the upstart smartphone (Photo Mike Evans)
  Now there are none. John
Now there are none. John’s new X1: Could it be the last of the Mohicans?

There is a corner of my heart permanently roped off for the Leica X1. This little camera is now nearly eight years old but it seems to retain a faithful following among photographers. It isn’t the best, it isn’t the fastest (no way on that score….) and it isn’t the most convenient. But it survives and I am now in touch with a clutch of confirmed X1 groupies for whom even the EVF-entitled X2 is a shot too far.

Yet after all these years it’s a surprise to find that new X1s are still being sold. Regular reader — and inveterate X1 groupie — John Wilson from New York State has just upgraded to a brand new version. Not for him the faster X2, nor the tarted up X-E. No, John wants the simplicity and purity of the original 35mm-equivalent fixed-lens shooter and he found his dream at Willoughby’s camera centre.

My own X1 will probably never been sold. Despite owning a direct and more competent competitor, the Ricoh GR, not to mention a clutch of m4/3 stuff, I still find myself returning to the X1 every few weeks.

So join with me in wishing John loads of fun and picturing with his new old X1. Incidentally, with an eye on Wilson and Shingleton, are all X1 fans called John? If so, I am happy to be the honourable exception to the rule.



  1. Thank you for the Shout Out and you and John S are truly exceptional and honourable individuals! Without your and his sites and instagrams the world of Leica and photography would be a much poorer place. Thanks for my continuing education curriculum.

  2. While I never owned an X1 and the X2 was my first "real" Leica digital (after the D-Lux 4 and 6) I have never used the EVF of the X2 and continue to pick it up for daily casual use in preference to my M for convenience and weight. For the same reasons I recently purchased a used almost mint X-Vario from Tamarkin and this too has proved itself for New York city shooting. The GR, which, like the X-Vario, I admit I bought after reading many of your posts, is a great pocket companion – but my X2 performs better in lower light and is great for conversations at parties…
    all the best
    Tony Vidler

  3. Tamarkin great place do business got my new X2 whn I retired and used X1 last year now w this new X1 I will be in Leica Heaven!

  4. Enjoy I know people that love them. I came to Leica on the X 113, and bought preowned, and I love it, and so glad I came across.. Now I am saving for a Q, but will road test before I ever buy – just in case I still prefer the X 113 over the Q.. you never know…

  5. Mike , I think that the answer to your "John" question is that John was very popular name for about ten years many years ago and as all the X1 enthusiasts seem to be of advancing years-or even advanced years-one can only surmise that most of them were born in the age of "John". Your parents obviously were more discerning when it came to choosing names….

  6. Hi, I’m a new subscriber and saw this thread while lurking about.
    I’ve gone through a recent journey regarding aps-c compacts. Firstly, an X100s, then the X100T replacing it. The X100T never felt quite right in hand, unlike the X100s for some reason. I then decided to go with an X70 or the Ricoh GR II and I chose the latter. Wonderful cameras all, but I found an opportunity to get a Leica X1 with OVF, grip, and case for a very reasonable price and it has comfortably replaced all the above. For what I like to shoot I can’t fault it, and the files are more pleasing to my eye. The OVF is better than the wizbang Fujifilm X100 EVF/OVF IMO.
    I now have added a D-Lux typ 109 to complement the X1 with its copious bells and whistles and versatility. The X1 is the one I grab going out the door most of the time. Sure, it’s "slow", but compared to what? My old Fed 2 with its dim rangefinder? Not really..depends on where you’re coming from.

    • Thanks, Dean, and welcome to Macfilos. Since this is an old thread it’s not likely to get any response but I thought I’d chip in to say that I agree with you. I have other cameras, full frame, aps-c and Micro four-thirds — including the little GR. But the X1 is something special and I entirely agree with your comment. I pick it up frequently, especially when I just want a competent camera “just in case”.. the speed doesn’t bother me. I also agree on the D-Lux/LX100 — another underrated but very competent camera with a big sensor for its size.


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