Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Remarkable survival of the Leica X1 and X2

Remarkable survival of the Leica X1 and X2


Wayne Gerlach’s story about his “monochrome duo,” the Leica X1 and X2, highlights a remarkable fact about these little cameras. They just refuse to die and have become real digital classics.

Lots were sold but used ones are now almost as difficult to find as hen’s teeth. I was reminded of this when I saw a nice all-black X1 with 35 mm OVF on sale at Red Dot Cameras in London last week

It was up for £499 and this seems to be par for the course these days. When they do come on the market, they are soon snapped up. Often the buyer has owned one years ago but has always had a soft spot for the cute Barnack-format fixed-lens digital.

The X1 and the X2 (which ups the sensor size from 12 to 16MP and adds the ability to use an electronic viewfinder) are both very desirable these days. If you are not a Leica fan you probably wouldn’t think so — there are so many good alternatives around that you are stuck for choice.

For the record, the X1/2 was also branded as the Leica X-E towards the end of its production life.

Autofocus on the X1/2 cameras is slow by modern standards and the screen is a real vintage device similar to that of the M9 rangefinder camera. But the simplicity of these cameras shine through, with easy-to-see physical controls and a superior lens which continues to perform as well as ever.

Towards the end of its life, the X2 became the X-E with a silver finish. The camera accepts a VF-1 electronic viewfinder but the above illustration features a Leica optical viewfinder

Wayne’s suggestion of setting up either of these cameras as a monochrome device, perhaps as a second fiddle to your regular camera, is definitely something worth considering. I’m going to give it a try, using my X2, and see where it goes.

The images in this article were all taken in Beijing in April 2013 when the X2 was new. Six years later it is still in demand.

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  1. I am loving this monochrome medley that has started on here with these little gems, I have a day out next week, and intend to take my newly converted x typ 113 monochrome. I will report back how things pan out.

  2. Perhaps strictly speaking, Mike, the X113 is the fixed lens variant of the X Vario produced to use up a surplus of XV bodies after the decision to discontinue the latter. At least, I heard that story somewhere. And haptically the 113 is not the gem that the X1 and X2 are, though it has other tricks up its sleeve.

  3. I had an X2 back in 2013, sold it and regretted it. Bought an X-E as a recently discontinued closeout and have enjoyed it ever since.

    On a recent trip to the UK I usually carried my Leica M-D and 28 and 50mm Leica lenses, but for casual evenings out I would leave the M kit at the hotel and stuff the little X into a pocket. Even when using the M, the X was always ready in the pocket and saw frequent use in the hands of strangers when my wife and I wanted to be the in picture.

    Set with everything on automatic is really is just a simple point and shoot, but used manually it more than held my interest for serious work when I couldn’t be bothered with a bigger or heavier camera.

  4. Hi Michael. Lovely crisp images. The left-right angles make composition special in the first photo. And the primary subject of the little girl amongst her older folk in the tai chi class makes that image especially humanly engaging.
    Separately, significant credit is due in another direction. The idea of having a Leica X permanently set up for monochrome was stimulated by Macfilos reader John Loker’s comment on the earlier monochrome duo posting.

  5. I’ve had an X2 for a long time, since they were first introduced and I’ve had a lot of fun with it. I love M Series cameras and think my M10 is the bee’s knees but would never part with the X2. I love having something to “grab & go,” it always gives me great travel shots if I’m having to pack light. I love the 35mm lens set up which I find ideal. I have always thought about buying a Q (and now the Q2) but I’ve always been put off by the 28mm lens set up.
    Sadly the battery/SD Card door on the base has been damaged and every time I have to open it, it is the devil’s own job to get it fastened again. Where to have it repaired cheaply? Does anyone have ideas? Certainly I’m not parting with it!

    • The common fault on the X1 and X2 is the spring that holds the battery in place falling out and getting lost. It’s a simple matter to replace, though. I’m not sure about your problem. Where are you based?

  6. I had the spring replaced by Leica in NJ for free and after a year it broke again. Since the camera is operational without the spring, I gave up and just shoot with it as-is.

  7. Hi there,

    I commented on this article in April. In an E Mail you hinted you wou like a replacement X. I noticed that Dale Photograghic (on-line & store in the Merrion Centre, Leeds) have a used X@ for sale.


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