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5 classic Leica digitals to buy and keep

The third iteration of the T, the TL2, is the one to go for if you can afford it. But any T is a great photographic tool and works extremely well with manual-focus M lenses. Both silver, as here, and anodized black bodies are available. I prefer the black.

One of the curious facts about digital Leicas is that they seem to retain their allure when the products of most other brands have fallen off the perch. How else could you explain the 11-year-old and now outclassed Leica X1 still being in demand and still fetching upwards of £500 on the used market? You can get a lot of modern camera for that, but then it wouldn’t be an old Leica and you’d probably lose your money in no time.

Firing on all cylinders

In digital camera terms, ten years is like several generations of human endeavour. It took 50 years to get from the M3 to the M7, but in the last decade, we have seen staggering advances. As a result, starting in 2010 gives us lots to work on. Fortunately, you’ll find that most of the Leica digitals sold in the decade are still firing on all cylinders and certainly haven’t made it to the charity shops. What’s more, Leica’s service is always there if anything goes wrong – even though it can be pricey unless it’s a simple fix.

Buying an old Leica digital is definitely not a daft idea. You get the Leica Geist, whichever way you value that; you get a camera that handles well, looks the part and still produces great pictures.

Long in tooth but still sharp

Some of these cameras may be a bit long in the tooth, but you can buy with some confidence that the depreciation will be less than it would be for a modern camera, even a Leica. You need to go back only a little further – 16 years to be precise – and you’ll find the 2004 Leica Digilux 2 still with its fans. One of these could cost as much as the more recent X1 and this bodes well for the retained value of the cameras in this list.

So what is my pick for the five top buys in used digital Leicas? I’ve owned all these cameras with the exception of the TL2 (although I did own the T). So I choose with feeling. You probably won’t agree with my choice, but let’s discuss.

1The Leica X1: Macfilos has probably devoted more space to the little X1 than to any other camera – thanks largely to the enthusiasm of John “Mr X1” Shingleton in New South Wales. He’s been using this camera for the whole of the decade and still swears by it. In fact, he’s probably the world’s leading proponent for the little Eks-one. So it would be churlish not to include it in the list.

The X1, introduced in 2009, was compared with the original Barnack Leica in terms of size and appearance. This is Mike's "keeper" model fitted with the Leica 36mm optical viewfinder.
The X1, introduced in 2009, was compared with the original Barnack Leica in terms of size and appearance. This is Mike’s “keeper” model fitted with the Leica 36mm optical viewfinder.

But it does deserve its place, even without John’s prompting. It was the first of the APS-C fixed-lens digital compacts when it was introduced in September 2009. It came ahead of Fuji’s X100 (was the X designation a coincidence, I sometimes wonder, or a nod to Leica’s pioneering concept). I really wish Leica had continued to develop this camera over the years. I suspect that, brought up to date, it would still sell well.

The X1 has always been one of the prettiest real Leicas – that is, a Leica made in Europe – and its appearance and feel take us right back to the earliest Barnack Leica of the late nineteen-twenties. It has very simple controls, with bold shutter speed and aperture dials in full view on the top plate. The extending 35mm f/2.8 Elmarit lens is sharp and very competent. It produces great results, even with the original 12MP sensor.

Buy a Leica X1 for around £450 and you won’t regret it

Some will say that the lack of an electronic viewfinder is the biggest failing of the X1. Yet it is a failure shared with all Leica’s APS-C cameras right up to the latest model, the CL. Adding a viewfinder would have increased the body size and the compact dimensions are one of the X1’s greatest assets. The external 36mm Leica viewfinder does a great job, however, despite its bulk. It provides a large, corrected image which is ideal for composition; and the little green focus confirmation light just below the hot-shoe is always in peripheral vision. A curiosity of the X1 and some other early Leica digitals was that you couldn’t shoot DNG only, you couldn’t turn off JPEG processing.

I’ve been using an X1 off and on for most of the past ten years and the camera is generally reliable. It has one fault, though – the spring on the battery-retaining catch can pop out and get lost. It’s happened to me twice, once on the X1 and once on the X2, and John Shingleton has also had a failure. It’s a small repair job, either at Leica or at a specialised repairer.

If the lack of an EVF is a deal-breaker, look at the later X2 with its 16MP sensor, faster autofocus and the ability to use the tilting VF-2 finder.

2The Leica M9 Monochrom: It is hard to imagine the excitement in Berlin in 2012 when a monochrome version of the M9 was announced to a bemused photographic press. Why would anyone want to make a black-and-white-only camera? And charge more for it than its colour sibling? Yet, over the past eight years, Leica has done very-nicely-thank-you out of this exceeding niche design. We’re now on the third iteration, the M10M, and sandwiched between was the B&W take on the M240.

The Mark I Monochrom, introduced in late 2012, is stil highly desirable. This camera is wearing the 50mm Apo-Summicron-M lens which was designed specifically wiht the Monochrom in mind.
The Mark I Monochrom, introduced in late 2012, is still highly desirable. This camera is wearing the 50mm Apo-Summicron-M lens which was designed specifically with the Monochrom in mind.

The classic, though, is likely to remain the first model, based on the M9 and with its no-live-view CCD sensor. Later models have all sported the more modern CMOS sensor. I’ve listened to cogent arguments (from people who should know) who claim that the architecture of the CCD sensor is better suited to monochrome. Indeed, and any comparison between the two at a meeting of Leica enthusiasts is likely to be very lively.

Despite the attractions of the bigger sensor and better everything, this original Monochrom is still in demand even by people with enough money to go out and buy an M10M. They don’t even seem to mind that the screen (similar to that on the X1) is low-def and belongs definitely in 2009.

By rights, this old dodderer should have been snoozing quietly in a rocking chair at the Dun-Snappin Old Camera Home, boring everyone with its images in 50 shades grey. But no, the 2012 Monochrom is still spritely and very desirable. It’s still the lust object of many a discerning photographer and it’s a delight to use.

One word of warning if you are seeking one of these cameras. Both the M9 and M9 Monochrom suffered from corrosion on the sensor. Leica tackled this problem head-on and most second-hand cameras should have had their sensors changed. However, up to the end of 2015, the cameras received new versions of the old sensor, something which clearly raises the possibility of repeat corrosion. From the beginning of 2016, however, returned cameras were fitted with a completely new sensor which is apparently immune from corrosion.

Price guide: £2,300 (with sensor from January 2016 onwards)

So, if buying an early Monochrom make sure that you get evidence of sensor replacement and, just as important, the date the work was carried out by Leica. If you have any doubts, Leica can tell you the precise status of any camera simply by checking the serial number.

The Leica X Vario, often unappreciated, but loved by its owners. There are very few on the used market, an indication that owners regard it as a keeper which will not plummet in value.
The Leica X Vario, often unappreciated, but loved by its owners. There are very few on the used market, an indication that owners regard it as a keeper which will not plummet in value.

3The Leica X Vario: Despite the naysayers, the X Vario is one of the outstanding Leica products of the past ten years. If anything is destined to become a classic digital, this is it. It was never the most successful of cameras and was almost strangled at birth by the ill-advised “Mini M” publicity campaign.

Forget all that, and the X Vario stands on its own merits. On paper, the f/3.5-6.4 aperture range of the X Vario is slow and unappealing. It’s firmly in “kit zoom” territory when everyone is lusting after fixed f/2.8 zooms and super fast primes. As a result, back in 2013, the X Vario was a controversial little camera which suffered from a great deal of negativity. All unjust, we can now say.

Price guide: Around £750

What commentators failed to realise, and which brave new buyers soon found out, is that that slow lens was designed with a purpose. As with the TL zooms (which are only marginally faster at the long end), the X Vario’s in-built zoom was designed to maximise image quality while minimising size. And it is a superb lens as owners will attest. The zoom range is modest, at best – 28-70mm – but it makes a good general-purpose, go-anywhere camera. If you can find one, it’s another of those cameras that will serve for years without much cost.

The third iteration of the T, the TL2, is the one to go for if you can afford it. But any T is a great photographic tool and works extremely well with manual-focus M lenses. Both silver, as here, and anodized black bodies are available. I prefer the black.
The third iteration of the T, the TL2, is the one to go for if you can afford it. But any T is a great photographic tool and works extremely well with manual-focus M lenses. Both silver, as here, and anodized black bodies are available. I prefer the black.

4The Leica TL2: This is the one camera I have never owned, although I did buy and enjoy T. The TL2, with its 24MP sensor and faster autofocus is definitely the one to go for if you want a future classic digital. But, really, any T model will delight and will probably now hold on to much of its value. The T-line is unique, with the hewn-from-solid aluminium body and intuitive tiled touch interface.

Price guide: Around £1,000

It was a bold step by Leica, perhaps an attempt to attract new buyers weaned on modern smartphones. It is definitely not the traditional type of Leica and, for that reason, you either love it or hate it.

If you buy one of these you get a great camera that will produce results equal to the CL and you will grow to love it. You will also come to appreciate the quirky but well-thought-out tiled on-screen control system. By comparison, the later CL is perhaps a little soulless although it did address one of the major criticisms of the T, the absence of a viewfinder.

For some, though, this is an opportunity. I know several T/L/2 owners who prefer the hinged accessory Visoflex because of its versatility. If your bones are creaking, the TL2 will laugh off those low-angle shots when the CL would have you contorted.

I believe the Q to be Leica's most successful fixed-lens camera. It got to places other Leicas have never reached in terms of admiration, desirability and functinality. The attention to detail, including the invenious macro setting on the 28mm lens, is outstanding.
I believe the Q to be Leica’s most successful fixed-lens camera. It got to places other Leicas have never reached in terms of admiration, desirability and functionality. The attention to detail, including the ingenious macro setting on the 28mm lens, is outstanding.

5The Leica Q: Not only is the Q the most successful Leica digital camera produced to date, but it is also one of the best. Introduced in 2015, the Q was a surprise hit.

At launch, there was some doubt about the need for such a fixed-lens full-frame shooter and, certainly, the choice of the wide 28mm focal lengths caused lengthy discussion.

I had faith from the day it was introduced and I got my hands on one of the first examples imported into the UK. It went on to become my favourite camera of 2015 and 2016 and I’ve written a great deal about the Q on Macfilos.

Price guide: Around £2,200

I now own the second version, the Q2, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with the original Q. It makes a sound buy at this time when Q2s are gradually emerging from back-order and more of the original Qs are being part-exchanged or sold direct.

Your view

The above cameras are purely my own choice and you could well have wildly differing views. I discussed my choice with one or two friends and one suggested that the 35mm fixed-lens X should be included, perhaps in preference to the X1. It’s a good point and, if I’d selected six rather than five I might well have included it.

On the same basis, perhaps the CL deserves a place but it’s not a bad idea to pick up one of these when the prices of used examples have fallen a little further. I’ve excluded the M10 on the grounds of current cost; in the future, it will certainly join the list, as will the quirky M10-D which is a camera that will stand the test of time even better than the M10.

If, as a result of this article, you are tempted dust off your Visa or Mastercard, please remember the abiding motto of the Macfilos website: Vade retro, Satana!

Join the discussion and let us know what you think. Do you prefer a later Monochrom to the original? Is the X a better bet than the X1? Should the X2, with its ability to mount an EVF, take over from the X1? The one camera in this list which should be beyond dispute is the Q. This has been Leica’s most successful digital camera and the one which even Leica haters accord grudging respect.

More reading

Here is the Macfilos coverage, including reviews, of the cameras I’ve chosen as digital keepers:


  1. An interesting quintet, Mike. I can certainly share your inclusion of the X1, X-Vario and Q, each one a working mamber of my Keepers Stable. I cannot speak for the other two models in your list.

    The Leica X was an elusive beast. Soon after launch I attended a Leica day in the provinces, specially hoping to see and handle a demo version of the Leica X. The visiting Leica rep had no plausible reason for not bringing a sample, leaving me with the feeling that it was not considered a serious competitor in the then current Leica line-up. Perhaps that was one reason for its relative obscurity. Yet the results are stunningly good and used prices are high, if you can find one. Having said that, I did not see the X as a replacement for the X1. The X met a slightly different requirement with its faster lens. The X1 is delightfully compact and it performs.

    Incidentally, recognizing the potential fragility of the X-series battery compartment doors, I always close mine, immediately after extracting or inserting a battery or memory card. As a result, I have never had any problems with either the X1 nor with the X-Vario, in that department.

  2. I recently purchased a brand new old stock M9 (M-E version) and the image quality including colours are breathtaking. I will never sell this camera. I would put it on your list.

    • Indeed, I acknowledge that the M9 is still popular and can fetch upwards of £2,000. But I chose the Monochrom because it is relatively unusual and scarce and will probably fare better in terms of value over the next few years.

      • Hi Mike, I almost recently purchased a low mileage M9 monochrom but the seller could not find his paperwork for the sensor replacement. Since then I saw somewhere that I can contact Leica to confirm sensor with serial number. Does anyone know if this is true?
        Anyway, I agree with your list and would add M9 due to the uniqueness of the colour sensor. I think it would be a good investment as the used prices make your eyes water for how old the rest of the technology is. But I sold a kidney and own one and nothing new competes with the rendering. It has the shooting envelope of high quality slide film and I am content with that for most of my photography – I have other cameras for my specialty interests.

          • There is also a way of checking if a new sensor has been fitted by pressing a certain sequence of buttons on the camera which will then reveal a code number for the new sensor. The exact procedure is somewhere on the Leica forum and should be easy to find. This is the way I checked a used Monochrom I bought late last year.

            I love the M9M and think it’s one of the best cameras ever.

          • Hi Tom Lane,
            I am a bit of an idiot perfectionist. I an struggling between the M9M and M10M. No insignificant price difference! I would not even vaguely purchase the M240 in colour or monochrom- owned the M240 for 3 years and hated Leica. I recently purchased an M9(M-E) and love it – 6 months. I am on wait list for SL2 but cannot decide if I should go for M10M due to higher resolution and increased dynamic range. but 2x price. What are your thoughts?

          • You could wait for the forthcoming M10 high-res camera which will equal M10-M but with colour. Best not to buy an M10 or M10-P at the moment, but prices of these cameras should soften when the new camera is announced.

          • Hi Brian
            I haven’t tried the M10M and don’t intend to, as I don’t want to be tempted. I have the M9M and am perfectly happy with it; I don’t need 40 odd mp and I don’t need to spend that significant amount of money. I would rather spend it on lenses.
            My own Monochrom story; I love black & white and so as soon as the M9M was introduced I bought one, I also had an M9 at the time. When the M240 was introduced I traded the M9 and bought one. Over the following couple of years I got fed up of having to carry two lots of batteries and two chargers and so upgraded (says he with tongue in cheek) to the M246. My personal opinion was that the CMOS sensor wasn’t producing the same quality of images as the CCD and so I never really bonded with the 246.
            I had the 246 stolen during a Leica forum meeting in Portugal and so I had a big decision to make when I replaced it, as by this time the M9 sensor corrosion problem had arisen. I finally replaced it (or rather the insurance company did) with another 246. I now had the M10 for colour and was getting what I considered to be equal quality to the 246 when doing a black & white conversion from it and so traded the 246 to fund an SL Summilux lens.
            Looking back through my M9M files I considered them to be superior to the M10 conversions and so decided that if I could find a good M9M with upgraded sensor I would buy it. I found one late last year and am really happy again, I don’t foresee selling it ever.
            From memory I think I paid about £2,600 for it which is a lot less than the M10M whose additional features I don’t need. I mainly print to A3 (sometimes A2) and the 18mp gives me superb (in my opinion) results.
            Sorry to have gone on so long but hope this helps.
            Best regards, Tom

          • Thanks Tom for your comprehensive reply. You have confirmed my intuition that the M9M is the best choice. There is something magical about the tonal rendering of the ccd sensor which I suspected would also be wonderful as B&W really needs great tonal range for most types of monochrom images unless one does the “harsh” processing. I will put the M9M on my future list.
            I fully agree with you on glass being a priority over a more expensive camera.
            Again, thanks for taking the time to provide valuable input.

  3. Like a breath of fresh air reading this article, Mike. I agree on X1 provided I’m allowed to put X2 because I need the superb tlltable OLY VF2. Even then it’s still a small set-up. (Which would be my main reason for not including the X 113). Couldn’t agree more on the X Vario – also with the same Oly VF. I really fell for it when I stopped pretending it was “compact” – just a brilliant, heavy, smallish camera. If a dictator decreed we could only have one camera, that would be my choice. And it will give me 28mm which I don’t often use, so no real yen for a Q. I never wanted a T series – don’t like smartphones. And the M9M will have to be a present from someone – then I’d leap at it!

  4. Contrary to Mr.George Strait, country western singer, all my X’s don’t live in Texas, they are here in. NYS. I want to ask other readers if they have had any experience with the HASSEY X1d (1 or 11)? I am trying to buy another system, and I have down to tl or tl2..or Xid, both seem to offer system idea. I am conflicted because while these two are front and center, a used SL Keeps popping up in my frontal lobe. The X1’s, 2 and the XE have given me and my grand daughters a grand time together. The GR’s are also little mysterious boxes of wonderment, thanks Jean P for all your assistance !

    • I’d go for the TL2 – personally, as it is a decent bit of kit, and will pull cracking images – it has crept on to my GAS shortlist, alongside the original Q, and the bloomin M9.

      I wanted to get one of the Leica refurbished M9’s from last year, but I ended up having to replace my car – which scuppered that idea. 🙁 Well it took the allocated funds for project M9 and a lens. lol.

      I am pretty sure you will get other readers giving their views – but thats my tenpence worth.

      Just realised my GAS list is a ittle longer than i had imagined. 🙂 lol.

      • Hi, you will not regret the M9 if you are content with ISO 800 max. I owned the M240 as my first digital rangefinder for 3 years and it is one of the few cameras that I have never missed when I shipped it to its new owner. I will never sell my M-E (M9 version).

        • When my funding streams recover from the car purchase, then I will possibly push out and do this – its the one camera I regret not getting. But I didnt fully understand the love of Leica until I bought my X typ 113, which I love.

          • Hi, you not have to purchase a Leica lens. One of my favourite lenses is the Voigtlsnder heliar 50mm f3.5. As Steve Huff says, this is so close to the Leica 50/2 apo that it is incredible. The sharpness, colours, and rendition out of this lens should make Leica feele guilty. I have the Leica 50/1.4 but if I do not need F/1.4 I use this lens.

          • Also, I used to own the faster Voigtlander lenses but sold them due to buying the Leica 50/1.4. The Leica 50/1.4 is better under certain conditions (not many) but I am 66 and decided to get one at under market price and 50mm is my fave. However, the Leica 50/1.4 is somewhat silly money compared to the Voigtlander in general practicality.

  5. I have owned all of the above except the Monochrom over time, but the only ones that have survived the competition of the M10 and the SL2, are the excellent X2 (while not as “classic” in design, certainly more proficient) and the TL2 – indeed for its classic if original design. I use them constantly as my take out, walk around, casuals in favor of the heavier SLs or manual focus M10. The TL2 (I also use the CL – but it’s not as elegant round the neck) for its incredible roster of lenses that I also use on the SL2) is often my main travel camera, backed up by the X2 or sometimes the D-Lux (109). Still black and white shooting on equally classic film bodies – Contax G1, Leica CL – I have never been tempted by the Monochrom. Unfortunately I sold my M6 only to find its now doubled in value!

  6. Thank you for this list. I currently own both the M9-M and X-Vario and would have to agree that they are both keepers and should maintain their value.

    I owned and traveled with loved the X1 and with release of the X2 thought given the design improvement of the flash on the newer model that the X2 would replace the X1. There are those who feel the X1 has something special and I concur it has that but whether the X2 has it as well, is not for me to say.

    The X113 however is worthy re-design! This is a camera that I feel strongly worthy of making this list. While the TL is maybe a “better” camera, it lacks IMHO the design and feel of a classic Leica. As someone who has shot with IIIa and IIIF – M10 with most in between, the X 113 and X Vario follow in Barnack tradition in feel and function. The newer cameras obviously appeal to some Leica users as well, but they feel less “classic Leica” than a Fuji X-Pro 1 or 2.

    I get why you omitted the X 113 in favor of the X Vario, but have to add my two cents as I noticed at least two others have before me in their comments above!

    • There’s no right or wrong answer on this, DwF. It was a personal list and, arguably, the X113 could have been there, but I wanted to keep to five.

      I agree on the question of classic Leica controls and, in most aesthetic respects, Fuji picked up the Leica ball just when Leica decided to drop it and pander to the iPhone brigade. The Q2 is a very honourable exception. It has the traditional Leica “Geist” and this is probably the reason it has been so successful. If the T and CL had followed the same path they would both have been more successful cameras in my opinion.

  7. Thanks Mike,
    I appreciate that you exercised the discipline to choose only 5. Well done, and of course there will be blow-back with any such list. As for the Q(2), I wish it had felt different in my hand in both grip and materials but that is personal, and I acknowledge it is a wonderful camera deserving of that list.

  8. Still have my trusty X1 – my third following the first two being replaced under the Leica Passport scheme (through no fault of my own). And still have my X Vario purchased the week it was released after reading all the negative comments by Leica Forum members and realising some of their opinions can be so wrong and “anti-digital Leica”. Jono Slack’s initial write-up convinced me the XV would be a worthy and versatile purchase e.g. usable at any aperture throughout its zoom range. And I’ll not forget Don Morley’s comment that after he processed the XV’s DNG files, he could not better its native jpeg output … the XV’s jpegs are that good. I’m yearning for an X Type 113; the fast 23/1.7 lens would be so useful in low light situations – but acknowledge that the X1 is a more cost effective s/h buy. My Leica T is in use this week with an ancient Minolta RF 500mm mirror lens plus Minolta SR extension tubes – and it works a treat producing half life size images on the 23.6 mm x 15.7mm sensor at 3m distance. Thus the original Leica T hopefully has a new lease of life as a dragonfly camera. Unfortunately my TL-2 proved to be a real lemon of a camera as it proved very unreliable when used with legacy lenses because both the monitor’s and accessory finder’s live view images blacked out too often. Leica Camera AG kindly arranged a full refund; I’d bought the TL-2 specifically for use with Leica R lenses (including the 800/6.3 Telyt-S). I sold my Leica M Monochrome to help fund dental implant fees but wish I still had it; I miss it. The Q never appealed to me; my constant companion 28mm standard lens camera 26 years ago was the Ricoh GR1; a Leica Q could not equal its pocketability. The best of the bunch for me is the X Vario and hopefully it will continue to give good service. This week the XV is hitched up to a Leica E52 7 diopter Elpro close-up lens with a 35 years young Canon ML-1 Macrolite twin flash – thus it too can be coaxed to produce half life size images but at just 6cm lens to subject distance – provided the insects do not fly away before the shutter is released.

  9. On depreciation however recently the odds are unfavorable – the SL has plunged in new prices to the extent that trade in is little more than $1,000 if that. And the CL likewise. No doubt if you keep them unused and in a box for the next 20-50 years they will emerge as classics again!

  10. Interesting list Michael. But I’m seeing only relatively current Leica digitals on the list.
    Did you consider the Digilux 2 from so long ago? I thought that many still see that as one of the very collectible digital Leicas.

    But that brings up different questions. Do the problems now being seen with with the Digilux 2 point to the fate any of the current crop of classic digital collectibles i.e. sensor decay, electronics composting, parts and support not available? Doesn’t that suggest that a small collection of digital keepers will ultimately go to God in terms of functionality, unlike mechanical Leica’s which can be maintained and usable even when nearly a century old?

    Aaahhh, it’s like schooldays. An essay question. Discuss.

    • I did mention the Digilux 2 but as an illustration that cameras made in the past ten years will still have a life and value after 15, maybe 20 years. But I take your point that, eventually, irreparable problems may emerge, unlike with film cameras.

      • Fair point Michael.
        Just surprised that the revered Digilux 2 didn’t get onto your final list.
        I see them on the market every so often, think about it carefully, then put my wallet back in my pocket……so far.

        • Basically, it was excluded because the article was based on cameras made in the Teens. The X1 scraped in because, although announced in September 2009, it was really a 2010 camera. Another subconscious parameter was sensor size. All the cameras chosen are either APS-C or full-frame and all were “made in Europe”..

  11. Interesting list and good to see the TL2 on there. I do sometimes look at the price of used Leicas and rarely see anything that I could think of as a bargain. The TL2, taking your suggestion of around £1,000 for a decent example, equates to roughly $2,000 AUD. I just bought one new from the Leica Store in Melbourne for $2,300 with 2 year warranty etc. on the plus side it means my purchase becomes ‘an investment’ (never the intention). I am keeping my eye out for an SL and maybe their prices are dipping. One place I’ve yet to see a real Leica bargain is eBay. As you implied the other day, it’s not the place to buy Leica!

  12. Well I am going to add one that I know has legs as a “standard” collectible.

    The Leica X-U.

    Have you seen the prices? It sells second-hand for close to its original new price, and it is almost still using current technology.

    I don’t want one, I am happy with my M3 and M-D 262, I have merely noticed that it is a rare beast, and likely many will find their way to the bottom of the sea, making them rarer.

    Out of those more commonly listed, my favourite is the X-Vario.

    I had an x1 and x2, and didn’t like the inny outy lens.

  13. What an interesting post and what a lively discussion here. In the end, we are all gear-heads, aren‘t we? I agree with many points which are made in the original article (as far as can judge) but you will not be surprised that I do heavily defend the M262. It is my favorite tool for my reortage work, probably you remember my article about it. Sorry, Brian Nicol, in this point I contradict.

  14. Interesting article that triggered my GAS again. I guess I’d go for an X vario as it ticks all the boxes for me. I would have added the M8 although it’s a crop sensor. If leica had had the possibility to replace the sensor I guess it would have fared better on the used market

    • As I said to Wayne, the cameras are all from the Teens, so that excludes the M8. But on the M8, the big problem was the failure of the screen rather than the sensor. If you can put up with the coffee (or is it tea) stains on the screen, the M8 is still serviceable. But if it goes wrong or the sensor does fail it would probably become a paperweight. Sensor replacement on the M9 cost £1,000 so the laws of economics and diminishing returns come into play.

  15. I totally agree with your view on the X1, I still use it too. Also I own the Digilux2 and the TL2 and Q.
    Together with a special edition of the M240 and the CL (which I sometime have on loan from my boyfriend) I now have a nice range of digital Leicas, together with a few analog ones.

  16. If it hadn’t been outside the time frame, I’d have said the Digilux 2 also. Amazing IQ and a delight to handle. I have two so that I can always cannibalise (I hope!) the day it becomes necessary.

    • While there is obviously more chance that an old digital camera will stop working and cannot be repaired, the evidence seems to suggest that a reasonable lifespan could be 15-20 years. Not all will survive, but many will. And I would suggest that all Leica digitals made in the past ten years probably have a good useful life ahead of them.

      I suspect that Leica, having learned from the M8 screen and M9 sensor difficulties, now keeps a good supply of spares for most cameras of the past decade. However, the cost of repair comes into play when a camera, such as the X1, has a value of under £500. At Leica’s prices, only the most dedicated X1er could justify major repairs. It would be cheaper to buy another camera. And, as you illustrate with the Digilux, having a spare for cannibalisation is not a bad idea.

      As an aside, we often forget to discuss the longevity of modern lenses, many of which can cost more than the cameras they accompany. The M lenses, and other all-mechanical lenses from other manufacturers, are the only ones that will still be repairable in 100 years’ time. Modern AF lenses, with all their electronic complexity, are likely last no longer than modern cameras. So modern lenses are a relatively short investment compared with film cameras and manual-focus M glass. It explains the investment potential of many M lenses.

  17. I own both the T and the TL2 and although the TL2 is an improvement over the T I personally would have put the T on the list. The T is a bargain as well. I am not sure about current prices but for a while market was flooded with used Ts and they could be had for $500 or less. I was told the T sold well till the Q came along and then sales dropped with 70-80%. The T never recovered also because shortly after the TL2 was released the CL came along and the CL is easily the more performant camera but for quite a few people (myself included) who use the CL now the heart is still with the T… It is hard to predict whether there will be a TL3 or not, reason would say no, but then again Leica is unpredictable so there very well could be one (and Leica previously said that development was still ongoing). If there is one it should ideally have a built-in EVF, AF on par with the CL2, an easier way to change focus point (eg. touch pad) and (same for the CL obviously) more native APS-C lenses. With all the focus it seems on the Q2 and the Monochrom (even the SL lenses take a back seat I have the impression) all of this is unlikely to happen, so even if there is a TL3 it will probably end of the line I guess.. Kind of sad I find because it was a very innovative camera, and with a lot of promise, but then again the same could probably be said of the Samsung NX1 as well…

    • “Leica is unpredictable”

      I think this is the most appropriate comment we’ve had so far. And how. The T itself was wholly unpredictable. So was the Q.

      I agree with your support for the original T on cost grounds alone. As you say, it costs little more than a good X1 and, if the intention is to have an example of the design, the original makes sense.

    • I personally would not be surprised if the CL2 was full frame, ie. the CL would pretty much be to the CL2 what the M8 was to the M9. From a portfolio point of view it would also make sense. The CL is 403g (with battery) and the Leica SL is 928g with battery. It is pretty clear to me that Leica needs a lighter full frame body in the 550-750g range. FWIW, my Canon EOS R weighs 660g and my (medium format) X1D II weighs 766g, both also with battery. It would confirm the so-called CM that was rumored a few years ago and it would essentially be the ICL Q that many have been asking for. All speculation obviously. Wait and see I guess.

  18. The first digital aps-c fixed lens camera was Sigma’s DP1 in 2006. The X1 might be the first one with a bayer sensor.


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