Jun 262012

Leica X2 Firmware Version 1.1 is ready for download HERE at the Leica site. It is said to improve higher ISO performance past 1600, improve auto white balance and have general overall performance enhancements. What the “general improvements and performance optimization” means I have no clue so I downloaded this firmware myself and tested out some shots at ISO 1600-12,800 and out in my yard to see if the camera still output overly warm colors.

I noticed the AF is actually a bit faster, or at least seems like it is. May be some kind of placebo effect but it seemed much snappier to me while aiming and shooting, and this is good. Feels a bit more responsive so this may be part of the overall optimization.

Here are some high ISO indoor shots this morning – nothing fancy, just snaps for testing – click them to see the full 100% crop embedded – from RAW


and one more OOC JPEG at ISO 3200


Below is another OOC JPEG shot in Vivid mode but at ISO 100. When I shot JPEG’s with the X2 and the previous FW I would get a VERY overall warm rendering. While this is very vivid in color it doesn’t seem as warm to me, so this is probably where the AWB was tweaked. 

AWB doesn’t seem to be as “warm”. Just my initial thoughts, remember, I tested it for just these shots to see if I noticed anything so don’t take these as cold hard facts. I have to shoot more with it to see how it goes. But am happy Leica put out a firmware update so fast, which is unlike them :)

UPDATE: I spoke with Sean Reid of Reidreviews.com and he has been testing this new firmware for a while now. Here is what he mentioned:

I’ve been working with various firmware revisions for the X2 for some time now. In his review of the X2, Steve noted that there seemed to be something strange about the ISO 3200 DNG files from the X2. He wrote:

“One thing I found odd is that at ISO 3200 in both sample shots from the X2, the one above of the bottles and the one below of the Polaroid (I tried three times, same results) show a blurred result. These are all from RAW and I did not add ANY Noise Reduction to any of the samples.”
Then, in another article he wrote:

“Here is what gets me scratching my head. In my review of the X2 I have found that anytime you shoot at ISO 3200, even if you convert the RAW and use ZERO Noise Reduction you still get details smearing. This does not happen at ISO 6400 or 12,500, only 3200. You can see the X2 crop below is smeared and blurred from in camera NR that is even applied to the RAW file when you do not want it there.”
He was right about that. There was a bug in the firmware that caused those files to be smoothed when they should not have been. We didn’t see the same kind of smoothing in the ISO 1600 or ISO 6400 DNG files from the camera and it wasn’t supposed to be happening at ISO 3200 either. So an important change in Firmware 1.1 is that this problem is now fixed. There may some other refinements but, in my view, that’s the key change. I was glad to see Leica release this fix fairly quickly.
Sean also has a review of the X2 up at his paid subscription site, reidreviews.com
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