Leica X1 Rumors, improved AF speed?

Those of us waiting for the Leica X1 have noticed the camera was delayed from a January release to February release. No one really knew why but today I had an e-mail from someone who stated their dealer told Β them the delay was to fix the slow AF speed. I kind of shrugged this off because (some) dealers will say anything to get a sale. Then today I noticed a comment in my X1 review that talked about the same thing. Here is an excerpt:

“I went to have a look at it at the Leica store in London earlier this week, my god it is beautiful! I had previously been torn between the X1 or micro 4/3, however having seen the X1 in the flesh I was instantly sold and put myself straight on the waiting list. Also Steve, the manager of the Leica store said they have fixed the slow autofocus with a firmware upgrade.”

So now the manager of the Leica store in London has also been reported as saying the AF has been improved. If so, this is GREAT news. If I hear anything I will post an update!

18 Comments

  1. Thanks Steve, makes a lot of sense and like your whole “no certain rules” approach to photography. Mads

  2. Hey Mads,

    I do not feel that ANY focal length is set for a certain task. I use a 35mm for portraits sometimes and I have also used a 24. Not up close and in your face type portraits or course. I use a 50 for portraits quite often. If you look at my homeless post, all three images were done with a 50mm on full frame. I’m not a big fan of the “rules” and I say do what feels right to you. If you feel a 85-105 is the only tool for a portrait job then so be it! I agree though, for tight head shots a 75-85 would be best. For example, the Zeiss 85 Sonnar is an amazing lens in this regard.

    Thanks

    Steve

  3. Steve, a question more talking about lenses. I see you mention in a lot of your reviews/write-ups when you talk about some of the fast 50mm lenses, that they can be used for portaits. Wouldn’t that normally be regarded as a too wide focal length for portaits, where the norm is 85-105mm and obviously a nice 75mm Leica lens could be used very well for a more intimate feel. Please enlighten me on this matter, as I’m a bit confused here.

    Thanks,
    Mads

  4. I also would hearl-fully wish that Leica and Panasonic could collaborate a bit more. The comment about “Panasonic with its contrast AF speed & accuracy in u43 – is lights ahead the competition” would be our perfect world. But it won’t happen or high probability it won’t as the lenses that are branded Leica are done for marketing vs the X1 was an in house project of course. I also expect that Leica is attempting to build in-house expertise for future products. Its what my company does over and over… and even though it seems we keep falling over ourselves ( which we do) its the volume / numbers game.

    I’d buy the X1 as a pocket camera rather quickly if: the AF is just a tad more quick, and it had a slightly improved camera settings user interface, eg a bit like the Canon S90 with the ring around the lens, the scroll wheel on the back… so you could really customize accessing its controls…. ok I”m dreaming.

  5. Thanks Steve, sounds awesome and like you found some really special lenses for your kit. Can’t wait for the day it’s my turn to get into the world of Leica M9. πŸ™‚ Will have to wait a couple of years before I can afford (a used) one. Until then I plan on getting a X1, which later on will be a great back-up to my M9, if I get one someday.

    Thanks,
    Mads

  6. Hey Mads,

    I used to obsess over the speed of the lenses. I felt like I had to have the ultra fast glass and never really gave the slower glass a chance. The 35 summarit at 2.5 is plenty fast for what I use a 35 for. Plus, I really love the size. Nice and small. If I could afford it, sure, I would be buying the new 35 Lux when it arrives but I can not justify the prices of these lenses anymore.

    Bottom line is that I feel these slower lenses have amazing IQ, especially the 50 Cron (on the M9). For being such an old design, it gives beautiful results and can be found for under $1000 used. Great lens and I have no issues with low light shooting with it.

    Thanks
    Steve

  7. Steve, I do think you have put together a really nice 3 lens set for your M9 – finding the “good value” lenses in the Leica line-up. But I know you love fast glass, so I was wondering how the Summarit 35mm is working for you at “only” f/2.8? Is it okay and do you then just use your 50mm f/2 for low light shooting?

  8. wrong, for the price of a lux you get a Nokton and a summarit … Great news Steve about the AF of the X1. I will wait for this one before I make a move on an old M8 or a new m9. here they say 3 months for the m9

  9. @ Adam… Steve posted a review about the Nokton and it does not seem to be a bad option for those in need for a real fast lense at a decent price. for the price of a summarit you get both lenses.

  10. Hey Steve…..

    Nice one, re your kit. I myself am patiently awaiting my M9 and using this time to work out the best lens[es]. Interesting to see that Leica are releasing an updated 35 ‘lux shortly. My biggest problem is how used to shooting in low light I’ve become with the D3 – I won’t have that luxury with the M9, however with lenses at 1.4, I’ll have a whole extra stop (all my Nikkor lenses are at 2.8. Not to mention the rangefinder can shoot at much slower speeds than the heavy duty mirror/shutter slap of the D3. Can’t wait!

    Cheers

  11. Hey Adam, I actually switched to a 35 Summarit, 50 cron and 90 elmarit for my three lens kit. Couldnt be happier. I do wish I could splurge for the 75 Summicron I am testing out but maybe one day πŸ™‚

    Thanks, I also hope these X1 rumors are true…

  12. Awesome news [if it turns out to be fact]. The X1 would be an awesome back up camera (or even as a REALLY compact point and shoot) to the M9. I could have used such a camera on a walk with my family yesterday. Again, I lamented not having a camera with me (when about a dozen great shots presented themselves). Damn the D3 for being the TANK that it is.

    Steve, you’re switching to a 35 ‘cron was it[?] makes perfect sense in that it’s smaller than the ‘lux. Size [smaller in this case] is everything! It’s probably the only thing keeping me from getting a noctilux.

    Cheers
    Adam

  13. If Leica and Panasonic would exchange more knowledge – both would benefit a lot from this..!
    Panasonic with its contrast AF speed & accuracy in u43 – is lights ahead the competition.

  14. Hi Steve, I posted that comment about the autofocus. Just to give you a bit more info on what he actually said, the manager of the London store (who was extremely helpful and in no way pushy or trying to get a sale) when I mentioned I had read on your review about the slow autofocus, he said that on a visit to the Leica factory in germany the previous week he was told that they had fixed the problem with a firmware upgrade. He also said that they were working flat out on production of the M9 but didn’t mention how production of the X1 was going. I am just gutted the release date has been put back as I am off to the states this week on holiday and I was hoping to have my new X1 πŸ™

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