New Leica X1 Firmware Released tomorrow!


Allendale, NJ (March 28, 2011) – Leica Camera, Inc. is pleased to announce a firmware update for its high-performance digital compact camera, the LEICA X1. Users wishing to benefit from the new offerings can download the firmware update from the Leica website and take advantage of new, improved features beginning Tuesday March 29, 2011.

The new X1 firmware offers the following features and benefits:

· Improved manual focusing, with the focus screen showing the image based on an open aperture

· More accurate manual focusing with finer steps, when scrolling slowly with the click wheel

· Two manual focusing speeds for more accurate and faster manual focus operation

· Manual focusing lock now available

· Enlarged manual focusing scale display

· Depth of field scale displayed in manual focusing mode

· Manual focus settings retained in memory when camera is switched off

· Improved autofocus speed in low light conditions and with low contrast subjects, in particular when shooting multiple images of the same subject

· ISO setting displayed in Auto ISO mode

· Improved JPEG image quality

For more information, please visit:

About the Leica X1

The Leica X1 delivers the best picture quality among compact cameras. This elegant camera features a 12.2 megapixel CMOS image sensor in APS-C format, identical in size to those used in semi-professional DSLR cameras. Each individual pixel has a generous surface area and collects more light, therefore ensuring low noise levels, high dynamic range and accurate color differentiation. Expressed in terms of 35mm film format, the X1’s Elmarit 24mm f/2.8 ASPH lens has the same coverage as the legendary 35 mm focal length. While its numerous automatic functions make the X1 extremely fast and intuitive to use, its manual control options enable the photographer to maintain concentration on the creative aspects of the composition.


  1. The only “improvement” I’ve seen is that the firmware update possibly broke my camera.

    After installing the update, the monitor would flash when snapping a photo. One day later, the monitor no longer displays anything–unless I turn the camera on/off about 20+ times in rapid succession. I shall be shipping the camera off for repair.

    This is particularly annoying, since I recently sent the camera in to have the leather-ette replaced (it was peeling off) and to have one of the neck strap eyelets re-attached (it had fallen off.)

    Thank goodness for the two year warranty. Heaven knows what else will break in the remaining 10 months.

  2. I had installed the new firmware and didn’t think much of it as I couldn’t see any difference. That’s because there wasn’t – I hadn’t made the last step of resetting to the factory settings. Once I saw Richie’s post above, I made the change and the results are fantastic. Never going to be DSLR speed, but now perfectly acceptable for a P&S.

  3. The autofocus speed is categorically not the same as V.1. It is much faster in all light conditions. As stated above, don’t forget to complete the extra step of reseting the camera to “factory settings”. I was wandering around for a day wondering why the all-new MF wouldn’t work and why the AF was the same speed as before… RTFM, as they say. 🙂

  4. I have never had Leica anything before X1 and even if I am offered more money than I paid for it at the store, I would not sell it. This is the first buy when I did not regret spending money on, not for a second. This is true. I was well aware what it can do and where it lacks, yet it did not stop me from buying it. I will save now for M9 or whatever comes next. It may take a while, but it is worth waiting, for me. I was in debates more when I bought 7D when it was released, even it is a bit cheaper. I am definitely in line for X2 if this happens anytime soon. I am happy I discovered something I really like for myself. No regrets. Even if I do miss a shot, I will retake it, because I love to take pictures. :)) Everything has far more reasons than we always tell. If for someone did not think X1 is worth this much, than there are alternatives for any budget. I saved aiming at X1 in particular and I love this little bug. :))

  5. Downloaded the new firmware and update done, I was expecting a big improvement in the focusing speed but it doesn’t seem any faster at all

    startup and write speed appears a little better

  6. Installed the firmeware. Great, I can now shoot the X1 like my IIIf using the DOF zone focus. Jet, the fully mechanic IIIf still shoots faster – once cocked 🙂

  7. After loading the firmware 2.0 don’t make the same mistake as me guys and not do the extra step found in the directions of “After the firmware update is completed please push the MENU button, select menu item USER PROFILE – FACTORY SETTING. All new functions will then be initialized.”

    I didn’t do that and the autofocus was the same speed and the manual focus wasn’t working at all (the new bar showed but I couldn’t adjust it left/right). But my impressions after correctly loading the firmware 2 is that the autofocus is indeed faster. In a dim room and focusing on a grey/black subject it still has trouble (but even my D3 has trouble if it’s really dark) but anything in decent light it’s a lot better. My settings were 1 Point H and AF (as Macro will slow it down a bit, so no reason if you aren’t focusing that closely).

    The manual focus bar is so much better! My settings before this firmware update were typically Auto Aperture and I would set my shutter to 60 and I would rarely change the aperture but now with the scale showing on the manual focus I will definitely make use of it. If the light allows for to 5.6 or higher and you get in the ball park of the range it can be really effective for fast shots.

    I definitely like the camera even more now! There will be plenty of people saying the same ol’ “there’s better options out there” but if you can afford it, then why not? Why drive a luxury car when you can drive a beater? Well because you only live once. Enjoy it! Because the X1 takes some time to get used to, it’s all the more rewarding getting the keeper shot I feel.

    • “I definitely like the camera even more now! There will be plenty of people saying the same ol’ “there’s better options out there” but if you can afford it, then why not? Why drive a luxury car when you can drive a beater? Well because you only live once. Enjoy it! Because the X1 takes some time to get used to, it’s all the more rewarding getting the keeper shot I feel.”


    • “Because the X1 takes some time to get used to, it’s all the more rewarding getting the keeper shot I feel.” By that logic, woudln’t shooting film, developing it, scan it, be even better? Just trying to follow the logic of “if it is harder to use it’s more rewarding at the end” 😛 I do agree that all these options out there is a positive.

  8. Focussed in less than a second (AF-macro) in my dark study tonight… AF also did improve with the new firmware really.

  9. I bought X1 two months ago and I love it. I am just greatful we can choose what we want out of all the cameras these days, and everyone has their own measuring stick what to buy and what leave alone. X1, to my opinion, is a very special camera. People still buying it knowing its strongest and weakest sides. We don’t need to educate each other. Let’s respect each other’s choices. In this time and age, there will be new cameras coming out every 6-12 months. And every time they will be better, faster, lighter and etc. But all will have compromises, which we will then learn to leave with if decide to buy it. I am just happy for people who bought X1 as much for those, who decided to part with it. Please let’s not think that someone is better than others based on their choices. After all, we are all here, because we love taking pictures! Let’s do that with a great variety of modern tools that we have. Freedom to choose is above all.

    • It seems there is one in the making alright.

      In an entry on l-camera-forum blog a couple of weeks ago it was stated that…

      “Leica is currently preparing new firmware for both the Leica M8 and M9 and in a few days a beta version will be available. This needs to be tested with all Leica lenses and in all light situations.”

      Attached to the blog entry was an application form to be a beta-tester of the firmware.

      Of course how “imminent” that makes the actual release of the firmware is anybody’s guess!!

  10. I’m a little surprised about the excitement. The FW upgrade makes disfunctional MF & ZF solutions now functional, but not best in class, that is all. Any AF improvement is wishful thinking. Even in low light, the improvement is marginal at best. AF is still slow as mollasseee, shutter lag among the worst in class. Gorgeous files, small size and weight (and for some looks) are still the strongest pros for the X1 and only in the latter two it is in a class of its own.

    • You got an X1? Talking from own experience or just trolling around?

      In all the forums the real X1 owners praise the new FW and the enhanced speed of the autofocus. If You need a fast camera go and get a DLSR.

      • Your name sounds very German. And so feels the way of you using the English language. Once you learned some manners, you’ll deserve an answer.

        • @retow
          Wow…dude you managed to screw up so bad in only 2 line of text. You responded based on:
          1- his nationality (remember this is internet)
          2- his knowledge of English language (see above)
          3-…and you gave him a lesson on manners! hilarious!!

          *Most* X1 owners are still convincing themselves that this $2000 red dot is a good deal and they are part of the league. so it would be hard to imagine they are dissatisfied with the nominal FW upgrade. The ones with no ego problems put it on ebay! The ones who appreciate the camera for what it is, still grind their teeth when they miss shots, but get some relief when they see the images!

  11. Just here to join the choir… I love the v2 firmware update too and will use MF and ZF a lot more now. Never been too dissatisfied about its daylight AF performance btw…

  12. The update has improved the autofocus on the X1 and manual focus is now very cool. jpg picture quality is now better, puts the X1 back to the top of the compact tree.

  13. Installed it. More detailed distance scale for MF, depth of field bar, MF lock are great improvements. MF can be locked at any distance, so it is even more useful than Ricoh’s excellent snap mode, great for street shooting. AF is not faster, in my opinion. Have a GXR “50” A12 sitting next to the X1 and the Ricoh’s AF still is clearly faster. I understand the GXR “28” A12 to focus faster than the “50” A12, so it will beat the X1 by quite a margin.

  14. Hey!! I just installed the new firmware, and i can say that the manual focus is now GREAT!! Its much faster and precise… I think that with a lit bit of practice, i will forget about the autofocus…

  15. I had the X1 for a brief period of time. After determining that I can focus faster with my M9 than the X1 could (in any lighting conditions), I sold my X1. If I am gonna to any serious photography it’s usually either the M9 or myNikon DSLR, depending on what I am shooting (landscape/street vs. sports/fashion in studio). The reason I own a compact is to have it with me when I just want to have a camera with me for no particular reason (i.e., just in case something comes up) without having to carry a camera bag or lug it around my neck like a tourist or paparazzi (e.g., going out to a nightclub, or a party, or Disneyland, etc.). If you want to compare image quality, the M9 or a serious DSLR makes more sense; if you want convenience, the S95 or something that actually focuses within a reasonable time makes more sense. The X1, for the price, seems to fall in a no mans land. I owned it for two months, and then it was eBay it goes. I don’t know whether Steve sold his X1 for the same reason; I speak only for myself.

    • Not sure that will be entirely necessary. Looks like a great update for manual focus..underwhelming for autofocus. We will see, I’m not sad I sold mine just now…I may be later though!

  16. It looks like that the auto focus speed is limited by its construction, less by its software. Otherwise they would have addressed it since it is the No 1 issue that people have. Still curious to see the overall improvements. D!RK

  17. Cant wait till I try it out this weekend. The improve in Manual Focus is awsome, zone focus sounds much easier now. Any improvements to auto focus is a plus, anything is better than nothing, it could be hardware limitation on the autofocus too.

    • “ over priced toy” I couldn’t disagree with this statement any more. You totally miss the point of this camera. Yes it’s expensive for what it is, but a toy? Its a superbly built photographic tool with image quality better than any digital camera it’s size.


      • “image quality better than any digital camera it’s size.”

        Not sure if you have tried out the new Fujifilm X100, but this camera does every thing the X1 can do and more, and with a viewfinder. The X1 is already out of date, but I guess you can just keep looking at the badge and kid yourself that you have the best. For me it was a slow old bus of a camera, but it did sell fast on eBay.

        I am afraid the king is naked here today.

        • This comment was unnecessary and demonstrated both a lack of reading skills and decorum. He was not making any judgment about what camera is “the best” and he is absolutely correct that the X1 has the best image quality for its size – its materially smaller than the X100.

          • Lets face it Leica has let most of it’s users down with this update, most of them were dreaming of a 2011 compliant focus speed and they improved the manual side.. I find it hilarious to be honest, but it’s still small so you happy.

          • Yawn…. reports on the Fuji are, that, gasp… it has slow autofocus. And those NEX files do nothing for me. I’m fine with one lens. I bought it to be in my briefcase or around my neck at all times, not so I could carry a boatload of lenses with me. You sure do protest a lot; if you’re happy with your NEX or Fuji or ‘camera brand x’ be happy with it. Who are you to judge anyone else on what they use or like?

    • Ok, so you have a 60mm lens equiv on a NEX (let’s price a Leica 24mm plus NEX to be fair). You forgot about ergonomics…menu diving, etc. The Sony has nice IQ, but it is still just as expensive as the X1 with the equiv leica lens and is slower to use / less user friendly.

      • Have you not heard about eBay? you can buy a body and a stack of lenses for the same cost as the X1 which alas has just it’s one lens.. and who wants just one lens?
        I’m sorry but if I still had my X1 then i’d be more twitchy about this too.

    • I was wondering why my Flickr stats jumped up so high…Mine is the NEX with the 40mm Summicron-C affixed to the front of it. I have to say, the X1 is a sexy camera…

      Still eagerly awaiting the price of a used m8 to drop…until then, the NEX is doing my leica glass justice, I think.

  18. I do not see anything being said about improving general auto focus. This is a little sad since I have been waiting for this for so long. 🙁

    • Improved autofocus speed in low light conditions and with low contrast subjects, in particular when shooting multiple images of the same subject

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