A tale of two Leica X2 cameras

A tale of two Leica X2 cameras

(This one is for you Betty) 🙂

Hey guys! Happy weekend, it is Saturday and I plan on relaxing some today but just so happened a package was delivered to me today thanks to the speedy shipping of Leica dealer Mr. Ken Hansen. What was in the box? A new black Leica X2 and with newer firmware than what was on the review sample Leica sent me (The review sample seemed to have some sort of prototype firmware, which I did not realize until last week). In any case I snapped off a few shots out in my yard and not only does this new X2 seems “snappier” than the other one it also seems a little sharper AND is giving me different AWB results which means different color and not as “warm” as what I was getting from the 1st. Not sure if its sample variation or if it is the firmware.

So I will test this one out further and if it does indeed give better performance than the review sample I had I will do another comparison  – this time with the old X2 and the X100 again so we have all three. I will also update my X2 review if this is the case.

UPDATE: One quick sample with both. f/2.8, 1/200s, ISO 100 on both – either the review sample is not focusing correctly (though it confirmed focus) or it is not as sharp..and I think that it is not focusing correctly 100% of the time. Remember, the review sample did not have final firmware.

One quick test for sharpness wide open with the new X2 and Firmware 1.0  – click it for larger and full crop – it is SHARP. The sharpest result yet from the X2 for me.


and a self portrait wide open  – click to see the sharpness

and check out how sharp this is (click it to see this test shot)

ENJOY THE WEEKEND! It’s a hot one here in Phoenix again!

**Oh, and in case you are wondering..no, I was not aware that the FW of the original review sample X2 was not final as I was told by Leica that this was a factory fresh ready to go X2 and that I could even purchase it if I wanted. So I assumed this was it, ready to roll until I spoke with Sean Reid a few days ago who told me that FW I had was not a final FW. 

See my FINAL comparison HERE


  1. Steve

    I really like the self-portrait. And I am pleased you got to correct EVF; more letters printed on it would not have looked right.

    Concerning the external EVF vs. an internal EVF. Based on my experience with my Oly EP-3. Yes, I would prefer a built in EVF, but only if I had the option to add an external EVF like with the Oly E-M5. If it came down to a choice between having an internal EVF like on the Sony NEX-7 or the external Oly/Leica EVF my choice is for the external. The ability to tilt the finder and the larger/clearer field of view in the eyepiece is more important to me.


  2. Sigh……..I was really jonesing for the black X100 after your review. Now, this bit of news has me back on the fence again. Drat! I will be renting these babies and taking them for a spin before I make my final choice.

  3. Steve,
    The grip on the black X2 appears to have a different grain from the one on the silver body. Do they feel the same?

    • I find the material on the black more attractive (like classic Leica) but the silver has a grippier material. Doesn’t matter as both are equally as easy to hold and both are MUCH better than the covering that was on the grey X1! I hated that covering.

  4. That’s excellent news. I really felt that there was something not right with your first X1, as the results I’ve gotten from my X2 have been excellent, with better sharpness than what your first review copy had. I’ve found the X2 to be a real pleasure to shoot with. Glad you have a good X2 now.

  5. Hi Steve,

    Now you’ve had both the black and silver, which one do you prefer, both for look and feel?


    • They are both nice in their own ways. Chrome is very attractive but draws attention. Black is muted and basic..discreet. The chrome “pops” and the black is sort of “hidden”.

      • Thanks for your reply, but what do you think of the grip on the chrome as opposed to the leatherette on the black, feel-wise?

        • They both feel very different. Personally I think the black version looks “cheap” – but then Steve says he prefers that look. If I could have the black paint with the silver version’s covering – that would be perfect!

          The silver version feels like a million bucks to hold. They’re almost 2 different cameras, truly. Pictures do neither of them justice.

  6. Meanwhile down under… still awaiting the arrival of my black X2. Thanks for the update Steve, looking forward to the update comparison between the X2 and X100. Used to own the X100 but sold it due to sticky apertures and replaced it with the Ricoh GXR 🙂

  7. Query: Were you the First Person to receive the Review X2 you got from Leica?
    If not then maybe the camera took a bonk that’s got the optics cockeyed just a bit.

    Because If the camera wasnt pristine off the line and straight to your loving hands eg: internal use out in the real world, an outside reviewer with an NDA, or whatever, then you can’t know what life this camera has lived before you unboxed it.

    I personally suspect you werent the first person to be running the review body through it’s paces due to you receiving it with a pre-1.0 firmware and Sean Reid noting the firmware in shipping X2’s is 1.0.


  8. Oh thank goodness! I was wondering if your sample shots were a bit soft…I was a little worried.
    I have a X2 on order and receive it Monday! Totally jazzed!

  9. Very interesting indeed. It looks like the beta software falsely indicated correct focus. I look forward to seeing the X2/1.0 compared to the X100, although I don’t expect the outcome to be markedly different the second time around because the differences I saw in the first comparison didn’t have much to do with critical focus issues.

  10. Steve, if possible, use the blue display window that revealed the orbs under the display lighting or something similar, when the first X2 was used. If the second X2 does better, the little Leica will be difficult to ignore.

    Thanks for this update.

  11. It looks like Leica have tweaked the AF algorithms in that firmware upgrade. Amazing how much sharper it is. I can’t believe they let the review models go out without this pretty significant firmware tweak.

  12. I always felt the X1 was superior to the Fuji, and I was surprised when I saw your X2 comparison shots. I eagerly await the retest. (You would think Leica wants to be at the top of the compact APS-C class)

  13. i insinst … you like the X2!!! your’re thinking of keeping it! hahaha! it is a tough choice isn’t? i know own the X100 and before i owned the X1 but the usual flaws and lack of proper VF made me switch to the X100. i do miss the feel of the X1 and the way it had it’s own heritage. Steve if you remember (or look up) the very first leicas like the leica 0 resemble the look of the X2. collapsable lens. attached or pull up VF. pocket size, etc. i like that a lot. that the leica just looks and takes from leica. where it is inevitable to look at the fuji without thinking about an M. even people tell me so when they see me with the camera. the flatness of the fuji is starting to get me tired, and the tendency to overexpose. i use it in manual. and i can just underexposed. but isn’t the point of digital making it easier and simpler than film? good luck deciding. hahaha! i can imagine you wondering which camera to keep (price apart).

  14. Good news! It wasn’t just you, Steve — I saw other X2 sample shots on other sites that were oddly soft. It really saddened me because I wanted to love this camera. I’m glad that was just a software problem.

  15. Looks sweet in black.Even that EVF carbuncle is growing on me.

    As for Betty,wonder if that’s her real name?

  16. Doesn’t this reflect adversely on the QC Department? Bet you are glad , Steve, you didn’t take up the offer to buy the first sample.

    • I don’t believe many of us actually realize how much effort (I mean man hours) it requires to test and pass a FW version. Beta or release. Some of the testing can and should be automated (perhaps the autofocus should be in that category since that can be controlled precisely) but most of it is done by a group of people. Each person has a set of tasks to check off. If you consider that the pictures from the “non-release” X2 were still rather good, then this is not really a qc problem. Maybe the person who takes care for shipping products around made a mistake or better someone else loaded a fw to it. You just never know….

      thanks Steve. You do cool work with this camera stuff 🙂

  17. So all wise guys are validated. Great. Interesting how soft/firmware can affect how a camera should really perform.

  18. Ok, I commented in one of your comparison that your X2 might be a lemon as its IQ looked clearly inferior to the X1. Now we have the explanation.

    • “So I will test this one out further and if it does indeed give better performance than the review sample I had I will do another comparison – this time with the old X2 and the X100 again so we have all three. I will also update my X2 review if this is the case.”

  19. FW1 is looking pretty darn good compared to the beta firmware. Would love to see a few new X100 X2 comparison shots.

    Thanks for the heads up Steve, keep up the great work.

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