Leica needs an “X3” by Utku Oguz


Leica needs an “X3” by Utku Oguz

From Steve…I get many submissions from users and I post about 80% of them, and yes, I will post good with the bad when it comes to others opinions on gear, as long is it is not just an outright attack for no good reason. Utku has some valid points on the Leica X2 here in 2013 when we have cameras such as the X100s, Sony NEX 5 and 6, the Nikon Coolpix A and the upcoming Ricoh GR (all of them MUCH less expensive and more capable than the X2 and all released AFTER the X2). I think Leica needs to rethink what they are going to do with an “X3” but in reality they should have one already designed. I wonder where they will go with it? In any case, below are the thoughts of one shooter who bought an X2. I like the X2 but do admit newer cameras outdo it in all areas for less money. What are YOUR Thoughts on the X2?

Dear Steve,

I am a great fan of your blog and thanks so much for putting this blog together. Recently I couldn’t resist the beauty of the Leica X2 and I bought one without the EVF. But I must say that I am quite disappointed.

This is truly one of a kind artistic design and apart from using it even only looking at it is a pleasure to the eye.

But when it comes to functionality I will not be able to say the same. But the menus are very intelligently designed in a very minimalist but in a very efficient way. I think this menu design should set an example to other manufacturers as well. The image quality, loyalty of colors to the original (real) situation and sharpness is exemplary. The in-camera “Black and white” option produces surprisingly very detailed gradient tones from very black to the very white. But one should know that, first of all, this is not “super quick” responsive camera. The AF sometimes is not even able to focus correctly or even worse, not able to focus at all.

After ISO 800 the pictures really start getting grainy. I would not recommend this camera to anyone if that person is a “high-ISO pusher” habitually.

I highly doubt if the image stabilization system of this camera really works or not.

And actually on the internet there are even some blogs who claim that the image stabilization system in this camera might even be having a negative effective on the overall image quality.

The back LCD screen is also is not as good as it should have been. In my opinion a world-class lens manufacturer like LEICA should have a much better back screen. As a matter of fact after having used for a while I came to conclusion that if someone wants to buy this camera they should also definitely buy the additional electronic viewfinder as well, with its enormous additional cost of course. But as I didn’t want to pay such a high price for Leica’s dedicated EVF, now I am suffering the consequences. So if one cannot afford to buy this camera together with its EVF, he/she shouldn’t buy this camera in the first place, I think. The -so called- live view functions only when the shutter is half pressed but only for a few seconds and you can hardly catch it.

The camera strap that comes out of the “gorgeous” pack is very difficult to connect to the strap connection holes of the camera. It is a shame that a design leader company like Leica did not think thoroughly about the ergonomics of the strap, which, in my opinion is very essential for the safety of camera and for the health of the neck of the photographer.

Upper adjustment buttons are well designed and very sturdy, eliminating every possibility for accidentally turning them to an unwanted position.

White balance is extremely correct. “Bokeh” effect that is created by its lens absolutely is wonderful.

The package comes with a light room post processing software which is an added value for this camera. You have to download it from Leica’s website from the user’s site.

In my opinion this camera is for the ones who are not after a “super-quick” camera and who can tolerate the cons that I have listed here and in the “Problems” sections. But if you want to be a member of the “Leica-Club” this can be a reasonably good entry at a much more modest price than, say, a Leica M9. For some people the price of this camera can be justifiable but for me definitely not.

If only it could have been possible to vote for separately for the image quality, design, user-friendliness of the menus, consistency and the stability of functionality, value for money.

If that would have been possible I would have rated this camera as follows:

Image quality under “perfect light conditions” 4/5

Design: 4/5 (if it didn’t lack an internal EVF I would have given 5/5 )

Stability of fuctionality/ Delivering what it promises on the spec paper: 3/5

· (Auto focus is not working well under low light conditons; sometimes it is not even to lock to the at all)

· Macro distance gets bigger in the dark conditions and it is much longer than 30 cm.

· After 400 ISO it really gets heavy grains, especially under darker conditions

· Live view shows itself only for less than a second and then disappears (it even doesn’t show truly the “ACTUAL” situation in my opinion)

· LCD Screen not good enough.

Resale Value: Horrible! I don’t even rate it! First of all when I wanted to give back this camera after one day, Leica’s distirbutor in Istanbul refused it. Later on I phoned a freind of mine in Germany

How was the situation in Germany and she told me that even if you used it only for one hour the value was going down more than half and she has verified this from a few shops.

So Leica X2 is a camera that even the Leica shops don’t want back. This has been the most surprising part of my Leica adventure as a matter of fact.

Value for money: 2.5/5

Currently I am using Fuji X-E1 and apart from its rather slow auto-focus, I did not have any of the a/m problems.

It is obvious that Leica X2 has been designed with good intentions but final outcome is not RIPE yet in my opinion and in the existence of new Fujis, Leica should have done a much better job.

Best Wishes,

Utku Oguz

Little Silver Pot in the dark

Turkish Cooks2


  1. Same here. I have had X2 for about 6 months and have been loving it. I shot many ISO 1600 and up and
    I am very happy with the images. Yes, it produces the noise but its mostly luminance unlike other cameras.
    The camera IQ and DNG quality cannot be matched even by Sony RX1.

    I got rid of all my big Nikon gear (D300) plus 3 lenses and now when I travel I do not need to carry large
    bag but simply a Leica X2 camera. Street or quick snapshot and pre-focusing is a blaze.
    If you need a zoom …. use your legs, this is your zoom lens. And its healthy to walk and get closer to your subject.

    There is a lot of people there that just compare pixels and specs but know very little else.


  2. Hi Steve,

    I have just bought the X2 and am delighted. Reading yours test and all the comments on your blog have influenced me, the pictures I’ve seen and ergonomic ease too! I am just an amateur and the first tests confirmed this choice, for the moment !

    I also think that this device is unique.

    What fidelity of the screen which we can read that he is unworthy, what easy access to essentials parameters and what image quality for a compact! I hesitated but to this day I do not regret anything. Yes, there will be a GR, yes, there are Fuji (and “invigorating” pics …), yes, there will be the new Olympus Pen, so what?

    Which will compromise the facility of use and the IQ offered by the Leica X2? And warranty and strength etc … With that kind of item, we are not servants of menus…. rather dependants on our mistakes 🙂 ….

    But yes, I must consider that I also use a EVF2 (from my previous Olympus) !

    Please apologize my poor English !


  3. I have the x2 for about 6 months and I still love it. At the same time I also have a M9, Nex5c,6,7, and D800. But X2 is still my first choice for taking out everyday.

    I don’t agree the iso statement here. X2 is very good at high iso, I use it all the way to iso3200. It’s better than nex5 and 7, about the same as nex6.

    Only thing I don’t like is AF accuracy. I don’t mind it focus slowly, but sometimes it misses focus when back lit…

    But I just love its IQ and the control so so much!

  4. I have the X2 and have no plans to sell it (I’ll be passing it on ultimately) – so I guess I don’t have to worry about resale value 🙂 I have looked at the x100; and the x100s (or RX1) is very tempting. However, I stay with the X2 for several reasons which I think make it unique to the market and, therefore, of greater value (to me) than the rest: 1) IQ of the DNG files 2) functionality/simplicity of engineering and 3) I feel like I am operating a camera – not a videogame. For me, the X2 has the right balance among all of these. Yes, there are cameras that have come out that surpass in feature set – but that’s an obvious point we can make on any camera (or electronic product). I think the author does make valid points – but after only one day of use, this sounds more like a retail-site review than an “Inspiration”. Perhaps the “red dot” affects us all. 🙂

    Steve – I have submitted several comments that have not been posted. Either I am somehow not making it through, missing them or you are rejecting them. If the latter’s the case, that’s fine; it would just be great to know why as I have posted to several other well-known forums, get positive comment back from the forum leaders and, otherwise, do not have this problem. Thank you!

  5. I had the X1 and the X2. I have to say that IQ was a lot better on the x1. I had difficulties to obtain very sharp photos with the x2 (I had to change the speed). If you compare both side by side as I did, it’s obvious (and I had another x2 in replacement thinking it was a defect from the first one). The reseller confirmed me that.

  6. I’m an owner of X2 since Oct 12. I hate the sleep mode or whatever mode that triggers every 2 minutes. And it takes more than a second to fully wakes it. I would not complain if I had missed shots on the street (many although I got used to it already) due to that. I even emailed to Leica Germany and recommended for a future patch that allow users to lengthen the sleep timer to 5 mins. Not a firmware patch has released for half a year.

    The position of the playback button (and possibly the rest along that column) is awkward. I use the Leica OVF and from time to time when I bring it to my eye, my nose bumps into the playback button. I missed shots from that or caused delay to bring it back to shooting mode.

    As much as I feel annoyed by these, i learned to get myself perfectly ready prior to any given potential shots. Leica makes camera that requires patience and love. Either we get that or not. Everything else on the X2 are decent, including the authorized local Leica service repair (sensor defect on a brand new purchase, took just a day to get it replaced. I wasn’t happy at first but it’s settled).

    I love the control dials, and the simplicity of this camera. No silly effect filters, no dynamic compensation, etc. It’s a pure photography experience and get what a photographer wants. 1 or 2 days of usage can’t justify the X2. It’s the closest thing to me for the top of the line rangefinder M.

    I wish it has more to offer though, such as a shorter retractable lens unit, built in ND filter, shutter speed of 1/4000 all the way, …

    The resale value scared me. Then I should really keep it until it dies.

  7. The X2 is way overpriced and under- specified plus worth very little after a few months use. Lots of way better cameras out there for less money but for some their brains are turned to mush by a little red dot 🙂 ha ha.

  8. I kwow you can have better Iso and better AF camera for much cheaper but this Leica little camera is simply quite good. I don’t think we can complain.

    If one needs something with better Isos then he can get an X100s.
    If one needs something with better AF he can get an X100s or an OMD.

    But, despite lacking slighthly behind on this, that Leica camera is quite good indeed and really simple to use.
    I have an X100 right now but frankly I never use it because I dislike its operation style. It’s my opinion but I don’t feel comfortable with the Fuji as I thinks it’s a bit messy all around.

    I guess I would be more interested in a simple camera like the X2, even it focuses slower. I don’t care high iso much. I know the Leica camera is quite a bit more expensive but to me the comfort of use is really important and comes before Iso capabilities.

  9. I have a hard time remembering when I’ve seen so much horse hockey in one thread. Leica blew it, not
    once but twice and I’ve no faith that number three will be significantly better. You can’t paste wings on
    a turkey and make it fly like an eagle.

  10. Leica is like a lady, “never seen in fast company” they refresh their lines slowly and evolve when they feel that they have something to say. Very niche and playing to their strengths, they are more than aware that it would be foolish to get into the digital slug fest with the big boys. With so many rushed to market products emerging these days I rather like Leica’s approach

  11. Yes, the x2 has not the fastes AF, but…

    -it is one of the few cams to focus accurately on a small area (like the eyes in a face) because it offers spot-af. AF points of the most cams are too big IMO.
    -the color is very good IMO better than that of the NEX and yes I say it : for my taste better than that of the x100
    -the x1/x2 is smaller and lighter than x100/Nex+lens/RX1; The x2 is the only one which is close to a pocket camera (the real pocket camera is the rx100 IMO)
    -the user interface of the x2 is straight forward; Much more camera and less-computer/digicam-like; You can access f-stop, ISO, exp-comp all very quick

    So IMO the x2 is still a very good option.
    The real advantage of the x100 would be the optical viewfinder, and the real advantage of the OMD fast AF. The IQ you get from the x2 is still very good and I find it is a lovely little camera.
    It is eventually too expensive – but just buy it used and be happy.

    • The real advantages of the X100s besides the brilliant VF are a faster lens (including better dof control) and a sensor beating Leica`s by at least one stop. Faster AF, way superior MF implementation, a better macro mode, ND filter on board allowing to shoot fully open even under bright light, a lens with a dedicated aperture ring etc. etc. and a price of less than 50% (incl the VF). (I`m not bashing here as I own a X1 but also a X100 and even the old X100 is so much more camera than the X1 or X2).

      • The sensor of the x100 beats x1/x2 in regards to high ISO but not in regards to low – mid ISO IQ IMO.
        The user interface of the x2 is more intuitive IMO, and the x2 is more pockable.
        The viewfinder is a big plus for the Fuji.
        IMO both have their advantages and disadvantages

  12. Great unbiased article. I agree with the comments. I would like to add that the X2 is very user friendly and when the camera is passed to a friend or family member, they have no problem taking the picture. Furthermore the camera does not draw attention and the quality of the photos is superb. I love my X2 and although the resale value within the first year is low relative to the initial cost; several years from now I suspect it will level off. I don’t think the Sonys or Fujis will have much value in years to come.

  13. Don’t get the reason why this article is posted here. Anyway. The author is disappointed about the X2. As usual the reason is wrong expectation (together with some not correct observations).

    Without these wrong expectations the X2 is simply a beautiful tool which largely enables you to get some beautiful pictures. This will also be true in 10 or 20 years.

    Why are we reading this site.
    To express our disappointments?

    • Are you implying that all less-than-positive experiences of any kind should be shunned? That only glowing recommendations should be posted? I’m sorry, but I don’t see why this article *shouldn’t* be posted and why disappointment can only be a result of ignorance. To me, a site that only posts gushing, superlative-laden reviews is devoid of all credibility. You simply can’t hit the jackpot all the time.

      Even if you read up on everything under the moon and familiarized yourself with every intricacy of a piece of equipment, you can still end up disappointed once you get to try it for yourself.

      Did Steve have “wrong expectations” when he expressed his concerns about the X-Pro1’s AF performance? After all: “without these wrong expectations the X-Pro1 is simply a beautiful tool which largely enables you to get some beautiful pictures”. That doesn’t mean that it’s beyond scrutiny though.

  14. Bought the X1 before I went to China for 6 weeks and got many absolutely beautiful shots, some of which can be seen at TheArtfulToad.com. Sold the X1 when I came back (as mentioned in article, at a TERRIBLE price). Didn’t even consider the X2. Bought the Sony RX100 (a great little camera; I hope Sony changes the sensor to 14mp to lessen the noise), and bought a Sony RX1 (wonderful camera, one image “Twins” on my website from this camera). I don’t think I’ll ever go back to less than a full size 35mm sensor. Now is a good time to wait, to see how other manufacturers answer the RX1. I’m not buying a new camera for 5 years (my retirement present), and I lean to the newest M at that point (if it has autofocus). If Sony is listening, I’d buy another RX100 if they keep the same size sensor but 14MP. It’s such a convenient camera to carry everywhere. RX1 is small for what it is, but it’s not with me all the time.

    • I forgot to mention that on my website, TheArtfulToad.com, i also have one image from the RX100, “Union Pacific”. More to come from the RX100 and RX1. More from my X1 China shots, as well.

  15. For me the rendering of the lens and the colours from the Leica X1/2 are unique. I would say I prefer those over the Fuji’s or any others in the same price range.

  16. As already been said: the bar has been raised a lot since the X1 came out. But I do not doubt it´s still a good camera IQ wise. Loving the handling and design of the Leica X2 I once again stopped myself when it came to the price. Even when I know it´s moderate priced comparing to other Leicas.

    The question is… Will I see that much difference in IQ when I usually only shoot in JPEG and print in 10×13?

  17. I tried out the X2 witch the optical viewfinder at my local leica store and was really impressed. Not impressed enough to buy it but it was very nice to hold and use.

    Small, compact, great EVF, fantastic pancake lens, decent RAW files. I’ll stick with my Nikon V1. Autofocus doesn’t get any faster than the autofocus on a V1.

    For everything else I’ll stick with my two M6’s and my summicrons.

  18. Utku bey, did you buy your Fuji in Turkey?
    I am in İzmir but cannot find a Turkish dealer for the Fuji X series, other than the very small Fuji outlet on Gittigidiyor.
    Sağol ve iyi günler.

  19. The right cam in wrong hands – and you don’t have the value you paid for.

    I love my new X2 à la carte, it’s minimalism character, outstanding lens performance, very good colors.
    Like any other camera nothing is perfect.

    What I wish only is: better software integration with camera profile in PhaseOne C1 and Lightroom.
    Lens of 45-50mm.

  20. Leica needs to make the new version of Leica Digilux 2 with newest technology…plain and simple..lots of demand but they keep ignoring it..time has changed Leica..dont be to stubborn please..!!

  21. The bar has been set high by competition and will be even higher when a X2 successor will be announced. A FF NEX will most likely be available and Fuji does not stop innovating and releasing cameras designed by photoogs for photogs. I doubt Leica will be able to compete in this high end segment of the market with technically leading products at competitive prices. It seems that buyers are quite tolerant with respect to price premiums for Leica branded products. But the prices Leica is asking for a X2 and accessories are simply ridiculous when considering the alternatives.

  22. This topic is a soft spot in my heart. The Leica X1 was the very first high-end digital camera I bought and I bought it because of Steve Huff’s exemplary review years ago. I have since been following Steve’s reviews and check in almost daily. In time though, the X1 was antiquated and I ended up selling it. I had it in my possession for a couple of years and used it with fantastic results. I even ended up selling the X1 on ebay for almost the same price I bought it for. Unfortunately when the X2 came out I immediately felt it was too little too late. I bought the Fuji X100 instead and I am eyeing the X100S. I agree with the gist of this thread. Leica needs an X3 and not just a slightly improved X2 called an X3 but a genuine innovation. I love Leica. I really do. I love the simplicity and elegance but the world has changed since they released their X1. Whoever thought Leica could make a game changer but it was. Leica needs another.

  23. The author kept the X2 for all of one day and then tried to sell it! Wow, nothing like getting to know your camera.

    I currently own an OM-D and D-700 and just sold my E-PL5. I wanted a Leica and found a used X1 so I went for it. I wanted a one lens camera as frankly carrying around all the lenses gets old even with the Olympus setup. I like the challenge of one lens and learning to zoom with my feet.

    I had read all of the reviews on the X1 including Steve’s. I knew what to expect but for me I wanted the IQ.
    Yes it is slow to auto focus/process, especially compared to the OM-D. But there are many things to love. I love the way it is laid out and the zone focusing with the new firmware works great for street. For me it works perfect for street photography but it has a few things that needed to be improved. They have been in the X2. I will be buying one on Sat. and yes I have read all of the reviews of the new cameras but the X series is so intuitive and produces a great pic. It fits my hand perfectly. It is easy to use and the pics do have the “Leica look.” I have thought of all the options but will continue with the X series. Already have money for the X3 too.

    I am glad I took time to become familiar with the X1. If I would have sold it after one day I would have been the one who lost. Thank God I didn’t.

    Thanks Steve for your reviews. I know exactly what to expect when I bring the X2 home. Can’t wait!

    • I agree.

      The slow AF, poor ISO performance, poor macro focusing distance etc would have all improved had the author spent just a bit more time with it.

      Sarcasm aside, unlike the M, I see no reason to purchase any X camera over a competitor’s offering, especially when you look at the price/performance ratio of the Leica. Ms are unique in that they offer optical manual focusing with real manual focusing lenses. The X, aside from the simplified menu structure, feels like any other mirrorless point and shoot.

      It doesn’t really offer anything else that the competition can’t, with the exception of the red dot of course, but for me at least, that red dot is only worth having if it’s on one of Leica’s rangefinders.

    • They won’t & if they do Fuji will have an even better variant out by then anyway. That will always be the problem for Leica being a small camera manufacturer in the digital age as the big guns have so much more power & resources and financial clout in R&D.

  24. It’s really hard to know what Leica ought do with the X2 successor.

    If an X3 is TOO advanced, it would demonstrate that Leica can, indeed, bring out a higher tech camera for the enthusiast shooter. And this runs the risk of cannibalizing ‘M’ sales (if you can buy a Leica with the features of an X100s and you’re not much for changing lenses anyway, the reasons for buying an ‘M’ start to diminish).

    On the other hand, cameras like the X100s absolutely trounce the X2 in just about every area now. Plus, by the time the Fuji X-Pro2 comes out next year, that camera could be another serious thorn in Leica’s side (everyone’s side, for that matter).

    Leica’s best choice, then, in all probability, is to simply reengineer the elements that make the X2 weak to make them fully competitive — or even edge out the competition — leave what does work alone…and then maybe add one or two innovative features that no-one else has.

  25. Upgraded from an x100 to the x2 and found that the useability of the x2 – that is the menu and buttons design and placement was way better than the x100. Exemplary actually. Image quality about the same and very good. (Was the price differential justifiable? Probably not). The real downside with the x2 as of today is the AF speed. I have the olympus evf attached and it works well.

  26. I think most people, who hate their X2, didn’t take the time to understand it and work with its DNG files. The Leica X2 is not for the mindless shooter or the beginner. As any other Leica, it is unforgiving and won’t deliver to the careless shooter.

    • I agree, JR. I’ve had the X2 with the EVF for about six months now, and it hasn’t disappointed me. Outstanding IQ. All one needs is a bit of patience and knowing what you’re doing.

    • Well, on the one hand I remember when the X1 came out and reviewers were very positive about the high ISO performance. Now, the X2 seems to be unusable above 800 – according to Utku Oguz.

      But on the other hand I would be interested about what mojo you are doing to those DNG files. Seems Leicas have some magic dust inside that only the initiated can see 😉
      Mind you, I have an M8, and there is nothing special in post processing, and I am really tired of self proclaimed experts that make claims that they cannot not even explain – or refuse to because the belong to some arcane circle.

  27. For my usage, I would (and did) only buy Leica if I could swing the M series.
    No-one else makes a full frame interchangeable lens digital real rangefinder camera.

    At the X2 price point I see no reason to get it over cameras like the Fuji x100s.

  28. I have an X2 (as well as an X1). Some of this is accurate (auto focus speed comes to mind); some more personal opinion based on experience (strap attachment). The EVF is a very helpful item. I bought the Leica brand before I found out theres another brand that’s the same but much less expensive. Oh well. If anyone from Leica is reading this, here’s my X3 wish list… Summicron lens, better autofocus, movie mode. I also remove the lens cap assembly and attach the very capable auto opening assembly I buy on ebay for about $15. A manual lens cap on an auto opening lens is way too minimalist. As for resale, just wait until you try to sell a Canon DSLR; depreciation is far steeper than the little Leica’s experience.

  29. Just got my X-E1 and mounted it with one of my Summicrons 35mm: very hard to beat combo!
    very intuitive menus, knobs are nicely place although I frequently touch the menu button without wanting to have the menu in my viewfinder. After a day of shooting I become already quite acquited with the new viewfinder, were before I a.most only shot with rangefinders. And the big plus: with this camera you can shoot you 135mm and 200mm lenses without any problems!
    Further it has lovely colors rendering just OOC.

    • Which Summicron? 90mm?

      Thinking about adding a 90mm f/2 ‘Cron (circa 1983) to my X-Pro 1 kit, but concerned about focusing without peaking capability.

      • I use the Tele Elmarit 90 on the X-Pro 1 and I’m often surprised by the number of missed focus shots. I use a 35 biogen and 50 C Sonnar with almost %100 hit rate. I’ve been shooting with the 90 at f4 and having much better luck. (appropriate diopter is essential.)

  30. Had the Leica X-2 with Leica EVF for a short before selling it. I now have an Olympus OMD-EM5 and Fujifilm XE-1 and have never looked back.

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