Leica X1: Pimped and primed for action
Regular reader Treve Kneebone has sent me a picture of his newly acquired Leica X1, the camera I have declared a Leica classic. Not the X2, not the latest X-E version, but the old slowcoach itself, hailing from the early teens. Macfilos seems to be gathering a rare old society of X1 fans, headed by Mister X1 himself, John Shingleton down there in Australia. Treve (who has a magnificent fully Cornish name, is called Treeve and not Trev as we might assume) is the latest to succumb. He found a mint X1 and has set about personalising it.
He's also ordered a Leica Q from Ivor Cooper at Red Dot Cameras in London and, while he's waiting for this rare-as-hen's-teeth full-frame shooter to arrive, the bargain X1 is coping with Treve's street photography desires. In the comments to the recent article on the Leica XV and its wayward D-Pad, Treve has been outlining his way of working with the X1.
Treve has lost no time stealthing up his mint classic with a black grip, a blob of black tape over the red dot and a JJC folding lens cap. The only bit he's not entirely happy with is the Leica finder which he describes as awkward, needing precise eye alignment. I've had some similar problems with the Voigtländer 35mm finder which Ivor Cooper kindly found for me a few weeks ago but, in general I love it. I think it looks better than the Leica finder. Ever resourceful, Treve has discovered a refurbished Sony RX1 finder from the US and it is in mid-Atlantic as I write. It will be interesting to see if the Sony shows any improvement on the Leica finder.
I find it remarkable how the little X1, which was criticised for its slow autofocus and low-resolution screen (the screen remains the same on the current model, by the way), is winning converts once again. Like the 11-year-old Digilux, the X1 shines out in the Leica digital classic firmament. It is so small, dare I say Barnacky small, and convenient that it makes a great travel companion. The results are still excellent, as John Shingleton will testify, and at current prices it is a screaming bargain.