Leica X2: X1 fan takes a leap into the past with the uprated X2
My friend Wayne — Wayne Gerlach contributor to Macfilos — manages to find real camera bargains on eBay. Two years ago he picked up an X Vario at very good price and more recently he managed to snare a Leica X2 at a bargain-basement sum.
The X2 is a later version of my much-loved Leica X1. It has a 16mp CMOS sensor instead of the 12mp CCD sensor on the X1. It has faster autofocus, a redesigned flash unit (completely useless — I have never used the flash on my X1 in six years and thousands of photos) and the control dials are stiffer. That’s a useful improvement as the dials on the X1 turn too easily.
The lens remains the same — the fabulous f/2.8 35mm-equivalent Elmarit. A big improvement over the X1 is that it accepts an electronic viewfinder which slots into the accessory shoe. It’s the same finder as used with the M240 series and the X and X Vario. The EVF from my X Vario slots in nicely although it is rather bulky and if I owned the X2 I am not sure that I would use the EVF.
The bulk of the EVF is exacerbated by the rather large hump underneath the hotshoe — there solely to ensure that the plug on the VF-2 finder can marry up with the socket above the camera's screen. I have been happy with the little Voigtländer optical viewfinder on the X1.
Wayne seems happiest using cameras with lots of controls and fancy menus. He bought the X2 after seeing the quality of the photos I get from my X1. But he is having trouble gelling with the X2 and its bare-bones specification and, admittedly, relatively slow autofocus.
It’s a good thing that he did not buy an X1 as its autofocus is really slow. Wayne asked me to use it for a few days to see what I could produce with it. I set it to identical settings as my X1 and as usual I have only taken jpeg files.
The autofocus is definitely faster than the X1 but otherwise it really is the same camera although there is perhaps a marginal difference in the colour rendition.
Wayne is off to Laos and Vietnam in two weeks and is still not certain whether to take the X2 along. Perhaps my photos will persuade him.
The exercise has confirmed to me that the X1 and X2 are both superb cameras and they are already latter day classics. It would be nice to say that you can pick a used one up at a bargain price but that is not so. The last bargain was bagged by Wayne.