Last Updated on January 13, 2019
Leica X-U Introduction Video
Leica X-U Overview
Leica is known for producing expensive cameras that you can’t take to places where it might be put in danger – bodies of water, for one, are a definite no. However, change is constant in life and in 2016, the company introduced the X-U, a camera that is still very much shoots like a Leica but is now protected against harsh conditions. Basically, it’s a Leica that you can drop or swim with and it won’t hate you for it. It’s the Leica you can take about just anywhere: a safari, a trek up the mountain, an adventure in the jungle, a dive, and many other places that screams danger.
Design & Features
Leica called the X-U their first “ruggedized” model made especially for use in the outdoors. Underneath the rugged exterior hides a camera that is what you should expect of a Leica. In fact, this model can be compared to the Leica T, a mirrorless camera, particularly in terms of design but a bit more rough. Like many other Leica cameras, the body is dominated by a bulky grip on the right side and a flash ring at the end of the lens.
Aluminum was used for the top plate and the control dials. A thermoplastic elastomer with anti-slip properties was used to cover the camera’s body. Apart from the body, the LCD screen also has a protective cover. With buttons integrated into the body, it’s hard for elements such as sand or water to get into the system. Protection is also given through a double locking system to the slots for the battery and memory card.
The Leica X-U is fitted with a fast Leica Summilux 23mm f/1.7 ASPH lens that has its own underwater protection filter as well as a large APS-C format CMOS sensor. With these two components, the camera is able to take photos that are really bright and clear even under the harshest of conditions. The camera can be taken to depths of up to 15 meters and even on that level, it can still take detailed images.
Leica has stressed the “extreme ruggedness” of the X-U and it truly is: it is not only waterproof but also shockproof, winter proof, dust proof, and shatterproof. Given such protection, the camera is clearly aimed at those who enjoy engaging with nature and needing a good camera to document such adventures and actually bring back evidence.
The combination of 16.5MP APS-C sensor with the Leica Summilux 23mm f/1.7 ASPH lens guarantees the reproduction of natural color and detailed resolution, even when a photo is taken at 20cm, the closest focusing distance. The fast f/1.7 aperture enables photographers to see what selective focusing can do for them creatively. With resistance to stray light and flare, the Leica X-U also makes a case for being a go-to camera no matter the lighting condition.
Apart from high-quality still photos, the Leica X-U supports full HD video. It can record videos in 1920x1080 and 1280x720 resolutions at 30fps in MP4 format.
Pros & Cons
- It is designed to take a beating but still can protect internal parts. Leica specifically designed the X-U for outdoor enthusiasts and it throws everything they can into making sure the camera can make it through a tough journey. The X-U features a non-slip body and a monitor with a protective cover. A double locking system is also employed to ensure the battery and memory card compartments are safe from dust and water. To top it all off, the camera is winterized, shock-resistant, dust-sealed, shatterproof, and can be taken underwater up to a 15-meter depth.
- It takes great photos. The sensor and lens combination of the X-U allows photographers to take stunning photos no matter where they are, including underwater. The resistance of the camera to stray light and flare allows it to effectively handle lighting situations of all kinds.
- It has a really high price tag. Leica cameras are known to be incredibly expensive (and that’s not even including the lens). However, the company has tried in recent years to offer more affordable models, and the X-U belongs in that category. While it may not be as pricey as other models, it still bears quite the price tag.
The Leica X-U is not the prettiest camera, but it sure does make up for that with a series of features that will undoubtedly please those who like cameras that can take quite a beating. Then again, Leica cameras tend to be on the pricier side of things which might force customers to look for something similar but less expensive.
|Pixels||Actual: 16.5 Megapixel
Effective: 16.2 Megapixel
|Sensor||APS-C (23.6 x 15.7 mm) CMOS|
|File Formats||Still Images: DNG, JPEG
|Max Resolution||4944 x 3278|
|Lens||10 elements in 8 groups
EFL: 23mm (35 mm equivalent: 35mm)
Aperture: f/1.7 (W) – 16 (T)
|Focus Range||Normal: 7.87″ (20 cm) – Infinity|
|Flash Modes||1st Curtain Sync
|Maximum Effective Flash Range||0.98 – 6.56′ (0.3 – 2 m)|
|External Flash Connection||Hot Shoe|
|Memory Card Type||SD
|Video Recording||Yes, NTSC|
|Resolution||1920 x 1080p: 30 fps
1280 x 720p: 30 fps
|Screen||3.0″ LCD Rear Screen (920,000 pixels)|
|Connectivity||Not specified by manufacturer|
32 to 104°F (0 to 40°C)
Humidity: 0 – 85%
|Waterproofing||49.0′ (14.9 m)|
|Battery||1x BP-DC8 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery Pack, 3.7 VDC, 1600 mAh|
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||5.5 x 3.1 x 3.5″ / 140.0 x 79.0 x 88.0 mm|
|Weight||1.397 lb / 635 g with battery|
|Package Weight||5.1 lb|
|Box Dimensions (LxWxH)||8.8 x 8.6 x 6.5″|
Unboxing the Leica X-U
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