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Battery / Card Compartment & Battery

The X1 runs off a blocky lithium ion battery pack called the BP-DC8. It's rated for approximately 230 exposures, which is roughly on a par with the Sigma DP2, and takes about three hours to charge fully.

Like most small cameras these days, the X1 accepts the popular SD memory card format (including the larger capacity SDHC variety). The card and battery share a compartment under a door on the base of the camera, which features a neatly-styled locking lever.

Battery Charger

With the new battery comes this matching charger, the BC-DC8. It's reasonably compact, and plugs directly into the power socket using interchangeable slide-on prongs.

Connections

There are two connectors on the the left hand side of the camera (viewed from the rear), tucked away behind a positively-sprung plastic door. At the top is a standard mini-USB socket to connect the camera to your computer, and below that is an HDMI port so you can view your images on your HDTV.

Base / Tripod Mount

The X1 has a metal tripod thread, which is placed approximately in the center of the base plate. This means that it's not aligned with the lens axis, and because it's right next to the compartment door, you can forget about changing the battery or SD card when the camera is on a tripod. To be fair this is probably not a major concern on this type of camera.

AF Assist

The X1 has a small orange autofocus assist lamp on the front plate (just above the lens), meaning you don't have to pop up the flash to gain focus in low light. It's not the most discreet solution but it's less disturbing than having a strobing flash pointed at you. It can also be disabled in the menu if you prefer.

AF Confirm Light

There's a little LED on the back of the camera beside the hot shoe that lights up green to confirm when focus has been achieved. This will be most useful to photographers who prefer to use an external optical viewfinder (although it's somewhat at the periphery of your vision using Leica's own large accessory finder).

Pop-up Flash

One of the X1's cutest design features is the little cylindrical pop-up flash, which is operated using good old-fashioned finger power (push down to release, push down into the body again to retract). There's a good selection of modes available, including red-eye reduction, forced flash and slow-sync - you can even choose whether the flash fires at the start or end of a long exposure. The Guide Number is just 5, rather than the 12 or 13 we're used to seeing on entry-level DSLRs, but it should do the job for social snaps and fill-flash (and is a lot better than nothing).

Flash Hot-shoe

The top of the camera plays host to a conventional hot-shoe, similar to that on the M8, M8.2 and M9. It will accept the same range of dedicated flashes, including the compact SF 24D.

The shoe is aligned centrally over the lens axis, which allows accessory optical viewfinders to be used with minimum parallax error.

Optional Accessories

Leica is supporting the X1 from the outset with a range of optional accessories - including a handgrip, an array of cases, and perhaps most usefully a hot-shoe mounted optical viewfinder.

Optical Viewfinder

Leica makes an optical viewfinder which slides into the hot shoe as an optional accessory for the X1. It's very large and bright, has relatively low distortion, and features brightlines for framing plus parallax correction marks for close range shooting. However there's no mark in the center of the frame to indicate the position of the AF point.

Handgrip and Cases

You can further accessorize your X1 with this hand grip, which bolts into the tripod mount. It provides a much more secure hold when using the camera one-handed, and will probably be very welcome to those with large hands.

The grip adds 2.5 oz (70g) to the camera's weight, and provides a duplicate tripod socket; but you can't change either the battery or memory card when it's fitted.
Leica will also be happy to sell you any one of three X1-matched cases; a gray leather 'ever ready' case which holds the camera with grip (and comes with a pouch for the viewfinder), a shoulder bag style 'system case', or a brown leather slide-in pouch. However the single accessory that arguably best complements the camera is the rather fetching leather wrist-strap.

Supplied In the Box

The X1 is supplied in a frankly fabulous box, which is practically a work of art in itself. The familiar silver Leica outer box unwraps (and there's no other word for it) to reveal...
...a black cardboard 'cabinet', which itself opens up to reveal a presentation box for the camera body, plus sliding drawers for the accessories (which include a fine leather neckstrap).
The contents of the box are as follows:

• LEICA BP-DC8 rechargeable battery
• Battery charger (LEICA BC-DC8)
• Protective battery cover
• Leather carrying strap
• USB cable
• 46mm clip lens cap

In addition, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is available as a download option after product registration.

 
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