Compared to... Panasonic GF1

Perhaps the most obvious direct alternative to the X1 at the moment is Panasonic's Micro Four Thirds GF1. When fitted with the Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH 'Pancake' lens, the GF1 is quite similar in size and feature set to the X1. So in this comparison we're looking at how this combination fares against the X1 and its 24mm F2.8 Elmarit.

Studio scene comparison (JPEG)

This is our standard studio scene comparison shot taken from exactly the same tripod position. Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI. Crops are 100%. Ambient temperature was approximately 22°C (~72°F).

Leica X1 vs. Panasonic GF1 + 20mm F1.7 Pancake lens

Camera settings:

  • Leica X1: Manual exposure, ISO 100, JPEG Super Fine, Manual WB, Default Parameters (Standard), Self-Timer
  • Panasonic DMC-GF1: Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 lens (@ F6.3), Manual Exposure, ISO 100
    JPEG Large/Fine, Manual WB, Default Parameters (Standard), Self-Timer, Firmware 1.1.
Leica X1
Panasonic DMC-GF1
4.8 MB JPEG (4272 x 2856)
Manual, 1/30sec, F7.1, ISO 100
5.6 MB JPEG (4000 x 3000)
Manual, 1/50sec, F6.3, ISO 100

Many of the same comments can be made here as in the previous comparison with the D300S. The X1's high default sharpening accentuates the appearance of detail, while the GF1's color output is punchier, and much higher in saturation. The GF1 also has a rather high tendency towards showing color moire on fine detail - most obviously shown here on the banknotes.

What you can't see in these crops, but is visible if you download and compare the full size images, is a slight blurring of pixel-level detail towards the extreme corners of the GF-1 shots - a consequence of the resampling required by the digital rectilinear distortion correction that is an integral part of the Micro Four Thirds system. In return, of course, you get a lens which is a stop and a half faster (in this case).