This Leica's ready to take a dive

leicax-ufront.jpg
Leica

It seems like it's the season for APS-C enthusiast compact announcements: Leica follows on the heels of Fujifilm, adding another model to its X-series fixed-lens cameras. The new Leica X-U is essentially the Leica X with a body retrofitted to be water- and weatherproof, the first the company has offered.

Like the X, it incorporates a 16.2MP sensor and a fixed focal-length 23mm f1.7 lens.

As you'd expect, you pay a premium for the ruggedizing. It's $2,950/£2,400 compared with $2,300 (£1,550, about AU$2,700) for the plain-old X. Sorry, Australians, it doesn't look like it's been announced there yet, but its US price directly converts to AU$4,300; the UK price converts to AU$3,200, however, so hopefully it won't be quite so expensive when or if it becomes available there.

The body had to be somewhat rearranged and tweaked to ruggedize it. For instance, the flash now sits above the front filter, hard-to-operate-with-gloves buttons replace the back dial and there's a UW (underwater) button.

Leica

'Proof specifications:

  • Waterproof to 49 ft/15m for up to 60 minutes of shooting (IP68-compliant)
  • Shockproof against falls from 4 ft/1.2m (MIL-STD 810G, method 516.52-compliant)
  • Dustproof (IP68 rating indicates completely dust-sealed)
Leica

In addition, it has a built-in protective glass filter on the front of the lens and a rubber exterior for better grippage. However, despite Leica's encouragement to take it out in the snow, it's not cold-proof: it has the same operating range as most other cameras, 32°-104° F/0°-40° C.

Comparative specs

Fujifilm X70 Leica X (Typ 113) Leica X-E (Typ 102) Leica X-U (Typ 113)
Sensor effective resolution 16.3MP X-Trans CMOS II 16.2MP CMOS 16.2MP CMOS 16.2MP CMOS
Sensor size APS-C
(23.6 x 15.6mm)
APS-C
(23.6 x 15.7 mm)
APS-C
(23.6 x 15.7 mm)
APS-C
(23.6 x 15.7 mm)
Focal-length multiplier 1.5x 1.5x 1.5x 1.5x
OLPF No No No No
Sensitivity range ISO 100 (exp)/ISO 200 -ISO 6400/ISO 51200 (exp) ISO 100 - ISO 12500 ISO 100 - ISO 12500 ISO 100 - ISO 12500
Lens (35mm equivalent) 28mm
f2.8
1x
23mm
f1.7
1x
24mm
f2.8
1x
23mm
f1.7
1x
Closest focus 3.9 in/10 cm 7.9 in/20cm 11.8 in/30cm 7.9 in/20cm
Burst shooting 3 fps
unlimited JPEG/n/a
(8fps for 10 frames JPEG)
5fps
7 raw+JPEG
5fps
7 raw+JPEG
5fps
7 raw+JPEG
Viewfinder
(mag/ effective mag)
None Optional EVF
Optional EVF Optional EVF
Hot shoe Yes Yes Yes Yes
Autofocus 77-point phase-detection AF
49-area Contrast AF
11-point
n/a
11-point
n/a
11-point
n/a
AF sensitivity n/a n/a n/a n/a
Shutter speed 30 - 1/4,000 sec (1/32,000 electronic shutter); bulb to 60 minutes 30 - 1/2000 sec 30 - 1/2000 sec 30 - 1/2000 sec
Metering 256 zones n/a n/a n/a
Metering sensitivity n/a n/a n/a n/a
Best video H.264 QuickTime MOV 1080/60p @ 36 Mbps MP4
1080/30p
n/a MP4
1080/30p
Audio Stereo Stereo n/a Stereo
Manual aperture and shutter in video n/a No n/a No
Maximum best-quality recording time 14 minutes n/a n/a n/a
IS None None None None
LCD 3 in/7.5 cm
Tilting touchscreen
1.04m dots
3 in/7.5cm
Fixed
920,000 dots
2.7 in/tk
Fixed
230,000 dots
3 in/7.5cm
Fixed
920,000 dots
Memory slots 1 x SDXC 1 X SDXC 1 X SDHC 1 X SDXC
Wireless connection Wi-Fi None None None
Flash Yes No No No
Wireless flash n/a No No No
Battery life (CIPA rating) 330 shots
(1,800 mAh)
350 shots
(1,600 mAh)
450 shots
(1,600 mAh)
350 shots
(1,600 mAh)
Size (WHD) 4.4 x 2.5 x 1.8 in
113 x 64 x 44 mm
5.2 x 2.9 x 3.1 in
133 x 73 x 78 mm
4.9 x 2.7 x 2.0 in
124 x 69 x 52 mm
5.2 x 2.9 x 3.1 in
133 x 73 x 78 mm
Body operating weight 12 oz (est.)
340g (est.)
17.1 oz (est.)
486 g (est.)
12.2 oz (est.)
345 g (est.)
17.1 oz (est.)
486 g (est.)
Mfr. price $700
£550
AU$1,049
$2,300
£1,550
AU$2,700 (est.)
$1,800 (est.)
£1,250 (est.)
AU$1,800 (est.)
$2,950
£2,400
Release date (US) February 2016 September 2014 September 2014 January 2016

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Features flash +/- compensation
  • Guide Number (m / ISO 100) 5
  • Weight 21.16 oz
  • Red Eye Reduction Yes
  • Sensor Resolution 16.2 Megapixel
  • Lens Aperture f/1.7
  • Focus Adjustment automatic
    manual
  • Min Focus Distance 7.9 in
  • Optical Sensor Size 15.7 x 23.6mm
  • Optical Sensor Type CMOS
  • Sensor Resolution 16.2 pixels