Judging from the email traffic over the last couple of days, I know there are many of you wondering why I’ve been silent on the new Leica X Vario (16MP, APS-C, similar to the X2 body, 28-70/3.5-6.4 equivalent) – the simple answer is that I wasn’t given a camera to test, so not having used one, I have no opinion on it as yet. I have requested one, and have been told it should arrive this week or next. As usual I will do my best to answer your questions if/when it arrives.
In the meantime, I think it’s safe to have a few working hypotheses:
- The sensor will be excellent, since it’s the same one used in the X2 and a whole host of other cameras like the Ricoh GR and Coolpix A.
- The lens is slow, for two reasons: it’s better to have a slow but optically excellent optic than a fast but loose one; that, and if it was fast, the price point would likely start to affect M sales.
- Image quality should therefore be excellent, especially if paired with a decent tripod for low light work.
- I suspect it will do very well as an all-in-one general purpose travel camera – for good light, at least. Similar to how I use the OM-D and 14-42 X pancake now. A stabilizer wouldn’t go amiss, especially with an f6.3 maximum aperture at the long end. At very least, the EVF is going to be a must-have for face-bracing stability.
On that basis – yes, I’d certainly like to have a play with one; I don’t know quite where it will fit into the current set of gear, but I think since most serious photographers are likely to have an M anyway, Leica probably had a different customer profile in mind for their target audience. It would appeal to the dilettantes who want a real Leica, find the M too intimidating or heavy (forget the S), and the X2 too limited; and for that reason, it will probably sell in droves.
While we wait, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts – the perfect travel companion? Too little, too late? Too close to the M or useful for filling the near-focus limit? A good compromise? Not interesting/ not serious enough? Too reminiscent of the Canon G1x? Please leave your two cents in the comments. MT
The Leica X Vario is available here to pre-order from B&H.
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