Tuesday, June 11, 2013


To many, the official introduction of the Leica X Vario today was certainly anticlimactic.  Images and detailS of the new camera had been leaked and it was rather well known what the camera would be like.  I purposely held off talking about the IT or getting involved in the discussion until the final, official word was out.

Many of the comments are of disappointment.  Leica’s campaign of calling the camera a Mini M lead to the expectation that this camera somehow would be a simpler, maybe somewhat smaller version of the Leica M.  The fact is that we got a camera that is much closer to the Leica X2, but with a zoom lens.

Already we hear comments of fail, why, no M ...  Of course it is not a Leica M.  However, how well the camera fits into the lineup of Leica cameras needs to be seen.  So far, the few images taken with it that have been published are inconclusive.  Yes, the hopes of an interchangeable lens, morrorless Leica didn't come true, as is the case with an interchangeable lens version of the X2.  Either one of those cameras would certainly have created a lot more excitement.  But is it really that bad?  Of course, for total versatility, the Leica M is far ahead of the Leica X Vario.  Yet the versatility has been substantially increased over the X2 by the addition of the zoom lens.  That, combined with the new sensor and the additional features actually makes for quite a usable camera. 

If the camera deserves to be positioned between the M and the X2 will soon be revealed when we see some valid performance proof.  That, I am sure, will be forthcoming in just a few days.   Rather than blathering how bad this camera is, as so many are doing, I am willing to wait for that until I form my final opinion.

The official press release, from Leica:

Leica Camera proudly presents the Leica X Vario (Typ 107) -a groundbreaking compact camera which combines a large APS-C format with a zoom lens to offer customers the best possible quality and versatility in a compact camera.

The Leica X Vario (Type 107) features several significant technical, design and handling characteristics of the Leica M. With the AF Leica Vario Lens offering an equivalent zoom range covering 28 to 70 mm and full-HD video recording, the Leica X Vario (Typ 107) expands the creative options for the user while offering easy and automatic operation.

Benefits at a Glance:

Newly developed Vario Lens: Leica Elmar 1:3.5-6.4 (28-70 mm equivalent)
Newly developed APS-C CMOS Sensor with an effective resolution of 16.1 Megapixels
Iconic design using high quality materials (milled aluminum top cover)
Simple operations including manual adjustment options
Precise and fast Auto Focus
Best in class image quality and full HD video
Connection for high resolution electronic viewfinder for new photographic perspectives
Versatile accessories
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, the comprehensive solution for modern digital photography
Made in Germany
The Leica Vario-Elmar 28-70 mm f/3.5 -6.4 ASPH (35 mm equivalent) and the APS-C CMOS sensor ensures images of unsurpassed brilliance. The size and quality of the sensor means low image noise, high dynamic range and accurate color differentiation. The wide-angle to telephoto zoom range of the Leica X Vario (Type 107) offers photographers the options for many more creative compositions: indoor scenes, impressive landscapes or intimate portraits. The Leica X
Vario (Typ 107) allows users to change focal length easily and quickly to spontaneously capture the perfect moment. In addition, the autofocus is fast, extremely precise and virtually silent while the switch from autofocus to manual focusing is intuitive -simply move the focusing ring on the lens from MF to AF mode.

The Leica X Vario (Typ 107) offers a simple handling concept which allows the photographer to concentrate on the picture. All functions and controls are clearly laid out, and settings can be changed in an instant to meet the needs of any photographic situation. The user-friendly menu interface displayed on the high-resolution 3” monitor provides a
clear overview of all settings at a glance.

The Leica X Vario (Typ 107) offers a full-HD video recording option with a 1920 x 1080 pixels and 30 full frames per second. A video can be made by simply starting and stopping a single button on the camera’s top plate. The full-HD videos can be saved using the MP4 format and uploaded directly to social media or mobile devices without any conversion. An integrated wind-cut filter ensures outstanding audio clarity.


The design and finish of the Leica X Vario (Typ 107) reflects the ultimate in the art of engineering with attention to detail and the use of the finest materials. The top plate is machined from solid aluminum while the magnesium and aluminum body is trimmed with soft leather. The Leica X Vario (Typ 107) provides the user with a visual and tactile experience which is synonymous with a Leica made in Germany.

For complete information about the Leica X Vario, go to:

LEICA X VARIO Technical data.

Camera   Leica X Vario (Typ 107) black Order no. 18 430

Lens   Leica Vario-Elmar 18-46 mm f/3.5-6.4 ASPH. (corresponds to 28-70 mm in 35 mm format), 9 lenses in 8 groups, 2 aspherical lenses.

Sensor   CMOS sensor, size APS-C (23.6 x 15.7 mm) with 16.5/16.2 million pixels (total/effective), format aspect ratio 3:2.

Resolution   Selectable for JPEG format: 4928 x 3274 Pixel (16 megapixels), 4288 x 2856 Pixel (12,2 megapixels), 3264 x 2160 Pixel (7 megapixels), 2144 x 1424 Pixel (3 megapixels), 1632 x 1080 Pixel (1,8 megapixels), DNG: 4944 x 3274 Pixel.

Video recording format    MP4.

Video resolution/frame rate   Selectable 1920 x 1080 pixels, 30 fps or 1280 x 720 pixels, 30 fps.

Aperture range   From 3.5 to 16 (at 28 mm)/6.4 to 16 (at 70 mm) in 1/3 EV increments.

Image data file formats /Compression rates   JPG Superfein, JPG Fein, DNG + JPG Superfi ne, DNG + JPG Fein.

ISO Range    Automatic, ISO 100, ISO 200, ISO 400, ISO 800, ISO 1600, ISO 3200, ISO 6400, ISO 12500.

White balance    Automatic, presets for daylight, cloud, halogen lighting, shade, electronic fl ash, 2 manual settings, manual color temperature setting, fi ne adjustment option for all settings.

Autofocus system    Contrast-based auto focus system.

Distance setting range    30 cm/1 ft (at 70 mm focal length) to infi nity.

Autofocus metering methods   1-fi eld, 11-fi eld, spot, face detection.

Exposure modes    Automatic program, aperture priority, shutter speed priority and manual setting.

Exposure metering    Multi-fi eld, center-weighted, spot.

Exposure compensation    ±3 EV in 1/3 EV increments.

Automatic bracketing    Three pictures in graduations up to 3 EV, adjustable in 1/3 EV increments.

Exposure modes    M (manual), A (aperture priority), B.

Shutter speed range    30 s to 1/2000 s.

Continuous picture series   3 fps or 5 fps, max. seven pictures with constant frequency in DNG + JPG Fine.

Flash modes    Auto, auto/Red-Eye, forced on, forced on/Red eye, Slow Sync, Slow Sync/Red eye, Studio.

Flash exposure compensation   ± 3 EV in 1/3-EV increments.

Guide number built-in fl ash unit   For ISO 100, guide number 5.

Recovery time of built-in fl ash unit   Approx. 5 s with fully charged battery.

Monitor    3" TFT LCD, approx. 920,000 pixels.

Self timer Delay time    2 or 12 s.

Storage media    SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards.

Connections    Mini USB 2.0 socket, HDMI socket, special socket exclusively for external Leica EVF 2 electronic viewfinder.

Power supply    Lithium ion battery, rated voltage 3.7 V, capacity 1600 mAh (to CIPA standard): Approx. 350 pictures, charging time (after total discharge): approx. 200 min.
Charger Input: 100–240V AC, 50/60 Hz, automatic switching.

Tripod thread    A 1/4 DIN 4503 (¼ in).

Dimensions    (W x H x D) Ca. 133 x 73 x 95 mm / 5.24 x 2.87 x 3.74 in.

Weight    Ca. 594/628 g / 22.9/24 oz (without/with battery).

Package includes Battery (Leica BP-DC8), battery charger (Leica BC-DC8), leather carrying strap, USB cable, lens cap, user manual.

Software    Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom® (free download option after camera registration).

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