The cult classic brand Leica has revealed a new compact camera in the center of their digital offering, the Leica X Vario. This sleek, 4/3rds-style digital camera features a 16 megapixel APS-C sensor which is mated to an 18mm to 46mm zoom lens with a wide open aperture of f3.5. It is the little brother of the famed full frame Leica M, a powerful little camera from a brand that has always boasted professional-class optics.
The new Leica X Vario is in a similar class to the Fuji X100S (featured: 5 best travel cameras of 2013), the Nikon Coolpix A and other Micro 4/3rds cameras from Olympus, Panasonic and others. Its lens is hard-mounted, meaning that future upgrades to wide/telephoto options will not be available. Yet for a camera brand that has long focused on a “less is more” philosophy, this fixed offering should not come as a surprise. It is designed to offer crisp, dynamic images in a standard zoom range for everything from environmental shots to portraits and more. It’s designed to be the side arm of the professional and enthusiast alike, the day-to-day camera to enjoy the art of shooting while the big body can come out for the big jobs.
At $2,850, it stands in a price range beyond the competing options listed above. The gap of image quality between the Leica X Vario and something like the Nikon Coolpix A may not warrant the difference in cost, but this camera is built for the Leica faithful. A new buyer or a part-time professional may avoid this one for it’s hefty sticker price. Those who have owned a Leica in the past may consider no other option than this one, or the aforementioned Leica M. Our take? Lovely camera, signature Leica quality, but absolutely no comparison to the Nikon D800— which can be had for the same price. Yes, the D800 is a different beast, but you can’t tell us you’ll get better quality out of this one.
Leica X Vario | Gallery