Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Leica "mini M" released, called X Vario

Check out the new "Mini-M." You like the rangefinder? Wait, where is it? You like the viewfinder? Wait, where is it? You like the fast LEICA glass? Wait, f3.5-6.4? Wow. Well, just buy yourself a fast prime, right? What? It's a fixed lens camera that gives the buyer no other options? Really? Well a camera that limited must be a bargain, right? Wait, it's $2,850 at B&H? Wow. Soooo, it ain't a small M, it's a larger X2 with a relatively slow zoom lens. It's called the X Vario. Sean Reid says he suggested a new version of the older Leica Digilux 2 camera to Leica, which was a pretty interesting camera, for it's day. This camera seems to be closer to that than an M, except it lacks a viewfinder/rangefinder and it lacks that camera's 28-90mm, f2.0-2.4 jewel like lens. It has a great APS-C sensor, which the Digilux lacked. But, it has less range and is much slower. Put the Digiliux lens on the X Vario and I'd buy it, in a year, when it was used for around $1,500. It would be a Sony RX1 killer. But the problem would likely be it'd be a Leica M killer too and what's worse for Leica, it would be a Leica LENS killer too. Leica lenses are their cash cow. So the mini M is crippled. Not for rich point and shooters but for enthusiasts who aren't rich. It's a nice enough camera, but waaay overpriced. You can pay an extra $500 on top of a nearly $3,000 camera to have an electronic viewfinder? Wow. My verdict? Get a Fuji X model (your pick). It's what the Leica should have been. If Fuji hadn't been producing these rangefinder copy cameras, I'd still say get a Canon M with the fast prime and the zoom lens and have a better set up than the Leica. I love Leica cameras. I've owned a few, including an M, which I still have. This camera should never have been previewed before release as a "mini M." That was a mistake and unfortunately, so is this camera.

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