The Leica X Vario – The new “Mini M” – I still say NO WAY!


Leica X Vario Zoom – The new “Mini M” – I still say NO WAY!

Well it may appear that the rumors were mostly true about the new Leica Mini M, although everything we have seen to date has been a rumor with 100% fake photoshopped images of the new camera. Even the image above is a fake right down to the joke about the broken strap lug.

Many have said that the image above..well, “THIS IS THE REAL DEAL”! Others have said, “NO WAY, THEY ARE FAKE”! Today there are more stories going around saying the camera is indeed a APS-C with a fixed zoom attached and that the photo above is legit. The specs are floating around internet land and rumor sites already and here is the basic jist of what is being thrown around:

  • 16.5MP APS-C sensor
  • Leica Vario Elmar 1:3.5-6.4/18-46mm ASPH lens (28-70mm equivalent): 9 elements in 8 groups, 2 ASPH elements
  • ISO: 100-12,500
  • Max shutter speed: 1/2000s – 1/2000? Really?
  • 3″ TFT LCD with 921k dots
  • Full HD video
  • Built-in flash
  • Battery life: 360 exposures
  • Price: around 2,500 EUR (over $3k USA)
  • Made in Germany

By those specs, the new Leica seems to be just what we thought. An APS-C with a slow zoom attached. As I sit and scratch my head and hang that same head in disappointment (some Leica fan boy I am huh?) I wonder why Leica did not seize the chance to go for something REALLY outstanding..something the Leica fans wanted (which is a digital CL). Basically this is a souped up X2 with a slower lens, a zoom.  They also added video recording and higher ISO capability. I still am hoping for a surprise on the 11th like “it has interchangeable lenses”, but the rumors and the forums are stating this is not the case. I refuse to believe that for many reasons.

As always, nothing is final until June 11th so we shall wait and see. 

Maybe it will be different. Maybe it will have IC lenses. Maybe it will have a 1.3 crop sensor. But that appears unlikely. If what we see here is truly the camera being released on the 11th, no amount of viral teaser campaigning can save it.

I can see it sitting on shelves just as I see the X2 doing the same thing. The Leica X Vario as shown here is nothing more than an X2 with a slower zoom. Why Leica thinks it would be a hit at over $3k is beyond me. I’d be happier with an Olympus E-P5 and a 17, 45 and 75 lenses, all for less than one Vario X. I’d be MUCH happier with a Sony RX1, less than a Vario X and it is a full frame with a 35 f/2 lens.

That tells you something right there doesn’t it? 

As I sit and compare these “leaked” specs with the Sony RX1 I ask “who would buy this over an RX1, which is full frame, has an amazing Leica killer 35 f.2 Zeiss lens attached and amazing jaw dropping high ISO with gorgeous B&W performance to boot and comes in for LESS than the supposed price of the Vario X? The answer to that is NO ONE, ell, no one but the most die hard Leica fans who will buy anything just for the name. I shoot Leica not due to the name but due to the M lenses, the M body, the full frame sensor. There is nothing like it. Would I buy a Vario X as it is shown here? No way and not a chance. Maybe at $1600 but at $3000+, no way. The RX1 would be the way to go and this is why it makes no sense. 

Why would Leica release this at $3k+ when the stellar Sony RX1 and amazing full frame/Zeiss f/2 lens is $2700? They wouldn’t! But who knows..maybe they do really think anything with their name will sell and maybe, just maybe they do have the illusion that Leica is better than anything else no matter what camera model it is.

So see? It makes no sense! My final analysis is that THIS CAN NOT BE TRUE.

If it is, it will fail miserably. If it is not, then we may just have a surprise coming on the 11th and man, I hope so. In my opinion the only thing Leica has going for them now is the MM, the M 240 and the M-E as well as the S series. They need to revamp the X series and this is not the way to do it. Go to a 1.3 crop sensor, make it interchangeable lens with an M mount. Done deal, a “real” Mini M. You may lose some sales of the M 240 but you will gain MANY more sales of the smaller camera and many more lenses which means more customers will be happy. That would lead to a huge boost in sales. Now that makes sense.

It also can not be true because the official teaser image put out by Leica shows a much different lens on the front of the camera. This means that the above image is indeed a 100% a fake and while the specs could be the same (a pop out zoom) it will for sure be smaller than the image above. I smell a surprise coming…

Hmmm, if you take a look at the OFFICIAL teaser image by Leica you can clearly see the lens is not a long zoom lens as pictured above in the “fake”




See my Leica M 240 review here, my favorite Leica EVER. 


  1. Years ago, when x1 came out at 2K there were same hard ‘logical’ explanation we’ve heard here like what all Steve said, but time has told us what was x1 or x2 really is. with specs of mini M here, I rather see it more like dlux series with bigger sensor rather than X2 with slower lens, Steve you supposedly should think more like Leica fans boy rather than market analyser.

    • 3.5 throughout the range really isn’t that slow combined with good high ISO performance. Mark my words, I actually believe that this camera will appeal to a broader audience with deep pockets than a camera with a fast fixed lens. They are just not photographers like us, who hang out on forums, but buyers who want a good all in one camera with some flexibility, but not too much. Changing lenses is where the buck stops for many amateurs.

      • This would not be a camera for die-hard rangefinder fans. I have no idea whether the Leica X1 and X2 sold better than the Ms, but I guess the potential market of amateurs with deep pockets attracted by the combination of a prestigious brand (Leica) and convenience (zoom and AF) should be at least as large as the one for die-hard rangefinder fans having even deeper pockets for a full Leica M kit.

  2. Feels like the XE-1 package.
    A fine camera bundled with an atrociously slow zoom 🙁

    • But with the Fuji at least one can remove the crap lens and use something much better 🙂

  3. Steve, I wanted to believe it was a fake too, however with no viewfinder, and comparing the open box,
    I’m afraid it is. Since when did Leica lead the way in tech? This is probably a rebadged Pano GX

  4. Without a viewfinder it is a “no go” anyways. I´ll be really disappointed in Leica if they put some crap out in the market…

  5. If interchangeable lens I will buy, albeit with a smaller sensor, but might cancel my order for the M240, there lies the problem for Leica. Would also spring for Leica RX1 competitor.Looks like I’m going to be safe from temptation, but I hope not. My needs are my Monochrome , and something that shoots colour when the drugs kick in and I’m feeling cheerful, a mini M with interchangeable lenses could be the perfect supplement to my Monochrome. I want a M240 have ordered one but am not desperate about it like I was about the Monochrome, want the 50mm Apo’cron more, and am patiently waiting for Leica to start supplying this lens. Which I hope they do before the new uber Zeiss 50mm turns up in M mount, and I cancel my Apo’cron order, may be unlikely but who knows. My head keeps saying nix the 240 get an RX1 but I will hang on as I want live view, for weird long M and LTM lenses. I have a friend who wants good, i.e appellation contrôlée Leica and does not want real M or a fixed lens and would buy a zoom mini Leica, I wouldn’t. So there will be a small market who want the badge but not the blessings of real M-ness. You are so right Steve a Leica is a lens platform they should embrace and go with that. Also why are Leica eroding the M brand by spraying everything that focuses with an a M, this is to forget heritage. Frederick the Great famously said ‘to defend everything is to defend nothing’ , and in this case to call every thing M is to call nothing M. Presumably they are going to re-brand the medium format Leica DSLR as the S&M.

  6. Well, I have now had 3 emails from “anonymous” sources who say they know the camera, one guy has shot with it supposedly and all three tell me that these stats are correct, down to the f/3.5 zoom. Same sensor as the X2 is what I have been told. So it is an X2 with a slow zoom for $3k. Wow. Looks like Sony is the new Leica and Leica has turned into a company with no idea. It may sell in Asia but it wont sell in any kind of numbers here in the USA, especially if using the X2 sensor because as of today that sensor is at the bottom of the totem pole in APS-C. Uggg.

    With that said, I am really enjoying the Ricoh GR and Samsung NX300 (as well as my beloved M, which Leica DID get right). Lovely cameras.

  7. Here we are, a few years into the mirrorless game and while there are several convincing options from each manufacturer, still, no one seems to get all the details correct. RX1 is close to ideal, but it has no built in viewfinder. Leica COULD have seized on a huge opportunity for a mid range APSC type of interchangeable camera to fit between FF and the APSC NEX 7/Fuji X-PRO, but they are giving up that ground to Sony/Fuji but not even playing. Maybe it will be Sony coming with FF NEX next year….but even they still can’t seem to get small details – like they’re menu’s – right, so who knows how that will turn out.

    Lots of good options, but no one can seem to get it totally right.

  8. Let’s see. ‘Leica’ is a brand, just like Apple is, or Tide (the laundry detergent), nothing more. While it had an illustrious history in mechanical and film-based cameras, that has absolutely nothing to do with the digital cameras of today, which share an awful lot; PCB boards, IQ, sensors, OS (manu systems) you name it.
    So what makes one camera stand apart?
    IMHO it all comes down to the lens. Whether it’s a Fuji, a Sony or a Leica, without an outstanding quality lens, the camera itself is nothing.
    Forget about the hilarious 12,800 ISO, startup speed, writing speed, AF speed, etc. etc.; it all can be tweaked.
    Give me an outstanding lens and build the camera around it.

  9. Fuji XE1 with the Kit 2.8-4 is the same size basically, but 1000x more versatile. I don’t get it really.

  10. I agree with you that the RX 1 is a much better choice for photographers. Where you are wrong is in assuming that there isn’t a market for this new Leica camera. I have a lot of friends who look at my cameras and then ask me why there is no zoom. There is a big market, especially China, where people with a lot of money are willing to buy pretty cameras with a zoom I would not be surprised if the Mini M sells much better than the Sony RX 1. This is why a large company can’t be run by photographers. Why wasn’t the Epson RD 1 a huge success in the mass market? Because a large number of camera buyers are not photographers.

  11. @ bamboozleme
    “Apple products don’t cost 2-3x more? Do you know something about Apple I don’t? I have a desktop full of stuff with that Apple logo on it that if it were Dell, HP, etc., would be about 2-3x cheaper.”

    Could you please send me the links to these fantastically cheaper Dell, HP, etc products? By which I mean: laptops whose batteries can last for more than 60mins; performance/weight is on par with say a MacBook Air; and cost 60%-70% less than said Apple product. My partner and I tried to find such a product (we and our clients are platform agnostic and international) and we failed. Any help to lower our business over-heads would be greatly appreciated.

  12. ” I wonder why Leica did not seize the chance to go for something REALLY outstanding..something the Leica fans wanted (which is a digital CL).”

    I guess there’s no point to wonder Steve. Leica will never release something for ‘masses’. They don’t have manufacturing capacity to satisfy ‘masses’.

    Leica’s customers are not Leica fans – not any more.

    They have customers who would buy anything with their logo on it even if it’s inferior to anything on the market. I don’t see this camera as something Leica wants to be proud of.

    I see it rather as ‘sonny, would you want a new camera for birthday’ – asks some rich mother her spoiled son.

  13. But the first photo and the last one that magnified is so look alike. It seems real.

  14. I’m worried this is true. I got an invitation to the launch event in SG which showed the front right of the camera (so shutter button and red dot) and it is not just the same camera, but also appears to be a photoshopped version of the leaked image with shadowing added to obscure the rest of the camera.

    The lens in the “teaser” looks more photoshopped than the leaked image to me anyway – it doesn’t line up square to the body.

    Actually – maybe that’s the big reveal, it’s got a t/s lens on it!

  15. I would buy the RX 1 over the Leica if it is what is shown.And I do not like the RX-1. A company that makes a F1.4 zoom for a point and shot, can not make a zoom lens that would F2.8, maybe F2. That it would end at F4.5, maybe F4.
    Just think how hot this camera would be with: EVF ( yes I know you can get one), a 1/4000 and a lens 28-70, dare we ask for 24-70 @ F2.8 at all FLs. Now that camera would be worth the extra price being a Leica.
    Maybe the AP-H, like the 8M. with a 1.3 factor with a nice F2.0 28mm (35mm). Leica, Fuji is going to get ya if you do not watch out.

  16. Isn’t “M” the name of the interchangeable mount? Let’s stop diluting it with this fixed lens crap naming of “M Mini”, “M Micro”, “M blahblahblah…”

  17. I think it would be more like a Fuji X100S. APS-C sensor with OVF and a fixed 35mm Summicron in a smaller profile. I wish….

  18. Leica is trying to mimic Apple — give people something simple and elegantly designed, and they don’t need to worry about Mpx, ISO, dynamic range, lens speed, etc. How many people care what are the specs for their iPhone? And who cares? The Samsung Galaxy IV kicks the iPhone 5’s ass in terms of technical specs, yet still the iPhone is what people wait in line for. They have to expand their customer base beyond the few people commenting here, or they’re going to have to charge $20K for the M type 241. The only difference I can see b/w Apple and Leica products is that Apple products compliment each other … iPhone, iPad, and iMac, whereas if Leica’s Mini-M is so pathetic (as the rumors suggest) then it does not really compliment the M type 240 but instead detracts from the Company as a serious camera and optics company. Only time will tell if these specs are true and if that strategy works.

    For me, I couldn’t care less what the Mini-M is. I am shooting the M 240, M9-P, and the RX1. If I had another $3K to spend on Leica gear, I’d find Leica glass to purchase.

    • “Leica is trying to mimic Apple… The only difference I can see b/w Apple and Leica products is that Apple products compliment each other … iPhone, iPad, and iMac,”

      You’ve just explained in the second part of that sentence why the first part is wrong. The reason so many people buy Apple is that they are not tech geeks who want to spend their lives hacking their Android devices or configuring their computers. They want an easy to use system that works and integrates phone/tablet/desktop without any hassle, letting them get on with the more important thing in their lives. Apple products do that supremely well so people buy them. On the other hand, a fixed lens camera is a completely standalone device with the choice of brand having no impact on any other piece of hardware you might own.

      And the other difference is that Apple don’t price their products at 2x or 3x the price of other brands whose products are frequently superior.

      • @ Colin: Apple products don’t cost 2-3x more? Do you know something about Apple I don’t? I have a desktop full of stuff with that Apple logo on it that if it were Dell, HP, etc., would be about 2-3x cheaper.

        Anyway, I agree that this rumor about the Mini-M is a red herring. The real Mini-M is something different and from studying the crop of the Leica picture, I think it’s a FF fixed zoom lens (maybe constant f/2,8). But this doesn’t make sense to encourage people to want M lenses, and make the leap to the M 240, MM, or M/E. Or maybe that’s it, the M/E is the entry point to the I/C lens lineup whereas this Mini-M is the top-of-the-line “consumer” line-up, which includes the X2 and Digilux. June 11th isn’t far off, so we shall see …

  19. I have an inside info from a reputable Leica Dealer in my country, that the specs are indeed true. It MAY be a pop up zoom however. But nonetheless the specs should be accurate and dead on. I knew the specs a few days before all this specs are released, but was hesitant because I feel it’s… (sorry), crap.

    But I guess its now true.

  20. Considering what they included in the m240, I’d say they’re good enough at listening to the photo community to know what to release. It’ll be far from a dud. It’ll be a much more functional take on the rx1. (though it probably won’t have an evf)
    there. that’s my guess.

  21. Maybe Leica are joining the MFT camp? Why not? That would mean Leica types would be happy to stick the PL 25mm 1.4 on this smaller body?! Olympus found a new friend with Sony how about Panasonic trying to make them feel jealous by reinforcing an existing relationship.

  22. If this is indeed what Leica is coming out with, then is wrong! Both Olympus and Fujifilm are pulling out of the compact camera market and making more system cameras.

    Yet, Leica is coming out with something ridiculous like this. As if they don’t listen.

  23. Steve, it is obvious the teaser picture is photoshop work. The lens is EXACTLY identical to the images we ve seen except it is shown from thenfront view while the camera is slightly turned. Look back at the picture with this in mind and you can only agree it is a photoshoped picture.
    i thin thisncalera is lame, and the photshoped teaser even more, wake up leica

  24. It is the full frame sensor from the M in an X2 body with a non interchangeable 35mm summicron.

  25. You are not disappointed because you are a Leica fan, you are disappointed because this is simply disappointing.
    I am disappointed and I never held a Leica in my hands, when a company makes a new announcement you are excited..expecting the unexpected..something’s not about being a fan or not but it’s about being into photography and it’s about the companies breaking boundaries and taking competition to a whole new level..something like what Sony did with the RX1, most of those who are into photography were excited no matter they are Sony fans or not but because Sony gave us something new.,something that gonna make other companies think and try to match.

  26. Thinking perspective from Leica:
    If I am selling the X2 at $2000 and the spec of Mini-M is a little better then X2 then I should sell the Mini-M at $2700+. That’s logical.

    Thinking perspective from an average customers (the mass):
    (a) I have many choices at $2700
    (b) RX-1 spec is better and cheaper…
    (c) Digital products shelf life is not long anyway….
    (d) I’ll buy something else….

    • You didn’t mention the perspective of the Rich (arrogant) Leica customer:

      (Please note, what follows is called ironi and humor/humour. If you don’t understand what that is but takes everything bloody serious, stop reading!)

      a) What a damned good looking camera! The most stylished digital compact camera ever made!

      b) Unlike other cameras made in Japan, or those disgusting plastic toys made in China, except Leicas other cameras made in Germany of course, this is the one best matching my Armani suites and collection of beautiful watches/my beautiful dresses and gucci handbags!

      c) It sure looks much better than that Sony RX1 with its silly oversized zoom for a small camera body. As a Gentleman/Lady with taste I did of course buy that cut Leica X2 instead. Never regretted it for one moment as it takes beautiful pictures! Just like X2 the new Vario X has a lot of space for my fingers unlike RX1. How can these J… (censored not to upset sensitive people) build such an unergonomic camera? Must be because Sony are beginners making cameras taking photos.

      d) $3000,-/€2500:-; What a good price for a Leica camera, especially as it is coming with a zoom! And it is the only APS-C digital compact having a zoom! Wow! That really makes it something special! As good as bought already!

      e) My Leica dealer shared me a secret. He/She told me in confidence something Leica officially never would say, but as I clearly was a very well dressed and respected customer with good taste He/She felt He/She could share with me what was said in the camera fourums about the camera.

      I was told 99% of the commentators were bashing both the camera and the Leica company. They said the lens was too slow and the price too high for such a camera, and they never in their sensible minds would pay so much for such a low spec camera even though it propably made as good photos as the X2.

      Suddenly my heart started pumping harder, my breath got heavy and a feeling of warmth was spreading all over my body. I just felt such pleased, as if I just had an orgasm.

      This was sealing the deal!

      Finally I could be certain not to meet any tramps and tarts any more using the same camera as I!
      I remember the early days with Leica X1 and the disgusting sight of those badly dressed, poor bastards thinking they were Cartier Bresson, but unlike him beleiving the only way to make good photos is with as small depth of field as possible.

      I praised the lord when most of them left for that ugly retro camera X100 pretending to be a camera for film. Haha!
      And they say the lens should have been faster, like that 18-55/2.8-4 Fujinon lens. Don’t they get it how ugly such fatty lens would look even if it was made by Leica? Thankfully Leica is not such tasteless as those horrible creations made by Sony and Fujifilm!

      • “Please note, what follows is called ironi”

        Er, no, it’s not. It might be ‘irony’ though….

  27. Yes I agree Leica is not listening their costumers . Fujifilm is the new Leica .

  28. Whatever comes on the 11th, I hope it is a competitive offering from Leica. I hope the RX1 and other top end offerings the past year has spurred Leica into being bold with their design.

  29. Hey,

    interesting – I will make my own judgement on the 11th…

    Comments on some of the things posted:

    1. Leica cameras that are made in Germany do not really compete on value for money.

    2. I don’t think Leica targets other cameras, even the RX1, they target customers and customer segments.

    3. It is all about the aperture.

    4. Leica has stated that they want to increase their revenue significantly over the coming years. This means that they will probably release more cameras.

    5. Leica M comes with a sensor made by CMOSIS in Belgium. This collaboration seems to be a success. I think it is likely to see more Leica cameras with sensors from CMOSIS in the future. Go to CMOSIS homepage, they recently made a new pixel with 90dB dynamic range, vs 76dB on the sensor in the M. Maybe this new camera is indeed a fixed lens FF camera with a new sensor from CMOSIS?

    just my thoughts…

  30. Sorry, Steve, but much as I sympathise with your incredulity (which I share) I am afraid we are all going to be seriously disappointed. The Leica X Vario is an X2 with a slooooow zoom and a dollop of movie thrown in for good measure. Perhaps, also, incredible better ISO performance. But I am afraid the leaked specification is absolutely correct. Even a Photoshopped image, if that is what it is, doesn’t prove anything. I came out on May 28 to say this and I’m sticking to my guns. This camera will appeal only to people with too much money and unable to tell an f-stop from a bus stop.

    And, for the record, I own both an X2 and RX1. The X2 is underrated, IMHO, and I still enjoy using it. But with a 3.5-6.4 zoom, no way!

    • A further point: The M (in German) stands for Messsucher or Rangefinder. So any camera without a mechanical rangefinder mechanism could not possibly use “M” unless Leicais prepared totally to deny tradition. What’s more, a smaller M, even with APS-C but with an EVF is totally unlikely. Imagine what it would do to M240 sales. That’s why Leica panicked after the original Facebook disclosure and that’s why we’ve had all these non-M rumours.

      • “What’s more, a smaller M, even with APS-C but with an EVF is totally unlikely. Imagine what it would do to M240 sales.”

        See, this is where I get stuck. What WOULD it do to M240 sales? Exactly?

        Would purists wanting M rangefinders really be lured into buying an APS-C with an EVF instead?

        If so ― if it really were to significantly eat into M240 sales (and I’m not arguing it would) ― then what does that say about the true desirability of the traditional Leica rangefinder?

        IMHO, what it would demonstrate is that the traditional Leica rangefinder is not as coveted by Leicaphiles as many would seem to think. It would be further evidence that Leica really DOES need to come in to the 21st century and advance their technology significantly.

        • Yep. We already have several cameras with APS-C, M mount, and EVF. Are they doing any harm to M 240 sales? Probably not much – people buy an M 240 because they want full frame, want a rangefinder, or both. If that’s what you want, Leica is the only option.

  31. I don’t care who does it (Leica is my first choice) but look at the X fail, and the Canon M fail. One of these two should realize a digital Canonette (Fixed 35mm F2 or faster lens Full Frame Rangefinder) would beat them all. Think RX1 with a proven manual focus system. Why dabble in a market others own rather than do something extremely well? And a non IC rangefinder wouldn’t cut into the sales of the M as much as an IC small M (Digital CL) would.

  32. It will be an exclusive 1.3 crop CMOS sensor body with new AF mount and two or three new AF lenses, maybe with VR. M lenses will be attachable via an adapter.

  33. I’d be much happier with a digilux 2 than this bullshit above. And yes, I’m with the small cam M mount need. Small sensors today can be excellent. So anything as big or bigger than a new gen 1″ sensor with added tope end fast leica lenses or M mount, I’d give it a serious look.

  34. A few years ago, we’d said that’s just another “bridge” camera !… An aps-c sensor in a 3k$ “point and shoot” camera, wow that’s amazing !!??

  35. Steve ; Consider your disappointment, shared.
    I can think of a half dozen setups I’d rather own than the Vario X.

    I was betting on an RX 1 fighter… Fixed lens, 35 or slightly wider.

    Hey… Supposedly patience is a virtue.

    I’ll try to be virtuous until the 11th.


  36. Well, looking close to the teaser picture it looks like the lens is seen frontally while the body is positioned at an other angle. Maybe we see two objects. An IC body and the kit lens… 😉

    Greetz from Germany

  37. The teaser photo is poorly shopped. The lens is not pointing in the right direction.
    I wouldn’t make any assumptions based on it.

  38. The real one hiding behind the box looks like it has a body cap on it and not a lens. I wonder if they purposely released fake photos to throw everyone off.

  39. I think Leica is doomed if it is real. I’d rather go for RX1 with that price tag (probably RX1 sales will increase after this announcement).

  40. Just look at the dud Canon created after being so late to the mirror less party. If Canon can launch a dud like that, no reason why Leica isn’t capable of doing the same thing.

    Hmmm… Would be nice if it’s a good old (non-rf) interchangable lens mirror less camera with EVF that uses M mount lenses w/APS-C sensor.

  41. Do it by a process of elimination:
    1. It will certainly be another year or two (following normal Leica practice) before any kind of revised X2 appears.
    2. APS-C RF is history now.
    3. Leica doesn’t have that size of vario on the shelf – look downwards to D-lux 6 for a Leica zoom recipe.
    4. They have loads of available non-zoom, FF, fast M lenses to adapt to fixed.
    5. Leica needs to level with/outdo Sony’s RX1.
    6. RF is too expensive at this (Leica-)price level.
    Therefore the conclusion has to be: FF, fixed lens (probably f2), in-built EVF, small. That would trump the RX1 and be a different category than the X2. And for that, I for one would try to find the cash! – so I’m not putting any money on anything in the meantime! And if it isn’t this, I’ll look forward to playing with a classic M lens on my NEX.

  42. Who exactly is Leica targeting here anyways? IMO, the Fuji X-Pro 1, XE-1 and X100s along with the Sony RX-1 and Oly OM-D are at the very least what they should be going after.

    Instead they come out with a fixed slow zoom lens? Oh…but it has that Red Dot on it.

    Hey, I love Leica’s too. I would think an X1 with a 23mm f/1.8 fixed prime for $2000 would be ideal. It’d be something I would have to consider over the Fuji x100s anyways. But 3 large for a slow zoom? Ugh. Sorry to keep brining up Fuji’s here but, I could get a X100s along with an XE-1 with included 18-55 f/2.8 zoom with OIS for $2500 (the XE-1’s with that 18-55 lens are now $1199.00 at B&H and Adorama) and STILL have $500 left over!

    So who is Leica competing against here? Sony has a real winner with the RX1. Albeit quite an expensive one but, Sony brings it home with a killer lens!

    Leica is making a mistake. Seems they are shunning the red hot market and demographic of the above cameras for a “celebrities seen with a Leica in their hands” crowd.

    Maybe Ashton Kutcher can do the ads.

    • Vanessa – totally agree with your statement about the target market. That’s Leica’s weak point right now, specially the Sony RX-1 territory. If they didn’t go after this market, they would pretty much abandoning the sub-$5,000 market to the competition. Not that Leica is incapable of missing the boat at times, but the speed at which the competition is moving these days must make it a lot more dangerous to ignore the soft underbelly of the high-end pro-summer camera market. We’ll see next week.

  43. What a damn crap it is.
    If Leica had balls they would release a smaller M240 with an electronic viewfinder only and that would sell like hot cakes. Die hards Leica fans would still go for the real and more expensive rangefinder but that would give a cheaper options for people to go full frame and have a sense of Leica. Once you are into Leica…you never stop (a guy who had a M8, a 50 summicron, then a M3, then a 50 Lux ASPH, then a 35 Lux ASPH…it nevers stops).

  44. By the way, Steve, form the picture on Leica website, it doesn’t seem to have a rangefinder… sad… 🙁

    Maybe it has a built-in eletronic viewfinder…

  45. I certainly hope Leica pulls something out of thin air at their announcement that’s orders of magnitudes better than the leak. But considering this new X is probably to the X2 in the same way that the new M is to the M9. So maybe a APSC sensor and a fixed FAST prime?

  46. Steve, I wish they release a Rangefinder camera… It can be with fixed (FAST!!!) prime lens, and even with an ‘cropped’ sensor.
    A rangefinder on it is the only way to consider it to be a “MINI M”… Otherwise, it will just look like a “(SLOW) Zoom X”

  47. I’m with you Steve, no way it can be true. It would be a massive failure. In fact, the only thing that would make *me* think of trading my Fuji X100 at this point would be a full frame Leica with EVF and a fixed 35mm at f/2.0 or better. But even then, it would need to be priced at $3000 or less to properly compete with the RX1 and the (APS-C) Fuji’s.

  48. The Vario is what the X1 should have been so many years ago. Certainly, the lens speed of the Vario is disappointing.

    Steve, to answer your question Leica boxed themselves into a pricing model they could not convince themselves to break. The X2 is $2,000US so the Vario “had” to be priced above it for the appearance of giving value to the zoom lens. Thus, the $3,000US price. (Besides, there was research and tooling cost to recapture.)

    While I was certainly hoping for a “true” M mini (whatever that means) with an eye level viewer, it appears the so-called rumors have been confirmed of a reworked X2. Seriously, it wouldn’t have been that much more difficult to use all the guts from the X2, put it in a slightly larger body, with an eye level viewer, and a faster (and shorter) zoom.

    I was waiting and as all who are reading and posting here I am disappointed. Fuji or Sony here I come.

  49. Well, if Leica is trying to grow the business and reach more people, this could be their strategy. A broader product line helps entice the more consumer oriented to the Leica brand. Once hooked, they may be more likely to upgrade to the higher end models.

  50. Isn’t anyone a little concerned that the strap lug on he left hand side of the photograph has fallen off? I think this is all a clever marketing ploy by Leica. I am going to call it for June 11th…

    More bits of this camera image are going to fall off… revealing something far sexier underneath…

    Please send checks to my email address. Lol!

  51. I wouldn’t pay $500 for that camera. I’d pay $200 for it, just to say I own a Leica- and it would sit on the shelf & collect dust with the other silly little p&s camera with a slow zoom I own and don’t use.
    I like Leica- but if this really is the mini, I hope it fails miserably and sends a message to Leica HQ that people want fast, fixed prime lenses, not slow zooms.
    Put a fixed 35mm f1.8 (50mm equiv) on there and it will fly off the shelves!

  52. Does the white dot, on the top of the lens not indicate that you can take the lens off?
    And the realese button, is hidden behind the lens…..

    • That wide dot is most certainly an focusing distance marker. See the ring of distances in front of that? Also there’s another white dot behind the focal length marker. I would assume the lens alignment marker, if there is one, would be on the mount and not visible with a lens mounted.

  53. Say it ain’t so? It probably is, and I am not surprised. Leica fans and photo enthusiasts won’t be thrilled but there are hedge fund managers who will buy a mini for their wife or kids.

    We see Leica as a superb photographic instrument, which is true. But Leica is a luxury brand, and they wlll get a premium for a new camera whether it’s great or not. And it’s a bargain compared to the Hasselblad.

  54. Steve I agree with you on this 100%… If this Mini M was 1.33x crop or full frame I would buy one in a heart beat. I might even buy a version of the X2 with a 50mm equiv and say summarit or summicron aperture (maybe). But this really seems like an elaborate hoax to me…

    Did anyone else notice that the camera strap rung is laying off of the camera? It seems like someone is just having fun with us.

    • This is going to be the first camera w interchangeable strap lugs. who else has that? no one! IC lenses are passe. IC camera strap lugs are where it’s at.

    • Yeah, what the hell is going on with that strap lug laying on the ground? That’s just weird…

  55. I’d believe they’d be foolish enough to put this on the market. They need a suitable embarrassment to compete with the Hasselblad Lunar.

  56. Don’t you think Steve that these rumors maybe a Leica’s marketing strategy to lower expectation?

    • Even if THOSE are the real specs..epic fail. Sorry. By making it the same camera but with a 2.8 – f/4 zoom does not a $3k+ camera make. RX1 is far superior for less. X-E1 and a few lenses can be had for less. OM-D E-M5 and a few stellar lenses for less. For $3k + there are MANY options that beat that. If it were $1500-$1600 then OK, but at the cost it is rumored to go for, no way!

      • Steve,

        you talk about american prices on the RX1. Here in Norway, it started out at 4000 USD, now down to 3500 USD. Add batteries and accessories, and you are quickly on 4500 USD.

        I do think almost any Nikon, Sony, Fuji offers more value for money than a Leica made in Germany, but I am sure you agree that value for money is not Leicas competitive differeantiator.

        Still a very slow zoom would not be a good idea, even for Leica.

      • In Europe Leica is not sooo pricey. E.g. the RX1 is currently priced with about 2800 € whereas the likely price of the Vario X is supposed to be 2450 € (both incl. 20 % tax and a full 2 year warranty. And regarding the “Big-Mac-Index” 1 € = 1.10 $). Just to set these two cameras in perspective. But nevertheless for THOSE specs 2450 € are kind of a daylight robbery ;-).

        Today is another day where I hate me for loving Leica ;-).

        (Sorry for my poor English.)

      • The only sure thing is that will be another under-spec-high-price camera as always. Leica now is trying to brand all their cameras under the “M”, which I find clever form a marketing stand point, and i guess as a way to justify their prices. IF only they release a Digilux 2 2013 model, that would be a blast.

  57. Maybe it’s their marketing strategy? Deliver underwhelming rumors and then put out amazing camera that everybody wanted?

  58. Well, you are thinking as a photographer. This camera will be sold to non-photographers who frequent the boutique stores. Most people, outside of photographers, do not know what a fast lens is, what size sensor a camera has, or what makes it better than another camera. However, they do know megapixels, zooms, and brand name. This will sell…just not to those who frequent rumor sites.

      • Wanna bet? I have 2 non-photographer friends who bought the X1 just because it was being marketed as a luxury item. It’s bling to put on the coffee table when their Beemers and Ducatis are parked in the garage.

        • I know 10+ guys who bought one for the same reasons…but we are talking numbers in the hundreds..low hundreds..not thousands and tens of thousands that the X1 sold to. The reason Leica made so much money and came back from the dead with the X1 and M9 was due to regular Joes spending their savings to buy a nice camera. Not from the rich guys. Leica is losing that base that brought them back, and releases like this do nothing to help. Let’s see where they are in 5 years. When they were doing the M8 it was the rich guys buying and not the aberage Joe’s like me. They were near bankruptcy. Once the M9 hit and it spread all over the internet thousands were sold to normal people, middle class and normal income earners. I have a superb understanding of who was buying those X1’s and M9’s, believe me.

          Leica is not having the mentality of catering to the rich, they know that will not keep them afloat. They are actually thinking the average Joe who wants a nice camera will want this. They won’t when there are better cameras to be had for $3000. Leica went from a rich mans game to every mans game with the M9. If they go back to the Rich mans game they will lose it all. Let’s see how many of these they sell. 🙂

  59. It’s a horrible concept that, I think, will fail considering the price tag and disappointing specs. Hanging the red dot around your neck has just become uncool with the Vario.

  60. First of all I’m not interested in either camera you’ve mentioned in your article. Having said that I do not believe Leica would be foolish enough to offer such a slow zoom on a fixed lens system and make such a big deal hyping it the way they are.

    Leica would never be able to live it down. I can believe the other rumored version that says the camera will have a 2.8-4.0 zoom. And I can accept a current version large megapixel APS-C sensor. But like I said not interested in either camera you’ve mentioned.

  61. Well, let’s see. The photo above is photoshopped IMO, but the specs may still be right. Who knows. But as it is presented here – it would be a no go for me for several reasons. Hopefully Leica has managed to fool all the rumour hunters and will bring product that will have little in common with this thing here. Hopefully.

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