The Leica X Vario “Mini M”, It’s official! Slow zoom and all!


The Leica X Vario has arrived, slow zoom and all!

I have now heard from 4 official sources with full specs and images on the new Leica. Yes, four different sources who are 100% legit have spilled the beans about what is coming from Leica with full details. Two of them actually sent me PDF files with the details. Now, I am sure Leica would hate me for spilling the beans early but it happens all of the time and since I have no contract and no connection with Leica on this, as in, I have no embargo, no signed statement, nothing at all then why not? My obligation is only to my readers and sponsors and this is info the Leica world wants to know, even if it is coming in 12 hours anyway.

So I sit here with this info thinking…hmmm, what should I do? Post it and let everyone know it is indeed what we thought it was, or wait until tomorrow at 9am Eastern for the official word when I have no obligation to do so? Wait for the rumor sites to post it early or do it myself?

Since I am not spilling anything new here, as in, this was really announced when it leaked, I feel I should just let it out. Of course if Leica had given me the info and told me to hold off, it would have been held off. But as I said, I have no agreements with anyone and the information was sent to me freely by several legit here we go!

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The new Leica X Vario hits, and starts shipping WEDNESDAY.

You have read the rumors, find out the TRUTH now, and the truth is exactly the same as the rumors, slow zoom and all. Yep my Leica friends, this is a Leica X2 with a slow zoom added for $2,850 US. THIS IS NOT A MINI M. We also get HD video now as well, which is good to have. I have already stated my opinion on this one in the past week and if I were spending $2,850 I would take the Sony RX1 over the X Vario any day of the week. Now, of course I have not tried this camera yet but the idea of an X2  and a big fat f/3.5-f/6.4 Zoom does not entice me to part with nearly $3000. In fact, I would take an OM-D E-M5 with a 12, 45 ad 75mm lenses (and that would come in at less than the cost of the X Vario) over the X Vario to cover my 24-150mm range at f/1.8 to f/2. Bit If you really want a real Leica with beautiful design and IQ, go for the X2 at $2000. The X2 and X Vario are made in Germany, not by Panasonic.


*I did notice they said it was a newly designed 16MP sensor, so it may not be the X2 sensor which means possibly better in low light, which it will need with that slow aperture zoom.

BTW, there is no IS (image stabilization) so shooting video with this is not gonna fly 🙂 It has an 18-46mm lens, starting at f/3.5 and ending up at f/6.4 by the time you hit 46mm. Due to the APS-C sensor crop, you will of course have an equivalent of 28-70 but with the depth of field of an 18-46mm lens. Throw in that slow aperture and what you have is a “large DOF machine” probably really nice for landscape work. Then again, a Fuji X with nice lens is also nice for landscape work. To me, this release does not make sense. I predict SLOW as molasses sales with the X Vario. If Leica thought the X2 was selling slow due to it not having a zoom, they may be in for a shocker. Those who buy Leica as a status symbol are always there but that customer base is not nearly enough to keep those big profits flowing at Leica, of course, they are in the Leica bubble and do not know that this is who this camera is aimed at.

But, while I am not so thrilled with this release, some or many of you may be. I expect decent IQ because with a zoom lens of this speed, there is no way you will get un-sharp images. I expect decent AF Speed but not as fast as current/modern cameras. Even the design with the big protruding lens is bordering on the Ugly side. The X1 and X2 were beautiful designs..this one looks like a beast and once you add-on that EVF, forget it, it’s all over. Might as well spend the extra for the M 240, which I feel is Leica’s masterpiece 🙂

What I do like from the looks of it is the back has the M 240 thumb grip and control dial. It “looks” like a mini M 240 body though it is fitted with a lens that can not come off and an APS-C sensor. With a lens mated to the sensor we will get great results. If it had a built in EVF it would have been a much better offering IMO.


Here is what Leica says:

“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 reproduction. The wide-angle to telephoto zoom range of the Leica X Vario offers photographers the options for many more creative compositions: indoor scenes, impressive landscapes or intimate portraits. The Leica X Vario allows users to change focal length easily and quickly to spontaneously capture the perfect moment giving the user the feel of classic Leica controls. In addition, the autofocus is fast and extremely precise while the switch from autofocus to manual focusing is intuitive – simply move the focusing ring on the lens from MF to AF mode”

“The design and finish of the Leica X Vario reflects the ultimate art of engineering with attention to detail and the use of the finest materials. When you first see the Leica X Vario, the Leica DNA will be obvious. A few minutes of handling the Leica X Vario and design characteristics of the Leica M will be apparent including compactness and construction. The top plate is machined from solid aluminum, the process identical to that used for the Leica M. The magnesium and aluminum body feels solid while the soft leather trim provides a comfortable but firm and reassuring grip. The Leica X Vario provides the user with a unique,one of a kind visual and tactile experience which is synonymous with a Leica made in Germany.”


Oh, If you want a hood, be prepared to pay $140 extra. EVF? $500. Hand grip? $160. Case? $240. A full pimped out X Vario will set you back about $4000. For an APS-C crop sensor with a slow zoom. Ouch. 


You can order tomorrow and have one by Thursday with no wait!

Dealers will have these ready to ship on Wednesday the 12th and you can buy from Ken Hansen (,,, The Pro Shop, and Dale Photo. They will all have stock. While there is a 9-12 month wait for an M240, this guy will be available everywhere tomorrow.

If anyone here gets one let me know how you like it and feel free to post some samples in the brand new untouched Leica X forum that you can access RIGHT HERE. You can also go there to discuss this new release or of course, by leaving comments here. I am testing the new forum so be sure to check it out.


So there ya go! This was Leica’s release and the one where they posted “you have read the rumors, get the truth on June 11th”. Well, we have the truth and like I said, it is the same as the rumor. For those who have been hoping for an X2 with a Zoom, your camera has arrived 🙂 I was hoping for an RX1 competitor but I guess Leica considers their M to fill that slot. If they did come out with a full frame 35 f/2 camera it seems it would be in the $7-8k range, so in any case, Sony wins. Funny how so many were moaning about the cost of the Sony RX1 at $2700. It is a bargain if you really think of what you are getting with it. This one, not so much but it will serve a purpose for those who have wished for an X2 with a Zoom. Just wish it was more compact.


Here are the details of the new X Vario:


Leica Vario-Elmar 1:3.5-6.4 (28-70 mm equivalent), 8 lenses in 6 groups, 1 aspherical lens

Focal Length

18-46 mm (28-70 mm film equivalent)


3.5 to 16 (at 28 mm) / 6.4 to 16 (at 70 mm) in 1?3 EV increments

Focusing range

30 cm – infinity

Focusing options

1 point, 11 points, spot, face detection

Image sensor

16.5 MP, APS-C, CMOS image sensor (effective 16.1 MP)


JPEG format, 16 M – 4928 x 3272 pixels, 12.2 M – 4288 x 2856 pixels, 7 M – 3264 x 2160 pixels, 3 M – 2144 x 1424 pixels, 1.8 M – 1632 x 1080 pixels, DNG: 4944 x 3272 pixels

Image data file format

JPEG super fine, JPEG fine, DNG + JPEF super fine, DNG + JPEG fine

Exposure Control

Exposure modes

Automatic program (P), program shift, aperture priority (A), shutter speed priority (T) and manual setting (M)

Exposure compensation

Gradation: 3EV in 1/3 EV increments

Automatic exposure bracketing

3 pictures in graduations up to 3 EV, adjustable in 1/3 EV increments

Metering modes

Smart multi-segment metering, center-weighted metering, selective (spot) metering

White balance

Automatic, presets for daylight, cloud, halogen lighting, shade, electronic flash, 2 manual settings, manual color temperature setting, fine adjustment option for all settings


Automatic, optionally with limits for shutter speed and sensitivity, ISO 100, ISO 200, ISO 400, ISO 800, ISO 1600, ISO 3200, ISO 6400, ISO 12500

Shutter speeds

30s to 1/2000s, with normal flash modes from 1/30s, with flash modes with slower shutter speeds from 30s

Continuous shooting

3 fps of 5 fps, max. 8 consecutive exposures with constant shooting speed in DNG + JPED fine quality

Color settings

Standard, Vivid, Natural, B&W Natural, B&W High Contrast

Flash modes

Auto, flash exposure correction, red-eye correction, fill-in flash, slow sync, studio, 1st / 2nd curtain sync

Hot shoe

Compatible with Leica SF 24D, Leica SF 58 flash units


3” TFT LCD, approx. 920,000 pixels, wide-angle field of ives: 100 %

Internal memory

Approx. 110 MB

Memory card



HDMI out, USB (USB 2.0 high speed), Leica EVF socket

Battery (lithium-ion)

Capacity: approx 450 exposures


Approx. 133 x 73 x 95 mm or


Approx. 650 / 680 g or 22.9 / 24 oz (without / with battery)

Product includes

Battery (Leica BP-DC8), battery charger (Leica BP-DC8), battery case, leather carrying strap, USB cable, lens cap, user manual


Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (free download option after camera registration)


  1. Why do people keep holding up the Sony RX1 as if it is some sort of holy grail of camera design? It’s awful. I tried one and found it poorly designed, the menu system frustrating, the handgrip awfully cramped, the huge lens making the camera supremely unbalanced. It’s just a staggeringly badly designed camera.

    Contrast that with the Ricoh GXR. Ugly looking beast, but practical and a delight to use in all aspects except it doesn’t have a full frame 135 sensor (yet). That should be the holy grail of camera design, not the RX1.

    • No one is making it out to be a Holy Grail, instead the owners who use it and shoot it make it out to be what it is, an incredible, compact, image making powerhouse. The sensor in the RX1 is about as good as it gets, the build is superb, the lens is about as good as it gets and the only real flaws are low battery life and slower than average AF in low light. The menu is SIMPLE and you never even need to go into it as all settings are accessible by dedicated buttons and dials. Why even go into the menu after setting it up to your liking? The handgrip? Well, there is no grip just like the Leica X series, Leica M series, Fuji X series, Olympus PEN series, Fuji X100s etc. To me, I had zero issues with it and I prefer a NO grip body like the cameras I mentioned. If I want a grip, one can be added, or a case can be added that has one. Non issues. The lens is smaller than the X vario lens and not huge at all for a 35 f/2 of this quality and being full frame. It wipes the floor with the Fuji X100 Lens, seriously.

      The RX1 can shoot at night, almost no light at crazy high ISO and give amazing results. B&W out of camera is gorgeous, JPEGS are nice and the RAW’s are even better.

      The EVF for the RX1 is the best available for any camera to date when we talk about external EVF. I owned the GXR and liked it but i Love the RX1. The IQ, the lens, the speed, The high ISO, the EVF and yes, the design all handily beat the GXR and the Leica X Vario yet it comes in for less than the f/3.5-6.4 Leica APS-C zoom that focuses even slower than the RX1.

      So the RX1 is a special camera, no one else has ever released anything like it and it is the only game in town for a full frame, fast fixed prime compact camera that really delivers the goods.

      So that is the RX1.

      • Well, we will have to agree to differ, then. When I tried the RX1 I didn’t like the handling at all, and if I don’t like a camera then mentally it puts a barrier to me making good images with it, no matter how big the sensor inside might be. I don’t understand how the cramped grip can be called a good grip, though, but of course we all hold cameras differently, so… I had the same problem with the slippery little X1 and that was just a bad camera for me, too.

        I might understand people not liking the X Vario as a concept (since most who commented have never held it or shot with it, given that they made comments BEFORE the camera was even available). But to point to that and then say the RX1 is a better camera… Hmm. Image quality is not the only parameter I take into consideration when I buy a camera, but that’s just my problem as a designer, I suppose.

  2. #FAIL. As a loyal Leica user, this is just a major fail. Is Blackstone making the product decisions now? Is there a human being who would pay $3000 for this?

  3. It seems that Leica first prioritized the absolute image quality of the lens, at all focal lengths, within package size and weight constraints when comparing these 3 alternatives (including the weight of an SD card and battery):

    1) Leica X Vario w/28-70mm equiv lens @ 628 grams total weight: 95 mm front-to-back depth

    2) Fuji X-E1 w/28-85mm equiv lens @ 660 grams total weight: 108 mm front-to-back depth

    3) Olympus E-P5 w/Lumix 24-70mm equiv lens @ 725 grams total weight: 111 mm front-to-back depth

    Sean Reid and Jonathan Slack’s evaluations of the X Vario indicate that it has EXCEPTIONAL lens quality at all focal lengths, and it does not rely on post-processing to “fix” distortions cast on the sensor by the lens. The differentiating qualities of the X Vario appear to be build quality, hardware and software ergonomics, and phenomenal refraction quality at all focal lengths in a fixed-zoom lens.

    Let’s see the images that this lens produces at the ISO values that the sensor and firmware are designed to support. A real photographer’s comparison of the above would be most interesting IMHO.

    • Excellence in image quality is not the issue here. It’s expected on a Leica, and doubly so on such a limited focal length zoom with a maximum aperture of f/6.4 at 69mm (35mm equiv.).

      It’s the rest of the package that doesn’t measure up. From the lack of any sort of image stabilization on down, the X-Vario is trying to package antediluvian technology as “elegant simplicity”, IMHO.

  4. Agreed. However, in the past when they were usually short of cash – they kept hope alive until digital mixed with autofocus and the they really went into a ‘spinner’.
    Now they have an owner who really is guy with a lot of cash who thankfully realized the M was best brought up to ‘tech’ speed. That’s done – for now – but one shouldn’t ignore what other decisins he’s made – the S over the R resulting in many, many lost customers. Which I believe set into the light of day ‘K’s knowledge in the importance of keeping customers happy….keeping them.
    I truly think he doesn’t understand – he comes across like he understands the brand, he does not, he doesn’t understand that pushing loyal users away sends bad signals. Too, follow that with the ‘upmarket approach’ and you can see where he’s going. Leica IS NOT what it was, it’s what it is now. Like it or not, an IC X body would have solved all this nonsense that Leica seems bent on continuing. But again, it shows that Leica is lucky to have the M, because w/o it they would be gone; but as the old saying says, ‘don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.’

  5. I think the best place to start at Leica is to remove Kaufmann from any product decisions. Schopf is just one of the ‘flunkies’ working for ‘K’ and the Blackstone partners. It’s a stretch to think ‘K’ isn’t involved.
    The best way for Leica to have made this worth the $2800; they should have given it an interchangeable mount with it’s new form. Oh, maybe they could include a body cap when they do wake up and smell the coffee and give what people want – an IC body that excepts M lenses and gee, maybe, even would have it’s own lens line. You know Leica, to bring new users into the brand. Forty years of this nonsense from Leica – over and over again – full of fits and starts and stops. Geese. That’s assuming they haven’t decided to all this deliberately.

  6. This youtube unboxing sums it up… probably Leica’s official unboxing vid:!

    Competitors all around and the place nor gent (with all due respect) doesn’t really look and feel like the brand, i stopped watching after 10 secs, if this is what Leica stand’s for these days.

    Asia is here Leica, you cant sit around niching this one out, bang it or loose I am afraid. And Samsung hasn’t even really moved into the space yet, can’t wait to see that happen if they decide to. Thumbs up for Fuji. Sorry very very disappointed.

  7. what a puzzlement – how to throw away $3000! Do I get the “mini-M” with a big, slow zoom or do I get
    three “nano-M” with an f1.4? Looks like a nearly complete Fuji kit for me.

  8. The most troubling aspect of all this is that it would appear to demonstrate that Leica is sticking to the strategy of releasing products that are fashion accessories first and foremost…as opposed to photographic tools.

    I believe that Leica is still largely trading on their halcyon achievements of the 1950s.

    But this is no longer the 1950s. The bulk of their products languish behind competitors in almost all aspects, save optics and mechanics.

    And since camera mechanicals aren’t as significant as they once were…

    Leica has done a masterful job of turning that into an “advantage” by touting their products as “elegant” and “simple” and “back to basics”, etc, etc. ― and by offering special editions made out of titanium and unobtanium and crocodile skin and rare unicorn bits.

    But I think the real issue may be that they lack the 21st century knowhow to build contemporary photographic tools. Even the more modern Leica S2 suffers from a painfully slow autofocus system when compared to competitors.

    I think we are going to see Fuji mop the floor with Leica starting… well, right now.

    Why would anyone buy this camera over a Fuji X-E1?

    Moreover, Zeiss’ new Touit lenses offer additional high quality options for the X-System.

    And wait till the X-Pro 2 arrives…

    Then there is Fuji and Panasonic’s announcement of a new partnership in which they will bring to market a new organic sensor technology.

    I fear that with the announcement of this X-Vario the writing could be on the wall for Leica over the long run. They are about to fall behind yet again, just when they were showing some promise of a new renaissance in several key respects.

  9. This camera would be a so so camera at $1300. Leica needs to put there X system to bed, better yet take to the vet and have it put down.

  10. No doubt Leica has a (well-heeled) niche market for this camera. They are people who will willingly pony up the money to own a Leica. Not so much for the pictures but for the bragging rights to say they own a Leica. (Okay, they’ll take a shot or two. But I seriously doubt they’ll use Lightroom 5 to process DNG files!)

    But here’s the rub: The initial reports (Reid and Slack, etc.) have certainly been kind to the camera but the bulk of the Internet (consisting of the very gear heads the previously mentioned reviewers have adamantly stated the X Vario’s potential buyers clearly are NOT) have already condemned the camera for its very out-of-whack optic vs price equation (although both mssrs Slack and Reid have said the zoom, despite it’s f3.5 slowness is a classic example of optimized decision making by Leica in that they deliberately erred on the side of image quality and more manageable size at the expense of lens speed in hopes of making up the difference with better high ISO capabilities which does appear to be promising).

    That said, with so many negative views from so many supposedly in the know (aficionados etc.) I would imagine that would seriously effect the bragging rights and, ergo, affect sales. I mean who would want a camera (or any product for that matter) regardless of how highly regarded its moniker is when even a child might point to it and say, “You got that Leica X Vario? Too bad dude. All my friends have heard people think that’s a piece of crap!”?

  11. OH, what it could have been. Shame on Leica…seriously. Not reason why they couldn’t have gone a little further. Obviously/Purposely – Shame on Leica.

  12. What a shame. That was a waste of a wait. When the X2 came out, it was far more elegant and relevant for it’s time. Surely the ‘mini M’ was destined to be a more powerful and even more relevant release. At least the X1 and X2 are cameras designed within the Leica philosophy of compact, minimalist excellence. This? This! I don’t even know what relevance this would have to any potential buyer in today’s market.

  13. Today is a sad day indeed…
    This was a good joke in rumour form but very a very hard reality to digest… How disappointing! Is Leica not listening to its loyal customer base? I’m quite certain this camera was not conjured by the imagination (whether feasible or not) of this loyal group of users who would most likely be able to pay the premium red dot price for something special… This is definitely not special in any way and to me personally reals of bandwagon laziness which I fear will see some lack of interest from the Leica community.
    Long live the classics…

  14. The buyers of this camera will obviously not even have a clue what a fast or slow lens is. It’s got “zoom” though!

  15. No matter how rich I am (I am not) and no matter I much I love all those M lenses (which I do)……. I will not ….can you guess what I am trying to say?

  16. Thanks Pierre. Actually I was interested in canon G1x, I read in some place that it could be the R1 successor. But said that the sensor is big but actually 20 percent smaller than APS-C, and the r1 sensor is almost as big as an modern aps-c sensor.

    I didn’t buy it cause to my taste the canon model was ugly, has shorter zoom and I’ve certain respect and affection to carl zeiss name, even if it’s make by sony.

    PD, sorry, i put my answer here but for some reason it went to other place 🙁

  17. Thanks Pierre. Actually I was interested in canon G1x, I read in some place that it could be the R1 successor. But said that the sensor is big but actually 20 percent smaller than APS-C, and the r1 sensor is almost as big as an modern aps-c sensor.

    I didn’t buy it cause to my taste the canon model was ugly, has shorter zoom and I’ve certain respect and affection to carl zeiss name, even if it’s make by sony.

  18. Leica is either clueless or thinks people are clueless. It’s insulting to come out with such feeble offerings at this price point. At one time Leica was the poster child of what it meant for something to be made in Germany.

    • Yep. Good lenses….good digital and film cameras. Excellent MFT also. And most importantly. They still make film.

  19. i had the x1 and i loved the iq. i tried the x2 and i sold it for 1.200,-. i bought the x1 again for 1.000,-. and i still love the iq. the x2 did not have any magic kind of image quality – in my opinion. it has a wonderful size and it’s responsive enough but why own such a piece after having owned a leica x1? i was disappointed. the implemented a sensor that does nor collect the wonderful look of the x1-lens.

    now – what*s it called? leica x vario? i guess it will have one of these modern sensors that don’t shor too much noise at 6.400 up … well i guess they will lose the microcontrast that’s delivered by an old dp2s or an x1. anyway – the size is just stupid! how can a company that claims maximum iq at most compact package offer such a camera as a leica? if it had been invented by panasonic – and if it had been upgraded by a leica-brand on the lens – if it did cost 1.200,- euro/dollar and offer a great(!) iq, the x vario might have been a great invention.

    steve, this is my first comment and i appreciate you honest words!

    leica – i am loyal! and i have huge respects! please keep the spirit alive! say sorry for the x vario and invent a wonderlens-camera-combination that will say hi to sonys rx1. and if not just go on producing lenses and m-cameras. just let panasonic do the rest. make some cash. but don’t destroy the leica magic!

    if the x vario would have been designed by panasonic – including an evf – maybe with fast af – it might have been a cash cow. for 1.000,- max! sell 4 to 10 x pannys instead of 1 x leicas and protect the brand! the x1 was such a huge success cause it had a great lens-sensor-combintation – real leica look!!! the x2 did not have that look. and the x vario is was too large – whatever iq it might have. we bought sigmas dp1/dp2 or ricohs gr/gxr. we miss the contax t3. we see the x100s as the reference (i still prefer x1) because of its size/dof/iq-compromize. x vario is large, not bright, not magic. i guess it has a stubit – nonoise-sensor with nor character. am i the only one who loves the leica x1 at iso 3200? that’s character. not the market-demanding-stuff.

    leica go ahead! invent a small film leica with a 35mm 2.0 lens with leica-3d-look! including manual focus and aperture priority. maybe 1/2000 or 1/4000 max shutterspeed. they will buy it for 5.000,- euro/dollar! i am sure!!! you launched the monochrom – how cool was that?! don’t sell – be the number one! sell philosophy and not gearhead-dreams!

    hi steve. thanks for all your effords! thanks for offering some space to insert some stupid thoughts 😉 greets from germany! regards, oliver

    • I am sorry to say this Oliver, I really appreciate your loyalty towards this brand and I’ve been lusting forever to get the Leica M..but sadly to say they don’t respect your loyalty because the simply didn’t listen.

      • hi liandro, sure you’re right – they did not listen and they lost their direction when constructing the x vario. but they also launched the m monochrom and the x1 which is great. offering the x vario for 3.000 is kind of arrogant and kind of an affront to the serious non-yuppies(!) that spent some grands on high end gear for “real photographers”.

        i am trying to stay loyal. even if i did not love the x2. thanks for the x1 leica!

        another example: i alwas loved ricoh but after they launched the first grd the grd line always had banding-issues when using higher isos. i never understood that. even the gxr a12-50mm module causes ugly banding 1600 iso upwards. anyway – i would use the original first grd anyday. it’s fun and the colours are grown up. they’re not perfect. but i appreciate their ventures. in my opinion the gxr m-module-sensor delivers great colours and perfect bw-results. more analogue that any grd was. unfortunately the focusing aint tooo much fun but anyway i guess i will not part with it.

        i guess we might pick out the most authentic equipment and just forget about the rest. if soulless marketing managers and misleaded ceo’s cause trouble we might give others a chance. lets forget about the x vario and hope they see the need to put guys like steve on board to give them some feedback.

        pleas someone invent an modern contax t3 film camera with a f2.0 or 1.4 lens! i’m sure some of us would forget about the high tec movie-gps-high iso-stupidity. i love to use my contax t3 and bw-film. the results are magic. no messing around with pp. just lovely results.

        liandro, thanks for your reply! best wishes from germany 🙂

        • Thanks for your respond too Oliver..I saw the contax T3 on youtube the other day, indeed it’s an interesting camera.

          Leica should be able to see that lot of people here is upset because they know Leica could do better than this and yeah Steve should be on board with feedback and so on. Agree with you

          Leica have the beautiful M, why not start from that? Make something like the RX1 combine with the M design with the size of X100s.

          Why not make a real classic rangefinder mechanism, with 35mm summicron constructed specifically for the body(so you can get a really compact body with already a compact summicron), fix lens, manual focus only and throw some FF sensor or APS-C sensor?It will act as normal 35mm in the FF and 50mm in the APS-C, either way they couldn’t get wrong with that.
          No video no nonsense, you can add focus peaking to attract more new customer.

          Scrap the X series. If Leica wants to give them AF, they already did with the digilux and the v-lux.

          If they don’t want to listen, at least they try to see what their competitor have been doing so far.

          Anyway, Leica won’t listen, they can’t be bothered to see too..probably

          Best wishes from Australia Oliver. 😀

          • you said:
            “Why not make a real classic rangefinder mechanism, with 35mm summicron constructed specifically for the body(so you can get a really compact body with already a compact summicron), fix lens, manual focus only and throw some FF sensor or APS-C sensor?”

            @ leica: did you read that? invent soultools for soulwomen and soulmen!

            @ liandro: that’s exactly what i thought after having written my last post. they should just to concentrate on their “soul”. just ignore the confusing trends.

            if i’ld trust in the rx1-autofocus i would have kept it. just a wonderful lens, great, large sensor! what do i do? i shoot an old t3 that i trust in. and i shoot an old manual pen ft halfframe slr that certainly always hits the focus – just as the gxr m module. whatfor a bright ff, if dof hits around the wrong area? unfortunately that was my experience with the rx1. too much horsepower, lack of control. but i would certainly buy the rx1 a hundret times over the x vario.

            i guess i would not buy a new digital m but maybe an m6 or m7. certainly i would be willing to try a digital ff/aps c compact rangefinder with a fixed bright 35 mm lens. smaller than the old leica cl. for 4.000 euro max (guess i would spend 5.000 anyway ;-). but today i am not prepared to spend 10.000,- into a digital m with lens. guess some of us might have their limit in the rx1-range. x1/x2/x100/x100s-shooters might look for an upgrade just as i do. rx1 is an option. leica just go produce the mini m. go ahead and stop fishing in the gadget-pool!

            maybe i will give them a call some day. and i am optimistic that they will find a digital way back to their soul. at least if we force them to.
            better idea: please steve give them a wake up call!

            greets to australia!

          • I think they’ve sold their “soul” Oliver hahaha..and if they did read this, there’s a 99% they’re just going to ignore it..hahaha..
            Mind you that I say 99% because one can hope..

            RX1 is truly one of the great things that happen in the camera world and I must say that it is going to be remembered and has secured its place to be written in history despite all its flaws.

            Anyway, I watched Eric Kim and he had some issues with the winding lever on the got jammed or something and maybe because it’s slightly tilted to make the winding mechanism easier to use. As on the MP it’s straight. Maybe an MP would be better..I am not sure for I’ve never owned a Leica..yet..But give it a research about that Oliver.

            Once again, thank you very much for the respond.

            Kind regards,


  20. Sorry, can’t resist. I love Leica. I hate this release. The launch campaign even more so. This has to be the worst ever product launch campaign I have ever seen. Probably developed by an agency who doesn’t understand the brand, signed off by an executive who doesn’t get marketing. Both should be fired. And both certainly don’t get social media; what good is all the buzz if the sentiment ends in pure negativity. Oh yeah and send product dev’ to take a look at the market and what consumers actually want. End rant. So wished they re-invented the M8 instead…

  21. As a regular Leica M9 (with several excellent Leica and Canon RF lenses) and Sony Nex5 user I am really disappointed about this big mega hype on a camera which is – according to the specs – not ‘Leica-worth’….. big big yawn from my side as well…..
    Let’s see what a detailed test will bring but the excitement is gone… no reason to change…

  22. Fiuhh..what were they thinking?
    People nowadays with fast information exchange and so on are getting clever on how they are going to spend their money..and those with planned budget or tight budget will do a lot of research before buying stuff, which will lead them to a camera such as fuji, sony, olympus, and panasonic.

    You want to talk about good design..come on man..I know Leica M is gorgeous, but this so called mini M is embarrassment..$3000 without viewfinder, yeah right. $3000 for RX-1 without VF is alright because they spend their time with R&D to fit FF sensor and lens construction to such small body. And Fuji X100/s btw, is way gorgeous than this..They will always getting compared by Fuji or Sony. I wonder what’s going on their mind during a meeting about what new product to introduce.

    But wait, after this long speech we’re not talking about people with planned budget or tight budget aren’t we. We’re talking about people with limitless budget. That will buy camera as long they have Leica name on it..or red dot..or whatever

    My bad..

    • I agree with you. Nevertheless those who buy based on the name are enabling Leica’s demise. May be not today but in the future as this strategy of making overpriced underperforming cameras is not sustainable

      • True that Anthony, I know they’re a luxurious company but it doesn’t mean they have to be a stupid company does it. Okay it’s luxurious but camera is not like jewelry, technology goes evolves not like diamond or gold that “stand still” yet the price goes up.

  23. Leica is not listening people .Sony will show in a month a new camera maybe a rx2 or something new the same Fujifilm 3 new cameras

  24. “OH My God !!!
    GAS GAS !!! I want… no, I N-E-E-D this camera !!!
    Please Steve, I’m hesitating between the X Vario and the Hassy Lunar. What are you feelings ?
    I already have a Fuji X100s, a Ricoh GR, an Olympus EM5, a Sony RX1, but I think that this time, I will make really nice pictures with this new gem.
    Please, oh please Steeve, help meeee !!!!”

    Ok guys, do you think this is pathetic ?
    This is what happening with every new camera announcement…

    How does it feel to be ridiculous… ?

    • … well as neither the Fuji, nor the Ricoh, Olympus or Sony can take proper pictures anyway, I would suggest you buy both the Lunar and the X Vario. Take each out with you every time you take photos, and take identical pictures with each, then spend hours in front of your computer checking to see which one is slightly better.

      Both will be far better than the others on your list, as everyone can instantly tell a photo taken with a Hasselblad or a Leica immediately, as they’re so much better than everything else. Just compare the Lunar pictures with those taken with the Sony on which it is based ….. no contest at all.

      You may find they have lost a little value if you try to sell the one you don’t keep on, so it’s probably best to keep them both anyway ………

      • Thanks for the advice !!!
        Both are pre-ordered !
        I’m now waiting for the Fuji X100s Aston Martin version (with a V12 engine sound when switched on. For only 6 750€ it’s a bargain !!)

        • Seriously I’ve just bought a Sony RX100 as an easy to carry pocket alternative to my DSLR, and I am amazed at the quality of the output.

          On the other hand I was out on Sunday taking pictures with my 48 year old Voigtlander Vitomatic lllb and having more fun than I’ve ever had from a digital camera. Now I just have to wait whilst the film is developed …..

  25. Anyone else think this camera will hurt the brand as a whole? It really shows they don’t know what they are doing and aren’t the company they used to be. They are out of touch with reality. This makes the Sony RX1 seem like an absolute steal.

  26. I might get beaten up for saying the following, and labelled as a Leica Fanboy. But here it goes.

    Lets look at this from another perspective, this is Leica’s homage to the minilux zoom (which aint great). We are looking at this from street photographer, documentary photographer pint of view, which form major part of the Leica user pool, we like fast prime lenses, and NEED them for our purpose, in this case, this camera is an utter failure. What if we were landscape or still life shooters? where a zoom lens is convinient, and good IQ from corner to corner at any aperture an focal length is desirable (I hope Leica at least have achieved this much), and we do not need a fast lens, then this camera will fit the bill.

    The main problem with this camera would be the price, we can get a camera with better specs and do the same thing for less than half the price. I don’t see the point of adding extra $850. If this was a bit cheaper than the X2, I m sure it will be in a better position.

    BTW, I went to the Leica store to see it today, I just had a quick play, the good thing is its controls are typical Leica, which is simple and logical.However, the focus was a bit slow, much faster than x1, but noticibly slower than OMD.

  27. 2.8k for a camera, 140 for a hood, 160 for a grip and about 400 case+strap 😀 for a extremely low spec camera 🙂 i thought only hasselblad were corporate jerks who release sony nex copy for 5000$. when u think about what u can get for same money is just ridiculous rx1, fuji xe1 kit +few primes, a PRO ff dslr. And theres nothing that can justify that price tag, compared to rx1 it looks like 100$ point and shoot.

  28. What is that sound of rushing water I hear?

    Oh yes, I think it must be the sound of the collective Sony & Fuji engineering teams pissing themselves laughing…

  29. For the same money I’d rather get the Olympus OM-D, Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8, and Olympus 75mm f1.8.

    • Are you the Andreas Kaufmann? Just curious.

      Look at the pics and judge? Hmm..okay, after they look at the pic, they are going to compare price aren’t they? It’s only natural for normal people with normal income(which if you do notice, they are your biggest market)..that means, to justify the price, you have to come up with image quality that is BETTER than the FF Sony RX1 which has nearly the same price.
      After that, they’re going to compare it Fuji X100s which has the same sensor but less price.

      Do you think you can achieve that?

  30. You are all being horrid to poor Leica who have laboured long in the R&D mines to produce an opto-digital wonder whose purpose is to underpin the price of a used M9. In the UK the X Vario is only a a couple of hundred less than a not too spavined M9, as one leading London purveyor of Leica to the gentry said to me today “cor blimey guv’nor for the price of an X Vario I’d rather have a used M9 or a I could have an M8 and enough change for a damn good snog with Mary Poppins”.

  31. If Panasonic can release a wonderful fast f/2.8 constant aperture 24-70mm equivalent with optical stabilisation for M43, why can’t they come up with something better than this dull, slow, unexciting kit-zoom type effort for Leica? With so many other great mirrorless options out there, I’m just left with a ???? feeling.

    • Hey nice last name, I dig it!

      Seriously though to answer you question it probably all comes down to R&D budget. Leica has mastered the single focal length craft but it takes a lot more technology know how to build a zoom with fixed aperture. Panasonic has limitless cash to throw at engineers while Leica has a limited budget and workforce. Not that this camera is good or bad but thats the reason,

      • It’s a great name…!

        Back on topic, this probably is a Panasonic lens isn’t it (with input from Leica)? Leica has history with Panasonic after all. Witness the lovely Panny Leica 25mm f/1.4 for M43. I don’t think this is too much too ask. As it is, why bother?

  32. You couldn’t pay me to carry that POS. My Olympus E-PM2 with Panny pancakes is far truer to Oskar Barnak’s vision. Speaking of vision, can you imagine Henri Cartier-Bresson attempting to capture Paris with this utter waste of a camera?

    It’s laughable.

    • I think even Leica – shameless as they are – recognises that attempting to use HCB or any of the other great photographers as a reference point for a camera like this would be going too far. Sometime soon they’re going to have to give up any lingering pretence that there are any meaningful numbers of pros still using their equipment. Can’t wait to see what their new marketing strategy will be when that time comes!

  33. lol. i just knew it that they wouldn’t give away the mount and then the full frame sensor and the rangefinder.
    I was expecting an APSC sensor with prime lens though with an EVF or hopefully a rangefinder. I was surprised to see the zoom when it was leaked, but then again, it makes sense as they were after their growing Asian market.

    The zoom and its size makes it a usable for the man who can afford it but this Leica is no beauty.

  34. The body of this thing actually looks pretty nice, definitely sleeker than the X2. I suspect this is not the last use we’ll see of it. Ditch the flash and put in an EVF, drop the aperture dial and make it an interchangeable lens camera and I’d be interested.

  35. Is the Leica design shop on the dark side of the Moon ?. or is it 1st April ?. What are they thinking !

  36. If this camera had interchangeable lens capacity then I would agree with their over-dramatic revealing box show. Otherwise like most reviews, the slow lens is a deal breaker regardless of it’s IQ it may be able to deliver. I will stay tuned to see how it performs..but really don’t care.

    • Color looks good but looks exactly like the X1 and X2. I noticed she used the wide end in almost every shot, probably trying to keep the aperture as fast as possible to avoid bumping the ISO. The X1 and X2 produce superb IQ, but both are still very slow, the X1 more so than the X2 but the X2 is still slow. I wonder if this one is faster? Probably not by much but who knows. If someone wants an X2 with a slow zoom for $850 more in cash, this would be it!

  37. There’s maybe one thing that could save their reputation. If it is the damn best zoom lens ever created, which behaves like 4 of the best primes at any aperture.
    I once owned a Contax 28-85 lens adapted to a 5D Mk II. That was a gorgeous combination for landscape, architecture and controlled portraiture, because the lens was flawless. Really flawless.
    If not, this thing is the most senseless offer, well, AFTER that Hasselblad Lunar-Sony piece of cr…

  38. Well, this one surely is a kind of dud. It`d make more sense if they at least weatherproofed and ruggerized it, passing it of as an explorers cam. It looks like Leica is treading the APS-C mirrorless waters and the only logic step would be a next model with built-in EVF, interchangeable lenses like the ones alrady sitting on X2 and Vario in original m-mount. If not then God help them

  39. Leica doing what Leica does best: what everyone else was doing five years ago, but more expensive. It was growing old waiting for them to make a decent full-service digital camera that caused me to switch to Nikon several years before. Now, with live view in the V240 they’ve caught up with all of the DSLRs on the market, including the D300 I bought in 2008, so it’s time for them to attack the high end Canon Powershots of 2007 with this valiant effort. If there’s still a world in 2017, maybe we’ll see their version of the Sony Nex-7–the thing I think many of us were hoping for with this new camera.

  40. I have a brillant idea. Why don’t Leica ditch Panasonic and get into bed with Fuji.
    I would buy a XE1 with a red dot.
    I bet fuji must be red with laughter today.
    Put of buying a Fuji XE1 until this came out.
    Will be ordering it this weekend.
    You missed an order here Leica.Please take note.

    • I hope not, else the price of the Fuji’s (which I use) would just go up to stupid prices as well.

    • The first digital Leicas were in fact re-badged Fujis so it not that far fetched. Actually in on interview Lieca management mentioned they were building a new system camera, I had hoped this was it but was disappointed. The X-E1 is the camera in my sites but it does have poblems with corner smearing with wider lenses. Had a re-badged Leica version with profiles to correct this with some of the M lenses I would have gladly paid a double premium to the X-E1. that would have been my mini m

  41. i will tell you exactly who the market this “turd” is for… It is for my wife or other well meaning significant other of someone who knows I love photography, but unfortunately doesn’t know beans about it herself. She will, with the best of intentions, be handed this “piece of crap” being told by a representative that’s it the latest and greatest camera, and she will be thrilled that we can get into debt at an amount she will feel appropriate so that she can be responsible for getting me my prized “leica” that I have mentioned through the years. She will come home, wrap it, hide it, and surprise me on some big day….glowing with knowing how happy i will be.

    I only pray she keeps the receipt so I can refund this piece of junk…and then find the proper salesman so when i bitch-slap him he will learn a lesson. The only people buying this freaking worthless, la te dah camera are those being swooned, and know nothing about the hobby, or just have to have the red dot.

    Its enough to keep me in my Fuji’s for good…with each marketing step my Leica GAS just becomes a big fart as I let loose of it.

  42. Ludicrous… Only a fool would pay that kind of money for a fairly ordinary ‘compact’. But I only look at anything Leica offer though very skeptical eyes. My X10 is fine thanks, and even had the Leica salesman at a London camera store ask me “which Leica is that?”. So buy an XE1 + kit lens, matches the X Vario in spec, and with the money saved, go on a great foreign photo trip…

  43. LMAO! What a camera! Respect to all experts that analysed the images floating around as “fake”.

  44. Phew… what a pice of crap. Leica´s biggest “fault pas” ever!
    Wonder if they will sell one of them! Still can´t believe it…

  45. I actually don’t mind this at all. I’m not into fast lenses, so that does not bother me. It’s size would be off-putting though, and for the money, you can of course buy some remarkable cameras. I kind of like it, and if it cost less and was smaller, then I think it’s not bad, but would never buy one.

  46. As I mentioned above my wife’s Olympus XZ1 has a better lens than this one, a Zuiko ( which is Oympus’ highest quality lens designation) f1.8 – f2.5. Now granted it only 8mm to 24mm as this is a compact camera with a small sensor but it given the lens design talent at Leica I can’t believe they couldn’t come up with anything better.

    I do actually believe there is a niche out there for a reasonably compact high quality zoom camera with an APS C or better sensor but we are not the target market. I think the internal project name “Paula” gives this away. Its aimed at the wives and girlfriends of the predominantly male current owners of M9/ME/MM/M240. It gives a step up from the DigiLux range with the look and feel of “Mini M” built in Germany whilst making it possible to point and click. if they can sell this to 33% – 50% of the partners of the current population of M9/ME/MM/M240 crowd they will have an undoubted hit on their hands.

    For me it would need a really good fast lens on this with a built in EVF but I’m not the target market and before you ask neither is my wife! I have an M8 which, Leica has just ensured is not likely to drop in value from this release, and my wife loves the size and results from her Olympus XZ1.

  47. This is not the beginning but the middle of THE END for Leica as a camera company. The old RF as a photography paradigm is pretty much dead. In the age of small digital mirrorless, it’s what you bring to the table in terms of digital innovations that will allow you to survive. Leica, quite frankly, brings nothing to the table as far as that goes. Leica might survive as a lens deign company, but I don’t see them taking out patents for new lenses, so even there Leica’s future seems uncertain.

  48. You could buy a Canon EOS M for $399, and a little bottle of glue for $1, and have the same thing. Incredible that this stuff makes it to market!

  49. Actually, Leica knows what they are doing!!! By releasing such a crap “Mini M” they have users of the real M9/P/MM/240 that were pondering this offering as a 2nd body considering purchasing a 2nd M (or third in my case)!!! Maybe that’s the trick here!!!

  50. Sony, yes Sony only really need to release a constant f/4 zoom lens RX model (hopefully with AF speed updates), in fact I’ll even settle for an APs-C sensor model and it will already send the Leica X Vario into the dark ages, if Leica hasn’t already done so by themselves!

  51. Only hope one day their marketing team and their CEO will be as good as their lens designer team… What a waste from such a legacy organization!

  52. Making cameras with slow zooms is nothing new for Leica. Back in the film days Leica offered some remarkable compacts. Sit back and enjoy the list:

    Leica C2 Zoom (1991–1993)
    A Minolta-built plastic thing with a 40 – 90mm f/3,5 – f/7,7 lens

    Leica mini zoom (1993–1997)
    Vario-Elmar 35 – 70mm f/4,0 – f/7,6

    Leica minilux zoom (1998–2003)
    Vario-Elmar 35 – 70mm f/3,5 – f/6,5

    Leica C1 (2000–2005)
    Vario-Elmar 38 – 105mm f/4,0 – f/10,5 (WOW! a maximum aperture of f/10,5 at 105mm)

    Leica C11 (2000–2001)
    APS format, 23 – 70mm f/4,8 – f/9,5 (even better – f/9,5 at 70mm)

    Leica C2 (2002–2005)
    Vario-Elmar 35 – 70mm f/4,6 – f/8,6

    Leica C3 (2002–2005)
    Vario-Elmar 28 – 80mm f/3,6 – f/7,9

    This Mini M is almost a digital Leica CM Zoom (2004–2006) with its 35 – 70 mm Vario-Elmar f/3,5 – f/6,5.

    At $2850 I would have expected a digital version of the CM (non zoom) with a super-stellar 2,4/40mm APO Summarit.

    That is the camera I had hoped for.

    Come on Leica!

  53. Did Leica not at least try to match these specs:

    X-E1 Digital Camera Kit with XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 OIS Lens:

    – Same zoom range, faster lens throughout, incredible image quality
    – Similar size, but has built-in viewfinder
    – Interchangeable lenses
    – Broader ISO range

    All for $1,199!

    Leica is snoozing away. Astounding move Leica. Astounding!

    This is going down in history. A business school case in product snafus for sure. I bet it’s a result of their new PE owners. Not one of them must be an avid photog.

  54. hehe, it seems that leica did a competitor to my second hand sony R1 from 2006, but it has a carl zeiss lens (24-135mm eq) f2.8 to 4.8. Don’t get me wrong, I like the renderings and colors of leica’s lenses and cameras, and sure it takes technically better images (the photographer puts the art) Just I don’t see so much differences in reference to the old R1 to justify savings to buy it. Except for the lightroom bundle.
    Disclaimer. I’m just a hobbyist so actually I am biased for the price. And that’s a pity because I really like zoom fixed lenses to my landscape photography, and in my experience, shooting the moon against a house or a mountain, is not the same crop an image or just get closer.

    So this Leica and R1 are the only cameras with an aps-c sensor and zoom lenses in the market.

    • Canon has one camera providing a classic zoom lens( a little faster 28-112mm f2.8/5.8)+ OIS + aps sensor called G1X if I remember. It even has a little (crappy) optical viewfinder a moving screen and cost 500€ or less used.

  55. Steve, I am happy for you that your site goes so well and that you’re able to live your dream. As a matter f fact, I still regularly frequent it because you feature amazing stuff here. What troubles me, however, is your apparent disrespect for those media that sign NDAs and respect official release dates. In order to get traffic (and with that revenue), you publish leaked information a day before the official announcement, stealing the show (and grabbing the traffic) from everyone else. That’s just not cool. You’ve done this multiple times before, and I know for a fact that I’m not the only one who’s angry about that.

    As I said, I am happy for you that your site runs so well and wish you nothing but success with it. But what you’re doing here isn’t exactly fair play, and appears as a lack of disrespect for other media.

    • Maybe you are right efix on this and I respect your opinion.

      However ….. If it looks like a turd, feels like a tur and smells like a turd then by golly it IS a turd!

      If you consider it wrong of Steve using his site to tell readers of it a few hours before the spectacular launch of said turd that’s one thing but it’s still a turd.

      Only saying. 🙁

    • Before you slate Steve for not complying with a NDA, maybe you should read his article where he says he has NO NDA or any other contract with Leica.

      • Why don’t both of you read Efix’ comment again, carefully, and then once again, even more carefully, and try to estimate by how far you missed the mark.

        • Mike I have now read Efix’s comment several times, and given that communication starts not transmission but at reception I too received the impression that he is caviling wrongly at Steve. Steve has no NDA,thus has no moral responsibility, not even a spiritual responsibility to keep quiet, any more than the New York Times or Fox News when they receive a leak, and that is deemed perfectly cool! The morality issue is with the source, i.e those that leak. Thus the onus is on those with story to keep it under wraps….and good luck with that in this day and age.

    • I already replied to your e-mail but here goes…bottom line. I had zero NDA with Leica. I had the legit news about 12 hours before it was launched. It is NEWS to me and the readers. No NDA? It gets posted. If I did have an NDA it would not have been posted. “Rumor” sites do this on a daily basis with controlled leaks.

      As for me doing this for revenue, highly unlikely as my words will not be selling any of these cameras. If other websites are angry, then so be it! I guess they are not doing their jobs correctly and it reeks of jealousy, which is ridiculous. If I have a news worthy piece of information and have no legal reason to hold back, I will not hold back. Would be silly to do so.

      Leica knows this is a big site with a huge Leica community and they also know I get leaks all of the time. Yet they never ask me to hold back or sign an NDA. Maybe they should if it is a problem, then again, it doesn’t seem to be a problem for them, only a few sites who are mad that they did not get the info out first.

      Thanks for reading 🙂

    • This camera is all over the internet so you can’t selectively prosecute Steve because he’s one of the sites with higher traffic. Leica Rumors & Photo Rumors have been running this story for at least a week.

  56. Hi Steve, this is only the first offering from Leica, there will be another camera which is between S and M. This camera is the next that will be rumoured. Then the Vario is in a normal range of Leica Products and people will buy this because it is made in Germany and not made by Panasonic. What else do we need? M MM ME three full frame camera in a row with optical viewfinder with excellent glas. Leica is producing for the luxury market one the upper end period. A RX1 from Leica will cost 5000€ and I would never buy it.

    And why do so may people call for am digital CL that already exit´s and is called Ricoh GXR with m-mount. It seems that nobody was interrested in such a really great camera. The best APS-C ever made you can forget Fuji X for the Ricoh with Leica or Zeiss glass. For me the Ricoh is the mini M240 everbody is looking for but the GAS is always in their mind and so they look for other cameras.

    I am sure If anyone has a RX1 and GAS then the M240 is not far anyway the next days.

    • Hi! Spiegellos. I really do agree with you that Ricoh GXR + M mount with Leica/Zeiss glass can be the mini M240 that everybody is looking for. I have owned M and now MM. Nevertheless, I am still having my Leica lens on GXR which produces excellent outputs!

    • YES – the ricoh gxr is a fantastic camera! any of the a12-modules are great. and the “cl”-m-module is also fantastic. the black + white output is definitely honest – love it – even at 3.200. noise simply aint noise if its true grain. grai you can upscale to any size – it will put even more character into the file. only issue i can’t find a leica m -> pen ft-adapter in order to put small ft-lenses onto the m-mount. i agree with you: the ricoh gxr with m mount is certainly more “mini m” than this large standard-zoomer – whatever iq it might deliver. leica digital legends are the m8, m9, m monochrom, “m” and the x1. that’s it. thanks leica for these. go on. don’t disappoint us!

    • Digilux 2 comes to mind!!! The Digilux 2 was a nice camera in my opinion, when it came out. It was a Leica – sort of… And it had some decent specifications at that time. And it lokked beautiful. I still have mine, and i think it is a great tool. Never really successful though. But i liked it. But at that time, it was a very very expensive camera. 1700 something USDollar. Now roughly 8 years later, this new thing comes out. I have not tried it, but i never cared for the X2 anyway. I think it is a bit overpriced.

  57. In thinking forward, there can be next model that would enthousiast more then this one.. even a interchangeable lens X body.. Is this a second step into the APS-C arena? What could be the third? At least some very valuable ideas seen up here!

  58. Someone mentioned Ken Rockwell as a possible reviewer of this joke of a camera, but I bet Rockwell will hardly even mention this thing… if he does it will be just to say it’s bollocks (same as he said about the X1/X2 btw) and then forget about it.

  59. they have got to be kidding i love Leica but buy that no way many better cameras out there for a lot les not good enough when i saw the first rumors of the slow lens ithought it must be full frame to make up for this .

  60. Let’s not be too harsh on Leica. After all, they are only applying the most popular business model of the globalisation era: the informed assumption that your target customer group are idiots…

  61. I simply don’t get it how a company with the core competency to build the most compact high performance lenses can release something like this. Of course Leica can’t overcome physics, so a zoom lens with auto focus has some size limitations. Still, f3.5 – f6.4 is a very bad joke. I was looking forward to this camera, since I travel a lot and I’m still searching for a compact, robust and versatile travel companion. Currently the RX100 gets closest to what I’m aiming at and I had high hopes. With an f2.8 – 4.0 I had bought it immediately but losing another 1.5 stops is just too much. It seems Leica is aiming at the M photographers who will buy this as a present to their wifes. After a series of really noteworthy releases (M9 / X1 / MM / M / S) Leica has dropped the ball. A missed opportunity, I’m very sad about it.

  62. The last good camera to come from Leica – except for the M series – was the Digilux 2. Gorgeous, fantastic f/2-2.4 lens. This is NOT in any way its successor. Quite the opposite. And even though D2 was a Panasonic coop, it was way way way nicer than this “Made in Germany” freak design. Hanging on to my D2 in shock and disbelief…

  63. I’m with Steve. Let’s hope we’ve fallen for a superbly orchestrated ruse and the truth is still out there. I’ll play Mulder. Anyone want to be Scully?

  64. Sny give us the RX1, Fuji the X100S and the cream of German camera engineering produce this awful article. I cannot imagine Leica sought ANY customer feedback prior to producing this as nobody in their right mind would have wanted it…….I am sure they will receive a fair bit now though.

    Can’t wait to receive my X100. 🙂

    • It is clear that they sought no costumer feedback. Leica is going the same way the “A” company went years ago: they dictate the needs, the consumer comply.

      • Indeed, you are right (I was being ironic). I must say I am a great admirer of the current Fuji offerings and apparent attitude to their customer feedback. I have an XE1 which I love using and am about to sell my X100 for an X100s which Fuji made so much better after listening to and responding positively to customer feedback. Leica seem to get by on their wonderful lenses and the red dot badge. I sold my M9 as I wasn’t impressed with it to be honest and found it spent more and more time as an expensive paperweight once I got the X100 and XE1…………Sacrilege????????

  65. All Leica had to do was launch a digital version of the CL and what did they go and do? Hahaha

    Load gun, point gun at foot, now fire!

  66. Everybody should be happy – no-one needs to buy this so the money stays in the wallet and we can carry on with our existing gear of choice, smiling.

    • Yes, amazing news! Leica saves you money.
      People will whisper..”Remember when Leica used to make cameras?”

  67. Not to bash Leica as I love my M9 and my absolutely stellar Leica lenses. But. This is some sort of joke no?

  68. Embarrassing. If they make any profit from this then the camera business is really just for anyone who knows something about marketing.

  69. Shoulda been a 28-50mm (FF equiv) summicron lens… Take a page out of that Sigma 18-35 f1.8 lens. That would be more akin to usual rangefinder focal lengths and appeal to street shooters and perhaps you

    This offering looks like for the richie rich people who throw money at Akademie to play with their dlux series cameras and this is an upgrade path for them – ‘ooooh, look at me I own a MADE IN GERMANY Leica’.

    That said, credit should be given where it is due – the body design takes a page out of the ‘loved’ M and an improvement over the X2. I must say though – where is the built-in EVF? I guess the margins are excellent on those OEM Epson ones.


    • Well, he’s a ‘doctor’ in title only. Look, seriously, I can say that any company owner who WILLINGLY gets rid of basically half it’s user base (the R users), for a what amounts to an ‘ego camera’ for him, the S system, shows a lack of understanding and a lack of respect for those that helped build the brand he purchased. This ‘vario’ is another example of blinders being worn in the deliberate decision to build something that lacks originality in keeping with what we all want to believe it’s capable of. Maybe they are, but I think they are hopelessly lost in their own exclusive world that is pulling further away from it’s roots.
      I said it elsewhere; $140.00 for a lenshood that is NOT suppiled with a $2800.00 camera??? Kaufmann is clueless.

  70. Retrofitting the old M-9 with a fixed 35mm Summicron f/2, price point @ $6,000 would have sold many more than this ever will, even if it’s double the price of the RX-1 🙂

  71. Well done Steve on letting this out as soon as you had it…The sight of some other web sights trembling with fear from whatever “divine”camera maker is truly pathetic.
    As to the camera ,if its fast,if it has good high Asa ,if the lens is as the vario elmar, if,if. If if if………zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  72. If that is the answer then what was the question?

    As a German photographer I feel so ashamed that I want to apologize to everybody for that insult to our profession by one of out most reputable companies.

  73. While I placed a comment about a 1.3 cropped sensor with AF mount and a couple of new lenses, I hoped, that we won’t see another interchangeable lens camera. If the X Vario is true, luckily it came true. Know why? Recently, I felt that ILC, the Ms included, causes quite some hazzle when it comes to changing lenses. I started feeling that it would be GREAT to have a high quality camera with a fixed high quality zoom lens, just to get rid off this change-the-lens thing. Usability? For example, go to Shanghai for a business trip and pack the flexible high quality zoom Leica baby – would be great, wouldn’t it?
    If the X Vario is true, may Leica be blessed for filling this vast gap on the market. (Why “vast” gap? Well, there are many slow 28-70 or so zooms on the market because this is a vast market, but none of those zooms is a slow high quality one.)

    • I see your point JR and there really could be a valid segment BUT, and its a big but, the lens is the failing here. My wife’s Olympus ZX1 has a far better lens, a Zuiko f1.8 to 2.5 that means she can get shallow depth of field on a very small sensor. I can’t see why Leica with all their acknowledged lens design skills couldn’t have done something similar.

      • I understand you are an M8 photographer who has got an eye for B&W.
        So was I (M8 is sold, but I still love it) and so am I (still doing B&W, now with my M-E).
        I also know the Olympus XZ series with their fast lens, as well as my Leica X2 (and the Oly OM-…5) very well.
        For me, a camera is a good camera, when it is simple to use and when it delivers vast latitude for post processing.
        I agree, the XZ-1, and also the XZ-2, are nice cameras, that are indeed able to deliver files with a reasonable latitude for pp, which is also not too bad for B&W. But with your background, honestly, I can’t follow your statement that the XZ-1’s Zuiko helps you to obtain shallow DOF. Instead, it helps you, or your wife, to keep ISO low to keep a safe distance to the area of mess of the XZ-1’s small sensor.
        I have got the impression, that the small sensors’ need of fast lenses is a nice driver explored by marketing to drive consumers into the corner of fast lenses, where manufacturers are pulling their money out of their wallets…
        People seem to have forgotten, that also slower lenses allow control over DOF, as long as their focal length is reasonably large.
        So, in contrast to the XZ-series, with my X2 I get much better control over DOF (which, of course, proceeds via the M8 to the M9/M-E/M), even with its “slow” f/2.8 lens. Furthermore, despite the fact that the X2 only produces 12 bit DNGs, the X2’s DNGs have got a very large potential for post processing, complemented by noise of very high quality, that easily parallels film grain (I would even assume that Leica have designed the noise of the X2, as they see it in the descent of the “Ur-Leica”.) B&W conversion of X2 DNGs brings you into B&W heaven, wherein you reach the next level with a Leica M8/M9/etc.
        I just want to mention at this point that the X2 mops the dust with the Oly OM-D E-M5 when it comes to post processing latitude of RAW files. That’s why I rapidly sold my OM—5, as long as the community still craves for it…
        Another strong point of the X2 is that you don’t have to change the lens. It’s as simple as it can get.
        And this brings me to the point where I think that the X Vario is a wonderful camera. It’s simple and it delivers quality. I’m sure that it delivers the same high quality DNGs that I know from my X2, and, as an all-in-one concept, it keeps things very simple. The lack of speed of the lens can easily be compensated with slightly higher ISOs (or have you ever heard someone complaining about Nikon’s newer f/4 zooms?). And control over DOF is still possible, as the focal lengths are large enough and as its lowest focusing distance is sufficiently low.
        I always love to see how Leica make the very best out of a minimalistic concept.

  74. Shut up and take my money……. Canon!
    I’m going to get the 6d now and have still some money left for a nice bright lense.

  75. Welp, Leica seems to have some bills to pay. The legions of frustrated X-owners wishing to break the cruel chains of prime lens shooting have their wish—there must be dozens, right? (Can a DP-Merrill zoom be far behind?) Gifts for investment bankers to give their girlfriends? Monthly sales spiffs for Porsche salesmen? Graduation gifts for orthodontists’ daughters? They’ll sell a few thousand while photographers scratch our heads and wonder when the µ4/3 Schneiders are coming out.

    But, they need a different consonent to abuse, M is already taken.

    • BTW, if only the lens came off the heavenly choir would be singing its praises at volume “11.” Another dream, crushed.

  76. I’m struggling to understand how they can make such a huge looking lens and still only get f/6.4 out of it! I’ve never even heard of the cheapest of cheap kit lenses in that sort of range be so slow. It’s hard to see why they would conceive such a thing.

    Did they not look around at the competition? I mean an X-E1 + 18-55 (f/2.8-4! with IOS) is how much these days? $1200? and it has a built in viewfinder, and it looks smaller than this. Or like Steve says, are they ‘above’ the competition that it doesn’t matter what they produce as long as it has that red dot? I’m kind of betting on this one not being exactly hard to find in stock if you want to buy one!

  77. Steve, we know you don’t review camera you dislike but will you review this one anyway ?
    I am very disappointed by this Leica offering but I wish to see your review soon because it’s the reviews I prefer !


  78. very strange launch are we in 2013? maybe is a new trend coming 🙂

    Fuji and Sony are in the right direction

  79. What worries me that Leica is in a bubble so they will see poor sales of the X Vario and never make another attempt at such a camera thinking they built exactly what we wanted and we still didn’t buy it. They won’t understand that we didn’t buy it because of the flawed approach they took with it.

  80. I honestly don’t know how Leica survives. I honestly think the only people that will buy this are the rich visiting a Leica store and looking for a point-n-shoot. This is seriously funny stuff.

  81. Come on guys, see the positive side. At least the lens hood is a bargain for USD 140. So with lens hood and EVF this Leica wonder is sold at a competitive USD 3500. The XE-1 with integrated EVF, very good faster and longer range IS zoom (incl lens hood), interchangeable mount at some USD 1100. Did Solms now improve the X2`s 2002 lcd standard at least? Somehow you have to admire the guts (or is it ignorance) these Solms guys have. A product, clearly aimed at the dump and uninformed customer segment. I predict “I Shot It” will soon award X-Varios to the winners of their competitions and thus become the single biggest buyer of this technical marvel.

  82. Had a thought! Maybe I have been bamboozled by my sources as a plan by Leica to get everyone upset and them to hit us with the REAL camera tomorrow morning? Hahahahaha. HIGHLY unlikely, but maybe a 0.1% chance. Lol.

  83. There are two factors that will add to either improving sales or being the nails in the coffin. Those are AF speed in low light and number of bugs in the firmware. So far Leica AF has been very slow and while the greater DOF of the slow lenses may help AF performance, unless they have upped the readout speed on the sensor and put in a fast AF motor in the lens it will still be slow. In the time that Leica has gone digital it has always had buggy software and taken years to update to a satisfactory level. Since there are several software issues with the M240 and the MM and the ME still, and they haven’t published any updates to solve many of the issues still plaguing the cameras there is a good chance this camera will be no different or worse.

  84. I think it will sell. I agree that this camera has no excitement but I guess they have figured out that many potential customers did not buy the X2 because they found the fixed lens too limiting. Now they get one with a zoom for 800 bucks more. Enough people, who are looking for a good, prestigious brand, have enough cash to buy this thing. That is all that Leica needs. Personally I would have loved to see the Nex type camera with M mount. But for Leica it would have resulted in a canceled order of a M 240.

    • Problem is, the X2 did not sell well due to it being almost the same as the X1 while other cameras were passing it up at a rapid rate. It was not a slow seller due to not having a zoom. The X1 sold amazingly well. The X2 did not. The X Vario will not. They will sell some, but no where near what they sold with the X1, M9 or D-Lux 5.

      • I remember it being “unthinkable” that they would use the same low-res LCD on the X2 as they had on the X1 but they did anyway. I’m sure that cost them sales. It did mine.

      • i had the x1, sold it, bought the x2. i prefered the x1-iq. so i sold the x2, sank 400,- and bought another x1. i guess it’s x2’s the sensor. it shows the lens-weaknesses. and it’s also less dynamic. in my opinion. no 3d-look anymore. i KNOW that i prefer the x1 look cause it cost me some cash and some time to reflect. the x1 was an invention, it was a real leica. the x2 – for me – is just a better performing (than x1) camera generating files with an average look. nothing special unfortunately. i don’t care that much about noiseless iso 3.200 i definitely enjoy “true” grainy film and grainy sensor-output if that’s the price for high dynamics and “magic” microcontrast.

        today i enjoyed the new ricoh gr – great iq and nice 35mm-crop-mode. upscaled to 4.172 px (x1’s width) you still have richer details than x1 (which doesn’t mean it has a better look, but files definitely have a great look) and also the dof/bokeh is almost compareable to the x1’s which surprised me (i should check that again – can’t believe it). i will keep the x1. it is my trusty 35 mm-fov-reference-compact camera. but i guess i’ll use the ricoh gr 90% of the time. it seems to be reliable and it offers really great iq. certainly without soft edges due to crop mode.

        sony invented two killer cameras, ricoh just nailed it with the new gr, fuji offers respectable inventions (i might go for an x-e2). leica should sell real high-end-stuff for upgraders and let the respectable panasonic-crew do the rest. leica did not offer anything special for me after the x1 was launched. unfortunately i am not someone investing 10.000,- in digital camera gear. but i would spend maybe 4.000,- into a great camera-lens-combo. or 3.000,- in an m6 + lens. the rx1 is not for me – though i love the iq.

    • If they make any more products like this Dirk, Leica will cease to be a prestigious brand! I mean, a lot of the comments here are from photographers savvy and experienced enough to appreciate Leica yet these posts read more like a funeral for the product line.
      And I hope it doesn’t sell, then maybe they’ll get it right next time. Do you think?
      Oh, well. Let’s try to think happy thoughts. They said the Nikon V1 would be rubbish and it isn’t.

      • I think that most visitors to this site are into cameras and photography. There is a group out there, I don’t know its size, of people that like to use a camera to take some photos. They think SLR’s are too big but they like to snap images of things around them without getting deep into the specs. They have cash and they like brands. They will look at this and may find this an ideal fit. Anybody who knows more about lenses and sensors would buy something else. I agree that this is not a great camera. I don’t know if the market for this is big enough, but somehow I believe that Leica has done some homework and identified this as a market for them. Think about how many people buy SLR’s with kit lenses even if we know that most of them don’t live up to the qualities of the sensor. Will it be a huge seller? No, probably not. Will it sell? I think so but won’t be a huge money maker for them. So why even make it? I have no clue. Maybe an easy way to create another camera by attaching a basic zoom lens to a restyled X2. Personally I don’t care much about this. Would it be better for them to make a full frame Nex type M camera. I would like that. But it may cut into the M240 and ME business. I think a 1.3 Nex type camera would have been the right answer to sell more lenses and to not cut into the full-frame sales.

        • The problem for them will be that the competition is not static…or at least much less static then they are anyway… whatever, the XPRO2 will be, judging from the X100S it should be very good…. and the next NEX-7X or possible FF NEX-9 if it shows up could be a killer… will Leica go away… no… the MM and M240 are very good and Leica lenses are still great… but some brands will start to encroach with Leica size gear that is also very good to great…. and much much cheaper…. don’t count on reputation for survival… BMW makes an excellent 325 … not cheap… but cheap enough for the 25 year old stock broker to buy into the brand…. and when he’s 45 he’s in a 6 figure 6 or 7 series….. Where is Leica’s 325? Its not this thing nor is it the X2….and at $5000 for rehashed old tech its not the M-E either….

  85. Such a disappointment. After all that Facebook banner changes and all we get is this?! My take is to have at least these:

    – 16MP APS-C CMOS sensor
    – Built-in EVF
    – Black or silver/black color options
    – Rangefinder focusing on the EVF and live view
    – Full HD 1080p video
    – Fits M lenses, but sold as body only
    – $2,850 USD (body only, M lenses sold separately)

    Is this asking for too much? For $2,850 USD, I think this is what it should be.

    • Yes, exactly…. though frankly you can have all that for $998 …. the Fujifilm X-E1 body ($799) with their M-mount Adapter ($199)…. so still not sure I’d want to pay $2850 for the red dot….

      • I agree, but putting a Leica lens on a Fuji X-E1 wouldn’t be as “complete” as putting a Leica lens on a Leica camera. I’d still like to see Leica produce something at least half the price of the Leica M that also fits M lenses and has a viewfinder of some sort. Please Leica, please!

  86. OUCH!!! We all thought the RX1 or Fuji X was a Leica killer, but we could not anticipate that Leica’s own product would do the trick!!!

      • How can people buy a D-Lux 6 for USD 800 or V-Lux 40 for USD 950? The prices for these Pana-Leicas are as ridiculous as the one for the Vario. We can only imagine what FF digital RF made by a competitor would be priced at. Around USD 3000 is my guess. Leica is in a bubble.

  87. You have to PAY for a lens-hood? A $2800 – ish camera doesn’t come with it’s own hood??? Really??? But it’s a Leica !!!! It’s special !!! It’s made in Germany !!! I years past – ‘BK’ before Kauffmann – Leica would SUPPLY a lens hood and they would always speak of the importance of using it. So here, with the ‘new, Mini-M’ with a lens……. “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.”….. just make sure to give up some more cash for the hood.
    Yep, this is Kaufmann’s Leica alright. Or maybe it’s all a misprint?????

    • Really??? I’d really have to pay ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY DOLLARS FOR A LENS HOOD?????!!!!!! ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY DOLLARS????!!!!???? Kaufmann needs a swift kick in the arse’.

      • RMR: You’re right – it’s a crazy price for a lens hood! I paid about that for a second hand Pentax dslr in perfect condition – my very first dslr about three years ago. Not the greatest of cameras (by today’s standards) but more than capable of producing beautiful images – especially with prime lenses…

        • Indeed, there are plenty of adequate cameras out there, and lenses.
          To think that one can go out and buy a NEW Nikon D800 for the same price is reason enough to stop, really stop, believing that Leica has any clue. Years I’ve been using Leicas from screw-mount to M to all the SLR Leicas, (other brands too)and for those many, many years I’ve had my share of frustrations with them, but this is absolutely ridiculous – the great Leica glass – but you have to pay for hood. These guys aren’t what built the brand – they are guys that BOUGHT the brand and that’s about all.

  88. Why is Fuji building the cameras Leica ought to be building?
    As ridiculous as this one is – the Hasselblad Lunar takes the cake at $7K; at least one can change the lens on that one!

  89. Such a pity that they crafted that big slow lens on such a nice body. Imagine this APS-C no-VF body with M-lenses or with a fast fixed lens. It would be far enough from the M-240 not to eat in its plate and attractive enough to eat in Fuji and Olympus soup tureens.

    If Leica’s deciders had asked to a hundred of photographers what they wished, they would have received a hundred of different results for sure, but never that X-Vario, never…

    And if all that, hopefully was RUMORS?! 🙁

  90. Lame. Who is going to buy this? At that price, this camera has no market. Why would it even be more expensive than an X2? It has a zoom lens instead of fixed focal length, but its slow. Lame. Lame. Lame.

  91. And the runner-up for “Company with the least respect for consumers” goes to Leica!!! (The Hasselblad Lunar for $7K wins first place)… I must say, our friends in Europe obviously have access to amazingly potent Crack… …I mean…It shocks me how monumental a rip-off this Leica is…. after all, at B&H right this minute…for less than the $3450 required for the Leica X Vario with Lenshood and external EVF… you could buy the truly amazing Fujifilm X-E1 Digital Camera Kit with the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 OIS Lens ($1199.00 with lens hood, built in 2.3MP EVF and faster lens with optical image stabilization)…and then add the 18mm F2 ($299), 60mm F2.5 ($349), 14mm F2.8 ($699) and 35mm F1.4 ($399)… If you want, also add the EF-X20 Shoe Mount Flash ($199)…. and your total is $3144.00…. Take the extra $306 dollars and buy yourself a nice Camera bag and a wonderful dinner for your wife or girlfriend so she won’t kill you for spending over three grand on camera gear…. Seriously… this Fuji set is amazingly good…. Leica is smoking dope….

    • … or better yet let your wife or girlfriend buy their own dinner and spend the extra $306 on a decent camera bag ($107) and the Fujifilm Leica M-mount adapter ($199)… now you can shoot many of your Leica, Zeiss and Voigtlander M-mount lenses too…. the more I type… I’m actually getting angry at them!!

    • The cult of Leica… I wonder whether all Leica owners also salivate every time a new Apple product is announced. I’ll admit to being a sucker for anything Apple, but unless I win the lottery I won’t be stepping up to the a Leica or Hasselblad. It’s all jewelry with bragging rights.

  92. The worst thing they did was to have an ad campaign that just pumped up expectations. Even though I love Leica, it’s hard to get really pumped up over a slow zoom lens APS-C camera. They should have released this camera in the dead of night on a Friday.

  93. nothing wrong. it is just one product definition on their roadmap. a defined product comes out must have his reason.

    • What’s most wrong is the price…. at $1200, if the image quality is good, maybe…. though I still would take the X-E1 with the 18-55mm F2.9-F4 with Image Stabilization AND a 2.3MP OLED EVF… over this dog….

  94. The least thing Leica should do is making the lens on this camera interchangeable, so we can attached M glass to it. That would be a game changer for the better

    • Yes. That would be a way to get new Leica customers to buy glass, both new and used, and then, they could eventually purchase a FF M…. What a dandy idea.
      Leica is not a smart company. They are owned and run by really, really, really, rich non-photographers who don’t understand creative design or marketing – in my opinion. Of course, maybe they do and they just don’t care about bringing out a IC body that will bring new users into the fold. Reading their verbage, it’s not hard to see that they really believe it – and it’s written to seem special and unique – and that’s the bizarre thing about it all.

  95. Let’s hope image quality will knock us out.

    The big lens makes it look unbalanced and difficult to carry in one hand. I’d take the X2 over this. That’s a handsome little brick.

  96. Leica just lost me. They need to be acquired by a more forward thinking company with cash to take risks and innovate. Sony and Fuji are starting to make them look like a joke. Very sad and disappointed I wasted even a minute on these rumors….

  97. Pass, and go straight to M240 or perhaps a used M9P/M8 as a second body. No reason to stop here, nothing to see.

  98. I can tell Leica’s f2 full frame body is on its way. but need this vario to support next product financing.
    so fans please go into it.

  99. We can probably call this “a failure out of the box” – I can’t believe Leica would make an f/6.4 lens – now they are in the same league as Tamron…..

  100. I’d way rather have a fuji x20, smaller sensor but brighter lens and viewfinder. I’m sorry to say this… but this Leica sucks!

  101. I cannot even try to stand by this Leica CEO’s side when he makes the announcement tomorrow. Oh… it will be announced online. So not thing to worry about Mr. Alfred Schopf.

  102. Why the heck do they have the 135-equivalent focal lengths marked on the lens barrel??
    ok, there are many other reasons to dislike, but I chose that one 🙂

  103. Disappointing. Nothing shines, nothing special, I can’t tell why people should buy this. Leica needs a APS-C or Full frame body with a fast lens (<2.0), priced around $2500, and is portable!
    This one is epic fail.

  104. Let’s pretend that this new model had just a bit better APS-C sensor and at least a f/2.0 aperture at the wide end, it still wouldn’t be a contender. But what’s worse than this release, is they have a new model that no one can buy today, the M240. Yet this clunker will be available this week and if this is really the true version Steve has shown us it will be very easy to find at your local discount store in just a couple months. (8>)

  105. I prefer the Fuji XE-1 with the M adapter.
    This shoots all my expensive M glass quite nicely and given it too has a 1.5x crop sensor, gives a different focal length to the M.

    Nice try Leica, but no cigar.
    Try Ken Rockwell, he may love it 🙂


    • Even Ken will diss this. It’s not that it will be a bad camera but it will be bad value and late to party. Ken likes value for money and he’ll probably give a list of ten sub$1000 cameras to buy instead, including his M3, S110, and Nikon D3200 which isn’t much bigger. This was ‘so predictable’, re-hashed R&D. Well….maybe next time boys and girls.

  106. Sorry Steve – but I didn’t realize Leica could be such morons – with the “now that you’ve heard the rumors…” bit and all. What a waste of time pondering the ‘mini m’.

  107. Oops….. My sentiments the same, if this be the gospel, then lord have mercy on their souls! What a waste of R&D (or lack of) time and money! Someone methinks, dropped the ball…… *Tumble Weed* cue howling wind…..

  108. Nothing more frustrating than an organization/corporation full of smart individuals that has collectively decided to make such a bad decision. Incredible.

  109. What we all thought had to be fake….because it is so bad….turns out to be true. Epic failure.

    • Exactly. As an M user who is in the market for a large sensor compact this should be making me yearn for it and start saving my pennies. But actually I wouldn’t buy this if it were 500 bucks, it just doesn’t fill a single need of mine.

      It’s not versatile or fast enough to be my main camera, and it is too big to be a pocket camera that I would have with me 24/7.

  110. This may have been a contender 3-4 years ago but now it’s just sad.

    What Leica really needed was a camera like the RX1 that used a new line of autofocus lenses but also was optimized to use with M-mount lenses!

    And image stabilization is a must.

    • Hopefully it’s a ‘CEO Changer’- as in, Alfred Schopf should step down after greenlighting this silly $3,000 paperweight.
      I wouldn’t be surprised if Leica bribes online reviewers/bloggers for some love shown towards this camera, because nothing about the specs will sell it.

      And let me be the first to say: Much respect to you Steve for speaking your mind about this camera from the beginning. Leica may not like it, but your honesty gives you credibility points as an independent reviewer(not that you needed it).
      And it’s vocal criticism like yours that will hopefully steer Leica (and other companies) towards listening to the customers wants & needs and giving them products they want.

      Slow zooms aren’t on anyone’s wish list Mr. Alfred Schopf- durable compact bodies, big sensors, bright viewfinders and fast lenses are.

        • Well expressed Brian and absolutely correct on all counts.I want to say this to Leica. If you want to sell cameras why don’t you make what people want? For years and years many , like myself, asked you repeatedly to make an updated version of the Leica CL. And you ignored us.What many would like now, is a digital version of the CL.In other words a REAL mini Leica M that takes M lenses at a more affordable price. What do you do? You give us another camera we don’t want. Why do your design team keep skirting around this? Everyone knows the story of the CL. You made it. It was popular, so you killed it. It’s as if you don’t WANT to make a camera that people actually like.
          I’ve got two film Leica M’s and will not be buying a digital Leica if you keep bringing out products like this.My digital camera is an Olympus OMD and it is money well spent.Why even bother to make this product?????? As much as I love my Leica lenses you are losing a lot of respect from me these days.This announcement creates all the excitement of a brick.

          • I happened to be in Pairs n ran to a Leica Shop to have a first hand experience with New X Vario. its disappointing!

    • Yawn indeed. I don’t think there is a single thing on here wowing me (in a way I expect Leica to wow me). With all that hype, I was expecting a true Mini M, not a mediocre X2 slower than anything I’ve ever owned. I’m sad they would do something like this.

      • i agree with most of what’s being said here but you also telegraph your “newbieness” …. really, anybody who has NEVER owned a lens as slow as f3.5 just hasn’t been around not to mention has never worked with some truly enduring classics, my old f4 rollei wide immediately coming to mind . . . yeah it’s new a world, why live within the limitations of the past, but please people get off your over stuffed couches and really learn what making strong images is about . . . .

        • Um, we understand all of that. Yes, a good prime at f3.5 can be good. A Voigtlander 21mm f/4 comes to mind.

          BUT, this is Leica. You’d think that they’d IMPROVE from the X2 and it’s f/2.8 lens to at least an f/2. I think it’s safe to say Leica owners like to shoot with available light. That requires a fast lens for optimum results. That’s what the consumers are telegraphing and makers like Sony and Fuji are listening. Contrast what they are doing with what Leica is with this offering and it is puzzling.

          I’m sure if Leica put a good f/3.5 PRIME on this, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. But a zoom? I’m thinking X3 Leica with f/2.0 prime, $2500. That might do it. It would for me. But I can get a Fuji X100s with a 23mm f/2.0 AND a Fuji X-E1 with 18-55mm f/2.8 OIS lens for $2500 and STILL have $500 left over instead of this Leica. I understand your “it’s not the camera” logic and I agree. However, although I “how did you do that with your iPhone?” comments all the time, I choose to not shoot weddings with it. I could do a wedding easily with the 2 Fuji’s I mentioned. I wouldn’t dare try that with a 23-70mm f/3.5-6.4 zoom. Makes me wonder who Leica is after with this disappointment.

        • I don’t know about newbs or anything like that, but I do know I have two M lenses with a max aperture of f/4 that I quite like. Obviously people will say “but this is a fixed lens” and they have a point.

          I tell you right now though if Leica handed me this camera (or I could afford it) I’d happily shoot the sh*t out of it and probably end up with some winners. I find peoples reaction interesting and it kind of shows you how important shallow focus (and to a lesser extent low light shooting) is in todays photographic world.

          If this camera had a Summilux lens on it people would be eating it up. All this hate for 3 stops! Don’t get me wrong I’m not bemoaning anyone, and it goes to show you how educated even the casual photographer is becoming about todays camera technology.

          In the end a good image is a good image. If you capture that perfect moment no one will care if the background is creamy soft.

          • Joh,
            “all this hate for 3 stops”: If you have a slow lens, you have to live with it. And your camera may still take some good shots. Yet it does restrict your usage quite a bit if you do not want to use flash.

            But we are talking about a new 2013 camera with 3 K price tag, and a fstop of 6.4 and even without any image stabilisation!

            I use a f4/80-200mm Canon FD zoom lens on my Sony, and it is from the early 80s! There is simply no excuse for making this camera so sub-standard than avoiding cutting sales on the real M cameras.

            This is a sort of greed and customer disregard which might be quite harmful to Leicas reputation at least in the high-quality photographers circle.

            But there still we some who will defend such a rip-off as your post demonstrates.

          • I’m not defending it, but I’ll always play devils advocate because I feel like theres a lot of mob mentality going on, which is nothing new to the internet.

            It’s a personal choice, if the camera sucks for you, then it sucks. If you love it then it’s the best camera you’ve ever owned. This camera is perfect for a architecture, landscape or portrait photographer who doesn’t want to carry around lenses and prefers the IQ of a Leica.

            I owned a Sony Nex 5 for a week and returned it because I didn’t like pretty much anything about it including the IQ. That doesn’t mean the camera is terrible. I just didn’t like it.

            It’s funny I promised myself I wouldn’t get involved in these kind of debates anymore and have actually stayed away from forums for almost a year because all this takes away from what photography really is. I guess I need these experiences every once in a while to remember that.

        • Sorry Gary, you’re reading that “telegraphing” pretty wrong – but I blame my wording, not your bad assumption. I should have clarified and said this is slower than any modern, digital glass I own.

          I have a couple 1950’s Rollei’s with some amazing fixed glass (f/4 and f/2.8) that I love. I have a small collection of some amazing classic glass from Nikon, Zeiss and Leica that I just love to shoot in my 35mm bodies.

          But with today’s modern cameras – and especially a prestigious name like Leica, who you associate with the fastest, highest quality glass – you expect something a little more than a tawdry f/3.5 at best, 6.4 non IS overhyped P&S. Isn’t this 2013?

          Rarely do I leave the f/1.4-f/2 range and was hoping the “mini” would continue to fit that bill. I am sure there are people who this camera is wonderful for – and that’s great. There are plenty of people who don’t venture into the shallow depth world and could use the hell out of this camera. And I bet this will meet their needs. My point was, it doesn’t fit my style and isn’t for me. They way Leica hyped it – I expected a modern high-end camera worthy of the Leica logo.

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