The Leica X Vario Review Teaser – 2 Shots

Leica X Vario Review Teaser – 2 Shots 

Hello to all! It’s now Tuesday June 25th 2013 and I have been shooting the Leica X Vario in the Palouse during the Road trip and slowly but surely this camera has been impressing me more and more when it comes to image quality and color. FYI, I will have a full review that will be coming by the end of the week.

I am super busy right now on the road with all those who joined me and Ashwin on this AMAZING Workshop/Road Trip that still has one more full day to go. These past few days have been amazingly special to me not only due to the gorgeous sights we have seen and shot but all of those who have been on this trip with me. What an amazing group and I am blessed to be here with all of them. I plan on writing up an article about the trip with many images from the full 4 day adventure.

One thing we decided is that this will be an annual event as it is just too good to not do this trip every year, so for those who missed out and we plan on doing it again with new areas to explore in 2014.

In any case, I have to share a couple of images that wowed me from the X Vario (and I have MANY more for the review). Image Quality wise, this camera is astounding in CERTAIN conditions. Yes, I said “certain conditions”.

It’s no secret, you need some light as the zoom lens on this guy is slow from f/3.5 to f/6.4 but when you have light, be prepared to be wowed with the color and rendering of this camera.

You all know how disappointed and surprised I was with the announcement of this guy but I can not argue with what it gives me back in images. So take a look below. One image is a full size from RAW with slight enhancements that literally took me 5 seconds to implement during the RAW conversion. The other is a resized file, unsharpened after resize and converted to B&W.

My full review will go over my thoughts on the camera, the flaws of the camera, the limitations of the camera as well as the strengths. I will also talk about this camera vs the full frame Sony RX1 which is almost the same price as the X Vario. I will go over who will go gaga over this camera and who will hate it. Who it is for and who it is not.

But…

For now, enjoy these two samples from the Leica X Vario as it is meant to be used. For taking real photos 🙂

The image below needs to be clicked in to see it in full size. This is from RAW using ACR and all I did was move some sliders around during processing. What you see below is my print ready file. 

**full3L1050285

The image below was resized to 1800 pixels wide. if you have a good display you can see the details in this image, and i did not even apply sharpening after resizing it. You must click on it to see it correctly. 

*horL1050213

Check back as I hope to have the full review up by Friday.

Thanks to B&H Photo for loaning me this camera for my trip to Palouse so I could evaluate it. They were the only ones who offered to send me a loaner, so I appreciate them for doing so. Their Vario page is HERE. 

Other site sponsors also sell the X Vario:

Ken Hansen – e-mail him at khpny19@aol.com

PopFlash

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82 Comments

  1. I love Leica – own the M9-P (upgraded from the M9) and now, the M Type 240 … contemplating the MM since I don’t use the M9-P anymore. I own a stable of decent Leica glass – SE 21, Summicron 35, Summicron 50, Summilux 50 ASPH, Noctilux 50 f/0.95, Summicron 90 ASPH. I only state this b/c I am NOT a Leica hater.

    With the release of the M Type 240, I was really hopeful Leica was on the right track with a stable M platform release, and the Mini M would extend the # of users for this new M roadmap for people who were not yet ready to shell out $7K for the M Type 240, or the $5,500 for the ME, or $8K for the MM. This X-Vario thing dashed my hopes for Leica. There is NO worldly justification for this piece of garbage, or definitely not for real photographers that actually intend to use their cameras. A $3K USD crop sensor camera that can only be shot in daylight or using a tripod? And the only way to shoot it is like an iPhone unless you want to plop down more $$$ for an EVF? NO justification at all!!! I sincerely hope Leica gets punished for this release — as in nobody buys this piece of really expensive garbage!!! If enough people line up to shell out $3K for the red dot only b/c that will be what you are paying for, then that will encourage them to make further releases of this caliber. It’s downright insulting to even insinuate that this hideous camera is related to the M Type 240, the M9-P, or the MM with any decent glass mounted on them!!!

    My only other camera is the Sony RX1, and I bet the RX1 will eat this this X-Vario for breakfast. What’s going on at Leica? They have a superstar M Type 240 that is taking them 1 year or more to fill preorders, and then this ridiculously expensive, underwhelming P&S? Are they trying to bankrupt the Company?

    • Maybe there are people who don’t want to spend 25-30k Dollar for M-gear, and still like a camera which feels good in the hand, and offers good IQ.
      There are quite some people who do like to have some DOF in their images anyways – and for those the slower lens might not be a problem. Maybe there are also some people who would find a slower lens with a certain focal length range much less limiting than a fast prime.
      What I don’t understand why would you own a RX1 if you have a M240 and a 35 Summicron?

  2. Without saying that this is the right camera for others I would like to express why I believe it can be a good camera for some people (including me):
    1) For my taste the IQ is excellent. I prefer the images over those I got from the x-pro1 and also over those I got from Nex7 in regards to color and overall look (maybe a question of taste)
    2) The user interface. It is very simple and straight forward. You can see and change exp time and/or f-stop and distance without even having to switch the camera on. Access to exp bracketing, flash bracketing etc. is very simple. The zoom is nice and stiff and numbered. I can choose a focal length upfront and then use it like a prime. I can look at the distance scale and shoot hyperfocal easily if I want to.
    Many cameras (including my OMD which I don’t want to miss for certainh apps) are overloaded with buttons and menues IMO – the X-Vario is not overloaded but then it has some very helpful numbers and controls.
    3) Design and feel. Yes, the size and feel of the x-vario is very nice for my taste. I found the RX1 body slightly too small for example, I found some Nex lenses slightly too big. The X-Vario (for me) feels very balanced and solid. Does this improve IQ? Maybe not. Does it increase joy/fun when using the camera and motivate to bring it. Yes.
    4) I admit that I have other cameras where I can do shallow DOF. The x-vario wouldn’t be my first choice for a portrait session for example.
    But it suits my needs very well for a general walk around camera, which is very nice and intuitive to use, and which gives you the feeling to not make compromises in regards to IQ.

  3. Ive actually held the x vario at the camera shop my friends work at and ?i have to say it has a very nice heft to it. The build is very good, the shape is beautiful and the lens despite the slow f stop, is not an issue for me seeing as I detest the bokeh trend. The camera is thinner than the too fat and thick m9 and I think the lack of viewfinder isn’t an issue for many because most will do fine using the back lcd. The viewfinder thing is way overblown and is usually only an issue with the folks who populate internet camera sites. there is also a attachable VF one can purchase separately or just buy the Olympus one, which is the same.

    However there are a few key weakness for me, which is that the camera does not have an articulating screen, which is an asset for many. Second, and the biggest thing is the price. Now before anyone here gets on a bender and starts the usual ” save up and work to get one” or the ” it will hold value” or dont cry about the price just cause you cant afford it ” wanker mentality, let me say that unless I was a millionaire and had the money, there is no way I would pay around 3k for this type of camera. Why? Because it is not worth 3k. Heck it’s not even worth 2k or even 1k. Maybe 800 or 900. There is COMPETITION out there. I don;t mind paying good money for good things, but in relative value, and the Vario is not worth 3 grand, that’s for sure. It would be a different story if it were the only camera to take pics in the world, but it is not.And I seriously don’t have an issue with some one who will fork out money for the camera. All the power to them. But something that expensive doesn’t automatically make that product worth as much as the asking ( gouging) price.

    Leica’s biggest problem is going forward. That is, let’s face it, only the die hard Leicaphiles are going to buy this one. Leica isn’t gaining any new customers, and with Fuji and other brands securing the lower ( relative) csc market, their customer base in terms of who can afford their stuff is only going to get higher and higher. It won’t be long before Leica is only bought buy the ultra rich. There will go the blue collar Leicmen and the pool of customers will shrink to the same size as Rolls Royce buyers. That would be a shame but inevitable. The camera will be measured against it’s competition and price alone will not gain Leica any more customers. The vario is a nice camera, no question, but with a xe1 with 18-55 f4 zoom costing less than 2 times this camera, the vario is not a logical option for almost all. Get the vario if you got money to burn or you’re crazy and don’t know the value of hard working money, but there are other options. BTW the Fuji’s aint cheap neither. When you got kids to feed, a thousand or so can do alot of things no camera can.

  4. I started visiting this site a couple of months ago. Liked reading the articles and Ifelt most comments were more about fotography than about hardware. Lately It seems this site is getting more and more visitors that just want to discuss why their preferred camera or lens is better. Just a shame really.

  5. The grass in the lower-right hand corner seems to be smearing quite a bit. Is this because it was out of focus, or because of the lens? It reminds me of a 1960’s no-name 28mm M42 lens that I attempted to use on a Canon 5dc. It had the same smearing effect in the corners. Of course, that lens cost $20…

  6. Hoi Steve, seems like Leica focusing precisely on existing strong customer base, with this X Photographic machine. +perhaps from their point-of-view this is “good enough”, for the red-dot low-volume high-margin corporation.
    Doesn’t look like this X has the “guts” to introduce new red-dot-agnostics.. Would you care to elaborate, given your short-term experience?
    cheers!
    asn

  7. Actually Steve recommended to me to buy the RX1 instead of the X-Vario. So dismissing Steve as blindly recommending Leica products is missing the point completely.

    I didn’t listen to him :-). My very personal reasons: I wanted to have zoom capability and based on quite some experience with an RX 100 I didn’t enjoy the Sony user interface, although it’s a very nice compact camera in all other aspects. I tend to agree with Steve about the “one trick pony” (ok, maybe two tricks …). For my personal needs on business trips it just fits the one or two tricks I need in a way no other camera did before. From my images it may become clear that I’m focusing on static subjects, mainly in decent light although not necessarily full daylight.

    I refrained from listing the other cameras I tried before because I didn’t want to turn this into a brand war. Looking at the comments it seems I couldn’t prevent it from happening.

    In the end chosing a tool remains a very subjective decision and what fits for me may not work at all for others and vice versa. We should learn to respect this.

    Looking forward to Steve’s full report.

  8. Steve,
    Before you print that color pic the cloud right in the middle top edge has a sensor dirt blob on it.
    You can see it at 100%.
    Better Photoshop that out, and clean your sensor, it is dirty!
    Also for some reason the clouds are showing some weird compression artifacts or posterization effects.
    This is only seen at 100% but it is weird.

    • Not a dust blob, it was rain on the lens. All of these were edited on a tiny Macbook Air. I am on the road as we had a 4 day road trip workshop. I can tell you the X Vario shot looks quite a bit better at 100% than the Fuji shot, which is not close to the Leica shot for resolution or color. Resized for web, sure. 100%, no. Thanks.

      • Actually, while it has the same sensor, it’s a little different controls-wise. It offers a more traditional PASM dial with several automatic modes for portraits, landscape and action shots.

    • It is $800 and if you do not like lens, change it out for something else. The Leica nor the Sony will not do that. If you want a EVF, buy the X-E 1 in place of. also a OIS lens are possable.

  9. As crazy as it sounds in my head right now but I’ll just say it right away, from what I heard/seen from this camera I would not compare it to a camera like OM-D or even the 12MP X100(which produces similar images somehow to this vario) but a camera like the RX100 has more value than this one!
    GOK tho, maybe in my hands it will feel/sound different.

    Who it is for and who it is not? frankly right now I can only think and pardon the expression, of Leica geeks buying this one or those who have some cash to spend and no time to check out what are they missing..seriously who would buy this over RX1? cameras has been always about compromises so you give up on the zoom and on the other hand you get a FF compact camera with great compact lens yet if you desperately need the zoom there are plenty of CSC with nice zoom lenses that would satisfy your needs and most of them priced under 1000$ already.

    Actually a high end compact camera with a zoom lens has been always a dream to me, it’s my very favorite camera even tho it’s not out there yet..I always wondered about the how good it gonna feel to have a camera like the X100s or the new GR with a compact zoom lens on it..feels great already even thinking of it..The paradox is, Leica adopted such a great idea in fact but it ruined it with execution.

    After all, you can never tell about a camera before you try it in your hands so maybe it’s just a wrong impression anyway.

    • No one can come to any conclusion about a camera until they use it. We can bitch and moan about it but until we use it, we really can’t say. The Vario easily beats any Fuji or NEX for IQ, it just does. That is a fact. But the issue is with the slow zoom, which means you can not use this camera in low light situations..ambient light. It is basically a camera for daylight shooters only and landscape guys will LOVE it. Problem is, most will never try it due to pre conceived notions. I still feel this will be a Leica flop for the most part but I can not fault the camera for IQ at all.

      • Steve,

        You may well be right in that the IQ beats any Fuji or NEX. I respect your opinion and at least you have used the camera and seen results from it (something I am very unlikely ever to do, as it’s specs don’t suggest that it would suit my needs.)

        But I must say that the teaser shots you’ve so far shared haven’t convinced me of your IQ superiority claims. Your forthcoming review may certainly drive the point home – and I very much look forward to reading it – but so far I can understand the skepticism. As a few others have stated the samples you’ve posted don’t appear superior to anything I’ve seen in this class.

      • Image Quality and pixelpeeping is nice… probably the only thing to hold on when you’re a Leica owner, but it is nothing compared to Image Language, which is what photography is all about. If you dont have the eye for finding the right viewpoint angle, cadring the right crop and pushing the release button at the right moment, you have nothing.

        But man, would I wish for a Digital Hasselblad Xpan with 85mm for landscape photography 😉

      • Yes good point Ahmad Nabil : who would buy this over RX1 ? THE ANSWER IS STEVE HUFF . Again Steve you should be neutral because every time some guy give an opinion and you don`t like it you start reacting no way no way the iq is better the a,b,c,d, etc etc .You don`t need to say all the time that this camera beats beats beats .etc .Sorry Steve but a lot of people in The leica forums says that fujifilm x100s has amazing colors and better than the leica vario x and we had seen your review here or you don`t remember when you you compared the x100s vs the m240 vs rx1 and the x100s was the best of course in diferent situations

        • You have no clue as to what you are even talking about yet you come here and break rules of posting with direct attacks. 1st of all, this X Vario is a loaner, and is being shipped back in a few days. I will not buy it. If it were $1200 I would not be buying it. Why? Because it is a one trick pony. I see it as a full daylight landscape camera, period. End of story.

          As for your comparison comment, I felt the Fuji lost that battle, last place. M was #1, Sony #2, Fuji #3 with its flatter duller and odd full size files.

          I talk truths and facts, always have but since you are obviously a Fuji user you do not like to hear that your cameras IQ is bested by something that says Leica. The 100% fact is that it is bested in IQ by the Vario, and by more than you think. I use all cameras, all of them and I am very qualified to talk about them.

          To me, the best cameras on the Market right now are the Sony RX1 and Leica M. I am not talking about huge DSLR’s as I have no desire to use or own one. I am talking about mirrorless and small high quality. For me, Fuji is in last place due to the X Trans Sensor. Love the X100 to death, like the X100s, not a fan of the X bodies. JUST NOT FOR ME, for you? Yes, for me? No.

          So next time before posting read the rules please 🙂 Thank you.

      • Based on what I have seen so far, the X-Vario files seems to be slightly better than the Fuji ones. How about posting some direct comparison shots. I doubt a NEX7 (imho still the best bayer aps-c sensor up to iso 800) with a good lens is bettered by the X-Vario files. And one could even use the inexpensive Sigma primes on the NEX.

  10. the pix are fine. simply OK. any camera these days does a reasonable job. In fact most cameras since the 60’s from the major makes, are more than sufficient.i still use a Spotmatic which has never reqd. a service.Same for my Nikon F(OK repairs due to a fall), or my Canons.
    The slow lens bothers me on 2 levels. One is why? It’s not small. It sticks out. It has low magnification as a zoom. The other fact is Lumix gets a Summilux ..and better zoom. Who is in charge? Leica or Panasonic..
    It seems a lot of money for a simple camera.

      • I hear you Steve, but the X-Vario is outclassed in every relevant area by other makes, be it IQ, DR, high iso performance, lens speed, AF speed, zoom reach, versatility, weight, size, max shutter speed, OIS, weather sealing, and all irrespective of price. Heck, for USD 3500 one can even buy three other excellent cameras, each of which being best in class in one or the other area. E.g. a Fuji XE-1 with the 18-55mm plus a Sigma DP2M plus a Ricoh GR including the wide angle converter and will still have some change left for an air ticket. Or if it has to be Leica, a M6 with legacy glass plus an XE-1 body or a NEX6 to use the same lenses on a digital camera.
        And the excuse that the sum is more than its parts some use in connection with the X-Vario seems a little stretched.

  11. The lens is slow indeed, but Leica does not need to feel ashamed for the optical performance. Nice work Steve.

  12. Steve says : all I did was move some sliders around during processing . MMMMMMMM? that picture is oversharpened +2 . and +1 oversaturated
    Date & Time Original: 2013:06:23 23:05:58
    Date & Time Digitized: 2013:06:23 23:05:58
    Shutter Speed: 7965784/1000000
    Aperture: 361471/100000
    Exposure Bias: 0/10
    Max Aperture: 361/100
    Metering Mode: 2
    Exposure Program: 3
    Light Source: 0
    Flash Mode: 16
    Focal Length: 180/10
    Sharpness: +2
    Adobe Photoshop CC (Macintosh)

  13. Wow!! that landscape is amazingly detailed, i love the color of the leica also from posts ive seen on the vario

  14. I was at Tamarkin in Chicago to pickup a camera. My wife was playing with the vario and was surprised by how easy it was to use and how nice the pictures were. She is not a photo enthusiast but even she could appreciate the quality of the camera and the pictures. Btw i have previously been using an om-d and a gh2 with good glass. I am planning to get a vario for her. I guess she is the target leica was aiming for.

  15. nice photos! in other news Fuji just announced the xm-1 today whichnlooks very similar to the leica but comes with a detachable zoom lens for $799

    • Well, it is a cheaper X-E1..and the X-E1 can not keep up with the Vario in good light. Colors, detail or file quality. But it is MUCH cheaper and very good, the Leica is not 4X better.

  16. Chances are, Leica will sell a good number of these — enough for a tidy profit, most likely.

    I think there’s a sort of resentment that Leica can sell an “under-spec-ed” camera for this price — when other manufacturers are struggling to sell worthy models that would seem to have more bang for the buck.

    • I guess I meant:
      … other manufacturers are struggling to sell worthy models _at a much more difficult price point/market segment_.
      Leica, being above the fray, seem immune to the pricing pressures that every other company is subject to. Lucky them.

      It’s a bit analogous to how hard it is to be compassionate for someone much, much richer than ourselves!

    • One would expect, when paying for a Leica, the best of everything but most of all the best lens of it’s type. This lens seems outclassed by an $800 Fuji lens (18-55mm f2.8-4.0). Even a Canon kit 18-55mm is f3.5-5.6. The Leica lens at 18-46mm f3.5-6.4 could hardly be slower. It should have at least matched the Fuji or been a constant f2.8 lens. So far the images do not have the usual Steve wow in them.

  17. I always think of Thorsten Overgaard’s remark: “Use the camera you enjoy.” Let’s enjoy each other’s enjoyment – including Steve’s. He always says when there are drawbacks (prefer that to the word “cons”, since I’m not being conned!) If you enjoy a Leica and can afford a Leica, buy a Leica. Otherwise there’s lots of good fish in the sea. I was all set up to blow an unexpected little windfall on the Vario when suddenly a high quality Digilux 2 became available from a reputable dealer. So for now, I’ll enjoy that oldie and put the Vario on the back burner – till the next windfall, perhaps……..

  18. You want steller image quality in a small,slow,methodical camera that sells for a third of this Leica? You may curse the camera,but you will be amazed by the
    images-get the Sigma DP1,DP2,or DP3 Merrill.For those who have not accually used the camera dont knock it until YOU know what you are talking about.

  19. I would disagree with most people, the first file(color) you had there is astounding. The second file on the other hand, not too magnificent. I think the vario has its place. But as most people don’t have that type of money, it doesn’t make sense to them. People who want a leica experience who don’t have the 2600 dollar cash are more likely to buy a film leica, or a m8 and that’s the truth. If someone doesn’t care for a leica experience and doesn’t have a whole lot of money to splurge. Fuji, canon, nikon, olympus, pentax, ricoh, sony exist for that purpose. (Even then those cameras aren’t cheap… speaking from a 17 year high schooler who has to save up for college.. 1000 dollars is a lot of money)

  20. APS-C, no AA filter for otimum sharpness, decent dynamic range, not too big a package. Try the Pentax K-5 IIs. Add lens and you still have cash to spend on the trip.

  21. Yep, not impressed by the image quality I have seen from the camera. it’s so so. Maybe a nice starter Leica camera for someone. I do like the image of the horse however..for what it is.

  22. The images look good as far as they go, but I just can’t get past the fact that the lens on that thing is dreadfully slow. That photo of the horse would have been much more impressive if the lens were capable of producing respectable bokeh, but it doesn’t seem to have that ability. So what we’re left with is limited creative possibilities on what amounts to a pricey German point-and-shoot.

  23. The images are impressive but no different compared to all the other APS-C mirrorless in the market. By your statement regarding “certain conditions” – I can assume that it is sub-par in low light.

  24. These are nice pics Steve but I still am not impressed. They look like they could have come from any camera. When I see pictures from your m240 or MM, I see what people like about Leica. The pictures have a certain quality and look. Don’t even know how to describe it.

    These pics don’t do that… I am looking forward to your full review.

  25. Great photos Steve! I lost my patience to wait your full review 😀

    P.S. I come here regularly and its very boring all the time some people starting how good their Olympus or Fuji is instead this Leica. Enough people! Yes, your Olympus or Fuji is great and go to you blogs and forums and make party there. This is for Leica and we have some rights to come here and write or read about Leica without see Leica haters boring post.

    GET LOST!

    • Is this a blog for Leica owners/fans? (<– serious question)

      I am fairly new to this blog but had the impression that it was meant for photo enthusiasts interested in reading opinions on equipment from many manufacturers. It's fairly obvious that the site's owner uses Leicas but I hadn't recognized this as being a Leica only forum.

      I honestly have no strong opinions about any camera maker – except those I've formed from personal experience and research. I am brand agnostic and invest in camera systems that make sense for my business – on a feature, image quality and cost basis.

      It's really staggering how defensive (some) camera owners get when someone seems to challenge their purchasing decision by suggesting that the camera they like, for whatever reasons, isn't perfect, or that other cameras may have virtues. In many cases it truly borders on religious fanaticism.

      • Of course not. This thread is for Leica. When Steve makes review for new Fuji camera, you can go there and have party. Understand?

        • Oh believe me – I understand.
          You’re nothing, if not obvious in your views and intentions.

          (And I suspect that most of the readers of this blog understand you as well, David.)

          • Phil, just go and have party already 🙂

            I think people are just commenting on the fact that the image quality is not typical Leica. If that comment bothers you David, then I am sorry.

          • No Matt thats not bothers me, I am OK with this and already said about it. What bothers me is someone, a troll coming here and writes that his/her Olympus or Fuji is better then this Vario. If I will see Steve’s new review about Fuji (new model) I will read it, will check more image samples, but I will never write there that “My Leica is far better you losers” 🙂

      • I never said do not say anything about Leica, of course you can and you can as many as you like. If you don’t like lens, or image quality or price, anything. But coming in Leica review threads and trolling, saying my Olympus or Fuji much better and cheaper is trolling! Why is so hard to understand?!

        In this great blog everyone can have their own opinion but when someone starting “my dad is bigger then yours” or “my dad has better car then yours” just insulting!!

      • Now you’ve insulted both camps, Phil!
        And look at the reactions. I love it!

        Well Steve, is this a Leica-site? In my opinion, this is a site about photography.
        But I guess I’m wrong?

        • Yes, well the puzzling thing to me is that there are “camps” at all.

          I do like the cameras that I use (for the most part) because they do what I need for them to do in a way that I like (…again, for the most part). I am well aware of many of the shortcomings of the systems I use and it certainly doesn’t offend me if someone else points them out… or finds some that I wasn’t aware of. Why should I care? (oh, unless I was super insecure.)

          And yes, Thijs, some of the reactions are definitely entertaining (and probably not for the reasons their authors intended.)

      • Users who have relevant info to share about their experiences with other cameras can be very helpful, or they can really derail the topic if they are too enthusiastic about the other camera to offer anything useful, or worse, they may just feel a strong need to warn people off the item that the topic is about, and then you almost never get information from them that you can use to make a better decision. That seems to me to be the big problem with review comments, that it’s hard to get the problem people to focus on good solid information (whether good or bad) and avoid ranting.

    • This isn’t a Leica-only site. If you are bored by comments, don’t read them or leave yourself for a Leica site “and make party there.”

  26. Boy, that lens is sharp. I can see a guy at the other end of the valley. He has blue eyes, and wears a Seiko watch

  27. Glad the horse wasnt sharpened, sharpnening just adds to a digital look.
    Ok Leica make a XV2 constant f3.5 (with inbody IS)_ & im not looking at the 3 Sigma DP Merrills.

  28. Great pictures, Steve! The details are amazing: What a lens! I am looking forward to your review! Have fun on the Palouse trip – try to rest your eyes a bit. 🙂

  29. Hi Jim,

    while using a tripod for landscape work is always a good idea it somehow conflicts with the compactness of the X-Vario. When I decide to carry a tripod with me then I can also chose some more hefty gear. A drawback I forgot to mention is that using the tripod mount will block the battery compartment (e.g. with a sun sniper / blackrapid strap). A problem so often found these days with smaller cameras.

    There’s one thing that makes the X-Vario very suitable for street work: It has a nice and accurate distance scale on the lens so you can work in zone focus mode by presetting distance and aperture. It doesn’t offer dof marks on the lens though, so you need to know your dof at a given setting by heart.

    Wolfgang

  30. The slow lens is what concerns me. If I were going to use this for landscapes, I want a tripod handy. I’d be very suspicious about using this for any kind of street work.

    • I’ve shot landscapes quite a bit now. My worst case effort (that worked, that is) was shooting minutes before sunset across a swamp, or wetlands. Using ISO fixed at 400 and various zoom lengths, I let the camera choose the shutter speed, which was 1/20 second per frame for several bursts, maybe 30 images total, all handheld without support. At 100 percent view on the computer, I could see a slight blur in about half of those images. The good news was, even pixel-peeping like that with 16 mp images, half of them were identical in respect to lack of blur. If my results had a gradation of blur such that just 2 or 3 images out of 30 were “sharpest”, I couldn’t be sure they were the sharpest possible. But getting half with identical sharpness tells me those are at maximum sharpness, at least as far as what I can see at 100 percent view. I’m nearsighted, so I see very tiny details well with eyeglasses off.

  31. Steve, beautiful pictures, but honestly, in the right conditions, i.e. enough light to use the lens, my EPL-2 at ISO 200 would compare favorably, let’s not even get started talking about my OM-D.

    I think you can justify any camera by shooting it in conditions where it will be successful, but a $3,000 Leica should not have to make you work so hard to do so.

    • Yes I agree with Nick $3000 for this toy? please use that money for food ,education ,taxes ,etc

  32. Steve, is the X Vario suitable as a daylight “Grand Canyon” point-and-shoot for families that want a grab-and-go camera with autofocus and variable focal length that delivers stellar Leica image quality? Have not seen nor heard about anything else that can do that. At any price.

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