We march to a different drummer
By John Shingleton
Many months ago I made a resolution not to waste any more time reading the comments on photoblogs/websites and forums as so many are negative in tone. My resolve broke during a long stopover at Dubai airport last month as to pass time I started reading the comments on the web on the new Leica X-Vario. Even I was not prepared for so much negativity,so much angst and so many vindictive comments. And so many of the comments were harsh and negative before the camera had even been officially announced. Now Steve has already commented on this horrible negativity in his review of the X-Vario last week so I will just add that I find it incredible that so many people have the time and the inclination to post so many disparaging comments about a very small German camera manufacturer. What a waste of precious time – better to use it to walk the dog, brush the cat , talk to your partner, play with the children or even take some photos.
Then my thoughts turned to the good folk at Leica and I found myself wondering how they felt about being abused in this way and I quickly decided that they most likely do not care because like me and so many of their customers they march to a different drummer. They are not in the mass market camera business. They produce very individualistic high-end cameras which have an extremely loyal and enthusiastic following and this is their market. And it is not a market of grumpy old men. The enthusiastic uptake of the M9 and the new M models by so many young and up and coming photographers is testimony to the wide and enduring appeal of their products. They do not have to care what the chattering and ill-informed tweeters and commentors say.The X-Vario totally fits the Leica mould .It is not another “me too” camera with virtually the same features as its competitors destined to be discounted in 12 months time to $199 by Amazon and B&H. It appears to have stunning IQ and very straightforward controls and menus. Of course it lacks proper IS and wi-fi and GPS and muliti layered menus and art filters and so on and so on but the point is that the people who will buy it-people like me- do not want these fripperies. We want a tool not an entertainment centre.
Now I am not a young man-a sensitive way of saying that I am in fact old- and my long enthusiasm for photography has previously posted on Steve’s blog and as I say in that story I have given up on carrying a great heavy bag of gear of camera around on my many travels.
I have been there and done that. My Leica X1 suits me just fine nowadays. In fact it does more than that because in the two years I have owned it I have taken more photos which I am really happy with than in my previous 50 odd years of photography. The combination of a fixed lens which makes me really consider the viewpoint and framing of the photo ,portability of the camera and the very simple controls combined with the superb IQ and that unique Leica feel and “mojo”must explain why I feel so comfortable with it. I have just returned from a 3 week trip to France and I have included some photos from that journey below and my photos from Myanmar also taken with the X1 appeared HERE.
The X-Vario won’t tempt me on because I have really found a rhythm with my X1 and also the X-Vario seems to be substantially bigger than the X1. However I do understand why Leica have made it and I do totally understand that they march to a different drummer.