Leica X Vario finally unveiled: It’s more an X2 with an attached zoom lens than a true “Mini M”
posted Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 10:50 AM EDT
Leica's been saying for weeks that it would release a new camera on June 11 and today it did just that. The Solms, Germany-based company officially took the wraps off the compact camera this morning, which is called the Leica X Vario, and it's very similar in specs to what many photo rumor sites had been predicting.
According to a European press release on the new camera, the Leica X Vario will feature a 16.1-megapixel (effective) APS-C format CMOS sensor and a non-interchangeable, attached zoom lens with a focal range of 28-70mm (35mm equivalent), along with full 1080p HD video shooting capability. The camera will sell for 2,250 Euros (approximately US$3,000) and, according to previous info from Leica, it should be available at Leica Authorized Dealers today. (Though it was unclear whether it will be available for purchase or just to "touch and try.")
The Leica X Vario -- which is, essentially, a Leica X2 with a zoom lens -- uses a Vario Elmar 18-46 mm f/3.5-6.4 ASPH, which Leica says makes it "the world’s first compact camera to combine a large, APS-C format, CMOS image sensor with a zoom lens." That may be true, but there will doubtless be some photographers who find the relatively slow, f/3.5-6.4 maximum aperture of the lens to be disappointing, especially for the Leica X Vario's luxury price point. The German-made camera also has a 3-inch, 920,000-dot, LCD screen on the back, a fairly standard feature for most high-end compacts.
In Leica's marketing "teases" leading up to today's announcement, the company had been calling the camera the "Mini M," but that appears just to be a nickname for the camera. The full, official name is the Leica X Vario (Typ 107). After looking at the specs, this new compact from Leica appears to bear only a cursory connection to the company's vaunted M series of rangefinder cameras, making the "Mini M" moniker somewhat inappropriate, anyway.
Leica's U.S. branch has yet to release any official information on the Leica X Vario, but that should be available later today, along with more images of the camera.
For now, you can get more info on the Leica X Vario at Leica's dedicated website for the new camera.