A second look at the Leica X Vario: World’s first on a technicality?


posted Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 10:17 PM EDT

Earlier today, German camera icon Leica announced its new Leica X Vario large-sensor compact camera, an interesting model which is already dividing opinions.

On the one hand, the Leica X Vario is rare-to-unique (depending on how you look at its nearest rivals, anyway) in including a zoom lens paired with a large sensor, all housed in a compact body. On the other, that lens is rather dim, and the X Vario is a lot closer to the company's current Leica X2 prime-lensed, large-sensor compact than it is to the M-series with which the company's pre-launch teasers attempted to draw parallels.

In its European-market press release, the Leica X Vario is described by the company as:

"the world's first compact camera to combine a large, APS-C format, CMOS image sensor with a zoom lens"

Now that we've had time to absorb the announcement, we've taken a much deeper look at the Leica X Vario. Our feeling is that while it is indeed a world's first, that's something of a technicality: there's at least one other model on the market already that could prove to be a very close rival at less than half the price, and without the same brand cachet. Just the application of a little super-glue at the factory would have been enough for it to take the title Leica now claims for its own.

Which camera competes head-to-head with the X Vario, and how do they compare on paper? Read our Leica X Vario preview to find out, and for our first impressions on Leica's new baby.