Leica Launches $3,000 Point And Shoot

Leica Launches $3,000 Point And Shoot

Leica, once a camera manufacturer that made great tools for photographers and now little more than a boutique fashion brand catering to dentists, has just played a fantastic little joke on the world. It’s called the X-Vario, and it proves that Leica thinks you’re a sucker. Why? Because it’s a $3K compact.

The body is styled to look like Leica’s M cameras, which are indeed excellent, but out of reach price-wise to actual jobbing photographers ($10,000 without a lens). The camera itself could be pretty exciting: It has a 28–70mm equivalent zoom, plus real dials to adjust shatter speed and aperture (although the aperture dial isn’t on the lens). It has a big, 920,000-dot LCD, and a big APS-C sensor.

The problems are that a) the ƒ3.5–6.4 lens is a joke and b) there’s no viewfinder. To turn your X-Vario into a camera that you can hold up to your eye will cost you another $500, or the price of a good camera.

The maximum aperture of ƒ3.5 will not only make the camera rather poor in low-light situations, forcing you to select a higher ISO or just brave camera shake from the slow shutter speed (made worse by not having a viewfinder and therefore being able to steady the camera against your head), but it will preclude the lovely shallow depth-of-field beloved of the modern photographer who has been starved of selective focus by more than a decade of tiny sensors.

And ƒ6.4? It’s not even worth a comment.

This might all sound like nitpicking, but this is a three grand camera we’re talking about here. There’s no excuse for not doing it properly.

So, instead of buying this, I’d say you might prefer something by Fujifilm or Olympus. Maybe grab a Micro Four Thirds or X-Series body and use the leftover money to take a photo vacation. Or you could buy an adapter and use Leica’s truly awesome M-Series lenses on a proper camera.

  • TheKnightWhoSaysNi

    Charlie, I have never agreed with you more. I can’t believe Leica would release a piece of crap like this. Only Hasselblad’s $7000 bling-bling version of the Sony NEX-7 is more ridiculous.

  • theobserving

    Let’s be honest here. You mention it in your article, Leica has turned into a boutique brand for well-to-dos, so they have something they can carry around and feel like they’re “real photographers.” That red dot is all they want. It’s status.

    My boss is this type of person. He was adamant about buying a Leica, but he can’t tell you why they’re “so good.” He saw an ad in a magazine and figures he has to have one. So I went with him to a Leica dealer in town and showed him the M. He was mad that it was “so slow.”

    I would love to have an M, because my job involves photography, but I can’t afford it. It’s sad how ridiculous this crap toy is.

  • ryanzap

    spot on!

    it’s amazing how people start to believe that a boutique camera somehow makes them a better photographer. it almost makes them try less. digital leica is just another tool. a massively overrated and massively overpriced one. it’s now also a shadow of its former self and its analogue legacy. quality of light or unique vision are so much more important than lenses / cameras. there are so many guys with cameras (aspiring phtographers) who sell their kidneys to go all leica. boy are they blinded by that red dot… and boy does their phtography become visionless as a result…

    @ theknightwhosaysni oh yes, that hasselblad lunar (?) is another joke :)

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Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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