Pondering overnight on the “leaked” Leica Mini M, or Leica X Vario as I think I can read from the top of the picture, I have concluded that this is either a poor joke or a case of early onset midsummer madness at Solms.
Who, on reflection, would stick a tortoise-slow zoom lens onto an X2, throw in a touch of video, and expect it to sell? Much as I like and admire the X2 and still enjoy using it, we have to face facts. It hasn’t been the most popular seller and there are now probably better fixed-lens 35mm compacts out there.
In particular, I’m thinking of Fuji’s acclaimed X100S or, if you want a really unfair comparison, the full-sensor Sony RX1. The proposed X Vario is likely to sell for the same price as the RX1. More madness.
Marrying that too-short 28-70mm zoom lens with its jocular 3.5-6.4 aperture range to a camera that isn’t a big seller sounds like commercial suicide to me. Who would buy such a thing, I ask myself.
On my top shelf I have a similar-spec Leica lens: An old R-mount Vario-Elmar with a 28-70mm zoom and a 3.5-4.5 aperture. It is a good lens, by all accounts, and I am looking forward to trying it on the M when the R adaptor turns up. But as cutting-edge optical technology for an aspiring 2013 compact it wouldn’t stand a chance.
Now if Leica had been squeezing an APS-C sensor into the D-Lux 6, with its superb Vario-Summilux 1.4-2.3 aperture range, it would have been a different matter. Let’s not forget, also, that the spiritual ancestor of the purported new Leica, the 2003 Digilux 2, had a 28-90 Vario-Summicron lens with a super-fast f/2.0-2.4 aperture. Put that lens on the X Vario and Leica might have stood a chance.
We will have to wait until June 11 to find out what’s in that box. But please, Leica, tell us the rumored X Vario ain’t true.
by Mike Evans, 29 May 2013
UPDATE: See Leica X Vario: It exists, it is coming
plus June 7: Body bigger than X2