Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Pixii Rangefinder Camera: Review progress and a meeting with the boss

Pixii Rangefinder Camera: Review progress and a meeting with the boss

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Product image of Pixii rangefinder camera
With a 26 MP sensor and M mount: The Pixii rangefinder camera is the modern answer to an old design principle.

One month of road testing is over; the analysis is still to come. Macfilos users will get a full review of the Pixii rangefinder camera in April. 

It came as one of the biggest surprises in the camera market. French start-up Pixii SAS has managed to launch a new rangefinder camera. It has an M mount, a full optical viewfinder and, in the current version, a 26 MP APS-C-sized sensor. It is also remarkable to note what the Pixii does not have: a rear display and a memory card, for example. 

600 photos shot with the Pixii rangefinder camera

I got a Pixii on loan from the company and shot over 600 photos with it. I am still analysing them for various parameters. Among them are: Noise at high and low ISO values, colour rendering, black and white results, sensor readout (rolling shutter), white balance and more. I will try to answer as many of the questions you sent me recently in the comments section of the earlier article. But I do apologize in advance that it is quite impossible to deal with them all in depth.

Performance and ergonomics in focus

The review will also focus on all aspects of ergonomics and handling. The Pixii’s design makes it rather special. So, you can expect a report on how an experienced rangefinder photographer (which I am) got on with the Pixii. But I will also try to give an assessment of how the Pixii might work as a comparatively affordable camera for newcomers to rangefinder photography. Remember, there is a long legacy for this. It comprises the film-loading Leica CL right as well as the slaughtered digital Leica CL. A camera line that might leave many of its users with orphaned lenses (but there is a solution for that).

Meeting David Barth, inventor of the Pixii rangefinder camera

When I had to part with the Pixii (small spoiler: this was not easy), I had the opportunity to personally return the camera to Pixii founder David Barth. Despite being extremely busy, he took more than an hour for me — and you, the Macfilos readers. It was a most interesting conversation with a true entrepreneur. You can read more about it in the future.

You might find something interesting around Easter

For now, though, I have to ask you for a little patience. As you may know, I have a demanding job. And, like all the other contributors, I write for Macfilos entirely pro bono. Furthermore, my month with the Pixii told me (among many other things) that this camera deserves a well-thought-out and carefully written review. So stay tuned and hope for a late Easter present.

More reading:

The Pixii coverage on Macfilos

Articles by Jörg-Peter Rau

All about rangefinders

Leica M4: The story of one of Leica’s most popular rangefinders

Leica M3: The first Leica with a combined range-viewfinder



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15 COMMENTS

  1. Challenge is the crop factor on the full frame M mount lenses, and not having the frame lines in the viewfinder for composition that matches the lens in use.

    • I believe the Pixii’s frame lines do match the effective focal length of the lens on the crop sensor, based on other reviews I have seen and the response I got directly from Pixii. So the 28mm frame lines = 42mm full frame field-of-view, the 35mm frame lines about 52mm FOV, and 50mm = 75mm FOV.

  2. I agree, I think we need fresh approaches to the rangefinder concept. Very interested to see how it develops further.

    (Avid reader of the blog and all comments:))

    • Thanks, Alex. It’s always good to get a comment from a long-time reader. While we do have a vibrant comments section, new faces are so important in keeping the discussions fresh. Mike

  3. I think that the pixii is a strange idea and I strongly doubt that it can be successful: (i) an APSC camera that by design uses full frame lenses makes you bring a lot of heavy but useless glass; buy a Fuji instead, it is not a true rangefinder but is a good imitation and has its own (quite lightweight) lenses. (ii) The m-mount Leica lenses are extremely expensive, if you can afford them, you can also afford a digital full frame Leica M. (iii) A rangefinder is intrinsically limited in the lenses it can use, it has advantages over a reflex (low flange distance), but it has no advantages over a mirror less camera. But maybe I’m wrong, after all many people may find the rangefinder experience rewarding per sé.

    • I suspect the PIXII is aimed at people who already own the lenses. And many M lenses are very small and light, so that has to be taken into account. There’s also the novelty of the approach which, I think, intrigues rangefinder fans. Let’s see what JP has to say, but I don’t think there is a lack of interest. There are many Leica fans who are sitting on the sidelines, waiting for a definitive test. They also need to be convinced that the company is in it for the long haul and that their investment will not be wasted. I’m quite interested, to be honest.

    • it seems a pity to go so negative so early. I too borrowed a Pixii and my zeiss 35/28 sat impeccably on it at 200gms. Even cheaper and lighter how about a Voigtlander 35 pancake at 134 grams. Neither of these is “extremely expensive” and would make good pairings along with a number of other smaller format “full frame lenses”. Let’s allow this innovation to breath a bit first…

    • Dear Andrea,

      I can abolutely understand your thoghts but I do not share your opinion. The Pixii IS an intersting camera and a project that deserves to be looked at in an unbiased way.

      And as to “who can afford expensive lenses can also afford a full frame Leica M” – I do not want to spoil too much, but you don’t need an APO-Summicron 50 oder 35 to get stunning images with the Pixii. The Voigtländer Ultron 35/2 or the Zeiss Biogon 28/2.8 perform very well on it.

      And has the rangefinder principle advantages? For me definitely, but I have all respect for all who disagree.

      So, do stay tuned!

      Jörg-Peter

    • I fully agree with the other commenters, Pixii deserves some credit. And adding to that there perhaps have never been so many options for buying M-mount lenses. Besides Leica you have Voigtlander, Zeiss, TTArtisan, 7artisans, Light Lens Lab, MS-Optics, etc.

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