Monday, July 01, 2013

Too-short zoom. Leica X Vario

Leica has come out with a brand new model, the X Vario, which is "economical" compared to most Leica cameras at US$ 2,850.
It's an APSC sensor, meaning pretty big, and it has a fixed zoom lens. Which means this zoom has to be either real damn big and expensive, or it has to be slow and limited in range. Leica chose the latter. It is 3.5 to 6.3.

Worse, in my opinion, is the zoom range: equivalent of 28mm to 70mm. I have had a few cameras and zooms with this range, and I consider it rather useless. 70mm is not even telephoto, it is just long-normal.
In contrast, I've also had, and still use, cameras with a 28mm-120mm range, and I consider these highly useful, going from taking in a landscape or a room, over normal, to covering all normal portrait ranges, to short telephoto.

For me it's a deal breaker. I almost think you may as well make it a prime lens then. This would make it faster, and more compact. And you could crop with limited quality loss. In any case, it doesn't appeal to me. Every time I use a camera with only a 2.5X zoom range, I think 'what is this good for'?

Okay, it should be said, the image quality of the X Vario is outstanding by all reports. That's good. If it wasn't, what would be the raĆ®son d'etre of it? I'd rather get, for example, one of the new Fuji X-mount cameras, which also have great quality. And exchangeable lenses for much great flexibility.

I think that if Leica had stepped one more step down in sensor size, to Micro-Four-Thirds size, they may have had a much more interesting camera. It could be almost the same image quality, be rather more compact, and have a greater zoom range.

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