Leica Announces the X Vario Compact Digital Camera

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Leica has just announced a new member of their versatile and quality-driven line of compact point-and-shoot digital cameras, the X Vario (Typ 107). This model is poised to perch between the X2 point-and-shoot and the M full-frame rangefinder digital camera, and it brings with it a large APS-C-sized image sensor and an apt 28-70mm Leica zoom lens. Aside from these crucial benefits, the X Vario also strives to be a highly versatile camera through its inclusion of a fast autofocus system, full HD video recording support, and an intuitive and classic design for which Leica cameras are best known.

APS-C Image Sensor

At the imaging core of this camera is a comparatively large 16.1 megapixel APS-C-sized CMOS image sensor that works to produce high-resolution imagery with notable low-light sensitivity to ISO 12500. Compared to smaller sensors, the APS-C-sized image sensor produces lower noise levels and an expanded dynamic range with richer image quality as well as tonal and color separation. Pairing well with the traditional Leica design, the X Vario supports fully manual control over exposure in program, aperture-priority, shutter speed-priority, and manual modes to allow for complete control with an intuitive means for navigating the control settings. Files can be recorded in either the online-friendly JPEG format or the non-proprietary DNG RAW file format that provides a wealth of options and control over post-processing abilities. Full-resolution continuous shooting is supported at 3- or 5 fps or, alternatively, full HD video is supported for recording moving subjects. When recording video, up to 1920 x 1080p at 30 fps, files are saved in the MP4 format and clean sound can be recorded using the built-in microphone with integrated wind-cut filter for high clarity.

Leica Vario-Elmar Lens

One of the most notable attributes among any of Leica’s cameras is their accompanying lenses, and following suit, the X Vario incorporates a built-in Vario-Elmar 18-46mm f/3.5-6.4 zoom lens, which provides a 35mm equivalent focal-length range of 28-70mm. The range of focal lengths covers wide-angle to portrait-length perspectives, making it a versatile choice for most everyday shooting applications. The Elmar design lets this lens be compact yet still high in optical quality, living up to the reputation Leica has earned for its line of interchangeable lenses. One aspherical element has been integrated into the lens construction, which helps to create this smaller form factor as well as minimize chromatic aberrations and promote sharper overall imagery.

Fittingly, this lens performs well when used in manual focus, and sharp imagery can be captured as close as 11.8” away from the front element. However, if working in faster-paced situations and with moving subjects, a fleet and precise autofocus system is available that performs equally quietly to benefit recording HD movies. The AF system utilizes 11 points, of which one can be selected for more personalized control over the focus point, or, alternatively, spot and face-detection-focusing methods can also be used. Switching between the two focusing methods is quick and intuitive by simply rotating the focusing ring from the AF placement to the variable manual focusing range.

Body Design

As with nearly all other Leicas, the X Vario features metal body construction that includes a solid aluminum-alloy top plate, magnesium-and-aluminum-alloy body, and a soft leather camera wrap. This attention to detail not only lends increased strength and rigidity to the camera, but also provides a significantly enhanced tactility that leads to more assured and confident use. The camera is constructed in Germany and reflects the same design sensibilities and principles Leica imparts to their rangefinder and other interchangeable-lens cameras. Incorporated within this design is a 3.0” 920k-dot TFT-LCD for live view monitoring, image playback, and menu navigation. The X Vario also features an EVF socket to support the use of an optional accessory viewfinder for high-resolution, eye-level viewing. Additionally, a standard hot shoe is also available atop the camera to support the use of Leica SF 24D or SF 58 flash units, for dedicated TTL flash exposure metering.

Accessories

In addition to the release of the X Vario camera, a host of accessories have also been released to complement, protect, and enhance the use of this camera. The hand grip is a simple tool designed to provide a slightly enlarged and secure grip on the camera by providing a textured ridge to promote easier shooting with one hand. This grip is compatible with three sizes of finger loops, too, to provide even more security and stability when handling your camera.

For protecting the camera, two dedicated case styles are available: the Ever Ready Case and the Protector Case. The Ever Ready Case is constructed from high-quality leather and provides all-over protection to the camera with a design that promotes a quick transition from carrying to shooting. It is available in black or cognac, and features an emblazoned Leica logo on the front. The Protector, which is also available in black and cognac, is meant to simply provide greater protection for the camera body during use and can remain on at all times when shooting. It is constructed from high-quality soft leather and incorporates ergonomic grips on both the front and rear of the case for greater usability.

Wrist straps in black and cognac, and carrying straps in black and cognac are also available and are constructed from leather to provide style and security when carrying the camera. Both types of straps integrate a protection flap into their design to prevent hardware on the strap from scratching the body.

A dedicated lens hood is available and helps to minimize lens flare and ghosting by blocking stray light from the front of the lens. It screws onto the lens’s front filter threads and also comes with a metal lens cap. In addition to these optional accessories, a copy of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is included with the camera to provide a single all-encompassing solution for post-production work with the resulting image files from the camera.

The Leica X Vario digital camera is a step that's set to blend some of the most desired benefits from both the M and X2 cameras into a single package that delivers the quality and intuitive use associated with Leica with the portability and efficiency of a compact point-and-shoot camera. The built-in zoom lens provides an image quality that is reminiscent of Leica M-mount lenses and is combined with an effectively large imaging sensor to garner the low-noise, high-dynamic-range image quality that is highly prized and desired.

For more information, stop by the B&H SuperStore in New York, speak with a sales professional on the telephone at 1-800-606-6969 or contact us online via Live Chat.

Image Sensor APS-C CMOS
Actual Pixels 16.5MP
Effective Pixels 16.1MP
Still Image Sizes DNG
4944 x 3272
JPEG
16M: 4928 x 3272
12.2M: 4288 x 2856
7M: 3264 x 2160
3M: 2144 x 1424
1.8M: 1632 x 1080
Still Image File Formats JPEG, DNG+JPEG
Built-In Lens Leica Vario-Elmar 18-46mm f/3.5-6.4
35mm-Equivalent Focal Length 28-70mm
Aperture Range f/3.5 to f/16 (at 28mm), f/6.4 to f/16 (at 70mm)
Lens Construction 8 elements in 6 groups, with 1 aspherical element
Focusing Range 11.8" / 30cm to infinity
Focusing Modes 1 point, 11 points, spot, face detection
Exposure Modes Automatic program (P), program shift, aperture priority (A), shutter speed priority (T), and manual (M)
Exposure Compensation +/- 3 EV in 1/3 steps
Exposure Bracketing 3 images in values up to 3 EV, 1/3 step adjustable
Exposure Metering Modes Smart multi-segment metering, center-weighted metering, selective (spot) metering
Sensitivity Auto, ISO 100-12500
Shutter Speed Range 30 to 1/2000 sec.
Continuous Shooting 3 or 5 fps, up to 8 consecutive frames in DNG+JPEG
White Balance Automatic, daylight, cloud, halogen lighting, shade, electronic flash, manual (2 settings), manual color temperature
Color Modes Standard, Vivid, Natural, B&W Natural, B&W High Contrast
Flash Modes Auto, flash exposure correction, red-eye correction, fill-in flash, slow sync, studio, 1st / 2nd curtain sync
Monitor 3.0" 920k-dot TFT-LCD monitor
Video Format 1920 x 1080p at 30 fps
Video File Format MP4
Internal Memory Approx. 110MB
Memory Card SD, SDHC, SDXC
Interface HDMI out, USB 2.0, Leica EVF socket
Power Source BP-DC8 rechargeable lithium-ion pack (approx. 450 exposures per charge)
Dimensions 5.2 x 2.9 x 3.7" / 133 x 73 x 95mm
Weight 1.5lb / 680g (with battery)