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The key figure for me: $3425. Even if the zoom were f/2.8 across the board and had OIS, that's the figure that bats my eyelashes!
Unfortunately when I see 3425 dollars i see a Nikon 200 F2 instead. LOL
Lens whores tend to think glass first.
Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.
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Actually, for that sort of money, f:2.8-f:4.0 would have been nice IMHO. And then lots more people would have considered it for purchase
You can make a case that even the ludicrous Hasselblad Lunar is a better option for the tacky rich individuals looking for fashion statement. At least the Hassy body, as fugly as it is, is a capable camera body with access to quality lenses. You can't say the same thing about the mini.
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The X Vario zoom would need to be at least an f4 constant aperture, or even f2.8-f4, to start making sense to me. It would still be expensive, but at least it would be a higher quality (in build and IQ) version of what's out there (despite the fact that the other options out there have the ability to change lenses,) so I could see the extra money being worth it to many shooters.
Or, if Leica designed the zoom to retract into the body, making the camera somewhat flat, then I could understand the potential, despite the zoom's slow speed.
I've been trying to come around to the possibilities of this camera, but, along with the Pentax K-01 and Hassy Lunar, it is one of the more odd camera releases in the last couple of years, IMO, if price is a part of the equation. I understand that price isn't a big deal to some, and, in that case, why not?
Yes. It's not really the features/specs alone, it's the price to go along with those features/specs.
The Fuji 18-55 zoom is at f/4 at 46mm as opposed to f/6.4 (plus it goes all the way to 55mm at the same aperture, plus it has OIS, plus it's interchangeable.) Not to mention the fact that it's perhaps the best APS-C zoom in this range, with superb performance and rendering. By any measure the Leica specs are underwhelming. It's more akin to the Olympus 12-50...
But at this point, the horse is glue. What more is there to say? Let's see some more photos.
Just for added perspective, the newly released Sigma is quite significant in size at a constant f/1.8. Sure I'm not complaining it has to be at that aperture, I would have been happy with constant f/4 lens. I would guess length wise it will be about the same, but would extend a little more when zooming and bigger circumference. I would not have minded that if they could deliver at slightly more cost, but there's a limit for me there too!
Now we'll never know!
On a different note, I wonder how well the X2 sold in its life up to now!
I guess one needs both, Jono. Speed so that you are in a position to shoot the way you want. And quality once you shoot. Certainly, for 2500$/€, you ought to have at least a reasonable measure of both IMHO.
Tbh, I wouldn't have bought the XV even if it had a faster lens, and I'm sure for some who are interested in such camera, the slow lens will not deter them from buying it. I think most of the uproar is caused by people hoping/wishing for an interchangeable lens camera more than any other reason.
M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/22 Member(s) liked this post
Had it been f;2.8 to f:4.0 with good close-up performance, and a tilt screen I would probably have ordered one by now.
I think at least some of the uproar ("tempest in a teapot") is the result of the Leica apologists acting like this is another great product. If you've been dreaming of a camera with this size sensor and a zoom lens like that offered here, i.e., if this is exactly what you've been waiting for, maybe the new cam is a great idea. To you.
If not, maybe it isn't. There are some great things about it; to me, the ability to manually choose a focus point is one, but still ....
It distresses me that nobody gives a toss about the (excellent) image quality - they only care about the (sadly) slow lens.
Just this guy you know
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I'll take your word for it Jono, regarding image quality. I never doubted it would be in the same league at least as the X1/X2, which I always admired for IQ.
That is a confusing guess. How can the IQ of Micro Ms be compared that of a Mini M? How do they compare to the Ms and the S'?
Personally, I don't think you are an apologist Jono.
Like everyone else, you have hopes for specific gear that fits your idea of what would be great ... however, upon getting something in hand, you take it for what it is, rather than what it could've been.
"Glass half full", and all that ... with the understanding that when it comes to photo gear, the glass will NEVER be full ... so the "glass half empty" folks will ALWAYS have something to bitch about ... including me
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M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/23 Member(s) liked this post
Isn't there a middle ground? I'm not angry at Leica, and don't really care about this camera. But I think that after twenty or thirty posts arguing with people about it, maybe one should give it a rest.
Maybe you should stop calling people apologists and then no one will argue with you?
M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2
I am also not angry at Leica, nor an apologist. I wish them well, but the consultant in me doesn't think that this new camera is going to give them the most "bang for their R&D buck".
I agree with Jono that it is sad that the specs are a turnoff for people before they look at the IQ. But let's face it, that can hardly come as a surprise, since you yourself "were horrified".
And, as for me, I am not interested simply because I can sort my shots in LR, and there are just too many that I shoot below f:6.4 on the long end. And I don't like shooting a lens wide open if I have a choice. Even my Summilux 50 is better stopped down to f:2.0 if I can afford it, light-and-DOF-wise. Which means a fixed-aperture on the long end at f:8.0.
The only way I'd consider changing my mind is if the IQ were so awesome that it would be a "must", whatever the other parameters. And, knowing the X1, X2 and Sony 16Mp sensor, I just can't see that in the XV. Very good IQ, certainly, but game-changing, definitely not. Let's see if I am wrong.
The X1 was relevant in 2009. Since then, Leica has not released anything convincing outside of their "owned" M segment.
That is just it, who says that everything has to be a 'game changer"?
It is highly conceivable that this is a camera for the Leica "Luxury" Boutiques, where a potential "client" wants to "participate" but can't hack a manual focus camera/lens that costs $10,000+, yet still wants something like it, if in form and spirit only. In that retail environment sense, it IS a made in Germany Mini M.
In fact, that was the first thing that came to mind when I saw this camera/lens. Like those who buy a Mercedes C class sedan, or Lexus IS 250 to get a prestige Marquis, and reputation for excellence, even though they could purchase twice the vehicle from a marquis with less "cache".
It is marketing 101.
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Marc, if a Mercedes C-Class cost twice the price of a similar Volkswagen, except it had a significantly less powerful engine, your comparison would more closely resemble the X Vario. Yes, a C-Class cost more than a VW (or Toyota, or whichever mass-market brand you care to name), but (1) this extra cost is much, much less than what Leica are asking, and (b), while each of us have preferences in "what is best-in-class", it lacks in no form of performance in the same way as the speed of the XV zoom. The car industry also tried luxo-rebadging of mass market cars, like Cadillac branding of Opel cars. It didn't work out at all.
The reason I mentioned game-changing IQ is in order to make up for a very weak performance in lens speed. In my opinion Leica would have sold more 3000$/€+ X Varios with a f:2.8-f:4.0 zoom than what they chose to sell. But that is the opinion of just one person.
In reality, this is a wise long term strategy for them since companies like Sony can, and seemingly do, launch a "camera a month", (often slight variations on a theme), to create a blizzard of photo tech toys more operationally akin to computer game interface, than a traditional camera interface. Granted, lots of people want all that stuff, but a few do not ... relatively speaking, Leica is after those few. Given their comparable size and pricing structure, all they need are those few.
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So, the Mercedes C class analogy I used was more about those intent on a Mercedes, but can't afford an E, or especially a S class. People are willing to put up with less room, less power, less standard features, less luxury to get the marquis, and what it stands for to them ... personified by the prominent tri-star grill on the C class vehicles.
It is the brand marquis that sets the purchase criteria ... not competitive brands that may offer more, but do not carry the same brand cache.
Your lux badging of mass market cars is directionally more like rebadging Panasonic in terms of an analogy. IMO, this camera is different, and reflects Leica's more recent marketing strategy of brand consolidation. Just take a moment to view the marketing for this camera that prominently touts phrases like these:
"The art of engineering, made in Germany"
"Leica M as role model."
Leica Camera AG - Photography - X Vario
Couple that with the X Vario tactile experience in a Leica boutique at some toni location, surrounded by Leica heritage, Leica Ms, S systems and a complimentary cappuccino ... and there you have it ... a sale. People with the "wants and gimmes" but not the means, can leave with something of the marquis in hand, because the Leica customer service associate has something to sell them.
Again, it is marketing 101.
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Marc & Others,
I'm far from being involved in the world of traditional marketing 101 as being discussed but I always thought that when a entry level luxury brand product such as the X Vario is brought out for example, it is also hoped that it makes such an impact with the buyer, that they eventually hope to "trade up" within the brand. The example used above suggests this buyer for whatever reason wants or desires Af...that's fine. If they decide after a time of using and enjoying this product they would like to branch out to incorporate a wider or longer lens but keep the other attributes of EVF, focus peaking etc., it doesn't appear they have anywhere to go within the brand...unless they step up to a Leica S, which is doubtful. The new Leica M doesn't have AF. Below is a possible solution to this dilemma and more.
That's why I thought a good opportunity might have been missed by not introducing the exact same camera as the X Vario but incorporating the ability to change lenses by having a interchangeable M mount. This would not only have served the purpose of some of these buyers to expand out beyond the zoom they started with but also for Leica to offer the camera to some other of their other and current traditional users of the Leica brand. Yes, wider or longer M lenses as it stands now are strictly manual focus, but if the camera turned out to be successful for both their target market and others, it might have encouraged Leica to come out with a few small APS specific AF lenses along the lines and quality of the original zoom offered in order to allow growth within the system and thus keep their original entry level buyer from leaving for other green pastures.
At least with the example of the C class cars, anyone who purchases an entry level model has the choice of stepping up to a higher class version when desired and not loose the features that got them into their original model in the 1st place.
Although I know designing the X vario with an interchangeable M mount meant some compromises would have to be made, I think the tradeoff would have served the company well without loosing their original target audience, so to speak, while at the same time drawing in others. The $3,000 or slightly higher price tag to some, might have been a more readily accepted I believe and it might have been looked upon as a true gateway and model to entering the Leica "M" system, just as used examples of the Leica M8/M8.2 are now seen as some as a gateway to full frame interchangeable Leica M models such as the M9 and new M. Just some random thoughts.
Interesting thoughts here!
Anyway I think that the X Vario is what it is and this was meant to be so by Leica. They could easily have gone the M mount path plus some selected AF lenses (zooms) but they decided to keep the XV just pure as it is.
Which IMHO is good. Once you touched it and played with it and have used other mirrorless cameras before - even with interchangeable lenses - you will just be relieved by the ease of use - which is typically Leica, but that alone will appeal to many and already be a unique buying point. Plus adding the high IQ and the wonderful haptics of Leica should make up for the rest.
If this does not appeal to one, they should just skip that product.
I am very happy the XV is what it is and has a fixed zoom. That could be the desired simplification for me when looking for a perfect "travel" companion which also can produce great images, even with some limitations.
Going to some exotic island with that cam or some great cities, where I absolutely do not want to carry a system camera and need to restrict to one or 2 lenses then with all the promise of Leica behind is just very appealing.
Photography just easy and great fun and still producing excellent result this seems to be the magic formula here.
Life is an ever changing journey
Wow, this is still going on?
Yes, the XV was built to the spec and to the price for a reason...only Leica knows what their definition of 'success' is, and it's definitely not market share or raw volume. I hope it is successful by their measure.
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The notion that buyers may want to move up, but retain the same characteristics of the XV is premature. This is the first modern non-M camera to draw such specific support from the brand gestalt ... and I seriously doubt that it will be the last to do so. By the time Leica were to field a new set of interchangeable lenses for a camera like the XV, there will be a new camera necessary anyway.
I see two possible long term paths for Leica ... maintaining the M rangefinder as long as there are those will to pony up the price for that unique shooting experience ... and a slower, parallel path that eventually sees a small, high quality, mirrorless camera with AF lenses that adhere to the heritage of the brand ... all designed and made in Germany, while carrying the usual, exclusionary price tag. They are engaged in high-end brand building long term, rather than survival tactics of the past.
I think we get confused between what makes a good camera and what makes a good camera for "me." The XV is a good camera. Since I don't have to buy it, then it really does not matter if it is for me or not. Me not wanting it is not an indictment of the camera.
Actually, shashin, there are not only "good" and "other" cameras, presumably "bad". There are also perfectly good cameras that happen not to be competitive in a fast moving marketplace. No doubt the XV is a perfectly good camera, meaning a camera that lets owners take good pictures. No doubt also the haptics and ease of use are very good indeed.
That per se does not make it competitive.
Now Leica fans will tell you that competitveness is not a goal for the company, and that there are people who will buy it strictly for the priviledge of belonging to the Leica owners' club. No doubt there are some people like that.
But there are also many photographers who look at a Leica product on its merits alone, as it suits and pleases them -or not. These people may buy Leica if they find the products competitive, as they see it, but are not addicted to the brand cachet and prestige above all else.
These are the sorts of people who may be turned off by the specs of the XV as they were by the fact that the M only offers a crippled version of LiveView.
Interestingly, whenever I and others mention such "issues", we get told that we don't "get it", we don't care about "purity of the experience", or don't understand marketing 101.
Also interestingly I thought Jono's position, in saying "look at the IQ rather than the specs", was actually helping Leica, whereas excessive faboyism clearly hurts it.
I've loved Leica products ever since I was a kid. This new camera is consistent with what I would expect from them. They decided to go for image quality over speed for the zoom and mounted it on an excellent body. I would jump on it but already bought the RX1 which produces images that are perfect for my needs--professional images for magazines and shows. I miss the Leica feel, but the Sony will allow me to produce a shot in conditions the Leica might find challenging, so a better tool. But, i'm still very tempted to get the Leica and see what I can do with it...plus I want to see this company stay around a bit longer.
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I think serious photographers who buy Leica do that for 3 reasons: the glass, analog controls, build quality. Of course add the RF experience for M users. I think the XV fulfills all 3 criteria despite the slow aperture. In fact some Leica's best performing lenses like the 18, 21 and 24 elmars are also very slow.
Last edited by edwardkaraa; 15th June 2013 at 09:52.
M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2
I think people buy Leicas because they want one. It is no more complicated than that--you may have to find reasons for the CFO, but that is a different story.
The 3 points I mentioned are the reason why all Leica owners I know, and they're all serious photographers, chose to stick with Leica, despite the known shortcomings of the brand.
I personally have used Zeiss Ikon cameras, not Leica, when I shot film. The only reason I shoot the M9 is the lack of alternative. And even though I prefer Zeiss glass and the look it produces more than Leica's, the analog controls and the superb build quality are why I shoot the M9 rather than moving to another system altogether.
M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2
No, I am not saying the choice is superficial. I know many brands that have glass, analog controls, and build quality. I bought Mamiya, Horseman, Pentax, Pannon, Wista, and Sony for exactly the same reasons. Well, actually, I bought them because I wanted them over other equally fine cameras from other companies, but they have all the same qualities. If I am being honest, it is because I thought those cameras were "cooler" than the other choices. But working with cameras and tools that inspire me is not superficial.
My recent Leica cam does not have the red dot (or any dot) and also is the cheapest in the market. Rather unique combination.
The long-winded debate over this camera is becoming more and more of a snore every day it goes on.
Honestly, if I were gifted with the excess cash on hand, I'd probably buy one just to see what it could do. It might well be suitable for a wide range of what I shoot. The X2 was similarly absurd price on specs compared to competing brands ... but I haven't yet found another camera in the class that matches the image quality it produces, nor provides the excellent shooting experience and control. (Closest so far is the Ricoh GXR with A12 50 or 28 camera units fitted.)
I continue to hope that Leica will make another X body camera, with the same 16Mpixel APS-C sensor, but with an M-mount and focal plane shutter so I can use my existing lenses with it. It would be the modern reincarnation of the Barnak models, to me. In the meanwhile, I'll use the GXR-M or a NEX 6 or an Olympus E-P5 for that role. They're not quite ideal as the control layout isn't quite as nice, but they do well anyway.
I'm off to scan some 6x6 again ... :-)
IMO, Leica has chosen to pursue a specific brand marketing approach, one that is less directly competitive in the traditional sense of the word ... or your interpretation of it. This isn't blue-sky speculation, it is apparent in their retail actions, and how they are now going to market with their various products.
I think that approach doesn't necessarily exclude those who measure Leica products based on merit alone, nor is it likely to win over those who measure using a different competitive criteria ... like those issues you mention such as a slow lens ... or "crippled LV" of the M240, which interestingly I didn't give a care about, but was more critical of the IQ itself ... IQ being the more important criteria.
What it does seem to do is expand the base to more people who were less likely to consider the brand in past, especially in their new retail environments.
IMO, to say, or imply, they aren't doing this is to fly in the face of concrete evidence to the contrary ...
The brand does have prestige and cache, and it is one earned just like most higher-end brands that have lasted long term. That brand heritage halo effect is very apparent in how they decided to market this camera, and who it is aimed at.
BTW, I happen to like the IQ, and said as much. However, I wouldn't go on about it because I've never used the camera ... and deferred to Jono and Sean Reid's posted images as indication of the possibilities.
I don't see how stating that Leica would heve been IMHO better inspired to push the price up and offer a faster zoom contradicts any of the above, Marc. When Jono states that his first reaction was that "he was horrified", it is obvious that, unlike him, some will go no further and not give the camera a try, which might have resulted, had they gone ahead, in more sales.
Had they lowered the psychological hurdle of the "slow zoom spec", Leica could have either satisfied that extra demand and made more money, or chosen not to, and have driven up the delivery time and exclusivity of the product and brand. A win-win choice in my book.
When we discuss prestige or heritage it isn't some johnny-come-lately, mindless fanboy concept ... those brand attributes are earned by the attributes of the products themselves. In this case, build quality (substantial feel, fit and finish, made in Germany); Certain user experiences (i.e., simple analog control); and ... Image quality (as is already being demonstrated by skilled users like Jono and Sean Reid).
IMO, lens speed was sacrificed to maintain IQ because a fast aperture lens that delivers a very high level of IQ expected from Leica optics would have driven the cost quite high. Now, whether it had to be that slow is a question only Leica can answer.
Price range probably was a carefully determined slot with-in the array of products going to retail outlets. I'm sure a great deal of research went into finding the effective retail threshold for a Leica branded product of this type ... plus, we do not know what Leica has planned in their pipe-line of products for future.
IMO, the Leica Red Dot on this camera is no different from the Mercedes Tri-Star on a $35K C Class car. It stands for something of substance ... attributes the brand has come to be known for ... just not all of them.
The colours of my generation are black and white.
I also wouldnt mind a faster lens, as long as it was not too much bigger.
On the other side from the first 2 days using the camera as it is in different light situations it is not as limiting as it may sound in the beginning.
I wonder how big a f/2.8 zoom for this APSc camera actually would have been ... or a f/2.8-4? The Sony 18-55/3.5-5.6 is huge, and not all that great optically.
Perhaps more importantly, to keep the optical reputation of Leica, how much such a lens would've cost? I wonder if people would pony up $4K+ for a APSc fixed zoom lens camera with those optical specs?
Maybe a f/3.2-5.6 would've sounded better even though not all that different from f/3.5-6.4