Overall Rating:


Leica X Vario



Price as Reviewed:


With its 16.2-million-pixel, APS-C-sized sensor and fixed 18-46mm f/3.5-6.4 lens, is the Leica X Vario the camera Leica enthusiasts have been waiting for? Ian Farrell finds out. Read the Leica X Vario X review...

Leica X Vario review – The competition

The Leica X Vario doesn’t have much direct competition since it’s really the only large-sensor compact camera to feature a zoom lens. The closest competitor is Canon’s PowerShot G1 X, which has a 14-million-pixel 18.7×14.3mm sensor and a 28-112mm (equivalent) f/2.8-5.8 zoom, but this isn’t as large as the Leica’s sensor. The G1 X costs around £400.

There are plenty of fixed prime lens compacts available. Around the same price point as the Leica X Vario is the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 – a full-frame compact with a fast 35mm f/2 Zeiss lens. For £2,200, the RX1 delivers staggering image quality, but it is perhaps not as versatile as the Leica. Then there’s Fujifilm’s X100S, which features an APS-C-sized sensor, a fixed 35mm f/2 lens and costs £1,000.

Perhaps more competition comes from the compact system camera market, with a body and standard zoom combination like the Fujifilm X-E1 and XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 OIS lens. The X-E1 is a similarly specified camera to the Leica, and its standard lens is not only faster but features built-in image stabilisation to keep things steady.

  • AF Assistance: Yes, built-in lamp
  • White Balance: Auto, 5 presets, plus 2 manual, manual colour temperature setting, fine adjustment option for all settings
  • Built-in Flash: Yes – GN 5m @ ISO 100
  • Memory Card: SD, SDHC, SDXC
  • Viewfinder Type: Optional EVF 2 electronic viewfinder
  • Output Size: 4928 x 3272 pixels
  • Max Flash Sync: 1/2000sec
  • Sensor: APS-C-sized CMOS sensor with 16.2 million effective pixels
  • White Balance Bracket: No
  • LCD: 3in TFT with 920,000 dots
  • Exposure Modes: Program, aperture priority, shutter priority, manual
  • Weight: 650g (without battery or card/s)
  • Power: Rechargeable Li-Ion BP-DC8 battery
  • Lens: Leica Vario Elmarit 18-46mm f/3.5-6.4 Asph (equivalent to 28-70mm on 35mm format)
  • File Format: Raw (DNG) + JPEG simultaneously, JPEG
  • AF array: 1 field, 11 field, spot and face detection
  • Shutter Speeds: 30-1/2000sec in 1EV steps
  • Drive Mode: Max 3 or 5fps in continuous shooting high or low
  • Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
  • DoF Preview: No
  • Focusing Modes: Manual or single-shot AF
  • ISO: ISO 100-12,500
  • Dimensions: 133 x 73 x 95 mm
  • Metering System: Multi-field, centreweighted and spot
  • Connectivity / Interface: USB 2.0 Hi-Speed, HDMI
  • Exposure Comp: ±3EV in 1/3EV steps
  • Compression: 2-stage JPEG
  • RRP: RRP £2,150 or £2,250 as a kit with camera protector and carrying strap

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