The X curse

When Leica X Vario was released I was highly critic, as specs are pretty low compared to enormous price it sells. It just didn’t make sense to me as camera.

Many reviewers (not just those Leica lovers) admitted that X Vario IQ is exceptional, as if that would make up for all other camera flaws. As much as image quality is important to me, I cannot take it seriously, not for a second.

The message I get from this Leica X Vario is that when you buy it, you buy a compromise camera. That’s the same feeling I had playing with X1 (or X2 for that matter), a constant struggle to get past camera limitations. Everyone knows complaints about X cameras, slow AF, uncomfortable focusing and fixed lenses.

While I can live with a single lens (in fact I shoot 99% with a 50mm), I cannot buy a camera that doesn’t let me focus easily. Missing rangefinder focusing, Leica Xs are strictly EVF limited or worse (LCD only). That’s a real hindrance in my photographic process. Considering that most of the time AF is totally unreliable, it makes them collectible chinese teacups for me.

Honestly, despite all its issues (IR filter, SD card, general reliability) any M8 is a better choice than any X series.

M8 vs XVario

Let’s consider this: my Leica reseller of choice, Photo Suffren in Paris, has a used M8 at €1500. Throw in either a used Summicron 35mm ASPH or a new Voigtlander 35mm Nokton f/1.4 and you have a brilliant camera, a rangefinder with excellent image quality, good in low light as much as the X, at €300 less that becomes €750 if you count Leica EVF. That’s the price of a (used) second lens, such as the excellent Voigtlander 21mm Ultron f/1.8.

You will probably have enough left to get a good Heliopan UV/IR filter for the M8, and the ability, without it, to do some good IR photography. Try that with an X Vario. That’s the problem, buying one of those. You buy a very expensive compromise with yourself.


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