Leica Q

Leica announced yesterday the Leica Q (Typ 116). It is their take on the Sony RX1 product segment: full-frame sensor fixed and fast wide angle lens camera, not in the lower price range either. Unlike the Sony, the Leica has a built-in viewfinder ; the 28mm lens is half a stop slower (f1.7 instead of f1.4) and it has a higher price tag. By ~$1k if you factor in the cost of the EVF for the RX1.

Size-wise it is bigger than the RX1 (no EVF) and smaller than the Leica M.

The camera include a fast autofocus system, that can be controlled from the rear touch screen, and proper manual focusing capabilities, as the lens has a know like on the M lenses and the EVF has focus peeking ; this will make rangefinder users happy. And the others will probably like that too.

The camera is “Made in Germany”.

Early reviews:

  • Ming Thein: “I can’t help but wonder if the Q is the harbinger to the end of the M system in its current guise.”
  • Jay Cassario: “…this one stands out and might be the first to end up staying in my bag.”
  • Jonathan Slack: “The Q is a little larger [than the Sony Rx1r], but it seems to be superior in pretty much every other respect”

Note: This is just news and not a review as I haven’t had it in hand.

Fuji X round up

Zack Arias take on the Fuji X-T1: Yep. It’s A Fuji.

Conclusion… I have zero regrets about selling all of my Canon gear and going Fuji. Zero regrets.

I have to admit, I’m not a pro like him, ie I don’t shoot for a living (also I’m less talented), but since I have my X-Pro1 I haven’t used the Canon much nor even lusted on any piece of gear for it.

Last week I have had my hands shortly on the X-T1 and the EVF is absolutely so much better than the X-Pro1. Non-withstanding the other advantages. If only I could try it longer.

Also don’t miss his Mystical Marrakech video (on YouTube) that he did for Fuji:

Cleaning old cameras

Two recent articles on cleaning (old) cameras:

Japan Camera Hunter: Classic Camera Cleaning Guide.

Petapixel: How to clean up your old camera.

Both have similarities in techniques, which is absolutely not surprising. I haven’t had the time yet to try these out, but if you needed a starting point to clean your collection of film camera, here you are. Digital cameras are not covered.

Leica X-Vario review

I previously said the Leica X-Vario was a disappointment solely based on the price and the slow zoom lens (and the lack of viewfinder). I think I shouldn’t be commenting on gear like that.

We see some positive reviews flourishing, mostly based on image quality and ergonomics, two of the main reason to use one camera over the other.

Jonathan Slack, a Leica loyal (his words): The Leica X Vario – previously known as Paula:

Despite the yawns from some of the more technically minded on the internet this is pretty much a unique camera – being the only currently available APS-c sized camera with an integral zoom lens (the Canon G1x sensor is rather smaller).
[…]
So it seems to me that at the very least Leica have produced an interesting modern take on a popular design strategy.

And conclude:

However, over the months I’ve rather fallen in love with the simplicity of the X Vario – the logic of the controls is hard to fault, the image quality is really excellent and the fact of it being a simple one-stop package is really compelling.

Simply put he turns this one as the camera he has with him when he doesn’t have any other.

And if someone want to loan one to me, I’ll be sure to be fair with it.

Leica Mini-M: the disappointment

Two week ago, Leica started teasing us with the Mini-M.

The Phoblographer has the scoop, just confirming the rumors, and that is a disappointment.

The Leica X Vario will cost over $3200 (more than the Sony RX-1) a little more than $2800, roughly the same as the Sony RX-1. And I had two hypothesis of what it could be, and both were wrong. One was closer thought, but I was expecting a fast prime not a slow zoom lens. No viewfinder (there is the port for an EVF). Nothing. In short you can find a camera that has the same feature set, a faster lens, that can be changed, for much less money. There claim that it took Leica M as a role model is absurd.

The only thing that can be outlined is Leica still continue to push DNG for the RAW files. And they should be commended for that.

Leica is now in the market of making expensive luxury cameras, not performing and robust cameras. I am sure that if a photographer had only this camera he could make it work and take awesome picture, but for the money, I’d recommend something else.

(I haven’t seen the camera, this is all based on paper specs)

Update B&H has it in pre-order, adjusted the price mention to reflect that.

Leica Mini-M teaser

Leica is teasing us with the Mini M. We don’t know anything yet but two speculations:

  • A compact fixed prime lens camera, maybe full frame, with a 35mm equivalent. In line with the Sony RX-1.
  • A micro 4/3 camera, possibly the rumored revamp of the Panasonic Lumix L1 (it was their first mirror-less, with a Four-third Leica lens) in OEM, maybe with some new lenses and an official Leica M-Mount adapter. Leica and Panasonic collaboration isn’t new, and this fall right in line.

We’ll see, but let’s hope Leica goes with a better differentiation than the X2, more in line with the Leica M.

One thing that I’m certain of is that it will not be a film camera.

Leica M typ 240 review

Highly anticipated, the Leica M type 240, aka Leica new M as announced in 2012, is starting to appear in the hands of various photographers.

Ming Thein, a Kuala Lumpur based photographer, reviews the new M:

First off: the M 240 is an enormous leap forward ahead of the M9 in every area; in fact, it feels like several generations have been skipped.

He even ask about the relevance of the rangefinder design, whether it is still the best today.

I actually wonder if the appearance of the EVF on an M camera means that the rangefinder’s days may be numbered; the reality is that the system requires very precise calibration, is prone to drift, is limited when it comes to zoom lenses, long lenses or off-center subjects, and is manual focus only. […] Perhaps Fuji is going in the right direction after all.

In my opinion, the Leica is about the rangefinder, but Fujifilm has shown the way to the best of both world with the X100 and X-Pro1, except it is not yet a rangefinder, and is not as accurate as one. But do we need one or do we just need a good focusing system for mirror less systems?

Also read Thein’s B&W with the Leica M Typ 240.

Sony DSC-RX1 Review

James Duncan Davidson reviews the Sony RX1. Gorgeous pictures, very nice website layiout.

His conclusion:

As of February 2013, this camera sets the bar for all compact digital cameras to meet. Finally, after thousands of words, only two more are needed: Highly recommended.

I still believe this camera is too expensive as the full frame sensor is not needed: they could have pulled it with an APS-C sensor and a smaller dedicated lens with a lower price ; and the nickel and diming of not having a battery charger. Not for me, but for the rest I’ll trust the review.