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.

Kodak to sell film and imaging division…

Kodak announced the plan to sell the film and imaging division to the UK Kodak Pension Plan in a move to settled debt and going toward exiting chapter 11

The question is whether the pension plan will deal with this asset as the film business or just as financial value? One would think the Kodak Pension Plan knows about Kodak business at its heart…

Time will tell, and I want to be hopeful.

New film products

Early December Ilford announced two new disposable cameras with their black and white film, one with HP5, the other with XP2.

Strangely, disposable cameras still sell well in comparison, and Ilford is just trying to capitalize on this. There is a version with processing included for the HP5 film as it is traditional B&W. The XP2 film can be processed anywhere as it is C-41 process.

End of January, Lomography announced the LomoChrome Purple, a colour negative film design to achieve effects similar to the long discontinued Kodak EIR inversible film. The 35mm version is already sold out, but the 120 will cost you around $60 for a five pack, on pre-order.

It is good to see new niche product like these or like the Fujifilm Baby box.

Fujifilm X-E1 and al.

Fujifilm just announced the X-E1. Simply put, it is a cheaper version of the X-Pro1, without the optical-hybrid viewfinder, slightly shrunk down, albeit with a very similar design. In addition it has a popup flash next to the EVF. Engadget has a preview of the X-E1. The camera body only will be around $1000. Comes in silver or black.

As previously announced in the XF lens roadmap, the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 OIS zoom for the X- series will be available at the same time in November, standalone for $900 or as a kit with the X-E1 for $1400. The 14mm f/2.8 will also be available in November for $700.

The speed improvements in the X-E1 seems to have been rolled into the firmware 2.0 update that will be released September 18 for the X-Pro1 ; DPReview had the privilege to get their hands on the update.

While the X-E1 isn’t really for me, as I own a X-Pro1, it is very nice to see that Fujifilm seems to be committed to the system and release more than just one camera. By lowering the price point of the body, and catering to zoom users, they really want to expand their market. And this is good news.