Leica X Vario: Hit or a miss?

Posted on by Mike Evans


Since the Leica X-Vario was announced I have changed my stance. At first, when rumours surfaced, I joined the pack in ridiculing a £2,000-pus camera with a maximum aperture of f/3.5. Yet the X-Vario in the metal and in the hand is an impressive little camera. By all accounts, too, the image quality is amazing.

I am hearing very mixed views from the trade on the success of the X-Vario. Some dealers are happy, having sold maybe 20 cameras, others have sold very few. For a camera that is in plentiful supply, these figures are not encouraging. I have also heard reports that the X-Vario is cannibalising sales of the fixed-lens X2. This I cannot believe because they are appealing to two completely different markets. The X2 still has its place and those buyers who do not need a zoom lens or longer focal length will be better served with the X2 than with the X-Vario.

At the moment, prices of the X-Vario are holding up. None have been seen on the secondhand market and hardly any discounting of new stock is going on, apart from perhaps the odd £50 off the £2,150 price tag. Over the next few months, though, we should get a clearer idea of whether or not the camera is selling. Secondhand at, say, £1,200-£1,400, the X-Vario will become an attracive buy, despite the slow zoom. I would definitely be interested at those levels, but certainly not at £2,100. Unfortunately, if sales are as low as I suspect, there will be a shortage of secondhand stock.

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