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Author Topic: X Vario - the Leica  (Read 3614 times)
HSway
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« on: June 30, 2013, 05:12:40 AM »
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I confess that I am enjoying Nickís articles as much as the Michaelís ones. I reckon one of the key elements that build this Island floating in the sea of todayís photography is the quality of articles at LuLa.

This Leica is made for "Leica shooters."  still and despite what may seem its mainstreamish design. It has no chance to be used more widely. At least one step is needed to give it better chances. Ė The IS. But it is fully understandable that the camera is built 'as Leica', thatís what they can make for the price. With all that comes with it, no struggle needed. As for the gadgets theoreticians, they will occasionally provide 10% of a useful point during relentlessly determined efforts to figure out something-everything. So in this sense, the article, among other practical points what elese to appreciate, provides a bit of additional balance, seeing in a different light and can serve as an occasional reminder what the cameras might also be for.

A bit of a mixed bag reply, I realize. But thatís what it and the X Vario in my view is.

On a more general note, I am guessing that the Fuji may have standard zoom lens, and maybe the new slower one will join, that is sharp wide open - not improving past it. I recently experienced this with ef-m 18-55 made for M Canon. Except its widest setting it was very sharp (and not only that) and exactly this case. I do admit that itís a rare thing to encounter.
I can imagine no viewfinder shooting if there is a quality articulating monitor enabling shooting using against-the-chest support. I am that example of wearing glasses but looking above or below the frame I can see perfectly at close distances.
Thanks for the nice Sunday's read and a valuable report.

edit

Another thing I can add - that the sharpness wide open in a broad centre is all that is important most of the time. Across the frame sharpness is, on the other hand, often well in line with at least a bit stopping down for DOF reasons. The image stabilization scores in either case. Those cases where there are not DOF reasons then typically donít require across the frame sharpness, quite the opposite. The rest is more an exception rather than regularity. So yeah while the IS is not a total cure for every situation, it is a very good thing with a slow lens most of the time. 

Hynek
« Last Edit: June 30, 2013, 05:43:53 AM by HSway » Logged

Rob C
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« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2013, 10:17:21 AM »
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Regardless of brand, I want a proper, 100% prism viewfinder of the type I used to enjoy on my F4, with a split-image, grid screen.

With the years and failing sight, no ground glass system is going to be my best bet, but for those who haven't experienced it, a split-screen is fantastic. As long as your sight is good enough to see what you have in shot, focussing with the split-image is a piece of cake.

So that's yet another thing that gurgled down the pipe along with the baby and the dirty nappy. As inevitably happens when so much goes down the tubes, there comes the moment when it backs up... photography, take care, it's coming your way. Insist on making toys when people need tools...

Rob C
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HSakols
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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2013, 11:46:27 AM »
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It seems to me that the compact Leicas and new funky Hasselblad Lunars are more like Jewelery or a status camera.  But then again I can't afford either one.  If someone wants to send me the new X Vario, I will give it my own test against my micro 4/3 set up. 
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marcosv
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« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2013, 08:23:57 PM »
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I also enjoyed Nick's review.  It does point up to where the camera shines.

Having used a X Vario for a hour, I can say that it is a nice looking camera that feels nice to the touch, but, ergonomically it does not work for me.  Not that easy to hold and the rear dial and controls aren't optimal for me.  The best way for me to hold the camera was by the lens barrel.

That and its price are reasons why I will pass on this camera.  There's plenty of other options out there that give me more fun using the camera than this one.

I really do think it is a camera for those who are fans of the Leica brand and are stepping up from a D-Lux model.  In addition to getting something that looks and feels like a Leica, you also get Leica support.
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wildlightphoto
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« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2013, 11:17:08 AM »
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With the years and failing sight, no ground glass system is going to be my best bet, but for those who haven't experienced it, a split-screen is fantastic. As long as your sight is good enough to see what you have in shot, focussing with the split-image is a piece of cake.

OTOH, the ground-glass screen with grid is fantastic for my uses.  I replaced the A (split-image) screen in my Nikons with the E screen and I've done the same with my present camera.  A split-image focussing aid blacks out with my most important lenses and becomes more a hinderance than an aid; besides my subjects don't hold still long enough to find a spot to use the split-image spot.  I much prefer being able to focus as-composed, anywhere in the field of view with the "ground glass" (it's really matte plastic) - and I've been using reading glasses for 21 years.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2013, 11:24:23 AM by wildlightphoto » Logged
Telecaster
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« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2013, 01:50:22 PM »
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I like a split-image for wider lenses and a microprism for longer ones. S-I blackout with slower long lenses can be a real PITA as Doug notes. A good quality ground-glass screen--that is, dimmer than the present norm but with higher contrast--can work well too.

Most modern SLR screens stink for manual focus. By design (or--at best--neglect), I suspect.

As for the X Vario...most definitely not for me. But that's okay.

-Dave-
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massimo.gori
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« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2013, 08:03:34 PM »
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I am a bit struck by the comparison parallelism between Leica vs the rest of the bunch and mechanical vs quartz watches.

I believe everybody may concur that mechanical watches are intrinsically different from quartz watches for two sets of reasons:
Technology - as mechanical watches are about craftsmanship and ingenuity, while quartz watches are about electronics and precision;
Market Segment - mechanical watches fit straight into the luxury segment, quartz watches are mass products.

In my opinion there is no technological difference between a digital Leica and the rest fo the digital cameras. Every company may decline the concepts in a slightly different way, but the guts are essentially the same. Indeed, it is easy to point out that a lot of much cheaper cameras can offer more flexible operation and, probably similar or better image quality. As a further proof, speed of obsolescence of a digital Leica camera is much the same than the others.

So, if you follow my interpretation of the watch parallelism, all what is left is plain, simple luxury. Or the feel of it.

Before one can dismiss me as a biased person I would like to admit that - yes - I am. I am travelling all around the world for business reasons with a very light and compact set: a Fuji X-pro 1 and four primes. But, wait, can anybody seriously say that my system lacks in image quality, flexibility, sturdiness with respect to a Leica Vario X?

Well, the price of my system is much in the same league as the price of a pocketable, slow zoom equipped compact camera from Leica.

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wildlightphoto
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« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2013, 09:22:00 PM »
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  But, wait, can anybody seriously say that my system lacks in image quality, flexibility, sturdiness with respect to a Leica Vario X?

Can you show us a comparison under controlled conditions that supports your position?
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Nick Rains
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« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2013, 02:55:56 AM »
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In my opinion there is no technological difference between a digital Leica and the rest fo the digital cameras.

I'd suggest that there are two technological differences, at the very least.

One: Lens design and materials. Leica glass is quite different to other lenses, I don't know what the exact difference is because no-one will tell me, it being a trade secret and all. I suspect it's to do with the density but I can't be sure, but Leica glass has always been, and remains, extremely sharp and but with a slightly lower contrast which gives an open look to the image. Some lenses rely on high contrast to give the impression of high resolution. Grinding technology is also very advanced, the aspheric designs are very hard to make so they have built their own machines. And the designs themselves are at the cutting edge of what's possible with glass. Some, but admittedly not all, are simply stunning optically. The S System in particular show the best MTF charts of pretty much any lens - the contrast at 40 lpmm target outdoes most other lenses at 30 lpmm.

Two: signal processing. The S uses the same sensor as the Pentax 645D and performs better at high ISO and has better shadow detail.

I'd call those technological differences.
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Nick Rains
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massimo.gori
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« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2013, 10:50:26 AM »
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@ wildlight: Come on! I made a question! You cannot answer with another question! If you are curios, buy the two cameras and make a comparison yourself! Wink

@ Nick: Well, if you are sure that there is a difference but you do not know what the difference is, then you have to admit that there is a possibility that the difference is in the marketing the companies are doing. I concur on the outstanding quality of the Leica M and S lenses. But don't you agree that it comes at a price? Given the same budget and the fact that computers, skilled engineers, and the law of optics are available to everybody, I do not see the reason why - say - Samsung, should not be able to equal Leica's optical performances. They are not even trying to do it because they are targeting a different market.
On the other hand, the outstanding performance of the S system is not a guarantee of the quality of the x-vario. Unless you take a red dot as a seal of quality. Marketing?
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wildlightphoto
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« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2013, 03:13:24 PM »
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@ wildlight: Come on! I made a question! You cannot answer with another question! If you are curios, buy the two cameras and make a comparison yourself! Wink

 Roll Eyes You're the one who made claims about your camera's performance vs. the X Vario
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Nick Rains
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« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2013, 07:00:14 PM »
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Fuji X-pro 1 and four primes. But, wait, can anybody seriously say that my system lacks in image quality, flexibility, sturdiness with respect to a Leica Vario X?

Well, the price of my system is much in the same league as the price of a pocketable, slow zoom equipped compact camera from Leica.


The Fuji is a really fine camera, just ask Michael. As you say, both are broadly comparable on price. No one is saying the Fuji is lacking, it's not. You chose it and it sounds as though you are happy with it. That's great.

"Well, if you are sure that there is a difference but you do not know what the difference is, then you have to admit that there is a possibility that the difference is in the marketing the companies are doing."

No, not really. There is a difference in the glass formulation, that is simply a fact. I don't know what the difference is because its a trade secret, nor would I necessarily understand it if they did tell me!. But I can see the difference in the results so to call it marketing hype is incorrect.

"On the other hand, the outstanding performance of the S system is not a guarantee of the quality of the x-vario. Unless you take a red dot as a seal of quality. Marketing?"

True, as you have stated it. But the X Vario does in fact perform very well and the lens is outstanding. This is because it's well designed and constructed like any high performing precision instrument should be.

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Nick Rains
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« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2013, 10:34:40 PM »
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Thanks for your answer, Nick.


I would like to point out that my original post was about the parallelism between a Leica camera and a mechanical watch, versus the others which are comparable to quartz watches. Far from me to say that a Leica is not good. This is not my point.

You too have shrunk down the difference between Leica and the others to the quality of the lenses. Being an engineer I would rather attribute such differences to the prowess of other colleagues rather than to homeopathic glass chemistry. But whatever is the reason for such quality, this does not change the fact that a Leica intrinsically shares the same technology of all the other cameras, albeit maybe with a different degree of refinement. Hence, we are comparing a mechanical watch with another mechanical watch. Or a quartz watch with another quartz watch.

Why is this so important to me?  Because I feel it dangerous both for the customers and for the companies to allow the marketing guys to boost a product to the luxury good region. This would greatly increase the expenditure for advertising, shops and so on at the expense of product and technology development (not to speak about our pockets!). Leica, in my honest opinion, is at risk. I am travelling a lot and I can find more and more Leica stores next to Gucci or Jaeger Le Coultre...

Let's help them focus on what they do best by keeping them down to earth.

As a customer I prefer stellar products to lunar propositions.
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Nick Rains
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« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2013, 10:45:14 PM »
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But whatever is the reason for such quality, this does not change the fact that a Leica intrinsically shares the same technology of all the other cameras, albeit maybe with a different degree of refinement.

I used the glass as an example, but it's not the whole story. There is plenty of technology in a Leica that is different to other cameras, I just don't particularly feel the need to list them all.

The glass is what Leica are known for and that is a technological different. Glass manufacture for lenses, and everything associated with it, is technology. And it's a point of difference from Nikon, Canon, Fuji et.
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Nick Rains
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Atina
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« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2013, 04:55:15 AM »
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There is plenty of technology in a Leica that is different to other cameras, I just don't particularly feel the need to list them all.

Would you still be kind to list a few?
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