Mention the word Leica and every photography enthusiast would know that it is a brand legendary for producing cameras which in turn produce some truly amazing photos.
Leica Camera AG is well knows in the optical industry, and was founded in 1913. Leica survived the two world wars and its current headquarters is based in Solms, Germany, with a second location in Portugal. All products from Leica’s three divisions namely Photography, Hunting Lenses and Nature Watching – have a shared mission: to deliver better images.
Therefore MHB’s official photographer Andy Kho as well as member Valerie Chua and myself decided to head over to the Leica showroom in Avenue K, Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, 30 June 2013 to experience the Leica cameras for ourselves.
In line with its mission of helping users to obtain the highest possible imaging quality plus maximum creative freedom: Leica has been designing and constructing cameras on these guiding principles for 100 years.
Bringing superior image quality even to compact cameras with its Leica X range of cameras, Leica has set new standards for imaging quality in their class.
The Leica X Vario, of the Leica X-Family, offers the world’s only compact high-performance cameras made in Germany. The Leica X Vario is a further development of the Leica X2, and features several significant design characteristics of the landmark Leica M. Its Leica Vario lens with an equivalent zoom range covering 28 to 70 mm and full-HD video recording results in images of unrivaled quality in its class.
The Leica X Vario contains a huge sensor for this class of cameras coupled with a high performance autofocus zoom lens in a compact camera. With a maximum aperture of f/3.5, this combination allows the creative use of planes of sharpness to lend images incomparable plasticity and depth.
Only top quality materials go into a Leica such as the top plate which is machined from solid aluminum in the same process as that used for the Leica M. The magnesium and aluminum body feels solid in the hand and combined with its classic design this camera just screams “premium”.
We’ll just let the images speak for themselves. Here’s what Andy Kho shot at the launch in the showroom and at the media lunch at The Apartment in KLCC after the launch. FYI the photos were taken with the available light (no flash was used).
Lens: Leica Vario-Elmar 18-46 mm f/3.5-6.4 ASPH. (corresponds to 28-70 mm in 35 mm format), 9 lenses in 8 groups, 2 aspherical lenses.
Sensor: CMOS sensor, size APS-C (23.6 x 15.7 mm) with 16.5/16.2 million pixels (total/effective), format aspect ratio 3:2.
Resolution: Selectable for JPEG format: 4928 x 3274 Pixel (16 megapixels), 4288 x 2856 Pixel (12,2 megapixels), 3264 x 2160 Pixel (7 megapixels), 2144 x 1424 Pixel (3 megapixels), 1632 x 1080 Pixel (1,8 megapixels), DNG: 4944 x 3274 Pixel.
Video recording format: MP4.
Video resolution/ frame rate: 1920 x 1080 pixels, 30 fps or 1280 x 720 pixels, 30 fps.
Aperture range: From 3.5 to 16 (at 28 mm)/6.4 to 16 (at 70 mm) in 1/3 EV increments.
Image data file formats / Compression rates: JPG Superfein, JPG Fein, DNG + JPG Superfine, DNG + JPG Fein.
ISO Range: Automatic, ISO 100, ISO 200, ISO 400, ISO 800, ISO 1600, ISO 3200, ISO 6400, ISO 12500.
White balance: Automatic, presets for daylight, cloud, halogen lighting, shade, electronic flash, 2 manual settings, manual color temperature setting, fine adjustment option for all settings.
Autofocus system: Contrast-based auto focus system.
Distance setting range: 30 cm/1 ft (at 70 mm focal length) to infinity.
Autofocus metering Methods: 1-field, 11-field, spot, face detection.
Exposure modes: Automatic program, aperture priority, shutter speed priority and manual setting.
Exposure metering Multi-field, center-weighted, spot.
Exposure compensation: ±3 EV in 1/3 EV increments.
Automatic bracketing: Three pictures in graduations up to 3 EV, adjustable in 1/3 EV increments.
Exposure modes: M (manual), A (aperture priority), B.
Shutter speed range: 30 s to 1/2000 s.
Continuous picture Series: 3 fps or 5 fps, max. seven pictures with constant frequency in DNG + JPG Fine.
Flash modes: Auto, auto/Red-Eye, forced on, forced on/Red eye, Slow Sync, Slow Sync/Red eye, Studio.
Flash exposure Compensation: ± 3 EV in 1/3-EV increments.
Recovery time of built-in flash unit: Approx. 5 s with fully charged battery.
Monitor: 3″ TFT LCD, approx. 920,000 pixels.
Storage media: SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards.
Connections: Mini USB 2.0 socket, HDMI socket, special socket exclusively for external Leica EVF 2 electronic viewfinder.
Power supply: Lithium ion battery, capacity 1600 mAh (to CIPA standard): Approx. 350 pictures
Dimensions (W x H x D): 133 x 73 x 95 mm / 5.24 x 2.87 x 3.74 in.
Weight: 594/628 g / 22.9/24 oz (without/with battery).
Package includes Battery (Leica BP-DC8), battery charger (Leica BC-DC8), leather carrying strap, USB cable, lens cap, user manual, and Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom® (free download option after camera registration).
The Leica X Vario can be used by the expert photographer or a budding enthusiast. Of course put it in the hands of someone skillful (like Andy Kho) and you’ll get some really awesome photos!
While Andy was busy playing with the Leica X Vario, I took the opportunity to play with the Leica D-Lux 6 which is a very powerful little compact in spite of its size.
Here are some photos taken with the Leica D-Lux 6.
More info at http://www.leica-camera.com