Leica New (to me) X-Vario

asiafish

All-Pro
Aug 9, 2013
Bakersfield, CA
Andrew
Just bought a used X-vario with Olympus EVF for those moments I want in color. I took a Canon 6D with lenses to Europe this spring and loved the image quality, but hated the weight. Sold that kit and bought a Leica M9, on a recent weekend trip my wife was clearly frustrated with trying to focus and me fiddling with lenses. I didn't worry too much as she likes my Sony RD100 II, but when a line of dead pixels cropped up on the M9 before the return period was up (bought it from a dealer) I returned rather than repaired it.

I've been looking at the X-Vario for a while and after seeing some excellent work by a few of our own members, I decided to give it a try. The only real weakness for what I want is the camera's inability to get shallow depth of field at anything more than semi-macro subject distances. Even wide-open, selective focus effects are subtle. The good news is, at least from images I've seen here and elsewhere (XVarior's work particularly) is that image quality appears up to the level of Leica primes at all focal lengths, distances and apertures. It is also easy enough to use that I can just pass it off to my wife with the camera on full automatic and expect good pictures to result.

I should have it by Friday or Monday, and with any luck my next vacation might see me without a camera bag at all. Keeping my fingers crossed.
 

brusby

Regular
Mar 1, 2014
Good luck with the new rig.

Wish I'd known you were selling the 6D cause I just bought one for a very specific purpose -- shallow DOF portraits and the autofocus capabilities of the 85mm F1.2.
 

asiafish

All-Pro
Aug 9, 2013
Bakersfield, CA
Andrew
6D is a great camera, just more bulk and weight than I want to carry across Asia next year. X-Vario will NOT do shallow DOF portraits at all, though my M Monochrom sure does.
 

christilou

Legend
Jul 13, 2010
Sunny Frimley
Im looking to sell a couple of things for a "compact" solution. At the moment I can't decide between a new Ricoh GR (I had one last Summer), a used Leica X1 (had one long ago!) X2 or the Vario. Vario probably the most expensive and probably a similar size to the Ricoh GXR with the 50mm module so not too compact I think. I've certainly seen some stunning shots from it and look forward to yours..... meanwhile I'm thinking of going for the Ricoh as it's just so easy to carry along anywhere.
 

carlb

All-Pro
Feb 6, 2013
Congrats, Andrew! The lens on the X Vario is superb. Controls for setup and shooting are superb.

I love shooting with the X Vario, so much so that I've setup the M 240 with a zoom lens that's closest to that performance (the Leica R 35-70mm f4). A larger, full-frame X Vario without auto-focus.

The two things I wish the X Vario had: horizon indication and stabilization when shooting longer than 1/60th-second exposure. (Note the M 240 does not have these either.) Auto-focus is pretty good, AOK for most of my shooting situations.

Christine, the X Vario has come down drastically in price, especially for refurbs. I've seen them from reputable stores for about US $1700 and such.

For anyone, just remember the photographer's skill and subject matter determines so much about perceived image quality. Just compare Rodrigue's shots to my X Vario shots - shees can he get an image. :)
 

asiafish

All-Pro
Aug 9, 2013
Bakersfield, CA
Andrew
It arrived yesterday (much faster than anticipated). Haven't shot anything with it yet other than some boring pictures at high ISO inside my office. I bought it used from Popflash with the Olympus EVF and an Artisan and Artist strap for $1900, which is about average price.

I had never held an X-Vario before, and I am actually quite impressed with the look and feel of it. Definitely compromised compared to something like the T or a DSLR, but smaller, lighter and about half the price of the T with its (equally slow) zoom lens.

Hopefully I'll have time to play with it this weekend.
 

christilou

Legend
Jul 13, 2010
Sunny Frimley
Colour and bokeh are really nice. When I got on the train at Waterloo, London after my workshop yesterday, a young Chinese couple sat down opposite me and what did he have around his neck but a pretty little Leica Vario ;) We swapped cameras for a look see, he tried three shots to get a picture of his girlfriend with my M but failed to get any kind of focus, don't know why that makes me happy, thought the young knew everything...... I liked the Vario, really light in the hand and well made.
 

XVARIOR

Regular
Dec 9, 2013
The XVario is in good hands. Congratulations. You'll love it by the ticking hours and passing days.
 

asiafish

All-Pro
Aug 9, 2013
Bakersfield, CA
Andrew
I've had a few months now, but haven't had it out as often as I'd like. I've always been a "fast prime" guy and usually use my Leica M Monochrom. Just bought a Nikon Df and some vintage primes for serious color work and have a Sony RX100 for maximum portability.

X-Vario produces outstanding results, but a bit too bulky for carry everywhere, and lens too limiting in range and speed (not quality, which is outstanding) to replace the DSLR.

Still on the fence about it.
 

asiafish

All-Pro
Aug 9, 2013
Bakersfield, CA
Andrew
Full circle. Had the X Vario for a while, sold it (for more than I paid) to buy the Nikkor 58mm f/1.4 G (outstanding lens, LIVES on my Df). Wasn't planning any serious travel until April or so, but then suddenly a family trip to Hawaii appeared in the calendar and again I need something small, versatile and outstanding for this non-photography trip.

Wow, have X-Vario prices come down! I bought a brand new one for only $100 more than I got for my used (and rather scratched-up) used one three weeks before. I've started carrying it with me and really do like the handling, especially with the new firmware update that eliminates the annoying flash compensation button when flash isn't in use. Still wish they would address the delay between shots when it previews the image (even with preview turned off) and give the option of killing or better yet remapping the movie button, but no camera is perfect.
 

XVARIOR

Regular
Dec 9, 2013
There's no image preview on the screen now! Mine would not show anything on the screen after taking a shot!
 

asiafish

All-Pro
Aug 9, 2013
Bakersfield, CA
Andrew
When I take a picture in single mode, the image appears on the screen (or EVF) for about a second or so as it writes to the card. To take another picture quickly I have to half-press the shutter release to free the camera. This is the only remaining annoyance with the X Vario for me.
 

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