Friday, November 8, 2013

WTF Leica X Vario!

I said that I would leave Leica users alone, and I am. But I said nothing about leaving Leica alone, and they just opened themselves up to a world of criticism.

Leica has a history of taking other companies' designs and kinda'/sorta' slapping their name on them and calling it a day. Sometimes, there is actual value in this, you just have to look.

For example, the Leica D-LUX series was just a copy of the Panasonic LX series, for which you paid hundreds extra. Buuuuut you got a copy of Adobe Lightroom included, which at the time was $300. So, you still paid a bit of a Leica premium, but not too much.

Then they went and released the Leica X1 back in 2009. It was $2,000 for an average APS-C sensor attached to an average f/2.8 lens. There was literally nothing special about it save for the Leica name and body, and for that they demanded a huge premium.

On second thought, no. Perhaps I'm being too harsh. This was 2009 and the competitive landscape was very different. There weren't two dozen large-sensor point-&-shoots running around like there are today. All P&S cameras had very small sensors, so while the X1 was a poor camera compared to the world of SLRs, in the world of P&S, it was somewhat unique. I don't think it was ever $2,000 worth of unique, but hey, I'm a cheapskate.

Leica then released the X2 in 2012. This was a simple update to the X1 for the same price. Granted, by now, the landscape was getting more difficult to explain the $2,000 price, what with the Fuji X100, Olympus E-M5, and Sony NEX series running about making things all awesome.

But now, Leica has outdone themselves. They've released the update to the X2 in the form of the X Vario, given it a cheap zoom lens, made it bigger for no apparent reason, and are now charging nearly $2,900 for it!

This cannot stand. I must mock them.

This is an insult to the photographic populace. I see it as an actual insult. This is one of the most arrogant products that I have ever seen (the worst was the Hasselblad Lunar). They are saying that their customer base is stupid enough to fall for this when they could have the already-legendary Sony RX1 for the same price. Or they could have the Olympus E-M1 or Panasonic GX7 and three great lenses. Or they could buy the new A7R and an excellent lens. Or they could buy into Fuji's system and even get a camera that feels similar to a Leica. Or they could go out to dinner at a nice restaurant, once a week for a year. Or they could fucking burn it in a nighttime ceremony to worship the moon ANYTHING IS BETTER!

Imaging Resource tries its damndest to make the camera sound good, and all they can talk about is how nice it is made. Every time they talk about the part where it, ya' know, actually makes pictures come out, they have to qualify every positive statement. They say that the lens is sharp... and? The Canon 18-55mm is also super-sharp across the frame. Same size, too. It also costs $200.

This X Vario is a laughable piece of equipment. It's a slap in the face by Leica. As the market became more competitive, they released an inferior product for more money than they had in the past. I can barely believe it.

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