Leica announces new APS-C format compact camera

Leica announces new APS-C format compact camera
The Leica X Vario uses machined aluminium in its contruction. Pretty.

After a managed rumour campaign that revealed a glimpse of a new camera nicknamed the Mini M, Leica has announced the Leica X Vario.

Like the Leica X2, the Leica X Vario is a compact camera so it has a fixed lens, however the new model's optic is a zoom with an effective focal range of 28-70mm. Maximum aperture varies from f/3.5 at the wideangle end to f/6.4 at the telephoto end.

Leica has given the X Vario the same 16.1-million-effective-pixel APS-C format sensor as the X2, but we are told that developments made with the image processing mean the images are a little cleaner and more detailed at the higher sensitivity values.

Unlike the Leica X2, the Leica X Vario is capable of shooting Full HD video (1080p) at 30fps in MP4 format.

Read our hands on Leica X Vario review - complete with sample images.

Machined aluminium

Leica X Vario

Leica has used the same process and materials for the X Vario as it did for the Leica M, and the top plate is machined from solid aluminium.

A ring on the X Vario lens enables you to switch between automatic and manual focus, while a second ring is provided for changing focal length. Dials on the top of the camera are provided for setting shutter speed and aperture.

On the back of the camera is a 3-inch 920,000-dot LCD screen, which is used for composing and reviewing images in the absence of the optional electronic viewfinder (EVF).

Included software

Leica X Vario

The Leica X Vario is supplied with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5, which is available for download once the camera has been registered.

Availability and price

The Leica X Vario is available in a black finish and goes on sale immediately. It costs £2,150 (around AU$3,540 / US$3,340).

A set that includes the Leica X Vario, a leather camera protector and a strap in tan leather retails for £2,250 (around AU$3,705 / US$3,490).

The EVF 2 Viso-Flex electronic viewfinder is priced at £380 (around AU$625/US$590), while the lens hood is £90 (around AU$148/US$140), the handgrip £100 (around AU$165 / US$155), the leather camera protector in black or tan is £90 and the leather ever-ready case in black or tan is £180 (around AU$295 / US$280).