‘Mini M’ Now Official: Leica Finally Unveils the X Vario APS-C Compact Camera


After teasing a mysterious “Mini M” camera on its website since mid-May, Leica today finally announced the camera behind the codename. It’s the Leica X Vario, a large sensor compact camera that “contains the DNA of the Leica M” rangefinder.


First off, all the rumors and leaks were true. It’s a camera with a large sensor but slow lens. Leica says it’s the world’s first compact camera to pair an APS-C sensor with a zoom lens.

Inside the German-manufactured X Vario is a 16.5 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, the same sensor size that’s found inside the Leica X2 compact camera. Its maximum ISO is 12500.


On the front of the camera is a Leica Vario Elmar 18-46mm f/3.5-6.4 ASPH lens. This lens translates to a 35mm equivalent focal range of 28-70mm. The flexible range comes with a slight nuisance: the fixed lens protrudes from the camera quite a bit, and, just like with the Sony RX1, makes the camera less “compact” than other compact cameras.


As you can see, the flexible focal range also comes at a cost of speed. While other large sensor compact cameras aim for larger apertures, Leica was satisfied with a lens that opens to just f/3.5 on the wide end. Zoom all the way in, and you’ll be limited to f/6.4. This will undoubtedly be one of the biggest gripes photographers have with this camera.

On the back is a high-resolution 3-inch LCD screen. The camera is missing a built-in viewfinder, but you’ll be able to buy a viewfinder attachment that adds one to the top of the camera.


The X Vario can do serious video recording, offering 1080p Full HD recording at a frame rate of 30 full frames per second. There’s also a built-in wind-noise filter that helps kill background sounds.

The X Vario takes a page from the Leica M’s book in its build quality. The camera features a “robust metal constructions,” a solid aluminum top plate, and a leather grip. It’s “a classic Leica camera in terms of both look and feel,” Leica says.


Buy the X Vario, and you’ll receive a copy of Lightroom bundled with the camera. The camera is “available now” from various retailers, and can be preordered for a price of $2,850.

  • Horst Wrabetz

    this must be the worst piece of camera leica has ever released. what were they thinking? i mean … i just have no words.

  • Sporkguy


  • Adam Cross

    they were thinking of other ways to make money, and people will buy Leica products simply because it’s Leica and won’t necessarily be all that bothered about tech specs or even price

  • Tobias W.

    Sorry, the price for the worst piece of camera equipment ever released goes to Hasselblad for the abomination they call “Lunar”.

  • Tobias W.

    ‘It’s “a classic Leica camera in terms of both look and feel.”’

    The last time I checked my M3, a classic Leica camera offered a whole different look and feel…

    This thing will sell even worse than the X2.

  • Horst Wrabetz

    haven’t heard of it when i wrote that comment. you are right.

    good job hasselblad, it’s not easy to make a camera more stupid than this one. haha.

  • thebiblioholic

    Isn’t the Canon G1X also APS-C and zoom?

  • Nik.C

    What an utter disaster this will be! 3.5!! what were they thinking? this is like a kit lens, you can’t get rid of! but for $2,800, just think what you could buy with that!
    how stupid do Leica think people really are, the word will go round about this dogs dinner of a camera, and those in the market for something like this will go for a Fuji X series, either a X100s or the X-E1/X-pro, surely those who actually sell cameras aren’t going to put reputations on this and try to pursuade people to buy it are they?
    It’s just baffling, do Leica live in the real world? well, the real world is passing them by, and leaving them in their wake, what a joke

  • Duke Shin


    mfw most babby rabals can do better

  • Pat David

    Were they just shooting for the middle?

    If so, bravo! They hit it on the mark!

  • Jesse

    I’ll take one! For $199.00

  • DomD

    I’ll wait for Panasonic to release this same exact camera as a ZX25LX17 for $799 and still not buy it.

  • Horst Wrabetz

    well, to be fair, it’s worth at least $399.00

  • guest

    Yawn… a little part of me (the ever optimist) was hoping for a crop sensor m-mount at an ok-ish price. I knew it wouldn’t come.. and it would leave m-mount lenses at awkward focal lengths anyway.

  • selsk


  • E

    The G1X’s sensor is smaller than Canon’s ‘smaller than standard APS-C’-sensor. Close to micro fourthids.

  • Mike

    i can has viewfinder?

  • chubbs

    Cool, I’ll just sell my firstborn and pick one of them up…

  • MVVR

    How ironic that the project the photographer on the video was working on was on the concept of ¨photographic mistakes¨ and Leica offers to lend her this mistake of a camera. I wonder if previous Leica advocates would willingly accept demo units to test this camera out. If I were in their shoes I would be honest to Leica and tell them ¨I pass, give me a call when you get back to making real Leica’s¨

  • GM

    Disaster..WTF were they thinking with that lens

  • cy_leow

    $2,850 US for THAT? Get a life Leica! Duh!!

  • Rabi Abonour

    That lens just absolutely kills this camera. I can’t imagine anyone but the most fervent of Leica fanboys picking this up.

    Also, a minor gripe: 1080p30 isn’t “serious video recording;” it’s basically standard. Without manual controls, I wouldn’t consider it to be a serious video camera.

  • Dénis Wettmann

    This is just absurd, ridiculous & idiotic! An aperture ranging from f/3.5 to f/6.4… Who makes stupid decisions like that?

  • noisejammer

    Imagine that – Leica has finally made a product that the stores can keep in stock.

  • dannybuoy

    But. To be fair. The image quality does look great. That’s what matters at the end of the day huh

  • yepi

    i like Leica M240. its very nice.

  • Batz Maru

    $2850 for a rangefinder-style camera with no viewfinder and a slow zoom??? Incredulous. Leica needs to get their head out between their legs so they can see some daylight. No thanks, I have an X100T on order for less than half of the price of this garbage.

    I just can’t figure out why on earth Leica can’t or won’t come out with a slightly smaller M240 like body with a viewfinder and with a fixed 35mm Summicron and sell it for $5000. Still a lot of money, but at least that would be more interesting to those who can afford it, rather than rolling out garbage like this time and time again. I would also bet that, at $5000, it would have some semblance of sales for those who want to get a Leica as well as to Leica fanboys, but without having to sell a kidney to get a M240 and a prime lens separately.

    And the Leica M Edition 60 without a display but otherwise the same as a M240 for $19,500. Really???

    And just to show that I’m not anti-Leica and to their credit, Leica at least kept the price in check with the new film M-A at $4750.