Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Why I chose the Leica X2

After spending 15 minutes with the Leica X2, reading about it for hours and paying the cash for it; I wanted to lay out the reasons for the purchase. There was no desire to buy the Leica based on 'brand desire', but I think it was based on a number of very rational reasons, of which I would like to lay out. The primary reason was to look for an digital equivalent to the Contax T3 - my much loved compact film camera. Most of the following reasons outlined below will have references back to the T3.

1. Compact. The X2 is small, light and compact. Everything I look for in a camera. Although the lens barrel does provide a hump of sorts, it is reasonably minimal and not too offensive. It can still easily fit into a bag or a jacket pocket. It is definitely not as compact as the T3, which retracts into a package not much bigger than a deck of cards.

2. Simple. The X2 has simple and easy to use controls. I can see my aperture and shutter speed without have to turn anything on. I only wish that in the X3, Leica would also include an exposure compensation and ISO dial. That, would be the magical final addition for me. The button layout on the Leica is simple. As many people put it; I want to use a camera, not a laptop. As a photographer, I only need to set my camera up once (really) and then only need to change the exposure controls.

3. Optical quality. There was little doubt that the T3 had one of the best lenses in its category. It was a 35mm f/2.8 and suited my photography just fine. Even in the days of 400 ISO film was my standard, and 1600 ISO was pretty grainy already. The Leica's 24mm f/2.8 provides the same angle of view and same aperture, and it can go up to ISO 6400. I don't expect the lens to be a problem. Of course I would've loved a f/2.0 or faster lens. But that would've meant a heavier, bulkier and more expensive camera. I think they struck a good balance.

4. Tactility. The T3, with its fit and finish, was second to none. The Leica X2, feels good in the hand - but not quite at the quality of the T3, or the M's. But it feel solid and well built. The controls are in easy to access positions. I can change both aperture and shutter speed with one hand. If only I could can exposure compensation and ISO with one hand also - that'd be ideal.

So, not have the opportunity to open the X2 yet, I look forward to charging the battery and running through its paces in the coming weeks. Look forward to test pics and hopefully test pictures with the Olympus OM-D.

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