Leica Z2X – The Most Hated Leica?

Leica Z2X
         

So why do people seem to “hate” the Leica Z2X? Build quality probably exceeds, (or is at least equivalent), to the pricier Yashica T4‘s or Olympus MJU‘s. So, what’s the deal? Apparently, when you’re a ‘purist’, zoom lenses are a no-no. And how can such a “cheap” Leica have the gravitas of a Leica M3? Or even make it into the top 15? Well, it can’t. But if you’re going to compare it to it’s predecessor, the Leica Mini Zoom, which had the same lens, the Vario Elmar 35-70mm lens is quite good. In fact, excellent. I doubt you could tell the difference in an image taken with the Leica Minilux 40mm f/2.4 Summarit and this camera. But you do give up a lot of natural light ability. (f/4.0-7.6)

 

Leica Z2X

The Leica Z2X with Vario Elmar 35-70mm Zoom

 

Leica Z2X – Good Deal?

I am a little surprised at the nasty comments the Leica Z2X sometimes gets. This is a camera with a very sharp lens and pretty high contrast levels. Although the lens will flare if shot into a very bright light source. I usually use 400 ISO negative film. It seems this camera is most comfortable at that speed. (aperture and flash reach) They come in Champagne, Black,…and I’ve seen Blue. Shutter lag? Well, if you half depress the shutter to focus, then shoot, it’s pretty nil. But that procedure is applicable to most point and shoot cameras.

 

Leica Z2X

Leica Z2X Top Controls

 

While the camera’s built-in flash is no Nikon SB-910, the range is easily on par with a Yashica T4. I usually shoot with flash in a +2 mode. One, because I like the look, and two, because on negatives labs can usually correct for some over-exposure. Not so much under exposure. And the colors come out very saturated. I’ve read about, but have never experienced, the faulty film advance. I’m not saying people are lying. I’m just saying the internet is sometimes falsely anecdotal. I know this camera was actually produced in Japan, but I find it hard to believe that Leica would risk their stellar reputation on a contract house with poor “quality control”.

 

Leica Z2X

The “Jaguar” Model

 

Sharp and Solid

In the case of my Z2X, it has not developed any LCD bleed, had any film transport problems or had any focus issues in the 8 years I’ve owned it. The body seems well made, and the lens,…while not a $7000 Summilux,…is quite capable, and lives up to Leica’s high standards. In fact, the focus appears to hunt less than the previous Leica Mini Zoom model. It is easy to carry around in a “biggish” pocket. It’s about the size of the Olympus Stylus.

 

Leica Z2X

Leica Z2X and Tri-X 400 inside low lit room

 

Leica Z2X

The Vario Elmar with Onboard Flash (with a dark overhang)

 

Plus, I guess if you bought a Jaguar in the 90’s, they gave you a free “Jaguar” Z2X. A user manual from Butkus is linked below, and a short YouTube video review. A friend once said to me that I can count on this model self destructing years before his M6. Probably true. But since I could buy 50 and still be financially ahead, I’m not going to worry about it. 🙂

 

Specs:

  • Vario-Elmar 35-70mm zoom lens (f/4.0 to f/7.6)
  • Passive auto focus system with automatic flash (very accurate)
  • Automatic exposure with center-weighted metering plus manual shutter speeds of up to 99 seconds
  • A very bright real-image viewfinder allows for easy composition
  • Red Eye Reduction
  • Min Focus Distance 23.6 in (about normal for P&S)
  • LCD shows battery condition, exposure compensation, flash mode, frame counter, landscape mode, self-timer mode
  • Self-Timer Delay 10 sec
  • DX Film Speed Range ISO 50 – 3200
  • Does have infinity focus lock
  • Flash range is 2 ft – 16.7 ft @ ISO 100
  • Flash recycling slow. (5 sec)
  • Viewfinder will automatically adjust to focal length, plus has close up frame lines,… but only 83% coverage
  • Shutter Speed 1/4-1/300 sec
  • Battery CR123A Lithium
  • Tripod mount (1/4-20)

Conclusion

I like mine. It’s a sharp and an easy to use carry around. But if you’re into a lot a low light shooting WITHOUT flash, or just love bokeh, and it must be in every shot, this is not the camera for you. But probably all point and shoots are not for you. A point and shoot is very ‘style’ dependent, with minimal control. But for quick ‘party’ action and grab shots., ….you’ll be a stealthy king. (feature image at night, zoom at 35mm, 5-6ft distance)

 

User Manual

 

 

 

 

   
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