Announcing new Leicas

Leica M

I guess it's no surprise that Leica (Germany) would hold it's big release party at Photokina (Germany).  There has been a ton of speculation about new cameras to be announced and Leica has not failed to deliver on the promise of announcements. The M

Most anticipated by the serious rangefinder crowd was the M10.  Which didn't appear.  Instead, Leica takes a page from Apple and has ceased numbering it's cameras so the camera we've been expecting as the M10 is just the M (Typ 240)

It is very much what has been rumoured.  About the same money as an M9 was before the discounting started about a month ago, with many of the expected changes being delivered.  I've posted links to the specs but here are the salient points.

  • 24MP CMOS sensor by CMOSIS of Belgium
  • 1/4000s - 60s plus Bulb
  • 3fps
  • SD card slot
  • ISO 200-6400 with one stop pull
  • 3" 920k dot LCD display covered in Corning Gorilla Glass
  • Spot or centre weighted metering
  • 1080p video at 25/24/30 fps

Going CMOS allows for Live View and video but means that the old style of no Anti-Aliasing filter is now gone.  Some Leica fans were near apoplectic to see this.  The higher ISO range is a nice change from the 2500 cap on the M9.  The new camera is made of magnesium with brass top and bottom plates and comes in black or chrome.

The M-E

If you've always wanted a Leica digital rangefinder but found the cost of entry a bit extreme, Leica has a new option for you called the M-E.

As best I can tell, it's a stripped (not by much) M9.  Specs are as follows

  • 18MP CCD without AA filter
  • ISO 160-2500 one stop pull
  • 1/4000s - 240s plus bulb
  • SD card slot
  • Centre weighted metering
  • 2.5" 230K TFT display

So with the exception of the USB port, for all intents and purposes it's an M9, only in anthracite grey with the same Kodak sensor.  It will take all accessories offered on the M9 and M9-P.  Price looks to be about $1000 below the pre-discount price of the M9.

The S

Leica is less known for their medium format camera the S2.  The new camera, called the S, is the latest iteration in the S System.

Medium format cameras tend to be heavy and bulky and look boxy.  The S looks like a DSLR that is a bit overgrown.  Control layout is simple and easy to use and the glass is amazing.  About $20k for a body only so not for those of us of average incomes.  This is a very targeted buyer.

  • Weighs 1.2 kg
  • ISO 100-1600
  • 1/4000s - 4s plus bulb
  • No spec on the sensor although the S2 sensor was a 37.5MP CCD
  • 1.5fps

Nothing light or trivial here.  Leica reminds me of Rolls Royce when it comes to specs.  I remember that when Rolls used to be queried on the horsepower of their cars, their answer was "enough".  Leica is sort of that way with the S.  I don't see a lot of pros using Leica S family products, there is a lot more Hasselblad, Mamiya, Phase One and even Pentax out there in pro-land, but if money was no object this would be cool.

Leica also announced two new point and shoot style cameras, the D-Lux 6 and V-Lux 4 super zoom.  They are both very pricey models with features comparable (sometimes identical - wink) to existing point and shoot cameras from folks such as Lumix.  I don't really cover point and shoots on this site, so I will leave them to others to cover.