After an incredible day of announcements from Leica, there are a slew of new products in the Leica lineup. My thoughts on a few:
Leica M: The highly anticipated successor to the hugely popular Leica M9, this looks like a dream come true for me. As a frequent user of the M9, I can't say there are too many things I would improve upon, but as usual, Leica has exceeded my expectations. A few of the most exciting improvements:
- A new, 24 megapixel full frame CMOS sensor that promises to offer fantastic high ISO performance (ISO6400!).
- Live view with focus peaking for precise framing and focusing
- Optional electronic viewfinder
- To go along with live view, a new adapter that allows the use of Leica R lenses. Hello super telephoto and macro!
- High resolution, 3 inch, 920k dot LCD screen
- Improved battery life
- Multi-pattern and spot metering (the M9 had only center weighted metering available)
- Full HD video capture with an option stereo microphone attachment
- Weather-resistant body
- Maestro image processor – this is similar to what's found in the Leica S and S2
Basically, this is a laundry list of everything I would have wanted improved or added from the M9. Most excited of all is the ability to use live view for super-accurate focusing, along with the ability to use an entire lineup of new lenses. Previously the longest lens available for the M was 135mm. Now with the R system, you can use an 800mm lens on your digital M camera! I am confident this will be the best-selling Leica M camera of all time. It still looks and works like a classic M, with all of the modern features that make it versatile to a wide variety of users.
Along with the new M, a few new accessories have been released. The most interesting of the group is the new Leica M Multi-functional handgrip which has a few unique features. It will allow tethered shooting with the Leica M, GPS geotagging of images, the ability to use an AC adapter for unlimited shooting time, and the attachment of finger loops, first seen on the M9 Titan.
Leica M-E: This new offering combines the well-loved, 18 megapixel CCD of the M9 in a new and lovely anthracite grey body. Priced at $5,450 this is a great way to get into a digital, full frame Leica or for a second body. I think it is a very smart move from Leica to offer their customer base this new camera, a slight refresh of a timeless classic.
Overall, an extremely productive day for Leica and an exciting group of new products. Stay tuned for more!