Photokina 2012: Leica Stand Report

Leica used this year's Photokina to make some of its biggest announcements yet. Three years on from the launch of its first digital full-frame M-series camera, the M-9, Leica has announced its first CMOS-sensor rangefinder. It has also said that many of its future cameras will be known only by their series name. This is intended to stress the enduring nature of its products, but will make it a touch confusing next time it launches a Leica M.

The latest M also becomes the first to feature live view, offering a very different way of using the camera. As well as magnified live view and focus peaking, to allow more precise focusing than the rangefinder mechanism can achieve with the company's brightest lenses, the addition of live view also allows the use of an external, electronic viewfinder.

In addition to the M, Leica has also announced the M-E, a less expensive model that includes much of the M-9's technology. The S has also been updated, and the X2 receives a colourful special-edition, courtesy of British designer Paul Smith. Unsurpriyingly, despite the price, it's the M that's getting all the attention.

Leica has a huge gallery space attached to its stand And enormous letters, representing the major product lines, tell you where to go to learn about the new cameras. 
Underneath the giant 'M' we found the new Leica M, which features a 24MP full-frame CMOS sensor...  ...helping make it the first Leica rangefinder to offer live view (and video mode!)
Seen here with the additional electronic viewfinder...  ...it offers a whole new way of shooting with an M-series camera.
There's also an R-mount adapter, for using Leica DSLR lenses on the M And the port next to the hotshoe can accomodate a specially developed stero microphone (not shown)
 The X2 gets a makeover from British designer Paul Smith We're not wildly keen on it, but some people might enjoy the orange/green/yellow combination...
The M-E, in its understated anthracite finish, offers a lot of the M-9's features in a more basic model. And basically the same ergonomics, too. Including the underwhelming 460k-dot LCD screen. 
There's more to see than just cameras at the Leica stand... Maybe you'd like to browse through some sumptuous photo books?
Ladies love the orange X2, maybe we should pretend to like it.... A superb place for a paper aeroplane competition, but maybe that's a bit too silly for Leica.
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Comments

Total comments: 15
Rooru S
By Rooru S (Sep 19, 2012)

That's a big place! Kinda mysterious

0 upvotes
Pandaemas
By Pandaemas (Sep 19, 2012)

The M-E is not as exciting, it's basically just a rebranded M9/P for sale. And geez, they could've at least upgraded the LCD on it. I really wanna bop the head of leica production/designer for JUST that.

The new M however is a revelation, but honestly, I'd wait for the NEXT M after this one, I foresee several potential problems on it. Happy that Leica is actually embracing the new technologies though. WTG Leica!

2 upvotes
exifnotfound
By exifnotfound (Sep 19, 2012)

With the recent price drop of the M9 and M9-P I had a feeling there might be new M body soon. Turns out there are two.
I'd love to know what the pricing is on these new M bodies, or maybe I wouldn't...
Keen on giving the new M a go before buying a new DSLR that's for sure.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
km25
By km25 (Sep 19, 2012)

Well I stand corrected, I just saw a video of the new Leica, they call it the M. It has live view, with a 920k LCD. Looks like it works good and takes nice pics. The camera looks great. I will keep my M7 and my lens for now. Just to show you buying glass is the best investment. I still love my Fuji X-Pro 1. The new M will out shoot it, but not by much. I can care less about movies. They a just for fun in these kind of cameras. Looks like good work for Leica, but just too much money. The X-Pro 1 gives me more bang for the buck. I may look at M-E. But price???? It should be high.

0 upvotes
km25
By km25 (Sep 18, 2012)

Is the M10 and M-E true rangefinder cameras? Does M-E also a 24MP sensor? The LCD is still 460k, Leica it is so easy and cheap to change, why? The X-2 looks a bit loud. It is different. Where is the Monchrome?

Comment edited 40 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (Sep 18, 2012)

That X2 special edition looks like a parody of a 1962 Russian Army Kiev Leica knock off. Even those three pretty models look like they are wearing Russian army uniforms!

I think Leica is really pushing the envelope now. They have already proven that they can design very beautiful cameras and sell a ton of them. The challenge now is to design a very ugly one, and see if the suckers will still take the bait.

"Make it very expensive, and make it as ugly as possible. Let's see if the fools will line up for them!"

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
onlooker
By onlooker (Sep 18, 2012)

Why do companies pay money to designers to make their fine tools look like disposable cameras of yore? What's next, Leica M with a built-in hipstamatic?

1 upvote
citizenlouie
By citizenlouie (Sep 18, 2012)

Yes on the comment on M with viewfinder, but I bet some people who buys rangefinder style cameras don't get the idea of a rangefinder anyways, and that's actually a big share of the market.

Anyways, too many judgmental comments on the report. Not sure that's what a news report like this should be. I personally expect more from Paul Smith, but I wouldn't say that if I were just doing my job as a journalist, whose job is about integrity and objectivity.

They managed to put Andreas Gursky's work on display.... Wonder what type of photography they're promoting. Yes, conspicuous absence of S, which is a medium format camera, but Gursky might find that format too small.

0 upvotes
nathantw
By nathantw (Sep 18, 2012)

It's probably just me, but using the electronic viewfinder on the M makes me think that perhaps the person should have purchased a DSLR instead. The whole idea of a rangefinder was so you can have a rangefinder viewfinder. Just look at the picture of the person shooting with the electronic viewfinder. It looks like a DSLR.

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Sep 18, 2012)

It's just you.

Really. Leica made the PLOOT way back in 1935. That was their first SLR "add on" for the M, for macro and telephoto use. PLOOT became Visoflex, which went through five models over the next few decades, and still remains popular among M shooters, even digital M8 and M9. Read the Leica forums here: there are at least four Visoflex users who post frequently.

One little clip on EVF (which they called "Visoflex" because they rock) smaller than a lot of the auxiliary viewfinders Leica sells for use with wide angle and telephoto lenses, and you get it all: a viewfinder that works with any M lens, from 12mm to 135mm, any R lens, including macros, and how hard can an adapter be for other brands?

2 upvotes
JacquesBalthazar
By JacquesBalthazar (Sep 18, 2012)

I am probably the only one to really really like the Paul Smith X2. For the rest, the S is the most interesting part of Leica's 'kina show. Not in my budget, but probably the ultimate DSLR of the year, and next. The M is a disappointment for me in terms of design and features, but the price is less crazy than expected.

2 upvotes
NoTx
By NoTx (Sep 18, 2012)

Hey, does anyone know if the R-Adapter automates the aperture setting, or is it all stop down? Hoping it can make use of the lenses as they were designed.

0 upvotes
mcshan
By mcshan (Sep 18, 2012)

Sorry but the brightly colored X2 is embarrassing. It is the Leica version of a pink camera and a cheap way to get rid of X2 stock that isn't selling. I am normally a Leica defender but this is a joke.

4 upvotes
sadwitch
By sadwitch (Sep 18, 2012)

The quality of both the RX100 and E-PL5 is simply amazing.

0 upvotes
Antonio Rojilla
By Antonio Rojilla (Sep 18, 2012)

Two of the best Leicas ever.

2 upvotes
Total comments: 15