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.