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Leica reported to be planning mirrorless interchangeable lens camera

By dpreview staff on Jul 13, 2011 at 22:33 GMT

Leica's CEO is reported to have confirmed the company will introduce a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera system. The British Journal of Photography (BJP) quotes Alfred Schopf as saying: "It's more than an idea. You will see something at the next Photokina [trade show]." He also told them that it will use an: "APS-C sized sensor at least." The move would see the German company (which already makes the fixed-lens APS-C-sensor X1 model, pictured) join Panasonic, Olympus, Sony and Samsung in the large-sensor mirrorless market - the fastest growing camera segment in most countries. (From BJP)

Comments

Total comments: 152
12
John Cal
By John Cal (Jul 14, 2011)

Great for the Pentax Q it will look like a bargain mini Leica.

0 upvotes
SamChua
By SamChua (Oct 8, 2011)

or an overpriced point and shoot with detachable lenses

0 upvotes
John Cal
By John Cal (Jul 14, 2011)

Great for the Pentax Q it will look like a bargain mini Leica.

0 upvotes
Zvonimir Tosic
By Zvonimir Tosic (Jul 14, 2011)

Don't blame Leica on price — their business model is splendid. Long time ago people in western countries needed to work a month, or two to get a good camera with one lens. Sometimes more. Today's cameras are commodities.
That is also why many are always unhappy with digital photography, for we expect a next year's camera model to address all of our problems and inadequacies. We exhaust ourselves with expectations someone else needs to fulfill. With the median price so low, digital camera becomes a perfect excuse for our lack of commitment to learn more and try more with what we have.
If the X1 snapshot camera and M9-P rangefinder are any indicators, whatever comes from Leica, and calls itself a system camera, won't be cheaper than what the original RRP of the M8 was. And it better be.

5 upvotes
Roger Knight
By Roger Knight (Jul 14, 2011)

You are so right about the price model 'Z' . I am a kid of 63 years now but I remember saving all of my pocket money and birthday and christmas money for a whole year when I was a boy just to buy a Kodak Brownie. Leicas and in fact any other premium cameras are actually cheaper now than 20 years ago in terms of the amount of work/time required to own one. Add to that that they are so much better now in terms of quality and cost just a fraction of the cost in the case of digital cameras to print very nice photos and enlargements on very inexpensive printers. Even the printing of digital photos by commercial photo printers is very inexpensive comparitively.

1 upvote
SamChua
By SamChua (Jul 29, 2011)

What's the point of getting a Leica when you can get far better usability with say..a D3s or even a cheaper 5D Mk II.

Spending THAT Much on a Leica is just silly when you can get arguably better images with a much less expensive camera.

0 upvotes
cotabitiu
By cotabitiu (Jul 14, 2011)

hey all

can someone please tell me when is the next photokina?

thanks

0 upvotes
Vadimka
By Vadimka (Jul 14, 2011)

Aug or Sep 2012

0 upvotes
m-waters
By m-waters (Jul 14, 2011)

The most expensive part to produce of an M9 is the optical rangefinder. It would be great to see a new camera like the M9, preferrebly FF and M-mount, without the optical rangefinder, but with an electronic viewfinder. Ofcourse, the soul of an M camera is its rangefinder, but maybe Leica found a way to solve this. I guess, this kind of camera could be done for about $2000 - $3000.

1 upvote
pcheywood
By pcheywood (Jul 14, 2011)

More expensive bling, for the red dot fanatics !

3 upvotes
Vadimka
By Vadimka (Jul 14, 2011)

Well, lets just brainstorm here for a second and see what Leica could do:

1. Price - they have a $3-$6k window open in their lineup, but to make an impact with the new system they truly need to be at the lower end of this range.

2. System - it won't be µ4/3 because they mentioned APS-C sensor or larger. Maybe they will collaborate with Fuji, if so it won't the first time they've done that, plus Fuji also announced their involvement in new mirrorless development.

3. Sensor - so its between APS-C, APS-H or FF. I can't really guess which one they'll pick, but it won't be the M9's sensor with microlenses, because it will make the camera go over the $5k threshold.

4. Mount - I don't think Leica really needs to keep the M mount in the new mirrorless body. M-lenses are as manual as they can be, so any mechanical adapter will work just fine, so no reason to deliberately put constrains on themselves.

5. Viewfinder - must be EVF or hybrid and it must be excellent, ala Leica signature.

4 upvotes
Jon Stern
By Jon Stern (Jul 14, 2011)

Quote: "but it won't be the M9's sensor with microlenses, because it will make the camera go over the $5k threshold."

I think it's unlikely it'd be the M9's sensor, but not because that has microlenses. Nearly every sensor has microlenses and they are very inexpensive to make. Even small-format VGA sensors costing <<$1 have microlenses.

(Full disclosure message: I work for Aptina. A provider of CMOS image sensors)

2 upvotes
stopkidding
By stopkidding (Jul 14, 2011)

Thats ancient news. June 22, 2011? Slow news day at DPReview?

0 upvotes
Michael S.
By Michael S. (Jul 14, 2011)

The FIRST News has been a speculation on June 22nd - BUT Dr. Kaufmann from Leica said YES the rumor is correct just yesterday - so NOT old News - read carefully.

5 upvotes
leonard callow
By leonard callow (Jul 14, 2011)

actually - No.
this is exactly what was reported June 22nd.
dpr quotes one sentence of bjp news of june 22nd then links to that article of june 22nd.
nothing more and nothing new.

0 upvotes
patoth66
By patoth66 (Jul 14, 2011)

Old news yes! But Im still interested in what they have in mind! Expensive ohh yes! Nothing with leica is cheap! I cant justify the price of there gear, but the M9 and leica lenses are perfect for street shooting and landscape! I cant afford that price range! I hope they come to there senses, and drop the price on this new pice of gear, and compete with panasonic, sony and olympus in prices! But I think they plead to the worshipers more then photographers in general!

1 upvote
ivan364537
By ivan364537 (Jul 14, 2011)

The only nice thing about Leicas at this point is the absence of the aliasing filter. I was a huge fan of Leica and I used to own a large M6 system but since Photoshop and especially after the world went completely digital, the cameras matter much less than before. For my travels I'm getting a little Olympus E-P3 which will record beautiful images and if it gets stolen or damaged, I'll simply buy a new one.

0 upvotes
opticaloptimum
By opticaloptimum (Jul 15, 2011)

What about the wonderful lenses? Sharp corner to corner even wide open!

0 upvotes
leonard callow
By leonard callow (Jul 14, 2011)

hardly news - bjp reported this 3weeks ago.

0 upvotes
Geoff-san
By Geoff-san (Jul 14, 2011)

I don't really see the point. The M9 is not particularly large as it is and Leica has had a hand in m43 for some time. If they really want to jump into a smaller MILC system why not make a m43 body and more lenses? I guess I can answer my own question - who in m43 land would pay a massive premium for minimal body-based image improvement, just to have a red dot on it? Well probably a few people. A new system is not needed IMO though will probably appeal in small numbers to those after a prestige product.

0 upvotes
opticaloptimum
By opticaloptimum (Jul 15, 2011)

its not the red dot people are after! Its the wonderful lenses, sharp corner to corner even wide open.

0 upvotes
Sandyramirez
By Sandyramirez (Jul 14, 2011)

Most likely an APS-C version of the M with a rangefinder system seen recently on the M9 Titan. Possibly some plastics involved to make it more affordable, but I doubt it highly. Guessing it will come in at say 3000-4000 USD.

1 upvote
h00ligan
By h00ligan (Jul 14, 2011)

So ... M8 with live view.....

0 upvotes
Godfrey
By Godfrey (Jul 14, 2011)

Make it APS-C format or similar, give it a line of lenses without a servo motor between my fingers and the focusing helicoid, put a great viewfinder in it, and make it as responsive to the shutter as a Leica M. Don't burden it with idiot modes and unnecessary frippery.

In other words, make it a solid, high performance camera usable in a wide range of circumstances with Leica grade lenses and image quality. I'll buy it without question.

2 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (Jul 14, 2011)

Are you describing the M8 ?

0 upvotes
5inchfloppy
By 5inchfloppy (Jul 14, 2011)

Are you describing the M3?

0 upvotes
f_stops
By f_stops (Jul 14, 2011)

I'll take "What is an M9?" for 200, Alex . . . .

0 upvotes
technomad
By technomad (Jul 14, 2011)

Funnily enough, you've given a (shutter response & frippery modes aside) a pretty fair description of a NEX-5 with a Leica lens on it. Put a manual lens on this camera and it feels so good to use, it's getting more like the old days...

0 upvotes
Demmos
By Demmos (Jul 14, 2011)

Well I'll start saving for it now; oh how I fear the price of those lenses! If an Olympus 12mm f2 (24mm) lens costs $800, imagine how much the equivalent Leica version will cost!

Time to start shipping the manufacturing of specific product lines offshore Leica... to someone like a Cosina, Fuji, Panasonic, etc. They manage to make excellent product that is priced for the rest of us. Just don't re-badge a Panasonic product again please!!!

0 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (Jul 14, 2011)

lol, dpreview thinks Leica currently uses mirrors.

3 upvotes
Demmos
By Demmos (Jul 14, 2011)

Well they kind of do in the S2, and did in the R-system...

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jul 14, 2011)

Actually dpreview has used the name for Mirrorless cameras that the vote on the site overwhelmingly supported. The slight down-side being that it doesn't distinguish between these cameras and the rangefinder design.

Though if you're determined to be pedantic about it, despite probably knowing exactly what we meant, I might be tempted to point out that rangefinders do have mirrors in the viewfinder path - and wouldn't be rangefinders if they didn't.

4 upvotes
evshrug2
By evshrug2 (Jul 14, 2011)

OOOOOH THE BURN! Jesper thinks sticking his foot in his mouth makes him cool.

0 upvotes
Klarno
By Klarno (Jul 14, 2011)

The rangefinder mechanism is actually dependent on mirrors in order to show you two overlapping images. Rangefinders aren't truly mirrorless ;)

1 upvote
M Jesper
By M Jesper (Jul 14, 2011)

No burn evshrug, i was being pedantic and Butler knows it.

I guess the news should be that they're planning one without rangefinder, and probably viewfinder altogether. See X1. But i really hope they'll keep the M-mount, and i don't see why not, it's perfect as is. With good flange-back distance.

Another way to imagine it might be just a M camera without the top part. Kinda like a Voigtlander Bessa L or T, and a screen on the back. I'd buy that ! Actually it's about time they make one like that !

0 upvotes
alwye
By alwye (Jul 14, 2011)

Something tells me that you need to wait a while before you put down the deposit, because you might see a same type of camera but carries "Panasonic" brand, happened many times before, maybe the GF pro?

Ooooooo...

1 upvote
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Jul 14, 2011)

Hm..

Needs to be at least APS-H or FF. But kinda thinking that if they dont intend to make it cheaper (and widely sellable, unlike M9), they can just name it M10 and switch from hyperexpensive rangefinder system to cheaper EVF.

Though "cheap" Leica mirrorless FF with EVF would be really nice. Kinda doubt it will happen.

0 upvotes
roblarosa
By roblarosa (Jul 13, 2011)

I look forward to over paying for it.

4 upvotes
Zvonimir Tosic
By Zvonimir Tosic (Jul 13, 2011)

If they are smart, they'll at least try do better than Sony, Panasonic and Olympus: transform a current M rangefinder into something new using same form factor and same design. But with a new approach — replace current RF viewfinder with an extra EVF that reads data from the sensor.
The design of the M mount lenses as we know them already provide for a thinner camera. Thus is it quite possible they won't go for a totally new mount, but rather we'll see a true digital version of the M mount. Upgraded and ready for AF, extra EVF (where current viewfinder on an M9 is), and a few AF lenses as well. And it will be able to take all legacy M glass without an adapter.

2 upvotes
Zvonimir Tosic
By Zvonimir Tosic (Jul 14, 2011)

However, this is just a guess, of course. Let's see it next year ...

0 upvotes
zzd
By zzd (Jul 13, 2011)

Leica has had a "mirrorless interchangeable lens camera system" for decades.

2 upvotes
evshrug2
By evshrug2 (Jul 14, 2011)

Not sure what system you're talking about; if you're thinking rangefinders, well... they use mirrors. Otherwise they would be toy cameras with no focusing tool.

2 upvotes
Tom Caldwell
By Tom Caldwell (Jul 13, 2011)

Leica must have suddenly noticed the Ricoh M Mount module. Mmm dpreview - apparently not.

0 upvotes
R Ortiz
By R Ortiz (Jul 13, 2011)

Err... Most Leicas ARE mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras.

You probably mean "viewfinderless".

3 upvotes
jto555
By jto555 (Jul 14, 2011)

I hope not! The main reason for a viewfinderless camera is just to keep the cost down. For me it is a no-no.

0 upvotes
evshrug2
By evshrug2 (Jul 14, 2011)

Rangefinders use mirrors to do the whole rangefinder focusing thing, but I'm sure you knew that.

1 upvote
RoyGBiv
By RoyGBiv (Jul 14, 2011)

The rangefinder mirror is completely dissociated with the optical path coming through the lens. As far as the exposure system is concerned...there is no mirror in a rangefinder body.

0 upvotes
Jim Radcliffe
By Jim Radcliffe (Jul 13, 2011)

It would be nice to see Leica produce something not only affordable but actually good in concept and delivery. The X1 never did a thing for me due to the fixed focal length. I don't need a rangefinder system either.

The heart and soul of Leica has always been their glass... maybe they will finally deliver something truly up to date technically, versatile and affordable.

And please...don't make it a GF or GH / Panasonic re-badge.

PS: I am aware that the words Leica and affordable rarely are used together but one can always hope.

4 upvotes
spidermoon
By spidermoon (Jul 13, 2011)

O_O The M9 is already a mirroless system. So, what's make a mirrorless system for Leica CEO ? Probably a Sony NEX7 with a red point on it, a black and silver look and black lenses too ;)

0 upvotes
evshrug2
By evshrug2 (Jul 14, 2011)

How do you focus the M9? How does a rangefinder work, hmm?

1 upvote
Tormenborba
By Tormenborba (Jul 13, 2011)

WHAT??? they already joined 4/3 produced the Digilux 3 and now is a DEAD END!!!
the designer and engineer luckily didn't have to sweat a lot, was just a Panasonic rebranded...
now what, another mount???

2 upvotes
Chris Tofalos
By Chris Tofalos (Jul 13, 2011)

It might appear cynical but, IMHO, the only thing certain about a Leica mirrorless camera is its price will be at least 50% higher than the equivalent from other manufacturers!

0 upvotes
pjskeleton
By pjskeleton (Jul 13, 2011)

I hope they go the same route as Sony and create an amazing camera at an affordable price, then maybe we'll all have money left over to buy one Leica lens.

0 upvotes
allenrob108
By allenrob108 (Jul 13, 2011)

Just like a regular mirror less camera only with a red button on it and costing five to ten times as much. Ho hum.

2 upvotes
pjskeleton
By pjskeleton (Jul 13, 2011)

The Sony NEX platform is still and always will be the clear winner, at least until Canon joins the fray. If Canon makes a standard Canon mount MILC camera, I'll jump ship in a heartbeat, I've got this 500mm f/4 Canon I've been dying to use since I ditched my older 1D for the NEX-3.

1 upvote
Gethenderson
By Gethenderson (Jul 13, 2011)

Ridiculous NEX fanboy. NEX has a good sensor but no glass, even if you like legacy lenses it's still not ideal, give it a couple more years and I might agree with you. Hopefully, and I suspect, this new mirrorless system will be M mount, so that people buy into the lenses and then can upgrade to the full Leica M's... I'm thinking APS-C as well. If they produce this, in a good body with an EVF then I might ditch my m43 gear... might.

0 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Jul 14, 2011)

pjskeleton - you know that a Canon -> E-mount adapter exists already?

"NEX has a good sensor but no glass" - it has more glass than m4/3 - Actually: you can use every lens m4/3 can AND the m3/4 lenses themselves! What you want to tell is that NEX has no autofocusing glass - and that's true. But don't make yourself looking as a fanboy by telling things like that :)

0 upvotes
ecka84
By ecka84 (Jul 13, 2011)

I hope it is going to be FF, M mount compatible and cheaper than the M9. But, probably, it will be yet another Panasonic's rebranded camera (GF3?), just like D-LUX/V-LUX compacts.

0 upvotes
johnlovesmaine
By johnlovesmaine (Jul 13, 2011)

will leica join 4/3 group?

0 upvotes
Tormenborba
By Tormenborba (Jul 13, 2011)

WHAT??? they already joined 4/3 produced the Digilux 3 and now is a DEAD END!!!
the designer and engineer luckily didn't have to sweat a lot, was just a Panasonic rebranded...
now what, another mount???

1 upvote
hjr13
By hjr13 (Jul 13, 2011)

If they join 4/3 system it would have to be with another camera, since this one is going to be at least aps-c

0 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Jul 14, 2011)

weren't there m4/3 cameras using APS-C already?

0 upvotes
maitani wannabe
By maitani wannabe (Jul 13, 2011)

When did Leica start using mirrors in their interchangeable-lens digital cameras?

3 upvotes
Chris Tofalos
By Chris Tofalos (Jul 13, 2011)

They did have a digital module (back) for their R8 & R9 (mirrored) SLRs...

0 upvotes
jto555
By jto555 (Jul 14, 2011)

The Leica S2, in about 2009 and still in production. : )

0 upvotes
evshrug2
By evshrug2 (Jul 14, 2011)

How about in their rangefinders to enable focusing? No?

1 upvote
alwye
By alwye (Jul 13, 2011)

Watch out, X100! Here comes the real competitor!

1 upvote
jto555
By jto555 (Jul 14, 2011)

The X100 has a viewfinder!

1 upvote
misterpepper
By misterpepper (Jul 14, 2011)

Fuji has it's own mirrorless interchangeable lensfinder camera(s) rumored to come out soon.

1 upvote
mikiev
By mikiev (Jul 13, 2011)

So it would share mount with M8/M9 - but be "mirrorless" instead of a rangefinder?

Or would they develop yet another mount?

0 upvotes
jto555
By jto555 (Jul 14, 2011)

I would guess they would use a new mount, otherwise the new camera would eat into sales of the M9.

0 upvotes
5inchfloppy
By 5inchfloppy (Jul 14, 2011)

My guess is that it'll be using live view instead of a rangefinder mechanism.

0 upvotes
Austin101
By Austin101 (Jul 13, 2011)

AP reported this last week

0 upvotes
Total comments: 152
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