Previous news story    Next news story

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
Photo Grapher
By Photo Grapher (May 11, 2012)

Good news

1 upvote
kwtse
By kwtse (Aug 19, 2011)

If Leica is later on this, where are Nikon and Canon?

0 upvotes
DJNATO10
By DJNATO10 (Aug 15, 2011)

If this thing is reasonably priced it might be worth checking out. So far I haven't been too impressed with many of the 4/3-mirrorless cameras. That's not to say they are bad cameras, just not something for me. The issue with Leica coming out with a camera in this area of competition is that little red dot you pay for. If this is priced $1500 USD or over I would much rather just get the fixed focal length on the x100 and just use that as my quick, semi-small camera. It's a huge bonus that the x100 is a rangefinder too, if this new Leica doesn't have a viewfinder built on to it and it's still priced over $1500 with an extra $200 for a hotshoe VF... NO THANKS. Leica makes great cameras but they are tough to sell to people that aren't just loaded with cash.

0 upvotes
Ernest M Aquilio
By Ernest M Aquilio (Jul 22, 2011)

Could we see a possible future in this for our beloved R lenses? Probably not...but its fun to specualte.

0 upvotes
RoccoGalatioto
By RoccoGalatioto (Jul 19, 2011)

It seems to me another example when Leica missed the boat and arrived late. It should have been Leica to be the first FF camera. Kodak had the sensor and instead of fooling around with Fiuji as it later did with Panasonic where identical product came out only branded Leica and with a higher price tag, Leica could have been there at the start. I realize the the company was on the ropes at that time but it was a moment lost forever. The M-8 was a failure nd the M-9 it too pricey and although a great camera it's outside the budgets of many. It is also in a precarious marketing place. It Voigtlander comes out with a true RF like it tried before under the Epson brand but with more up to date features and with FF, it could relegate Leica back to the "collector's" camera category where it was for many years. It's too bad.

0 upvotes
liin
By liin (Jul 21, 2011)

Contax took the dive, and it didn't work out for them, so it is hard to say. I would think that now is a perfect time. It would have been much more expensive to pull it off back then, and it would also need a bigger body to get full frame.

0 upvotes
Neloy Sinha
By Neloy Sinha (Jul 19, 2011)

Once upon a time there were no mirrors.People never complained about other than the pinch of price tag, because they had mirrors at home but not in their cameras. Leading brands are again thinking in the retro ways. Very soon (may be in another decade) the mirrors and the DSLRs will be the part of antique items.We will have cameras with silent movements.But do not put everything on tauch screen. Please keep spme knobs and buttons to fiddle with and a true voew finder a la Fujifilm FinePix X100. We want to see the real world not through the looking glass of Alice (LCD).

0 upvotes
Drew Conway
By Drew Conway (Jul 18, 2011)

Sweet... It'll only be the sold at the competitive price of $5000 or so...

1 upvote
jamesfrmphilly
By jamesfrmphilly (Jul 17, 2011)

put an EVF in the M9 (M10?). see through the lens.
add some zooms lens in M mount.

0 upvotes
Steven-T
By Steven-T (Jul 16, 2011)

APS-C sensor, with live view, built-in EVF, built-in flaSH, smaller "relatively" cheaper MX lenses, with M lens adapter, size as X1. This will compliment the M9 series greatly, particularly on macro and telephoto, for me.

-Steven.

1 upvote
JimW
By JimW (Jul 16, 2011)

What they now call "mirrorless" will be the wave the future... The "shutter flapping and mirror flapping" will go away, sooner or later, hopefully sooner. These electronic LCD viewfinders, EVF, have such high resolution... Like upwards of a million pixels in a 20mm mini LCD screen... The real advantage is in low light... Where traditional pent-prism viewfinders, you cannot really see well... But with a modern EVF the seen appears illuminated due to the camera's ability to auto-expose the proposed image... If anyone has seen SONY's EX-3 video camera... Albeit a video camera,,, the viewfinder is totally amazing... Hopefully the pro DSLR will adopt some of the features of today's digital video cameras... JimW.

1 upvote
liin
By liin (Jul 21, 2011)

I haven't seen one of those EVF. But our eye's iris opens up under low light, which would also auto expose the scene.

Our eyes can see perfectly to perform tasks under conditions where no images could be captured.

0 upvotes
ethz
By ethz (Jul 16, 2011)

It only make sense if it's a rangefinder camera with manual control lenses. Leica is not a world electronic leader such as Panasonic, Sony nor Samsung. So Leica could hardly compete with M43, Nex or Nx and their electronical performances and gimmicks. On the other hand, beetween the FF M9 and the rather awkward association of m43/Nex/Nx with manual control lenses (especially M mount), there is a plain market to satisfy _ the Fuji X100 proves it. With the choice of a smaller sensor (M8 was an APS-H), Leica protects its M serie from cannibalization and can make even smaller camera. The big drawback is the cost of production and hence how to sell a cheaper camera that will not impact too negatively the reputation of Leica. Nowadays, real Leica products are handcrafted. It's time to move to a more industrial and robotized process.

0 upvotes
RoccoGalatioto
By RoccoGalatioto (Jul 16, 2011)

I hope it has at least a good EVF otherwise it's useless for me.

0 upvotes
Dohmnuill
By Dohmnuill (Jul 16, 2011)

Agree with you, Rocco. I have not entered this market for that very reason. Holding a camera at arm's length in bright light is P&S territory.

0 upvotes
jpr2
By jpr2 (Jul 21, 2011)

X1 is crippled - and not as much by not being interchangeable lens body, but much more by the lack of OVF (and yes, EVF might be a kludge replacement to OVF, but it eats power and lags are a crippling factor too)

0 upvotes
franzel
By franzel (Jul 15, 2011)

Photokina is in September 2012, and that's not even the release date ...

0 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Jul 15, 2011)

i hope that people gonna sell their M8 and M8.2 because of that news, and prices drop to around 1k€

also i do hope that the x100 was just a test for leica and fuji to announce there partnership.

i am waiting for a ricoh 645d module for the gxr

and i hope there will be a weathersealed M10 this fall with lifeview and iso 12800 so that rich guys sell their M9 hehe

we reached the point where i will stop buying new cameras and only buy used, like in analog times

0 upvotes
tinpusher
By tinpusher (Jul 15, 2011)

I'd rather have a small zoom or duo lens X2

0 upvotes
Olli Pikkarainen
By Olli Pikkarainen (Jul 15, 2011)

Perhaps a rebranded Sony this time?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ollipikkarainen/5939200541/in/photostream

0 upvotes
liin
By liin (Jul 15, 2011)

I can't afford one. I mean, I have the money, but I can't justify the price tag because I'm not a pro photographer.

So, give me a full-frame X2, with 50 f/1.4, for $2k. Thank you.

3 upvotes
SamChua
By SamChua (Jul 29, 2011)

Even pro photographers don't use Leica anymore. Leica is becoming increasingly irrelevant in today's world.

0 upvotes
liin
By liin (Jul 31, 2011)

I agree Leica is in a very weird spot now.

Photojournalists used to prefer Leica because of its film load, that even if the camera was badly damaged, the shots in film would not be exposed. That advantage exists in all digital cameras. MP might still have a slight advantage in that it is less likely to fail than digital, if abused. But Pros always carry backups anyways.

Leica is now sort of desired for their attention to detail in addressing the need of photographers, in design and engineering. But, other manufacturers' method of pumping out newer versions often to let their so-so designs evolve, seems to work very well too.

So, Leica is now priced for pros ( meaning, people who are ok with those price points, due to revenue they can earn from using the tools ), but is more likely to end up being desired by consumers.

0 upvotes
liin
By liin (Jul 15, 2011)

I can't afford one. I mean, I have the money, but I can't justify the price tag because I'm not a pro photographer.

So, give me a full-frame X2, with 50 f/1.4, for $2k. Thank you.

0 upvotes
fhorn1
By fhorn1 (Jul 15, 2011)

I think there would be a big demand for a new M mount body from Leica with a sensor no smaller than APS-C. I wonder if Leica are seeing that there is demand for a new lower cost camera because of the Sony NEX and the upcoming Ricoh GXR modules. I can't imagine Leica would introduce a new lens mount for this camera. They did produce a second body in the form of the CL some years ago that was a great success and a nice camera (I still have one producing great photos). I would hope they will also continue with the rangefinder format. Surely this body is going to come in at something between US$2,500 - US$3,000.

0 upvotes
Wolfgang Fieger
By Wolfgang Fieger (Jul 15, 2011)

Obviously they forget on the M9 system ??

0 upvotes
Joel Stern
By Joel Stern (Jul 15, 2011)

And Ricoh, don't forget to mention that the GXR is also an APS-C mirrorless interchangeable lens camera.

0 upvotes
MPA1
By MPA1 (Jul 15, 2011)

1) Will I need a mortgage to buy it?

2) Isn't an M9 a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera already?

3 upvotes
Cyril Reif
By Cyril Reif (Jul 14, 2011)

Where is Nikon in this rush to tap a new marketplace??

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

That's my Q for Canon, but now they seem to join.
My guess is Nikon will join, hopefully sooner, rather than later.
Though it's hardly a rush. Olympus and Panasonic has been alone for a long time....

0 upvotes
SamChua
By SamChua (Jul 29, 2011)

making too much money selling their successful DSLR line

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

"..- the fastest growing camera segment in most countries."
sounds like the reason for both Leica and Canon to jump on the µFT band wagon.

No reason to stop now; go for full frame ;-)

0 upvotes
rallyfan
By rallyfan (Jul 14, 2011)

The question in my mind is pricing vs. features. If it has AF plus a large sensor, would it not have to be priced higher than the M series? In fact, even if it is MF but has a larger sensor, would it not have to be priced higher than the M series?

0 upvotes
slncezgsi
By slncezgsi (Jul 14, 2011)

Well, I would guess that body will cost at least as much as the X1 and than you add the lenses. Say $3000 - $4000 for body plus 35/2.0. Just a wild guess of mine of course.

I do not expect to see lenses faster than f/2.0 (not that I would need faster anyway) - the M9 will be left to keep the advantage in that regards I guess.

I am really curios to say at least.

0 upvotes
Salvatore Castrovinci
By Salvatore Castrovinci (Jul 14, 2011)

Hmmmm.... the price ?

0 upvotes
Maphou
By Maphou (Jul 14, 2011)

Wondering why Sigma is not mentioned as a maker of mirrorless cameras with large sensors ?
I am in if a viewfinder of some kind would be included.
Sorry if this is a repeat.

0 upvotes
Vadimka
By Vadimka (Jul 14, 2011)

Mirrorless is referred to a system camera, with interchangeable lenses.

Sigma is not a system, but rather closer to a digicam with large sensor. Technically all digicams like Casio and others can be called mirrorless according to your statement.

0 upvotes
Maphou
By Maphou (Jul 14, 2011)

I guess yes, however, not large-sensor-mirrorless.
Since the talk was about large- sensor- mirrorless. :-)
Well then Casio to my knowledge does not include in its line up large-sensor models, hence not included.
Was no mention of system mirrorless. :-)
Thanks for this in any case. Keep cool and kind regards.

0 upvotes
Maphou
By Maphou (Jul 14, 2011)

mirrorless interchangeable in the title
Hence my mistake, Sigma should not be there
You are right.
Kind regards

0 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Jul 14, 2011)

i would like a cambody that shifts the lensmount for autofocus. that could perfectly work with m-lenses, but i guess even the smallest lens is to heavy for that ..

0 upvotes
Ashley Pomeroy
By Ashley Pomeroy (Jul 15, 2011)

It would be a bit reminiscent of the Contax AX, a 35mm SLR from the mid-1990s that moved the film plane back and forth in order to autofocus the (generally superb) Contax / Zeiss manual focus range. That would be clever, especially if it could be combined with the sensor cleaning mechanism.

0 upvotes
Kiril Karaatanasov
By Kiril Karaatanasov (Jul 14, 2011)

I thought Leica is the leading brand for mirror less cameras in the last many many years including both film and digital. M-system AFAIK lack mirror.

0 upvotes
Vadimka
By Vadimka (Jul 14, 2011)

M is not mirrorless, its a rangefinder and rangefinder has mirrors.
The closest thing to Mirrorless camera would be a View Cameras from end of 19th century.

3 upvotes
Enginel
By Enginel (Jul 15, 2011)

Oh no, EVIL cameras have mirror too - it's under lamp which illuminates LCD screen...

0 upvotes
Vadimka
By Vadimka (Jul 15, 2011)

It might be true, but the camera systems get their names from how they focus, hence View, SLR, Rangefinder. Your example is just a component, just like all cameras have some sort of a metal in them, but we don't call them scrap metal (well maybe some we do)

2 upvotes
shaocaholica
By shaocaholica (Jul 14, 2011)

Err, doesn't Leica already have a "mirrorless interchangeable lens camera system" for the last 100 years?

1 upvote
Khun_K
By Khun_K (Jul 14, 2011)

would surely be nice and expensive, highly disirable by most and can't afford by most. I guessed it would be rather Leica.

0 upvotes
J. Qian
By J. Qian (Jul 14, 2011)

Me too product with an exorbitant price tag?

0 upvotes
digby dart
By digby dart (Jul 14, 2011)

Don’t be surprised to see Fuji associated with Leica system somewhere along the line, Fuji’s industrial might would be a fine association for camera sensor and lens manufacturing.

A format between aps-c and full frame makes a lot of sense especially with Fuji’s announced plans to take on Nikon for market share, something Leica would be keen to capitalize on.

Fuji has shown Leica what the x1 should have been by producing the x100, that would certainly not have gone unnoticed by Leica. Both parties would bring a lot to the market in a new venture. Time will tell.

1 upvote
Vadimka
By Vadimka (Jul 14, 2011)

I wouldn't be surprised, like I mentioned before. Especially that it won't be their first time making Digital Cameras together.

2 upvotes
digby dart
By digby dart (Jul 14, 2011)

Didn’t see your earlier post Vadimka, better thought through and articulated than mine – Leica and Fuji would be an exciting pairing, one that would see some real movement in the market with new and exciting quality products. :D

0 upvotes
Vadimka
By Vadimka (Jul 14, 2011)

Yes, it will be pretty exciting. Especially if they make some nice improvements to the EVF.

Some people mentioned NEX collaboration, but I don't see it happening. Sony E-mount was built with Pro Video in mind more that a photography. Thats why their NEX cameras look so awkward. You can slap a monster lens on a Cine camera and it will be fine, but its different in photography. I think Sony shot themself in a foot with such a small flange of only 18mm, which means they will have to make another system pretty soon to go FF with decent sized lenses.

2 upvotes
opticaloptimum
By opticaloptimum (Jul 14, 2011)

The appeal of Leica to me is the very high quality of their lenses. If the new lenses are not made by Leica and to the same quality as their M-series lenses then I see little point in buying the proposed new camera.

0 upvotes
Enginel
By Enginel (Jul 15, 2011)

What's wrong with having 18mm flange distance?
And E-mount can accomodate FF sensor and lenses.

0 upvotes
MarcMedios
By MarcMedios (Jul 14, 2011)

This was reported weeks ago by the British Journal of Photography. If it doesn't have a viewfinder it's a non-starter and, if it does, it will directly compete with their super expensive M Series. One way or another, Leica is going to misstep on this one

0 upvotes
AshLee52
By AshLee52 (Jul 14, 2011)

How about a body where the sensor moved to focus, leaving the lens in a fixed position? With various adapters you could use Leica R, Leica M, and other brand lenses. You would set the f-stop on the lens and focus in "stopped down" mode, but the image would be bright on a electronic viewfinder.

0 upvotes
Vadimka
By Vadimka (Jul 14, 2011)

I can see it working on Ultra Wide Angles lenses. But in order to work on telephotos your sensor will have to move a lot which will make the body way too big.

0 upvotes
Enginel
By Enginel (Jul 15, 2011)

for 50mm focal length, and that's moderate telephoto for NEX, you only need to move sensor by a few millimeters. That's not much.
And having movable sensor doesn't mean lens cannot have a focusing system (in that case, only telephoto lens would have it, and normal and wideangle wouldn't)

0 upvotes
Vadimka
By Vadimka (Jul 15, 2011)

Its not that easy. I hope you understand that not all elements inside the lens move all together equally. (there are floating elements ets) It might only work on telecentric lenses, but like I said the travel of a sensor will be too great.

0 upvotes
Enginel
By Enginel (Jul 16, 2011)

You don't know what you are talking about.
The amount of focusing movement, if done by moving sensor, is independent on a lens design and equals to square of focal distance divided by minimal focus distance.

0 upvotes
Vadimka
By Vadimka (Jul 17, 2011)

Here is what I'm talking about (from wiki camera lens):
"To improve performance, some lenses have a cam system that adjusts the distance between the groups as the lens is focused. Manufacturers call this different things. Nikon calls it CRC (close range correction), while Hasselblad and Mamiya call it FLE (floating lens element).[1]"

0 upvotes
glacierpete
By glacierpete (Jul 14, 2011)

I would be very surprized if it is a new lensline. I don't think they do have the capacity do produce a new lens line by Leica Germany. The introduction of the S2 line and lack of capacity for 3 lines (S2, M, R) was the reason for discontinuing the R Series. This was mentioned in one of the Leica product management interview movies on luminous landscapes.
Something outsourced to Panasonic like Zeiss does it with Cosina might be more likely. But than I would rather prefer a Sony NEX with an adapted original Leica M lens.

1 upvote
Meckio
By Meckio (Jul 15, 2011)

That's a good point. A new lens line means it takes a long time until the whole system of camera+lenses is ready for real use.

I expect them to be backwards compatible with M lenses by doing image plane focusing in camera (like the Contax AX). That way you can autofocus with M lenses!

From a systems perspective, they would also create lenses that only work on the new camera. These lenses will be cheaper, since image plane focusing means fewer moving parts in the lens.

IPF would also bring the total weight of the system down, compared with systems that have focusing motors in every lens.

Cheeper, lighter, and autofocus. What's not to like.

1 upvote
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 14, 2011)

Mirrorless is a good start. Now if they can also eliminate the heavy shutter with the 'thunk' that Panasonic uses, I'm interested.

1 upvote
mogando668
By mogando668 (Jul 14, 2011)

i hope Leica means *autofocus* mirrorless. arent the M8/M9 already manual-focus mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras ?

something along the lines of an AF version of M-mount, with backward compatibility with old M manual lenses.

the errors one gets from doing MF wrong is far worse than the gains using Leica glass.

1 upvote
patoth66
By patoth66 (Jul 14, 2011)

It depends on the lens in use! If you have a 15mm lens at f8 and the distance at 1.5m, you are in focus to infinity!! Im used to MF, and have no problem focusing fast!! You just plan ahead, pre focus!!

0 upvotes
patoth66
By patoth66 (Jul 14, 2011)

It will be tough for leica to compete with the upcoming Sony Nex-7 and Fuji! I personally think that Sony Nex-7 and Voigländer lens combo sounds nice! And Im looking forward to the upcoming Ricoh GXR M- module, for me that may be a superb street combo!!

0 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Jul 14, 2011)

i guess they will make an x2 with a new lensmount like microM together with a few AF lenses (like 20 35 50)  and the possibility to use an m-mount adapter together with a clip-on evf

and i REALLY hope it looks like an leica 1f

today i will start to make a fake 3d prototype of what i like to have, and then spread on the net hehe

1 upvote
Plastek
By Plastek (Jul 14, 2011)

Leica likely will enter m4/3 mount due to their ties with the system (Panasonic makes Leica-branded lenses for m4/3) - if not than perhaps they will try to use one of their already existing mounts. Otherwise there have been some rumors about Leica using Sony E mount but that's as much possible as creation of entirely new mount by them.

0 upvotes
Anadrol
By Anadrol (Jul 23, 2011)

Well Leica recently said that they will NOT enter m4/3, it will be either a APC-C or FF sensor.

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Jul 14, 2011)

@straylightrun

No - the GF3 is a m43. The guy from Leica says it is APS-C at least.

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Jul 14, 2011)

@John - the M cameras are range finders. And they actually have a mirror in the range finder mechanism.

What is called "mirror less" cameras are in reality EVF (electronic view finder) cameras, where you either use the big LCD on the backside or a dedicated electronic finder.

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

Oops! Make that the M8.2.

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

Someone in the PR dept at Leica must be new. They already have this camera in production. It's called the M9.

0 upvotes
straylightrun
By straylightrun (Jul 14, 2011)

So Leica plans to release a Panasonic GF3 with a red dot on it?

1 upvote
singveld
By singveld (Jul 14, 2011)

Next trade show? Leica already did, it is call M8/8.2, oh i am sorry, they are making a cheap camera system, expect people who buy it to buy a 9000 dollars M lens on it? I am afraid not.

0 upvotes
spiderhunter
By spiderhunter (Jul 14, 2011)

Ladies and gentlemen, we have two big contenders for the Mirrorless World Championship Title ... On the left hand corner you the age-old legend, Leica, and on the right hand corner, you have the new history-making star, Fuji!

0 upvotes
Paulo Ferreira
By Paulo Ferreira (Jul 14, 2011)

"... reported to have confirmed"??? Rumour of a rumour?

0 upvotes
snake_b
By snake_b (Jul 14, 2011)

Since when has DPR become "mirrorlessrumors"?

0 upvotes
Total comments: 152
12