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Leica announces the M-E, a stripped-down 18MP full-frame rangefinder

By dpreview staff on Sep 17, 2012 at 19:00 GMT
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Photokina 2012: Leica has announced a more affordable rangefinder: the Leica M-E. Built around the familiar full-frame 18MP CCD, the company describes the M-E as being a stripped-back camera, offering just the basics required for photography. Its core specifications are essentially the same as the M9's, including an ISO range of 160-2500, 0.68x magnification viewfinder, and the same 230k dot 2.5" screen. It'll be available from Leica dealers later this month with a retail price of $5,450 in the US and £3900 in the UK.

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Press Release:

NEW: THE LEICA M-E

Solms, Germany (September 17, 2012) - Leica Camera presents a new model in the Leica rangefinder system, the Leica M-E.  Possessing the high level of technology perfected in the nearly six decades since the M-System’s introduction, the Leica M-E represents the essence of rangefinder photography.  Rather than offering all that is technically possible, it is limited to only those functions that create a better image. These essentials include the M-System’s typical rapid manual focusing with the viewfinder/rangefinder and the focusing ring of the lens, as well as the option of selecting automatically determined or manually set shutter speeds. It is the ideal entry-level model for photographers wishing to experience the fascination of M-Photography or require a secondary camera that performs at an optimum level without fail.

Advantages of rangefinder photography include the ability for photographers to become a part of the action and frame whatever they wish to capture in the viewfinder, while still perceiving what is going on outside the viewfinder frame. The crucial moment becomes predictable, and can thus be captured at precisely the right instant. Featuring the proven, high-resolution, 18 MP CCD sensor in full 35 mm format, the Leica M-E offers maximum imaging quality. Perfectly attuned to its role in the extremely compact M-System and the superior performance of M-Lenses, this particular sensor type possesses a high sensitivity to light. These characteristics lead to an unmistakably individual kind of photography.

The Leica M-E’s most distinctive feature is a minimalistic, purist, design statement. The top deck and base plate are discreetly finished in unobtrusive anthracite grey. The application of a new leather trim with enhanced grip characteristics ideally complements the camera’s timeless design.

The Leica M-System portfolio provides perfect tools for capturing a moment discretely, silently and without hesitation, allowing photographers to become a part of the scene. Together with the new Leica M and the Leica M Monochrom, the world’s first digital black and white camera in 35 mm format, the latest digital generation of the Leica M now offers three rangefinder cameras.

Additionally, the Leica M-E package includes the latest version of Leica Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to assist photographers with viewing, editing and managing digital images. The Leica M-E is available now from Leica dealers, including the Leica Store Washington DC.

About the Leica M-System
Since 1954, the Leica M system has stood for an unmistakable, individual kind of photography and a very conscious photographic style. Because, with a Leica M, the photographer becomes a part of the action in the process of capturing challenging and creative images. The rangefinder frames precisely the shot the photographer envisages while allowing a clear view of what is going on outside the viewfinder frame. This allows the photographer to predict the decisive moment and capture it discreetly and reliably at the right moment – in all fields, from photojournalism and ‘available light’ exposures to discreet and aesthetic fine-art images. The functions of the Leica M rangefinder camera are consistently constructed for extreme robustness and a long working life. Highest quality materials, elaborate manufacturing processes and painstaking manual assembly guarantee functional reliability for decades to come. Full backward system compatibility – almost all lenses of the Leica M range built since 1954 can still be used on the latest M camera models – is an important factor in the enduring value of the M series.

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Comments

Total comments: 231
123
RobertoWatsonGarcia
By RobertoWatsonGarcia (Dec 15, 2012)

It`s been a couple of weeks since I recived my brand new Leica M-E. Instantly I got back to a kind of camera I feel in charge, back to my old lenses, framing, every thing is there, thank you Leica. I love it. Now I need a second body.

0 upvotes
RobertoWatsonGarcia
By RobertoWatsonGarcia (Nov 24, 2012)

Leica M´s are not for any kind of photographer, I have use them all, SLR´s, TLR, point and shot, digital of all kinds, none lets you as a photographer capture an instant as a Leica M does. None. This of course in the case you are aware of what kind of images are you looking for.
Leicas M are NOT suited for long lens, macro or any kind of camera self solve photography.
If you are not aware of the importance of focus, timing and framing, don´t buy a M, it´s not for you.

0 upvotes
mjp photog
By mjp photog (Nov 5, 2012)

Smart move by Leica. This is exactly what the company needed to do. I look at this as an update to the M8 - they could have gotten away with calling it the M8.3. Honestly this is what that camera should have been. I'm definitely on board with the M-E.

0 upvotes
khongja
By khongja (Sep 25, 2012)

Leica cameras is really a Snob thing with most photographers! Some just want to own this cameras just to hear the shutter sound but hopeless photographers!
OhYes! everbody have differing taste on its rangefinder system....
Todays context for most professional is that its not a bread and butter tool .Serious !
Leica is overhyped thats all ! It 's like the old Hasselbald where most racers hogged it around the tuff club.Something like Berkins handbags. Its like owning a Vacheron Constatine with tourbillion mechanism.....with the oohhs and the aaarhs!!!!Do you really think those photos by Leica are that worthy ? Which standards is it measured?

2 upvotes
Blubber J
By Blubber J (Sep 27, 2012)

Perhaps you should not buy one then,...

4 upvotes
Opinionator
By Opinionator (Jan 22, 2013)

Some prefer the effort made to accomplish less with more. I have yet to hear a word from the manufacturers of heat seeking missiles and drones who claim a RF is far superior to computers. But I understand the idea advocates express. But is it really a thrill or a convenience to "focus" with an overlapping image? Mechanical contrivance versus electronic functions. I suppose some still prefer the Bell System phones to a cellphone.

0 upvotes
Csaba Farkas
By Csaba Farkas (Sep 23, 2012)

At last! If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Well done, Leica.
I kind of like it, wish my M9 were that discreet. I'd swap the red dot for a black one, that's all. The 'panda' looks don't appeal to me, a blackish body calls for black dial and shutter rim.
Only thing seriously missing is the bright-line preselector lever. Yeah, maybe that's the thousand-dollar cost cutting.
Anyway, if any of you decide to buy this baby (don't think twice if you can finance it, it's a steal, compared to what the M9 had cost), make sure you get a Giottos Schott glass LCD protector and a Thumbs UP thingy that slides into the hot shoe. And then you deserve an Artisan and Artist black strap :-) It is a joy to shoot. If you have money for one lens only, get a used 35 summicron. Then a 50 'cron. Then a 28 or 90 Elmarit, and you are done for life. Leica, keep rocking!

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
Macro99
By Macro99 (Sep 21, 2012)

It doesn't matter how much time passes - that Leica body exudes sexy.

1 upvote
fortwodriver
By fortwodriver (Sep 21, 2012)

I've used a Leica M7 a few times. I really liked it but I can't afford my own digital Leica at this time. For now, it's best to rent or borrow...

I must say, though, the finish on the M-E, that kind-of blue-grey anthracite is really lovely! If the photos on their website and here are accurate then that colour really strikes me!

I hope they keep this finish available for future models and don't keep it as a "prestige" or "limited" colour.

0 upvotes
Banhmi
By Banhmi (Sep 20, 2012)

To those interested in a lower cost Leica, Leica makes $ MILLIONS off cheaper compact cameras every year -- jointly-producing the lenses of its #1 customer, Panasonic. This is why you'll probably never see a "reasonable cost" Leica -- if Leica scaled up its production capacity to produce a lower cost, mass market camera, Panasonic would consider them a competitive threat and no longer collaborate with Leica. Leica does not want to jeopardize the relationship with its #1 customer to make a risky bet on competing directly with the big boys.

2 upvotes
Phileas Fogg
By Phileas Fogg (Sep 19, 2012)

If you DON'T LIKE Leica's then understand nobody is forcing you to buy one.

Sheesh this incessant bellyaching about what Leica does and how much their cameras cost is pathetic.

Most whiners here have never shot a Leica in their whiny little lives!

10 upvotes
Hugo808
By Hugo808 (Sep 19, 2012)

Well said. Leica's are a first class tool that produce fabulous results, in the right hands.

The best thing about them IMHO is what they leave out - autofocus, multipattern metering that no-one trusts (or they wouldn't have to check the screen after every shot) endless stupid menu options. My Nikons make it so hard to shoot the way I like with all their stupid buttons. Wish I'd never sold my Contax. I'm saving up for an M-E and will leave the plastic gadget cameras to the whiners to upgrade every five minutes.

4 upvotes
GarageBoy
By GarageBoy (Sep 19, 2012)

No one is arguing that concept isn't a good one. Plenty of rangefinder lovers out there.

One does expect that a camera released in 2012 has a someone modern sensor. (Yes, don't fix what isn't broke, but when cameras that cost 1/5 the price have more advanced sensors, it leaves buyers feeling like theyre on the short end of the stick)

Also, why do the buttons make it hard for you to shoot the way you like?

1 upvote
brujo74
By brujo74 (Sep 20, 2012)

@PF : I only agree Leica is great on film cameras. But the digital Leica is so outdated (even from the time of their announcement) i wouldn't buy it for half the price. Again, I'm ok with the film Leica, they never get old
@Hugo808 : "in the right hands"!? I only got one right hand :( Then again, if you want to shoot old school you can use pretty much any modern DSLR: buy a split-screen focus replacement, switch to manual focus, shoot B/W, set the metering to "spot", select manual exposure, whatever else you want to make your life more painful. For the price of this particular Leica you can get a good FX DSLR and a decent lens. Bottom end, the only real advantage in buying Leica is it's diminutive size. And the red dot.

0 upvotes
cjhwang
By cjhwang (Sep 20, 2012)

it's not about shooting "old school" it's just a thing about rangefinders. I'm not talking about rangefinder-like, rangefinder-style.

the dynamic that you have with a rangefinder is all about the immersion with the environment and you just enjoy shooting, it doesn't really have to have the best of sensors. The 6MP Epson RD1 (which I had for 1 year) was the best fun I had, and I actually shot with it whenever I was out and about. I know that NO OTHER camera currently (non-rangefinder) gives me the same "feel" for shooting. So yeah, I'm sold, I'm willing to save up money to buy an M. (I bought and sold GF1, GH3, EX100, S95, G10, 5D, 1D, XTi, so might as well just buy what I know I like and stop the buying/selling madness)

It will not replace 5Ds or 1Ds because they are different monsters. For street/candid photography, you can't replace a rangefinder (sadly, only LEICA makes them) if that's not your shooting style, then a rangefinder is not for you.

3 upvotes
johnmcpherson
By johnmcpherson (Sep 18, 2012)

Rangefinder cameras are best for low light photography. Period.

Those of you who are critical of this camera; you need to use it by candle light or, in a dimly lit room; then you will see the advantage.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
tony field
By tony field (Sep 19, 2012)

The modern DSLR cameras will generally beat the human eye ability to focus when you get into the range of 4EV to 0EV. The rangefinder is good - but not that good. The co-incidence rangefinder of the Leica does not perform very well at low EV with lower contrast or certain fine patterns that are no problem with a modern DSLR.

On the other hand, if you do have superb eyesight (and I do mean superb), the rangefinder Leica will work well in low light.

1 upvote
johnmcpherson
By johnmcpherson (Sep 19, 2012)

They don't beat it when you are looking through the viewfinder.
Call me old fashioned but I find looking a the flat panel on the back of camera akin to backing up a car using the rear view camera. Yeah, you usually can see lower than the window but, try it sometime. It's un-nerving.

1 upvote
jkdimagery
By jkdimagery (Sep 18, 2012)

As a user of the old M6, am loving the philosophy of stripped down simplicity behind this and hope it starts a trend to simpler cameras.

3 upvotes
harold1968
By harold1968 (Sep 18, 2012)

its amazing how many posts here totally miss the point of Leica M.
you can tell this when comparisons are made to Japanese consumer electronics.
the rangefinder is a unique and pleasurable method of photography.
this is a hand made camera which takes some of the best pictures on the planet in the smallest possible package for FF.
lets see how it sells
don't like it don't buy it

4 upvotes
Nublover
By Nublover (Sep 18, 2012)

Leica is not good at digital (same as Germany cars). A Sony FF Nex plus Leica lenses will be my dream. Cheers! Anyone agree with this pls reply. Thx.

0 upvotes
harold1968
By harold1968 (Sep 18, 2012)

Leica's digital cameras are amongst the best picture takers around
as for German cars, you have sunk your own boat now!

6 upvotes
Henning W
By Henning W (Sep 18, 2012)

Leica is not better (or worse) than any other quite small company with respect to digital. They have to buy the components or make alliances. Remember, they are a tiny percentage the size of Canon or even Nikon.

German cars, as Japanese cars, have had some issues with electronics and especially UI's. On the other hand, the BMW S1000RR has electronics (that work very well, thank you) that has left the Japanese bikes manufacturers scrambling.

NEX cameras have many good points, but ergonomics are questionable. Let's see if Sony can stick with something long enough, and listen to users well enough to develop something that really doesn't get in the way of photography.

1 upvote
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Sep 18, 2012)

Yes, digital cars really blow.

0 upvotes
lokthefish
By lokthefish (Sep 19, 2012)

yes, all those shoddy BMW's, Mercedes, Audis, Porches, VW's etc...German Junk! :)

2 upvotes
MarkInSF
By MarkInSF (Sep 20, 2012)

Shoddy is exactly the right word. German cars are great when new, but have appalling reliability. The Leica owners I know love their cameras, but they do seem fussy. Often in the shop for some obscure repair, not to mention calibration.

0 upvotes
fortwodriver
By fortwodriver (Sep 21, 2012)

Geez, I drive a diesel smart for two, and I've now had it for 6 years and have had no problems with it at all. The engine is Mercedes/Bosch and it still drives like the day I brought it home.

Now that aside, I bought a dealer-demo and that shaved a few thousand off the price. I also bought it the year they brought in the gas version, so nobody wanted the diesel anymore... which shaved more dollars off the cost. I got a bargain!

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
nathanleebush
By nathanleebush (Sep 18, 2012)

This company sure has chutzpah. Repackaging an ancient camera (replete with 230k screen) as a new one with a premium price while keeping a straight face takes some balls.

5 upvotes
Henning W
By Henning W (Sep 18, 2012)

Cheaper price. Seems reasonable, although I don't know why the M9 isn't just kept in the program at the new price. A new exterior is hardly needed to let everyone know you didn't and don't want to spring for the premium model.

1 upvote
brujo74
By brujo74 (Sep 20, 2012)

...and they're doing it like a favour to the photo community... Thanks a lot, Leica, we're in your debt!

0 upvotes
cjhwang
By cjhwang (Sep 18, 2012)

Just make sure you take some photography classes with this camera
Don't don't end up like a fool (watch below)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5IYahsPK2k

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
1 upvote
tmy
By tmy (Sep 20, 2012)

that is a pretty funny video! thanks for the link...

0 upvotes
brujo74
By brujo74 (Sep 20, 2012)

That's the spirit! That's a Leica man! cjhwang, you've made my day, thanks m8! This video reminds me of the strong selling points of using a Leica: "...getting deeply involved in the process of photography..." God, that guy was sooo deeply involved, he was even focusing there!

0 upvotes
cjhwang
By cjhwang (Sep 20, 2012)

PS: I'm all forRANGEFINDERS but this is just too sad =)
now, only if some other company would release a digital rangefinder other than LEICA and EPSON...

0 upvotes
topstuff
By topstuff (Sep 18, 2012)

The amount of hate here is really bizarre. It reflects more on the people with such feelings of hate than it reflects on Leica.

Leica lenses are terrific. And I like the small form factor.

And I like the look of the pictures from a CCD sensor.

If Leica want to charge what they do, let them. You don't have to buy one.

By the same token, why buy an Audi when you can buy a VW? A small Golf and an Audi A3 , A4 have the same mechanicals. Why buy a nice watch? A Casio will do.

2 upvotes
oselimg
By oselimg (Sep 18, 2012)

I don't think it's hate. I accept Leica lenses are good but there are almost as good lenses by other manufacturers for lower prices. It's just that the camera is so undeniably low spec and as often mentioned a simple construction people naturally struggle to see the reason for such high asking prices. It looks like a bad joke

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
brujo74
By brujo74 (Oct 14, 2012)

I don't hate Leica, i just hate their prices! I can understand paying a premium for their excellent glass, but not for their obsolete cameras. I fully agree with you on CCD sensors, the pictures look better.

0 upvotes
Ernest M Aquilio
By Ernest M Aquilio (Sep 18, 2012)

This is close to what I have been waiting from Leica, but the price is still a bit on the "I can't justify it" side. Maybe in a few years when they come down. Its good to see that Leica is trying to fit into more markets, albeit not by leaps and bounds.

0 upvotes
tony field
By tony field (Sep 18, 2012)

I really appreciate the Leica concept - I have 4 M film bodies and 9 lenses. The M2/3/4/5 were the best low light cameras available in the 1960-1980 time period simply because of the rangefinder focus system. Of course, it was also the best camera for the reportage/H.C.Bresson style of work.

The new digital M cameras are so lack-luster in low light sensor performance that I have avoided purchasing a digital M. The new Leica M-E (and probably the M) in no way encourage me to purchase one of these supposedly high end cameras. I was hoping the current new series would have offered a sensor that would be in keeping with the Leica craftsmanship of the body and lenses - IMHO, they certainly have not done that.

Seems to me that my only practical option is to try to find a second-hand M9 at some "reasonable" price - simply so I can get some use of my many excellent Leica lenses. The M-E and M simply are out of bounds for what I would term "marginally realistic price/performance".

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
Tom_A
By Tom_A (Sep 19, 2012)

But how can you say that the new M sensor is not up to your expectations when if I am correct there are no test results yet?
Edit: if you reer to the M9 sensor then I partially agree, but it sure delivers nice pictures.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
DeMaatin
By DeMaatin (Sep 18, 2012)

on second thoughts, this is propably a clever marketing step by leica. there was people all over the world mentioning that if leica would sell their collector's items without internals, they could make even more profit out of it. since these collector's items hardly ever see any use, nobody would notice. simply put some lead weight inside and you're done.

now, with every bleedin' serious collector must have such a Meeh camera to complete his collection, this one is as clever as the M1-MD-line.

think of it.

0 upvotes
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (Sep 18, 2012)

Right. This is basically an M9 with just external changes.

1 upvote
DeMaatin
By DeMaatin (Sep 18, 2012)

no frame lever ? that's great, thank you, leica !

seems they're severely overstocked with old rubbish like 2.5" low-res displays.

any cellphone can do better.

oh well. enough praised.

0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Sep 18, 2012)

Yes they took away everything that was remotely good and still want over $5000 for it. Why don't they just ask for donations and quit trying to act like they make a great product?

1 upvote
buda1065
By buda1065 (Sep 18, 2012)

I would rather see Cosina-Voigtlander make a similar FF digital camera with a true budget price under $2000, M-mount, of course. A Foveon sensor would be nice, or a Sony 24mp.

1 upvote
Superka
By Superka (Sep 18, 2012)

I love this colors!!!!!! looks like my perfect Holga!!!!

0 upvotes
lokthefish
By lokthefish (Sep 18, 2012)

hey, I know it's overpriced, but just stop for a minute all you "photographers" hurling negative comments at Leica. Leica, overpriced as it may be, is making real cameras of the highest quality and if you've ever picked one up and used it, you might change your tune. it may seem such a basic design and some people who want lots of features for their money won't see the value. but good design is timeless, and what features do you really need except great lenses, great viewfinder, shutter speed, aperture, iso and manual focusing? get out there and shoot people, don't rip a camera apart because you don't understand or lack the expertise to use a real camera. and by the way, how much are the top pro models from Nikon or Canon? about the same price, if not more! I wonder whose design will stand the test of time?

1 upvote
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Sep 18, 2012)

If the camera doesn't fall apart in my hands I couldn't care less how well it is put together. The bottom line is what does it do to make the pictures and video better. In their case nothing.

3 upvotes
oselimg
By oselimg (Sep 18, 2012)

By the same token do you have evidence that Canon, Nikon, Pentax are less reliable or durable?

0 upvotes
lokthefish
By lokthefish (Sep 19, 2012)

um, i think you've missed the point @mpgxsvcd, the camera does not make the picture better, it's the PHOTOGRAPHER. Do you think we're taking more creative photos than 40 years ago, when cameras were very simple? a great camera design is simple and doesn't get in the way with millions of buttons and menus. and I'm not saying that the other camera brands aren't durable, I'm talking about design, as in how well it works in your hands. Leica has been using the same design for years...because it works! pick one up and see for yourself! and for all the people whinging about the comparatively lower resolution screen, who cares when you have a viewfinder this good? i only use my screen to check exposure and access menus.

1 upvote
johnmcpherson
By johnmcpherson (Sep 19, 2012)

You hit the nail right on the head!
It's not about the camera. It's about the photograph.
I am so sick and tired of all these people arguing about the fact that it lacks this or has that. How many times have you shot pictures at ISO 125,000 or needed a 1/8000 of a second shutter speed? How many? Once, twice, never?
Some of these new cameras have so many features it's hard to make a decision as to which one to use when. And by then, the moment is gone.
And most photography is all about the moment. Especially real life stuff like candid, news, sports, etc. photos.
I'll give you an example, I HATE some digital cameras because of shutter lag. Especially the earlier or cheaper ones. By the time the @&%$ thing has finished focusing and getting the sensor ready the moment is gone. Not like my old Minolta SRT or Pentax or Rolliflex or Speed Graphic or one of serveral rangefinders. Hit that shutter and bam! Done.

2 upvotes
Peter CS
By Peter CS (Sep 18, 2012)

Should be at least 1/3 cheaper than the M, see Canon 6D and Nikon D600, etc. - $5500 ain't no small potatoes! My M lenses will still have to wait to find a digital home...

0 upvotes
calmwaters
By calmwaters (Sep 18, 2012)

Other than a new sensor is there anything new or groundbreaking with this camera to justify the cost? I don't have a problem with expensive toys if they are at the top of their game. What are the qualities of this camera that make it unique and above all the much lower priced varieties out there? I like the look of the camera and it does have nice features but I don't see the value.

0 upvotes
ryansholl
By ryansholl (Sep 18, 2012)

LOL @ "more affordable"

"I can't afford a Bugatti Veyron, so I chose the 'more affordable' Maserati instead."

1 upvote
Rage Joe
By Rage Joe (Sep 18, 2012)

Yeah you paid for a Maserati or Bugatti, but you got a 10 year old Nissan.

Go check the sensor ratings at DxO:

Dynamic Range: Leica M9 is the 57th. The lowly Pentax K-5 is the third and Nikon 7000 is the fourth. Nikon D800s are the two best ones. Sony NEX-7 is the 10th.

..... The almost free Nikon D3200 is the 12th.

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cameras/Camera-Sensor-Ratings/(type)/usecase_landscape

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
Imagic Digital
By Imagic Digital (Sep 18, 2012)

Of all the farces and charades in the world of photography, Leica's quest to be 'the emperor's new camera' is commendable. By now the Queen of England has almost certainly never heard of that pesky 'Lumix' brand of Panasonic cameras that omit the Leica's #1 feature, a $4,000 mark-up. Anybody who buys this 'brand' is welcome to stuff my bank account while they are at it, since such a person has an obvious contempt for money and I'd like a piece if they are throwing it away. Let me know.

0 upvotes
pentaxination
By pentaxination (Sep 18, 2012)

Leica is so full of itself and this move shows it. They are highly confident that even when they throw s**t cameras out there there is a group of folks so desperate for a Leica they will mortgage their homes or go without eating for the little red dotted camera to be in there silly little hands. Show me a photographer with one of these and I will show you a fool.

3 upvotes
Tom_A
By Tom_A (Sep 19, 2012)

Well, check out the work of Ralph Gibson, a top art photographer who usually shoots with Leica. "Fool" is not the word I would use when you see his pictures.
It is not because something is not for you, or out of reach, that it is bad.

1 upvote
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Sep 18, 2012)

Well, still a bit high in price, hope Leica reduces it further at some point. Then I may go back to use my old Summicron 35 .... The new M though, wonderful camera, but even more expensive.

0 upvotes
Mike Yorkshire
By Mike Yorkshire (Sep 18, 2012)

Too many negative people writing comments, many of whom have never shot with a rangefinder camera and probably never with a Leica. Why moan about the LCD when all you really do there is to see if you framed the photograph properly? Why compare it with the Digilux series which are Panasonics?

It is a niche camera - not for the guys struggling around with a Canon 1 or a Nikon D4 and 10 long lenses to take pictures of the local ballgame. A Leica and a modest range of lenses is going to cost you maybe $10-15,000.
You don't have to buy it. You don't have to like it. You don't even have to acknowledge its existence. But for those who appreciate the simplicity of the camera and like to take pictures, it is a new and less expensive option. Why not leave it at that?

PS - no I can't afford it either

8 upvotes
Wyville
By Wyville (Sep 18, 2012)

There are often negative responses when it comes to Leica.

I won't be buying this one any time soon, but I greatly appreciate that Leica has made this move.

0 upvotes
smatty
By smatty (Sep 18, 2012)

Still sticking to a 230,000 Pixel LCD is dissapointing. An upgrade to 460,000 pixel would have brought this camera semi- up to date while still leaving enough of a gap to the M (10)...

3 upvotes
pentaxination
By pentaxination (Sep 18, 2012)

an upgrade to a stripped down camera? are you okay?

1 upvote
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (Sep 18, 2012)

Now I know what this is, unsold M9s!

3 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Sep 18, 2012)

If lemmings buy the worst camera of them all... rinse and repeat.

4 upvotes
micdair
By micdair (Sep 18, 2012)

Wow, a stripped-down camera for the price of small car :).

I know it's FF and I'm sure it takes nice pictures but still... (and 230k LCD for that price?)

4 upvotes
Auke B van der Weide
By Auke B van der Weide (Sep 18, 2012)

if it cant break and lasts for 50years, it is pretty cheap.... and shooting with Leica, is shooting with restrictions (more fun) and with upper quality (very bright lenses (no distortion), solid body, no mirrors or autofocus to break)..... and ofcourse a lot of branding which is good for poor man's identity!

2 upvotes
micdair
By micdair (Sep 18, 2012)

I'm afraid the times of these mechanical beauties are gone with the digital era. I got 50 years old camera repaired recently for no price but I wonder what will happen with the current cameras in 10 years' time... Electronics are sensitive and can't be repaired with a few tools and skillful hands. Even expensive cameras like this one are not made to last (unfortunately) :(.

Comment edited 54 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (Sep 18, 2012)

Exactly ! A sensor cannot last very long and there are plenty of electronics that can fail like the LCD, processor etc. I can understand paying extra for a precision built mechanical rangefinder camera but not for an electronic one. Once Sony launches its FF NEX I can see a good price drop for Leica on the cards.

1 upvote
oselimg
By oselimg (Sep 18, 2012)

In film days Leica enjoyed a niche in the market for their good lenses and range finders. They must be thinking "if we still keep our prices very high people won't realize that there are as good lenses and digital cameras in the market now" . It may be that they don't need the money from camera sales. Good luck!!

1 upvote
disasterpiece
By disasterpiece (Sep 18, 2012)

Now that's affordable.

3 upvotes
qed
By qed (Sep 18, 2012)

You guys realize this camera isn't for people to BUY, right?

No, this is instead to support the price of used M9's (let's see, a used M9 for 5k or M-E for 5.5k?).

This way M9 users can more easily upgrade to the new M.

1 upvote
MarkInSF
By MarkInSF (Sep 20, 2012)

Interesting idea, as long as you don't think about it. Providing competition for used goods does nothing to support their value. Instead, these will be competing for buyers' money and potentially driving down used M9 prices.

I don't think it will have much effect because this will probably not be seen as a 'real' Leica. A used M9 will be seen as more desirable.

0 upvotes
Gesture
By Gesture (Sep 18, 2012)

In 60 years time, one would think you could come up with a rangefinder that works within an optical viewfinder that shows, say, 125 percent of the view of the focal length lens attached. Then, you would have a maximum sized frame line with some "outside the frame" view as touted in the press release. Only Contax and Fuji, to my knowledge, have tried to advance optical viewing systems. Those who have worked with outstanding rangefinders with such frame lines and parallax correction (Fuji 6x7/6x8/6x9s in medium format; Konica III in 35mm) will understand.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
raizans
By raizans (Sep 18, 2012)

finally, they got rid of the dorky looking USB port and frameline selector. those things were mostly useless and made previous models look worse.

+1 for minimalism.

now they just need to make these in silver chrome, black paint, and black chrome.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 44 seconds after posting
1 upvote
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (Sep 18, 2012)

The price should be lower, it doesn't make sense with the 24MP M.

2 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (Sep 18, 2012)

Is "budget Leica" an oxymoron?

1 upvote
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Sep 18, 2012)

No, it's an aporia.

2 upvotes
Leichhardt
By Leichhardt (Sep 18, 2012)

I think i would pass on this one, it makes better economic sense to save up for the M with it's new sensor. If the sensor is up with current technology, particularly with regards to dynamic range and low light performance the new M might be the only Leica you will ever need.

2 upvotes
cgarrard
By cgarrard (Sep 18, 2012)

If I may- Leica's are hardly about "need". :) Some would argue they need a Rangefinder camera, and I'll accept that to a degree. Leica's are working works of art and hold their value better than any other make or model camera. Those who buy them know this, but most don't "need" them :).

Carl

0 upvotes
Leichhardt
By Leichhardt (Sep 18, 2012)

What i mean by "need" is that if the technology is mature enough and you "need" this type of camera for your work then you won't "need" to or feel the "need" to upgrade to a later model when it comes along. :)

0 upvotes
shaocaholica
By shaocaholica (Sep 18, 2012)

Put a current 920k dot LCD and a 12mp low light FF sensor on it and price it at $3k. Charge an extra $500 for a monochrome version. Then we can talk.

3 upvotes
danaceb
By danaceb (Sep 18, 2012)

get fast glass, even the old 18mp sensor can do amazing night shots with a fast lens.

0 upvotes
Edmond Leung
By Edmond Leung (Sep 18, 2012)

I think this is the right direction for just focusing on craftsmanship and optical.
People are still willing to pay for craftsmanship and optical, but not electronics.
This product is more logical than M Typ 240.

1 upvote
RStyga
By RStyga (Sep 18, 2012)

I have used a Leica Digilux-3; not happy. I can see a pattern on Leica's products, that of well-built equipment (with notable exceptions) with good to excellent IQ, and often sluggish responsiveness and/or functionality (Leica fans might call it 'classic controls'). If the counter-argument is that real photographers do not need fancy options and/or intelligent features, I can respond that real (and 'fake') photographers do not need to pay Leica that 'little' extra for its brand name in order to get the same -or better- IQ and do not need having to put up with 'features' such as slow AF, quirky controls, average LCD etc. I don't hate Leica; they simply need to change direction if they would like Leica products to become even more well-established, and God-forbid, even selling to more consumers. Leica products are consumer products, not idolised equipment that last forever; in the digital photography era products become obsolete fast. I'm not sure Leica has really realised this.
Regards,

6 upvotes
Alex Leach
By Alex Leach (Sep 18, 2012)

I do shoot with an M9 and M5, and will never go back to another camera, though I do keep a Nikon D700 for long glass. The rangefinder experience is about manual focus and the feeling that you are actually making the image, not the camera. The simplicity of the menus is ideal.

Comment edited 10 seconds after posting
6 upvotes
oselimg
By oselimg (Sep 18, 2012)

So, you pay way over the odds to get manual focus??? I don't understand the logic.

3 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Sep 18, 2012)

You know you can focus manually with everything, right?

3 upvotes
Tom_A
By Tom_A (Sep 18, 2012)

How many of the cynical haters here have actually photographed with a Leica?
Myself I am a user of mainly Nikon. Gear and lenses can produce very nice pictures.
I was also able to try various Leica M and R cameras over the years, mainly film but a few times digital M series as well.
It must be said that they make very, very nice pictures indeed. Even the primitive 8.2 with its limited sensor made nice pictures, at low iso it had in fact remarkably nice dark areas. And the lenses do render differently than my japanese lenses at the same aperture.
The fact that it has few features is rarely that important for art photogaphy in my opinion.
Yes they are very expensive, too expensive even, but the image quality is there.
It is arrogant to state that people who buy them have more money than sense.

3 upvotes
oselimg
By oselimg (Sep 18, 2012)

How many Leica lover professionals are spotted shooting with a digital one?

1 upvote
Tom_A
By Tom_A (Sep 18, 2012)

What is your point?

0 upvotes
gustabod
By gustabod (Sep 18, 2012)

it was when I compared the images made with my M8 and a Canon G10 that I realised there's wasn't thousands of dollars worth of difference quite frankly. (yes the G10 focused sharper). Now I make better images with the Leica glass and a NEX-5n.

2 upvotes
RStyga
By RStyga (Sep 18, 2012)

I'm sorry, I have to comment on this, as well. This is an inexcusably expensive camera brick (not the K-01, by the way) with good image quality but not much else.There are numerous cameras on the market offering much more for much less (save the red dot). Excuse my being blunt but it seems to me that Leica feeds on fools...

9 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 18, 2012)

"It'll be available from Leica dealers later this month with a retail price of $5,450 in the US and £3900 in the UK."

It's probably a pretty decent camera for US$545, but many shooters these days would probably prefer an OLED electronic viewfinder instead of the parallax view type.

2 upvotes
ppastoris
By ppastoris (Sep 18, 2012)

RStyga, what rangefinders, other than the Leica M, are there on the market?

2 upvotes
bewing77
By bewing77 (Sep 18, 2012)

Ppastoris: none of course. Which makes me wonder why no other manufacturer sees the Leica prices and realizes that the potential for price competition is wide open. I used to shoot Leica film, but can't motivate to myself purchasing any of their digital offerings at the current prices, but if a rangefinder appeared on the market at something like 2 grand, which should be possible, I'd get it in a heartbeat.

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 18, 2012)

Right you are, bewing. A camera that may be lauded for a $700 price or even for $1,500 will only be ridiculed left, right, and center for a preposterous $7,000. Not everybody out there is a fool with their money, fortunately. There is no way this particular Leica camera would be ever worth $2,000, in my view, let alone the crazy price the press release talks of.

I am also curios, would it be nice to see a full list of all the companies that Leica is sourcing the component parts for their cameras? Like with Porsche automobiles and Carl Zeiss lenses, German companies must be working with 75 to 500 percent profit margins across the board.

1 upvote
ppastoris
By ppastoris (Sep 19, 2012)

bewing77, very much agree with you. I own a "poor man's Leica", Fujifilm's X100, but it's still not the same as all-manual proper rangefinder experience.

p.s. My question about "other available rangefinders" was of course an ironic rhetoric one :).

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
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