The new Leica M camera
Taking a page from Apple's playbook, Leica is changing its naming policy by dropping the number suffix for its Leica M and S ranges of cameras "to emphasise the long-term significance and enduring value of the respective systems". From now on, and starting from what the press had called the M10 until today, each new M camera will be known as "the new M".
The new model, announced this evening at an exclusive Photokina press event in Cologne, is the first Leica rangefinder to include a CMOS sensor instead of the traditional CCD sensors used in the M8 and M9.
CMOS sensor technology allows Leica to improve the camera's low-light capabilities, and add Live View and Full HD video capabilities to the new M, making it the "most versatile model ever in the history of the Leica rangefinder camera", it claims.
According to Leica, the new M is the "first in a long line of Leica rangefinder cameras to feature a completely new development in sensor technology: the Leica Max CMOS image sensor". This 24-megapixel sensor has been developed in association with CMOSIS specifically for the new M to be used with M and R lenses – Leica has also unveiled a new R-lens adapter for its new M camera.
"This new [sensor] development successfully transfers the characteristic advantages of CCD sensors, such as natural and brilliant colour rendition and impressive reproduction of detail, to a CMOS sensor," says Leica.
Combined with the Leica Maestro image processor, it's the first time that "all elements in the image-creation chain, from the lens to the resulting image file, are now under complete control of Leica's engineers, guaranteeing the ultimate in image performance and quality", it claims. "A further key feature is the low power consumption of the components which, in conjunction with the high battery capacity, ensures outstanding performance over a long shooting period."
The new M has a three-inch, high-resolution 920,000-pixel screen, which can be used for the camera's new Live View and Live View Focus functionalities. Using these modes, photographers can use a 10x magnification to assess the sharpness of their subject's details, or can have the contours of the subject automatically displayed as red lines to allow "simple and convenient focus assessment", says Leica.
Full HD video recording can be performed at frame rates of 24 and 25fps. Audio level adjustments can be made during recording, and Leica has released a stereo microphone adapter for improved audio recording.
Leica's new M has a sensitivity range of ISO 200 to ISO 6400, expandable to ISO 100. It has a burst rate of 3fps, an SD card slot and weighs 680g (body only). It will be available in early 2013 at a retail price of £5100.
For more details, visit www.leica-camera.co.uk.
BJP will be speaking with Leica's chairman, CEO and product managers on Tuesday, so stay tuned for more…
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