Leica M and M-E Full Frame rangefinder cameras


For Leica, a Photokina is a big deal, it is a show at home. And this year, they have decided to launch a full bunch of dream cameras that will go along for the coming 2 years. But, on the Leica-M range, things are changing : Leica is giving up numbered reference name and the Leica M9 was the last one… now, we’ll have a Leica M. In 10 years, we’ll still have a Leica M. Things are the same on the medium format system camera : the Leica S.

The range of rangefinder cameras made in Germany will be split into 3 cameras from now on :

  • The Leica Monochrom : this luxury B&W Full Frame rangefinder camera that sees life in black and white without OLPF nor Bayer matrix. (Read more on the Leica Monochrom)
  • The Leica M : the high-end 35mm high definition Leica-M body. The 2013 Leica M will have a 34x36mm CMOS sensor developed in collaboration with CMOSIS in order to keep th edetail and image reproduction qualities of the CCD technology in a CMOS sensor. The definitin is 24 megapixels and I first thought it was the same as the Sony RX1, SLT-A99 and Nikon D600. Maybe not. But we could have a surprise and I’ll have the sensor reviewed with my buddies at DxOMark. We’ll make the benchmark talk for us. This Leica-Max-CMOS sensor has a sensibility of ISO 100-6400, not much, surprisingly, and offers 1080p (30fps) videorecording and LiveVEw capabilities. A revolution in ultraconservative Leica environment and habits. But a rangefinder with LiveView makes sens to correct the paralax as the LV is TTL and to zoom in (10x) when you want to focus precisely on very shallow depth of field images, expecially with tack sharp Leica lenses and a high-def sensor. The Leica M burst rate reaches 3 fps and the max shutter speed is 1/4000s, with a synchro flash speed of 1/180s. Its 3″ / 920,000 dots LCD screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass, scratchproof.
  • The Leica M-E : does the “E” stand for “eco” meaning the Leica M-E wil be a cheaper versin of the Leica M, a luxury camera ? I believe so. The leica M-E is very similar to the Leica M9, it features the same 35mm CCD sensor of 18MP. It gets a new coating and a slightly revised design with a gunmetal grey body and stil the traditional user interface.

Leica has not confirmed any prices to me yet. I expect the prices to be official later today. The new Leica M will be available in early January. It will be launched with a Leica R lenses to Leica M mount adapter to allow photographers who may have nice R lenses to use them on their Leica M.

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