Leica Camera AG, the international manufacturer of premium photographic and optical products, has presented a number of innovative and exciting new products at this week’s Photokina fair, the world’s largest bi-annual exhibition for the imaging trade, in Cologne (Germany). The product launches ranged from the very colourful X2 ‘Edition Paul Smith’ compact digital camera through to the ground-breaking ‘M’ rangefinder.
Here are a few highlights that caught the eye of CDCLifestyle from the new Leica product line-up:
Leica once again partnered with the renowned fashion designer and Leica camera owner, Paul Smith, after a successful collaboration in 2011 for two limited edition cases made for the D-Lux 5. This year, the two iconic brands have gone one step further, and the result is the X2 »Edition Paul Smith« costing £2,000 (around a £500 premium over the standard X2), and limited to only 1500 worldwide which we are sure will sell-out very quickly. This attention-grabbing camera comes with a top plate finished in dazzling bright orange, a hand-drawn, engraved light bulb ‘doodle’, with which Paul Smith calls attention to the unusual pop-up flash on the top of the piece, a brilliant yellow for the metal base-plate, and a natural cowhide leather finish in British Racing Green. The model is rounded off by its own unique serial number.
The D-Lux 6 replaces its highly successful predecessor, the D-Lux 5, a compact camera which we have had the chance to borrow a few times (see photos on our Facebook gallery). The D-Lux 6 is a versatile product which combines an outstandingly fast lens with a newly-developed 1.7” CMOS image sensor that is particularly large for a compact model. Costing £600 (incl. VAT) – £44 cheaper than the D-Lux 5, the D-Lux 6 offers a comprehensive array of features, including automatic mode, manual setting options, and Full HD video recording capability. Optional accessories, such as a new electronic viewfinder, provide even greater creative freedom in a wide range of photographic situations. Delivering intuitive handling, outstanding image quality, and classically elegant styling, the Leica D-Lux 6 is the ideal companion for capturing special moments on any occasion.
The V-Lux 4 super-zoom compact camera (replacing the outgoing V-Lux 3), and priced at £690 (incl. VAT), boasts a newly-designed Leica DC Vario-Elmarit 4.5 to 108 mm f/2.8 ASPH. 24x supertelephoto zoom lens with an enormous range of focal lengths, equivalent to 25 to 600 mm in 35 mm format. For photographers who like to shoot landscapes, architecture, sport, travel, portraits or wildlife, this enormously flexible lens makes the V-Lux 4 suitable for almost all situations. In addition, the V-Lux 4’s fast operation and integrated optical image stabiliser allow the use of faster shutter speeds, ensuring fewer images with camera shake when shooting handheld.
However, a ground-breaking milestone in the history of the Leica rangefinder system has come in the form of the new ‘M’, priced at £5,100 including VAT, and available from early 2013. This is the marque’s first camera to implement a newly-designed and constructed CMOS image sensor, and to feature additional focusing methods and functions such as Live View and Full HD video capability. Furthermore, this is the most versatile model ever in the history of the Leica rangefinder camera, and sets entirely new standards. It combines the advantages of digital innovation with rangefinder technology that has been continuously perfected over decades. At the same time, it remains true to the legendary values of the M System, while expanding the opportunities offered by rangefinder photography, and, for the first time, offers compatibility with Leica-R legacy lenses.
Furthermore, the new M-E rangefinder is an ideal entry level model for photographers wishing to experience the fascination of M-Photography in its purest form. Featuring a proven, high-resolution, 18 MP CCD sensor in full 35 mm format, the Leica M-E, available at £3,900 (incl. VAT) from September 2012, provides exceptional image quality combined with the distinct advantages of rangefinder photography, in addition to a minimal, discreet design in an unobtrusive anthracite grey paint finish. The application of an attractive new leather-style trim, which also provides enhanced grip for steadier shooting, ideally complements the camera’s classic design.
Another exciting development is that Leica has expanded its ‘Leica à la carte’ programme, the company’s special camera personalisation service, to the recently launched X2, from the end of next month. First offered in 2004 for Leica’s 35mm rangefinder film cameras, the ‘Leica à la carte’ programme allows customers to choose from the multitude of finishes and features available at the Leica factory in Solms (Germany), enabling them to configure their own, uniquely customised Leica camera. Clients have a choice of three different camera body colours for the Leica X2 which is now also available in an exclusive, titanium-coloured, anodised finish (but only for the ‘à la carte’ programme), four choices of leather, and ten shades including bright yellow, blue, and beige. Prices vary according to camera personalisation options selected, and start from £1,710 including VAT.
On the optics side of the business, Leica took the covers off a rather special limited edition of its high-performance compact binoculars, the Leica Ultravid 8×20 and 10×25 BL, featuring a stunning, hand-crafted trim in chestnut brown, natural calfskin with an ostrich-style embossed pattern. Whether at a concert or the opera, the racecourse or regatta, these binoculars make a particularly elegant accessory, and come with an attractive, colour-coordinated leather case with carrying strap. The Leica Ultravid 8×20 and 10×25 Edition will be restricted to a quantity of just 750 units worldwide. The recommended retail prices are £650 (8×20) and £690 (10×25) including VAT.
We have always been a great fan of Leica, and can’t wait to get our hands on these new models. Keep your eyes peeled on CDCLifestyle for further updates!
See more on these new cameras and binoculars on the Leica website at: www.leica-camera.co.uk