Leica X Vario, a 16mp APS-C sensor with fixed zoom lens

The Highly Anticipated ‘Mini M’ Features Characteristics Reminiscent of the Legendary M-System

Solms, Germany, 11 June 2013: Leica Camera AG has unveiled the latest addition to its digital compact camera offerings and presents the Leica X Vario. Made in Leica Camera’s headquarters in Germany, the X Vario features a high-performance 16.5-megapixel (effective 16.1), APS-C format, CMOS image sensor, a zoom lens covering a range of focal lengths from 28 to 70 mm (35 mm equivalent) and Full-HD video recording capability. With several design and handling characteristics of the storied M-System, the ‘Made in Germany’ Leica X Vario offers great versatility and creative freedom. . . . read more

Sylvester Stallone's Leica M9 is being auctioned off at Ebay

To be precise, it is the camera used by Mr. Stallone in the 'Expendables II' flick. From the auction's description:

"This is really a brand new camera it was used in Expendables II by Sylvester Stallone (Barney Ross) once and returned to the prop master right away. There are no scratches perfect condition.  It comes with a Leica m 35 mm f/2.5 Summarit 35mm Film Digital Rangefinder Lens with lens cap .

 Also included are a camera strap, a battery charger an auto charger a wall charger cord  a USB cord and a carry bag. Included are both manuals including the one signed by my brother. As an extra bonus i'm including the DVD of Expendables II. Where you will see this camera taking pictures of Jet Lee and Jason Statham. This is 100%  original and will come with letter from me Frank Stallone on my letterhead. . . . read more

Leica X2 Review @ Photographyblog " it is capable of delivering shots that are lovely enough for you to consider leaving the DSLR at home"

"The Leica X1 is a 16 megapixelcompact camera with a 36mm fixed lens and a 2.7 inch LCD screen. The X1 has an APS-C sized, 23.6x15.8mm CMOS sensor with a 3:2 aspect ratio, which promises to deliver similar image quality to a DSLR camera. The image-stabilized Leica Elmarit 24mm f/2.8 lens provides a focal length of 36mm in 35mm terms, there’s a pop-up flash and a hot shoe, and the X2 offers a full range of advanced controls from manual exposure to manual focus. Other key features of the Leica X1 include an improved autofocus system, a sensitivity range of ISO 100-12,500, maximum shutter speed of 1/2000th of a second, JPEG and DNG RAW file support, and a continuous shooting rate of up to 5 frames per second. The recommended retail price of the Leica X1 is $1995 / €1550. Also new to the X series is an optional Viso-Flex high-resolution electronic accessory viewfinder with 1.4 million dots and a 90° swivel function for shooting from unusual angles, and a bright-line optical viewfinder which provides a bright and clear view at all times, with no impact on thecamera’s battery power."

The Leica M (type 240) hits the DXO Mark Bench: Finally, a Leica that can be proud of it's sensor.

Despite the impression given by Leica fanboys and girls, all, and including the previous generation Leica rangefinder cameras, the M9 (amd M9-P) sported a really horrible sensor-by any current standards. The new M Leica is manages to turn this trend around, coming with a sensor that is pretty much comparable to the best of today's cropped sensors by other manufacturerers, but as expected, is still far behind any current full frame sensor equipped camera: 

Featuring a new higher resolution sensor and updated functionality expectations are high for the new Leica M and it doesn’t disappoint. Although . . . read more

Steve Huff Reviews the new Leica M 240

Q: What's the difference between Steve and Ken? 
A: One of them is actually a descent photographer

"One thing I found is that it took a few days of using the new M 240 to realize what it can do. I had to relearn processing of the RAW files as they do not work like the M9 files did. Different sharpening levels are needed and there is so much more DR my usual tricks for the M9 files only made the M240 files look worse. Once I figured out my workflow it all started to come together. I started seeing the benefits of the new sensor. . . . read more

Leica D-Lux 6 (a.k.a Panasonic LX-7) Review by Joshua Waller at EPZ: "The Leica D-Lux 6 packs many useful features with superb image quality, although the price is high."

The 'Price is high' can be roughly translated to 'it costs almost twice the money it is worth'. This Panasonic LX-7 rebranding costs for example more than the Fujifilm X100, or the Sony RX100, so, it is aimed for 'special' kinds of people. 

"The Leica D-Lux 6 is a superb camera with many DSLR features packed into a compact body with a number of external controls, which produces excellent images. If you have a good budget to spend and aren't concerned by large amounts of optical zoom, but want a serious camera capable of great results, you can't go wrong, although the price will be off-putting to many. You can shoot at full resolution at 11 fps, battery life is excellent, there is low noise up to ISO 3200, and full manual controls with RAW shooting. The camera has a more subtle design than the Panasonic Lumix LX7, the prestigeous Leica red dot, as well as a a number of bundled extras." . . . read more

Lego Leica M9 by Chris McVeigh, costs $49

Hey, a Leica worth its money :) 

"Initially built and photographed for Esquire magazine (as seen in the main image), this is the production version of the Lego Leica M9 camera. A Lego Mini Camera building kit custom designed by Chris McVeigh. 114 pieces, shipped in a cardboard box. Please note that this is not a functioning camera. Please allow two to three weeks for delivery. Estimated Arrival 2/25 - 2/27"

A Brutal Pageantry: The Third Reich’s Myth-Making Machinery, in AgfaColor, at Time Life Magazine.

All these color photos were taken by one of Hitler's personal photographers, Hugo Jaeger, who used various versions of the Leica III with AgfaColor Neu film, the German counterpart to the French Lumicolor and the American Kodachrome film.

"But perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the Third Reich’s deeply manipulative and seductive propaganda — and especially the sense of invincibility and inevitable triumph that it sparked in the hearts of true believers — is how ludicrous and, in the end, how perfectly mistaken it all was.  Yes, Hitler and Goebbels and Himmler and Goering and the other genocidal gangsters did unleash a murderous nightmare in Europe, and for a few years — a very few years — it might have seemed as if the Nazi drive for domination was, in fact, unstoppable. . . . read more

Dan Valicek: Is the Fujifilm X-Pro1 the Leica for the poor man?

I'd say its the camera for the Smart man and woman, the poor Leica snobs suckers usually go with a dented semi-functional Leica M4 they snatched off Ebay or Craiglist for a few hundred bucks. 

"Initially my choice fell with a Leica M9. I’ve dreamt of this camera for years, but the price always made me quickly stop and think. I wanted to give the Leica a chance, so I borrowed an M9. I was excited by the Leica, in fact a lot for me. So of course there was a 9,000 Euro start up cost, with only a 35mm lens. After intense consultations with my conscience and lots of sorrow on my brow, I came next to the M9 and engaged with the mirrorless system cameras. There were a good . . . read more

Ming Thein helps you pick up a film camera, small or big, or very big.

Ming chooses between a wide selection of formats and brands, there's of course the Leica and the Hasselblad, but also saner stuff like Contax and Nikon F:

"The obvious choice here is a Leica M of some description – M6es are a good place to start; they’re reasonably priced in the US$1,000 range, relatively modern, still serviceable, and have a meter. They do have a known rangefinder flare issue that made the RF patch difficult to see under some lighting conditions; modifications to later versions solved this. The M7 adds aperture priority but requires batteries to operate; personally, the MP would be my pick – fully manual, wonderfully tactile, all speeds work without batteries, but you do have the benefit of a meter if you’re not sure. Avoid the Bessas unless you shoot wide – the rangefinder base length is too short to accurately focus very fast or telephoto lenses; but they are the only cameras with built in 21mm frame lines . . . read more

Steve Huff claims another soul for Leica: Photographer Peter Tomlinson waves goodbye to his beloved Nikon gear and says hello to Leica, no reasons given other than Steve's contagious Leica enthusiasm.

His farewell bid does not answer a single question, more specifically, WHY? And how is he going to replace his 200mm tele range in the Leica world? Why do he post some gorgeous images taken with his Nikon gear (D700 and D300) over the years, does he honestly believe he will do better with a Leica on safaris? Anyway, I'll wish him the best of luck, and congratulations to Steve Huff for reeling in another one :)

"Dear Steve, Having found your site about 6 months ago I’ve become convinced, with a passion that grew from your own passion, that I need to say goodbye to my Nikon DSLR gear (D700 and D300 with f2.8 lenses of 20mm, 24-70 and 70-200) and say hello to Leica. After your helpful input and a search around various shops I’ve chosen an M9-P, still under warranty, and at a very good price. I collect it on January 7th. . . . read more

New Leica M (typ 240) first pictures surface, from a wedding in Kyrgystan. By Magnum photographer Jean Gaumy, at the Leica Blog.

My first impression: Meh. I really fail to see the fabled Leica magic, or the mythical micro-contrast and the whatnot characteristics of the whole system. Nice pics, bit over-saturated, bit under-exposed, nothing out of the ordinary, and certainly nothing you can't achieve with a nice mirrorless, or even a fixed lens camera like the Sony RX1. Heck, I'm sure I can lower the comparison bar even more and add a camera like the RX100, but i won't do it, or maybe i just did?

I'm sure Gurus like Steve Huff, Michael Reichmann and Diglloyd will have a totally different opinion. Surely, their trained eyes and minds will pick up and decode detail I cannot even fathom. Surprisingly, the Kyrgystanis, that live on a average monthly salary of 220 Euros, do not seem to be very impressed by the overpriced classic German picture (now with Video!) machine. Yes, the link to the Leica blog includes a video, taken with the Typ 240. Ever seen a Leica M video before? . . . read more

Quick comparison in image quality between the Leica Monochrome, Hasselblad 39CF and Sigma DP2 Merrill at Steve Huff Photo: Sharp, sharper, sharpest.

SHP reader Michael Ma happened to have all three cameras in his possession and decided to make the best of it. The Hassy came with the 80mm CFE Lens, The Leica had a Summilux f1.4 ASPH mounted on it, and the DP2 had to deal with its own tiny built in 30mm F2.8 pancake lens.  Having seen full sized jpegs coming from the Sigma myself, i knew where this was going to:

"Conclusion? Well this is a very clumsy test. But besides the poor testing conditions I think there’s a story to be told here. All three are great camera systems. The Hasselblad is older and the lens probably could have used with more stopping down. But this is also a 9000 dollar set up (used price). The Monochrome setup is 12K all in (when bought new). The Leica . . . read more

Elmarit, Noctilux Telyt and Summicron? Thorsten Von Overgaard has put together a small lexicon of Leica definitions.

As he notes, it is still a work in progress, but there's good coverage of even the more obscure Leica terms. Televit, or Hektor, anyone?

"Elcan
Ernst Leitz Canada, established 1952, was and still is the military/industrial branch of the old "Ernst Leitz Canada". In 1998, the ELCAN plant was sold to Raytheon (USA), who bought it from its previous owner, Hughes Aircraft Co. 
Elcan-R is also the name of s series of lenses made in the 1960ies and early 1970ies, as the U.S. Navy High Resolution Small Format Camera System during the Vietnam war. . . . read more

J Shin at Leica Rumors: Why I Am Leaving Leica for Micro Four Thirds.

"I will bluntly say, the lenses for the classic SLR and rangefinder cameras offered by Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Minolta, Rollei, Pentax, Contax, and the like rarely came close to Leica M or R quality. There was a time when you could pick up a Yashica and a Leica, shoot a few rolls of film, and place them side-by-side, and the winner was readily apparent. Yes, readily.

No more. All the cameras and lenses now simply exceed the capacity of a semi-trained human eye to tell the . . . read more

Roger Cicala asks Santa to bring gifts to his favorite camera and lens manufacturers, notes that Sigma and Tamron have both been very nice kids this year.

"Nikon: I’m asking for a lot here, Santa, but ‘tis the season to help those in need.

First, if you could fit a quality control department in the sleigh that would be lovely.

Also, could you bring Nikon USA a reasonable Factory Service Center, too? If that’s not possible, then I’ll go ahead and ask you to bring them some customers in 2014 or so, because they’ll be needing new customers about then. And . . . read more

David Douglas Duncan's camera fetches a new record setting price for a Leica: 1.68 Million Euros.

David Douglas Duncan holding his Leica M3D with a Tele lens. (Getty images)

Even if his name won't ring a bell with you, his images have been seen by generations all over the globe. Duncan began using his Leica at the onset of the Vietnam war (while on a Life magazine assignment), and he's been with a Leica ever since. He is also well known for his Korea war pictures, taken with a Rolleiflex, and for his close friendship with Pablo Picasso. Saturday's sale also included thousands of NASA vintage photographs and slides that went for 200,000 euros, and  a batch of photographs by Russia's space exploration agency that went for 60,000 euros. . . . read more

Leica M-E (Typ 220) review at Amateur Photographer UK: For an awful lot of money you get image quality comparable to other top cameras in this segment, and that's it.

LEica M-E (Typ 220) with lens.

"With only a few slight differences between the Leica M9 (and M9-P) and the new M-E, the £600 gulf in price between the cameras does make the M-E seem like more of a bargain. For those with newer lenses, the features lacking in the M-E certainly won't be missed. However, despite the high quality of the build and the images it produces, the camera is left wanting in some areas, notably its LCD screen - £3,900 is still a lot of money for a camera with only a 2.5in display. . . . read more

NYT: Canons and Nikons are for suckers, celebrities nowadays prefer to be seen with a Leica.

It is a pity a little piece of Bresson genius is not included in every Leica sold:

"The swelling ranks of famous M-system devotees reach beyond those with a well-chronicled affection for the camera, like Brad Pitt. In recent years, Daniel Craig, Jude Law, Louis C. K., Miley Cyrus and many other celebrities have popped up in . . . read more

The new Leica M can shoot video, has live view, comes with a smaller (and cheaper) sibling.

It also comes with a new naming style. Gone are the numbered suffixes, like the M8, M9 etc, because in Leica's own words:

The Leica M also marks the beginning of a new era in the Leica product naming policy. In future, Leica M and S model names will omit the number suffix to emphasize the enduring and long-term significance of the respective systems. As for the sibling, it appears to be a slightly stripped down M9.  . . . read more

Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux-M Asph. review at SLR Gear

"Unfortunately, for a $4,000 lens, results are somewhat soft when used wide open at ƒ/1.4; however, if you look across the field of offerings produced by Canon, Nikon and Carl Zeiss, you'll note that it produces the sharpest results between them all at this aperture. To produce sharp results at ƒ/1.4 is an engineering challenge, to say the least. . . . read more

Leica M9-P coming in white (too) for $30.000+ only 50 to be released, in Japan.

Good news if you're a rich Japanese photographer collector. The Verge has got a few more details on this white elephant/Storm trooper thing.

Leica M9-P review at Imaging Resource

The digital imaging industry moves at a pace perhaps too fast for Leica. The current standing reveals a situation where even aps-c sized small system cameras that costs around 1/10 of the Leica, outresolves (and outsmarts) the Kodak ccd equipped Rangefinder camera with its top iso of 2500. However, for those of us that don't care for trivialities such as auto focus, accurate viewfinders, video shooting, high iso capabilities, stabilizing systems, well, pretty much everything the technology gods have bestowed upon us for the past few years, the Leica M9-P is a stunning piece of craftsmanship, and coupled with some of Leica's sharpest glass, a capable tool in the hands of a good photographer. Unfortunately, at that price, many Leicas end up (most often in unopened boxes) as collectors/investment items in Asian vaults.  . . . read more

The Naked sensor, by Sein Reid at Luminus Landscape.

There's a trend going on, involving ever weaker antialiazing filters in cameras, and the ultimate goal of non at all.

Sean Reid comments on this battle between detail and artifacts:

"The purpose of an AA filter, of course, is to slightly blur certain high frequency detail so that it doesn't create . . . read more

Leica M9 (M9-P) test shots and Raw files posted at Imaging Resource

"The Leica M9 is based around a Kodak 18-megapixel CCD image sensor with approximately the same dimensions as a frame of 35mm film, making it the smallest full-frame digital camera. The M9 accepts most Leica M lenses built to date, and thanks to the full-frame sensor, all of these lenses offer the same field of view as they would with a 35mm film camera body. . . . read more

7 $tunning Lenses @ Photo District News

With the total worth of these lenses you can buy a nice ranch in Montana, or a night at a boutique hotel in Tokyo. What you CANNOT buy however, are the 7 aforementioned lenses, since at least a couple of them are/will be backordered forever.

  . . . read more

SLR Magic HyperPrime LM 50mm T0.95 - Leica M lens review by Steve Huff

"The price has not yet been determined but I have a feeling it will come in at a bit more than some are thinking. This is an exotic specialty lens.

With a lens like this, SLR Magic spends more  to make each lens than most think it will cost. I do not have any guesses yet but do not expect the

Two new Leica cameras at Photokina 2012 @ Leica Rumors

"DSLR Magazine, who has a pretty good track record when it comes to "predicting" upcoming products, posted on Twitter that Leica is working on two new cameras for Photokina and one of them will have a "reasonable" price tag (for Leica's standards). . . . read more

Leica D-Lux 5 Titanium review @ TechRadar

Always keep in mind that you can have 2 identical Panasonics for the price of one Leica digicam. :)

"The compact camera also captures 1280 x 720 pixels video at 30 frames per second (fps) in a choice of AVCHD or Motion JPEG formats, with a dedicated red record button above and to the right of the top plate.  . . . read more

Fujifilm confirms M-mount adapter for X-Pro1 @ AP

"The adapter will allow manual focus operation with old Fujinon lenses, as well as M-mount Leica lenses, for example. 

Kawahara was vague on the exact timing of the launch but, when pressed, said he expects it to go on sale in April, after the CP+ trade show in
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