The latest Leica rumors

Those are the latest Leica related rumors I have been receiving:

  • I already mentioned that the next lens to be announced by Leica will be a new 50mm f/2.0 Summicron-M ASPH. A l-camera-forum member recently discovered a new lens code in the latest M9 firmware that is probably designated for the new 50mm Cron:

"Since I had already coded the lens as code 53, I tried the other frame lines. Guess what, code 53-3 (110101 with frame 50/75) brings up a new lens called 50/2. The current 50 summicron (VI and V) and previous version (III) already have codes 33 and 23. So, is this new 53-3 code for an upcoming, new 50 summicron which has been speculated about?"

  • Leica M10 will have live view, announcement at Photokina 2012.
  • Possible Leica lens price increase at the end of 2011. No surprise here since Leica has been raising prices in the last few years. The 50mm Summilux is one of the lenses that will probably get a price increase (current US price: $3695).
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  • Ole

    Yes! Then prices on used M9 will drop when the M10 is announced

    • Greko

      Crap, just got my M9 recently. Though I’ve predicted something like this (since it’s been almost 2 years since the announcement of the M9)

    • m10er

      m10 wow rangefinder + liveview vf. focus through one glass, move your head away to compose on the lcd liveview???

  • http://www.istockphoto.com/huntedduck David

    the MSRP of the Summilux 50mm ASPH in Taiwan is USD $4,699 (at least that was what I was told when I was at the Leica store in Taipei), and they don’t sell it alone (you have to purchase an M9 to get a 50mm ASPH). I am not sure but I think the MSRP of Lux 50mm is as high if not higher in Singapore and other parts of Asia? I am guessing Leica will not raise the MSRP prices in Asia, where the currencies have in general appreciated substantially, but will probably do so for the U.S. market since the USD has been weak this past couple of years (and from what Bernake is hinting, not likely to go up anytime soon).

  • grumps

    I sold all my Leica Glass (35lux, 50cron, 90elm) and M9 a while back now.
    If I were to do it all over again with the M10, I think I will just have one 24mm and the new 50 lux/cron.

    However, as much as I value Live view, I really think the M10 will have to offer a lot more to take my money again!

  • Nobody Special

    Remember the word is – RUMOR – there have been plenty from/about Leica that haven’t happened.

    If live-view is the big news at ‘kina 2012′ then yawn. I’m inclined to think it’s too soon for a new M unless it’s a REALLY new idea. I’m just wondering whether they’ll make it another ‘isn’t Leica great party’ like they did at ‘kina 2010′, or whether they will actually humble themselves.

  • http://www.istockphoto.com/huntedduck David

    I think we will see more special editions of the M9 before we see a M10 . . . I personally don’t really use live view features though the thought of not having to use external finders is curiously tempting.

  • John F

    It’s quite possible that the next digital Leica M (M10?) will include “live view”. IMHO, the hint can be found in the latest top of the line CCD from Kodak: the KAI-29050. This new 24x36mm 29 megapixel (!) sensor is an “interline transfer” sensor (i.e. not the traditional “full frame” technology used by Leica so far). A product summary pdf file has recently been added. See the bottom of the page: http://www.kodak.com/ek/US/en/Image_Sensor_Solutions/Products/Interline_CCD.htm

    While I agree that the “video” factor might not be that appealing to most Leica M users (myself included), I believe that there is another key advantage to using this new (to Leica) interline transfer technology: by using the KAI-29050′s built-in electronic shutter (which does not exist in a “full-frame” sensor), Leica would be able to carry out essential calculations to achieve vastly improved (more accurate) exposure and white balance, milliseconds before the actual exposure.

    In such case, the use of the Leica S2′s MAESTRO “ASIC” chip would be of considerable help to do the number crinching. There’s another rumor for you: the Leica M10 will use the MAESTRO chip! ;-)

    • http://leicarumors.com LR admin

      Nice find John. If you don’t mind I will post your comment online so everyone can read it. Thanks.

      • John F.

        I don’t mind … go right ahead

  • John F.

    Sorry … that’s number CRUNching …

    P.S. The KAI-29050 can do up to 4 frames/sec and has a linear resolution of about 180 lines/mm (without any Anti-Alias filter).

  • http://leicarumors.com LR admin

    Live view will allow also to use any lens in live view with 100% coverage (hopefully), there will be no need for external viewfinders. Of course you will not see outside the frame lines. Regarding video capabilities in the M10, I am sure many people don’t care about it but there will probably be a whole set of video rigs developed by different companies which will make the M10 the smallest full frame video camera.

  • http://mikael.siirila.net/ Mikael

    Live view on a manual focus rangefinder camera? How do you manually focus with a rangefinder — without a rangefinder? Thats just silly. Video capability on a minimalist still camera? Equally silly.

    A better LCD and a new (upgradeable) sensor is all the M needs for the next generation. Its a Camera, not a sino-japanese gadget.

    • http://leicarumors.com LR admin

      The Leica X1 has a magnified patch for manual focus in life view. My point is that this will not impact the classic way of using a rangefinder, it will just add some extra features is case you need them.

    • John F.

      Mikael,

      You raise a good point – how to manually focus with a rangefinder [camera] … without a rangefinder ?

      Another important advantage of using an interline transfer sensor (such as the Kodak KAI-29050) is that it would allow for both a traditional optical viewfinder/rangefinder (OVF) and an electronic viewfinder (EVF). AFAIK, the only currently available digital camera with such a “hybrid” viewfinder (i.e. both OVF and EVF) is the much talked-about Fuji FinePix X100 (http://www.finepix-x100.com).

      If Leica is to include such a hybrid viewfinder (as had been strongly suggested in a luminous-landscape.com article, it will have to use an interline transfer sensor.

      So then, how would you focus such an “M10″ without its traditional (optical) rangefinder? By relying on the contrast-testing ability of the (KAI-29050) sensor to tell you if the picture is in focus or not (whether through the camera’s EVF or on the rear screen ). And BTW, that is how AF work in all point-and-shoot digital cameras today (including the Leica X1 as mentioned above).

      Look at this new way of focusing as a digital version of the (good) old Visoflex. Currently, if you want to use a 200mm or 280mm Telyt (or even bigger) on a Leica M camera, you still have to use a Visoflex. A new hybrid viewfinder (or using live view on the rear screen) would essentially do the same thing – but with autofocus confirmation on top of that!

      And if Leica is really clever, they might even want to include electronic contacts on the M10′s lens mount to connect to a new series of more advanced M lenses – with full AF capability! Leica’s partner, Panasonic, as the maker of the G2 and G3, could turn out to be of great help to Leica in achieving these goals.

      And no, all of this modern wizardry will not turn our favorite “M” into yet another “sino-japanese gadget”. I would not want that, and I suspect neither would Leica’s engineers and designers. A better, higher resolution OLED (or AMOLED) screen would indeed be great.

      In the end, it’s all about taking better pictures without the camera getting in the way … And that’s why I prefer the Leica M.

      • Robert Falconer

        A new hybrid viewfinder (or using live view on the rear screen) would essentially do the same thing – but with autofocus confirmation on top of that!

        This would be an excellent advance. I’m not even convinced the M series needs autofocus, but an electronic rangefinder with focus assist would be invaluable. Add this to a better sensor, larger, improved resolution LCD…and a few other assorted tweaks here and there, and the Leica M series could maintain its position as a “get out of your way” tool, whilst simultaneously negating any of the current limitations that do tend to slow things down when using it.

      • http://mikael.siirila.net/ Mikael

        An EVF does not come anywhere close to the clarity and precision or an optical viewfinder. The X100 is a great demonstration of this. Even with high resolution the EVF is no match for the real thing and most of the fancy overlayed data on the EVF screen is useless.

        And about the lens. Its very unique that I can take a 1950s M-mount lens and use it on the latest M models. Or tha I can switch lens between my film and digital M bodies with no loss of functionality. The M lenses don’t get old because they are pure metal with zero electronics. Just a little lube every decade…

        I just don’t see Leica taking any big technology steps with a future M10 beyond the sensor and the screen. Changing the lens mount or rangefinder-viewfinder would end the whole family of timeless cameras.

        • Robert Falconer

          Changing the lens mount or rangefinder-viewfinder would end the whole family of timeless cameras.
          Unfortunately, Leica’s unwillingness to enter the 21st century almost ended the entire company back in ’06. I actually agree with everything you’re saying, but Leica needs to find a way to integrate some new advances into the tried-and-true M architecture (and focus assist would be a good one) that address the needs of contemporary photographers if they hope to grow market share (which is critical to survival).

          I, too, believe that autofocus is probably not a critical problem for the M-series.

          However, substandard LCD resolution and poor low light capacity in the M9 – shortfalls noted by many photographers – and inexcusable at the camera’s price-point.

  • Nobody Special

    I’ll bet Leica will not have any video capability built into an existing M body. They will always be hesitant to radically change the existing M concept – it’s they’re bread and butter, right now at least and as much as they are slow to the new feature product concept they will always have the existing M.

    They should have something new and different to go along with it, but to really start a new idea, they could start with a M ‘type’ mount but why should they continue to box themselves into a corner using the existing body unless they totally ‘gut’ the inside. I see no reason for them to not step forward while keeping a traditional and compatible M.

    • http://www.istockphoto.com/huntedduck David

      I don’t know how I would feel about the video capability, but what I can predict is that if it did become an available feature, most Leica M owners will not use it for no other reason than because they won’t be able to keep the action in focus. It’s true that (believe it or not) most professional cinematographers still manually focus, even with the modern day DSLRs like the 5DmkII, despite the size of the full frame sensors. But these skills take a dedicated professional to perfect, and most Leica M users I know will, unfortunately, probably not achieve that level of dedication and perfection. The value of most Leica lenses I own lies in the beauty of the bokeh while shooting with shallow depth of field, and I don’t see how a range finder based system with video capabilities will enable most amateur to produce respectable video productions, when it is already hard enough with AF video DSLRs. This is just not the same as shooting a video with your tiny-sensor video camcorders. But, I could be totally wrong on this . . .

      • vlux luver

        how about create a m10 + a m10V (for video).
        the m10 has better picture quality but no video. m10v has video but worse quality pictures. same price. see what sells more.

  • Robert Falconer

    I think video in the M-series goes too far. I think Leica should concentrate on making the M cameras superlative still cameras—and use a combination of traditional craftsmanship in concert with whatever new tech is necessary to facilitate that outcome.

    They need to cherry pick what is truly essential to capturing a greater percentage of quality images…and jettison the rest. So I would say:

    1) Improved sensor
    2) Much better low light capability (the M9 is unacceptably lacking here)
    3) Higher resolution LCD (the one on the M9 is inexcusable at that price)
    4) A ‘moon-shot’ with their rangefinder system—something that maintains the mechanical excellence of the past, but adds to it an electronic assist to facilitate improved focusing under difficult conditions

    Autofocus I’m on the fence about. It would certainly be advantageous, but would necessitate all new lens designs. Of course, Contax managed it with the excellent G-series.

    Things that aren’t really critical include programmed automation, scene modes, etc, etc. True, Aperture Priority automation takes us all the way back to the ’70s (the Japanese had at least that back then), but I personally rarely use anything other than Aperture Priority and Manual even when shooting my fancy Nikon DSLR. The other stuff I find mostly superfluous (Shutter Priority would be handy occasionally).

    And I certainly can’t picture many serious Leica buyers wanting to use an M-series to shoot video.

    Just get the basics right.

  • carl

    love to see a video function on an M10! That’d make it worth the money for me (if they made it more useful than an add on). They need not make it a gimmick though, if they could just disengage the focal plane shutter to allow a burst rate of 24fps with some fast memory then lots of people will use it to shoot movies destined for cinemas! but if they add the standard 1080 @ 30p with auto 1s0 and white balance video mode that everyone else implements into their cameras then it’d be kinda lame. I’d love to see some revolutionary new leica product that resurrects the leicina brand-name!!

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