Leica’s CEO talks mirrorless again

credit: Leica Camera

In a recent interview with Asiaone, Leica Camera CEO Alfred Schopf mentioned again their future plans for a new system camera that will fit between the current M and X lines:

"We are at the borderline of compact-system cameras already, with the Leica X1 and Leica M-System, and it's pretty obvious that, at one point, we are going to offer something in between. But we have to look very carefully into what sensor parts we are using and what features we are offering."

For some reason the author of the article uses "Micro Four Thirds" to describe mirrorless cameras. Leica has said on numerous occasions that they are not interested in the Micro Four Thirds format.

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  • _core

    APS-C Rangefinder with fixed primelens would be great!

    • El Aura

      You mean an X-1 with an optical viewfinder built-in instead of bolted-on? Or do you want true rangefinder focussing?

    • vlux luver

      fullframe or it doesnt sell. $8000 for less than full frame??? if i wanted to have a normal camera id spend $600

      • Sky

        fullframe or it doesn’t sell” – right, tell that to… *looks around*… half of japan! or all the other people investing in NEX, not even saying about small sensor cameras from m4/3 system.

        • vlux luver

          they dont have *leica* branded do they??? think youre lost on the subject

    • Harold Ellis

      this jerk so much want to be Steve Jobs.
      i wonder that he not yet wears turtle neck.

  • Toto

    New Leica with fast (f 1.2) fixed 35mm (50mm equivalent) lens and Foveon X3 sensor would be great.

  • Ke

    A 1.3 crop sensor the same size as the M8 would be great.

  • Nobody Special

    Just build a ‘bridge camera’ that can use M and R glass – has a fast processor that allows 4 to 8 frames per second, that is easy to assemble and produce, that doesn’t use a 50 year plus design for a finder – update it at least – that actually has a built-in grip, is weather sealed, IS FULL FRAME – or if APS – it’s own lens line that includes wides, close-up, and tele lenses that we don’t have to wait to come to market for 3 or 4 years.

    But if they come out with some half-baked conservative design that lacks useable innovations then really, why bother? The Nikon 7000 comes to mind as a useable system product in an APS format – I’m not saying that’s what they should do – just an idea of a descent, useable camera. I see this as an opportunity for Leica to get out of it’s own, ‘aren’t we special’ way, and come up with something that is innovative in design, manufacture, and useability.

    I would like to see them use all that ‘superior’ German engineering skill and pull one out of their hats for once.

  • Bryan Campbell

    1.33 crop like the M8 is what they should be thinking… They need a clear advantage over the Sony NEX which is 1.6 crop. Lenses must be interchangable unlike the X1

    There is a nice market for people who have M8’s or no Leica that don’t want a point & shoot yet don’t want the price of the M9 either.

    I predict 14-16 megapixel, 1.33 crop, more modern features like live view and focus peak, cmos or ccd with better iso than the m9 at $3,700, no feveon sigma is losing anyway.

  • Toto

    what about viewfinder… hybrid finder for non interchangable lens camera (like fuji x100) or just optical finder similar to Contax G2 plus new TRI-ELMAR lens (24-35-50 f/2) and 1.5xcrop sensor…

  • grumps

    I agree if they want a bridge camera, the only sensor aside from FF, is from APS-C up and APC-H was what was in the M8. I say this because Leica has intentions to use M mount. I think any sensor smaller than APS-C is waste of the use of their glass, and besides Oly and Panny already have adapters to use M, even ‘the’ Sonys 🙂

    I definitely think this is the best way to go. Especially if Leica wants to use this opportunity to expand the market into other areas of technology, which seems very likely! This can can an exciting time for photography.

    On another Note, I hope RED (Not Red Dot) will introduce something into the consumer market, even if they do make it a niche market and charge 7k for a camera. I think they will add a lot of competition into the mix. I know this is off-topic, but I certainly hope Leica will become creative with this bridge and certainly not just evolution. Also make sure the camera is properly tested and not failing so much 🙂
    I know a lot of response will certainly disagree with this, and want just a camera, well Leica can certainly make that and with the controls to adhere to just that, but minimalist controls can be very efficient too if thought out correctly!

    • Nobody Special

      Agreed. Too, I really think they need to reinvent themselves with a camera they are hinting at – otherwise – what’s the point?

      I prefer to think that while an APS is workable, why not make it FF so those who don’t want to spend mega$$$$$ on the field use limiting M9, can use glass w/o the crop factor? Unless of course they’ll have a lens line for the body, which seems logical.

      I really need a camera to do what my R Leicas enabled me to do in the field; give me some versatility to capture different situations/subjects – an M is nice but not versatile, for my needs at least. Still extremely reluctant to hold my breath based on what they’ve done recently – yes, the M9 is excellent, but it’s just a FF M, and while it was a great leap, they need to go ‘up-tech’ within reason – and I don’t consider the S part of a ‘relevant’ or realistic professional choice for a ‘quality can take a beating in the field’ useable and versatile camera.

      Oh, the one comment that bears watching is the 100th Anniversary in 2013. Okay Leica, reinvent yourself.

      • grumps

        You what the amazing thing is also about Leica and its following, is that if Leica actually did reinvent the wheel with a FF camera, it won’t be snagging people away from the M9 or M10 when it comes. I think people who want just a photo tool in a true rangefinder with digital will stay to true to the M.

        Any new offering even with Fullframe is simply bringing in line the audience who want to go Leica but offer something to them since they are coming from digital age anyways!

        Another things worth picking is as you say, in the R with auto focus. It may not of been the success then, but timing is of the essence. Leica can essentially have it more and Huge crowd cheer when it happens. I don’t have any Rs myself, but if they bought out new lenses and do it now half-way, it will be an overnight success.

        • Nobody Special

          The R/SL/SL2 series were/are really exceptional; imagine being able to look through M glass while you focus – and you’ll get the idea of what those cameras were like.

          I agree that a FF camera different from the M would not take away any M market – the bridge camera idea would allow them to satisfy M and R glass owners/users and still have a ‘future platform’ while still keeping the M brand user happy. They NEED a camera that bring people in as you say and why not make it FF? IF they brought to market a APC sensor I agree it would be a waste – especially for any possible R or M glass adaptability – the real beauty of let’s say, a second edition R 19 Elmarit would be wasted by cropping.

          They shouldn’t ‘play around’ or be ‘small-time’ about the opportunity in front of them. The cynical side of me (and the German half) can just see them out-thinking themselves in meetings. But think about it – Leica has the chance to ‘bridge the gap’ of Leica product by building a universal platform that would allow all existing users a camera to use into the second 100 years of Leica. It seems like a no-brainer to me.

          • Ronan

            Exceptional? LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            I guess all SLR’s are exceptional then LOL!

  • whadda

    Aren’t all the cameras Leica talks about mirrorless. Title seems pointless.

    • grumps

      Well Mirrorless is the term I’m sure you’re aware of. Leica S2 has a mirror and the Ms are simply rangefinders to the traditionalists. Otherwise Yes!

  • What’s a Leica?

    Some Leica big shot said earlier that the planned new model could use M glass. So no fixed lens I guess.

  • Dave

    I predict a dumbed-down M8, but smaller and with different styling cues to distinguish it from the M. Evf like Fuji — not a purist rangefinder.

    While it will have an m-mount, it will also have a lens line that is autofocus-coupled.

    • grumps

      I don’t think Leica should split the market-share with e Fuji X100, when they can have a market all to themselves just like the M9 (A Full frame digital rangefinder). It makes business sense!

      Offering lens support in a big sensor is nothing dumbed down in my opinion, which isn’t to say your prediction will be wrong, I just hope not. 🙂

      • Dave

        Leica will be very careful not to cannibalize their M cameras the way the Leica CL did in the 70s.

        There is just no way you’re getting a full-frame Leica for less than half the price of an M9/10, any more than you’re getting a full frame Canon for less than half the price of a 5Diii.

        At a $3000 price point it will be a crop sensor. Visualize something halfway between the X1 and the M — smaller sensor, smaller camera, but with interchangeable lenses.

        • Robert Falconer


        • grumps

          If like what you say, it won’t be a dumbed down M8, it will be another M8. I don’t think they need to offer a FF, but then how about a FF with less MP say, I think there are options but it’s seems very likely to be APS.

  • Brian

    Could just be a M9 with no rangefinder. Live view focusing X100 style.

  • Artur

    Excuse my ignorance, but why Leica don`t make any medium format film cameras? For example; something like Plaubel Makina/Mamiya7II.

    • Ronan

      Because they make digital medium format.

      No professional (which is what Medium format is aimed at), will be using film medium format when digital medium format is where it’s at.

      • Artur

        Indeed, but the S-system is only 3 years old. I meant, why they did not make any medium format cameras till digital technology was invented.

        • grumps

          It’s where their expertise is at, and which market they want to concentrate on. Similar to Nikon and Canon focusing on 35mm.

      • Nobody Special

        No professional will be using film medium format???? Really? Fascinating, because there are plenty who still do, including me.

        By the way, Leica SLR’s were a perfectly useable platform for the Leica R glass, unless you haven’t used it before – in most cases, the R glass was every bit as good as most of the M glass. I use both by the way.

  • Huggs

    The interviewer was obviously confused about sensors. Confusing 4/3 with APS-C mirrorless. I hope the model that will fill the gap between the M and X will be affordable. Wishful thinking?

    • vlux luver

      affordable leica = panasonic

  • Tradition has it very well. 90% of the image consists of a lens.
    But the remaining 10% Leica should make innovations.
    Since 2009, not done anything new (V-Lux does not count).
    M9 is not a perfect camera in some areas, unfortunately.

    Thanks a lot for Leica lenses, but it’s time to think about technology.
    By the way, the price must also be adequate … Not everyone in the back yard there is oil … )

  • Thyl Engelhardt

    I am expecting an optical viewfinder (not rangefinder) camera with an APS sensor and M mount, with an adapter for R lenses. Focussing is done electronically, with focus aid LEDs in the viewfinder. Since the mechanical rangefinder and the full size sensor of the M9 are the most expensive components, using alternatives will significantly lower the price. And finally offers some kind of solution for the R system users.

    A cheaper wide angle adapted to APS I also assume, since wide angle is where the whole APS equation of reduced system costs typically collapses.

  • fred

    Leica is talking “mirrorless” again? Wow, a Leica without a mirror! I never would have imagined.

    • I think everyone gere is very well aware of what exactly mirrorless means.

      • grumps

        I guess there’s no helping some people, their IQ (I don’t mean Image Quality here :p) doesn’t exceed that of the Leica numbers added up!

  • Greko

    At least APS-C, best if APS-H. Alongside with the ability to mount M lenses and something… innovative would cut the cake. No, I don’t meant a Porche looking camera or the likes by ‘designs’.

  • _core

    for real, all i want is a rangefinder. today i have no chance to get one. the M9 is way to expenciv and its not like an M3 that u can use in 50years the same way like today, thanks to the digital stuff in it.

    look at sony and the nex 5n and 7, 599€ and 1200€ for the body. the sensor in the 5n is good and i dont need more. all the electronic inside an rangefinder body should not cost more than 1000€ and 500-1000€ for a summicron f2 should do the job for me.

    the x100 looks great on paper but manuel focus is pain compared to an RF like M9. so the x100 ends up as an retrolooking point and shoot cam and is on the same line like a nex 5n or 7.

    i realy need a “poor mans leica” so plz give it to me 😉
    leica Cl (CLE), cannonet QL 7, monolta sIII7 something like that for ppl that dont have the money to spend 6000€ for some electrotrash that cost in 10 years only 500€.

    • NonLeicaUser

      A poor man’s Leica could be the Epson R-D1. It was the first digital M mount camera. It has 6 megapixels and even has a manual shutter cock leaver. It ‘only’ has the six megapixels, but that should be plenty if you’re comparing it to 35mm film cameras I reckon. They are not that cheap second-hand for the spec, but if it’s a digital rangefinder you want, you’re going to have to pay for the privilege.

      Look here: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/epson-rd1.shtml


  • Ingrid

    Great … I guess they’ll do it their way; wait ’till every other manufacturer releases their own mirrorless camera, then Leica enters the game with an underspecked and overpriced luxury half product.

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