The new Leica M-E

There was no mirrorless camera announcement today, instead Leica Camera reveled the M-E: an new "entry-level" digital rangefinder that has the same 18MP CCD sensor found in the original M9. The price of the Leica M-E is $5,450 and is available for pre-order here.

Press release:

The fascination of M-Photography reduced to essentials

Solms, Germany (September 17, 2012) - Leica Camera presents a new model in the Leica rangefinder system, the Leica M-E. Possessing the high level of technology perfected in the nearly six decades since the M-System’s introduction, the Leica M-E represents the essence of rangefinder photography. Rather than offering all that is technically possible, it is limited to only those functions that create a better image. These essentials include the M-System’s typical rapid manual focusing with the viewfinder/rangefinder and the focusing ring of the lens, as well as the option of selecting automatically determined or manually set shutter speeds. It is the ideal entry-level model for photographers wishing to experience the fascination of M-Photography or require a secondary camera that performs at an optimum level without fail.

Advantages of rangefinder photography include the ability for photographers to become a part of the action and frame whatever they wish to capture in the viewfinder, while still perceiving what is going on outside the viewfinder frame. The crucial moment becomes predictable, and can thus be captured at precisely the right instant. Featuring the proven, high-resolution, 18 MP CCD sensor in full 35 mm format, the Leica M-E offers maximum imaging quality. Perfectly attuned to its role in the extremely compact M-System and the superior performance of M-Lenses, this particular sensor type possesses a high sensitivity to light. These characteristics lead to an unmistakably individual kind of photography.

The Leica M-E’s most distinctive feature is a minimalistic, purist, design statement. The top deck and base plate are discreetly finished in unobtrusive anthracite grey. The application of a new leather trim with enhanced grip characteristics ideally complements the camera’s timeless design.

The Leica M-System portfolio provides perfect tools for capturing a moment discretely, silently and without hesitation, allowing photographers to become a part of the scene. Together with the new Leica M and the Leica M Monochrom, the world’s first digital black and white camera in 35 mm format, the latest digital generation of the Leica M now offers three rangefinder cameras.

Additionally, the Leica M-E package includes the latest version of Leica Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to assist photographers with viewing, editing and managing digital images. The Leica M-E is available now from Leica dealers, including the Leica Store Washington DC.

About the Leica M-System

Since 1954, the Leica M system has stood for an unmistakable, individual kind of photography and a very conscious photographic style. Because, with a Leica M, the photographer becomes a part of the action in the process of capturing challenging and creative images. The rangefinder frames precisely the shot the photographer envisages while allowing a clear view of what is going on outside the viewfinder frame. This allows the photographer to predict the decisive moment and capture it discreetly and reliably at the right moment – in all fields, from photojournalism and ‘available light’ exposures to discreet and aesthetic fine-art images. The functions of the Leica M rangefinder camera are consistently constructed for extreme robustness and a long working life. Highest quality materials, elaborate manufacturing processes and painstaking manual assembly guarantee functional reliability for decades to come. Full backward system compatibility – almost all lenses of the Leica M range built since 1954 can still be used on the latest M camera models – is an important factor in the enduring value of the M series.

(Last revised September 2012 / We reserve the right to make technical changes) LEICA M-E
Product
Unique ProductName: Leica M-E (Typ 220), anthracite grey paint
Camera type: Compact digital view and rangefinder system still camera
Lens mount: Leica M bayonet with additional sensor for 6-bit coding
Lens system: Leica M lenses
Top Cover: Milled brass top cover with classic Leica M design
Material: All-metal case made of die-cast magnesium; synthetic leather covering. Cap and base plate made of brass
Image Sensor: KAF -18500 18 MP CCD Sensor
Number of effective Pixels: 18 Million Pixels
Sensitivity range: ISO 160 – ISO 2500, Pull 80 available, Auto ISO
Imaging Platform: DSP based computing platform with Leica imaging algorithms
LCD Monitor: 2,5” TFT Display with 230.000 Pixels
Shutter: Closed type focal plane shutter for classic image exposure, with external cocking mechanics
Shutter Speed: 1/4000s – 240s (in Bulb), 1/180s flash synchronization
Burst rate: approx. 2 fps
Self timer: Off / 2s / 12s
Storage Media : SD / SDHC Memory Cards
Imaging functions
Image File Format: DNG™ (RAW data uncompressed or nonlinear compressed), JPEG
File Size: DNG: 18 MB (compressed)/36 MB (uncompressed), JPEG: Resolution and image content dependent
Available JPG Resolutions: 5212 x 3472 (18 MP), 3840 x 2592 (10 MP), 2592 x 1728 (4.5 MP), 1728 x 1152 (2 MP), 1280 x 846 pixels (1 MP)
Color Spaces: sRGB / Adobe®RGB
White Balance: Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade /Tungsten / Fluorescent 1 / Fluorescent 2 / Flash / Manual / Kelvin 2000-12800
Other functions: Saturation, Contrast, Sharpening
Exposure Control
Exposure Metering: Through the Lens (TTL) metering, center-weighted with variable apertureCenter-weighted TTL metering for flashexposure with system-conformant SCA-3000/2 standard flash units
Exposure setting: Manual shutter speed setting with direct dial, A-Mode with direct dial
Exposure Modes: Automatic shutter speed (A-Mode), Manual Exposure (M-Mode)
Exposure
Compensation: -3 EV to +3 EV, 1/3 f-stops
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