Leica Camera AG has today unveiled four new cameras, the first new additions to the company’s photography range this year.
Leica M Monochrom
The Leica M Monochrom is the world’s first digital camera designed exclusively for full-frame, 35mm black and white photography. The pure black and white rangefinder which retails at £6,120 inc. VAT (excluding lenses), uses a special, newly-designed 18 million pixel CCD sensor which does not ‘see’ colours, but instead, every pixel captures light in its purest form. As a result, the M Monochrom produces true black-and-white photos that are significantly sharper than comparable images from cameras with a colour sensor. Pictures also require very little or no further image processing.
The classic, iconic design of Leica M-cameras is also continued with the Leica M Monochrom. With its matt black chrome top plate, the equipment is unobtrusive, with just the engraved name of the product on the accessory shoe revealing its identity. The M Monochrom equally features a particularly soft leather trim, ensuring a positive grip, and perfectly matches the camera’s discreet character. This is complemented by a black leather carrying strap in premium full-grain cowhide.
The Leica M-System has played a significant role in the improvement of the company’s financial position in recent years. Since the launch of the Leica M9 in September 2009, Leica’s annual results have been correspondingly positive, and the company is now reporting record revenues.
Leica MP ‘Edition Hermès’ Limited Edition
Following the Leica MP ‘Edition Hermès’ (in 2003) and the Leica M7 ‘Edition Hermès’ (in 2009), the limited edition Leica M9-P ‘Edition Hermès’ camera is the third in a line of premium special editions of the Leica M-System to be created in collaboration with Hermès, the renowned Parisian house.
The highlight of the camera is the Veau Swift calfskin leather in ocre colour, supplied by Hermès for the leather finish of the silver-chrome Leica M9-P. This extremely fine and supple material is applied not only to the body, but is also used for the shoulder strap included in the set. In addition, the camera sports a special design, created in collaboration with the automotive designer Walter de’Silva. Selected features of the camera body have also been completely restyled – for example, the top and base plates, the shutter speed dial, the multi-function wheel and the shutter release. These distinguish the cameras from the standard version of the Leica M9-P, and emphasise the unique status of the limited edition. In addition to a dedicated serial number, each camera also bears one of a series of consecutive limited-edition numbers.
The Leica M9-P ‘Edition Hermès’ is offered in a choice of two different sets, containing either one or three lenses. Compared to the standard versions, the lenses included in the sets also reveal numerous differences in design, ensuring perfect harmonisation between the cameras, their lenses and accessories. The first of the Leica M9-P ‘Edition Hermès’ sets comes with a silver-anodised Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH lens, and will be available in May 2012, in a worldwide limited edition of 300, priced at £18,000 inc VAT.
In June 2012, the Leica M9-P ‘Edition Hermès’ – Série Limitée Jean-Louis Dumas set will be on sale in a strictly limited edition of only 100 units. Retailing at £36,000 inc VAT, this has been collection has been designed to celebrate the friendship and collaboration between Jean-Louis Dumas, the former president of Hermès, who died in May 2010, and Leica Camera AG. The camera in this set is accompanied by three lenses: a Leica Summicron-M 28mm f/ 2 ASPH., a Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH., and a Leica APO-Summicron-M 90mm f/2 ASPH., all featuring a stunning silver-anodised finish.
A hand-finished Hermès camera bag is available exclusively as a part of this second set. This is the first Leica camera bag ever to have been created by Hermès, a company world-famous for its manufacturing excellence.
Furthermore, as homage to Jean-Louis Dumas, a Leica photographer, the second set boasts a book with a selection of his pictures. On 190 pages, this photographic work in two volumes shows an entertainingly diverse portfolio of 200 black-and-white images captured by Jean-Louis Dumas with his Leica M camera. For these special limited edition sets, the frame selector lever, the accessory shoe, and the Leica script on the top plate of the silver-chrome Leica M9-P have been omitted in favour of its unique design. In all other technical detail, the cameras and lenses of the special editions are identical to those of the standard versions.
In the UK, both camera sets will be available exclusively from Leica Store Mayfair in London (www.leica-storemayfair.co.uk).
Leica V-Lux 40
The Leica V-Lux 40 super-zoom compact digital camera, priced at £550 inc. VAT, is the successor to the V-Lux 30 model, and like the latter, this product brings a whole host of useful settings for capturing sporting events, holidays and special occasions. Users now have access to a 20 x optical zoom and the combination of the high quality Leica lens and new sensor ensures outstanding pictures in a wide range of shooting conditions, with high dynamic range and particularly low-noise images at sensitivities up to ISO 3200, making the camera ideal for use both indoors and outdoors, even in low light conditions.
In addition, the autofocus speed of 0.1 seconds enables fast and accurate focusing on moving subjects. Videos can now also be saved in the Internet-friendly MP4 format and can be uploaded directly to social media or mobile devices, without the need for conversion. Other features include a built-in GPS module enabling the photographer to record the geographical coordinates and local time of every shot captured in the Exif data of the image file.
As with all Leica cameras, the V-Lux 40 has been designed to look timeless, elegant and discreet, with a matt black chassis complemented by chrome-coloured controls. An optional high quality, tan-coloured leather case completes the classic styling.
The Leica X2 is the second model in Leica’s X series of digital compact cameras, following in the footsteps of the X1. Beautifully designed, and made in Germany by Leica engineers, the X2 features a newly-designed image sensor with 16.2 effective megapixels, combined with a high-performance Leica Elmarit 24mm f/2.8 ASPH. lens, provides outstanding image quality and brilliance.
The Leica X2, which comes in a stunning silver anodised finish or a discreet all-black version at a cost of £1,575 inc. VAT, features a new autofocus system for maximum flexibility in different photographic situations and enables fast, precise and almost silent focusing. The camera’s profile is complemented by numerous setting options from full manual control to automatic functions, as well as intuitive handling. Combined with its elegant, sophisticated design, this makes the Leica X2 the premium-class compact camera of choice for discerning photographers who wish to concentrate completely on their subjects, producing spontaneous, creative and true-to-life pictures.
A range of accessories are equally on offer for the X2, and include a new Viso-Flex high-resolution electronic accessory viewfinder with 1.4 megapixels and a 90° swivel function for shooting from unusual angles. Also available is a bright-line optical viewfinder, providing a bright and clear view at all times, with no impact on the camera’s battery power. There is also an accessory handgrip that increases the grip and stability of the camera and makes it easier to shoot with one hand. Leica continues to offer a comprehensive range of cases: a premium quality black leather case that complements the elegance of the X2, an ergonomically-designed camera protector in untreated black leather, a classically-designed ever-ready case, and a black system/travel bag that bestows enough space for the camera and a host of accessories.