Leica Camera AG, the international manufacturer of premium photographic and optical products, has presented a number of innovative and exciting new products at Photokina, the world’s largest bi-annual exhibition for the imaging trade, taking place this week in Cologne (Germany).
The product launches spanned from the D-Lux 6 compact digital camera through to ostrich-style leather Ultravid binoculars.
The D-Lux 6 replaces its highly successful predecessor, the D-Lux 5, a versatile digital camera which combines an outstandingly fast lens with a newly-developed 1.7” CMOS image sensor that is particularly large for a compact model. Costing £600 (incl. VAT), the D-Lux 6 offers a comprehensive array of features, including automatic mode, manual setting options, and Full HD video recording capability. Optional accessories, such as a new electronic viewfinder, provide even greater creative freedom in a wide range of photographic situations. Delivering intuitive handling, outstanding image quality, and classically elegant styling, the Leica D-Lux 6 is the ideal companion for capturing special moments on any occasion.
The V-Lux 4 super-zoom compact camera, priced at £690 (incl. VAT), features a newly-designed Leica DC Vario-Elmarit 4.5 to 108 mm f/2.8 ASPH. 24x supertelephoto zoom lens with an enormous range of focal lengths, equivalent to 25 to 600 mm in 35 mm format. For photographers who like to shoot landscapes, architecture, sport, travel, portraits or wildlife, this enormously flexible lens makes the V-Lux 4 suitable for almost all situations.
A particular highlight for a camera in this class is the constant maximum aperture of f/2.8 throughout the entire zoom range. This makes it possible to capture pin-sharp images at greater distances, even in unfavourable lighting conditions. In addition, the V-Lux 4’s fast operation and integrated optical image stabiliser allow the use of faster shutter speeds, ensuring fewer images with camera shake when shooting handheld. In combination with longer focal lengths, the large initial aperture of f/2.8 allows a high degree of creative freedom for experimentation with planes of focus and depth of field.
However, a ground-breaking milestone in the history of the Leica rangefinder system has come in the form of the new ‘M’, priced at £5,100 including VAT, and available from early 2013. This is the marque’s first camera to implement a newly-designed and constructed CMOS image sensor, and to feature additional focusing methods and functions such as Live View and Full HD video capability. Furthermore, this is the most versatile model ever in the history of the Leica rangefinder camera, and sets entirely new standards. It combines the advantages of digital innovation with rangefinder technology that has been continuously perfected over decades. At the same time, it remains true to the legendary values of the M System, while expanding the opportunities offered by rangefinder photography, and, for the first time, offers compatibility with Leica-R legacy lenses.
Joining the new ‘M’ is the M-E rangefinder, an ideal entry level model for photographers wishing to experience the fascination of M-Photography in its purest form. Featuring a proven, high-resolution, 18 MP CCD sensor in full 35 mm format, the Leica M-E, available at £3,900 (incl. VAT) from September 2012, offers exceptional image quality combined with the distinct advantages of rangefinder photography, in addition to a minimal, discreet design in an unobtrusive anthracite grey paint finish. The application of an attractive new leather-style trim, which also provides enhanced grip for steadier shooting, ideally complements the camera’s classic design.
Another exciting development is that Leica has expanded its ‘Leica à la carte’ programme, the company’s special camera personalisation service, to the recently launched X2 digital compact camera, from the end of October 2012. First offered in 2004 for Leica’s 35mm rangefinder film cameras, the ‘Leica à la carte’ programme allows customers to choose from the multitude of finishes and features available at the Leica factory in Germany, enabling them to configure their own, uniquely customised Leica camera. Clients have a choice of three different camera body colours for the Leica X2 which is now also available in an exclusive, titanium-coloured, anodised finish. Prices vary according to camera personalisation options selected, but expect to pay from £1,710 including VAT.
Following the theme of colour, Leica has once again partnered with the renowned fashion designer, Paul Smith, after a successful collaboration in 2011 for two limited edition cases made for the D-Lux 5. This year, the two companies have gone one step further, and the result is the X2 »Edition Paul Smith« at £2,000, and limited to only 1500 examples. Product highlights include a top plate finished in dazzling bright orange, a hand-drawn, engraved light bulb ‘doodle’, with which Paul Smith calls attention to the unusual pop-up flash on the top of the camera, an eye-catching brilliant yellow for the metal base-plate, and a natural cowhide leather finish in British Racing Green. The model is rounded off by its own unique serial number.
On the optics side of the business, Leica took the covers off a special limited edition of its high-performance compact binoculars, the Leica Ultravid 8×20 and 10×25 BL, featuring a stunning, hand-crafted trim in chestnut brown, natural calfskin with an ostrich-style embossed pattern. Whether at a concert or the opera, the racecourse or regatta, these binoculars make a particularly elegant accessory, and come with an attractive, colour-coordinated leather case with carrying strap. The Leica Ultravid 8×20 and 10×25 Edition will be restricted to a quantity of just 750 units worldwide. The recommended retail prices are £650 (8×20) and £690 (10×25) including VAT.