Leica unveils new M and M-E rangefinder cameras

Leica has decided to do away with the number suffix for its M- and S-series cameras, and has named its latest full-frame rangefinder the Leica M.

The Leica M
(Credit: Leica)

Sporting a new 24-megapixel full-frame CMOS image sensor, the upcoming Leica M is coupled with the Leica Maestro image processor housed in a full-metal chassis. The company claims that the combination promises better image quality in low-light conditions and faster shooting performance. The Leica M will also come with a 920,000-dot, 3-inch LCD screen with scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass for added durability. It will also be able to record 1080p videos.

One of the key improvements in this model is its two new focusing methods, available in the form of a function button in front of the camera. The "Live View Zoom" lets you magnify your scene by 10 times for more precise focusing. Another method, called the Live View Focus Peaking mode — a technology found on Sony NEX mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras (ILCs) — is now available on the Leica M. Areas in focus will have their edges highlighted with red lines, and precision of the focus can be observed by the intensity of the lines.

The German camera maker also launched an entry-level Leica M-E rangefinder. Though the new Leica M and M-E utilise full-frame sensors, the M-E packs a CCD version instead of CMOS. Boasting an ISO range of up to ISO 2500, the 18-megapixel rangefinder features a 230,000-dot, 2.5-inch LCD screen and captures 2 frames per second in burst mode. It seems that Leica is trying to reach out to serious enthusiasts with an affordable Leica M-E with more basic specifications, while still providing users with a full-frame sensor as part of the deal.

The new cameras also see the launch of optional accessories consisting of a Leica R lens adapter, external electronic and a handgrip.

The Leica R-to-M lens adapter enables photographers to use their existing Leica R SLR lenses on the new Leica M. The Leica EVF2 is a 1.4-million dot electronic viewfinder that can be tilted to a 90-degree angle. Those with bigger hands will appreciate the external handgrip M, which also helps balance the weight of heavier lenses. The new handgrip even comes with inbuilt GPS capabilities that allow for geotagging images.

Videographers also have the option of the Leica Microphone Adapter Set consisting of an adapter and a stereo microphone, which will provide for video buffs who are looking to record some higher-quality audio in their next production.

Available in black paint or silver chrome finish, the new Leica M will be available from Leica authorised dealers in early 2013. The Leica M-E will come in anthracite grey and is already available from authorised Leica dealers.

Via CNET Asia

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