Aug 092013
 

_DSC3074

The previous marketing campaign for the “Mini M” was seen as misleading by many Leicaphiles who were hoping for a new kind of Interchangeable Lens Camera (ILC) with some brand new features from Leica. All they got was the Leica X Vario Typ 107. The final unveiling of this camera was a great disappointment (at least to me) and certainly was not what most people were expecting. See my earlier report via this link.

Now there is a bit of hope for all who have patiently waited for a Leica mirrorless camera with better features giving an alternative to the bigger, manual focus Leica M.

Several sites have reported a recent filing of a Leica C (Typ 112) with the Taiwan National Communications Commission (NCC) – see this link at digicame-info if your Japanese is any good at all 😉 .

There are not many infos you can derive from that except that the new camera will have built-in Wi-Fi capabilities. That fact and the tentative preliminary naming “Leica C” does suggest that there will be some kind of camera featuring an M-mount and possibly some other cool features. Maybe this will indeed turn out to be what many Leica followers were expecting the clumsily advertised “Mini M” to be in the first place.

The new camera will probably be announced this fall or next spring. In a recent interview published on Focus Numerique the CEO of Leica Camera AG, Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, almost said as much when he hinted at some new interesting products that would be introduced in this specific time span. Since he also stated that Leica is working on other solutions for the full format, this could even point to a full-frame solution for the Leica C Typ 112. Then again it might turn out to be just another point and shoot Panasonic clone.

 

My personal wish list for a new Leica C:

  • built-in Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) or possibly even hybrid OVF/EVF (but that is too much to hope for…)
  • 24 MP APS-C CMOS sensor without anti-aliasing filter (better still full frame…but let`s not get overexcited 😉 )
  • Auto-Focus
  • M-mount
  • 2 or 3 new zoom and prime AF-lenses to kick off the new line
  • compact camera body dimensions (comparable to Fuji X-E1)
  • body price below €4.500 / $6.000

 

That is about it. If this camera came true, it might entice a lot of photo enthusiasts to buy into this system. Alas, I am not convinced. I am pretty sure, Leica will not endanger their Leica M Typ 240 by introducing a strong competitor with features bettering the professional system. Building up another line of lenses is equally unrealistic. But maybe they should, to keep up with the game.

We shall see what Leica will do in the next few weeks to promote the new camera. I am sure they have learned the painful lesson not to proclaim greatness and then just deliver another perceived mediocre product that tees off a great score of their loyal customers.

 

Jun 272013
 

Lupico_130423_DSC-RX1R von Sony_09


Sony has announced an updated version of their very popular full frame compact camera Sony DSC-RX1. The new Sony DSC-RX1R will come without an optical low-pass (anti-aliasing) filter which promises even sharper images. The R-version will also support Sony`s proprietary TRILUMINOS color technology. The latter lets you enjoy expanded color gamut on any TV equipped with a compatible display. That is about all that has been updated. The previous Cyber-shot model featuring the optical low pass filter on the sensor will be kept available alongside the new offer. Both will have the same price tag. Consumers will have to decide which version they prefer.

 

The basic specs of the new Sony DSC-RX1R:

  • 24.3 MP full frame CMOS sensor
  • no low-pass (anti-aliasing) filter
  • Zeiss Sonnar T * 35mm f/2 lens
  • 3″ LCD screen (1.229.000 dot resolution)
  • built in flash
  • hot shoe for external flash or viewfinder
  • Auto HDR feature
  • ISO 100-25600
  • Full HD 1080p Video (24 or 60fps)
  • high speed AF
  • up to 5fps burst speed (full frame)
  • on sale from August 2013 for €3.099/$2798

 

This new R-version (of a camera that has already received a lot of praise for its outstanding image quality) is a welcome little update. Removing the anti-aliasing filter is a clever move too. No doubt it will entice a few photographers who did not pull the trigger yet and were waiting for an early update. Removing the filter seems quite in vogue nowadays. Since Nikon did it with the Nikon D800E consumers are raving about having cameras without the anti-aliasing filter. It promises sharper images at the price of possible difficulties with artifacts such as moire. For the most part this can easily be compensated for in post processing. So this is no big deal unless you want to use the Sony primarily for videos. With only a fixed 35mm lens attached this would be highly unusual anyway.

 

Lupico_130416_DSC-RX1R von Sony_01Lupico_130416_DSC-RX1R von Sony_06

 

Basically the Sony DSC-RX1 and Sony DSC-RX1R can boldly be described as high end point and shoots. But the full frame sensor makes both camera models quite unique. The only 35mm non-DSLR camera that comes close in resolution and image quality is the Leica M Typ 240 (see my previous review). With the AA filter now removed the Sony DSC-RX1R might easily trump that nice piece of German engineering. We will have to see a real comparison to confirm this. According to Dpreview (see their report) the new Sony DSC-RX1R does have the edge over the older Cyber-shot RX1 when it comes to sharpness with a slight but noticeable increase in resolution.

The new Sony may not be what most photo geeks were craving for. No doubt a full frame compact mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses is in the pipeline and Sony will probably be releasing it as early as the end of 2014 – but nonetheless the incremental update of the fixed lens full frame camera will fill the void until then. No other manufacturer has yet had the cojones to produce a camera like that. This leaves Sony with quite a unique selling point with no competition anywhere in sight. The price may be high for point and shoots in general but compared to inferior offerings in the same price range this cam seems like a steal. Just look at the Leica X Vario (see my article). This may be a nice enough camera on its own but in my opinion you would have to be a very passionate Leica follower to prefer an APS-C camera with a slow fixed zoom lens rather than to choose a full frame offering featuring a superb 35mm Zeiss lens all coming in at about the same price.

 

Lupico_130423_DSC-RX1R von Sony_10

 

The only thing to beef about is the lack of a built-in viewfinder. For me this is a no-go. It does not seem to bother most people though. If you don`t mind squinting your eyes in bright light or if you can afford to pay around €400/$450 for the optional external viewfinder Sony EV1MK, the Sony DSC-RX1R may be just what you have been looking for. Maybe the previous version will come down in price over time. Bargain hunters will be on the prowl soon.

 

Lupico_130625_DSC-RX1R_DSC-RX1 von Sony

All images: Sony Corporation

May 232013
 

Leica today announced that it is going to add a new “family member” to the M line of cameras. They are teasing on their website and on Facebook with the image you can see below. A new Mini M does not come as a complete surprise but the timing of the announcement might have caught a few Leica followers off-guard.

The question is, what will the new camera have to offer? It is slotted right in between the full-frame M and the X2. This new Mini M could well be the highly anticipated APS-C version of an M-mount camera with Live View, maybe even featuring the previously missing built-in EVF (electronic viewfinder).

The OVF (optical viewfinder) would remain available only in the “big M” but all the M glass could still be strapped on. This is the most likely scenario although there are a huge number of Leica fans who would pray for a full-frame version of the “big M” with only the rangefinder removed in favor of a built-in EVF (see my report on the M Typ 240 for details on that). Either way, it should make the Mini M more affordable and it could serve as an ideal backup body for many.

Of course there is also a slight chance of the new Mini M appearing in the dress of the X2 with a fixed lens, APS-C and possibly a built-in EVF. This might not produce cheers all around but nevertheless it might put Leica back on track to counter the sales of cameras such as the Fuji X100s and Sony RX1. If it had the full-frame sensor of the M Typ 240 it too would be very well received (assuming it was priced accordingly). We will find out – in less than 3 weeks time…

Image: Leica Camera AG

Image: Leica Camera AG

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