Sep 252013
 
Image: Leica Camera AG

Image: Leica Camera AG

The new Leica C (Typ 112) was unveiled a short time ago. It will be available in October and be priced around € 600,-. It might well be a sufficiently nice compact camera, but since I cannot see much of a difference to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1, I do not feel a great urge to go into any detail about this Leica offspring. If I decide to do a full review at all, I will write about the Panasonic later. I always prefer the original.

By the way – the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 can be had for around € 450,-. Of course there are differences (e.g. Leica adding a free Lightroom license) – but all in all this Leica compact does not thrill me much. IMO this is another Leica product that simply does not quite hit the mark. But there may be enough amateur photographers that are willing to pay the premium and simply love that shiny red Leica logo. Leica is a luxury brand after all and of course it is quite legit to try and scoop up some of the dough folks wish to depart with.

So the Leica C is not the real Leica “Mini M” I was anticipating but IMHO rather what I feared “…might turn out to be just another point and shoot Panasonic clone.” You can read my wish list for a new Leica “Mini M” here. So it did not turn out to be the camera some Leica fans (myself included) hoped for. Neither did the Leica X Vario (Typ 107) which was promoted as Leica “Mini M” and initially raised quite false hopes (see my article on that here). I am sure both camera models will be sought after and guarantee good returns for Leica nonetheless.

But as it goes, I have now given up waiting for a new Leica Interchangeable Lens Camera (ILC) with AF and some other features that are clearly missing in previous versions of M-mount cameras. Sony will probably deliver the goods for those that think likewise. Maybe those Leica Lenses can be put to good use on one of the future full-frame Sony NEX cameras that are rumored to be shown off in the next month or so. That might be worth writing about…

 

 

Aug 092013
 

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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.

 

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