The new Leica M: The digital rangefinder redefined

Leica has announced an update to its iconic rangefinder camera, ushering in a new naming policy at the same time. Announced at Photokina 2012, from this model, and in the future, the M series models will drop the numbers.

The aim, Leica says, is to reinforce the "significance and enduring value" of the system. The same applies to the S series medium format cameras, and will no doubt lead to plenty of Apple-esque naming. 

The new Leica M lands with a newly designed imaging sensor, which the company is calling the Leica Max CMOS sensor. It's a 24-megapixel CMOS sensor in the 35mm format, which perhaps isn't a surprise as we've seen similar from both the Sony A99 and Nikon D600 recently. 

Leica says the sensor has been developed specifically for use with Leica M and Leica lenses, with this M series camera compatible with the latter. You'll also get full-HD movie recording. 

The new Leica M offers live view and live view focus, using the 3-inch 920k-dot display on the rear, which is topped with Corning Gorilla Glass for improved scratch resistance.

Although there are new focusing options in place, such as live view zoom (10x magnification for focus confirmation) and peaking (picking and displaying contours as red lines), Leica is keen to emphasise that this is still a traditional M series Leica rangefinder camera.

As such, you'll find that the top and bottom plates are machined from solid brass on a metal chassis, with magnesium alloy die-cast panels. The whole thing is protected from the environment by rubber seals, so this is still a solid, dependable, camera built to last.

Manual shooting is still at the heart of this rangefinder camera, with a new layout designed to be user friendly. We'll be taking at look at the new Leica M as soon as we can to see exactly how it feels.

There are a wide range of accessories available for the new Leica M, importantly including the Leica R-Adapter M to make this model compatible with R-Lenses. Other accessories include an electronic viewfinder and handgrip with GPS module. 

The new Leica M will be available from early 2013 for £5,100 from Leica retailers and will come in black paint or silver chrome finishes.



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