As any Leicaphile already knows, today Leica introduced TWO new models:
The Leica M and the Leica M-E.
As expected, the new flagship M sports a 24 MP CMOS sensor and is therefore able to offer video, live view, focus peaking, and has a higher (than M9) ISO upper level (though at ISO 6400, it’s not as high as one would have expected). The purportedly faster Leica Maestro image processor is a welcome addition, as is the new splash-proof camera body and higher resolution LCD screen.
Leica has obviously been listening to its customers (at least, to those customers who wanted these features).
The M-E, with its 18 MP CCD sensor, is — essentially — a re-jigged M9. This is not a bad thing, as it means that Leica is still listening to the remainder of its customers — those who are more traditional with respect to their camera needs (if you can call digital camera photographers traditionalists!), who want to keep things as they are, more or less. It also minimizes on development costs since many of the core components are being borrowed from the M9. Shrewd move.
Back to the new flagship M: I still have my concerns about CMOS (vs. CCD) sensor rendering. But, the proof — as they say — is in the pudding… so I’ll wait to see some real-world images before I conclude anything. The sample images on Leica’s website are inconclusive.
Now, here’s the main reason I decided to create this post of, essentially, re-hashed news:
No matter what you think about Leica’s new M products, you have to give Leica credit for (finally) trying to tap into the various customer segments… the pricing spread between the new cameras in their line-up (don’t forget the DLUX and X bodies) makes it possible for them to sell more gear, which bodes well for the future of the company.
That’s just Business 101.