Leica announces two new M rangefinder cameras. The M and the ME!

Leica surprised us all and announced two(!) new M rangefinder cameras. The M is the first camera using a 24 Megapixel CMOS (and no more CCD) sensor. The M-E is a more “affordable” Leica. The crazy think is that the Leica CMOS sensor is made by a Belgium company named Cmosis…never heard about it before! Here is a collection of links to news and previews of the cameras:
Leica M at Leica website, dpreview, Jean Gaumy (vimeo), John Dooley (vimeo), Photoscala.
Leica M-E at Leica website, dpreview, Photoscala.

  • David

    Wow could sony have sensors now in Leica, Olympus, Panasonic GH3, Nikon and its self?

    Sounds like sony is taking over the “Film” business.

    • Ke

      Neither are Sony sensors.

  • St.

    $10k??
    or more?

  • Sergio

    The not so big surprise will most likely be how “affordable” Leica thinks affordable is.

  • Okay

    $6K for the ME is not affordable. It’s a rehashed M9.

  • shinnn

    some german website said that the ME should be below 4800€ but not sure about that though.

  • Jon S

    CMOSIS is a relatively new company, but the people there go back some way.

    Before CMOSIS, the founders were mainly at Cypress Semiconductor which had bought FillFactory where they started.

    When I was at Silicon Film (a now defunct digital photography start up), I was working with Leica in 2001 laying the foundations for what would become their R9 Modul-R digital back and a digital M-series. We were using a custom-designed FillFactory sensor for our (e)film product and that’s what we were proposing to use for the Leica projects. So in a way the circle is now complete.

    • Rob. S.

      Well, this would be just the right time then to reinvent the e-film cartridge with a 24 MP full frame CMOS sensor, wouldn’t it? : )

    • Michael

      You worked at Silicon Film? Man, I wanted efilm so badly I could taste it.

      • Vivek

        I put my name on their list when they announced it. Great concept. Perhaps more doable today than ~15 years ago?

        • Jon S

          Definitely a lot easier to do today. A lot of the effort spent during the development was to get the power consumption low enough. Today, the same functionality could be implemented using much lower power chip.

          The other big challenge we faced was getting all the (non-sensor) electronics to fit in to the film can section (including the batteries). We had a complicated folding rigid-flex circuit board to allow us to utilize all the volume. Today we’d probably be wondering what to do with all the space!

          Of course the window of opportunity closed long ago. Probably around the time <$1,000 DSLRs appeared.

      • Jon S

        I was the third employee.

        When we close our doors on Sept 14, 2001, we were a few months from launch of the first product. So near and yet so far.

        One of our suppliers bought the assets and tried to get things going again, but I wasn’t involved in that.

  • António

    Interesting move from Leica, after leaving rumors going on about crazy prices they come out with the same price as the M9-P…to sell a 24 Mpx CMOS.
    But they do even better when they escape the other manufacturers fate: by the time they introduce a new model of digital camera the previous become “old” and prices just sunk. But not Leica! They’re so smart that they take some things out the previous model, print a perfectly visible red dot and continue to sell it “to give customers a choice”…brilliant!
    However they don’t even care to indicate if the new sensor uses a Bayer’s filter or not, for instance.
    They thrust the “believers” remain firm and with them. Amen

    • JFG

      Not sure what you are saying about the Bayer filter. Apart from Fuji who made a point of not using it in its newest cameras, (and Foveon but that’s a completely different story), the Bayer filter is such an expected standard that nobody needs to mention it.

  • jake

    I can’t imagine any one wants to pay 5k for this junk.
    Leica should have designed REAL mirriorless camera instead of this junk called RANGEFINDER, we want an EVF not a thing of the past from 1940.

    Lieca is now a fashion brand, it is sad.

  • GOLGO 13

    Okay WOWOWOWOWOW! Leica M video and ALL the features. Say hello to the most epic range finder ever.

    http://vimeo.com/49464083

  • Stephen

    @jake and @IHUR and anyone else for that matter who is complaining. The answer for you people is simple. Don’t buy one. Others ACTUALLY enjoy and understand the use of a rangefinder in a machine that is beautifully built. Do you also insult the glass? Anyway. I shoot my little OM-D and My Nikon D700. I am happy. I cant create images better than what these cameras offer, and no way you can either. However, ever since using a Leica, I was delighted by the “style” of actually taking a photo. I wish it was cheaper, because I would have one in my hands now, but I can wait.

    Don’t speak for us next time you say “Leica should have designed REAL mirrorless camera instead of this junk called RANGEFINDER, we want an EVF not a thing of the past from 1940”. CORRECTION, you want an EVF. Don’t speak for us.

    • deniz

      +1

      like there aren’t a gazillion other mirrorless options to choose from…
      just let us have our rangefinder

  • David Gribble ACS

    All the comments are JUNK ,,,,,,,, The Photographer delivers the superb image ALWAYS ,,, with a pin hole camera , polaroid , a Leica , Film or Digital ,,, what ever ,,, It is the creative energy and the instinct that make that Magic image ,,, NOT the HARDwARE ,,, It started with Pixels chiselled on Rocks 65,000 years ago ,,, and Will end when man is Gone ,,, Enjoy it while you live .

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