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Leica takes wraps off new cameras, answer rumored R solution

Leica has rolled out three new cameras, but has no R-solution that was heavily rumored to be announced at this year's Photokina show. The new cameras include a M9 derived rangefinder designed by VW/Audi, featuring a titanium outer. The expected D-Lux 5 was also announced. For more details including pricing and availability please see the press releases below.

VW/Audi designed Leica M9 Titanium

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Leica releases M9 ‘Titanium’ designed by Walter de’Silva

In collaboration with the chief designer of the Volkswagen Group, Leica Camera AG presents a unique special edition

21 September 2010: Leica Camera AG has announced the LEICA M9 ‘Titanium’, an exclusive special edition, and the result of a collaboration with Walter de’Silva, the prominent automobile designer. Responsible for groundbreaking design concepts for the latest models from the Volkswagen Group, the chief designer and his Audi Design Team have re-interpreted the design of the LEICA M9 just as he envisaged it.

The outcome is a unique camera with a new interpretation of the characteristic features of Leica rangefinder cameras, which lends precision engineering, unique style and solid titanium to extraordinary formal design. As a result, the LEICA M9 ‘Titanium’ is an especially desirable object for both Leica connoisseurs and aficionados of outstanding design. This special edition is strictly limited to just 500 cameras worldwide, and is offered as a set together with a LEICA SUMMILUX-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH. lens, whose exterior metal components are also manufactured from solid titanium.

Walter de’Silva has given the Leica M camera an ergonomic, precise and logical ‘look and feel’, without changing the intrinsic character of the rangefinder. Thus, the compact construction and technical features of the LEICA M9 ‘Titanium’ retain the distinctive style of a true Leica M camera.

Walter de’Silva addressed not only the design of the camera, but also focused on its handling and technical specifications. New features include the LED illumination of the bright-line frames in the viewfinder, removing the necessity for a standard illuminating window, and making the front aspect of the camera more balanced. Also entirely new in the history of camera technology is the M9 Titanium’s carrying concept. Instead of the traditional strap lugs of standard cameras, the chief designer and Leica engineers developed an innovative carrying concept that is reduced to just one single mounting point on the camera body. The metal finger loop, covered with fine Nappa leather, ensures a secure, steady and ergonomic grip when shooting or carrying the camera with one hand. Also new is the specially designed, stylish shoulder holster that holds and safely protects the camera and lens in transport, and keeps it ready to shoot at a moment’s notice.

The LEICA SUMMILUX-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH. lens supplied with this special edition also features a new, focused design concept, in which the essential elements harmonise perfectly with the style of the camera. Its round, screw-mount lens hood is constructed with four slits around its circumference to prevent obstruction of the view through the finder.

The LEICA M9 ‘Titanium’ is constructed exclusively with premium quality materials. For instance, all visible metal elements of the camera body are made from solid titanium, a particularly light but extremely strong and durable metal that can only be manufactured with special tools. In addition, the exposed surfaces are also treated with a hard coating applied by a specialised company in Switzerland. Scratch-resistant, sapphire-crystal glass is employed as a protective cover for the camera monitor, and further enhances the exclusive and rugged character of the product. The camera’s trim, which uses leather typically reserved for the interiors of Audi’s premium automobiles, fits perfectly with the body’s titanium surface and provides outstanding grip. The grip characteristics are also enhanced by a specially designed and embossed diamond pattern. Furthermore, the Leica logo has been restyled and is elaborately hand-engraved in pure resin, inlaid with white enamel, sealed with a clear varnish and then polished.

In addition to the camera and lens, the LEICA M9 ‘Titanium’ special edition set includes a distinctive shoulder holster, a carrying strap and finger loops in two different sizes, made from the same premium Audi leather used on the camera body. Also part of the set is a book devoted to the design process leading to the creation of this high quality, special titanium edition and which also includes an interview with Walter de’Silva. The unique set is presented in an elaborately handcrafted black presentation case with recesses for the camera and lens, and lined with Alcantara microsuede in Leica red.

Pricing and availability

The LEICA M9 Titanium will be available in the UK from the end of November 2010 from authorised Leica dealers including the Leica Store Mayfair: www.leica-storemayfair.co.uk, tel: 020 7629 1351. A full list of authorised UK Leica dealers is available at www.leica-camera.co.uk. The UK suggested retail price of the LEICA M9 Titanium set is £19,800 including VAT.

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Leica D-LUX 5

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Leica announces the LEICA D-LUX 5: Versatile compact camera with full creative control for the discerning photographer

21 September 2010: Leica Camera AG has announced the LEICA D-LUX 5 – a high-performance compact digital camera with full creative control.

Successor to the acclaimed D-LUX 4, the LEICA D-LUX 5 offers a faster LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON 5.1 - 19.2mm f/2 - 3.3 ASPH. lens with an extended range of focal lengths equivalent to 24 to 90mm in 35mm format. Together with its comprehensive range of features and manual settings, the versatile LEICA D-LUX 5 offers a broader spectrum of photographic options – from macro and wide-angle architecture and landscape photography to reportage and portrait photography. The camera’s 1,280 x 720 pixel HD video function in memory-saving AVCHD-Lite format, and a full range of optional accessories, open up a world of photographic opportunities for the discerning photographer.

Peter Kruschewski, product manager for Digital Compact Cameras at Leica Camera AG, said, “Thanks to its ultra-fast image processing, simple handling and compact form, the LEICA D-LUX 5 is a truly unique compact camera with system character. It offers users endless opportunities for creative photography and allows photographers to capture the most spontaneous, fleeting moments as unforgettable pictures.”

The LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON 5.1 - 19.2mm f/2 - 3.3 ASPH. zoom lens offers an extremely practical range of focal lengths. In addition, its exceptionally fast maximum aperture makes it an ideal camera for ‘available light’ photography. Whether in difficult lighting conditions, or for conscious manipulation of depth of field, the LEICA D-LUX 5 is the perfect camera for capturing truly distinctive images.

Featuring a particularly large CCD for a compact camera, the D-Lux 5’s 1/1.63” sensor is finely tuned to produce the highest quality images from the LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON 5.1 - 19.2 mm f/2 - 3.3 ASPH. lens. Combined with the camera’s electronics and firmware, it guarantees brilliant high-contrast images with natural colour rendition and superb sharpness. Also contributing to its exceptional image quality, the D-LUX 5’s pixels are considerably larger than that of other compacts.

The D-LUX 5 delivers images in 4:3, 3:2, 16:9 formats as well as 1:1, a particularly interesting format for creative composition, in both capture and review mode. The camera’s 3” LCD monitor has a wide viewing angle and a resolution of 460,000 pixels, displaying images in superb detail, and allowing photographers to assess images precisely both during composition and after capture.
The LEICA D-LUX 5 is characterised by clear lines and a stylish, uncomplicated design in an elegant black matt finish. Its formal simplicity, clear and intuitive controls, and a focus on essential features, are typical of all Leica cameras.

Users can enter manual settings quickly and easily using the D-LUX 5’s innovative ‘clickwheel’ located at the back of the camera. It also offers numerous automatic functions for effortless photography that guarantee the user perfectly exposed and sharp images by simply pressing the shutter release. The camera’s automatic functions control the O.I.S. image stabiliser, automatic ISO selection, face recognition, automatic contrast compensation and automatic scene mode. The 1280 x 720 pixel HD video function is started simply by pressing a button on the top of the camera.

Software and accessories

The LEICA D-LUX 5 is supplied with the Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom® 3, professional image processing software that allows photographers to ‘develop’ RAW image files from the CCD, to obtain the highest image quality and maintain complete control over the development process applied to their images.

A full range of optional accessories is available for the D-LUX 5, including a LEICA EVF1 electronic viewfinder, which is particularly useful when shooting under extreme lighting conditions. Mounted on the accessory shoe, it enables ‘Live-View’, allowing the photographer to view the subject through the lens and assess the precise composition of an image. The LEICA CF 22 flash unit provides photographers with additional options for flash exposure and fill-in flash, while a handgrip helps to ensure steady and safe handling of the camera. A choice of optional bags and cases is also available, ranging from an elegant leather case with shoulder strap, a stylish, soft leather pouch, and an ever-ready camera case with a grip and a viewfinder case attached to the carrying strap.

Pricing and availability

The LEICA D-LUX 5 will be available in the UK from October 2010 from authorised Leica dealers including the Leica Store Mayfair: www.leica-storemayfair.co.uk, tel: 020 7629 1351. A full list of authorised UK Leica dealers is available at www.leica-camera.co.uk. The suggested retail price of the LEICA D-LUX 5 is £630 including VAT. Accessories are priced as follows (SRP including VAT):

Leica D-Lux 5 EVF1 electronic viewfinder - £270
Leica D-Lux 5 ever-ready case - £135
Leica D-Lux 5 brown leather case - £90
Leica D-Lux 5 soft leather pouch - £62
Leica D-Lux 5 handgrip - £62
Leica CF 22 flash unit - £225

The LEICA D-LUX 5 comes with a two-year warranty and a one-year Leica ‘Passport’ (accidental damage cover).

Leica V-Lux 2

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Leica announces the LEICA V-LUX 2: The super-zoom compact for travel and nature photography

21 September 2010: Leica Camera AG has announced the LEICA V-LUX 2, combining a high-performance 24x super-zoom lens and outstanding image quality with a sleek and compact body. Equipped with a LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT 4.5 - 108 mm f/2.8 - 5.2 ASPH. lens, a 3’’ rotating LCD display and a wide variety of video functions in 1080i-AVCHD Full HD, the V-LUX 2 is ideal for almost any photographic situation.

The V-LUX 2’s 24x optical super-zoom lens offers an enormous range of focal lengths equivalent to 25–600 mm in 35mm format. Whether shooting expansive landscapes, finely detailed macro studies at short distances, or far-away objects, people or animals with a super-telephoto setting, the Leica lens captures them all in breathtaking quality.

Peter Kruschewski, product manager for Digital Compact Cameras at Leica Camera AG, said, “The V-Lux 2’s versatile lens and compact form make it the ideal camera for the ambitious travel and wildlife photographer. In certain shooting situations, having to change lenses can be frustrating, especially when a quick reaction is required. Thanks to the V-LUX 2’s large range of focal lengths, this compact camera has the ability to capture almost all moments of life. The V-LUX 2 is an interesting alternative to comparable SLR systems. Compact and lighter, it also significantly reduces the weight and volume of photographic equipment when travelling.”

A newly developed 14.1 MP CMOS image sensor tuned to perfection enhances the high-performance LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT 4.5 - 108 mm f/2.8 - 5.2 ASPH. zoom lens. In combination with the camera’s electronics and firmware, the sensor guarantees brilliant, high-contrast images with natural colour rendition and superb sharpness.

The LEICA V-LUX 2’s 3” LCD display has a resolution of 460,000 pixels and can be twisted and turned in almost any direction, making it easy for photographers to compose pictures from even the most unusual or challenging angles. When shooting stills or videos from over their heads or close to the ground, photographers using the V-LUX 2 are always in full control.

In addition to offering an integrated stereo microphone with an electronic wind noise filter that guarantees a crystal-clear soundtrack, the entire 24x zoom range is available during video recording. The LEICA V-LUX 2 is the first Leica digital compact to feature video capture in 1080i-AVCHD Full HD.

One of the world’s fastest consecutive-shooting cameras, the LEICA V-LUX 2 features high-speed burst shooting capability: bursts of 11 frames per second at the full resolution of 14.1 MP, or 60 frames per second with a resolution of 2.8 MP.

Characterised by a compact design and extremely simple handling, the V-LUX 2’s integrated handgrip and light weight allows photographers to shoot one-handed. The camera controls are clearly laid out, ensuring fast and simple operation. For instance, video recording can be started quickly and easily at the touch of a button on the top plate of the camera.

Software

The LEICA V-LUX 2 is supplied with a comprehensive suite of software. Adobe® Photoshop® Elements® 8 provides users with a comprehensive and versatile image editing solution that offers viewing, organisation, administration and a wide range of processing options for still images and video recordings. Also included is Adobe® Premiere® Elements® 8, an easy-to-use package offering video processing for movies recorded by the V-LUX 2 in AVCHD format, and also enabling the creation of professional audio and video effects.

Pricing and availability

The LEICA V-LUX 2 will be available in the UK from October 2010 from authorised Leica dealers including the Leica Store Mayfair: www.leica-storemayfair.co.uk, tel: 020 7629 1351. A full list of authorised UK Leica dealers is available at www.leica-camera.co.uk. The suggested retail price of the LEICA V-LUX 2 is £675 including VAT. An outdoor case will be available for the V-LUX 2 at an SRP of £135 including VAT.

The LEICA V-LUX 2 comes with a two-year warranty and a one-year Leica ‘Passport’ (accidental damage cover).

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