Leica Stuns With M9 And X1 Cameras

There are cameras, and then there are Leicas. Those who use them swear by them, and those that don't typically wish they could afford them. There's no doubt that each and every Leica is pricey, but each and every Leica looks like a million bucks and generally performs equally well.

In the midst of news flowing from the likes of Apple, Dell and Motorola, this camera company decided to go ahead and reveal two new offerings this week in the M9 and X1. The M9 is a full-frame "rangefinder," with an incredible 18MP image sensor, support for M System lenses, and a newly developed glass sensor cover designed to guarantee the suppression of the infrared portion of the light spectrum, avoiding the need to mount special UV/IR filters. There's also a new ISO adjustment button and a set button for accessing the other commands. At just 139 × 37 × 80mm, the LEICA M9 maintains the compact size of the LEICA M8, but the larger sensor will certainly allow for even larger commercial banners to be printed. The M9 is available in two different styles: a standard black with ‘vulkanit’ finish, and for the first time, a version in steel-grey with classic leatherette finish. Unfortunately, you'll have to pay £4,850 (over $8,000) to own one when it ships later this year.

As for the X1, that's a bit more "novice." It's labeled a "compact," with a 12.1MP CMOS sensor in APS-C format. It ships with a LEICA ELMARIT 1:2.8/24 mm lens, and according to Leica, it boasts an easy to understand layout that even those new to Leica will "get." The camera packs a maximum ISO of 3200, loads of manual controls and a 2.7" rear LCD. You should know, however, that Leica has thrown out the typical viewfinder and replaced it with Live View, so some camera purists may be offended by such a notion. Leica isn't ready to hand over pricing details on this one just yet, though it should be out by Q1 2010.

Tags:  DSLR, camera, leica, m9, x1