Leica went on a rampage at Photokina 2014 recently, rolling out a barrage of new cameras, lenses and accessories in one fail swoop. World renowned for its top-class material build, award-winning industrial design and outstanding camera optics, the German optic specialist has introduced a selected range to Malaysian shores.
In an exclusive private viewing session with Leica customers, guests and selected media, Leica showcased the Leica X mirrorless camera, V-Lux and D-Lux compact cameras. Mathieu Musnier, Area Sales Manager SEA, Leica Camera Asia briefly narrated the history of Leica and its heritage in world-class photography. Special guest professional photographer Ming Thein showcased some extraordinary photos taken with the three new cameras.
I had the opportunity to use the Leica X and V-Lux during a recent Leica Photowalk with photographer/comedian Prakash Daniel.
The new Leica X features a new Leica Summilux 23mm f/17 ASPH. prime lens and a 16.5MP APS-C CMOS sensor that’s large for this camera class. The sensor has a crop factor of 1.5x in comparison to classic 35mm film format.
Coupled with the amazing lens, images are equivalent to 35mm format. The new lens delivers beautiful bokeh, and is almost insensitive to flare and ghosting. Images are clear and incredibly sharp — from infinity to its closest focus distance of 0.2m.
As you would expect from the German craftsmen, the Leica X is beautifully built — from the high-quality metal body to its control elements. The front and rear body shells are magnesium, whilst the top deck and baseplate made from anodised aluminium.
The camera weighs in at 486g with battery.
This reminds me of the delicious unibody Leica T, that’s unimstakably Leica.
The camera is available as a discreet black version with colour-matched leather trim and silver version with brown leather trim.
The Leica V-Lux is the latest digital compact camera that’s a talented all-rounder combining a high-performance lens, superior imaging qualities and a compact form factor. The Leica DC Vario-Elmarit 9.1-146mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. super zoom lens is highly versatile, suited for myriad situations — from macro to extreme telephoto.
Thanks to the zoom lens, you effective get 25-400mm zoom equivalent in 35mm format. Initial apertures of f/2.8 (wide angle) and f/4 (telephoto) the lens enables super sharp and finely detailed exposures. The V-Lux comes with a large 1-inch APS-C CMOS sensor, ensuring bright and clear pictures, even in low light. It’s killer feature though, is its superfast autofocus system — great for moving subjects and sporting events.
You will also benefit from continuous shooting capabilities — up to 12 frames per second at full resolution. Outstanding. Four those into video, you’ll be chuffed to know that the V-Lux shoots in 4K format, yes, four times that of Full HD. Aside from its axis rotate-and-tilt multi-3-inch LCD, the V-Lux also has a 2.4MP, OLED EVF.
A useful feature is the integrated Wi-Fi module that allows remote control from your smartphone or tablet and also wireless media transfer. Leica Image Shuttle app can be downloaded for free for iOS and Android.
This handy compact camera features a fast Leica DC Vario-Summilux 10.9-34mm f/1.7-2.8 ASPH zoom lens with a practical zoom range equivalent to 24-75mm 2in 35mm format. An improvement from the previous model, it now offers a larger Four Thirds sensor.
The large sensor offers an impressive IOS sensitivity of 25600, offering outstanding image quality in both available-light and low-light situations. The elegant D-Lux is feature-packed, and now includes an EVF with 2.8MP and built-in Wi-Fi and NFC, a first in the D-Lux line. With NFC and Wi-Fi, you can use your smartphone or tablet as a remote control/trigger, as well as easily transfer your images and videos via Wi-Fi.
Download the free Leica Image Shuttle app for iOS and Android. The camera comes complete with a Leica CF D flash unit. More information and full specs available at www.leica-camera.com
Pricing and availability
The Leica X, Leica V-Lux and Leica D-Lux are available at Leica Stores and Boutiques at Avenue K, Starhill Gallery, The Gardens Mall and Suria Sabah. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is provided together with every purchase of the new Leica cameras.
The new range of Leica cameras are beautiful and offer different perspectives of owning a Leica. For a taste of the finer things in life, there’s the Leica X — strikingly beautiful (especially coupled with accompanying carrying strap). It’s gorgeous in every way, and reminiscent of the recently launched Leica T. It will turn heads, so get used to it.
In terms of performance, autofocus and user input are notable improvements over the Leica T and with Wi-Fi built-in, you’ll get those gorgeous pics shared on the interweb in no time. My favourite of the lot, as experienced during the recent Leica Photowalk, is the V-Lux. It’s incredibly versatile — perfect for event photography, street shooting, close-ups.
Easy-to-handle, extremely fast, it lacks the bulk of a DSLR yet performs just like one. IMHO, it’s may be the perfect start for someone looking to start Leica ownership, if you’re not into buying lenses and such.
The D-Lux would be perfect for travel, and almost anything really. Don’t let its diminutive form fool you because it’s powerful, superfast and you’ll appreciate the end results. For the casual photographer, this is perfect.