Tuesday, August 30, 2011

POV: Is Leica Making A Micro Four Thirds?

I am not in the prediction business, and I'm not a technophile...I'm just a camera user, who just a few months ago, bought a Leica M9 as a street photography tool, and use a Panasonic GF1 for everyday photography. I'm also a long time Canon cameras user, but those I use for my travel photography business.

Having laid down my iron-clad qualifications for being an "fallible predictor", I read with interest many of what has been written in blogs by people with more industry insight and technological expertise than I, and who predict the advent of a Leica M10 (and possibly a new series of more advanced M lenses AF capability) and others who say that a smaller new mirror-less design is in the offing.

I throw my hat with the latter. The electronic viewfinder interchangeable lenses cameras offer the image shooting quality and flexibility of a digital SLR and the portability of a digital point and shoot....and have been a huge hit with consumers, pro-consumers and professionals. Why wouldn't Leica seek to enter that market?

The current line-up for Leica digital cameras are the S2 DSLR ($23,000), the M9 rangefinder ($7000), the X-1 ($2000), the D-Lux 5 ($800) and the V-Lux 30 ($750). I can see a gap between the X1 and the M9 in terms of price point...a $3500 Micro Four Thirds could fit very well in that gap.

Naturally, it would require a couple of new AF lenses...could they'd be manufactured in Japan? I know. That's the weakest link in my predictive chain.

That being said, I really feel there's an enormous market for such a camera in Leica's line up. It would not cannibalize sales from the range finder crowd, and would induce the buyers of the point and shoot models to spend more to acquire a more versatile tool.

How much would I bet that Leica will announce such a product at Photokina? About $5.

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