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Leica Mini M

See Guide to Leica for more on the Leica M Typ 240 and Leica M9 and lenses.

Try putting that Micro M in your pocket. Naming disparate red-dot cameras by volume in a veiling haze of nomenclature does not enhance the luxury appeal or help buyers understand the differences: it makes it harder. Super-size me with a Leica Jumbo M (since “M” now stands for meaningless).

“First to know more”: you and another million people, after the press.

Leica Mini M teaser

UPDATE May 28: apparently I gave Leica way too much credit for original thinking. Allegedly, the new Mini M is to be a not so pocketable 16-megapixel APS-C camera with a fixed f/3.5-6.4 28-70mm equivalent, and with optional EVF. An auditory analogy comes to mind: a cooked sweet potato hitting the floor.

Analysis

Let’s look at the existing pricing lineup:

  • Leica M Typ 240: $6950, unobtanium due to involve manufacturing process.
  • Leica M-E: $5450, 4-year-old technology somewhat more available.
  • Leica Mini: $where-is-the-$3500-model?
  • Leica X2: $1995, twice the price of cameras its equal or better.
  • Leica D-Lux 6: $799 with a tiny sensor and f/1.4 - f/2.3 lens.

Observations:

  • There is a $3450 price gap between the yawner fixed-lens X2 and the yesterday’s-tech M-E.
  • The X2 delivers nothing you can't get for half the price and has no EVF.
  • Plenty of people need an EVF for vision reasons.
  • Plenty of people want autofocus, but this would mean a huge new R&D commitment.
  • Not everyone needs full frame (the Leica M8 was fine for many uses), but at higher price points, buyers generally want interchangeable lenses.
  • Lenses M lenses form the bulk of Leica’s product line in sales volume.

So what makes sense here? A camera with a red dot that fills the price gap hole with what people want and need that will move people into the M line and help sell every lens Leica M can make (for which prices are raised every year for 4 years running now):

  • Interchangeable M lens mount.
  • APS-C sensor of ~16 megapixels or (less likely), with a decent chance of an APS-H sensor of ~18 megapixels (“the refreshed M8” aka the “Mini M” ).
  • Possible announcement of new ultra wide angle lens (14mm perhaps), so that such a cropped-frame camera could have a real wide angle lens.
  • EVF option but not built-in: this would make it more attractive than the M Typ 240 for many buyers, including me. Which would suck (externally), so I hope I am mistaken.
  • $3500 price point or thereabouts.

Less likely:

  • No interchangeable lenses, but fixed lens 28-50 Bi-Elmarit lens or better yet, a slick 24-35-50 Tri-Elmarit (even less likely).
  • Built-in EVF.
  • New lens line and/or autofocus lenses.
  • Fixed lens design.
  • Full-frame sensor or 24-megapixel sensor.

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