Leica has just announced the bombshell of this Photokina Köln 2012: The Leica M, a really masterful unexpected gamble which instantly becomes the flagship of the most important photographic fair in the world of this year 2012.
Leica M with Apo-Elmarit-R 70-180 mm f/2.8 ASPH zoom lens, Visoflex electronic viewfinder and multifunctional M handgrip.
A DREAM COME TRUE
Both the professionals and advanced connoiseurs using Leica M rangefinder digital cameras like the M9, M9-P and M Monochrom, though happy with the great opto-mechanical performance of the new full frame Leica M series cameras which have been created by the legendary German photographic firm since 2009 and the superb assortment of Leica M aspherical lenses, the smallest and lightest ones ever made for full frame 24 x 36 mm digital sensors, and delivering an image quality second to none between ISO 160 and ISO 1250 in colour (M9 and M9-P) and between ISO 160 and ISO 6400 in black and white (Leica Monochrom) have been yearning after having the chance of using their beloved Leica R lenses and zooms connected to a digital full frame sensor able to exploit as much as possible their huge potential, specially with those sporting focal lengths between 100 mm and 800 mm, many of them world benchmarks in their focal lengths and luminosities like the Apo-Macro Elmarit-R 100 mm f/2.8, the Apo-Summicron-R 90 mm f/2 ASPH (incredibly compact), the Apo-Summicron-R 180 mm f/2 ASPH, the Apo-Elmarit-R 180 mm f/2.8 ASPH, the Leica Apo-Telyt-R 280 mm f/4, and even the six top-notch teleobjectives belonging to the amazing Apo-Telyt-R Module System (Apo-Telyt-R 280 mm f/2.8, Apo-Telyt-R 400 mm f/2.8, Apo-Telyt-R 400 mm f/4, Apo-Telyt-R 560 mm f/4, Apo-Telyt-R 560 mm f/5.6, and Apo-Telyt-R 800 mm f/5.6), without forgetting the four elite Leica R zooms: Vario-Elmar-R 21-35 mm f/3.5-4 ASPH (which can be flawlessly used in architectural shots), the Vario-Elmarit-R 35-70 mm f/2.8 ASPH, the Vario-Elmarit-R 28-90 mm f/2.8-4.5 ASPH and the Vario-Elmarit-R 70-180 mm f/2.8 ASPH
Specially during the last four years, the deep research made and the lectures given by James L. Lager, international authority on Leica topics, on the immense possibilities of Leica R Lenses on full frame digital 24 x 36 mm sensors had foreseen what was in the way, along with some really remarkable attempts to connect the amazing Leica R Lenses on superb full frame professional reflex cameras like Nikon D700, Nikon D3, Nikon D4, Canon EOS 5D, 5DII, etc, attaining great results, specially implemented by Leitax firm.
But the great advantage - among many others - of the new Leica M and its just born state-of-the-art 24 megapixel CMOS full frame digital sensor is that it utterly preserves its M camera nature, very compact dimensions and inherent ability to connect the highly comprehensive array of Leica M lenses, and at the same time enables the attachment of all the Leica R lenses in existence through a top-notch quality adapter, it all with a very little and light Leica M body, much smaller than the professional full frame dslrs from Canon, Nikon or Sony, and the great advantages of comfort of use it means, enhanced by the two choices of external viewfinders (the Visoflex electronic viewfinder and the Leica EVF2), which will make possible a very good vision and shooting handheld or with monopods even with the longest Leica R lenses, with a fostered handling easiness provided by the multifunctional handgrip-M.
Leica M with a newly designed 24 Megapixel Max CMOS image sensor, highly advanced Leica Maestro ipm, Full HD video capability, Live View and full connectivity with the highly comprehensive array of legendary both Leica M and R Lenses. This is undoubtedly the most significant new product of this Photokina Köln 2012.
Leica M with the 11 elements in 8 groups Vario-Elmarit-R 28-90 mm f/2.8-4.5 ASPH zoom lens, with difference the best professional standard zoom ever made, very compact for its range of focal lengths and focusing by means of the front group. All of the elements are grinded, including the two amazing aspherical surfaces (one of them located in the front element - which required a state-of-the-art exclusive precision grinding and polishing method for it - and the other one in the most back element), the two lens elements of highly refractive glass, and the three elements with anomalous partial dispersion, it all resulting in an impressive second to none image quality across the entire range of focal lengths, even at the widest apertures. Besides, it boasts both the best centering of elements and the most advanced, complex and efficient mechanical scheme (optimizing the lens groups shift) ever implemented in a zoom of its class, which was a conundrum highly successfully solved by Leica, which also managed to build a highly complex mechanical scheme.
The Vario-Elmarit-R 28-90 mm lens presented on December 1 2003, was a highly breakthrough design many years ahead of its time, which anticipated the optical and mechanical quality which would be necessary to match the professional zooms with cameras featuring state-of-the-art full frame image sensors (a very difficult mission to tackle, particularly in borders and corners), an optical and mechanical tour de force in itself, featuring an extraordinary assembly accuracy and the best available optical glasses, turning it into a breed of its own and using the most advanced CNC machines and tool drive contrivances specially developed for this astounding all-around performer, with which Leica managed to build a zoom lens that could be used throughout the telephoto and wide angle ranges connected to the full frame digital cameras that Leica could create (beginning with the hybrid Leica R Modul) in the following decades,
delivering a resolving power, sharpness and contrast at every focal length of its range between 28 and 90 mm comparable to the best primes at each one of those five most common fixed focal lengths (28 mm, 35 mm, 50 mm, 75 mm and 90 mm).
It is optically and mechanically better than the excellent Canon EF 24-70 mm f/2.8 L II USM, Nikkor AF-S 24-70 mm f/2.8G ED and the Olympus Zuiko 14-35 mm f/2 ED SWD (equivalent to a 28-70 mm f/2.8 in full frame, because the 4/3 format features much more depth of field), delivering a superior image quality, specially in borders and corners.
On top of the new Leica M camera can be seen the Visoflex EVF, which is inserted in the hotshoe, allowing the use of Leica R lenses.
STATE-OF-THE-ART 24 MEGAPIXEL LEICA MAX CMOS
It is the core of the new Leica M and it is the fruit of a strategic cooperation between Leica Camera AG and CMOSIS, a first-class Belgian firm based in Antwerp and devoted to the creation of very advanced CMOS image sensors, having managed to go beyond the usage of the non linear compression of the signal as a way to tackle the usual limitation of dynamic range by the pixel readout mechanism, developing a new pixel that enables a photodiode readout with a wide dynamic range, which keeps a linear reponse to light.
On the other hand, the global shutter pixel technology implemented by CMOSIS joins together a remarkable shutter efficiency with low read noise by means of a correlated double sampling, as well as being the only global shutter pixel technology compatible with backside illumination devices, it all being fostered by exceedingly fast and accurate column AD converters.
The new custom-designed sensor chip, featuring 6,000 x 4,000 pixels on a 6 x 6 microns/m2 grid across the active area of 36 x 24 mm2, is manufactured by STMicroelectronics (STM) in Grenoble (France), using 300 mm wafers in their IMG175 CIS technology.
The imager for the Leica M is based on a 6 x 6 microns/m2 pixel size, delivering a linear full capacity of 40,000 electrons and a linear dynamic range approaching 76dB.
Pixel data are digitized by patented low-power, high speed 14-bit column AD converters, and the sensor sports an electronic rolling shutter with global reset and noise cancellation through both analog as well as digital correlated double sampling (CDS) resulting in low temporal and spatial noise and non-uniformities.
Special care was taken in the sensor development to reduce crosstalk between neighbouring pixels for a wide range of incident angles. The sensor reduces spatial crosstalk by its very small distance between colur filters and photodiodes. This thin optical stack is optimized for an efficient light coupling into the silicon. Microlenses with a strong curvature and high top height focus the incoming light rays in the center of each pixel´s photodiode, and the resulting low angular sensitivity of the quantum efficiency (QE) at high ray angles was attained by the special features of STM´s 110/90nm CMOS process. It all allows the new Leica M to accept the full assortment of high quality lenses in the camera system, which includes wideangle, large aperture lenses, at their utter optical performance.
Pixel size of 6 x 6 microns/m2 and full frame rate of 5fps are state of the art and comparable to other high end CMOS image sensors used in full frame 24 x 36 mm cameras.
On the other hand, the full frame 24 megapixel CMOS sensor also allows Leica to offer, for the first time, full HDTV video recording and a Live View preview on a Leica M camera.
And power consumption of the sensor chip at full speed and resolution is specified at 700 mW, being housed in a 78-pin ceramic package covered by a customized glass with antireflective coating and near infrared cut-off filter.
Most of the technology and internal components of the full frame 24 megapixel Leica Max CMOS sensor is made in France and Germany, and its extremely low power consumption provide great benefits for image quality and battery life alike.
Though until now the amazing optical and mechanical performance of the Leica M aspherical lenses has anabled the Leica M9 and M9-P to deliver a great image quality with superb DNG archives second to none between ISO 160 and 1250 (something really astounding, because three years are a lot of time in the current digital photographic industry), it was clear that the full blast speed of technology of brands like Sony with its world class digital full frame sensors and Fuji with the great APS-C sensor of its Fuji X-Pro 1 (which in combination with its superb very luminous lenses delivers an image quality more belonging to the full frame scope) were ahead of the 18 megapixel Kodak KAF 18500 CCD of the Leica M9.
It was also clear that the tremendous resolving power and contrast of the Leica M aspherical lenses went clearly far beyond the capabilities of the Kodak KAF-18500, so Leica camera AG has wisely decided to use this new full frame 24 megapixel Leica Max CMOS sensor, which is probably the best 24 x 36 mm digital captor presented in this Photokina Köln 2012 together with the 24 megapixel Sony CMOS Exmor shared by the Sony SLT 99 and the excellent fixed lens compact full frame camera Sony RX1.
Bearing in mind the outstanding results attained during these recent years by the Leica M9 and M9-P with the aforementioned three years old sensor, there can be little doubt to be sure that the symbiosis between the new Leica M body, the 24 megapixels Max CMOS sensor, the Maestro ipm (technology from the Leica S2) and the superb assortment of Leica M aspherical lenses will deliver a really stratospheric image quality, with staggering dynamic range, impressive high ISO capabilities and the deep color and quality inherent to the cream of full frame sensors.
Evidently, it seems clear that the best full frame image sensor in the market presently is the 24 megapixel CMOS Exmor and ipm Bionz of the fixed lens Sony RX1 (identical to the one featured by the Sony SLT full frame camera with intercahngeable lenses), boasting a superb dynamic range, grea colour depth, impressive capabilities at high and extremely high ISOS (native ones up to 25,600, and being able to reach 102,400 using the multiframe choice).
Nevertheless, its eems that something really great has been moving in Leica during the last months until finding a suitable formula of full frame 24 x 36 mm sensor able to draw the maximum possible potential of the highly luminous Leica M ASPH lenses, whose quality level goes far beyond all the 24 x 36 mm sensors currently existing.
During the presentation party of the new 26 megapixel Leica M in Köln, Andreas Kaufmann commented that the new 24 megapixel full frame Max CMOS sensor ´is superior to the existing CMOS of other cameras´, which is highly meaningful, since the full frame CMOS sensors of the Sony RX1, Sony LST 99, Nikon D800 and D600 are extraordinary and feature huge capabilities at high and very high isos.
Therefore, it seems apparent that both because of iso limits (6,400) of the new 24 megapixel Leica M and the previous background of Leica in the digital scope, in which Leica has given more importance to other factors decisively leading to the maximum possible of image quality, the new full frame 24 megapixel Leica M won´t have the tremendous capabilities of the aforementioned excellent full frame cameras from Sony and Nikon.
Then, what could be Andreas Kaufmann be speaking about?
In my viewpoint, there is a high probability that he was referring to the fact that the new full frame 24 megapixel Max CMOS could deliever the best dynamic range generated hitherto by a full frame digital captor.
And it could make sense, because Leica aims are not focused in striving after getting colossal sensitivities between 12.000 ISO and 50.000 ISO and even reaching 100,000 ISO or more, undoubtedly remarkable technological breakthroughs, though it seems clear, as many professional photographers have explained, that with an ISO capability up to 6,400 you have got more then necessary sensitivity to tackle shooting handheld vast majority of photographic contexts or assignments.
The users of Leica M cameras and lenses do know very well the tremendous suitability of this photographic system for hand and wrist shooting without any trepidation, which is its natural biotope where it works better, taking advantage of the very small camera size for its format, the lack of mirror and the great luminosity, very light weight and exceedingly small size of its lenses, so a full frame sensor with sensitivity capability up to 6,400 ISO is probably more than enough.
Therefore, Leica priority was to manage to create a top-notch full frame sensor drawing the maximum possible image quality of world class M lenses like the Summicron-M 28 mm f/2 ASPH, Summilux-M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH, Summicron-M 35 mm f/2 ASPH, Summilux-M 50 mm f/1.4 ASPH, Apo-Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 ASPH, Apo-Summicron-M 75 mm f/2 ASPH, Apo-Summicron-M 90 mm f/2 ASPH and others.
And the clues suggest that CMOSIS firm has risen above itself.
To achieve a state-of-the-art full frame sensor combining the maximum resolving power and contrast technologically feasible, with an unprecedented dynamic range in the sphere of the 24 x 36 mm digital captors, along with an amazing colour depth and accuracy, it all complemented by a remarkable acutance, was the only way for Leica and also for CMOSIS, STMicroelectronics and some small German technological concerns, which have shared strenuous efforts manufacturing different components of the new 24 megapixel Max COMOS image sensor, because working for a firm with the prestige of Leica Camera Ag was for all of them a unique oportunity to avail themselves of.
This way, if the Leica M9 has been enduring things very well for three years with a 18 megapixel CCD Kodak KAF-18500 (greatly thanks to the unmatched quality of the Leica M ASPH lenses), the new Leica M featuring a 24 megapixel Max CMOS (made accoring to very stringent specifications given by Leica, emulating to the utmost the image quality of the cream of currently existing CCDs, but greatly increasing the performance at high isos up to 6,400 and simultaneously making possible the full HD 1080 video recording), there can be little doubts to have the certainty that the new 24 megapixel Leica M in association with the Maestro ipm and the Leica M ASPH lenses, will deliver a much sharper and detailed image than the Leica M9 and M9-P, together with exceptional tonal range and acutance, perhaps approaching in colour to the results obtained in black and white by the Leica Monochrom.
THE BEST AND MOST COMPLETE DIGITAL FULL FRAME LEICA M EVER MADE
Though its great capability to accept vast majority of Leica R Lenses will be a highly esteemed feature of this camera, we mustn´t forget that first and foremost it is a digital full frame 24 x 36 mm Leica M rangefinder camera, truly the best ever and with difference the most complete manufactured hitherto, increasing the capabilities and scope of the Leica M System to incredible levels which will consolidate the Leica M Full Format Digital System even more, getting high marks in spheres like Full HD 1080 Video, Live View, built-in GPS in the M handgrip, EVFs and many other new features.
Fifty-eight years after the launching into market of the Leica M3 designed by Willi Stein, which marked the beginning of the Mirrorless Leica M Rangefinder System,
Daniel Zirinsky, an authority on Leica topics. He has been a photographer with Leica screwmount and M cameras for sixty-four years since 1948. Born in 1927, he was one of the first users of mirrorless full frame Leica M System of Cameras and Lenses in mid fifties, just after the launching of the Leica M3 in Photokina Köln 1954, and he has got one of the best Leica Literature libraries in the world, including original instruction books and information on the rarest cameras given to him by Ernst Leitz III. Here he appears with a Leica 1 Model C Standard Mount from 1931 (the first full frame compact mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses in the world, thanks to a lens mounting flange to film plane distance fixed at 28.8 mm) with Leitz Elmar 5 cm f/3.5 and solid leather case. The new 24 megapíxels Leica M just presented is the opto-mechanical and versatility quality pinnacle of the compact mirrorless full frame cameras with interchangeable lenses, whose history began in 1931. Photo: José Manuel Serrano Esparza
and three after the inception of the Leica M-9, the first digital full frame Leica M camera in history, the legendary German photographic firm has just presented the new Leica M featuring a 24 megapixel Max CMOS image sensor
and including a number of new significant features and improvements like the possibility of using the very wide range of top-notch Leica R lenses between 21 and 800 mm, Full HD 1080 video recording, Live View with an exceedingly accurate 10x zoom enabling a very precise focusing with medium and long tele lenses, Visoflex EVF, multifunctional handgrip enabling a very comfortable handling shooting handheld with long focal distance Leica R objectives, GPS, bright framelines for each M coupled lens through a highly sophisticated system of illumination with LEDs similar to the one used by the Leica M9 Titanium, and others.
Only seven years ago, in 2005, it was absolutely unthinkable the very significant leap in quality and versatility of Leica M System which has just taken place with the appearance of the new mirrorless full frame 24 megapixel Leica M, clearly setting up the beginning of a new stage in a photographic system that has proved its capabilities for almost sixty years, amd which is the most enduring photographic system along with the Nikon F one created by Masahiko Fuketa in 1959.
As a matter of fact, the presentation party of the new 24 megapixel Leica M in Cologne (Germany), during the previous day to the opening of Photokina 2012, was full of symobolism and history, and became a homage to a photographic system which with its great qualities (and limitations that also sports) has captured many of the most glorious pages in the History of Photography, and moments of deep emotion were lived, with the presence of Kim Phuc, Barbara Klemm, Nick Ut, Steve McCurry, David Burnett, Sara T´Rula, Anthony Suau, Jens Steffen Galster, Matthias Frei, Thorsten Overgaard, Birgit Krippner, Andreas Kaufmann, Alfred Schopf, Stefan Daniel, Christian Erhardt, Kelsey Fain, Jesko von Oeynhausen, David Farkas and many other personalities related with Leica brand and its history.
Thanks to this function, activated through a specific LV button for it located on the back of the camera, photographers equipped with the new Leica M will have access to utterly new photographic chances, being able to take advantage of the remarkable performance of both Leica M and R Lenses, going far beyond the capabilities of rangefinder M photography.
Besides, the Live View zoom option enables 10x magnification, with a highly useful Focus Peaking function activated through a round button placed on the front of the camera, just under the white M letter, slightly on the right, which highlights the subject and its contours to help to attain an exceedingly accurate focusing.
It is true that the focusing accuracy with the rangefinder of the camera with Leica M lenses is excellent, but the possibility of using correct focusing confirmation on the screen on using the Leica R lenses (specially medium range lenses and long teleobjectives between 180 and 800 mm) coupled through a special Leica adapter, is very helpful.
Apo-Macro-Elmarit-R 100 mm f/2.8, featuring 8 elements in 6 groups. A genuine Double-Gauss design taken to the limit and one of the best lenses ever made, delivering an amazing resolving power and contrast, being currently one of the world benchmarks in that regard, also boasting an oustanding mechanical construction.
Lenses like this were made to professionally being used for many decades of flawless working.
Apo-Telyt-R 400 mm f/2.8 featuring a multiconfiguration design with 10 elements in 8 groups, integrated in a front group with 4 elements, a central group with 3 elements and a third group with 5 elements. Real Leica R optical and mechanical jewels like this will greatly extend their working life in synergy with the state-of-the-art 24 megapixel full frame Max CMOS image sensor of the new Leica M and the Visoflex EVF inserted in the hotshoe.
The APO Telyt system consists of three different focusing modules and two lens heads. They are connected via a locking bayonet fitting which attains the adequate alignment. Attaching the smaller head, you can use the focus modules to create a 280 f2.8, 400 f4, and 560 f5.6, while attaching the larger head you can get a 400 f2.8, 560 f4, and 800 f5.6.This way, the Leica M turns into the craved solution for the full digital integration of the Leica R legendary objectives, which achieved their maximum opto-mechanical quality levels during the stage of the great team of the Leica Camera AG Office of Optical Design directed by Lothar Kölsch and which included some world class optical designers like Sigrun Kammans, Horst Schröeder and Peter Karbe from 1990, with the setting up of a competence center for aspherical lenses technology in Solms (Germany).
A new digital life has just begun for the legendary Leica R lenses, and the Live View will enable the photographers handling the new full frame 24 megapixels Leica M camera to compose using the real image made by the lens, with utter control of depth of field, exposure, accurate framing and exceedingly precise focusing with the Live View Focusing choice, with the invaluable help of the 3 " TFT screen allowing a very thorough evaluation of the subject seen through the lens, and the flawless expansion of the system into macro and medium, long and very long telephoto domain, until now out of reach of the Leica M System
EXTENDED HIGH SENSITIVITY UP TO ISO 6400
This is another of the most important sides of the new Leica M, because the Leica M9 and M9-P are able to get impressive image quality between ISO 160 and 1250, and very good at ISO 2000 ( as proved by Brian Bower) if the exposure is accurate, but the tremendous improvements made by Canon, Nikon, and Sony with their full frame sensors at high sensitivities have made Leica (among other factors) to change the three years old Kodak KAF-18500 CCD for this brand new and far superior state-of-the-art 24 megapixel Leica Max full frame 24 x 36 mm sensor, which from now on will be a key element in synergy with the Maestro ipm and the Leica M aspherical lenses to probably deliver the best existing image yielded by a full format digital camera along with the also mirrorless compact Sony RX1 and its state-of-the art CMOS Exmor 24 megapixel sensor with Bionz ipm.
Apo-Telyt-R 280 mm f/4 featuring 7 elements in 6 groups, the best long telephoto lens in the range 280-300 mm ever made, with a potential of brutal resolving power around 260 lines/mm which goes far beyond the capabilities of Kodak Technical Pan, Adox CMS 20 and Argenti Nanotomic-X b & w films. It is better at f/4 than the extraordinary Canon 300 mm f/2.8 IS II, Carl Zeiss Tele-Apotessar T* 300 mm f/2.8, AFS Nikkor 300 mm f/2.8 G ED VR II and Olympus Zuiko Auto-T 350 mm f/2.8 ED-IF. The chance of using the new full frame 24 megapixel Leica M (which weighs 680 g, id est, 110 g less than the Leica R9 - 790 g, featuring measures of 158 x 101 x 62 mm- and much smaller in dimensions -139 x 42 x 80 mm - ) with its state-of-the-art 24 x 36 mm Max CMOS image sensor connected to this wonder of optical and mechanical design (diffraction limited at f/5.6, and delivering better image quality at f/4 than at f/8) for handheld or monopod shooting at high isos without the reflex mirror bump, with a much lesser camera shake and trepidation than dslr full frame cameras, bringing about higher sharpness in the pictures on photographing both with the Apo-Telyt-R 280 mm f/4 and the rest of Leica R long teleobjectives and zooms, could be something really great. And the Leica Apo-Extender-R 1.4 x attached to the Apo-Telyt-R 280 mm f/4 makes possible to have a very high performance 400 mm f/5.6 lens coupled to the new Leica M.
Needless to say that the possibility of using the Leica M and R aspherical lenses of different focal lengths shooting handheld with the new full frame 24 megapixels Leica M camera at high sensitivities up to ISO 6400 with hardly any degradation in image quality, can be a relish and will open new chances of making photographs in extremely dim environments without using flash and keeping the genuine atmosphere of the location and moment.
VERY STURDY CONSTRUCTION TO ENDURE A HARD PROFESSIONAL USE
The Leica M is a truly professional workhorse, manufactured with the most noble metals, mainly magnesium alloy in most of the body, reinforced by brass on top and bottom plates.
Besides, the camera is very well protected against moisture, dust and rain, with rubber seals, clearly beating in this regard the Leica M9 and M9-P.
3 INCH AND 920,000 PIXELS LCD SCREEN
Back view of the new full frame 24 megapixel Leica M camera. On top right we see the knurled thumb dial (which can be used after pressing the front Focus Peaking Mode button located under the M white letter of the camera front and the LV key on top left of the 3 inch TFT screen). As we progressively turn it, we´ll be increasing the magnification until reaching 10x magnification. To use this focusing method with highly luminous amazing Walter Mandler´s designs like Noctilux-M 50 mm f/1 and Summilux-M 75 mm f/1.4 highlighting the photographed subjects and rendering amazing bokehs could be something perfectly attainable with a control of both focusing accuracy and depth of field much higher than what was possible hitherto with Leica M cameras.
It is another of the significant new features of the new full frame Leica M, being made from special hard anti-scratch Gorilla Glass.
LED ILLUMINATION OF THE BRIGHT-LINE FRAMES IN THE VIEWFINDER GREATLY INHERITED FROM THE LEICA M9 TITANIUM
The new Leica M with 24 megapixel full frame Max CMOS has a further significant feature greatly inherited nothing less than from the Leica M9 Titanium: the LED illumination of the bright-line frames in the viewfinder.
This way, the Leica M brightline frames in the viewfinder for lenses of different focal lengths are illuminated with LEDs, showing in red or white colour the frame lines of a specific focal length - the one of the attached lens at every moment- , instead of showing the frame of two focal lengths at the same time once a specific lens is attached or previously by means of a frame selector lever as happens with the Leica M-9 and M9-P.
In the same way as happens with the Leica M9 Titanium (whose LED lit framelines were only in red), in the new Leica M the focal lengths are read by means of an electronic system based on an artificial luminous source sporting red or white frame lines (adapting themselves to the lighting levels of every place) illuminated by LEDs which have replaced the traditional window introducing natural light that projected in pairs within the viewfinder with the framing lines corresponding to lenses of various focal lengths thanks to a complex system of masks, whose origin dates back to the viewfinder patented in 1941 by Willi Stein with bright-line frames and founded upon the second Albada Principle, a flat semitransparent mirror featuring a collimation lens for the bright-line frames which combines with a prism telescopic rangefinder.
A HISTORICAL PHOTOKINA
In spite of the widespread economical crisis, in my viewpoint this Photokina 2012 has been very interesting, with four milestones which have clearly marked the largest and most important photographic fair in the world:
a) The presentation by Sony of the excellent RX1, the first digital full frame camera with fixed lens in history, featuring a great beauty of lines and a state-of-the-art 24 megapixel CMOS Exmor featuring a great resolving power and contrast, along with a superb tonal range and colour depth.
b) The presentation by Leica of the new full frame 24 megapixel Leica M, featuring a comprehensive array of new functions and capacities which outstandingly increase the scope of Leica M System, including the sphere of HD 1080 full digital video recording of very high quality, as well as enabling the coupling of Leica R lenses.
c) The presentation by Nikon of the full frame dslr Nikon D600, with a remarkable price/performance ratio and an excellent 24 x 36 mm CMOS sensor featuring huge capabilities at high and very high isos.
d) The presentation by Canon of the full frame dslr Canon 6d, which together with the Nikon D600 may have meant a turning point from which there will be a generalized price drop of full frame dslr cameras as a market trend.