Well, I am just back from the official press event for the launch of the Leica M9, S2 and X1 - all of which make it look like Leica is back to making cameras that they can be proud of. It has been some time since they have done something this impressive without the assistance of Panasonic. The X1, for instance, is entirely Leica. Panasonic were not involved - so I was informed. The X1 looks like a fabulous little 'street camera' but at $2700 AUS its not a cheap option. But you can always count on Leica to have a high price - even if its Panasonic equivalent is 50% of the Leica model.
The M9 is a 35mm size sensor digital rangefinder camera that accepts Leica's legendary M series lenses. It is a serious step up from the M8 in that it is what is commonly called 'full frame' (I hate that stupid expression - all cameras are full frame) and Leica has addressed the 'issues' that have been inherent in the M8 - so we are told. Master Photographer John Laham was on hand tonight to talk about his passion for all things Leica and his new found love for the M9 was quite contagious. Although at a $10K price tag, not that contagious.
The S2 sells in Australia for about $43K. It is a 37.5 Megapixel camera with a 30x45mm sensor. It will rival everything in its class, but with the added advantage of 35mm body handling and a completely sealed camera, unlike its contemporaries that require digital backs.
This kind of resolution matched with the kind of superb optical quality for which Leica lenses are renowned will make this camera one for that elite group of photographers whose work can actually make a beautiful piece of equipment pay for itself.
Unfortunately that does not include the likes of me...