updated 09:55 am EDT, Mon September 15, 2008
Leica Camera Updates
Camera maker Leica has refreshed its line with a set of new models that keep it up to date with rivals. The M8.2 (pictured) refreshes Leica's retro rangefinder camera but primarily focuses on the design itself. The compact is the first professional camera to use a scratch-resistant, sapphire-coated LCD similar to luxury cellphones that provides much tougher protection than glass. The outside has also been reworked with a vulcanite-style finish that preserves the rest of the shell without altering the vintage looks.
Also promised with the update are a quieter, calmer focal plane shutter, a snapshot mode for times when speed is more important than ideal settings and an improved charger. Leica has so far only focused on Europe for the introduction but says the UK price will sit at £3990 ($7,099) after tax. The company normally releases these cameras in the US.
Two Panasonic-derived cameras are also part of the introduction. The D-Lux 4 is functionally identical to the 10-megapixel Lumix LX3 and is regarded in Leica trim as a descendant of the M8; the device has an unusually larger 1/1.63 sensor that reduces noise and allows the camera both to shoot in lower light as well as to capture wide-angle shots at the closer ranges of its 24-60mm lens. Like the Japanese camera, the D-Lux supports HD video out. Leica asks a premium and will price the fourth-generation camera at £590 ($1,050) for its October launch in the UK.
The C-Lux 3 mirrors the Lumix FX37 and is pitched as a slim designer camera with full automatic functions as an option. It too shoots at 10 megapixels but has a slightly narrower 25mm minimum focus. The camera is priced higher than the FX37 at £420 ($747) and also appears in October.