June 11th 2013: The new Leica “Mini” will be revealed! So what is it?

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June 11th 2013: The new Leica will be revealed. A smaller M? A fixed lens RX1 competitor? An APS-C M mount?

Leica hit us with a surprise announcement today and it looks like it will be quite special and possibly something everyone has been waiting for. With their new  factory set to open soon it seems they have been hard at work getting ready to deliver something new for us to Salivate over.

The new “family member” will be announced on June 11th so stay tuned. 

From the looks of it, this will be a smaller IC camera (interchangeable lens). Just because they are calling it “The Mini M” does not mean it will take M lenses as they are dubbing the X2 and D-Lux 6 “M’s” as well. They are placing this new one between the new M 240 and the X2 which they are dubbing “Micro”.

I see this as one of three things:

A: It could be a “Mini M” that takes M lenses, sort of a dumbed down 240. Smaller and lighter on features. Priced at $3995 this would be a home run grand slam hit. But if that is the case, there would be mass cancellations of the M 240 orders, which they can not even keep up with. So this is not likely. 

B: It could also be an all new camera..Something like a new Full Frame Sony RX1 copy,  like a fixed lens M camera. Hmmmm. Id also say this would come in at around $4000. It would be pretty cool. 

C: It could also be something like a new “M inspired” APS-C or Micro 4/3 mount camera. With an APS-C using the M mount, it would compete with the Sony NEX series or Fuji X series, both of which have cut into Leica’s sales in the past two years. So if Leica released a smaller body APS-C sensor M, it would also be quite the hit. $3500? This is MY guess. 

I guess we will all see on June 11th! hehehe.

Whatever it is, it is exciting to see Leica release something new!

I also believe it will be Made in Germany.  What do YOU think it is?

Vote in my Poll below!

[polldaddy poll=7124140]

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120 Comments

  1. Steve, it’s only fair that there be a prize for the guess that’s closest? Let’s all guess what the prize should be! I say Leica would award the winner the new camera 🙂 !

  2. Leica is made in Germany and Portugal and… They just get the official percentage right for a “made in Germany” stamp. Which does not bother me further. It’s the same quality, both contribute to the same final product.

    New Mini M? Not APS-C, not Full, not a fixed RX-1 copy, to not compete against any of the main M set.
    It’ll be a m4/3 like sensor, EVF or Hybrid Viewfinder, on a Lecia M prepared mount, to use new Leica-lenses or old via an adapter on it. Competing against Fuji with similar-quality Sensor-size with higher-quality-brand lenses at somewhat higher price, well below M.
    More compact, than a Fuji E-1/X-Pro-1.

    The big new manufacturing site indicates Leica is looking for additional Markets, not consolidation.

    • That would my my thought, bigger market, means new platform. They already have years of experience with the m43, i use my Summicron M 35 on the m43 now, so, it’s a logical natural expansion.

  3. I am going for a new M8 or X ICL, with some improvements like ISO perf, FP, IS… Love the. X ICL idea

  4. how about EVF, with aps-c sensor that will take all the M lenses and the result is the same as FF (no crop). How? use the same technology as metabone speed booster 🙂

  5. Option A, probably my wishful choice… The backed up 240 orders is in fact the very business reason why this option would actually help them engage with customers they would otherwise lose to Sony and Fuji. Smaller than M, same size/res display as M240, FF, EVF compatible, M mount, no optical RF but a digital TTL focus that is better than the X100s. May be initially, it will come with a 35mm removable AF Elmarit.

  6. I hope it’s exactly the same as an M240 but with a much smaller price tag. I love my M9 but really, £5100 for a new M240, another £2500 after I’ve sold my current one… Yes there’s a lot of great German engineering in a Leica, but there’s a lot of that in a Volkswagon too and you can have one for the same price as an M9 and 35 Lux

  7. I think it might be easy to guess here using a bit of deductive, or SWOT analysis.

    What are Leica’s strengths?

    What are Leica’s weaknesses?

    What are their opportunities?

    What are their threats?

    By looking at who is the biggest competitive threat to Leica right now and where there are gaps in their product lineup, IMO a likely answer starts to emerge.

    It won’t be a dumbed-down full-sized M. With the M-E in place, that’s too much bifurcation in their lineup.

    It won’t be the new X. The new X is the new X and this this Mini M is clearly being touted as something all new.

    I think it unlikely that Leica will bother with a competitor to the Sony RX-1. That’s a lot of development and resource allocation for a company of their size to compete with what is still largely a niche experiment for Sony.

    I agree with Steve here. Fuji’s X-Series is Leica’s biggest direct threat right now. As has been surmised by some, I would anticipate an APS-C sized M-inspired camera that is capable of taking M lenses, but may offer something new into the mix that beats back Fuji’s new technological innovations (or tries to), and does so at a price point that makes owning an interchangeable lens — technically more advanced Leica — a bit more affordable…but still without diluting too much brand cachet.

    The fact that Leica has also managed to keep this relatively quiet up to this point also tells me that they want to come out of left field with a bit of a splash.

    This could be a very, very interesting camera indeed!

  8. Let’s hope its not a overpriced under-performing camera like the X1 or X2? Leica should stick at what they do best really…….

  9. If it was a full frame or APC and took M lens. If an EVF was part of, or add on. I would buy it. The range finder portion of any M is more than likely a large part of the cost of the camera. When would this Leica come on the market? It would be like an X2 with interchangable lens.

  10. If its a Leica version of the Sony RX-1 with built in EVF Im in. Perfect travel camera.

  11. I think the answer is in the nearest lauch of fuji x2-pro. Leica have a gap to bridge between the ice on the cake, the M240 (ME included=false M9), and the Leica x2. Which fit best in this place? Something like the fuji: APS-C, interchangeable lenses and rangefinder. On the other hand I’m sure it’s not going to be cheap. I guess close to 3000-4000$.

  12. Wow, lots of fantasies running loose here! My thinking based just on the evidence of the promo image:

    — Looking at the way they applied the “micro” and “nano” labels, “mini” simply means physically smaller than an M240.

    — Since they are applying the “M” label even to the rebadged Lumix, we can’t assume an M mount or interchangeable lenses.

    To me — although this is NOT what I myself would want! — the most logical thing to assume would be a fixed-lens “ultraluxury” compact, similar in concept to the Sony RX-1, but with the M240 sensor and maybe an EVF.

    Let’s face it, most of the people who actually buy Leica Ms are NOT serious photographers who need the unique advantages of an interchangeable-lens rangefinder camera. They are casual photographers who are ultra-rich and enjoy indulging themselves with exclusive luxury items. The complexities of an M240, with its interchangeable lenses and optical rangefinder, do not actually add any benefit for them. They would be much more satisfied and much happier with a camera that focuses automatically, has more automated features, and has a fixed lens… provided, of course, that it has a suitably premium appearance and “feel.”

    This would be an easy and very profitable product for Leica to make. As I said, it is not what I myself would want, but I think it’s the most likely fit for their current brand strategy of focusing on rock stars, Middle Eastern potentates, and the like, with actual photographers allowed to come along for the ride…

    • 2nd thoughts… seems obvious now but most likely this mini, micro, nano thing is not really a sign of a full-on M brand rethink, just marketing department M-centric fun and games. Linking the M label with lesser cameras in their range at this early stage looks like a softening up strategy for an M that has some part of its traditional design altered, reduced or missing. To me this suggests either no RF, reduced sensor size or maybe a fixed lens. If it is to be a fixed lens surely an M would have to be full frame to compete with the RX1.

      • …oops, meant to tag this on to my comment but had been reading yours at the time (seems no way to edit). I take your point about most new customers likely not wanting to faff about changing lenses. Zoom and AF would be the ideal for this market, likely way too bulky for full frame but maybe possible with a smaller sensor, who knows. Unlikely ever to be an M though I would have thought.

  13. it is a A Leica M without the rangefinder. Effectively an RX1 but with interchangable lenses.

    Leica like their firsts….

  14. “B” seems to me the more logical… As about an M4/3 camera, I bet that with the latest M4/3 sensors smoking out completely APS-C and being aggressive towards FF, Leica response will be the same as Canikon: instead of making a camera that will compete in the same slice of their market of APS-C, pretend to be in the early 2000 and Micro 4/3 doesn’t even exists as a viable professional alternative.

    • They have that already. Called an X2 – sort of. No RF but that is their X100 answer. I am doubtful it will be an RF. I am thinking more and more that it is either a FF, live view/EVF fixed lens 35 cron “RX1 killer” or a small “m look alike” APS in M mount which would help sell more lenses. Those are my predictions. They need to have cameras that compete with Fuji and Sony, not just cater to the elite with the full size M’s. We shall see.

  15. I think the Mini M will have a new APS Sensor, M-Mount and a viewfinder. The body will be a little bit smaller than the M8. The new Sensor we will find later in the X3.

    I wish it would be an X2 with a FF-Sensor. Maybe a Mini M 35 2.0 or/and a Mini M 50 2.0

  16. aps h sensor size + at least have x2’s hi iso performances + around usd 3,000 price tag = sounds very good! 😀

  17. Well, if they call it ‘Mini Me’ 😉 than I would expect a camera with a M-mount – probably without rangefinder and either FX or APS-C. If it indeed turns out to be M-mount camera with be APS-C – maybe Ricoh will wake up and continue developing their GXR line (which seems to be fading)

  18. -The rangefinder is the expensive stuff…
    -They already have an EVF…
    So… Full frame… No rangefinder
    And…Maybe a zoom?

  19. I would love to see a Leica version of the Sony RX1, full frame, autofocus, low light capability, a 35mm or 50mm prime lens, and EVF. Sadly, you just know this incarnation will run $4K-plus.

  20. My guess is FF, M mount, live view (with Viso-Flex 2 option).

    One of the odd things about this announcement that I don’t think has been mentioned so far (sorry if I missed it) could be the apparent rejigging of the ‘M’ brand to cover their whole range, which might suggest a naming or branding dilema for an M mount camera with an APS-C sensor…. It goes something like this – they felt they couldn’t get away with calling a non-full frame camera an M without a major rethink of how they apply the M brand name. But what else could they call a camera with an M mount, it had to be M something right? So why not call it an M ‘something’, and while we’re at it why not disguise/ minimise the damage, while at the same time attempt to spread the M magic, by renaming everything else across the range (surely too thinly if this really is to be a realignment of the M brand beyond this teaser). So mini, micro, nano it is.

    But Leica know a smaller sensor on an M mount compromises the usability and appeal of their lens range, so overall my bet is still on FF. At least at some stage… FF is at the heart of Leica’s philosophy. And not the ME sensor, it will need the video and liveview of the M 240 sensor. I suspect Leica will see this as necessary for the market they will be aiming at. Seems a no brainer that it should not be another fixed lens so they can shift M glass. The RX1 showed them the market opportunity is there, always crying out for a cheaper full frame M mount solution – now more than ever – and by losing the rangefinder they can do that. I hope!

    And definitely not a Panasonic rebadge. It’s a significant camera at a still hefty price and they haven’t built that nice new factory in Germany to rebadge GX2s. Nor anything to do with a Micro 4/3 mount which surely by definition would mean a Micro 4/3 sensor.

    • 2nd thoughts… seems obvious now but most likely this mini, micro, nano thing is not really a sign of a full-on M brand rethink, just marketing department M-centric fun and games. Linking the M label with lesser cameras in their range at this early stage looks like a softening up strategy for an M that has some part of its traditional design altered, reduced or missing. To me this suggests either no RF, reduced sensor size or maybe a fixed lens. If it is to be a fixed lens surely an M would have to be full frame to compete with the RX1.

  21. It better be something good for almost 4 grand i own a ton of leica lenses for which I only have an m8 and m6 to use with because all the new latest leica digitals are totally uninspiring and definitely not worth the ticket price i am really considering selling my leica gear because they are just becoming the Luis Vuitton or
    Hermes of cameras nice too look at but not very useful

  22. Going out on a limb, 11.6 is 66 = 6×6 !!! A new sensor format for the M Mount, and an EVF.

    • Yes, I think so, x2 with zoom (28-90mm) Aps-c probably the same of Nikon D7100, I don’t know if it will be built in evf , and I don’t what kind of aperture..

  23. Pretty sure it is going to be a micro 4/3 camera body and some micro 4/3 lens made by Leica not Panasonic.

  24. Very Excited. Please let them bring something novel and exceptional to the table that is not eating into the X1 or M9 territory. I’m game for adding another Leica to the quiver should it fit the bill.

  25. My guess?

    APS-C sensor – Good enough quality and not compete with the M.

    EVF with focus peak like the Sony NEX-7.

    New lens mount –
    1. May have AF.
    2. Will have a more usable min focus distance compared to the M mount.
    3. Shorter flange distance which will allow the acceptance of M lenses. This taken from Wiki. (“By mounting the lens deeper inside the camera, closer to the sensor, resolution is increased across the frame. Information exchange between the body and lens ensure a responsive experience at all times.”)

    With cheaper body and lenses Leica can better compete with Sony and Fuji’s cameras. I believe that the quality of images coming out of the RX1 and X cameras are good enough that it is hard to justify paying 7K for a body and then lenses on top of that only to have an image not much better or worse when viewed on screen or printed to A3 size.

    Once the consumer appreciates the build quality of Leica, this may spark their interest and venture into the M system for the advantages FF offers (more MP, ISO, shallow DOF, etc).

  26. Worst thing would be a rebadged something, price hike and all. We’ve seen it before. They wouldn’t be that stupid, or callous?

  27. IF Sony makes a Nex FF, THAT will be the Leica CL. But most likely it is an APS-C kind of camera the Mini M.

  28. Design and the software:
    The design from Mr. Sir Jonathan Ive from apple.
    Software like iOS on touchscreen.
    A designed X2 with APS-C sensor and M Mount.

  29. If I were a betting man, M-E sensor with a fixed lens. Can’t see Leica letting the RX-1 go unchallenged.

    • Great theory, but a fixed lens camera with an M-E (M9) sensor will still leave the RX-1 unchallenged. But I agree with you …. a new Leica with good sensor, fixed prime, autofocus, and the viewfinder the RX-1 should have had would be a game changer.

  30. I have Information s about the new camera it will sure be a zoom lens like it was in the D2. It might also be called vario summicron with internal viewfinder.

  31. M4/3 gets them no economies of scale A rebadged G5 or something leads to nice high markups, but, in many ways, dilutes the line rather than strengthens it. It’s possible but I think a bad idea, so I’ll assume it’s something they can do with their own parts in their own new factory.

    They could put the X2 sensor in something, but that’s somebody else’s sensor already and it’s just not been that popular in that camera. And who’s going to want to pay for full frame Leica lenses using only the APS-C center. Part of what you pay for is that outstanding edge to edge wide open performance.

    Their newest and best sensor is that in the M240. If they built something else using that sensor, per unit costs might come down. So I’d bet on the M240 sensor. They won’t want to canabilize M240 sales, so it’ll need to be pretty diferent. Right now there’s only one full frame fixed lens camera and it’s the overpriced Sony RX1. As good as it is, it’s vulnerable to competition given its premium pricing. I mean, wouldn’t you stretch another $1000.00 to get Leica instead of Sony? If Leica brought out an M240 sensored fixed lens camera with a 35 or even 50mm f/2 summicron lens at +/- $3800.00, it would probably be wildly popular, as niche market products go. They’ve already got an EVF to put on it, not to mention optical finders. And, to boot, if they got you liking the fixed lens product, might you be tempted to upgrade to the full monty in time? If I was pitching a Mini M to Leica management, that’s what I’d argue.

    Back to Leica documentary roots: an M240 sensor with a fixed 50mm f/2 summicron lens fitted to that sensor array like the Zeiss 35 is on the Sony. Simple analogue controls for all essential functions. Holy wild speculation, Batman, but I’m even now talking myself into selling stuff to buy one.

    • In Europe RX1 already costs $4k. So paying the same $4k for Leica wouldn’t be such a problem. I would choose Leica, of course. And it has one big advantage: their sensor works much better with high incidence angle light so their lens should be smaller — reasonable trade off for slightly worse sensor.

  32. I want it to be a Sony RX1 with a built-in viewfinder and with Leica refinements and badging.

  33. Now seeing the M-E as a copy on M9, the mini M can possibly be a remake on M8 (with some alterations) without Leica AG spending much capital on R&D. Will be great if it accept M lenses and 1.33 crop sensor will be better than the 1.5 on regular APS-Cs.

  34. If it is a rebadged camera from a different manufacturer I’m not interested.
    I’d buy the much cheaper non Leica branded version.

    If it is a real Leica product, then I’m interested.

  35. FF CMOS Sensor without Live View or EVF option. Just the rangefinder for focusing. Going CMOS in all their cameras will allow them to retire the CCD. They will of course have enough on hand to maintain current M9 generation cameras.

    Cropped CMOS sensor M mount camera won’t happen. Please tell me a M mount lens with f/1.4 aperture that gets me to 35mm FOV? I thought so.

    Unless they were to announce a 28mm f/1.4 but then that won’t be a cheap lens.

    • …pretty cool guess! A modern 1.33-cropped CMOS sensor + only EVF + modern AF-M-mount (can do AF with a new series of AF lenses, but can also take usual M lenses) would be quite a cool tool.

  36. A Micro 4/3rds Leica M doesn’t make any sense to me… If you used a 28mm lens on that it would be 56mm equiv field of view. If you want 28mm or 35mm equiv field of view then you will be paying A LOT of money for Leica lenses that are wide enough.

    1.5x and 1.6x crop are kind of boring. The Leica M8 is from 2006 and has a beautiful 1.33x crop sensor, so why not at least make it 1.33x crop? The Sony RX1 is full frame and probably around the same size as the Mini M, so they could easily do it.

  37. So.. an APS-C sensor that they already have, a 35 2.8 they already have, and technology they already have all fixed in a lookalike M to go head to head with all those ‘fixies’ that are causing them so many headaches. Oh, and for only $2995 plus the $1500 in accessories you’ll want to make it ‘your own’. In other words; a $4000 X100 with a red dot. Sorry, but as well as they make cameras feel, they are IMHO out of touch on the marketing side. Why change now? I REALLY hope I eat my words on this one!

  38. I’m guessing it’s an APS-C or m4/3 camera. Would slot in there perfectly with respect to the regular M and the “micro”.

  39. Each new camera, need a new matrix. What new matrix released this year? – None.
    Ok! waiting for “novelty” of Leica on the good old Sony 16 megapixel …

  40. I voted for I would like to have: FF camera with EVF and M-mount. I find $4k price to be quite reasonable, so I buy it. Won’t buy APS-C stuff for $4k without any doubt.

  41. It will be a M43 based on the upcoming Panasonic GX2 body. It will also launch with a Leica only badged 25mm f1.4 in a premium build to set it aside from the current Panasonic Leica25mm 1.4. That’s my personal guess anyways, based on the relationship Leica has had with Panasonic and also the fact that Leica Camera AG is part of the Micro Four Thirds consortium.

    • I’d like to see a m4/3 body as well, especially if it will take the Olympus 45 1.8 lens that I could not bring myself to sell recently.. A Leica competitor to the OM-D would be interesting!

  42. My guess is that it will be a new upgraded version of the M8 at about 1/2 the price of the M(240).

    If this is so it will make me very happy I did not sell my 21 or 24mm lens 🙂

      • HIGHLY unlikely as they have the M-E which is not even a year old. Could be a 1.3 crop, but would be CMOS, live view and not RF. I am 90% sure this one will not have an RF. The X2 is their “X100 solution” they now need either a “RX1 solution” which could be a FF fixed lens 35 cron with EVF (if built in, would be a grand slam) or a smaller IC camera with an APS and M mount.

        If it is micro 4/3…I will be disappointed but I do not think it will be.

  43. An APS Sensor with interchangeable M Lenses can be a good bet. What is your favourite take on this Steve?

  44. I think anything with a FF will not happen because it will directly compete with M 240 or M-E, plus the used price of M9 and M8 will go down even more.
    Most likely a smaller sensor. It’d better with interchangeable lens (I wish). A simple one like CL will be perfect, but I doubt because CL used to bashed Leica’s own model back in 70s, I don’t think they will do that again.

  45. Can this be a return to the rebadged Panasonic cameras? Remenber the Panasonic L1/ Leica Digilux 3? There’s rumors regarding an upcoming Panasonic GX2 with a built-in viewfinder…

      • Unlikely. The Leica D-LUX has not undercut sales of the Lumix LX, and they are the same camera. The Panasonic models are a heck of a lot cheaper.

    • That was also my thought. Since the Leica “Nano” (D-LUX6) is a rebadged Lumix LX-7, the “Mini” is probably a re-badged Lumix GX2.

      However, that would give it a smaller sensor than the “Micro” (X2), which would be odd.

  46. I doubt it’s option A since they already have the M-E filling that spot (unless they plan on dumping the M-E from production). Option B seems plausible, since the RX1 is making a splash and Leica would no doubt want to cut into Sony’s profits. Option C would only make sense if the camera could be priced to compete with the other manufacturers listed. I’ll laugh if they got us all worked up and excited for a whole new camera just to give us an X3.

    Whatever it winds up being revealed to be, I can’t afford it. I’ll keep an eye on it and probably lust for it, but it will be out of reach, unless a miracle happens. Besides, I’m saving my pennies for their products that we already know all about, like the Monochrom.

  47. A comparison, however not in this photo business? A Porsche 911 can be a Leica M:series and a smaller M can be equivalent to a Porsche Boxter, smaller and cheaper versus the 911, however still a Porsche sports car.

    • It will likely be a competitor, but I’m guessing it won’t outsell Sony NEX or Fuji X because it will be priced much higher.

  48. They’d be stupid not to use the M mount. Imagine how many more lenses they’d shift. Someone who can’t afford an M, MM, ME might buy an APS-C with M mount and an entry level Summarit for less then they’re hooked on Leica glass and they’ve got um for life.

    • well, panasonic just announced the gx7, which is inspired by 10ys old compact camera (digilux 2, that is). since leica and panasonic seem to share the designs nowadays, the leica mini m should definitely be an upgrade to the digilux 2, really. leica lens with zoom, apsc sensor and solid build. (I do own a digilux 2 and was waiting for 6ys for this announcement) 🙂

  49. My guess is something between a FF fixed lens camera – aka RX1 competitor – or a APS-C M-mount camera, although I think that a fixed lens FF camera is more likely to happen.

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