Hands-on With Leica's 2010 Line-Up

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So You Want To Buy A Lens

We didn’t get a chance to go out to Photokina this year so Photokina – or at least Leica’s portion of it – came to us. I got a closer look at four of Leica’s new cameras, the all-black X1, the DLUX 5, and the V-LUX 2 along with the new Titanium M9, one of the most outlandish cameras I’ve seen in a while.

The V-LUX 2 is Leica’s ultrazoom priced at $849 and available this month. It has a 4.4-108mm lens and takes full 1080i-AVCHD video. It is quite light and feels on par with similar point and shoots except for the fast lens and focus features.

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The X1 is the same except for the color but it has a handsome, compact design with a 2.7-inch display and a huge 12.9 megapixel sensor. It costs $1,999.

Finally there’s the D-LUX 5, a version of the Panasonic LX5 with some improved features. It costs $799 and has a 10.1MP sensor.

The real belle of the ball, however, was the Titanium M9. Walter de’Silva of the Volkswagen Group designed this monster with the clean lines of Audi in mind. It’s made of a solid block of titanium and is limited to 500 pieces this year. De’Silva didn’t quite know what to do with the hot-shoe port on the top so Leica had to hide it under another piece of metal to satisfy his design aesthetic.

It comes with a 35mm lens and light shield along with a huge instruction book and design document. It is, in short, one of the most striking pieces of photographic equipment I’ve seen in a while. It has no strap loops but instead has a little removable nubbin that reveals a port for connecting a strap or a thumb loop. It also has a “holster” for those times when you want it out of the way.

People are usually on the fence about Leica especially considering the price and perceived value. These things are works of art and works of technological prowess, however, and I came away impressed if not very enthused by the price tags. We’ll have reviews of the new point and shoots this month.


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