Leica’s plans for the pre-Photokino press event on September 17 continue to be the subject of much speculation. Steve Huff’s crystal ball, which I referred to yesterday, suggested that the expected M10 could be delayed until 2013.
My problem with that was the current ten percent reductions on M9 prices. Why would Leica do that if there is to be no new camera on September 17?
Well, the answer is simple according to Oscar who commented this morning on an earlier Leica post of mine: an upgraded M9. He sees the possibility of an M9.2, probably with a higher resolution screen and other tweaks, but essentially the M9 as we know it.
Now it has been mentioned, this is exactly what happened to the M8. The upgraded M8.2 was announced in September 2008 and only a year later came the M9, much to the chagrin of M8.2 buyers who had expected a longer run of for their money.
Oscar also amplifies on Steve’s ball gazing. He suggests there could be a new, smaller and cheaper M camera (the ME or MQ) with the ability to take M lenses or R lenses (with an adaptor), CMOS sensor, live view and all the trimmings we expect from a modern camera. The sensor would most likely be APS-C which would give a crop factor of 1.5 on existing Leica lenses (taking, say, a 35mm Summicron to ~52mm equivalent).
If such a new camera is to be at all competitive with the likes of Fujifilm’s X-Pro 1 and, even, the Olympus OM-D, the screen will have to be improved. That would leave the M9 looking like a poor relation, hence the need for an M9.2.
All this sounds very plausible to me. Steve glimpsed a price tag of $3,500 (£2,350) flashing in the corner of his crystal ball and, again, this looks about right (before VAT, of course). As usual, this will be body only and Leica lenses do not come cheap. But for existing lens owners, this will be an attractive alternative to other systems which involve investing in new glass. Sadly, though, a smaller M will probably knock the X2 into touch.
by Mike Evans, 31 August 2012