The persistent rumour of a new full-frame interchangeable-lens camera announcement this week has new legs. Leica Rumors (which has a good record on rumours) seems convinced there is such a camera, the CM, and other writers —including Steve Huff — are backing the call.
While I would be delighted if this were true, I remain to be convinced. Perhaps the factory will surprise us all. If it is true, Leica has this time done a remarkable job of keeping things quiet. For one thing, there have been no leaked product images, which is unusual, especially so near to the rumoured launch. But we have to remember that Leica will never deny a rumour because that would create an unfortunate precedent. What happens when it is true?
A Leica Q with the L mount — a mini SL —would make a lot of sense for Wetzlar if only the factory could simultaneously announce at least a couple of smaller lenses to match.
The Sony a7III I am currently using shows that it is possible to embody full-frame excellence in a smaller package than the undoubtedly overweight SL. And the excellent 40mm Voigtländer f/1.2 Nokton-E is no bigger than the APS-C 35mm — it is a fast full-frame optic that is actually 55g lighter than the Leica cropped prime. So it can be done; it’s just that it’s a lot for Leica to do all at once.
As an illustration of Leica’s problem, the current equivalent to the 35mm Summilux-TL, the 50mm Summilux-SL ASPH is huge and tips the scales at 1,065g, over twice the weight of the Nokton-E (which, admittedly doesn’t have autofocus to add to its weight). It’s a wonderful lens but over-engineered as a complement to a new, lighter full-frame camera. There’s a lot of work to be done because this lens, triumph that it is, would not prove a suitable match for a smaller full-frame camera based on weight alone.
Despite my reluctance to believe the rumours this time around, I do hope they are true. No one will be more delighted and I will be keen to compare this chimera with the Sony before it goes back. Just a few more days and we will know. Is it to be a C-M, CM or a little C-Lux? Or, perhaps, both?
Whatever happens this week, I do believe that a smaller full-frame camera will come at some stage; it’s just a matter of when.
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