That invaluable source of info on future Leicas, Leica Rumors, has disclosed the in-house code names for two new Leica cameras which have been heralded over the past few months. According to reports, the new Monochrom, the M11-M, will be announced next year. During development, it is to be known as Rene.
The second sure-fire arrival in 2023 is the Q3, and it is known to insiders as Wilson, according to Leica Rumors. The site shows convincing screenshots of the code as confirmation. This news will certainly please our long-time reader John Wilson in the USA, who will probably place himself on the waiting list…
More interesting for me, however, is yesterday’s Leica Rumors roundup of the next cameras from Leica. In addition to the M11 Monochrom, the Q3 and a reporter edition of the SL2-S (yawn…), there is the enticing prospect of a Leica M camera with EVF instead of a rangefinder.
LR suggests it could be called the RM, although I doubt M will feature in the name. As I said in my article on 15 June 2022, Stefan Daniel has made it clear there will never be an M camera without a rangefinder. Therefore, if we take his words literally, there might well be an EVF-equipped M-mount camera, but it won’t be called an M.
So I’ll put my money on it being called the Leica E. This is logical since M stands for rangefinder (in German, Messsucher), and E would represent “electronic” (viewfinder, either in German or English). Makes sense to me.
As an outside bet, though, I agree that “ME” is possible if Stefan can find a way of eating his words. There is precedence for the use of ME on the final incarnation of the M9.
This rumour underlines my conviction that such a small EVF-equipped camera would use the M mount, not the L mount. I know many readers feel strongly on this, favouring the L mount. But while we can’t rule out, for instance, a Q-based ILC with L mount in the future, I believe we will see an M-mount camera with EVF in a rangefinder-style body soon.
Film’s not dead
Finally, LR mentions a camera of which I have heard whispers from my own sources in Germany. It could even come this year, according to LR. It is said to be a cheaper film camera, undercutting the M-A (currently £4,200) and the MP (£4,400). Both these cameras are on backorder, and waiting lists are long. Leica simply cannot make enough of them.
According to my sources, this new camera will likely feature metering, unlike the M-A, and will use less expensive materials than the brass-bound MP. Whatever it is called, such a new camera will inevitably look much like the M6, and LR’s mockup appears to confirm this. After all, if we exclude the M5, the M6, MP and M7 were the only M film cameras to feature metering. It wouldn’t be an M5 lookalike (once bitten, etc) or an M7 (too complex for a cheaper camera), so that leaves just the M6.
If this is so, it will be interesting to see how much cheaper it is than the MP. I suspect £3,800, including tax in the UK, would hit the right spot. The M6 is the most popular M film camera among younger street photographers, and, as a result, prices of used models have rocketed to the point where the additional £1,000 or so for a brand-new model is attractive. I am sure such a revival of the old trooper would be welcomed.
We have an interesting couple of years ahead.
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Featured image of M6: By Phcoll – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4422162
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