So, yes, Leica did announce a new camera at the PhotoPlus Expo today, but it turns out that the word 'new' in their communications was a bit of a misnomer. What they did introduce today was an additional Leica D-Lux 6 in glossy black with a silver lens. And that's it. Just a cosmetic makeover. Same camera otherwise.
I briefly handled the new Sony's. Unlike so many others, I do think they look beautiful. They felt good in my medium-sized hands. They focused fast, but I couldn't compare it with any other camera. They don't feel as sturdy as the RX-1, even though they apparently are. A Sony rep said the RX-1 feels sturdier because the lens is an integral part of that camera, whereas on the A7/A7r the lenses are interchangeable.
Expect to see the first real samples from production cameras next week, when Sony takes a bunch of bloggers and journalists on an excursion and will allow them to play with the five production cameras they expect to have available. At PPE, they don't yet allow anyone to write pictures to memory cards.
When asked how feasible it is to use third-party lenses on the new Sony's, a rep said that with high-quality adapters it should work, especially on the A7r. That's because that camera features 'gapless, optimally positioned on-chip lenses.' I'm not a tech expert, so I'm just quoting the Sony brochure that this technique apparently collects more light and accommodates a sharper angle of light entering the corners. In other words, if you want to use your Leica lenses on the new Sony's, get a top-notch adapter and the A7r, not the A7.
Olympus 12-40mm/f2.8 PRO Lens
I have already discussed the new OM-D E-M1 at length here, and here and here, but I hadn't handled the upcoming PRO lens yet. I did today, again briefly. I was most impressed with its low weight. Maybe that's because this week I took delivery of the Canon equivalent, the 24-70mm f/2.8, which is more demanding on the arms and shoulders but renders beautifully.
I briefly handled the new Fuji's. It's me. I see all these cameras and I get confused between them and which one is supposed to do what and offer what. The interchangeable lens editions don't excite me, but admittedly I have never used them yet. I will if Fuji makes a review copy available to me, but unlike some other cameras I'm not going to buy into the system at this point. The Sony and Olympus just fall better to my hands. On the other hand, I do love my Fuji X100s, which I actually had with me today.
Again, this is personal. The Panasonic GX7 looks pretty and seems quite capable, but I don't connect with it. Samsung is emphasizing the smartness of its cameras, which might work well with a young audience but it doesn't work for me. Neither does the touch screen they were showing off. Your mileage may vary.
Aahh, I'm in love. And I'm not even a Leica fanboy. I don't possess anything Leica other than some old classics I picked up on eBay. Then, when I visited the studio Leica had set up in the vicinity of the PPE and I got to play with the Leica S, I was smitten. It's large and the lenses are enormous, but it feels really good in your hands and not too heavy. Took some pictures with it, zoomed in on them and...nice!
Leica S with Leica APO-Macro-Summarit-S 120mm f/2.5 Lens
I hope to shoot more with the S soon and will write about it here. But I do intend to keep my car, so I can't actually afford to buy the S.
In that Leica studio, I interviewed Roland Wolff, vice president of marketing for Leica USA. I will write up that article tomorrow. So, stay tuned.
By John van Rosendaal