Leica introduces new X-U underwater camera
Sorry, folks, I couldn't resist it. Sixty-five years after Norman Lewis introduced his Photo-Marine underwater housing for Leica screw-mount cameras under the R.G.Lewis brand, we have an official underwater and outdoor offering from Wetzlar in the form of the X-U (Typ 113), launched today. It is a little lighter that the Lewis concoction and the shutter release is a touch dinkier, it has to be said. It's also prettier.
Based on the fixed-lens 35mm-equivalent Leica X, the X-U has sleeker Audi Design styling, a prominent flash sitting above the lens and dive-proofing to a respectable 15 meters. This is one camera I won't be testing to destruction off Brighton beach. The chassis is shock-resistant, dust-sealed and shatter-proof. Leica claim that the X-U will be an ideal companion for any outdoor exhibition or adventure, including underwater shooting and extreme sports. It should certainly do well for a wet weekend in Wales.
The X-U features the Summilux 23mm f/1.7 ASPH lens and the same 16.5 MP APS-C CMOS sensor as found in the standard X camera. Externally, however, it offers a non-slip body, a toughened monitor-screen cover and a failsafe double-locking system for the battery compartment and memory card slot.
The anodised dials follow standard Leica practice for quick overview and ease of setting and there is even an underwater snapshot button to take care of essential settings without having to plough through the menus as you navigate the reef. The X-U also offers full HD, cinema-quality video in either 1920x1080 or 1280x720 pixel resolution at 30 frames per second in MP4 format. Pass me the jellyfish.
All this attention to detail makes for a pretty pricey package. The X-U will cost £2,400, including VAT, in the UK.
Leica Press Release
Built for the challenge – born for adventure: Introducing the Leica X-U
New outdoor camera from Leica delivers outstanding picture quality in the harshest conditions
Leica Camera has unveiled its first camera designed specifically for outdoor and underwater photography – the Leica X-U (Typ 113).
Incorporating a fast Leica Summilux 23mm f/1.7 ASPH. lens (equivalent to 35mm in 35mm format) with underwater protection filter, and a large APS-C CMOS sensor, this fully waterproofed member of the Leica X family delivers images with exceptional brightness and clarity, even in the harshest of conditions.
Created for the adventurous photographer, the Leica X-U allows the user to capture breathtaking underwater moments in perfect detail, at depths of up to 15 metres. Shock-resistant, dust-sealed and shatter-proof, this rugged camera is the ideal companion for any outdoor expedition or adventure – whether it’s action or underwater shooting, extreme sports, travel, architectural or landscape photography – and also offers video capture in full HD quality.
Optimum picture performance is guaranteed, thanks to the cutting-edge technology the X-U shares with all models in the Leica X range. Combined with its professional 16.5 MP (16.2 MP effective) APS-C CMOS sensor, the Leica X-U’s premium Summilux 23 mm f/1.7 ASPH. lens ensures natural colour reproduction and outstanding resolution, even at the closest focusing distance of 20 centimetres. Its fast f/1.7 maximum aperture also offers the freedom to explore the creativity of selective focusing. In addition, due to the camera’s excellent resistance to stray light and flare, the Leica X-U is the perfect choice for an extensive range of indoor and outdoor lighting conditions – at any time of day or night.
Made in Germany in collaboration with Audi Design, the stylish yet minimal Leica X-U focuses on the essential features: simple and intuitive operation, as well as ultimate precision. With a top plate made from premium aluminium and high-grip TPE armouring, the body ensures exceptional usability, handling and durability, as well as water resistance to a depth of up to 15 metres.
Designed to embrace the elements, and for the most ambitious photography projects, the Leica X-U incorporates a non-slip body, a toughened monitor screen cover, and a failsafe double locking system for the battery compartment and memory card slot. These robust protective features ensure that photographers can concentrate fully on their subject, with full confidence in the camera’s durability.
Furthermore, the minimal, intuitive design of the Leica X-U puts the most important creative tools directly at the photographer’s fingertips. Aperture and shutter speed can be set quickly and easily using the straightforward, typical ’Leica-style’ dials, while a practical underwater snapshot button ensures the camera is ready to capture the wonders of the underwater world immediately – without the need to search through menus. Thanks to the camera’s high resolution three inch screen and a wide range of useful automatic features, it takes just seconds to find the precise settings the photographer requires to capture their decisive moment.
Additionally, with its anodised aluminium control dials and an integrated flash above the lens, the Leica X-U is a perfect example of exceptional quality and attention to detail.
For those on a challenging professional assignment or a magical holiday of a lifetime, important moments can also be recorded in full HD, cinema-quality video – with a choice of 1920x1080 or 1280x720 pixel resolution, at 30 full frames per second in MP4 format. And whether the footage is intended for a professional production or a home movie to share with friends and family, the Leica X-U delivers high quality results that perfectly capture that special adventure.
Pricing and availability
The Leica X-U (Typ 113) is available now from Leica stores and authorised Leica UK dealers, at a suggested retail price of £2,400 inc VAT.
Red floating carrying strap - £50.00 inc VAT
Outdoor-wrist strap (black neoprene) - £32.00 inc VAT
Additional information can be found at uk.leica-camera.com.