Leica News: Whatever will they think of next?
Leica are are good at poker. They hold their cards extremely close to the chest. And the latest flurry of activity about a potential announcement at Leica functions later this month — I’ve had the opportunity to attend one in Sydney but unfortunately make it— is doing its job in generating interest moving towards fervour.
It provides an opportunity for some keen crystal ball gazing. But just for fun, let’s consider it in terms of the kid’s story of The Three Little Pigs. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that whatever Leica bring out next will be a pig. It won’t be. It will be considered, chic and perform at high level. Instead, I’m thinking about the possibilities in the architectural terms of the children’s story.
A House of Straw.
Here is where I think about the the popular prophesy which is circulating everywhere over the Leica rumour sites. That is, the new camera to be announced will be a TL2 with a viewfinder. Why might we assign this hypothesis to the straw house category? Well, consider all the buyers of the TL2 when it was announced just a few months ago. It was released to reviews of how good it is, and no doubt it is a sleek and classy camera. But to simply plug in an electronic viewfinder and expect the APS Leica family to upgrade again after just a few months doesn’t really make sense. It would likely irritate many TL2 buyers to think that if they had just waited a few months they might have got the TL2 with viewfinder. It could even anger some of them after they spent their hard-earned on the TL2 in the middle of this year. On top of that, would an interchangeable lens APS camera of Leica quality cannibalise sales of the M series? Maybe, and maybe it all means that a TL2 with viewfinder would be a house of straw for Leica.
A House of Sticks.
A little more architecturally sound for the Leica business structure would be a new Panny-Leica (or should that be Leica-Panny) based on the Lumix GX8 or GX85. A m4/3 sensor interchangeable lens camera would not eat into M series sales to the same extent as the house of straw. And it would be an immensely satisfying and high performing piece of kit in the micro four-thirds world. The D-lux Typ 109 is now a few years old and maybe due for replacement in the Leica stable, so could this house of sticks make sense?
A House of bricks
Like a phoenix from the ashes, a reincarnation of the orphaned X Vario could be a candidate. No, I’m not entirely mad, at least I don’t think so, although my wife might give you a different view. The X Vario is much loved by its owners. Classy, great image quality, and a real Leica. But it was axed some time ago. Has that lull in proceedings provided an opportunity for the engineers and designers to simply carve the pop up flash out of the top corner and replace it with an EVF? It’s a perfect location for an viewfinder, top lefthand corner in the grand tradition. And an X Vario with its fixed lens wouldn’t eat into sales of Leica’s established lines, probably not even the Q. I’d buy one in a heartbeat.
Only about 15 more sleeps
In just over two weeks we will know what Leica have to announce. Will it be one of the above, or will it be entirely left field and they will announce something that nobody expects? They’ve done it before. No doubt there are people out there with test versions already, but Leica are very good with confidentiality and do keep their cards close to their chest. Eagerly anticipating whatever it will be, but in the meantime thinking some lighthearted hypotheses about what it might be..... Waiting, Waiting.