Et Voilà the Leica Mini M — the First EVIL M?

It sure doesn’t get boring in the photography gear world. We’re expecting a full-frame Sony NEX sometime in 2014, are just told that Panasonic will revive the legendary DMC-L1 with a “dream camera” successor, and now Leica does what I expected them to do back in March when I wrote on The Future of Camera Design that I “wouldn’t be surprised, however, if Leica steals the show with a more compact M system.” Et voilà, on its website Leica has a Leica Mini M teaser.

With the “Mini” teaser Leica takes a page from Apple’s playbook. The iPad mini and the Mac mini are two “minified” products Apple
has released to give its customers a choice for products that are cheaper and more portable, but not necessarily less powerful.

EVIL it is?
EVIL it is?
The big question is… EVIL?

Let me take another not so wild guess:

The Mini M will likely be the first non-rangefinder M. And as the name says, it’ll most likely have the M mount.

I strongly doubt it’s a fixed lens camera. It’ll be an M.

Smaller APS-C sensor? Nah, strongly doubt it as well, not when they got this beautiful new full-frame M Max sensor in hand that’s the basis for this generation’s M cameras.

On the other hand, a smaller M would target a less affluent market and one that’s not used to the — for many — slightly antiquated rangefinder experience, meaning: a smaller M would most likely offer some sort of autofocus solution, or at least an elaborate kind of focus peaking.

In this scenario a smaller sensor, new type of lenses and M adapter would make absolute sense.

In any case, such a more compact M, be it a rebranded Panasonic offspring or not, could put Leica well ahead of the competition. You bet the Sony RX1 is for not much longer world’s most compact full-frame camera.

Full-frame, compact, paired with the best available glass that are small enough and placed between the regular M and smaller X series — the only possible deal breaker will be the price, but we all know Leica flourishes despite the hefty “Leica tax.”

An interesting thought, however, are the possible similarities between the rumored upcoming Pana L1 successor and this miniature M… the new Leica a rebadged Panasonic GX2?

June 11 it is, and considering how capable Leica was to keep the coming of the this new camera under tight wraps don’t expect to get much more information or any concrete specs before launch day.

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Sony's RX1 might not much longer be the most compact full-frame camera...
Sony’s RX1 might not much longer be the most compact full-frame camera…

(via Leica Rumors)

  • Joe Van Cleave

    Just because it’s called the Mini-M doesn’t mean it will use M-mount lenses. After all, the D-Lux 6 fixed lens point and shoot is also called an “M” in their teaser ad. My guess is it’ll be equivalent to a revival of the LTM (Leica Thread Mount) lens, a modern day Barnack. It would make sense to start a less expensive lineup of lenses than the bayonet-mount M series, to bring the new platform to a wider audience. A less expensive body, and more affordable lenses, in a new (or revived LTM) mount format.

    The marketing logic is that it’s not in Leica’s best interest to cater to people who’ve already bought their M-mount lenses. Instead, create demand for a whole new format, make them have to buy into a new system all over again, while attracting an entirely new audience due to the lower prices.

  • You’re probably right Joe, even though the APS-C and Micro Four Thirds sensor sized market is so crowded already that it would be difficult for Leica to ask for the usual premium they ask for.