Leica has outed its latest rangefinder range, kicking off with a pared-back M-E this month but culminating in the simply-named Leica M flagship in early 2013. The Leica M will clad a 24-megapixel full-frame Leica Max sensor in a deliciously retro housing, but the specifications aren't old-fashioned: count on ISO 200 to 6,400, Full HD 1080p (24/25) video recording, and an optional electronic viewfinder, when it arrives to replace the highly-coveted M9 of 2009.
That EVF pairs with the Leica M's 3-inch 920k dot display, which Leica has sensible placed behind a sheet of toughened Gorilla glass. Inside, Leica's new Maestro image processor does the heavy lifting, protected by dust/splash-proofing.
Perhaps most exciting for Leica aficionados, however, is the fact that the Leica M will not only work with the company's dedicated M-series lenses, but with classic R-series lenses too. You'll need an adapter in order to do that, but we can see plenty of shutterbugs happy to put up with that.
As for the Leica M-E, that's a more affordable - in Leica terms, of course - version, with an 18-megapixel full-frame sensor and a focus entirely locked onto photography. The M-E won't shoot video, but does offer ISO 160 - 2500 and a 2.5-inch 230k dot preview display, along with an integrated viewfinder.
The Leica M-E is available now, priced at around $5,450, while the Leica M will follow on early in the new year, price to be confirmed. We'd be surprised if it came in at under the $7,000 tag of the M9 it replaces, however.