Leica C Preview
by Dan Havlik
Leica has unveiled a new compact digital camera: the 12.1MP Leica C (Typ 112), which boasts Wi-Fi and Near Field Communication wireless features and a 7.1x zoom lens in a stylish camera body. Less unexpected is the fact that the new Leica C appears to be very similar to the already announced Panasonic Lumix LF1, which was unveiled in June. (For many years, Leica has released digital compacts which were re-badged Panasonic models, each with a few tweaks and a higher price tag.)
Like the Panasonic LF1, the Leica C uses a 1/1.7-inch CMOS sensor and has a built-in zoom lens with 28-200mm focal length in a 35mm format. Unlike the LF1, which is all black, the Leica C looks a bit snazzier (depending on your tastes), and is offered in a choice of two-tone styles: a dark red and black "bordeaux" look, and a gold and white "champagne" version. According to Leica, the Leica C's body "is the work of Audi Design," which also developed some accessories for the camera. The Leica C is expected to be approximately $200 more than the Panasonic model, with online retailers offering it for $699, as a pre-order. It officially goes on sale in October 2013.
Other features of the Leica C include full, 1080p, HD shooting; a 3-inch LCD screen with 921,600 dots of resolution; and a 0.2-inch, color, electronic viewfinder with 200,000 dots of resolution, to help when shooting in bright light. The camera also ships with a free copy of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.
The Leica C is the company's first camera to feature built-in Wi-Fi and NFC, letting you beam images and video to smartphones and tablets. To use the feature, photographers need to download the Leica C Image shuttle app to their iOS or Android devices. (NFC, however, does not yet work on iOS devices.) The app will also let you remotely and wirelessly control some features of the Leica, including remote shutter release and self timer.
New, optional accessories for the Leica C include, the Leica-C Clutch, which is a clutch handbag with a carry strap; the Leica C-Twist, which is a wrap-around case that attached to the tripod thread on the camera; the Leica C-Snap, which is a hard plastic and elastic silicone shell to protect against bumps and scratches; and the Leica C-Case, which is a black leather case. Leica will also offer the C-Hand Straps, which are made from Alcantara, in light gold or dark red.