Leica Enters the 4K Fray with Three 4K-Capable Cameras

by Karin GottschalkLeave a Comment

One of the most pleasant moviemaking surprise announcements at this year’s Photokina trade show came from a German company, Leica, rather than the usual Japanese camera makers. The company that blessed the world with the first 35mm rangefinder camera in 1925 is now supporting high-resolution moviemaking with 4K capability in three of its latest digital cameras – the Leica D-Lux, Leica V-Lux and the new Leica S.

Although the Leica S is a DSLR camera, the D-Lux and V-Lux are non-DSLRs in keeping with the impression granted by this year’s most exciting new camera and lens releases, that 2014 is the year mirrorless became mainstream. Companies like Fujifilm, Leica, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, Zeiss and others showed off some remarkable non-DSLR cameras and lenses at Photokina and on that evidence, mirrorless is here to stay.

Leica 4k featured image

Hybrid is here to stay

Hybrid image-making – digital stills and high quality video in the one camera – also showed it is now established thanks to the efforts of four out of five of those camera makers as well as RED with its Epic Dragon.

If the RED Dragon is a movie camera that also does great stills, then the new Leica S may turn out to be the stills camera that does great video too. Both have uncommonly large sensors and both companies make their cameras and lenses to the very highest standards. Both have become bywords for quality.

And in Leica’s case, for a stripped-down style as well, one that has something in common with German household goods maker Braun GmbH especially during its Dieter Rams era.

The Leica D-Lux and V-Lux cameras have Herr Rams’ trademark less-is-more look about them in comparison to the other cameras they resemble in core functionality – Panasonic’s FZ1000 and LX100.

Apps, finish and warranty

As the manager of my local pro camera store recently remarked, the differences between Leica’s two cameras and those by Panasonic are finish, the European 2-year warranty and the included software.

Leica provides a full licence to Adobe Lightroom whereas Panasonic’s cameras come with SILKYPIX Developer Studio 4.1 SE. The biggest difference between the two raw stills processing applications? You can also use Lightroom to grade your movie files. Canny move, Leica.

Now that Leica has thrown its hat into the 4K moviemaking ring, we look forward to reporting on further developments in Leica cameras and lenses.

(cover photo credit: snap from Leica)

Karin Gottschalk

Karin Gottschalk

Karin is a documentary moviemaker, journalist, photographer and teacher who conceived and cofounded an influential, globally-read, Australian magazine of contemporary art, culture and photography. While based in Europe, contributing to the magazine and working in advertising, she visualised a future telling the same sorts of stories with a movie camera and audio recorder. Now back in her home base in Sydney, Karin is pursuing her goal of becoming an independent, one-person, backpack multimedia journalist and documentary moviemaker. Mentorless and un-filmschooled, she is constantly learning and sharpening up her skill set.
Karin Gottschalk

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