In a joint interview with Amateur Photographer (AP) and the British Journal of Photography, in June 2011, Leica CEO Alfred Schopf and chairman Dr Andreas Kaufmann revealed plans to announce a compact system camera (CSC) at photokina 2012 in a bid to compete with the likes of Panasonic, Olympus, Sony and Samsung.
Details were scant, but the camera would feature an imaging sensor at least as large as an APS-C size, said Schopf who indicated that he saw a market for a Leica camera aimed at the consumer.
‘We are looking into that… it’s more than an idea… You will see something at the next photokina,’ Schopf told AP’s Chris Cheesman and BJP’s Olivier Laurent at a hotel in Paris.
However, in May 2012, Kaufmann and Schopf were tight-lipped, steering journalists away from a consumer CSC, instead stressing that the ‘M family’ was very high on the agenda.
And at last month’s photokina, Leica unveiled the M-E – a full-frame ‘entry-level’ version of the M9 rangefinder costing £3,900.
Speaking at the German trade show, the company’s head of product management Stefan Daniel appeared to rule out any prospect of Leica ever launching a ‘£1,000′ CSC.
However, in a recent report by the website Leica Rumors, published on 4 October 2012, Leica denies that bosses ever suggested they were planning a consumer-level CSC.
In the Leica Rumors article, Daniel – who was not present at the 2011 AP and BJP interview – is quoted as saying: ‘We’re not happy about the interview which started that rumour.
‘We feel that it rather misrepresented what was said. However, we know that there is a gap between the X2 and the M, both in terms of pricing and features. We do not comment on possible future products.’
Responding to the allegation, AP and BJP today issued a joint statement which reads: ‘BJP and AP stand by their reporting of comments made by Leica representatives during a wide-ranging interview with UK journalists in Paris in June 2011.
‘The magazines absolutely refute any suggestion that Leica’s stated intentions at that time were misrepresented.’
Leica CEO Alfred Schopf is quoted as telling Leica Rumors: ‘What was asked was whether Leica was going to make cameras with live view. We’ve given the answer with the Leica X2 and the Leica M.’
The article continues with a blow-by-blow account of how the ‘mirrorless system camera rumor started’.
At the time of writing, Leica had yet to respond to a request for comment regarding the Leica Rumors article.
Other members of the UK photographic press were present at the 2011 interview in Paris.
Amateur Photographer and British Journal of Photography joint statement:
‘BJP and AP stand by their reporting of comments made by Leica representatives during a wide-ranging interview with UK journalists in Paris in June 2011.The magazines absolutely refute any suggestion that Leica’s stated intentions at that time were misrepresented.’