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For the first time, it seems like Leica is getting into the underwater camera market. Their entry is called the Leica X-U, and it’s also rated to be shockproof, waterproof, dust-sealed and what they’re calling “winterized.”

But in all honesty, this isn’t just some run of the mill underwater tough cam–instead, it’s a premium point and shoot in every respect. The Leica X-U has an APS-C sensor with 16.5MP and in front of it is a 23mm f1.7 ASPH lens. The camera can also go down to 49 feet. The camera also sports a 3-inch LCD screen.

The design is a collaboration with Audi Design, and so it also sports aluminum control dials, has a non-lsip body, a double locking battery compartment and memory card slot, and can shoot 1080p HD video at 30p.

The Leica X-U (Typ 113), priced at $2,950 will be available by the end of January at your local Leica Store, Leica Boutique or Leica Dealer. Expensive? Sure–but to be very fair here, this is genuinely a one of a kind. No one else offers a tough cam with an APS-C sensor and one with a bright f1.7 lens.

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  • Bruce Harding
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    Disqus/1.1(2.84):2468540530

    Leica keeps separating fouls from their money. Nothing else to say.

    • marc
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      Disqus/1.1(2.84):2469204341

      You mean fools. I’m pretty sure birds don’t buy Leica’s, although I’ve been wrong before.

  • Turbofrog
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    Disqus/1.1(2.84):2468284751

    Awesome, awesome idea. Shame about the price.

    If another manufacturer came out with that for half the price (which is what it would cost), I think it would be extremely popular.

    This is about the price of the RX1R II…

    • ChrisGampat
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      Disqus/1.1(2.84):2468314752

      Yes and no. Considering they’re the only ones in the game, it’s very fair for that price. Once others step in, then I’d agree

      • Turbofrog
        Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
        Disqus/1.1(2.84):2468443593

        The other criticism I have is the choice of focal length. The index of refraction difference between water and air means that you effectively have a 1.33x narrower field of view when shooting underwater.

        So that 35mm equivalent lens gives you a 47mm FoV. A 28mm equivalent lens would have still been versatile on land, but given you a much more useful 38mm FoV underwater, especially since underwater photography demands shooting close and wide to get good quality a lot more than on land due to the rapid light fall off. The majority of pros doing underwater photography will be shooting ultrawides (i.e. 14-24mm or 16-35mm on a D4) for this reason.

    • Ramiro García Zepeda
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      Disqus/1.1(2.84):2468461503

      Call me crazy but this is the only Leica product that does not look THAT overpriced (for its market), I’m not even a hiker o mountain guy but the other day I tried to capture the Milkyway and my hands froze, my shoes did not meet the expectations and everything went just… meh.

      I did some research and Wow… a pair of gloves… $60-100, Good weather-proof shoes $100-150 and I never looked at how much high end tents, ropes, spikes and headlights can cost. For THOSE people, having a *small* indestructible camera, with f1.7 optics that weights close to nothing must be like the holy grail. Just look at the market…. Fuji XP line? with f3.7 lenses? Canon’s chunky point and shoots? Lumix Orange boxes with noise files? There is nothing like this on the market.

      • Turbofrog
        Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
        Disqus/1.1(2.84):2468482418

        Oh, I agree.

        The two best underwater/tough cameras on the market are the Olympus TG-4 that has a 1/2.3″ sensor (but at least it shoots RAW and has an f2 lens) and the Nikon AW1, which has a 1″ sensor but only a max f2.8 lens.

        So this is definitely a huge step up. But they still botched the focal length, and my hope is that one of the big companies will look at this and build something similar for half the price, since it’s totally doable. Just think if Panasonic made a tough fixed lens GM1 using the optical formula for the 15mm/1.7, for example…

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