Breaking news: Leica + Apple partnership!

A recent, reliable source has told me that the much hyped Photokina announcement for Leica won’t be a new M, but instead a further step towards documentary photography: to put better tools in the hands of citizen photojournalists, they have decided to finally give in to collaboration requests from mobile phone makers. Apple – probably the only design equal of Leica in the phone world – has decided to take on Nokia’s Carl Zeiss partnership and gone to Leica. It’s not exactly surprising after Jobs’ launch of the iPhone 4 – which compared the design gestalt as aspiring to the Leica philosophy.

The announcement makes a lot of sense as it will also tie in with the iPhone 5’s arrival, which has traditionally been around Q3. It’s also time for a redesign of the iPhone 4, which has now seen two generations of service – much like the plastic design of the 3G/3GS.

No concrete details on the sensor – my contact was very tight-lipped about that – other than ‘it will be more than 8MP, but not as many as that ridiculous Nokia 808 thingy; image quality will be fantastic because it will be bigger than most cellphone sensors and have no anti-aliasing filter.’ The real killer, however, will be the lens: an f0.95, 35mm equivalent. It will have AF with limited (10cm, I suppose?) macro functionality, is a Leica design, and will carry the NOCTILUX-C ASPH 0.95 inscription – presumably C stands for ‘compact’? I have no idea how thick this is going to be though – maybe there’s a lens protrusion, or folded optics, or a similar trick to keep the thickness down. Hopefully it won’t be too much of a pocket lump.

What excites me the most, however, is that they apparently got Apple to cave in an offer not only a physical, two-stage shutter button, but the option of saving a DNG file too – hooray! MT