Leica Just Made The Most Expensive Rugged, Waterproof Camera Of All Time

Leica Just Made the Most Expensive Rugged, Waterproof Camera of All Time

Leica cameras have a reputation for their gorgeous optics and the kinds of prices only the Trump-set can afford. Their durability, however, has never been notable. If anything, Leica cameras are considered downright delicate compared to other cameras. The new Leica X-U might not change Leica's reputation as a the purveyor of cameras for rich people, but you can drop it off the side of the boat and not lose all your pictures. That's pretty cool.

The X-U is cut from the same cloth as the more affordable Leica T — which means no viewfinder, a 3" LCD screen on the back, and a 16.5-megapixel APS-C sensor. Unlike the Leica T, the X-U features a fixed lens (a 23mm lens with a wicked fast f/1.7 aperture) and a rugged black exterior that's sealed to make the camera dust resistant. It's also winterised, so the camera can operate in temperatures more frigid than a Leica usually can, and it's shockproof too. Leica also claims the X-U can survive a fall of up to 1m.

Yet the big deal is the waterproofing. The Leica X-U can be submerged in water up to 15m without any damage to its very pricey internals. For $US3000 ($4,375) you can finally have peace of mind when you take your Leica with you aboard your yacht. That's pricier than a typical rugged camera strapped to a selfie stick or an action camera like the GoPro, but those devices don't also feature the kinds of optics a Leica is capable of.

The Leica X-U will be available in Leica stores and on the company website later this month. And you can bet your behind that we'll be dropping it into a bucket of water as soon as we can get our grubby mitts on it.

[Leica via The Verge]



    Why would you spend that much on something you can get in an Olympus Tough. Not only can you drop the Tough off the side of a boat into water, but you can drop it whilst taking a photo and it should wear the impact.

    Tough wear and tear specs: Waterproof 15m, Dustproof, Shockproof 2.1m, Crushproof 100kgf, Freezeproof -10°C

    I bought one in 2012 when I went to Everest Base camp. It weathered the cold and the rough living.
    I then took it on a road trip where it recorded several hours of underwater and above-water videos. Why spend 3-5k when you can spend under $500? Oh yeah and it has a screen on the back. Save yourself a few grand.

      An Oly Tough isn't going to get even close to the image quality that this thing has (and this is coming from a raunch supporter and user of Oly m4/3's).

      Back to the article: Not sure when Leica have been considered delicate? They were pretty much the industry standard for wartime photojournalism..

    there are tons of good cameras that have water proof covers available

    why the hell would you pay $3000

      I was about to say $3000 isn't exactly that expensive for a camera, then i realised its APS-C. You could buy the upcoming Nikon D5 or a D810 With a waterproof case for less than that and get much better images.

      Either way I'm sure some hipster out there will now go into underwater photography due to this camera.

      Last edited 22/01/16 8:31 am

    Some of Leica's digital cameras have been plagued by odd problems but their film rangefinders are definitely durable with a few bodies soon coming up to 100 years of use with maintenance and minimal repair.

    As for this camera, the placement of the flash is diabolical. Underwater the flash is ideally-placed as far off axis as possible to avoid backscatter, i.e. lighting up every piece of of floating particulate in the frame to make every shot look like it's being taken near a dredging operation. That's not to mention lighting up open water behind the subject.

      still shooting on M2 and IIIf, both of them family heirlooms passed down since the early 1950's. Pretty sure apart from affecting the rangefinder alignment I could (if I was mad enough to want to) bash a rhino to death with the IIIf and then get back to snappin' shots on the savanna or, you know if I wanted to be more politically correct, hammer in a picture hook in to a brick wall with it and then go out side and snap some shots of rose blooms.

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