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.