First Look
Leica Digital Modul R Back For Leica R System SLRs

Talk about your early notification, Leica let us in on a little "secret" to be unveiled at next year's photokina in September, 2004. Created for the Leica R8 and R9 cameras, the Leica Digital-Modul-R Back is slated to deliver a 10-megapixel sensor that can easily be fit on the back and communicate with the control systems of Leica's latest SLRs. The sensor and image processor, developed by Kodak and Imacon respectively, will have a 1.37 magnification ratio, FireWire interface, and storage on those tiny SD cards. The sensor size is quite close to APS size, being 26.4x17.6mm and will have an ISO range of 50 to at least 800. Image formats will include TIFF and JPEG, as well as a raw file created to Imacon's 3F format. The extensive menu options include sharpness, color saturation, and contrast variations, and the back will display a Histogram when desired. Though specs have not been finalized, we hear that the camera will allow for 1.5-2 frames-per-second framing rate with a 10 image buffer. Power is via a proprietary lithium ion rechargeable, and all R-type and previous lenses with R-cam added can be used. Street price for the back is estimated at about 4500 Euros, which by the time of availability in late 2004 is anybody's guess as to the exchange rate. (Right now it's about 10 percent over dollar to Euro.) Leica unveiled this information in response to queries from its customers, who might have incidentally been looking elsewhere for a digital SLR solution. Now, with patience, they'll have their own.

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