Leica M: Is This the Craziest Full-Frame, HD Video, Interchangeable Lens Monster Ever Made?

The new Leica M is German camerasmith's latest photo-slaying, digital full-frame camera in the tradition of its M-series rangefinders. It's the long rumored follow-up/upgrade to the fabulous (and fabulously expensive) M9 from a few years ago. Behold the bonkers camera you'll be drooling over for the next couple of years.

Leica M: Is This the Craziest Full-Frame, HD Video, Interchangeable Lens Monster Ever Made?

The M9's 18-megapixel 35.8mm x 23.9mm sensor has been replaced by a higher-resolution 24-megapixel full-framer on Leica's latest top M-camera. The Leica M goes up to a standard ISO of 6400 and features a new, faster Maestro image processor, and even improved—gasp!—focusing methods. In a significant step forward, the camera also features 1080p HD video recording.

Leica M: Is This the Craziest Full-Frame, HD Video, Interchangeable Lens Monster Ever Made?

Importantly, in addition to working with Leica's M-series lenses, the new sensor is specially designed to also work with Leica R-series lenses. And because this camera's likely to be a significant investment you'll be pleased to learn it has a new "splash-proof" body.

Leica M: Is This the Craziest Full-Frame, HD Video, Interchangeable Lens Monster Ever Made?

Leica is also putting out a new Leica M-E camera, which sports a spare design more in line with the Leica tradition we're used to. Like the M-9, The M-E sports a 18-megapixel, full-frame sensor, and its 20-ounce build is more compact than the 23-ounce Leica M.

The Leica M will reportedly be out next year for $7000. The Leica M-E is available now for about $5500.

Once upon a time Leica's 35mm rangefinder-style cameras used to exist in a vacuum, but they're not alone anymore in catering to the classy street photographer with cash to burn. The new $2800 Sony RX1 offers a full-frame sensor in a compact package much like the Leicas do. And for under $2000 you can pick up one of Fujifilm's hot, vintage style X-series cameras. Whether or not Leica stands alone anymore—and whether or not any of us can actually afford the new cameras—they're still unbelievable works of engineering. [Leica and Leica]