Leica Singapore “Das Wesentliche”

Leica Singapore's Das Wesentliche event at Ion Sky
Leica Singapore’s Das Wesentliche event at Ion Sky

Leica’s “Das Wesentliche”, which first premiered on the eve of Photokina 2012, came to Singapore last night at the fabulous Ion Sky Tower, where the new Leica M, Leica M-E, Leica S, the Dlux 6 and the Dlux 4 were shown for the first time in Asia outside of Japan. (A little known fact is that the Leica Akademie program is also available Singapore, and only in Singapore for the continent of Asia).

A gorgeous model showing the way to Ion Sky, where the private Leica event was held.
A gorgeous model showing the way to Ion Sky, where the private Leica event was held.
A large wall features the history of Leica cameras, and has video screens playing Leica videos and product announcements.
A large wall features the history of Leica cameras, and has video screens playing Leica videos and product announcements.

If there’s any camera company that knows how to throw a party, it’s Leica. I attended the launch of the second Leica store at Mandarin Gallery a few months ago and it was a fabulously fun and extravagant event, and this was no exception. Hosted at the 52th floor of Ion Sky Tower where we are blessed with a wonderful view of the city during a gorgeous sunset, invitees were also treated to free flow of alcoholic and soft drinks, with a photo booth area where we can pose for pictures in front of a large mural filled with the Leica Red Dot.

A beautiful sunset over the skyline of the city greets us as the Leica event got underway.
A beautiful sunset over the skyline of the city greets us as the Leica event got underway.
The singer, aided by the fantastic band, belting out several ballads before official proceedings got underway.
The singer, aided by the fantastic band, belting out several ballads before official proceedings got underway.

After an impressive performance by the band, Leica Singapore’s general manager Sunil Kaur gave an opening address, and handed over the mike to Mathieu of Leica Singapore, who promptly brought us through the different new products.

Sunil Kaul, general manager of Leica Singapore giving the opening address.
Sunil Kaul, Managing Director of Leica Camera Asia Pacific giving the opening address.
The hardworking Michael of Leica Singapore giving the lowdown on the new products of Photokina
The hardworking Mathieu of Leica Singapore giving the lowdown on the new products of Photokina
Photojournalist Mathias Heng trying out the new Leica M camera.
Photojournalist Mathias Heng (and also Leica Akademie Singapore instructor) trying out the new Leica M camera.
The new Leica M now sports a revised user interface at the back of the camera and the unmistakable 3 inch 920k new LCD monitor.
The new Leica M now sports a revised user interface at the back of the camera and the unmistakable 3 inch 920k new LCD monitor.

The stars of the show were undoubtedly the cameras themselves. First up we have the camera that everyone wants to get their hands on, the new Leica M, with its 24megapixels of goodness stuffed into a proper 24×36 full frame sensor, new Live View options including optional EVF, focus peaking and weather sealed robustness. The optional grip with flash accessory port and GPS was bolted onto the pre-production unit at all times, a move I suspect to prevent us from lifting off the bottom plate to put in our own SD cards. (Tried that. Ha! Leica is not officially releasing samples yet as the internals are not finalized). Availability in Singapore is a cautious first quarter of 2013 for somewhere in the region of SGD $10,500 or thereabouts).

Trying out the new EVF on the Leica M camera. The rangefinder and window finder are still present, thankfully. I didn't quite like the EVF.
Trying out the new EVF on the Leica M camera. The rangefinder and window finder are still present, thankfully. I didn’t quite like the EVF.

The Leica M-E was also on display and the good news is it will be on sale by the end of the month.

The new Leica M-E, a stripped down Leica M.
The new Leica M-E, a stripped down Leica M.
The Leica X2 Paul Smith special edition
The Leica X2 Paul Smith special edition

The Paul Smith special edition X2 was also on display, which was a surprise to me considering there’s only 1500 units made worldwide. Availability is not known at this point, but the price will be $4200 SGD. Pre-orders are open now :)

A  closer look at the Paul Smith special edition Leica X2
A closer look at the Paul Smith special edition Leica X2

The ala-carte program for the Leica X2 is also going to be launched on the Leica website at the end of this month.

Large backlit panels heralded the new Leica cameras of 2012
Large backlit panels heralded the new Leica cameras of 2012

The new Leica S was also on show, and Leica even arranged for Ivanho Harlim, fashion photographer and Leica Akademie instructor to do a live model shoot in a makeshift studio. This shoot is not opened to public as it’s a real magazine assignment, shot during the launch, to show the use of the Leica S3 in real commercial work.

Photographers trying out the Leica S system
Photographers trying out the Leica S system
Real studio shoot for a real assignment taking place during the Leica event
Real studio shoot for a real assignment taking place during the Leica event
The Leica S studio shoot
The Leica S studio shoot

The Leica Dlux 6 and Vlux 4 were also on display, though I didn’t manage to try either one of them.

The Dlux 6, with a fast zoom starting at 24mm f1.4, with attached EVF.
The Dlux 6, with a fast zoom starting at 24mm f1.4, with attached EVF.
Invitees to the private Leica event checking out the new Vlux 4
Invitees to the private Leica event checking out the new Vlux 4

All in all, it was an impressive show of intent by Leica to launch the very same Photokina event here in Singapore, for the first time in Asia. I got to meet friends, both old and new, and got to try out the Leica M. What’s not to like? :)

Leica sales representatives at the Das Wesentliche event. The lady in the middle is Nadia, with whom I've had the pleasure of dealing with at the Leica store at Mandarin Gallery (my favorite store).
Leica sales representatives at the Das Wesentliche event. The lady in the middle is Nadia, with whom I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with at the Leica store at Mandarin Gallery (my favorite store).
The 2 latest Leica M rangefinder cameras. I'll probably supplement my own Leica M9 with the new Leica M when it becomes available next year.
The 2 latest Leica M rangefinder cameras. I’ll probably supplement my own Leica M9 with the new Leica M when it becomes available next year.

I’m looking forward to next year to get my hands on the new Leica M! :) For more pictures of the event you may head over to my Flickr set on the event.

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