Sunday, December 11, 2011

Leica i9 concept design: An iPhone in Leica's clothing?

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Summary: A concept design combining an iPhone 4 with a Leica camera has gadget freaks drooling, but is it really all that?

Is it me, or am I the only one who doesn’t think Black Design Associates’ new Leica i9 concept design is the best idea since sliced bread? Sure, I suppose it would be quite the novelty to be able to pop your iPhone 4 into a case and miraculously turn it into a net-connected, high-end Leica camera (with a touchscreen to boot).  Back here in reality, though, it’s highly unlikely for a unit as compact as the concept design would have to be (to accommodate the iPhone) to achieve image quality that would justify the estimated $900 to $1,200 price tag if the camera were to go into production.

I mean, seriously, if you’re prepared to drop that kind of coin, you’re going to be looking for image quality along the lines of a Leica X1 or M9 (or Fujifilm FinePix X100 for that matter) which have SLR-sized sensors and therefore superior image quality. If you’re fine with the tiny sensors typically found in compact cameras, you’d be better off buying a Canon PowerShot S95 or G12, Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5, or even a Leica D-Lux 5 (if you must have that red logo) and adding on an Eye-Fi wireless SD card for less than $80. And if Black DA has really come up with some miraculous way of cramming a big sensor into a super-slim package, the company would be better off building it into a real camera, not an iPhone accessory.

Seems like it is just me, though, if you read the glowing reports from around the interwebs:

“Really, this is one of the best concepts I’ve clapped eyes on…”

“There’s no sign that the i9 will even reach the prototype phase, but nobody is going to stop the high-end camera’s designer from dreaming — especially when said dreams make us weak at the knees.”

“We think it’s an amazing idea and would love to see these put into production.”

“Black Design Associates combined the connectivity and usability of the iPhone 4 with the timeless design and quality of the Leica M9 to create an affordable high quality and high tech camera.”

Call me a skeptic, but I can’t believe how many folks are so taken with the idea — and not a single snarky comment about how the company’s “Compliment without Compromise” tagline (plastered all over the concept site and press release) should have read “complement” not “compliment.” Well, until now, I guess.

What do you think? Is this a concept worth pursuing, or is it just an over-grown iPhone case trying to trade on looks and branding (and in need of a copyeditor)? Comment in the TalkBack section and let me know.

For more information, read the press release »

Janice got her hands on a Nikon Coolpix 900 back in 1998 and has been a digital camera enthusiast ever since.

View the original article here

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