Leica X2 gets  la carte, Paul Smith editions to help you stand out from plebeian photographers update handson

Let's say you've been considering a Leica X2 for the mix of a big APS-C sensor and retro styling, but a $1,995, fixed-range compact camera just isn't exclusive enough. Leica has you covered with two extra-rare editions that rise above the pack. Provided you don't mind someone else designing for you, the Edition Paul Smith spices things up with a mix of black, green and orange that reflects the UK fashion designer's love of stripes and wilder colors. Is the small 1,500-unit batch of Paul Smith cameras still too common? There's now an à la carte X2 option to limit the production run to exactly one. After picking from black, silver or new titanium colors for the main body, you can choose from a set of leather trim colors and get custom engraving to hedge against the unlikely event that anyone confuses your X2 with someone else's. Prices aren't immediately available for the October launches of both cameras. Not that it matters much -- if you're willing to even consider a special edition Leica, you already know that it's within your price range.

Leica X2 Edition Paul Smith and à la carte

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Leica X2 Paul Smith editions hands-on

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Zach Honig contributed to this report.

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NEW: LEICA X2 À LA CARTE

The ultimate bespoke style statement

Solms, Germany (September 17, 2012) - Leica Camera announces the expansion of the 'Leica à la carte' program, the exclusive concept for creating a Leica camera custom tailored to your personal taste. From vibrant and fashion forward to understated and discreet, Leica will offer a selection of styling options for the Leica X2 compact camera beginning in late October 2012. The Leica X2 continues the brand's rich photojournalistic heritage in both style and function. First offered in 2004 for Leica rangefinder 35 mm film cameras, the 'Leica à la carte' program allows customers to select from a wide range of finishes and features. The resulting, uniquely personalized camera is then hand-crafted at the Leica Camera factory in Germany, a true statement piece to showcase a love of, and a passion for, photography.

In addition to the ability to capture fleeting glimpses of life, the Leica X2 boasts a particularly elegant design, harkening to traditional Leica M cameras. The 'Leica à la carte' program now offers the chance to further distinguish each Leica camera from any other with the choice of three different body versions for the Leica X2. In addition to the two standard models (in discreet black and elegant silver), the X2 is available in an exclusive, titanium-colored, anodized finish. The color and texture of the camera's leather trim can be selected from a collection of ten different options. A diverse choice of colors ranges from a discreet black saddle-leather to full-grain cowhide in rich eye-catching colors like green, blue or yellow. Extravagant variations embossed with lizard and ostrich leather patterns are also available. Cameras become absolutely one-of-a-kind with personalized engraving, such as an important date or owner's monogram, available on the flash cover or the top deck (front or back). Accessories, including carrying straps and camera protectors in colors and materials to match the camera leather, round off the selection and transform each personalized Leica X2 into a uniquely distinctive digital camera that is 'Made in Germany' by the skilled hands of trained craftsmen.

The range of leather trim options can be viewed on the Leica Camera AG website at www.leica- camera.com. After configuration, orders for personalized Leica X à la carte cameras can be placed with select Leica dealers, including the Leica Store Washington DC, who are equipped with samples to illustrate the options offered by the program.

Ideally suited for photographers aspiring to be spontaneous and in-the-moment as well as purposeful and inventive, the advanced technical specifications of Leica X2 à la carte cameras are identical to those of the standard camera model. For instance, the Leica X2 features an APS-C-format, professional CMOS image sensor with over 16.5 megapixels (effective 16.2 MP). In combination with the high-performance Leica Elmarit f2.8/24 mm ASPH. Lens, a classic focal length for photojournalism, this sensor ensures maximum image quality and sparkling brilliance. The camera's profile is complemented by numerous setting options from full manual control to automatic functions and an intuitive handling concept. An elegant and stylish design coupled with a technical focus on the essentials makes the Leica X2 the ideal premium-class compact camera for discerning photographers who wish to concentrate completely on their subjects and who appreciate creative and true-to-life pictures.

An extensive range of accessories is also available to allow the camera to be adapted to each photographer's individual photographic style. These include a high-resolution Viso-Flex electronic accessory finder with 1.4 megapixels and a 90° swivel function, a bright-line optical viewfinder and an additional handgrip for better grip and safer handling of the camera.

NEW: LEICA X2 "EDITION PAUL SMITH" SPECIAL LIMITED EDITION

Modern digital technology 'Made in Germany' meets extravagant styling from the world of fashion in new Leica "Edition Paul Smith" digital camera

Solms, Germany (September 17, 2012) - Leica Camera presents the Leica X2 "Edition Paul Smith," a distinctive and vibrantly hued special edition in the Leica X range. International entrepreneur Paul Smith, widely regarded as one of the UK's most successful fashion icons, is behind the camera's stylish design. The Leica X2 is the ideal camera for anyone with a passion for photography in its purest form. Thus, extravagant flair from the world of fashion and advanced digital technology are united in this highly collectible special edition, strictly limited to 1,500 pieces.

Paul Smith is best known for taking classic, bespoke clothing and adding cheeky, inventive twists using his signature rainbow palette, a technique he employed in designing this namesake special edition camera. A particularly striking feature is the unexpected combination of colors chosen by Paul Smith for the body of the Leica X2. The metal top plate of the camera is finished in dazzling bright orange, with only the top dials for setting aperture and shutter speed remaining the familiar classic black of the X2. Paul Smith calls attention to the unusual pop-up flash on the top of the camera with a unique, hand-drawn, engraved light bulb doodle. In stark contrast to the orange of the top plate, the designer chose an eye- catching brilliant yellow for the metal base-plate. This bold classic-meets-vintage camera is rounded off by a premium natural cowhide leather finish in 'Racing Green.'

In addition to the beautifully-styled Leica X2, the on-trend set includes a selection of accessories that bear the unmistakable mark of Paul Smith's design, including a carrying strap and a camera protector in taupe-colored premium calfskin. A lens cleaning cloth labeled 'Paul Smith for Leica' and a certificate of authenticity are further additions to the premium camera set. The exclusive offering is presented in special packaging created by the British fashion designer and is crafted in coordinated colors that complement the camera.

The technical specifications of the Leica X2 "Edition Paul Smith" are identical to those of the standard camera model, guaranteeing maximum image quality. The camera's profile is complemented by numerous setting options from full manual control to automatic functions and intuitive handling. With its elegant and stylish design and superb technical functionality, the Leica X2 is the ideal premium-class compact camera for fashionable, discerning photographers who appreciate creative and true-to-life pictures.

Beginning in October 2012, the Leica X2 "Edition Paul Smith" will be available at select Leica dealers globally, including the Leica Store Washington DC.

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Leica X2 gets à la carte, Paul Smith editions to help you stand out from plebeian photographers (update: hands-on)