German camera manufacturer Leica launched its latest full-frame digital rangefinder camera - the Leica M10 - here on Wednesday night (yesterday morning Singapore time).
The launch was attended by more than 470 international guests, with British street photographer Matt Stuart as emcee for the night.
Anticipation for the camera had been building recently as rumours of its launch appeared on the Internet.
The M system is the brand's most classic line of cameras and lenses. They are designed to be compact, light and often set the standard for cameras and optics.
This holds true from the first M camera, the M3, made in 1954, also in Wetzlar.
The newly launched flagship camera is even more compact. With a top plate depth of 33.75mm, it is 4mm less than the Leica M (Typ 240) and is the slimmest digital M ever made.
According to Leica, the 24- megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor was developed especially for this camera. It has significant improvements in dynamic range, contrast rendition and sharpness.
Driven by Leica's Maestro II image processor and 2GB buffer memory, it can shoot up to five frames a second at full resolution, making it the fastest M camera.
Another distinctive feature is the dedicated ISO dial on the top plate where the film rewind lever used to be on Leica's classic M film cameras. This means that, for the first time in a digital M, the essential photo-taking parameters - such as focusing, aperture, shutter speed and ISO setting - can be selected without going into the camera menu or even switching on the camera. The ISO settings range from 100 to 50,000.
The controls on the back of the camera are limited to a joystick control and just three buttons for Play, Live View and Menu.
As highlighted by Leica chief executive officer Oliver Kaltner, concentrating on only the essential functions is the principle that started from the first M camera.
Mr Tay Kay Chin, 51, a Singaporean photographer and Leica user of 25 years, was impressed with how the company has stayed focused through the years.
"I like my process to be organic. When I am making a photo, I do not like to rely too much on technology. I feel that with too much automation, you lose the joy of taking photos. With the M, I am always forced to be basic."
Mr Tay, who was one of a few in Singapore to try a demonstration set before the launch, said of the M10: "The images are amazingly nice."
The Leica M10 comes in black or silver chrome-plated finish and is available in Singapore from today at $9,950 (including GST).