Leica is set to unleash the Leica M, a 24-million-pixel rangefinder camera with live view, HD video and an optional EVF.

And, for the first time in a Leica M model, the Leica M will be compatible with Leica R lenses, via a new adapter that gives access to 20 dedicated lens profiles.

The Leica M will go on sale in‚ early 2013, priced £5,100 when it will be available in a black paint or silver chrome finish.

The Leica M boasts a new imaging sensor, the 24MP Leica Max CMOS, made in conjunction with CMOSIS, a Belgium-based sensor supplier.

‘Thanks to the Live View function, photographers now have access to entirely new opportunities that, in combination with the outstanding performance of Leica M and R lenses, go far beyond the classic capabilities of rangefinder photography’ the firm said in a statement.

The Live View zoom option enables 10x magnification, while a Live View Focus Peaking function highlights the subject’s contours to help fine-tune focusing.

The electronic viewfinder (the EVF2 Electronic Visoflex Viewfinder) boasts a screen resolution of 1.4-million-dots and 90 degree angle of rotation.

‘When mounted on the camera, it displays all significant exposure parameters and allows precise subject assessment, and is particularly useful when shooting in brightly lit surroundings’ adds the firm.

Borrowing the Maestro image processor from the medium-format S-system, the Leica M sports a 3in, 920,000-dot ‚’scratch-resistant’ monitor.

Equivalent ISO ranges from 200-6400, extendable down to ISO 100, and the new M can shoot at three frames per second, according to Leica.

Housed in a magnesium-alloy body, with brass top and bottom plates, the Leica M includes rubber seals to help prevent it against dust and moisture.

Leica will also launch a handgrip with built-in GPS (Multifunctional Handgrip-M) to help steady the camera, particularly when shooting with heavier R lenses. This is due to cost £630. A standard handgrip will cost £209.

Leica has launched an R-Adapter M which it says allows ‘almost all’ Leica R lenses to be used with the new Leica M. The Leica R-Adapter is expected to cost £215.

Also coinciding with the launch will be a £150 microphone adapter set.

Leica has announced that it has dropped the number suffix for all future M and S-series models ‘to emphasise the long-term significance and enduring value of respective systems’.

Also announced today are:
•The Leica D-Lux 6, a 12MP compact featuring a new 1/1.7in CMOS and 24-90mm f/1.4 lens (due in November priced £600)
•The Leica V-Lux 4, a bridge camera incorporating full HD video a 25-600mm [35mm equivalent] lens ‘claimed to deliver f/2.8 throughout the zoom range (£690 and also due in November)
•A special Paul Smith edition of the X2, featuring body colours chosen by the designer in a limited edition of 1,500 units. It is expected to cost £2,000 when it goes on sale in October