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By Devin Coldewey

Underwater photography is no easy task: Vacationers often must use point-and-shoots with tiny sensors and bad image quality, while pros have to surround their fancy cameras in costly, bulky waterproof enclosures. Leica has an alternative — if you're willing to pay for it.

Related: Leica, Sony Show Off Impressive New High-End Cameras

The waterproof Leica X-U puts a sizable 16.5-megapixel APS-C sensor in this compact body, with a very bright 23mm F/1.7 lens in front of it. That would be an enticing combo on its own, but the camera has been made (in collaboration with Audi Design) with an attractive minimalist style, with metal dials and chunky buttons that should be easy to find and use underwater. It's all made of aluminum and non-slip material, so it should stay in your hands but it'll probably be all right if you drop it.


Of course, that red dot on the front means you'll be paying an exorbitant price for this versatile shooter. $2,950 is what Leica is asking, which puts it well beyond the means of most casual photographers (and indeed many pros). But it's nice to know the option is out there should you find a few thousand dollars lying around.