Hybrid iPhone-Leica Camera Concept

If you are into photography at all, chances are you have heard the name Leica. The brand is world-renowned for its line of quality cameras that have a very distinct, classic-looking build.

Well it seems like an L.A.-based consultancy firm wants to put a modern twist on the classic camera. Black Design Associates have developed a hybrid device that combines the power of an iPhone 4 with the photography skills of a Leica camera…

Forget the clip-on lenses, the i9 is a full-fledged camera attachment for your Apple-branded smartphone. The elaborate accessory can work with or without the iPhone’s help, but obviously the former seems to be the intention here.

The i9 is described by its inventors as a “dream product.” The 12.1 mp device has an instant start time of 0.3 seconds and an 8x zoom. The camera also features a built-in flash and light meter for lower-light photos.

The accompanying iPhone app allows for quick screening of photographs and instant editing. The app interacts with the iPhone through a hidden 30-pin dock connector in the back of the i9.

Though this has to be one of the coolest iPhone accessories I’ve seen, it seems to have some major drawbacks. For starters, it’s still in concept mode with no word on an official launch date. It also looks like it’s going to be very expensive ($700-1000), which is typical for Leica gear.

But the size looks like the i9’s biggest downfall. The best camera is the one you have with you, and having to lug around this clunky camera case may not prove to be as fun as you think. Still, the product looks gorgeous and I like where the technology is headed by combining 2 devices.

What do you think of the i9?