Like a pub musician watching Radiohead headlining the enormo-dome, most photographers can only dream of strutting around the streets with a Leica full-frame digital rangefinder camera swinging around their necks.
Sadly, the stunning new Leica M9-P is unlikely to turn those dreams into reality, with the camera sporting a leg-crossing price tag of £5,395 (in black or chrome – you decide!).
Billed as the “new ultra-discreet version” of the classic Leica digicam, the M9-P disposes of the iconic Leica ‘red dot’ logo in its quest to become a more subtle street shooter.
The rest of the M9 Leica goodness remains present and correct, with the lust-inducing posh snapper packing a full-frame, 18 megapixel 24 x 36mm sensor (35mm format) in a super-tough body designed to take the knocks.
Around the back, there’s scratch-resistant, sapphire crystal covering the LCD screen, while the vulcanite leatherette guarantees a good grip on the sweatiest of assignments.
The camera is compatible with Leica’s full range of eye-wateringly expensive M lenses and is scheduled to be making its way into the pockets of the extremely well heeled in the UK this month.
Now, if we could only find a spare five and a half grand, we’d be quids in.
Leica Press Release
Leica announces the Leica M9-P: the essence of discretion
Designed particularly for professional photographers, new ultra-discreet version of the Leica M9 added to Leica rangefinder portfolio
Leica today presents a new version of the world’s smallest, full-frame digital system camera: the Leica M9-P. This new model will sit alongside the Leica M9 in the company’s rangefinder portfolio, providing an alternative, even more discreet and resilient design that further reinforces the quintessential nature of the M9 – and particularly meets the needs of professional photographers. The new model will be available in a classic silver chrome or subtle black paint finish.
Offering the same technical specifications as the highly successfully Leica M9, the M9-P combines all the benefits of the original: compact size, full-frame, 18 megapixel 24 x 36mm sensor (35mm format), sophisticated image processing and robust construction, with features designed for the professional user or photographers who prefer a pure, even more unobtrusive styling.
The Leica M9-P includes a scratch-resistant, sapphire crystal covering on the LCD screen. This material is so tough that the screen can only be produced using special diamond cutting tools and is one of the world’s hardest materials. As a result, the sapphire glass LCD cover is extremely resistant to wear and almost unbreakable, meaning many years of reliable use. In addition, thanks to an anti-reflective coating on both sides of the cover, reviewing images on the display during composition and after capture is further improved, particularly in unfavourable lighting conditions.
The external covering of the body of the M9-P, finished in vulcanite leatherette, features a more coarsely-textured finish that ensures a steady grip when shooting, making the M9-P feel particularly safe and secure in the hand.
A further understated feature of the Leica M9-P is its minimalist styling, which is focused on the most essential features. Many professional photographers using Leica cameras have been known to tape over the Leica ‘red dot’ logo to make their equipment as inconspicuous and discreet as possible. For this reason, the Leica red dot logo and the M9 lettering on the front have been omitted. Instead, the top plate is engraved with the Leica name in classic script form.
Since 1954, the Leica M system has represented an unmistakable, individual kind of photography and a very conscious photographic style. With a Leica M, the photographer becomes a ‘part of the action’ in the process of capturing challenging, authentic and creative images.
The rangefinder frames precisely the shot the photographer envisages, while allowing a clear view of the scene outside the viewfinder frame. This allows the photographer to predict the decisive moment and capture it discreetly and reliably at the right moment – in all fields of photography, from photojournalism, reportage and ‘available light’ to the capture of portraits and aesthetic, fine-art images.
Another significant advantage for unobtrusive photography is the almost silent shutter, a feature of both the M9 and M9-P. Moreover, when longer exposure times requiring an extremely steady camera stance are essential, only a slight pressure on the shutter release button in ‘soft release’ mode is required. Photographers can also select the most appropriate moment for re-cocking the shutter.
The functions of the Leica M are consistently constructed for extreme durability and a long working life. The highest quality materials, intricate manufacturing processes and meticulous manual assembly at Leica’s facility in Germany guarantee functional reliability for years to come.
In line with Leica’s commitment to system compatibility, almost all Leica M lenses built since 1954 can be used with the M9 and M9-P – an important factor in the enduring value of the M series. The 18 megapixel image sensor, specifically designed and developed for the M9, enables capture of the full 35mm film format without any compromise. All M lenses mounted on the M9 and M9-P therefore offer the same focal length as originally intended, and the enormous potential performance of the extensive M lens portfolio, with focal lengths from 16 to 135mm, can be fully exploited by both cameras.