My friend, Eckard Muller, was a member of a Leica Club when he lived in Dortmund. He had an impressive collection, some limited editions, all carefully wrapped, boxed and stored. I recall being struck by the fact that they all looked alike but that is one of the wonders of Leica. Whilst innovation follows almost year upon year, there is a value in not changing. Both the M9 and M9-P are compatible with almost every Leica M lenses dating back to 1954. The mounting system has never been changed.
A succession of firsts
Leica’s history is one of steady progression and development firmly and safely rooted in the work of its founder, Carl Kellner, in the production of lenses and microscopes.
Founded in 1849, by 1887 they had produced 10,000 microscopes. Binoculars followed. In 1825 the Leica with a built in collapsible lens was launched and 1,000 were produced in the first year. In 1926 came the first small-format 35mm projector. Developments and modifications followed swiftly – from built in viewfinders, to high-magnification rangefinders, – refinement upon refinement. Across its range of products, development was groundbreaking. Leica was notching up the “firsts” in cameras, microscopes and binoculars.
In 1966 the Leica Noctilux I:I 2/50 mm was the first 35mm camera with an aspherical element. In 1968 the Leica M4 was the first in the world with selective area metering. In 1971 the Leica M5 – was a world first with its selective light measurement through the taking lens. The list of firsts goes on and on. So, whilst Leica stays with what is proven, it does not eschew innovation but why change what is familiar and recognized worldwide as leading the field, rather build upon it.
The body is familiar
The Leica name appears, no frills, unadorned, in classic script engraved on the top, traditional, discreet, not ostentatious. Leica’s credentials are recognized, trusted, there is again no need to change the image.
Not to change takes courage – so does innovation. Leica is brave on both counts.
Beloved of professional photographers Leica’s latest offering meets their needs.
The new Leica M9-P
Launched in June 2011 Leica present this, a more discreet and robust version of the world’s smallest full-frame digital camera. Offered in classic silver chrome or black finish it is an alternative to the M9 and aimed at the needs of the professional photographer.
Within Leica’s rangefinder portfolio it is described as ultra-discreet and resilient in design.
The technical specifications
The technical specifications are the same as those of the M9 – compact in size, full-frame, 18 megapixel 24×36 sensor (35 mm format) with sophisticated image processing.
To meet the demands of the professional photographer, it is robust in its construction and includes a scratch-resistant, sapphire crystal covering on the LCD screen. Horology cognescenti will be familiar with sapphire crystal coating as being tough and durable, hard, and requiring special diamond cutting tools in its fashioning. Consequently, it has built in longevity, resists scratching and breaking and ensures a long life and use.
Reviewing images is facilitated, especially in poor light, by an anti-reflective coating on both sides of the cover.
Durability is enhanced by the external body covering of vulcanite leatherette which ensures a secure and steady grip when taking photographs.
If durability is a key aspect of its build, understated styling, the focus on essential features , characterizes its appearance. Even the Leica red dot logo and M9 lettering have been dispensed with in the pursuit of photographer anonymity.
Still presenting the traditional face of Leica the needs and requirements of the professional photographer have been addressed. Because of the rangefinders the photographer is presented with an exact framing of his desired subject and at the same time has clear view of the scene surrounding the viewfinder frame. This aids his capturing of his selected shot without fuss or drawing attention to himself. Similarly, the almost silent shutter ensues discretion and when longer exposure is required the shutter can be released by the gentlest of pressure, when in soft release mode, minimizing the risk of movement on shake.
Compatibility between cameras and lenses
Attention to selection of durable and quality materials in the manufacture, as well as the focus on production processes and meticulous manual assembly ensure long lasting service to the owner. Because of Leica’s dedication to compatibility between cameras and lenses, the photographer can build up his collection of M lenses certain that they will not become obsolete. Made for the professional, comfortable, user-friendly controls make it a camera for all who enjoy photography.
Longevity, compatibility and durability with innovation that is world-leading, validate its recommended retail price of £5,395 (as at 11.10.2011).