Leica M-P 240 Lenny Kravitz Edition “Correspondent” Special Edition – Let’s get dead serious here! By Dirk Dom

Leica M-P 240 Lenny Kravitz Edition “Correspondent” Special Edition – Let’s get dead serious here!

By Dirk Dom

When I saw that camera, I thought it was pretty cool. Until I discovered the price. This was the first camera that made me feel sick to my stomach.

I happen to own the most brassed Canon F-1 in existence:


This is just so totally different from this Leica. It belonged to a pro sports photographer who shot 400,000 images of soccer through it, with a motor drive attached. I bought it for 200 Euro’s, and it didn’t even need a CLA! It just worked and light metering was spot on. He had changed lenses so often and so brutally fast that the bayonet connecting groove had worn a millimeter.

After a year or so I got the idea of sanding off the black paint from the viewfinder and polishing it:


For a while I was tempted to give the entire camera this treatment, but then I would take all the character away.

I also have a completely mint F1:


Not even the tiniest scratch. I decided to shoot it. After two years, shock!!! – I found a trace of brassing at the strap connection. I must say I felt real bad about it, but I got over it and continued using it, after all, that’s what a camera is for.

Now, this craziness of producing a pre brassed Leica for $ 24,500.

I’d sell my Canon for that price. But not for $ 10,000; my Canon is unique. It’s more a work of art than a utensil. No one has a camera that went through 400,000 shots and I have it. Maybe I’ll put another 50,000 shots through it.

The Leica craziness to get to the purest photographic experience plus their limited series thing made me think. I’m an experienced machinist having 3D design programs, computer controlled machines, CAM and fast prototyping to my hands. I work together with the Product Design department of the University of Antwerp. Maybe I could design the unique, ultimate camera for the Leica man.

It proved both very tough and simple: A Leica Man discovers images, recording them is already below him, that’s for other people. He doesn’t need film or silicon to convey his vision.

So I came up with this design:


Most importantly: the red dot.

No lens. The Leica man’s eyes are sufficient.

No film or sensor.

No settings

One hole to look through, superfluous, because the leica man needs no aids for composition. The hole is carefully crafted round because roundness is perfection, like the round red dot.

No rangefinder.

One hole for the strap.

316 stainless steel for thousands and thousands of years of non destructibility. Carefully partially deburred by hand by a dedicated, experienced craftsman while still showing the roughness of the initial machining. The 45 degrees angled edge is a very personal artistic statement and the only give to brutal functionality. The ultimate limited series of only one!

Price: if you want to know it, you can’t afford it, of course.

Sorry, I just had to get it out, this is what the Lenny Kravitz Leica does to me.


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  1. “This is just so totally different from this Leica.


    After a year or so I got the idea of sanding off the black paint from the viewfinder and polishing it”

    AHA! So you sanded the brass off a black camera to make it (you!) look cooler, and how is that different?

  2. I own a Leica MP and a Nikon F3HP and I shoot both of them regularly. Funny it never crossed my mind to make a blog post ridiculing either of them. I don’t think Leica is putting a gun to the head of people, so why get so upset over something so insignificant? This must be one of those “First World problems” that I have heard about (I live in the Third World). Leica do what Leica must and I for one am just happy to see they are still surviving today.

  3. This is stupid.. Either buy the camera or don’t. Your post was a waste of my time, Steve’s time, and frankly your own time.

  4. That wonderful F1 reminds me on my own workhorse that I sold 20 years ago. I don’t like the “brassed” viewfinder.

    I have absolutely no problem with a 25k special edition Leica.

    What I have a problem with is what is called “brassing”. A worn old camera with all the marks, welts and dents is beautiful because these marks tell a story. A story about years of use, traveler, photographs. It brings up memories for the owner and imagination for others.

    I love when my camera looks used after many years. However, that “brassing” has nothing to to with that. It is silly and embarrassing. Maybe it’s a mirror of our society where so many things are fake.

    I’m a big fan of Blunty at Youtube. In his last video about a Leica party at DigiDirect in Sydney, Australia, showing the Lenny Kravitz edition.
    Seeing adult men fondling the fake brassing is just as ridiculous as it sounds.

    Sorry for sounding “negative”. I know, Steve doesn’t like negative words. But when it comes to “brassing” I can’t hold myself back.

  5. Remember guys (haters in particular ) the old adage in marketing “there is no such thing as bad publicity”

  6. It’s a special edition camera not made for the enthusiast, but for the collector. Leica is a luxury brand…. they all do this. I agree with Steve, it’s a very attractive set.

  7. They probably got the idea from Gibson, who’s been selling aged signature guitars for $3000 premium over normal price and aged+autographed signature guitars with a $20.000 premium.

  8. Well said. I saw a post on another site that I thought summed the Leica situation up rather well >>

    “Leica is not selling well so they are playing the fashion status card to try and keep revenue coming in. It’s like putting an ugly girl in a pretty dress and trying to make you believe she’s pretty, only worse, they are using an ugly dress!

    Whatever happened to just good engineering? What happened to high quality best in class components skillfully assembled to high standards?

    Instead we see hand polished or limited edition crap with dated technology, cheapest and lowest level performing components dressed up in nice cases at outrageous prices. PT Barnum had a phrase for this.”

    PT Barnum indeed.

  9. I’m with you. I actually really like the style of the “correspondent edition,” but can’t even fathom the price. It reminds me of the distressed jeans fad. If I ever buy a Leica, I’ll have to brass it the normal way – through actual use, just like my jeans.

  10. I just wouldn’t take it too series. Some people think the brassed Leica looks cool and pay a lot of money for it. Just like you, when you bought the used F1 (even though the price for the Leica is a little more)

  11. I love my Leica but I had two Canon F-1 New for 25 years in use. It was one of my biggest failures to sell them after changing to digital…

  12. Nice F1 ( one of the truly great film cameras with the Nikon F2 ), too bad you removed all the paint from the prism. It would have looked better and more real with only the edges in brass. Just my personal opinion and we all know what opinions are worth.

  13. I am a Leica shooter who also uses a Pentax K1000 ! I know enough about Leica to know they are excellent cameras with beautiful lenses and are used by a lot of great photographers same as Canons and Nikons to be sure.

    Most Leica shooters I know are ordinary folks no dentists lawyers or brain surgeons etc. They have a preference myself included to not have a red dot on their cameras and to keep them as discrete as possible. They do not like brassing on their black camera bodies either.
    None are street shooters and they don’t give a damn about HCB or decisive moments.

    To conclude I agree fully with your sentiments and my excuse- a poor one I admit -is that these special edition cameras fund R+D for Leica.

    BTW That Canon is a beautiful camera enjoy !

  14. Well, some of Leica’s limited editions are either desirable or good value. The Safari green edition may not be as beautiful as as black one but it is good value with the lens. So Leica shows that it can be mature and sensible with its limited editions.

    I like cameras with history. I prefer 35mm ones but even digital cameras can be interesting. I once owned a D1X which was used for two major newspapers here in Australia. I don’t miss it, though.

    But what is more interesting to me is the possible ownership of cameras from the ’50s and ’60s which were used by press photographers. I almost bought an F2 with such a pedigree, but at the time I had to be a bit more cautious about casual spending.

    I intend to buy an F-1 eventually. They seem like very solid cameras with useful accessories. And I do not envy EF lenses at all. FD optics are supposed to be better, according to what I’ve heard and read.

  15. Funny post that I agree with for the most part. To me, this limited special release seems to scream “douche bag” from the white gloves when unboxing videos, to the background music, to the briefcase it comes in but hey, maybe thats just me. Perhaps its sour grapes because its so far out of my price range? I think this is what incenses others so much as well. However, I will always love the Leica M system and will continue to use their “normal” bodies. Still lovin’ my M9p. I’ll put my own wear/love marks on it though thanks 🙂

    • It is way out of my price range as well but I find it an attractive set. Id buy it if I had loads of cash in the bank (like a million or so) as I find it to be a gorgeous version, as are the lenses. I could care less about the briefcase and extra crap but the camera and lenses are beautiful. If it were $10k I would have bought one. $25k..no way I could. But I still think it is fantastic.

      • I like it, too. It’s the only special edition Leica I have liked. But I’d need more than a million. lol. That would only partially pay for a house here in LA. I need about 20 million. Then I’d buy a couple of these suckers.

  16. Every time Leica releases a special edition, it’s the same debate.

    Remember – Leica sells these ridiculously overpriced special edition cameras to rich idiots. It helps keep their R+D up and running. I say good for them.

    I was at a guitar shop some years ago looking at “pre-aged” Fender Strats. I wondered aloud why someone would pay MORE money for a Strat with fake wear n tear. I like the look of an aged guitar, but it’s something to be slowly earned, not bought. An older guy (60+) near me explained that guys like him won’t be around long enough to age a guitar naturally. Some of them want to enjoy a vintage looking guitar while they can still move their fingers. I suppose he’s right.

  17. I don’t think people realize the genius of the Leica Lenny edition.

    It is the first and only limited edition Leica that the owner does not have to worry about using, as he does not have to worry about marking it and thus reducing its value.

    It’s a win win. A collector’s edition that will not be affected in value by use.



    • Objection!

      In case you later sell it to collectors who missed the opportunity they will meticulously check whether the extend of brassing is still orginal. DDD’s, HCB’s and Jim Marshall’s Leicas are valued collectibles, but only the brassing caused by the original celebrity owner is of value.

      After all, if that helps Leica to make some additional cash and to stay in business for the benefit of those who actually take pictures, so be it. In the past and still today, many great artists prostitute themselves to rich, ignorant sponsors. They could not make a living from “pure” art alone.

      Of course the Leica staff who make up these collectibles has to remain dead serious about it. But who knows whether they don’t assemble every evening in a closed, soundproof and secret room on the Leica premises to LOLROF. Under supervision from a certified therapist, of course.

  18. I have the same F1, except it doesn’t have 400K shots but does have a 1984 LA Olympics logo on it. It’s 1 of the 5000 special editions that were produced for the Olympics that year. I bought it new in ’84 and still use it occasionally to this day.

  19. Spot on Dirk! And what a beautiful F1! Ignore the haters; they think a tarted-up Leica is a real camera. You know better.

  20. You go it all wrong with your design 🙂 You need to add an imperfection on purpose. How about adding some plexiglas to the hole as a start? ‘Cause what the Leica man really wants is a chance to buy the upgraded M-P Dirk edition in two years’ time from now with a tiny bit of sapphire glass for a price premium of another $2000! Great article, thanks.

  21. I totally agree! Especially because Lenny Kravitz is everything, but not a correspondent. If Leica wants to make a Correspondent version with respect to the photographers who demands everything from their Leica and use it as a work-horse they have to name it to one of them and not a singer who accidentally makes some pictures. And not for that price, but hé, that’s Leica.

  22. OK…so I realize your post was a little tongue in cheek but I had to laugh at your statement, ‘No one has a camera that went through 400,000 shots and I have it.’ Really??? Sorry, but 400k shutter actuations is just not a big deal, there’s a tonne of pro cameras with that.

    As for your Leica ‘design’….it’s all wrong. The red dot should be changed to black, or better yet removed completely. The ‘Leica Man’ does not want anything calling attention to him and possibly ruining the ‘decisive moment’.

    As for the brassed F1…IMO it’s ugly, wouldn’t pay $20 for it.

    • You are wrong here. At the time of Canon F1 the only shutter tested for 150,000 clicks which was the highest standard was the Nikon F2. There was not such a thing as 400,000 clicks for a fully mechanical shutter. Canon F1 was an excellent and robust camera and the proof is that it is still alive when modern shutters although claiming 300,000 click rates, usually start to deteriorate at 150,000 – 250,000 clicks. Although I have been a Leica photographer since 1995 I do not believe that an M can stand such a use for so many cycles. An M3 probably could but an M I doubt it.

      • My M3 reqd. a major shutter repair, drum etc after about 2000 rolls thru it!
        It is still working after 8000 rolls approx. needs a service and parts..

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