VIDEO: The Leica M-P and Silver Monochrom

VIDEO: The Leica M-P and Silver Monochrom

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Ahhhhhhhh, the beauty of Leica. No matter what anyone will ever say, there is nothing like the beauty and feel of a Leica M camera, and I feel this way about the M3, M6, M7, M8, M9, M9-P, Monochrom and M 240/M-P. To me, they are just what I want in a digital camera and have all that I could ever need (except an affordable price and super low light which the A7s covers for me very well). Even after all of these years the Leica M is the ONLY digital rangefinder on the planet (not counting the no longer made Epson RD-1) that is available. So if you are an RF fan, this is it.

Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus..none have even attempted it although I was hoping Nikon would do so a few years ago. So as of today, mid 2014, Leica is the only game in town if you want a real life back to basics digital rangefinder camera and NO, Fuji do not have ANY RF cameras (some seem to think they do).

With that out-of-the-way, here we are a couple of months before PHOTOKINA where all kinds of goodies get released and announced. I am sure Leica will have something new, Sony will have something new and huge and Nikon and Canon will probably have the same old same old. Olympus will have something new, probably Panasonic as well. But just a couple of months early Leica not only announced but released the black paint M-P.

The M-P is basically an M240 with a larger buffer, sapphire LCD screen and all black paint without any markings on the front. This means NO “M” and no RED DOT! On the top you have the classic Leica logo which appears just as it did in the M-9P (which was crazy popular, sold out at launch for months). The M-P is not selling out at launch and that is mainly due to the fact that at the price of $8,000 it is too expensive in 2014 even for a Leica. With Sony rocking the A7 series that have an even better sensor at 1/3 the cost it makes it hard to justify a digital Leica today. With that being the case, why did i just purchase TWO of  them? EEEK!

The deep rich tones of the MM (with a Zeiss 50 Planar, one of my fave M lenses ever due to bang for the buck)

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Well, part of it is passion. Part is foolishness. Part is from my heart and the rest is due to the fact that no matter how many times I drift away from Leica…I ALWAYS COME BACK. I have an emotional connection to the M and when I am out with it I enjoy it more than any other camera, even if other cameras can do more for me. The Leica M 240 is my favorite camera of all time, previous to this it was the M9. When the Sony A7s was released it was tied with my M 240 and I said “why would I keep this M when I love the Sony so much”. So I sold my M 240 and banked the money.

Two months later, while I still am in love with the A7s and have no desire to get rid of it, the M has creeped back in to my head. Just days before the M-P was announced I was looking for a used deal on an M 240 yet again. So away I go and email Ken Hansen who said “I will have the M-P week, if you want one let me know”. Too easy. Bam. Ordered. He also said “I have a few silver chrome Monochrom’s in stock” – and that was it, BAM! I went crazy..I was foolish..but do I regret it? No, because I now have an M-P which is the most beautiful M 240 yet and the chrome MM is a sight to see and about as unique and pure as a digital camera can get. Both have their uses as does my Sony A7s.

In fact. I will use my A7s for low light, macro,  and some times when I need a hassle free AF camera. I will use the MM on those occasions when a pure B&W mode strikes me and the M 240 on all other occasions. The great thing is that the lenses can be used on all three cameras without issues.

Here I am almost 45 years old and still being stricken with GAS. Today though I will acknowledge that the prices required to get into a Leica M system are way too high, but for those who gain happiness and joy from it then it doesn’t really matter as long as you can swing it. Life is short and I would rather LIVE IT than sit around on my couch all day watching TV, waiting for something good to happen to me. So that is what I do and how I live life.

So the new Leica M-P is available and shipping NOW! For those interested, you can order them at Ken Hansen, PopFlash, Pro Shop, B&H Photo, Amazon and Leica Store Miami. The Chrome MM is also available from all of those dealers.

Below is my video featuring both cameras. Enjoy!

48 Comments

  1. That plain-vanilla screw head where the Leica red dot used to be on the front of the M-P hardly synchs with a US $8,000 price tag. Achtung!… German engineering aesthetics?

  2. Thanks for the review, Steve. Always great to read these. Question: Low-light aside, how is the video feature on the M-P compared to the A7s?

    • Video? No contest, A7s all the way. The M video is something I would not use. I think I used it twice since the M 240 launched. A7s is much more capable in the video department and has pro features as well.

  3. Really interesting to see often Zeiss lens on your camera ! Actually I have only Leica lens on my Leica … and only Zeiss on my hasselblads ahahah but I really think about try Zeiss. ( I use new and old Leica lens and my problem is about shoot in tropic with old Leica lens … vintage grease of these ladies don’t appreciate) Few people recommend me to not buy hight aperture Zeiss lens. Continue to tease us with passion of camera ! Looking to see your feeling about the new MP, power up and the upgrade memory 🙂

    • The Zeiss Zm line is fantastic. Up there with Leica really, but much less expensive. You gain punchier colors, more 3D pop and lose a tad less sharpness wide open. Zeiss colors are warm, Leica usually runs cool.

  4. Hey, I did receive the e-mail from Leica Miami and imediatelly rung my photo dealer…he did not knew about it…he rung Leica Portugal, they only had 2 cameras and I said yes! Last Saturday I got my new M typ 240 M-P and a 21 Zeiss (I just needed a wide angle). I put on the best neckstrap in the world: the Macau from Sul FG edition (a portuguese brand) and went to Algarve medieval fair ’till 2 am, just B&W no flash…and what wonderful results! Now resting in one of my Wotan Rikers (thank’s Steve) and waiting for my Walter contrast lens and anxiously waiting for next weekend and Breads’Fair in a nearby town…oh, my index finger is itching so much…!

  5. Thanks for the video!

    I’ve actually been thinking of adding a small piece of gaffer tape over the red dot on my 240 M to make it a little more anonymous. It would almost look like the black M-P after that but without the engravings on top:-)

    • Yes, from time to time he migh post an interesting coment or idea, but I just can’t stand the fashion bla-bla, the photos are not bad…but give me a plain “meat & potatoes” Steve Huff review anytime!

  6. Another Leica convert here, thanks to you Steve (and to Thorsten Overgaard, whose Leica M pages must be one of the best camera reviews of all time). I just bought a nice used M9 at a reasonable price and can’t put it down. I’m in the UK, so if its OK I’d like to give some positive feedback for my local camera store – Clifton Cameras – they were great.

    I don’t suppose I’ll ever see a used Monochrom that I can afford, but here’s hoping!!

  7. Hi Steve something I need to share, after 30 years of looking through shop windows and following your site since I think pretty near the beginning, in January this year I bought a second hand chrome M8.2, and I just love using it, its so simple and despite having a reputation for slowing you down, with so little functionality I don’t lose time playing with settings or missing shoots because it’s been left in some weird and wonderful configuration, like I do on my wives Lumix G6. But thats not why I’m writing, a couple of weeks ago I called into Leica Mayfair (London) to take advantage of a sensor clean, which is a complementary service. Whilst there I noticed they were offering a M240 test drive, which I booked and picked up today. So after watching your video, I popped upstair to see a Chrome M8.2 with my 35 Summarit and a Black M240 with 35 Summicron battery charring, ok so it’s not quite the same, but I’m grinning just as much, (perhaps even more given the lack of financial outlay!) but for this weekend at least we are kindred spirits.

    • ” I’m selling my M 240 and putting the money on the 50MP A7x (if it turns out to be reality).”

      That would be ok if you are not using Leica glass. The A7r with 36MP is not good with most Leica lenses, so I would imagine a 50MP A7 would be worse still. Not to mention shutter shock and sensor reflection issues.

      For Leica glass 10MP A7s > 24MP A7 > 36MP A7r.

  8. Beautiful cameras, no doubt. With all the vacations and gear purchases, I’m guessing the web site is doing VERY well! No sour grapes here, just pure, unadulterated JEALOUSY! Ha ha! You’re doing it right, Steve. Enjoy!

  9. Hi Steve, how can you keep changing cameras like that ? I would be all confused. I have to say I agree with you totally on one thing that is : I have never felt such a bond with any camera as I do with my Leica. I have had only a few cameras in my life and have been able to borrow cameras from fellow shooters ( My reputation for treating gear really well helps here) and know that there is no perfect camera and respect all cameras as most have their good points. I used to have an M6 and I have to blame you for me trading up to an M8 many years ago. I like the M8 imperfect though it is and love it’s Black and White performance.
    It’s hard to explain my affection for Leica for me it’s about it’s European heritage ,its simplicity.and the beautiful rendering of the Leica lenses.
    Just a quick question for you. Why do you not have a wider selection of Leica lenses?

    Enjoy your new cameras -look forward to some nice Black and White images from you, as I said before in a post to Brandon I think you did some nice work with your old M7.

    Best Wishes

    • I am a camera reviewer..I get to try and test and use all cameras or any that I want. Cameras change through my hands more than most as it is my job, my career, my full time thing. I have to write about what is new, what is fresh and I use them so I can write the facts 🙂 I still own an E-M1 and have since launch. I have the A7s (never bought the A7 or A7r) and the two M’s. (M-P and MM). The M240 was replaced with the M-P. As for not having a wide selection of Leica lenses, they are much too expensive and I mainly use a 50 or at times a 35. I rarely go wider or longer so I tend to stick with those focal lengths but my main FL right now (and for the past year) has been 50. I am finding the Zeiss selections on the MM are just as good as the Leica selections, and much less expensive.

      • Leica lenses are costly, yet not expensive as they appreciate in value. Leica bodies are costly and expensive, as they depreciate. I have about 11 M lenses, 9 of which bought used and all worth considerably more than what I paid for them in the time window 5-10 years ago.

  10. Value is the eyes of the beholder. Leica was always expensive. I just do not like the present price politics. I think it has nothing to do with a camera maker. I love leicas a lot though, and I congratulate you on this purchase. Matttia

  11. Steve, are you still using the 50mm APO, or have you replaced it with the Planar?
    The APO is meant to be the lens for the Monochrom.

  12. “part of it is passion. Part is foolishness. Part is from my heart”. Steve: This is why we LOVE you 🙂 You are like us; just a little bit crazy!

  13. Ah, the beauty of a medium-format Mamiya. No matter what anyone will ever say, there is nothing like the beauty and feel of a C220 or 330 camera…
    🙂
    I like very much your blog because you always say YOUR honest opinion – I like it even when it is different from mine!
    Keep up with the good job!

  14. There is an M-P question that you didn’t address. Does the M-P camera turn on quicker than the M240? The several second delay from “on” to actually being ready to shoot is a major problem for me. A much bigger problem than the small buffer that occasionally causes me to miss shots. It’s crazy that my M9 turns on and shoots markedly quicker than my M240. Does the increased buffer of the M-P solver this problem?

  15. You said that Photokina is a couple of months away. Isn’t it September 16th- 21st? That is only a few weeks. I will take that Momochrom when you are tired of it. Beautiful camera!

  16. If Leica was going to the trouble to make the black M-P then why did they leave the lens release and other button on the front as silver? This really detracts from the desired look. On the other hand, the silver Monochrom is gorgeous.

  17. Sixteen. Thousand. Dollars. You just spent sixteen thousand dollars on two new camera bodies. For me that’s 20 months’ rent. I’m glad life is so good for you, but I can’t even

    • For me, its 8 months rent :(. Interestingly enough, this is how I normally justify big purchases. The Leica and the happiness I will get from it will outlast that time…easily.

  18. Love your honesty and lack of elitism in regards to Leica cameras.

    I can’t justify buying one, but it’s fun to read about them. Greatly appreciate that you don’t pretend they aren’t insanely expensive for regular people.

    Someday I would like to just try one for 30 minutes, just for fun and to see what a rangefinder is like to use in real life.

  19. Congrats on your purchases, Steve! I know how you feel and I can assure you, even twenty years from now, you won’t get rid of the GAS! But I surely hope you will stay happy. I feel that same way with my A7r and with the Loxia line coming up, I think those are going to be very happy times for me as well!

  20. Right on! No need to explain your passion Steve, nor justify it. Like fine musical instruments, things like this are a joy to use in their build and their elegance, and inspire us to use them. And like musical instruments, the skill is in the player…and like musical instruments, debates about a ‘piano that plays better than this one for half the price’ are moot and have never mattered to artists who very often buy their instruments based on how they feel, how they inspire the player, their tone, their handcraftsmanship. And often spend significant dollars in doing so, on student musician budgets. Sadly, a lot of internet bashing and debate about camera features misses this factor completely, as we debate megapixels or corner sharpness only visible at 200%, or the number of features per dollar. Musicians get it when someone buys a bespoke guitar for $10,000 when they could have had basically the same thing for $600. And they all know that a more expensive guitar doesn’t make you a better player. But this joy of ownership and aesthetic aspect to our craft as photographers is completely lost these days. I hope you don’t receive the usual barrage of useless banter, haters, “I could buy ten Sony’s (or whatever) for that price” about this purchase – I for one think it’s wonderful.

    • Now, this is an intelligent coment…! I can’t understand why so much nagging about owning a Leica with a couple of lenses…perhaps envy? Most of my photography is a lonely activity and not a show off…(although last summer I recall a german couple staring knowingly at my Noctilux…)
      If I changed car every year or care about fashion trends I would spend 10 x more money…
      Let us all click happylly with our Leicas…and take nice pictures and share them with our fellows shooters…
      I wish Steve the best with his new Ms’ and may he be along for many years with this space to share with us all!

  21. You’re killing me Steve! I got an email from Leica Miami the day the new M-P was announced and the I am having a difficult time with serious drool factor. I’ve recently begun shooting the local nightclub musician scene in my town and have run into my M-E’s buffer limit and of course the ISO limitations. What to do?

    Plus I also enjoy shooting nature photography and the Liveview would be perfect when having wider than 28mm lenses attached!

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