Leica: Back to the past with the M 240 “Edition 60” – Vintage Modern.

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Leica: Back to the past with the M “Edition 60”. Vintage Modern.

Leica has unveiled probably the most brave and daring digital camera ever at Photokina. A camera that many people would not even want yet Leica  made 600 of them and hey are charging $18,500 USD for the camera set which includes a cool 35 1.4 Summilux FLE in stainless steel. Yes, $18,500. Just under $20k for a digital Leica M that normally can be found for $6500 or so. The kicker here is that Leica created this special 60th anniversary of the M edition WITHOUT a rear LCD. Nope, no LCD and no chimping or checking your images. Just like in the old days.

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This new camera is about as old school ask it gets while retaining the modern features of the M 240 (besides live view of course). In all reality, this is just an M with a new Audi design and no LCD. In place of the LCD is an old school ISO dial which takes us back to the film days of the M.

No film will be required here but keep in mind that there is NO WAY to check your images after you shoot them, out in the field. If you miss focus or your rangefinder or lens is off, you will not know it until image review.

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Leica has been on the same digital M lifecycle for a while now. Basically an M is released (M 240) followed by a special P version (new M-P) and then a limited edition (now  the M 60). In the M9 days it was the M9, M9P and then the M9 Titanium. In the M8 days it was the M8, M8.2 and then the special edition white M8. But none of those special editions were like this one. Over the years many have begged for a Leica digital RF without an LCD. Many have asked this to be for the Mono version but Leica did it for the M 240 version instead. This means we will probably see a new M in 1-2 years, my guess is 2 years until the next M, which I feel will have an integrated EVF/RF hybrid (or at least I hope so).

This M60 will be one hell of a set though, and I am guessing many will buy them to save and sell in 10-15 years at even more money than they paid for them. Some will use them though and resale value will remain high as it is so unique, so different and so ANTI digital it is pretty awesome.

I think the look and design is STRIKING and has a bit of vintage and a bit of modern. It is the vintage modern Leica.

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To have one of 600 pieces of this one of a kind digital M, as stated earlier, will set you back a cool $18,500 USD. Too rich for my blood, but who here plans on buying one?

You can pre-order the M 60  from Ken Hansen, PopFlash.com, Pro Shop. Leica Store Miami, B&H Photo

101 Comments

  1. My work-guts-to-death-accrue-savings-retire-buy-Leica-hope not to die in 1st month of retirement(!) – life plan is one month from completion and, sadly, I keep looking at the one in a local Leica Store. I would love it, but would have to use it and then worry about damage, wear and loss of future value, if an emergency needed me to sell.

    It is gorgeous and I’d love a camera without the ugly rear screen (to my eye) and the clutter and complexity of modern digital cameras. So, for me the ideal would be if Leica’s new M had the finder with illuminated frame lines etc., no rear screen, but then linked to a smart phone for viewing and control of settings etc. That I would buy.

    BTW, thanks Steve, I’m soon to be bankrupt thanks to you and your pics/reviews as I now have to have the Noctilux unless I can find a decent Canon ‘Dream Lens’ 🙂

  2. I agree with many of the comments on here,it looks a beautiful piece of kit,but these are essentially tools for making pictures,and its a shame that many of them will sit on the shelves gathering dust.I had a Reid Mk 3 some years ago which I loved but it wasn’t used enough,and I sold it in the hope someone would use it more than me.Its desperately expensive and too much for me just now after re-equipping my full time gear with an M240 plus a clutch of Leica glass.What I done like about this new Leica is not havinga rear screen to check your work,pity that!,so Leica a pandering to the collector here.Ill continue saving for a monochrome!

    • Well, if I bought one of these I’d use the hell out of it. Think about it..a Leica M-P 240 is $8000. A 35 Lux is $5500 – That is $13k already. So for this, $5k more for a 100% unique special edition and stainless steel version of one of the best Leica lenses made? Not far off in price really for what you get. YES crazy expensive. NO I cold never buy one but I would use and abuse it, no problem. I see the Lenny Kravitz edition as more of a collectable and while I think this one will go up in value in 10+ years, IMO it is one of the better investments to come out of Leica in a long time (the other is the Safari which comes in cheaper than buying the standard pieces). Lovely built like a tank camera here in the M60 (you should feel one) but still, not for everyone, that is for sure.

  3. Leica really needs some competition in the luxury camera segment. Even by their standards, this camera is silly. But hey, Leica makes money, which is more than most camera makers can say.

  4. warproof metal housing, fullframe sensor, diaphragma-ring, shutterspeed-ring, +/- EV ring, iso-ring, huge (E)viewfinder, raw output and a shutter-release button……. this is how the Nikon DF should have looked liked for less then $1200.

  5. It’d be interesting to see how well this takes off! A modern body without a screen? An extremely interesting design punt. Love the rest of the styling

  6. Perhaps we should say: “despise is the supreme form of envy…”
    I just love the M60 concept and design…not so much the price…!
    I just can’t understand why there are so many coments about “luxury” and like…
    I think most of Leica ownners use them in a discreet way, not to show off…
    Probably to a “show-off leicaist” there are millions of shinning Rolex, roaring Ferraris or whatever owners glad to exhibit their flashy goods everywhere…
    I’m not a “brand boy” but I really like my Leicas, I enjoy my hobby using them, and love the files they output…
    Just keep taking nice photos and enjoying yourself!

  7. How dumb of me! White balance is no longer needed because the output from this M is just in RAW format.

    If I have a boatload of money to buy this one, I won’t store this camera in a safe. I will definitely use it even if it would become ugly, tainted, or scratched.

    This camera is stainless steel, right? Would this really rust? Hhmm..

    jetdestura.tumblr.com

  8. There will always be someone that will want to pay more for something no one else has. I am wonderting where the extra value between the M240 plus 35 f1.4 Summilux and the M60 is. This is the cost of a Medium format system. I am not convinced that it’s medium format quality. I could get the Hasselblad 50c with a bigger sensor, better lenses (in my view) and better image quality (of that I have no doubts). It’s nearly the cost of the New S Sytem.
    I always thought Stainless Steel was a cheaper materila to work with over the brass they put on the top plate.
    It’s Leica.
    It may never have been the cheapest out there but the punter that buys these machines expect that they are the best of their kind for the amount of money you pay. Best Rangefinder of it’s kind? Probably. Best camera for the money? Forget it. Best Jewellary item in camera form? I guess so although Hasselblad peddle expensive versions of Sony Cameras. I wonder how they are going?
    It looks like the camera equivalent of General Patton’s ivory handled revolvers. Whatever crazy thing that turns you on.
    Noel

    • It may not make sense for you, but I love the M60. I can’t afford one, but if i would, I would never buy a Hassy or S instead. There is more than IQ and megapixels when it comes to rangfinder cameras. This is old news.

      “Best camera for the money?” There is no one single true answer to that.

      Jewellery item? Possibly yes. Like with all expensive stuff, it depends on who buys it and for what reason. However, with all respect, comparing even the most expensive Special Edition Leica to those silly Sony-Hasselblad’s is just plain ridiculous.

      I like this camera for its practical features, not its design (I would much prefer a black M-P like finish.). And yes it turns me on.

  9. I wonder to which extent abstinence from in-camera jpeg processing and toying with the rear LCD extends battery life. It would be nice to go back to disposable lithium batteries with enough energy for a week of shooting rather than worry about dayly recharging. Or to have some kind of mechanical generator to get independent.

  10. Next step is to make a fully mechanical one with no batteries.

    Just kidding.

    But seriously, a Monochrome M with no LCD and a normal price tag (in Leica terms) would be awesome.

    I love the handling of my M6 and this (M)M 60 seems to be the closest to it.

    The best part about recent developments in camera land is, that after the megapixel wars are over, some camera manufacturers start to find their way back to really good camera design (I’m not talking about the looks).

    The ugly part is, that I have still no idea how to fund it. 🙁

  11. I love the look and retro feel. Under the bonnet (hood) is the engine of an M240. The removal of the rear screen to make it feel more like a film camera is something that I need to sleep on but my first impression is a positive one.

    So I would consider buying one. If I did, I would be buying to use it on a daily basis.

    I would consider it as a straight swap against my M240 + Noctilux 0.95 so I guess from that point of view I’d be looking at it from a spending no new money perspective.

    I use my camera most days. The way I feel about it is part of that reason. If it feels special to you and you can afford it, you can justify it.

  12. This is a piece of art. A masterpiece. Not everyone understands it. You don’t have to shoot a thousand pics a month to feel enjoyed. Just to have it is the real mirth.

  13. This camera is not for me.
    But for those who treasure the simplicity of four settings and capture the moment, this is digital nirvana.
    I am still getting a feel for minute changes, building the muscle memory that life long photogs develop. It feels like the LCD is a perfect teaching tool, but also a distraction for gregarious, data gathers like us.
    This camera is beautiful, and Leica is responding to a market that has been clamoring for this. I’m certain there are 600 high networth individuals who will glad fork over 18.5k for this kit.
    Lovely design, bring this forward to the next M cycle, with a hybrid Optical RF and EVF built in and they’ll sell thousands.

  14. Sorry Leica, but it’s not the first Leica digital camera without LCD screen 🙂

    Couple of years ago I brought my beloved Digilux 2 to the seaside. As it was quite windy and rainy day, a bit of salt water improved my camera by disabling rear lcd screen, forever. Apart from that, the camera works perfectly fine, and you can even format the memory card using evf without any problems.

    P.S. if anyone interested, you can order my special edition D2 (one of 001 pieces) for $5,900 USD.

  15. I like it (and certainly won’t buy it). It’s the retro digital camera (except for the fat body) I would have liked as an FM2n or FM3a.

    It’s daring and challenging, they’ll all sell, to people who may or may not use them as “intended”, and Leica won’t lose on this venture.

  16. Luxury market is multi billion .
    Leica is a premium luxury brand.
    Leica M60 price is peanuts for those who buy luxury.

  17. I’m going to wait until a used one turns up on eBay and I can pick one up cheap … Say only $ 15,000. It’s also clear now why they put such an outdated rear screen on my MM. They really must think it’s not necessary to see what you’re doing while you’re doing it.

  18. A real shootingwise unfriendlyy and stupid idea. With M240 and LV you could at least see if you RF was off. With film Ms you couldt remove the film, put a groundglass in and check RF. I will recall my remarks only if Leica makes LCDless model with focus confirmation visible in VF and a little screw hidden behind that cute square plate in order to be able to calibrate and check RF. As it is now it`s no doubt a collectors item and nothing more.

  19. My first two DSLR’s do not have LCD screens. The screens are useful. I suppose you can still use the electronic viewfinder with this one?

    This camera is like the M9 Titanium, sold to get R&D money for the next generation of Digital M.

    • Good point about the EVF. I wonder why they have left out a cable release hole on the shutter button? Where am I supposed to screw in my custom titanium soft release?

    • Yes…R&D…sure, if that makes you feel better. I’m thinking more along the lines of profits for shareholders…which is fine as that is their right.

    • not “we”

      I do realize that with every camera (especially Leica) it’s a race to see who can pick the most nits first. To criticize the design since it doesn’t have some feature most never knew they needed buried deeply in some snake’s nest of menus. Then once it is in one camera it should automatically be in every camera or there is a ‘defect” with the design.

      But some of us value simplicity while we take our images and are more concerned with the image than the latest “cool feature”. More interested in the fun of a camera than trying to figure out what’s wrong with the mechanicals. Leica generally keeps it direct. Everything you need and very little that you don’t. I like that…!

      • When you factor the price the whole concept is laughable. Honey I just spent $200,000 on a car that goes back to the basics. No power steering, drum brakes, etc etc. Not a very compelling argument.

  20. “brave and daring”? The only thing that’s daring is the ludicrous price. Aiming to sell just 600 of them is neither.

    Also, it’s a bit odd that every other site was reporting this weeks ago, but this one had to play dumb.

    • I do not play dumb, I am just not a rumor site and I respect the manufacturers release dates. If you want rumors and news and nonsense then PLEASE go there and not here. Thank you.

  21. I am not an expert on Leica products but i think they had already launched a digital camera without a functional rear screen few years ago. I think they called it “Leica M9” or something like that…

  22. I was intrigued by this camera and thought it was a good idea when I first saw it. I went searching for it not knowing it was a limited run or it came with a lens. Then I saw the price.

  23. I think the idea is good but re-use the 240 body for that is clearly a commercial action. If Leica work as their spirit and if they go at the end of this idea why not reduce the width of the body. I love Leica, I love work with my 240 that is globally equilibrate ( a bit more big than an M6 ttl but you can do digital+film ) . Here it give me a bad commercial feeling and not a good engineer feeling.

  24. This camera shows a contemptuous, exploitative attitude on the part of Leica. How decadent! Products like this make me feel ashamed of being a Leica-lover.

  25. In the former years, before 2009, before the M9, I wanted a B&W no rear screen camera. But now, using digital camera, I won’t get reed with those, I can do without, but digital is what it is and better with thoses accessories.
    DS

  26. To Leica’s credit they’ve done an amazing job in turning a camera company into a fashion company. I’m struggling to think of other businesses who provide less and still charge more… in this case a LOT more. But good luck to ’em I say. Nobody is forcing anybody to buy it.

    Hell… if I had the cash I’d snap one up, stash it in a safe and sell it in 20 years time.

  27. I like the idea but I’d still like to have access to things like Auto-ISO or manual lens selection for uncoded lenses. I read some settings could be altered from a computer connected in USB but that would be impractical and defeats the purpose of not having a screen IMO.

  28. A bit Off Topic, but … the most fully featured (by far) Leica film M currently in production is the M7, yes ? It’s also the less expensive, correct ? And the less featured is the M-A … which is, I think, the most expensive. The laws of economics seem to behave differently in the stratosphere 🙂

  29. I think Leica should make their digital version like this in the first place, I mean before M8. The next M should be like this, pure photography as it gets. No JPEGs, just RAW files instead of film. Just love the idea. Just hate the price. Oh! How to adjust the white balance with this M by the way?

    jetdestura.tumblr.com

  30. So if I pry out the broken LCD screen on an M8 it will be worth an extra 10 grand too? Or maybe just 5 grand extra? Hmm.

  31. What about checking battery life or formatting a card? Why not put a camera like this into production for a 10 – 20% discount? I could really see myself using this instead of my film cameras for personal enjoyment.

  32. Am I the only one around here that think the covering is ugly? Much prefer a leather covering or even better, a vulcanite 😉

  33. It must be so depressing working for Leica, designing a camera that in most cases will never be used to take a single frame. I’m sure they are very proud of the monogrammed white gloves though.

  34. Beautiful camera. Really stunning looks!
    I wish I could afford one and use it as I used to use my Epson R-D1. I just flip over the screen and had the perfect digital analog camera, having even to cock the shutter to advance to the next exposure. Too bad Epson gave up on further developing that camera…

      • Me, too. I loved shooting that thing with the screen flipped closed. And cocking the shutter with the winder! Of course everyone thought it was a film camera. I still have it, but I mostly shoot with my Monochrom these days.

    • Exactly! The R-D1 was – for me – the best design of all, with all the controls available without ever needing to use the screen – which, in my case too, was always closed.
      Leica had the opportunity to make something that many people would have loved to buy and use, and again chose to make it an ‘exclusive item’ for the few (much like the Monochrom).
      They can pull it off, kudos to them.
      I am still waiting for the ideal Digital CL replacement, a simple, inexpensive body, with a good sensor (it could be the APS format), and an M mount. They could actually just take the X1 or X2, and replace the (excellent) fixed lens with an M mount, and they would sell like hot cakes – more so, i think, than that fancy T, which has ZERO appeal (to me). Best of all, it would NOT cannibalize the sale of the traditional M or any of their other models, it would be all incremental business.
      Well, one can always dream….

  35. Probably just a 3D rendered pic (like those in the IKEA catalogue) or a mere prototype and building it will only start after the 600 units are sold ,-p

  36. Interesting, no lugs to attach a strap on there. Guess Leica doesn’t think it will actually be used on the street.

    • This camera has been designed to separate the wealthy from their money … not help photographers achieve better photographs.

      Ironically, 60 years ago Leica was about THE IMAGE … now it’s ABOUT image.

      • People have been complaining about this for over 10 years now. Every year, the same complaints. When will people realize THIS IS Leica? Leica has NEVER been affordable, well, in my lifetime anyway. They have ALWAYS produced special editions that were priced to the stratosphere. Look at the multiple M^ special editions from the 80’s. Not sure how ANY of this new can surprise anyone today, it’s the same old Leica who has been using the same formula for 40 years. Today though they offer much more from P&S to Medium Format. The range is wide starting from $600 to $50,000. Leica is Leica and always will be. They have plenty of cameras that are about THE IMAGE, the M system being one of them. An M8, M9 or M 240 are fantastic cameras for shooting..amateur, enthusiast or pro, and yes, I know over a dozen pros who shoot only with Leica digital M’s. Because they offers something unique, different, and the experience is wonderful. Are they overpriced? Sure, of course..but they always have been. Doesn’t stop people from buying.

        • Well said Steve 🙂 Just because Apple have launched Apple Watch, don´t stop people from buying 30 year old Rolex watches! Does the more expensive Rolex tell the time better than the apple watch? NO! Is the rolex of bad watch and have bad build quality? hell NO! People can spend millions on paintings, just because you would´t don´t make it fair to complain about the people who would.

          My own dad collects Carl Zeis millitary binoculars. Among his collection he had 3 Carl Zeiss Jena OEM2 Rangefinders that back in 1970 each cost a ridiculous amount of money (now they go for far less though). He also just got offered 23k for a Third Reich engraved Carl Zeiss; he refused the offer.
          Personally I love going through my dads collection. The build quality, the feel, the mechanics etc etc. The same goes with my grandpa´s many old Hasselblad cameras.
          Photagraphy is not just about the picture quality but also about the user experience, built quality and the feeling you get from using it.
          And yes I would say that Leica is overpriced, but I would still want one,. Specially this Edition 60 model.

          • Now THAT argument I can buy. But reading endless prose on how amazing the image quality of Leica is is just non-sensical. But if you want to buy it because of some emotional attachment then by all means, be my guest.

            I wear an IWC watch, because I love IWC. But I don’t go around trying to convince everyone that it’s more accurate than their cheap quartz.

          • Steve – you are young. Leica was relatively affordable for professionals through the mid-1970s. Even the R series was aimed at the real photographers. After that the model became luxury goods. But I am willing to be bet that Leica is still making serious cameras 25 years from now. Had it tried to stay a camera company rather than luxury goods company it would likely be out of business now.

        • Steve I think the difference is that when Leica introduced the M3 the camera was the clear leader. I don’t think anyone came close with the exception of maybe the Nikon SP which was built like a tank. Therefore the price difference was more understandable. This is no longer the case. For me it’s not only that they are overpriced but that the competition is producing compelling and at times better alternatives. Let’s not kid ourselves Leica today is consistent with a Rolex or Cartier business model. It is an overhyped digital camera. I will stick with my beloved M3. I don’t need to get back to basics because I never left it. 🙂

        • Steve- how many pros do you think would be shooting professionally with Leica M’s if they were priced reasonably?
          Personally- i think the answer would change from “over a dozen of them” to “almost half of them”.

          And therein lies the point- they’re priced out of reach for most professional photographers, let alone enthusiests & hobbyists. There’s no value there like there used to be. In film days- one investment camera investment could easily last you 5, 10, 20, 30+ years.
          But in the digital times we’re in- most cameras aren’t kept even 5 years before upgrading, let alone 10 years. Not to mention there’s much more choices with other brands, and more ways for other companies(with more R&D resources) to raise the bar and push the technology.

          Its not like a Ferrari- in that along with beautiful looks & design, you also get an insane amount of performance that smokes 90% of the competition. And you’d likely never feel the need to upgrade again.

          *Just an opinion of a photographer who would shoot professionally with a Leica if the prices were more realistic in this digital day & age.
          I can afford one. But the price alone simply makes it a piece of delicate machinery to be handled with extreme care, rather than a working tool to be used hard, heavy & fast.

        • I think everyone who visits this site knows that Steve has head way up Leica’s to see things clearly.

          As a company Leica is no longer about photography. It has reduced itself to a marketing company trying to live of past glories, using its perceived prestige brand to seduce gullibles to part with their money.

          Look at the number ignorants who believe that there are actually enough fools who would waste +/-$20,000 to buy what is essentially a regular and already way over priced Leica minus some critical parts (like the screen) yet able describe it in such a way that you are getting more (a purer way to take photos and all the bull). Even Leica cannot find 600 fools to buy this crap. Most of Leica’s limited editions are left unsold in many stores throughout Asia.

          Of course, that’s part of the strategy for Leica.The whole idea is to charge it as ridiculously high as possible so that even Leica sells a handful, it will be profitable for them.

          Look, 3,4, 5000 bucks for a camera is expensive but affordable for many people these days. But the problem with Leica cameras are, what am I getting for my money? A piece of ordinary sensor, manual focusing, lousy electronics and software in many sense, rebadging of other brands , but spectacular body, nice leather, sexy case/cover and everything that does nothing to convince me that it is capable of making a better camera.

  37. I may not be the sharpest photographer in the shed, but wouldn’t you still need the screen for changing menu items such as white balance and file size etc. ?

      • Yes that’s what i heard.
        The video button is still in use. It allows you also to show in the viewfinder/RF screen the % of battery left or the number of views left on the card.

        • Thx, that button function was the info I was looking for (not too desperately, though).

          Most of the time the screen on my Fuji X100s is switched off (resp. shows the functions, no live picture) and I also have review off. Sooooooo, if I’d switch to 100 % optical viewfinder, I might get an idea of how it would feel to shot like this (just in a much tinier body with a very quiet shutter). Too bad I am still frequently tempted to hit the play button.

          I’m still intrigued by the design, but as many already said: it’s going to be a design piece disappearing in shelfs. Should have been made to take pictures, rather than a collectible.

          But who knows, maybe Fuji or some other manufacturer will bring out something like the M60 which is performing well at a reasonable price ,-)

          PS: do you know by now why there are no lugs on this thing? Is the picture showing an actual body, a prototype or is it 3D rendered?

  38. I was thinking what I would use the LCD for with my M9, I really don’t use it much asides from viewing the image and setting the ISO. Then I realized that I do use the “format” function quite often for formatting the SD card especially if I have to share SD cards between multiple cameras…. so how do I format the card or does Leica auto-format the card when it senses that it needs to?

  39. Pfff. They’re only making 600, most of them are probably already pre-sold, and most will never be used to take a picture. Many may never make it out of the box. How is that “brave and daring”?

    I suppose I should be in favor of anything that siphons extra money out of the accounts of the uber-rich and into Leica’s R&D department, but this kind of gambit makes photography in general look silly. Charging more for making a camera LESS functional (replacing the rewind crank with a knob on the M-A is a smaller example of the same thinking) seems like the nadir of decadence.

    • MANY of the 600 will be used. Just as many used their Titanium M9’s and a few are even using the Ralph Gibson monochrome. But they will sell out. They are not sold out yet.

    • I can’t remember the last time I went out shooting wearing white cotton gloves (lol), or decided that I DIDN’T want to know if I’d successfully achieved my digital capture.

      Leica, god love ’em; they’ll sell every single one of these blessed cameras … but not to photographers, to rich collectors.

    • I wish Fuji would buy out Leica, if only for the bodies & lenses.
      Leica body + leica glass + Fuji technology inside (and sold at realistic, reasonable fuji prices), what a camera that would be! Sigh… One can dream.

      This camera… I don’t even know what to think.
      I know this- if it had an LCD screen and priced at $2500 They would sell an obscene amount of them. Obscene amounts. (But given the cost of the summilux alone, that would never happen).

      Leica almost hit a homerun with the new Leica X, but without an ovf, it easily falls prey to cameras like the fuji X100T, Sony RX1, etc.

      Keep trying Leica, You’re getting warmer.

  40. Looks a lovely camera but agree with above it may turn out to be a collectors item. I think Id better not get one as I would probably have a senior moment and try to put a film in the bottom and ruin the bottom plate lol

  41. What is the “video” button’s use? No video on this I reckon. Focus assistance? But.. it’s only a rangefinder viewer. Hm. I am intrigued by the design and I actually like it. But not at this price. This is a camera made for collectors, not photographers. Waiting for something like this in higher numbers and at a reasonable price (say, for my budget, as a used one in a couple of years).. ,-)

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