Why do I want the Leica M Edition 60 So Badly?
by Brad Husick
The other day I stopped by our new local Leica store in the Bellevue Square Mall in Bellevue, WA near Seattle. It’s a lovely, large space with knowledgable people and a very nice selection of Leica gear.
One collectible they had in the store was the limited edition Leica M Edition 60 set which is comprised of a stainless steel M body with no LCD, and no other buttons on the back except an ISO dial in the place that older Leica M film bodies had their ISO / ASA dials. It shoots RAW only. In addition, the set comes with a stainless steel M 35/1.4 lens with a special hood, plus a leather half case and attached strap, as the camera body has no strap lugs whatsoever. Don’t lose the case or your camera will have no carrying capability other than in your hand.
Now, I am not a 35mm focal length shooter, I am more of a 50mm guy, so I don’t really get pleasure from their kit kens in this case, but I have the fortune to have the 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron, perhaps the finest 50mm lens ever made. I love this lens. It’s virtually glued to my Monochrom.
But back to the M Edition 60 camera. This is really nuts, right? No LCD, no menus, no settings, no way to review (chimp) your photos to know if you got the shot. Surely some Leica people were smoking some really good plants when they though of this one. I can hear the conversation around the conference room: “Tell you what, let’s remove the LCD altogether and make them guess if they got the shot! That will be hilarious!” That’s what I thought too when I first heard a rumor that this was coming. I was pretty shocked when the rumor turned out to be true.
Now several months after the launch I walk into that Leica store and just for grins I ask if I can hold it in my hands for a few supervised minutes. They say yes (I had to throw some important names of friends around to get them to take me seriously) and I pick up the camera. It’s heavier than I imagined and I now understand why nearly no cameras on Earth are made from stainless steel. It’s not bare metal either, it’s painted a light anthracite color. It’s beautiful and unique among Leica cameras before it.
I fondle it for a minute, turning the dials and looking through the viewfinder. It’s just like my M240, but there’s something different, something unique about it from any digital camera I have ever held. Then it hits me. This is really just like a film camera – I will have to wait until I get home or near a computer to see the images I took. And this is the crux. Nothing stands in your way of actually capturing images. You have no choice but to keep shooting and composing and adjusting and shooting. There’s no chimping, no stalling to play with settings when you should be shooting. And unlike film, there’s virtually no limit to the number of exposures you can take.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not a spray-and-pray experience like that of a fast DSLR when shooting sports. The M is still limited to a few frames a second in continuous mode, and I don’t use that mode on M cameras. This is about taking photos and nothing else.
It reminds me of the renaissance I had in my photography when I got my first real digital camera, the Nikon D1. It freed me in a way that no film camera before it could have possibly done. I was now taking photos rather than worried about how many of my 36 exposures I had left in the camera.
It also reminded me of the second renaissance I had in my photography when my good friend Ed Furia told me to try shooting with a Leica M3 to experience what a rangefinder camera was. For the first time both my eyes stayed open, I could frame and anticipate inside the viewfinder, it slowed me down enough to take photos rather than snapshots and people I were shooting were not afraid of the giant SLR in their faces and they relaxed and smiled. Yes, it was totally different from shooting an SLR and I loved it. I have now owned every Leica digital M they have made except the silly limited edition cosmetic ones.
This M Edition 60 is no silly limited edition. Well, it’s a little silly. Getting rid of the strap lugs is silly. Making it from stainless steel is a bit silly. Certainly the $18,500 kit price is silly in the extreme. But the IDEA of the camera, the way it functions, the way it MAKES you shoot is the opposite of silly, it’s sublime. It slows you down in the best way like other rangefinder cameras do, and then it does something magical. It gets out of the way and lets you take photos like no other digital camera can do. Film cameras do this, but then you’re always worried about how many frames you have left on the roll.
It’s the most empowering camera ever made. If you choose to afford it either by selling all your other gear or winning the lottery. I can’t sell my other gear right now, so I really hope my Pick-Six skills are at their peak. Because I want this camera BADLY. They’re only making 600 so I better start buying lotto tickets.
A note to collectors: please don’t buy this camera and put it on a shelf gathering dust as some kind of investment. If you’re fortunate enough to get one, please use it to make wonderful images and share them with the rest of us.
Hello to all, my very first post. I am not a camera buff nor expert amateur but do like photos in general. My budget for cameras up till now were couple thousand at the most. More like $1500 for body and lens at best with few additional lenses.
Starting few months ago, I got this urge to get a new camera since I was tired of buying mediocre cameras and ending up not using as much for a variety of reasons.
Began exploring the most recent top end mirror less like Sony and the rest, I was back and forth. Even the body only price of Sony A7RII was a formidable price for me to accept.
The brand Leica was something of a different galaxy for me. I have heard of the name but had zero knowledge. Yet, the impossible does happen. After weeks of exploring this and that among different brands and within each, I ended up buying number 180/600 of Leica M Edition 60. The box is with my son in Massachusetts and he would bring back in May to Japan where I reside.
I suppose I am off my rocker for doing this. Literally, the first time I held any Leica was only few weeks back at this Leica boutique in Yokohama, Japan. That was my only close encounter so far.
Jimmy, welcome to Steve Huff Photo and welcome to Leica. What a fantastic way to start!
Thanx and appreciate your welcome. A great site indeed and kudos to Steve for his passion and the members here who are in the same boat.
A lot of haters on here. I think it’s a fine camera, expensive yes. But a throwback using modern tech in a sexy package is cool. Don’t like it? Don’t buy it. Geez.
I never realized how many people just hate Leica cameras in general. They despise the brand and waste no time in criticizing any Leica product. It’s interesting in a way to see this. Funny thing is that I don’t remember reading hate posts about other cameras by the Leica owners.. Not saying there are none, but I’ve not seen them.
There is a similar trend among the mirror less camera crowd to hate and criticize the DSLRs… That too seems sort of unnecessary. Personally, if I had the funds I’d buy an M60 straight away. And a M246 as well LOL! I got into digital RF cameras with an RD-1 which I loved. But when I got the chance I jumped on a M240 and I’m very happy with it. I still have the EM-1 and some lenses but I hardly ever use it. I love shooting with the Leica M240 and all those great lenses.
I’m sure I would love shooting with the M60 as well. I think the haters get some sort of satisfaction by criticizing these cameras and the owners. I understand some of the reasoning and all, but the ridiculing and baseless scorn seems oddly misplaced… Don’t like Leica? Fine, don’t buy it. Can’t afford it? Well, that’s different, but with a bit of luck and patience one can by and enjoy a Leica for about the same price as a new flagship camera/lens combo from many manufacturers. But these cameras are not for everybody and won’t fulfill the needs of many photographers. Still, they are fun to shoot with and a pleasure to own.
I just bought one. I love it.
When I am out and about taking photographs for fun, I will use this camera and lens.
When I need ‘live view’, macro, telephoto, autofocus, super high ISO, higher resolution, tilt-shift, close focus distance, etc, etc, I will use a bunch of other cameras, including my phone. No big deal. I own no single camera that can do everything well. There is a place sometimes for cameras that push us in certain disciplines. I also have a Leica M-A. I either guess the metering or use my iPhone camera meter. That camera has made me think a lot more about lighting conditions and exposure values. I’m getting better at guessing.
NB – the USD has strengthened since this camera was announced. It’s not $18,500 on the street any longer. If we want to be logical about the price ‘premium’, Huss is on it – there is little downside on that score – it’s a bit more than the M-P240 + 35 FLE regular combo. Special edition cameras don’t always hold value, but special edition lenses certainly do. One of my dealer’s customers bought TWO M60 sets (so he could have a back up body – he intends to use this as his everyday camera), and he sold the 2nd 35 FLE stainless steel for US$10,000.
That said, I didn’t buy this with my head, I bought it with my heart. The camera is emblematic of the Leica M idea (would ‘ideal’ be too strong?). Most people won’t get this camera – it’s very easy to criticise. I get that. I don’t think those folks are wrong either – from a rational point of view most of the criticisms make sense.
I simply don’t care about the logic. The camera and lens appeal, and I know I will get a lot of pleasure taking pictures with it. I’m not a professional photographer. I take pictures in what little spare time I have.
A camera that gives me pleasure in use, is half the point. Most cameras on the market today would offer sufficient technical qualities for my needs. Most people would agree that the 35 FLE and the M240 offer a very high level of quality for picture taking. What the M60 does is provide a very special and enjoyable way to do it. For me, at least, and 598 others.
It’s not the exclusivity either. Frankly, I would rather this was issued by Leica in the normal set up – silver or black, with strap lugs, vulcanite, and so on. I really hope they do. But I don’t think they will. Perhaps, together with an app for your phone and wifi in the camera, so you can get ‘practical’ when you need to with it. The Monochrom proved that a very niche idea can actually sell within the M market. But I’m not sure this no-screen model will sell well in a normal release, and wanting one, I felt this limited set might be my only chance.
I hope too that a company like Nikon might come out with something screen-less, or at least very minimised, in the shape of the original F – and nothing on it but shutter speed, on/off, and shutter release.
Fingers on aperture ring, focus ring, shutter speed becomes a very quick and intuitive way to take pictures after a while.
I just turned off screen review and DNG compression. If I feel like I want to shoot film, I can still use my MP, no need to trade in gear.
I also prefer Mont Blanc pen to 1$ plastic one, it feels better, but what I write is no smarter.
Boys and toys and toys for boys, but it makes no difference to the quality or artistic value to the final photo
Yes, it is nicer, yes I like it to… but it is illusion I will make batter photos if I have one (or similar expensive) toy.
For the record,now I am using X-T1 with all the best Fujion lenses, but when I look at the photos I made with Cannonet QL19,they are of no lesser value.
Or, even the Olympus Stylus using Acros 100. I remember Mont Blanc pens from many years ago; relatively inexpensive, in the art supply store that I frequented.
My most emontional and irrational purchase ever, it will arrive on Wednesday says UPS, a M60 from Leica Vienna. USD 14,140.00 excl VAT. The M240, Summicron 28, Summilux 35 asph (pre FLE) will be sold to partly finance the purchase.
Wow…let us know how you like it.
My all time Top 3 special products (form/function/feel-good factor):
1/ Krell KSA-100S
2/ Leica M60
3/ Mark Levinson 390S
Exactly how does not having the ability to review your shots help you to be a better photographer? This seems like a case of misplaced machismo, as if you can’t be a “real” photographer without the safety net of an LCD screen. I say nonsense. Furthermore, I say it does exactly the opposite, because having an LCD screen allows me to fine tune my exposure as I’m shooting. I waste far less time and get a higher percentage of good shots. And that’s all that matters.
“Exactly how does not having the ability to review your shots help you to be a better photographer?”
It makes you more confident.
Taking better photographs makes you more confident. Not knowing if your exposure is correct makes you waste time.
When digital cameras came around, lots of film photographers said, “Why do you need a screen on the back to review your images? REAL photographers don’t need that.” Fast forward 15 years or so.
Basically you spend more time looking through the viewfinder, much more time, wondering if you have it right. Very quickly you learn what a good shot is and start to become much more selective. You also start to learn the intricate details of exposure and learn when it is necessary to make adjustments, and by how much.
The result of this learning is no longer needing to review your shots on an LCD.
But this does not apply to all styles of photography, lots of places when an LCD is necessary – but this is a Leica and they tend to not be used for those kinds of photography.
Hello Tim: I can’t agree with you more. I use my M’s “for that kind of photography” 95% of the time, and painfully remember testing in the film days. Take some test shots, write down what I did for each exposure/light combo, run down to the lab to drop the film, drive back to look at the film, and repeat the testing. Good riddance to that lifestyle!
There’s no situation where having the ability to confirm that your exposure is correct isn’t helpful. Simply having an LCD screen doesn’t require you to look in the viewfinder less. But not having that resource to check your exposure when you need to is a huge and unnecessary downside.
The Sonyblad Stellar recently was sold at $1000
Steve and lots of peeps went nuts over this ‘deal’. But it was 100% more expensive than the Sony Rx100 that it is based on!
The Leica M60 is only 42% more expensive than its base camera.
Steve, time for you to step up..
Nope..$1000 is one thing…$18k is another level and out of my reach, by about $16,000 😉
If this is same in the inside with the M240
why can’t I break the LCD of that one?
It is cheaper, lighter, with lugs
You can’t just break the screen on the 240 because the 240 was designed to need a screen. The 60 may be a 240 internally, but it was designed to not need the screen. Yeah, it’s overpriced. It’s a limited edition camera for collectors. But the idea of it has lots of appeal to some people in that it’s pared down to the simplicity of a film camera.
Incidentally, the camera does have strap lugs. They’re on the half-case which comes with it.
When Nikon released the DF, many people said all they wanted was a camera like an FM2 or F2 but with a digital sensor. No AF, no computer screen on the back. Back to basics.
Now when Leica actually has released such a camera, apparently there are some that are outraged!
Is $18,500 too much? Let’s break it down..
A regular production M-P is about $8000.
A regular production 35mm 1.4 is about $5000.
Total = $13000.
The M60 and lens is a limited run edition, made from a different material (stainless steel), that required different tooling, production design and techniques. You get all that for only a 42% markup?
Take your emotion out of this for a moment, and think about this from an economic standpoint.
You are getting a uniquely designed, uniquely built limited edition camera for only a 42% premium.
If Nikon, Canon, Sony etc made a limited edition camera, out of unique materials with a one off design based on an existing model, don’t you think it would be more expensive than the regular version?
Wouldn’t you think that a 40% premium would be acceptable?
What we are seeing here is just another variant of the anti-Leica effect. It doesn’t have the latest gee whiz features and I can’t afford one, so it sucks.
Agree. Very beautiful camera, looks like an Audi design. No chimping makes sense too, but agree with Giallo: just buy a Leica MP or M7 and enjoy film shooting and battery life of years instead of hours/days.
I don’t see the point of being excited to wait to get home and check on the computer “like the old film days” …buy a damned film camera instead!
Closer to a DCS-100. Nikon F3HP with the Digital Back.
The LCD screen really did make it easier to use these things.
I don’t often agree with Ken Rockwell but this camera would only be bought by ‘The Leica Man’ as described in this article. I’ll be surprised if the moderators allow it to be posted though!
It does make sense not to have a LCD though, which allows concentration on the picture taking process, but shouldn’t it be cheaper than the M240? After all, why not make it with M240 machine body and viewfinder, leave off the LCD, keep the strap lugs and charge less than the M240. Then the philosophy of making it more of a photographers tool would ring true, rather than thinking this is another Leica ploy to skim 18,500 dollars from your bank account. A phrase springs to mind
“A fool and his money are soon parted”
Nobody gets this? For me it’s simple – no *@£$£ computer visible on the outside. Make it a reasonable price and I’d have one.
Extreme concept, beautiful camera – for 18500 this of course is real cult stuff.
So collectors: Get it on your shelves – and stick that big red button on it!
Too bad probably only 10 of these are ever going to see the light of the day; the rest will be locked behind display cabinets. The concept is nice, but for $18500, I’d rather take a Leica M9, Leica M6, and still have enough left over for a nice set of Leica glass.
I think that most of the people taking issue with the idea of removing the screen are doing one of two things: misunderstanding the appeal of not having a screen, or reacting emotionally to what they wrongly perceive as an attack on their joy of having that screen.
The reason for not having a screen is to simplify the experience, to remove that which is not essential. Nobody cares if you like having a screen. Screens are useful. We all understand that. But you don’t really need it any more than you need to be able to shoot video, or need an exposure compensation dial (this one is especially silly to me. If you’re dialing in your exposure manually, you already have an exposure compensation dial. It’s the same dial!).
Anyway, it’s been fascinating reading all the sensible, well reasoned, and occasionally wacky reactions to this article.
I think Adam Marelli summed it up quite nicely when he said:
“The M60 is not a camera for everyone, but then again neither is any Leica. They have always been a specialty producer. As Leica has grown into the digital age, they have maintained their ability to do three things very well: produce outstanding photographic tools, evolve the aesthetic of the rangefinder better than anyone else, and still find your ‘Desire’ button, no matter how much you try to hide it.”
This sums up to me the epitome of Less is More 18K more to be exact. Seriously, if you have the time to just go out and shoot and make sure you are composing and really “focusing” on capturing the right image. Why don’t you have the time to switch film rolls? When I want that analog feeling out comes the FM10. When I don’t, I have my digital.
Incidentally, has anyone else’s analog skills “developed” over time by using their digital? (man I am on a “roll”) See what I did there x 3?
“..has anyone else’s analog skills “developed” over time by using their digital?..” ..Yes, mine have.
When I want to see what different lenses do – on an “analog” film camera – I’d swap lenses, or change apertures, or whatever else, and I have, say, 36 shots at making changes, and I then I had to rewind the film and either send it off for development & printing (colour) or dunk it in a developing tank and then make enlargements (b&w).
There used to be no instantaneous check on how one lens compared with another, or how depth-of-field compared on different lenses at different apertures: you had to develop your film, print the pictures, and see what you’d got ..unless you shot slide film / dias / transparencies, in which case you got the film developed and then projected it on a wall or screen.
Having instant feedback via a little (zoomable) screen on the back of a camera was – obviously, I’d say! – a great step forward.
I remember wanting to test to see if there were any appreciable difference between Yeshiva lenses ..WHAT?! ..Sorry; that’s the inbuilt Apple spell-checker/spell-corrector at work while I type this in Safari!.. I’ll write it again: Yashica lenses (used on, say, a Yeshiva FX-3 ..it’s done it again!) compared with the expensive, but almost identical, same-mount Zeiss lenses made for the ‘Contax’-branded, Porsche-body-designed Yashicas.
I remember I took a few shots with each, and then rewound, developed, stopped, washed, fixed, washed again, dried and enlarged the film, then developed, stopped, washed, fixed, washed and dried the enlargements ..and THEN I could see the differences! (This was for an article about differences between Yash’s own and Zeiss’ “T*” lenses, both for the Yash/Contax mount.)
So it took about 20 mins to take various shots (against the sun, sun behind the camera, sun glancing off the edge of things, etc) and then about three quarters of an hour to develop and print and examine all the pics.
Now just think how simple this is with a digital camera. Shoot and look. Shoot and examine. Or slip out the memory card and see the results instantly on your Mac or PC.
That’s helped me develop (..yes, pun..) my photography enormously: I can experiment and see immediately what works and what doesn’t, or how different angles make a different impression, what are the various characteristics of different lenses; it helps me choose in a shop and see which lenses do what I want and which aren’t – for me – worth buying.
Instead of “guesswork” and “hope” and “waiting” – although, of course, there was always a great anticipatory thrill in wondering “how things have turned out” before the results from the developing tank, or from the photo-processor, could be checked – now I KNOW ..instantly.. what the results are such as when I tweak something (..when I switch to Tungsten white balance in the ten minutes of post-sunset deep-blue twilight..) or if I’ve got the under-exposure right when I shoot post-thunderstorm clouds.
Nostalgia’s always, by its essence, delightful (..unless you’re remembering “bad” old days..) but that’s something different from the practicalities of using old equipment, whether it’s old cameras, or old cars, or old computers, or old boats, or old clocks, or old radios, or old clothes.
But ‘analog’ cameras which took only 36 shots (..I know, I know; it “slowed you down”, as people say ..but there’s nothing to stop you shooting slowly and carefully with any modern camera..) and which entailed waiting (..half an hour or a week..) to see your results ..they were old “state of the art”, and it took a while, and many rolls of costly film and development, to get to understand what was happening with your shots.
Digital cameras, with a window on the back, help you learn and “develop” much more quickly, more easily, let you experiment and compare, help spur you on your (..we-ell, “my”..) thinking and originality.
For nostalgia’s sake I DO use my old “analogue” cameras now and again; my M3 and OM-2 and all the other goodies ..I recently bought a cheap M5 ..terrific! ..except that I couldn’t immediately check whether the focus mechanism was still accurate, but shot a roll of XP2, and then had to send that off for processing.. and I do get a kick out of testing my old ‘analog’ skills and seeing if they still work.
I’m sorry to see film die – and I also detest people adding so-called “film grain” via software to modern digital photos: ugh ..stupid and pointless, it seems to me!
But I’ve learned so much from shooting digitally, especially with my not-much-better-than-film M9. And with the little interchangeable-lens Panasonic GF-1, and with the great Sony A7S ..and a whole truckload of other digital cameras, from the first of the Sony “Mavica” floppy-disc-in-the-back 640×480 pixel cameras around 1997 and the 6 megapixel Canon 300D (‘Digital Rebel’) to the latest multi-megapixel super-fast focus silent astonishments!
When I want to be nostalgic (..aaaaahh!..) I use a teeny (noisy) CL, or a silent (and heavy) M3, or even a Houghton-Butcher 6×9″ roll-film ‘pocket’ camera, or a Bakelite can’t-remember-its-name bellows beast, or a little pocket Rollei 35 – or Apple-Watch-sized Tessina 35, which straps onto your wrist, or a 110-sized Rollei A110 ..but those are just for the fun of using old hardware, and for the fun of taking the M3 where its original owner (..my father-in-law..) might have taken it: Paris, Venice, Graz, Vienna, and so on.
For inspiration, though, and versatility, and wonderful results which I can see straight away, I use a lightweight-lenses E-M1 or a low-light, full-frame A7S.
And digital photography certainly has allowed my “analog skills” to “develop” and to bloom and blossom enormously, and far faster than by plodding on with low ISO, glass-filter-adjustment, one-ISO-per-roll, 36-only (or eight or twelve-only), chemical-dip, unseen-for-a-week, mechanical-enlargement, keep-out-of-X-rays and sadly-antiquated film.
I even use a VHF radio, and a widescreen digital TV, instead of a fading, crackly, interference-ridden AM Medium Wave valve- (‘tube’)-driven heterodyne wireless set, and I no longer watch a black-and-white 12″ analogue 405-line cathode ray tube floor-standing mahogany television.
Maybe there’s something wrong with me..
The next edition will sport a *digital* camera with no sensor!
A digital Leica without LCD would be interesting if it was more than a nice design piece for collectors and rich photographers.
But with its limited status and obviously based on a standard digital Leica M with LCD and buttons removed it is kind of pointless.
The digital Leica (named M-D?) without LCD I think should be built look like this:
1. First. The main reason to remove the LCD is to be able to make the camera body slimmer. Digital Leica M cameras are in my eyes ugly bricks compared to the beauty of a Leica M camera for film that have the perfect thickness.
2. The reason digital cameras are thicker (I measured 11mm from the sensor marking to the back, without the tiltable LCD on a Sony A6000.) is not only the sensor itself with its own small circuit board and heatsink and the LCD on the back but also the main circuit board and several shieldings.
Those interesting how a Sony A7II teardown look like can check here: http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/02/the-a7ii-teardown-a-look-inside-sonys-new-camera
3. Not having a LCD, nor any buttons on the back, except for an ISO-dial will save internal space as no connections for those will be needed.
4. The space saved can be used to redesign how digital cameras are usually built with circuit boards on the sides of the sensor rather than behind it. This should make it possible to reduce the thickness caused by the sensor, electronics and shieldings by half. Remember I measured the thickness on A6000 to 11mm including a protective back. With only the sensor I think it is reasonable to get down to 5mm without the cover. So I took a Leica M6TTL and measured the distance from the film gate to the hatch on the back. 5mm!
5. With good engineering what I can see it is within the limits of possible to make a digital Leica M camera with the same thickness of the main body as Leica M film cameras. It would need a strong protective plate on the back. But that would just be reminiscent of the hatch on M film bodies.
6. The Leica M Edition 60 is a bit limited and need some additions. First an extra setting at the main switch not only for time and date but also for selecting lens profile.
7. Just becase the camera have no LCD doesn’t mean it can’t have more advanced settings for those who want them. Just add Wi-Fi and an app for smartphones in same style as the menu in Leica T for a much larger choice of settings, including remote release and maybe even live-view mode.
8. To reset the camera into standard, no chimp mode, the R lever on the front would make a come-back, only now R would stand for reset, not release of the film.
9. As this is a user camera and not a minimal design piece we want a framefinder lever under the optical finder. An electronic selftimer on the front at the other side of the lens would also be nice. The shutter release will of course be threaded for a cable release or release button of choice.
10. A small exposure compensation dial on top of the camera in same place as on many other cameras, like Fujifilm X-T1, would be nice.
11. The hot-shoe will be the one from Leica T to be able to use the Visoflex T finder.
12. It’s time to drop the century old loose bottom design! The battery solution in the S and T cameras is much more elegant and practical. And give us a normal card door on the side!
13. The thinner body may cause some interior space problem. While I think Leica would like to keep the classical Leica M shape I personally prefer the M film body either with the M grip or M motor and would not mind if Leica made a built-in grip, maybe something like on Leica T.
A small thumbgrip on the back would be appreciated.
14. Price. Considering no LCD or video price should be a bit lower than M240 and its successors. On the other hand it is a completely newly designed speciality model still using a mechanical rangefinder (With new type LED framlines) and made by Leica. So it will certainly not be cheap!
15. Despite the price I think a digital Leica M as described would be very appreciated among Leica M aficinados!
Only thing that remains is to write a petition to Leica and ask them to finally build that proper digital Leica M!
Excellent ideas! I was hoping this article would start a conversation like this. Thank you.
Seriously? I really like the comment, “Nothing stands in your way of actually capturing images.” I truly do not understand why having an LCD screen on the back is so ‘low class’. If photographers back in 1952 could have looked to see if the got the shot they wanted, I guarantee they would have be happy to see the screen. And, this so called ‘chimping’…. So I should spend $5K on a trip to Europe, take a bunch of photos, then wait till I get back home to find out my SD card decided to quit working. Well, I personally look at my photos after I shoot, and I am not the least bit embarrassed for it. Geeze…
How about going back to B&W TVs and maybe covered wagons — for that really cool experience of transporting myself the way I was meant to.
“..If photographers back in 1952 could have looked to see if the got the shot they wanted, I guarantee they would have..” ..Some did. They used a Polaroid back.
That let you see within 60 seconds if the shot was right. Wedding photographers, industrial photographers, portrait photographers – not sports photographers, obviously! – used Polaroid for test shots, just to make sure they nailed it. There was no Polaroid back for Leicas (..that I’m aware of..) but for Mamiyas, Hasselblads, Nikons and other formats, you unclipped your film back and clipped on a Polaroid back. Took your test shot(s), peeled apart the film, checked that all was OK, then swapped back to the ‘non-instant’ film on which you shot your actual photo.
In many cases it was taken as a sign of “professionalism” that you took, and viewed, test shots before the final exposure.
The Polaroid concept may have flown in some places, but Polaroid film was usually way different ISO and very variable color.
OK for Xmas and Easter snaps. I never bothered with that way! I did pre tests of films, developers and strobes. I had data sheets for different jobs and set ups.
Oh if only one could “chimp”.!
It is a time and life saver..
Sorry i don’t but the positive arguments for a stupid retro camera.
No strap lugs..so you can drop it with your smart phone.
No menu functions, obviously. So no auto iso. How do you know battery status? If there’s a card in it? Can you change from aperture to shutter priority? I mean, does it even meter? Or is it like a digital version of an M3? No exposure bracketing I’m sure.
It does meter. Shutter dial on “A” puts it into Aperture Priority, but there is no Shutter Priority on Ms. Metering indicators, frame lines, and selected shutter speed show up in the viewfinder. I guess you’ll know the battery’s drained when the camera stops working!
I would just put duct tape on the back of my M240 and do the upgrade myself. It’s reversible too. No shame in my game 🙂
Right, but if you put duct tape on the screen, how are you going to change the ISO? (I’m loving this discussion, by the way.)
Are you saying you need the screen to change ISO on that thing? Unbelievable.
You say “unbelievable” as if you hope to believe it.
You can change ISO on the 240 without the screen. You just can’t see what you’re changing it to. So before you put duct tape on the screen, you better switch it to Auto ISO.
should be a picture of it in the dictionary next to the word “contrived” . . .
‘Nothing stands in your way of actually capturing images.’
The only statement perhaps more cliche than that is ‘the definitive moment’. Here’s a secret…if you need the LCD screen removed from the camera to stop you from chimping the camera wasn’t the problem…you are! Seriously, the M60 is a BEAUTIFUL looking camera and I love the fact it is made from stainless steel but no strap lugs and the lack of LCD are rather ridiculous…though it DOES look better without the LCD.
Sorry, but reading your article was like flipping through a Leica brochure….talk about drinking the coolaid. I guess you’re the target audience Leica is shooting for:)
Thank you. Perhaps Leica should hire me for marketing.
Cost is relative. For many people, this camera could be priced at $1,000 and it would be still be exorbitant. For others, it’s a rounding error. If I had a pile of spare cash lying around, I’d love to have the Edition 60. I have the Typ 240, and although I tell myself that I’m not going to look at the screen, eventually I do. That’s how powerful the draw is. If you can, you will. With the M 60, you can’t. I love that.
Plus I’m a fan of the ISO dial being on the back as it is on the film models.
I can see the attraction in esoteria. A new Nikon F2 Titan, 5000 Gbp. Sounds reasonable to me… No chimping possible. Won’t take a better picture than my my mint F2AS though.
Or… A Nikon SP with 35/1.8, only 7000 Gbp, new/unused. A better made camera than a Leica!
I think this is one gimmick that Leica draws additional revenue from those who is willing to pay.
Each and everyone of us have their own style of shooting and no need to have the brand producing something that tells you how to get it done.
Leica should spend the time and effort to further improve the M rather than trying to maximise their profit from their fans.
You may think otherwise.
Producing M60, Leica once more proves that it moves away from what used to be a photographers camera. One would expect that Leica, in order to make their digital rangefinders more affordable, would skip LCD, saphire glas and rangefinder mechanism (expensive ) to make it cheaper alternative alas they did just the contrary. Typical snob attitude.
p.s. dropping rangefinder one might ask, you crazy? No Leica just as well might use Fuji 100T solution which would have one more advantage beside being cheaper. For the first time you would be able to see B/W in a finder, something you cannot do with Monochrome which is an absurd contradiction.
It is not for use! It is a Collector’ Camera.
I use Leica M but like everyone else in the 60’s moved to SLR.
i kept the M3 for certain assignments but not the main camera.
This “frame thing” seeing what could enter the frame not really work on my M3.
The 50mm frame is almost to the edges..
My M6 of course there is way more space seen and UNSEEN due to lousy frame lines.
I think it’s a good sales thing for Leica.
A sensible solution..I think not.
It’s a poor man’s M2 / M3 😛
Now that was genuinely funny!
So now you have to go home to discover if your Leica has corrupted the memory card… again… :p
Brad, I’d be interested in buying the 35mm lens off you if you don’t shoot 35mm when you buy the M60.
Hakan, I know where to get one. Please contact me.
Great. How can I contact you pls?
It is alsways great to see that Leica’s marketing is working. Ok it works not for everybody, but as we can see here for some.
Some people will say if you don’t want to look on the LCD screen than just don’t do it. Leica charges you an extra fee and some people are willing to do this. For leica ist is great to have folks that are following their crazy ideas and paying a fortune for this.
Will you see a difference in the picture at the wall. No!
Oh my Buddha!
Obviously Leica can do everyhting and people still buy it
Heared about a Benz without mirrors -someone interested?
I have Epson RD-1, where back screen can be rotated to hide and on the other side it has ISO dial exactly like M60 so it’s like both, camera with screen if you want and without if you don’t want.
But if I have money I will definitely buy M60.
No, the R-D1 has a dial on the back of its (reversible, hide-away if you don’t want to see it) screen which shows the comparative FOCAL LENGTHS of lenses when used with the APS-sized sensor of the R-D1.
So the little dial shows that, for instance, a 50mm lens, when used on the R-D1, behaves like a 75mm lens, and a 21mm lens behaves like a 32mm lens.
Thanks David for correcting me…Time for me to dust off RD-1 and use it. I am traveling to Maldives next week, I will take RD-1 along.
Yes, do! ..It’s a terrific camera. Take extra batteries, though, as I find they don’t last long! And a charger, of course!
I’d buy 18 Sony A7 instead..
Would one be worried about rust when using this camera? I mean, let’s not think of its price and look at the camera objectively. It is made of stainless steel. I have things made of stainless steel but they still rust. Just asking and hope someone can answer it. Thanks!
Rust will just make it more valuable! Like brassing of brass painted cameras. Just kidding. The reason some stainless steel rusts is because it is low quality, usually made in China but not always. The M60 is stainless but also painted.
Thanks for the answer bvhleica!
Seriously? I really like the comment, “Nothing stands in your way of actually capturing images.” I truly do not understand why having an LCD screen on the back is so ‘low class’. If photographers back in 1952 could have looked to see if the got the shot they wanted, I guarantee they would have been happy to see the screen. And, this so called ‘chimping’…. So I should spend $5K on a trip to Europe, take a bunch of photos, then wait till I get back home to find out my SD card decided to quit working. Well, I personally look at my photos after I shoot, and I am not the least bit embarrassed for it. Geeze…
How about going back to B&W TVs and maybe covered wagons — for that really cool experience of transporting myself the way I was meant to. Hahahaha… Mortgage your house, buy the fake film camera and have fun.
“If photographers back in 1952 could have looked to see if the got the shot they wanted, I guarantee they would have been happy to see the screen.”
This doesn’t ring true to me. Those guys weren’t about to stop what they were doing in order to second guess their technique. They had confidence. Most of the time, if they clicked the shutter, they got the shot, and if they missed it, it was too late to take it again anyway. They’d just move on.
Your post honestly made me laugh! Thank you so much for posting. You may have ignited my lust for this crazy camera too . . .
Name throwing works in the Leica universe. A fact.
So on a lesser note go and pick up the original Espon Rd1. This is a true rangefinder camera and with the most simple controls when you close the back cover up and you feel as you are shooting film. The max is a 2gig card so you are limited.
The images I get even at 6 megpixels are so film like and the entire experience is a joy. Good to go backwards every now and then. This is one classic camera.
Not “backwards”… ccd sensor…
wow. Leica keep blowing minds
…and dudes keep blowing their wallets!
M Monochrom has that same crappy LCD and takes away the distraction of color.
Brad and Steve, nice fun article to read… Just one little thing. I know it is nit picky but you really need to proofread this. There are numerous errors. Otherwise nice article guys.
Every article I have ever posted has numerous errors..part of my secret. I am real, not a machine, and those who write for me are as well. I prefer mistakes..so unless they are REALLY bad, I leave them. You may think I am joking, but i am 100% serious 🙂
If I am too serious about my spelling etc. that would take away the fun part of this site. So I might enjoy the lieac N9 as much as I want…
“Why do I want the Leica M Edition 60 So Badly?” Must be tough for the uber-rich to sit around and have to ponder such deeply existential questions all day …
If he was “uber rich” he’d already have one. There’s no need to be insulting.
Personally I turn the LCD off, mostly to save battery, and review only if I want to. I dont actually understand all the machismo around not chimping, it is possible to take care over one’s shooting and still want to review the odd shot. Not doing so seems to me to be a touch Luddite and/or like being a chef that never bothers to taste his/her food until after it’s been served. Each to their own, I can understand how the simplicity of the camera appeals, but for me it isn’t value for money, for Brad it is and that’s fine too.
It isn’t machismo, it will take you out of the moment. But I agree, if you have the discipline not to chimp, you can do so with any camera. What I would really hope for is that Leica turn this into a production model with strap lugs, and price it cheaper than the regular M240. I think they would sell quite a few.
Buy the M9. Its lcd screen is subpar and feels like having no (usable) screen;). The dedicated iso dial and raw files only are great.
I don’t understand all this. Nobody forces you to look at LCD, only you yourself!
Why don’t you just get a nice case from Luigi (Leicatime.com), that covers the LCD??
Here is my MM with this bag:
The problem is that camera controls are designed with the lcd in mind, so sometimes you are forced to use the lcd even if you do not want to (e.g. to change iso).
Last Spring, two days into a 14 day trip through France, the LCD on my RX1 died. It was the only camera I brought, wanting to travel light. Luckily, I had my EVF along, so I could still photograph. At first I was quite upset, but a few days later I realized how great it was to not be able to “check” my shot instantly. Every day I would shoot, and every night I would download the shots into my laptop. Sometimes, if I had the time, I’d check out a few. Most nights, we were too tired and just couldn’t be bothered. It was freeing.
On the flight back home, I decided not to have the camera repaired.
$18,000…while I (now) completely understand the attraction of this camera, I feel like I got off cheap!
Leica should bring out a cheaper version
I really like the concept. What surprises me is that it still looks very thick. I wish the removal of the screen would slim down the housing to get it closer to a M6 size. I haven’t checked the specs but it looks like that they removed the screen and kept the M240 dimensions. I guess to make that concept not too expensive they modified the M240 database for machining but keep the dimensions to not have to make new fixtures for production. Just a guess. A beautiful camera.
Now that’s a great idea. The original M6 was the perfect sized camera. I bet Leica still has the tooling for the M6 body somewhere. Let’s hope this M60 is a prototype run for an original M6 sized version (at a reasonable price). That’s something I’d buy in a heartbeat.
Brad, to each his own. It’s a free world out there when you ca afford it, and who am I to tell someone how to spend their own money. However, I could have saved you a sweet five grand. See, I have this roll of black tape that I sell for $3000 a roll… 😉
Also, you might help to set the camera to shoot raw for free.
You’d have to print red dots all over that black tape and then you could probably sell it for $3000 a roll. 🙂
Bernd, that sounds wonderful.
I might add that my friend actually made the M60 his incentive to downsize his gear, which is something he got even more distracted by than the LCD. He traded an M240, a film MP, and a Monochrom for the M60. In addition to not having the LCD, he doesn’t look at his photos for at least a week. Getting rid of the distractions has done wonders for him clearing his mind and focusing on just the picture.
You can absolutely do all of this without the M60. The M60 is just the luxurious icing on the cake.
Traded in his film MP? I would cry if I did that to my one!
I think the closest you can get to the M Edition 60 experience is to use a half-case with a snap-on back that completely covers the buttons and screen on the M.
I just have not had the time to explore this camera. I hope I will be able to get my hands on and more likely buy it. It is just a fabulous idea. Bravo Leica, again one more innovation and a step to the right direction. It looks so cool. I bet it works and it is not flaky as the M240.
some people just cannot see and miss it.
I was wondering. How much effort would it take to not chimp? Or to tape over the lcd display? Or does that take away too much from the elevated feeling?
I just took a few shots, bad light, with my F2, Tri-X. No chimping possible. Elevated feeling.
If the client wants to see an image, and you don’t have access to Polaroid, you happily chimp with your client. When I shoot for myself, I rarely look at the display.
Reminds me of the first time I handled a Leica 3G … except this one had the ‘collapsible’ f2.o 5cm Summicron, so was a lot more pocketable than modern Leicas. I would have thought Leitz could have come up with a modern and faster way of ‘telescoping’ this type of lens by now..I also think the 3G is also smaller than their modern counterparts. I see that Leitz have come up with a completely detachable strap, but have yet to hear any feedback on how good this design is.
How is exposure calculated with this camera? In tricky lighting situations, I find chimping (or using an electronic viewfinder) invaluable. But if not knowing anything at the time of shooting is critical to your enjoyment, couldn’t you just put a little black gaffer’s tape over the LCD of an ordinary digital M?
The screen I could use. However, the idea of fewer adjustments and menu items is brilliant. The single most annoying “feature” of my M240 is having to navigate through menus and make adjustments all the time. I shot film with very few adjustments needed and it was really much easier to concentrate on shooting than navigating menus and making adjustments.
As a camera it is beyond silly! Leica don’t seriously expect anyone to take photos with it, it’s a collector’s item.
I know someone that makes photographs with it better than most people. I’m sure a lot of these will end up in collectors’s hands but don’t generalize.
I can pretty much do the same thing with my Fuji X100S, by shooting with the optical view finder and turning off the review feature. It even has strap lugs!
You’ve got a great sense of humor
My friend bought this camera and I have to admit it is wonderful. He is a great photographer too and I know the camera gets a lot of use. As a matter of fact, something you really love will get used much more than something you bought just because it was cheap. If you want it, get it. Life is short and you can’t take anything with you. Is your Monochrom silver? If so, I might be able to offset your expense.
“Life is short and you can’t take anything with you”
Life is too short to sell ourselves short by pursuing
those that messes up our real self.
“I will have to wait until I get home or near a computer to see the images I took. And this is the crux. Nothing stands in your way of actually capturing images.”
…or, NOT capturing images, as the case may be. Imagine the true, organic, film-era-recalling excitement of sitting down at the computer after an intensive day of shooting, and discovering you had left the lens cap on the whole time.
HaHa! It’s funny cus it’s true.
Yeah, I think there is too much “golden age” nostalgia for the film era. How about nailing exposure in high contrast scenes? Or getting the proper balance of fill flash?
Who cares Brad.
However you are probably the kind of guy
if you went to see a famine, poor children dying due to lack of funds
would take photos of them with your $18K M60
to draw the worlds attention
then you would sell your M60 and give them all the money to help.
If you wish to make insults – aim them at politicians and not photographers!
Let’s start with this.
1. Sell your PC/cellphone or whatever you are using
2. Unsubscribe your ISP and donate the money
– Just another Saint.
You both misunderstood.
Hold up a mirror before you get holier than thou.
Clearly you held up a mirror before getting holier than thou on the OP, right?
Brad, I applaud you. I greatly enjoy my M240, M9 and for certain specific needs, my Canon. It is a beautiful camera but I would not have the balls to go back to that level of simplicity in my shooting. At least I don’t use auto exposure, ever, and minimal AF on my Canon. It is a beautiful camera BTW
Nice idea that leica have know to make you pay more for the less ! The best digital rangefinder, related with essence of photography was probably the epson RD-1, nice color, sharp and the screen was small and you have the ability to turn it and forget it and much more they had a wind-on lever it was just so good (silent) . So my conclusion with this new leica toy his if you are ready for a digital Leica at this price, do it or put a piece of rubber on your M8 or M9 screen, you will have almost the same thing ! Please apologise for my approximative english writing. Sheers from France.