Leica M Edition 60 Review

 
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24.00
Megapixels
Leica M bayonet 35mm
size sensor
image of Leica M Edition 60
Front side of Leica M Edition 60 digital camera Front side of Leica M Edition 60 digital camera Front side of Leica M Edition 60 digital camera Front side of Leica M Edition 60 digital camera Front side of Leica M Edition 60 digital camera
Basic Specifications
Full model name: Leica M Edition 60
Resolution: 24.00 Megapixels
Sensor size: 35mm
(35.8mm x 23.9mm)
Kit Lens: Non-Zoom
35mm
(35mm eq.)
Viewfinder: Optical / No LCD
Native ISO: 200 - 6400
Extended ISO: 200 - 6400
Shutter: 1/4000 - 8 seconds
Max Aperture: 1.4 (kit lens)
Dimensions: 5.5 x 3.1 x 1.7 in.
(139 x 80 x 42 mm)
Weight: 36.7 oz (1,040 g)
includes batteries, kit lens
MSRP: $18,500
Availability: 11/2014
Manufacturer: Leica
Full specs: Leica M Edition 60 specifications

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Kit with Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 Lens

Leica M Edition 60 Review -- First Impressions

by
Preview posted

The limited-edition Leica M Edition 60 is a variant of the existing Leica M-P (Typ 240) which aims for sleek simplicity and a film-like shooting experience. Its stainless-steel body, says Leica, was styled by Audi Design.

It's somewhat similar to that of the M-P, but with a number of critical differences. Key among them, Leica has removed the LCD monitor altogether, taking away your ability to rely on chimping shots and reshooting them, and making you think harder about framing, focus and exposure before shooting instead.

Of course, this has a knock-on effect, in that if there's not a physical control for a feature, there's no way to adjust it -- you can't see and confirm settings on an LCD display, after all. The M Edition 60's controls are few and far between, pared down to the very basics.

On the top deck are a two-position on/off Power switch, a Shutter Speed dial, Shutter button, and an unlabeled Info button which indicates exposure settings in a display located inside the viewfinder. On the front deck, there are no controls at all -- just a mount release button. On the rear, located where the LCD monitor would normally be, is the final control: An ISO sensitivity dial similar to that on the back of the Leica M-A film camera.

Add in the Aperture dial of your chosen lens, and that's it as far as photographer interaction with the Leica M Edition 60 goes. Even features you probably take for granted on your smartphone camera -- drive modes, metering modes, focus point selection and the like -- simply aren't available here.

And given that you can't even control white balance, it's perhaps not surprising that you can't shoot JPEGs either; this is that rare camera that shoots raw only. (The last time we can remember seeing that particular feature was on early Foveon sensor-based cameras from Sigma.)

Depending on your viewpoint, it's either incredibly limiting, or incredibly empowering. There is no middle ground when it comes to opinions about this camera.

There's no denying that the Leica M Edition 60 is handsome, though. Audi Design has gone as far as to reprofile the various windows and remove the character lines from the front deck. Around the camera body, real leather in a new textured finish and anthracite gray color extends even further up than before.

Audi has also replaced with a smooth inlay the somewhat unsightly screw that, on the Leica M-P, sits where the logo would normally be, and filled the hot shoe with a small blanking plate. The attention to detail includes the various labeling, too, now unified in a black font, and Audi has even removed the strap lugs and their protective pads from the sides of the camera.

(No shoulder or even wrist-strap here, unless you can attach it to the tripod mount. You'll want to hang onto that smooth, protrusion-free body for dear life, for fear that you drop your oh-so-expensive possession and mar its finish permanently!)

Bundled with a Leica Summilux-M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH. lens. and camera protector, both also restyled by Audi Design, the Leica M Edition 60 ships from October 2014. Availability will be limited to just 600 units worldwide, and we're betting more than a few of those are destined to be shelf queens or investments, never actually used to take a picture. (That's a sad fate for a camera, if you ask us.)

Price has not been disclosed, but doubtless if you have to ask, you can't afford it.

Leica M Edition 60

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