We suspect Leica owners fall into three groups; those who appreciate fine engineering, photographic heritage and the unique handling experience of the Leica M rangefinder camera, those looking for a bit of a statement of status or an expensive bit of male adornment, and collectors trying to gather together every edition of every Leica ever made.
But the Safari edition Leica M10-P does look good, with a dark green satin finish that tones in beautifully with its tan leather strap. Apparently, it’s inspired by adventure and the great outdoors, and exclusivity is guaranteed by the fact Leica is only making 1,500.
It’s going to be teamed up with a Leica Summicron-M 50mm f/2 lens, also in green, and we’re told this camera/lens combo has been inspired by rugged and reliable Leica cameras designed specifically for the armed forces in the 1960s.
The Leica M10-P has a 24-megapixel full frame sensor and takes regular Leica bayonet lenses the same as those used on legendary Leica rangefinder cameras.
In fact, the M10-P still uses rangefinder manual focusing, just like Leica’s analog film cameras. There’s no autofocus system on these cameras; instead, you focus manually by turning the focus ring or focus lever on the lens to line up a ghost image of the subject in your viewfinder.
Leica experts swear by this system’s speed and instinctiveness but if you’re used to a regular digital camera you’re going to find it has a pretty steep learning curve. The direct vision viewfinder on Leica M models is separate to the camera lens, so you don’t get a through-the-lens view of the scene. This means it relies on ‘bright line’ frames to show you the angle of view for different lenses. This might bother people who like tight, precise framing, but it does offer an exceptionally bright and clear viewfinder that also shows you what’s happening around and outside the frame.
Damn, but that Leica M10-P Safari does look good, though.
Available: from February 15th
Price: Body £6,900, lens £2,300
More information: Official Leica Store | UK