Leica has today used Photokina to unleash the M-A which completely dispenses with electronics in a move designed to mark 60 years of its famous M cameras.

Leica bosses say they want photographers to concentrate on ‘essential parameters’ of photography, such as focal length, aperture and shutter speed and composition.

‘As a purely mechanical rangefinder camera, the Leica M-A stands for a return to photography in its most original form,’ the firm said in a statement released at Photokina in Cologne, Germany.

Leica has even ditched the classic Leica red dot for the M-A, to emphasise the ‘classical simplicity’ of the camera’s design – pointing out that the M-A is ‘significantly slimmer’ than its digital rivals.

‘Without reliance on a monitor, exposure metering or batteries, photographers can explore entirely new creative horizons,’ the firm claims.

Based on the specification of the Leica MP, the Leica M-A (Type 127) comes in a hand-built metal body, in a choice of silver-chrome and black-chrome finishes.

A box of Kodak Tri-X 400 black and white film is included in the kit, which is due out next month priced £3,100.

Leica M-A_black_left.web

  • entoman

    Of course there is more to a picture than sharpness, resolution and grain!

    However, your argument that “a good picture is a good picture whether it is critically sharp or not” is questionable – it all depends on your subject matter and purpose.

    There are at least as many fields where critical sharpness and freedom from noise IS of paramount importance, as there are fields where it is not. If you want a fuzzy, grainy picture, it can be quite easily simulated digitally in Photoshop!

    I’ll take your word for it that the dynamic range of Tri-X exceeds that of FF digital, and I’d be the first to agree that there is certainly room for improvement in DR with digital.

  • chris

    There’s more to a picture than sharpness, resolution and grain! Nobody looks at a picture and says “Wow! look at the sharpness on that”. A good picture is a good picture whether it is critically sharp or not. The classic pictures of all time are often grainy, not very sharp, don’t have much resolution, but are brilliant! Yes, a full frame sensor will win on all count except the dynamic range which doesn’t even come close to Tri-X.

  • Rhys Moore

    I can imagine that they’ll sell to aficionados and displayed in cabinets, can’t see the point myself as it’s probably as good as the last Leica.

  • entoman

    I certainly appreciate quality, for its own sake, anything that inspires a sense of pride will be pleasurable to use, and is therefore likely to increase confidence and lead to better pictures – a great car, camera or anything else becomes an extension of the body. For someone who is obsessive about quality of PRODUCT rather than quality of IMAGE, its a great camera. My point is that, in my opinion, the camera is targeted at those who want a valuable and attractive POSSESSION, rather than those who want to take technically wonderful photographs. Nothing wrong with that, horses for courses. Personally I wouldn’t get a Rolex OR a £1 Casio – I’d strike a sensible middle ground. The same with cameras – I could easily afford a Canon 1D-X, Nikon D4S or Leica M-A, but I prefer to make practical choices, and buy high quality products that are sold at sensible prices. Hence I use Canon 6D bodies and Canon L lenses, which for my purposes are the ideal tools for the job i.e. shooting natural history subjects for publication.

  • Christopher Hugh Hiscocks

    Whether you think film is comparable to digital is a separate issue. At 3K this isn’t for everyone, but in the grand scheme of things (leica’s lineup) it’s not terribly extortionate. Think of it like a Swiss automatic watch compared to a £1 Casio. It’s not Leica’s fault nobody is making the Casio equivalent any more. Quite the opposite.

  • entoman

    Oh, come on Leica! Wonderful for camera collectors, but not much use for real photography. Photography has moved forward, the resolution, colour depth and general image quality produced by modern digital cameras far surpasses anything obtainable with film. Offering a box of Tri-X with the camera is a complete joke – it just underlines what I’ve just stated. Imagine looking at a shot taken with 35mm Tri-X. Now imagine a shot taken with a full-frame sensor DSLR at ISO1600. Which will be sharper? Which will have the highest resolution? Which will have the least noise/grain? Which will have the greatest dynamic range? Leica sells on exclusivity and build quality – in those fields they are market leaders, but these cameras are aimed at members of Royal families, Presidents and others who are more interested in status and photo-jewellery, than in taking photographs.