Kudos to Leica. They’ve introduced a new film camera – the Leica M-A. The M-A is identical to the still available Leica MP but has no meter, needs no battery, and contains no electronics. Think of it as an ‘updated’ M4. The M-A isn’t completely new: In typical Leica fashion, Wetzlar offered a ridiculously overpriced stainless steel collector’s edition of the Leica M-A, the Leica M Edition 100, this past Spring.
The M-A will be available in black chrome (yes, no retro “black paint” version) or silver chrome from Leica dealers starting October 2014. The price in Germany is 3,850 €, international prices will be announced later.
My only quibble is the knurled rewind, which has always been a PITA. I would have preferred the much more efficient rewind found on the M4, M6 and M7, a small quibble indeed in light of the fact that a camera manufacturer sees the continued viability of analogy photography and is actually committed to producing new cameras to meet the demand.
With the Leica M-System, Leica Camera AG, Wetzlar, is one of the few manufacturers still producing both analogue and digital cameras. In this, the company can draw from decades of experience in the construction of the finest precision-engineered cameras. Now – 60 years after the first Leica M rangefinder camera, the M3, left the factory to significantly change the world of photography – we have chosen the occasion of this anniversary to present a new analogue model: the Leica M-A.
As a purely mechanical rangefinder camera, the Leica M-A stands for a return to photography in its most original form. Without reliance on a monitor, exposure metering or batteries, photographers can explore entirely new creative horizons. Because, with a camera reduced to only essential camera functions, users of the M-A can now concentrate entirely on the essential parameters of subject composition – namely focal length, aperture and shutter speed – and on capturing the decisive moment.
From its shutter-speed dial and the aperture ring on the lens to the characteristic rangefinder focusing principle – the technical specifications of the Leica M-A are essentially based on the currently available analogue Leica MP. All of its precision-engineered components and functions are designed and constructed for absolute robustness and a long working life, and are housed in a painstakingly hand-built metal body. This ensures that the Leica M-A, as a product with particularly enduring value, brushes aside every challenge with absolute dependability.
The visible elements of the Leica M-A are as timeless as the precision-engineered principles employed inside it. For example, the Leica red dot was omitted to emphasise the classical simplicity of its design. Seen from the side, the Leica M-A is significantly slimmer than its digital counterparts.
The camera can be supplied in a choice of two different finishes: the classic appearance of the silver chrome version carries forward the traditions of 60 years of Leica M design. In the black chrome alternative, the M-A is reminiscent of the style of the M Monochrom and sets new standards in unobtrusiveness and discretion. While the silver chrome version of the M-A displays its origins in the engraving on its top plate, only much closer scrutiny of its completely matt black counterpart reveals the discreetly engraved Leica script on its accessory shoe.
Each Leica M-A is supplied complete with Kodak Tri-X 400 black-and-white film, which is also celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. Since its appearance on the market in 1954, its unmistakeable look, exceptional sharpness and tonal gradation, extremely broad exposure latitude and very good shadow detail made this black-and-white film a firm favourite and the classic medium for art and reportage photography.
The Leica M-A will be available from authorized Leica dealers starting October 2014.