[POSTSCRIPT: on 9/16, 2014 Leica introduced a regular edition M-A (i.e. not made of Stainless or produced as a limited edition. You can read more about it here.]
The Leica M-A, fully mechanical, no meter. Announced 5/22/2014.
It’s beautiful, evidence that the M profile is timeless. I much prefer its look to the fattened contours of the digital M’s.
Unfortunately, to get it, you also have to buy a digital momochrom and three lenses as a kit. According to Leica:
As the first Leica special edition of its kind, the LEICA EDITION 100 brings together a purely mechanical rangefinder camera for film photography – the LEICA M-A – with a digital Leica M (LEICA M MONOCHROM) in one set. The combination of these two cameras is unique. Its symbolic character as an homage to the beginnings of Leica 35 mm photography and, in particular, to black-and-white photography makes the centennial edition truly special. This applies, above all, to its high-quality construction and finish: for the first time ever, both Leica cameras and the lenses in this set are made from solid stainless steel.
Both cameras stand as symbols for the origins of Leica photography and the present day. The Leica M-A, with technical specifications based on the currently available Leica MP film camera, is a direct descendent of the Ur-Leica. Alternatively, the second camera, a Leica M Monochrom, is the contemporary variation of the theme composed a century ago by Oskar Barnack.
The set also includes three Sumilux Lenses with focal lengths of 28, 35 and 50 mm. Renowned for their combination of extremely compact size, speed and exceptional imaging quality, they ideally reflect the characteristic performance criteria with which Leica lenses contributed to the establishment of the brand as a legend. It also includes Kodak TRI-X 400 black-and-white film for use with the M-A. This film is considered a classic in the genres of art photography and reportage and is still renowned and extremely popular for its unmistakable look in prints.
So, congratulations, Leica, for further feeding my love/hate relationship with you. In 2014, you offer an exquisitely beautiful mechanical film camera that harkens back to your classic M3 and MP (LOVE), and then you bundle it with 3 ultra-exclusive lenses and a limited edition digital, the whole set probably costing as much as my house (HATE) that will be snapped up by a select few of the beautiful people and set on a shelf somewhere. Oh, and when I buy the set you’ll throw in some Tri-X for good measure (what, no D-76 in an individually numbered platinum beaker with engraved Leica logo?).
Meanwhile, I’ll keep happily snapping with my beater M2 and $2.79 roll of Arista Premium.