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Apple's Jony Ive and Marc Newson design special edition Leica M

By dpreview staff on Oct 8, 2013 at 22:21 GMT
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Jony Ive, design mastermind at Apple, and Marc Newson, the creative force behind the thoroughly unconventional Pentax K-01, have collaborated with Leica to design a special edition Leica M for a good cause. The unique M will be sold at auction, at an event raising money for The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The one-of-a-kind camera is the product of 85 days' work and nearly 1000 prototype parts.

The finished result is a good deal more restrained than Newson's last attempt at camera design, and betrays Ive's obsessive focus on details which is usually showcased in Apple's line of computers and mobile devices. But despite the eye-catching brushed aluminum shell and rounded accents, the finished camera is still unmistakably a Leica. What do you think of it? Let us know in the comments. 

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Press Release:

Leica Digital Rangefinder Camera designed by Jony Ive and Marc Newson to join more than 40 rare and exceptional objects in (RED) Auction at Sotheby’s New York

Money raised through the (RED) Auction will go towards the fight against AIDS in Africa

A truly unique Leica Digital Rangefinder Camera designed by Jony Ive and Marc Newson will join more than 40 other rare and diverse items in the (RED) Auction on November 23rd 2013. Based on the Leica M, the camera will be auctioned to raise money for The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Hundreds of models and prototypes were made in the development of The Leica M for (RED). The body and lens ultimately being machined from a custom engineered alloy. Presented with a perfectly textured anodized aluminum outer shell, the traditional leather waist, synonymous with Leica, has been replaced with a laser machined aluminum body. More than 21,000 hemispheres create a new and extraordinary aesthetic, while a total of 561 models and nearly 1000 prototype parts were made during the 85 days it took to create of this incredibly special camera. Delivering an uncompromised photography experience, the camera features a full-format CMOS sensor, high performance processor and new Leica APO-Summicron –M 50mm f/2 ASPH lens.

Jony said; “Leica represents the confluence of precision engineering, world-class lens technology and design principles which elevate both function and form. Designing this very special camera for the (RED) Auction has been a privilege for myself and Marc, and its sale on November 23rd will generate funds so critical to the fight to end AIDS.”

"With nearly 1000 prototype parts and more than 725 hours of manufacturing time, the winning bidder will own a piece of exquisite imaging history. The attention to each and every detail of this camera – from its outer shell to the magnificent optics – will delight a collector who appreciates the absolute pinnacle of craftsmanship", said Marc Newson.

Dr. Andreas Kaufman, Chairman, Leica, said: "We loved the collaboration with Jony and Marc. Their design sets a new and unprecedented standard in modern photography. As the only one ever to be produced, and boasting their unrivalled aesthetic, this Leica camera will truly create its own historic category when it goes under the hammer this winter."

The fundraising auction comes as the war against AIDS faces a critical battle: to deliver the first AIDS Free Generation since HIV was diagnosed 32 years ago. In 2003, new childhood HIV infections peaked with more than 1,500 babies born with HIV every day. For only 40 cents a day, mothers can be treated to prevent transmission to their unborn children, and just over 900 babies are now born daily with the virus. By 2015, that number can be almost zero.

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Via: Wired, Source: Sothebys
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Comments

Total comments: 358
12345
photohounds
By photohounds (1 week ago)

Looks like another Deiter Rams slavish reference to me.

Aluminium, that cheap material,
won't stay "perfectly textured" for long,
unless the camera is rarely picked up.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
completelyrandomstuff
By completelyrandomstuff (3 months ago)

Nikon is preparing a lawsuit against a J1 like camera from leica.

0 upvotes
Dezzza
By Dezzza (5 months ago)

I don't like it at all

0 upvotes
oventurini
By oventurini (6 months ago)

absolutely gorgeous. i hope this design will be implemented in other models

0 upvotes
HawaiiVolcanoes
By HawaiiVolcanoes (6 months ago)

Dear Leica: You ceased being a manufacturer of Cameras for real photographers...many years ago...thank you very much

2 upvotes
CaseyComo
By CaseyComo (6 months ago)

OFFS

0 upvotes
grafli
By grafli (6 months ago)

Is this some kind of new razor? :-P

2 upvotes
RStyga
By RStyga (6 months ago)

Yes, you can see the Remington/Braun mesh for deeper shaving experience. The innovative feature of this shaver is that it also allows taking photos for posterity, and it is endorsed by Leica... no, wait, I think it is a camera... no a shaver... um... anyway.

0 upvotes
LukeDuciel
By LukeDuciel (6 months ago)

For me, it's modern looking M.

As to the awkwardness of user interaction, the fault is on Leica, not on Sir Ive.

0 upvotes
omga14
By omga14 (6 months ago)

An attempt at Bauhaus design principles. Thing is even though I generally like Bauhaus approach to design I don't care for this camera. Just looks like the same concept of the Apple G4 case design re-imagined for a camera housing. As well, there is no hotshoe. Minimalist design is ridding of the unnecessary, not essentials you personally may not need.

0 upvotes
JoeDaBassPlayer
By JoeDaBassPlayer (6 months ago)

It looks nice. Just because it is designer does not mean it will not work well.

I have the other Newson camera, the K 01. It is great to look at. It is a joy to use. I can do batch processing on the DNG files with no fiddling on my part. The final photos are far beyond my expectations, which are very high.

I am fairly sure this Leica will work just fine.

1 upvote
RichRMA
By RichRMA (6 months ago)

Unless a camera is an ugly, boring, black, cookie-cutter DSLR, most people are not interested.

1 upvote
babalu
By babalu (6 months ago)

What about the accessories this camera needs ? Since it will be undoubtedly displayed in a vitrine by the collector /museum that will finally own it, the accessory question should also be clarified ; will the battery charger, the corresponding cable, and the battery itself also be in the same style , so they can be displayed beside the camera, or will they be simple plastic jobs,made in China?
I can't imagine how absurd it would look to connect this camera to such plebeyan devices.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Mister J
By Mister J (6 months ago)

Dunno about the tech or the price, but I reckon this is a handsome little cam that will look fine as an art-tech objet on the mantlepiece of the auction winner - and raise some dosh into the bargain.

1 upvote
Indulis Bernsteins
By Indulis Bernsteins (6 months ago)

I guess there has to be a way to separate the uber-rich from their $ and get the money back into circulation. Marc Newson's Pentax K-01 was one of the ugliest cameras ever. A Holga is more beautiful. And better than this Leica. Awful.

Oh well. At least it will raise money for charity. Let's hope that noone reads our plebian unsophisticated comments, I'd hate to think that the bidders saw the "emperor's new camera" for what it is, and stopped bidding!

0 upvotes
Oz_XIII
By Oz_XIII (6 months ago)

Yikes...this really isn't a nice looking camera at all.

nuff said

0 upvotes
attomole
By attomole (6 months ago)

I think its great, does have the look of a prototype, but thats OK in the context. As Alec said, There are possibly ways you might could tidy it up if it went on to mass production, some of the dials and control and the extent of the texturing.
But i'm not designer and its not my design

But as a study of what would happen if Apple married Leica, and had a threesome with the man who designed the much hated upon Pentax K01.
Why not,thats what its all about not a finished product but a collectors piece about influential industrial designers.
A brilliant object to be in existence in that context

1 upvote
Alec
By Alec (6 months ago)

I think much of the irony (and ire) expressed by actual photographers on this topic is valid. But I also thought from a purely design standpoint and specifically using this designer duo's own design dialect, this is not a very eloquent design.

If you are looking for clean (to the point of eliminating a hotshoe):

1) What's the point of having a frame around the display on the back? It would look visually cleaner if the textured surface wrapping around the sides of the camera simply gave way to the patch of smooth/flat aluminum on the back around the display.

2) Buttons to the left of the display are inconsistent with the control to its right and the two buttons on the front. They should rest on the textured field same as all those. This will give symmetry of the display frame. Buttons should have symbols on them not text next to them. Use those design skills to come up with crystal clear, laconic symbols.

3) Can the bindi between "LEICA CAMERA" and "MADE IN GERMANY" be any bigger?

1 upvote
Alec
By Alec (6 months ago)

I did not want to just mouth off - here's my very quick redesign attempt:

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/1205493912/photos/2718829/red-one-off-leica-redesigned

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
Mister J
By Mister J (6 months ago)

Subtle move there, but definitely a little tidier.

0 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (6 months ago)

i m de one too for an x2, but a lot more tool approach then toddler

http://inevitablecrafts.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/leica-x2-mockup/

1 upvote
Alec
By Alec (5 months ago)

I've expand this into an entry on my new blog, O2 (Optically Opinionated)
http://karasevstudio.com/o2/2013/71

0 upvotes
nerd2
By nerd2 (6 months ago)

Who the hell is the Newson guy anyway? In one interview he said that 'most of the cameras are ugly because they are designed by engineers' blah blah. I just hate those arrogant designers who doesn't understand the purpose of the object (this case: photographic tool)

5 upvotes
Bob Meyer
By Bob Meyer (6 months ago)

To each his own, but to me it looks very, very boring.

4 upvotes
pseudobreccia
By pseudobreccia (6 months ago)

Wonderful design...showing a great sense of imagination!

0 upvotes
Imagefoundry
By Imagefoundry (6 months ago)

Leica Lunar, at last!

On the other hand, this frantic activity of parasites struggling to attach themselves to a worthy cause... is nauseating

2 upvotes
Bendik
By Bendik (6 months ago)

Nice rounded lens. The rest is rather unimaginative. Same old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune - old tune...

2 upvotes
johnparas11zenfoliodotcom
By johnparas11zenfoliodotcom (6 months ago)

It is missing a hotshoe? Or am i missing something?

1 upvote
photogeek
By photogeek (6 months ago)

I think it's mostly Newson. Newson has also ruined some Pentax cameras in the past in a similar "childish" fashion. Ive probably regrets getting mixed up with this at all. If it was mostly Ive, there'd be just one button and a giant touchscreen on the back, and it'd be precision milled out of a solid block of unobtainium.

3 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (6 months ago)

exactly

0 upvotes
boarderphreak
By boarderphreak (6 months ago)

Full interview is now up:
http://lavidaleica.com/content/vanity-fair-interview-newson-and-ive

1 upvote
Alex Akai
By Alex Akai (6 months ago)

Target customer must be an 8 year old. I certainly can't read those dials w/o magnifying glasses. The style is befitting an 8 year old too so congratulations to Leica for creating the most expensive (perhaps) and most useless camera.
PS: At least it's for a good cause.

3 upvotes
Bob Meyer
By Bob Meyer (6 months ago)

The person who buys this at auction will likely never take a picture. It will sit on a shelf in a glass box as a valuable piece of "art."

0 upvotes
AnatoleM
By AnatoleM (6 months ago)

If that is what it takes to get the really rich - and vain - people to pay to the really poor, it's fine. Maybe they should make some more "one-of-a-kind" crap.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
AstroStan
By AstroStan (6 months ago)

A work of high fashion art only meant to appeal to wealthy patrons.
Unlikely it will ever be used (maybe once or twice).

But it does say something about current design fashion and it would not be surprising to eventually see similar products in the marketplace.

0 upvotes
AstroStan
By AstroStan (6 months ago)

P.S. I really have no problem with it and suspect it is much more ergonomic than many of the opinions here assert. e.g. the recessed dials with finger grips may work very well; a problem with traditional dials is that they are easily turned inadvertently by rubbing against the case/bag/pocket. I am surprised by the unnecessary buttons because touch screens are all the rage now. But the designers probably had no control over the actual guts of the camera and were only allowed to add window dressings.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
samhain
By samhain (6 months ago)

Not high fashion, not at all. IPhone fashion.

2 upvotes
photobeans
By photobeans (6 months ago)

ugh..no. Leica feminized. Yuck.

1 upvote
D Sharp
By D Sharp (6 months ago)

I do wonder if all the money spent on 1000 bespoke parts for a one-off camera will be more than they actually get from the charity auction. Just a thought!

0 upvotes
Paul Storm
By Paul Storm (6 months ago)

That design is pure Newson, especially the mesh. But I keep wondering why 2 designers Leica? Perhaps your just stupid.

Comment edited 11 seconds after posting
1 upvote
M Jesper
By M Jesper (6 months ago)

Correction, you're stupid.

8 upvotes
Sordid
By Sordid (6 months ago)

Design by Jony Ive usually means that Dieter Rams has introduced pretty much the same design half a century ago. Ive is a thief.

2 upvotes
Tungsten Nordstein
By Tungsten Nordstein (6 months ago)

Jony Ive and Marc Newsom. Two of the world's most obsessive designers working together! What could be worse? Oh yes - they could throw in Heatherwick.

A Leica that looks like an Apple computer. I like the MacBookPro but does everything have to look like it?

All style and no character.

Bring back Dieter Rams.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
7 upvotes
babalu
By babalu (6 months ago)

It's for a good cause ? OK!
It's intended to show off talents of design ? So-So .
I would guess that the collector that makes the final bid does have other objects on display in theft-proof vitrines, and this one will not be in the foremost shelf.
And- who knows- maybe either Leica or Apple will ultimately grab it at Sotheby's.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
JohnEwing
By JohnEwing (6 months ago)

Wonder if Franiec will make a glue-on grip for it.

2 upvotes
JohnEwing
By JohnEwing (6 months ago)

I didn't notice the bit where Ives, Newson and Leica said they were donating their services...

2 upvotes
John Miles
By John Miles (6 months ago)

Snazzy and classy. Worth a $Million.

0 upvotes
Nikolausz
By Nikolausz (6 months ago)

Ugly

3 upvotes
forpetessake
By forpetessake (6 months ago)

Time to prepare for Newson's Leica fire sale. If Pentax is any indicator it takes a company about a year to realize nobody is going to buy that cr@ppy design and start selling it for pennies.

2 upvotes
Tom_A
By Tom_A (6 months ago)

Don't you worry, the plan is to only sell this very one camera, not a production run.

1 upvote
Mister J
By Mister J (6 months ago)

Handsome looker, particularly the recessed controls and fine-mesh wrap.

On a practical note, it could do with a tilt-screen and evf.

Good luck with raising money at the auction.

0 upvotes
57even
By 57even (6 months ago)

Since when did the word "stylist" become confused with the word "designer"?

Presumably when people started paying more for the label than they did for the product.

At least it's going to a good cause.

2 upvotes
Trollshavethebestcandy
By Trollshavethebestcandy (6 months ago)

Does this mean Leica will rebrand the K-01? Buy a red dot on eBay :)

2 upvotes
Trollshavethebestcandy
By Trollshavethebestcandy (6 months ago)

Marc came out with the Jar Jar Binks equivalent of a camera for Pentax now he is muddying the likes of Leica? What gives? Does he have Jedi Powers? "These are the cameras you ate looking for". Might work on the camera execs with weak minds but the force is strong with me. What is next for Marc? "Improving" the Mona Lisa?

3 upvotes
Vallkar
By Vallkar (6 months ago)

There is a modification on top plate and the body skin on the original design. It is more like a dressing on the original design. The original looks more practical. This may appeal to female photographers for it's clean looks though.

0 upvotes
disraeli demon
By disraeli demon (6 months ago)

If they can raise a ton of money for a good cause with this, then good on 'em.

It is a bit tiresome, though, when they keep going on about the amazing design, yet basic ergonomic stuff like the placement of the ISO button is still really poor. I can't blame the designers for this - presumably all they could do was tweak the casing around the existing electronics - but it does reinforce the notion that "design" is all about looks and not about function. Sigh.

On the other hand, I'm really curious to know how that (apparently) recessed shutter speed dial can possibly work... when I first saw the front view I wondered if the dial on the top plate was just an indicator for some sort of rear thumb-wheel, but apparently not...

1 upvote
samhain
By samhain (6 months ago)

Ugly, but for a good cause.
I wonder if SEAL will bid on it...

2 upvotes
Mark Alan Thomas
By Mark Alan Thomas (6 months ago)

I had that same thought.

0 upvotes
Percival Merriwether
By Percival Merriwether (6 months ago)

This design looks exactly like the camera icon on my Android tablet. Coincidence, or...

4 upvotes
AlanG
By AlanG (6 months ago)

This is just superficial surface work. A good designer would have figured out how to incorporate a high res EVF.

1 upvote
Tom_A
By Tom_A (6 months ago)

What a ridiculous comment.

4 upvotes
AlanG
By AlanG (6 months ago)

Well a built in EVF is what the camera needs not the loss of the flash shoe and rounded corners. (Although I have nothing against rounded corners per se.) This camera can't even accept the clip on EVF or accessory viewfinders. How hard is it to make cosmetic design changes and why do we need them? Good design is more than skin deep.

Just wait and see how many M lens owners buy a FF Sony Nex (should rumors be true.)

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
shigzeo ?
By shigzeo ? (6 months ago)

Perhaps you forgot that this was a charity auction of an expensive bling bling item that is meant for one thing: to draw funds to cover a few nasty diseases. This is NOT a camera meant to go click click click of your dogs and girlfriend's kids.

Comment edited 15 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
AlanG
By AlanG (6 months ago)

I thought it was supposed to be an example of the design abilities of two top industrial designers working with Leica. If that is so it is not contributing anything to the product. We are not talking about women's handbag design.

BTW, maybe you can consider trying to be less condescending. I have been a commercial photographer for more than 35 years. My first experience with Leica gear dates back to around 1968.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (6 months ago)

a great designer that mainly steals bauhaus styled ideas (which i like) that should redesign a bauhaus design-classic like a leica m could do better than that.

i like everything jony ive designed until this leica, probably its because the edges where marc newsons idea, i dont know

technically its boring, ditch the hotshoe on a leica that needs OVFs with wideangles is just plain stupid, sorry.

i know its just for charity but as a designer, arent they proud enough to deliver the best possible product ? ^^

instead of ditching the hotshoe why not the lcd?

i once made an x2 mockup, which probably isnt the best design too, but at least it stays true to the camera^^
http://inevitablecrafts.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/leica-x2-mockup/

0 upvotes
minzaw
By minzaw (6 months ago)

Not stereotypical UNIQUE

0 upvotes
five5pho
By five5pho (6 months ago)

nice object !

2 upvotes
Total comments: 358
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