German camera manufacturer Leica has announced a new M digital rangefinder that has no LCD panel. The Leica M-D (Typ 262) will be almost exactly the same as the existing M (Typ 262) but without a rear screen for reviewing images and working the menu. The company says it has produced a camera with only the ‘essentials of photography’, or ‘Das Wescentliche’, and that it will help photographers concentrate on the important elements of image making rather than getting distracted with the camera functions.

This isn’t the first time Leica has produced a digital M with no rear screen, as the company launched the limited edition M Edition 60 to mark the sixtieth anniversary of its rangefinder camera system. Leica made only 600 of these models, and they sell for about $18,000/£12,000, but the M-D (Typ 262) will be the first full production model without a rear LCD.

This new model will feature the standard 24MP CMOS sensor, will have an ISO range of 200-6400, and will have brass base and top plates. The viewfinder has a magnification of 0.68x and offers bright-frame markings for 35/135mm, 28/90mm and 50/75mm lenses. The body has no traditional red dot as Leica says it wants the camera to be discrete, and the single frame mode uses a particularly quiet shutter cocking system.

Users will have control only of aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings, and the camera records in DNG Raw format only.

The Leica M-D (Typ 262) will go on sale in May with a price of $5995/£4650. The M (Typ 262), which does feature a rear screen, actually costs less, at $5195/£4050, but it doesn’t have the quiet shutter or brass top and bottom plates.

For more information visit the Leica website.


Press release:

Leica M-D: The return of anticipation

New digital Leica rangefinder focuses on the absolute essentials of photography, and excludes an LCD screen
 
Leica Camera has extended its iconic rangefinder camera series with a new model: the Leica M-D (Typ 262). The fifth product in the Leica M range, the Leica M-D joins the Leica M and M-P (Typ 240), the Leica M (Typ 262) and the Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246), offering a greater choice for photographers looking for specific functionality from their rangefinder camera.
 
The Leica M-D is the first serial production model of the digital M family to be made without an LCD monitor screen. The standard location of the screen on the back of the camera is taken by the ISO sensitivity setting dial – one of the few, but essential, features of the camera. Although the Leica M-D embodies the entire range of technical developments perfected over decades for the Leica rangefinder system, it intentionally omits all but the most vital features. Concentrating entirely on the key parameters required for photography: shutter speed, aperture, distance and ISO sensitivity, the Leica M-D focuses the user on the most essential aspect – the picture they are taking – and brings back the anticipation of discovering the results later in the process, as when shooting with film.
 
Jason Heward, managing director, Leica UK, said, “With the exclusion of the ubiquitous LCD screen, photographers must return to the principles of photography when shooting with the Leica M-D: accurate framing and composition, selecting the appropriate parameters and settings, and ensuring that they capture the decisive moment with the thought and consideration that has always been necessary in analogue photography. This unique rangefinder camera also brings back the fascination and expectation associated with film – returning photography to its origins during the capturing process, whilst maintaining the obvious convenience and benefits of digital technology.”
 
Principally, the technical features of the Leica M-D are based on those of the Leica M (Typ 262). As with all other digital Leica M cameras, the Leica M-D (Typ 262) features a high resolution CMOS full-frame sensor, which has been designed exclusively for rangefinder photography, and supports neither video recording nor Live View. Its 24 megapixel resolution delivers exceptional image quality and extreme sensitivity, making it perfect for available light situations. At the same time, the camera’s Maestro processor guarantees fast processing of image data. Exposures are captured exclusively as RAW data in DNG format, enabling photographers to apply the required adjustments in post-processing software.
 
Leica’s focus on ‘Das Wesentliche’ (the essentials of photography) is immediately recognisable in the design of this camera. The Leica M-D expresses purely functional, formal clarity, and features characteristics such as a brass top plate with a ‘step’ at the end, referencing the design of the Leica M9. The Leica ‘red dot’ logo has been omitted from the front of the camera for ultimate discretion.
 
Furthermore, the barely audible shutter of the Leica M-D ensures the camera is inconspicuous when shooting: an invaluable advantage in scenarios where the photographer wishes to remain unobtrusive. As an aid to this, the camera features a shutter cocking system that is particularly quiet in single exposure mode, and enables a shutter release frequency of up to two frames per second. In continuous mode, the Leica M-D has the same sequential shooting speed as its sister model and shoots up to three frames per second.
 
The Leica M-D is available in a black paint finish, and includes a real leather carrying strap in full-grain cowhide.