Leica is on track to have the most impressive set of announcements for Photokina. This morning they released the Leica M-A (Type 127), a beautiful, fully mechanical, 35mm rangefinder camera.
It's been 14 years since the last Leica 35mm refresh, now the Leica M-A will replace the legendary MP. The design and features are, as pointed out on La Vida Leica, nearly identical to the MP, other than the fact that the newly announced M-A is fully mechanical — it doesn't have exposure metering or any electronics at all.
The M-A is now available for preorder and will be available in two beautiful colors, black and silver. Shipping is expected beginning in October 2014.
The pinnacle of mechanical technology: LEICA M-A
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 authorised Leica dealers starting October 2014.
|Camera type||Leica M-A (type 127) compact, 35 mm rangefinder system camera with a mechanically controlled shutter|
|Lens mount||Leica M-Bayonet|
|Lens system||Leica M-Lenses,16–135 mm|
|Exposure control||Manual setting of shutter speed and aperture with values from an external exposure meter or by estimation|
|Flash exposure control|
|Flash connection||Hot shoe – accessory shoe with centre contact|
|Synchronisation||On first shutter curtain|
|Flash exposure control||Computer control by the flash unit or guide number calculation and manual setting of the required aperture value|
|Viewfinder principle||Large, bright, combined bright-line viewfinder with automatic parallax compensation|
|Eyepiece||Adjusted to –0.5 dioptres; correction lenses available for –3 to +3 dioptres|
|Image field framing||By projection of pairs of bright-line frames for 28 and 90 mm, 35 and 135 mm, 50 and 75 mm lenses; automatic display of corresponding frames when lenses are locked into the bayonet mount|
|Frame selector||Lever enabling alternative frame pairs to be displayed in the viewfinder without changing lenses (e.g. for framing comparisons)|
|Parallax compensation||The horizontal and vertical differences between the viewfinder and lens axes are automatically compensated for in relation to the focusing distance|
|Concordance of viewfinder and film image||The bright-line frame size corresponds to an image size of approx. 23 × 35 mm at the minimum focusing distance for all focal lengths; focused at infinity, and depending on the focal length, approx. 9% (28 mm) to 23% (135 mm) more will be captured on the film than is shown in the corresponding bright-line frame|
|Magnification||0.72× (for all lenses)|
|Long-base rangefinder||Coincident and superimposed image rangefinder, shown as a bright field at the centre of the viewfinder image|
|Effective rangefinder base||49.9 mm (mechanical rangefinder base 69.25 mm × viewfinder magnification 0.72×)|
|Shutter and shutter release|
|Shutter||Horizontal rubberised-cloth focal plane shutter; extremely low noise; mechanically controlled|
|Shutter speeds||From 1 s to 1/1000 s in one-stop increments, B for exposure times of arbitrary length|
|Shutter release||Standard internal thread for remote-release cables|
|Film loading, advance and rewinding|
|Loading||Manual loading after removal of the base and opening the rear flap|
|Film advance||Manually, with rapid wind lever or Leicavit M; motorised, with Leica Motor-M, Leica Winder-M, Leica Winder M4-P or Leica Winder M4-2 (from article number 10 350)|
|Rewinding||Manual, pull-out rewind knob after disconnecting the advance mechanism with the R-lever on the front of the camera|
|Frame counter||On camera top plate; automatically reset when camera baseplate removed|
|Material||One-piece full-metal body with rear flap; top deck and baseplate in brass with black or silver chrome finish|
|Tripod bush||Thread A 1/4, DIN 4503 (1/4″)|
|Rear flap/features||Reminder dial for film sensitivity|
|Dimensions||Approx. 138 × 38 × 77 (length × depth × height, in mm)|
|Weight||Approx. 578 g|
|Package includes||Body cap and carrying strap|
It's awesome to see a company like Leica supporting the 35mm junkies of the world (including myself), too bad I'd have to sell my car to get in on this system.
[Via La Vida Leica]
Will any of you be picking up the beautiful Leica M-A? Tell us in the comments below.
Leica needs a new alphabet not a new camera
I think it's telling when more people are buying Leica cameras produced 50 years ago than current models. Also 9/10 Leica shooters has some third party lens on the body. That speaks volumes to how insanely expensive Leica is and the lengths people will go to have the brand but not pay the brand tax.
Funny -- in NYC, I see tons of people with brand new digital Leica's with shiny new lenses.
They usually look absolutely terrified that they're about to drop their cameras.
So would I if I had $10,000 worth of gear hanging off of my neck lol
Jacob, your comment regarding 9/10 Leica owners using third party lenses is interesting. I have not been able to find any stats to confirm that. Where did you get that figure? I have many friends who use Leica and I don't know any who use third party lenses.
And how do you KNOW that more people buy old than new? How do you know that 9/10ths have non-Leica lenses on their Leica cameras?
I would guess that most Leica shooters have a mix of Leica and non-Leica lenses as well as new and used.
I'm a rather new Leica owner (2 years) and currently own a 2-year-old M Monochrom and a 42-year-old M5. Sometimes I mount Leica lenses, of which I own three, and sometimes Zeiss, of which I also own three (all 50mm Sonnar types). My Zeiss lenses, by the way, are much older than my M5, the oldest being from 1937 and the newest from 1963.
I do know that every time I see people out with their Leicas, it is usually a digital Leica M9 or M240 that I see, and usually with a 50mm f/1.4 Summilux-ASPH or 35mm f/1.4 Summilux-ASPH.
That's a lost affair
I think this is an intelligent move. Leica has new bodys, a lot of knowledge of film cameras and they produce cameras that have not the best automatic prefs (*g*) but are very expensive - and people spend it!
So when today many people buy the old Leicas because they have film, Leica does best on simply building a new camera. They are handmade so they don't need that expensive robots for a new model :)
Why no meter? Doesn't make sense. I'll stick with my M6 - it might be 20 years old, but it's doing the job just fine
If you want a meter in your new Leica film body just spend the extra $300 over the M-A and get the still-current MP.
Personally, I prefer the M5, which I consider the one M to rule them all.
This is the track:
10 of 10 leica users suffer syndrome of having a jewel hanged from their neck.
9 of ten continue addiccted (abduced?)
Just a few survive
Some of us have our camera over the shoulder, and they are too well worn to be considered jewelry.
I have an older Leica but I'm not really seeing anything here worth $4700. I will preach till I'm blue in the face about how fantastic film is and how great my older camera is, but I don't see how this price is justified.
Inflation. Your old Leica was every bit as expensive when new with the price adjusted for inflation.
Thanks so much for the mention, guys! :)
No problem dudes, you guys are my go-to for Leica news. :) Cheers!
Don't think they are well educated
Mental. I'm wondering if this will assist in driving MP prices down in any way. I've got 18 months till my 40th and my M system from my wife. I just don't want to go without a meter.
I guess Leica wants everyone to use the sunny 16 rule with this camera. I'm sure it's a great camera. But still can't spend that kind of money on one.
Hmmm. Looks a lot like the M4P I've owned for 32 years. Guess I should take my 35mm pre-asph Summilux, 50mm Summicron and 90mm Tele-Elmarit out of my Sony A7 case, thaw a roll of Tri-X from my freezer, and enjoy the "new" mechanical M system that's in my dresser drawer. The M-A just doubles down on Leica's "problems" - its great mechanical cameras were perfected 30+ years ago, and last darn near forever. And its lenses have new life in the mirrorless world of less costly competitors.
Those lenses are just as good on digital, including mirrorless like your A7 and Leica like my Monochrom. As for thawing our a roll of Tri-X, absolutely you should.
When is the new LeicaMeter coming-out?!?!?