Leica has removed its iconic "red dot" logo from the new M9-P to make the camera more discreet.
Four months after partnering with Magnum Photos, Leica has unveiled the M9-P, an "ultra-discreet version of the Leica M9".
The new model, which will sit alongside the Leica M9 in the company's rangefinder portfolio, "combines all the benefits of the original - compact size, full-frame, 18-megapixel 24x36mm sensor and robust construction - with features designed for the professional user".
The M9-P features a scratch-resistant, sapphire crystal covering on the LCD screen, which makes it "extremely resistant to wear and almost unbreakable", according to the German manufacturer. The screen also sports an anti-reflective coating on both sides of the cover to ease viewing in "unfavourable lighting conditions".
Leica says it learned from professional photographers using the cameras that it needed to remove the Leica "red dot" logo "to make [this camera] as inconspicuous and discreet as possible". The M9 lettering has also been omitted - in fact, only the camera's top plate is engraved with Leica's name. The M9-P is finished in vulcanite leatherette, which ensures "a steady grip when shooting, making [it] feel particularly safe and secure in the hand".
The camera, which now retails at a suggested price of £5395, was first introduced in Paris last month at a joint-event held with Magnum Photos. In February the two organisations signed a partnership agreement, which requires that five new photographic essays are shot using Leica's equipment. The essays - the first of which has been shot by Alex Majoli using the M9-P and can be viewed on Magnum's website - are set for release in 2011 and 2012. Leica can use the essays to promote its cameras' performance, while Magnum members gain access to new and unreleased Leica products. The photographers can also provide feedback to Leica as part of the German company's ongoing user research.
Leica has also introduced a new wide-angle lens, which, it says, "sets new standards in photography". The Leica Super-Elmar -M 21mm f/3.4 ASPH comes more than 30 years after the "much-praised" Leica Super-Angulon-M 21mm f/3.4 lens, which Leica introduced in 1963 then discontinued in 1980. "Even today, the Super-Angulon-M lens is extremely popular and one of the most sought-after M lenses amongst connoisseurs of fine optics [and now] the Super-Elmar-M is a worthy successor," says Leica.
The new model is composed of eight lenses in seven groups and uses one lens element with two aspherical surfaces and four lenses with anomalous partial dispersion to "ensure that aberrations are reduced to an absolute minimum". The lens has a minimum focussing distance of 70cm and weighs 279g. It's available now with a retail price of £2025.
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