For decades, the Leica brand has evoked a sense of sober professionalism in the increasingly populist activity that is photography. Now that everyone seems to have a lens in their back pockets, the century-old German company is doubling down on its heritage by emphasizing quality.
The new Leica M, announced this week, drops the model number of its predecessors -- now recalling the intelligence chief of Ian Fleming's James Bond series -- but keeps the digital, full-frame, 35-millimeter rangefinder that photographers enjoy. An all-new 24-megapixel image sensor adds high-resolution video recording to the camera's signature snaps, and a "live view" mode offers a modern alternative to the viewfinder.
Not that you'd let anyone see you using it. You wouldn't want to ruin the vintage-chic appearance that comes with using the same camera model as Henri Cartier-Bresson.
The Leica M is available today from the company's namesake stores located in various global cities, including London, Paris, Frankfurt, Moscow, Beijing, Seoul, Hong Kong, Sao Paulo and Washington, D.C.; it's also available through a number of authorized retailers. $6,950 in the U.S., £5,100 in the U.K.