Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Today Leica Camera AG announced the following in their latest 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.

The main differences to the conventional Leica M are:

>No hot shoe and no port for the electronic viewfinder
>No movie button
>No microphone connection
>The dial in back of the camera was replaced with an Up/Down button
>No cable release connection
>No integrated thumb rest


  1. I have written under heading of "Leica Haters" in the past and I mentioned that I will report on that topic here from time to time. The new Leica M (Red) brought them out in droves. This time it was obvious that these idiots don't even bother to read the articles, they immediately went to the comment section, only to look rather stupid. One person lamented that these cameras (yes, plural) were just another means for Leica to gain additional income from collectors, as did a lot of others. Another commented that this camera was designed for people to use as a status symbol, which is another favorite complaint. It was quite obvious that these people never red the article or that their reading comprehension is severely lacking. The fact that this will be only a single camera which will be auctioned off for charity apparently eluded everyone. Of course then there were the ones that simply foamed at the mouth by saying "Leica is just a joke, a morbid joke really nowadays. This abomination is another proof for this," and "That has got to be the ugliest Leica and possibly even camera, of all cameras I have ever seen." As I said before, these people must have quite an inferiority complex when it comes to their cameras, why else would they bother to make nasty comments about a camera that they so obviously have no idea about what it represents.

  2. I too have read some of these ridiculous comments. One that sticks in my mind was a person asking if this is a collaboration with Fisher Price.
    By the way, I find this design absolutely fascinating. In some way it reminds me of an art deco piece.

  3. I teach design in the MIT of Korea, KAIST, and find this camera to be a beautiful example of the simplicity of form following function. Removed are all the extra buttons and sockets and only the M camera shape is left. To my eye this is one of the most beautiful digital cameras I have ever seen! I applaud the designers.

    1. I definitely share your enthusiasm for this camera. Thank you for posting.

    2. It is also interesting to note that the basic shape of the camera has never been changed since Oskar Barnack designed the Ur-Leica, the first prototype.

  4. Many of these hateful comments come from Nikon owners. They constantly complain about the Leica being outdated by maintaining its original concept. I wonder what they have to say about the new camera Nikon just introduced which is a complete retro design, reminiscent of Nikon film cameras of the 80s.