Leica has revealed another limited edition version of its Leica M-10R full-frame rangefinder camera, called the Black Paint edition – but that paint won't stay on its limited edition body forever.
Instead, the high-gloss paint finish will apparently wear over time to reveal the brass underneath, which will "slowly expose itself as you imprint your use on the camera over a long period of time".
This is no doubt a nod back to the days when Leica cameras were used by photojournalists in the 1960s, producing worn, vintage examples that are still highly prized. Still, there's no doubt the camera looks pretty stunning without that promised patina as well.
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Aside from this high-gloss finish, the Leica M-10R Black Paint edition is largely identical to the standard model, aside from the omission of the classic red Leica dot.
This means you get a 40MP full-frame sensor in a very compact body, an optical viewfinder with rangefinder focusing and, for those who want to use live view, a fixed 3-inch rear touchscreen with a fairly modest 1.037-million dot resolution.
The Leica M-10R Black Paint edition is undoubtedly a niche camera, and not just because it's limited to 2,000 units and costs a frightening $9,295 / £7,500 / AU$13,900. Like most Leica cameras, it uses entirely manual focus, which will be something of a shock for anyone who's used to relying on autofocus.
The camera's traditional rangefinder focusing works by using a window in the center of the viewfinder, which brings together two 'ghost' images. When those images are lined up perfectly in the window, your shot is in focus. This can take a while to get used to, but it's very precise and brings the added advantage of making the M10-R's lenses nice and small (because they lack autofocus).
What about the Leica M11?
Limited edition versions of the M-10R are all well and good, but Leica fans would probably rather hear news about a true Leica M11 successor. So when is that likely to arrive?
According to Leica Rumors, that camera is expected to be announced on 11 November. The reason for the unusually precise date is because the Leica M9 was launched on September 9 2019, which would give that date a similar symmetry.
According to Leica Rumors, the Leica M11 will have a 50MP sensor with a variable resolution for raw shooting, allowing you to switch to 36MP and 15MP if needed. The M11 is also expected to have a USB-C port and a new Visoflex electronic viewfinder, but lack in-body image stabilization (IBIS).
While we can't expect the classic design to change radically, the latest speculation also suggests that the M11 won't have a baseplate, instead going for a similar design to the Leica Q2 where the battery instead just sits flush with the base of the camera for a cleaner look.
In the meantime, though, the M-10R Black Paint edition will have to fill the gap for Leica purists before the rumored M11 arrives – and if you have several thousand to spend on a camera, it remains one of the best of the brand's hand-built, precision instruments and one that should age like a classic Leica, too.
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