Leica Announces the M9-P: Basically an M9 without the Red Dot

Turns out that mysterious Leica camera spotted on British singer Seal was in fact a Leica that didn’t officially exist yet, but now it does: Leica has just announced the M9-P digital rangefinder. The new camera is basically the M9 with a few cosmetic changes — all the guts are identical. Like on the non-digital Leica MP, the traditional red dot is missing from the M9-P, which meant to give the camera an “understated appearance”.

There’s also a special sapphire crystal covering on the LCD screen that’s so tough that “the screen can only be produced using special diamond cutting tools and is one of the world’s hardest materials”. Too bad LCD screens aren’t all made of this scratch-resistant and almost unbreakable material — I’m sure a ton of iPhone users would pay extra for it.

Here are a couple promo videos for the camera:

The M9-P is priced at $8,000 and will hit store shelves in July 2011.

(via Leica Rumors)

Update: Ken Rockwell’s reaction is pretty interesting:

Same as the M9, with the sapphire screen Leica removed from the M8 when it introduced the M9 in order to give themselves this upgrade path as we predicted them to do back in 2009 when they cheated us out of the sapphire that the M8 had.

Leica is getting like the Japanese: two steps forward (full-frame and no IR filters needed), and one step back for future upgrades (remove the sapphire cover in 2009 so they can add it in 2011 and claim something new).

  • Anonymous

    Ridiculous, even though it looks like a Fuji X100 now. ;-)

    But as with the M9, most likely a good seller for Leica.

  • Fred

    So you’re basically paying an extra 1k for a new sapphire screen – 1/8th the price of the camera.  Not me, but those who have drank the Kool Aide will line up for one.

  • Flickr

    Please someone tell me what is the difference between M9 and M9-P. It looks ugly without the red logo.

  • Oskar

    It’s a $1000.00 markup for getting nothing but a sapphire screen.  Subtract a red logo and a model designation on the front and it’ll be enough for Leica fanboys to get suckered out of their money.  And it will sell big time.

  • Flickr

    Thanks, Oskar.

  • James Sablinskis

    Seeing as they got rid of the red logo… shouldn’t that make it cost $5000 less now?

  • Michael

    $8k?   Seriously?!

  • Kimberly Siebert

    oh, and I have basically all the Lensbaby Crap besides fish eye and the new one, that is easily changeable and fun to use and totally worth EVERYPENNY……. plus beach space in Nebraska i’d like to sell you…. (id sell you my Canon Lensbaby Composer stuff in a heartbeat for the right price….) paid over 700$ for all that ‘shi7′.. im bummed. worst waste of $$ EVER.

  • Skinner Photographs

    Having worked in the luxury watch industry for over 10 years, I am no stranger to sapphire crystals as they are used on 99% of luxury timepieces. Sourcing crystals at the sizes needed to cover an LCD screen can no doubt be a nightmare, but even for Leicas standards I don’t think this is $1,000 of added value- although viewing images through sapphire is much more High Def in appearance than through your standard LCD screen.

    I’m really quite surprised that these crystals haven’t found their way on to more DSLR’s. As far as I’m concerned, if your camera is over a few thousand dollars- think 5D Mark II or better- it should be customary to use such crystals with a nice anti-reflective coating. Probably one day.

  • Matt

    I’ll have what she’s having.

  • Henning Nilsen

     Shouldn’t surprise anyone. Fuji copied the Leica X1.

  • Henning Nilsen

    I got to agree with Rockwell. Leica can be pants-on-head retarded at times.

  • Anonymous

    Ha, small Internet, I just replied to one of your comments over on 500px. Anyway, the first half of my comment was a subtle joke.

    But anyway, now you have chipped in, I can say that I don’t think Fuji copied the X1, the X100 does have the viewfinder after all.

  • Henning Nilsen

    Went straight above me that joke :P
    Oh Well, copied and then improved you could say then. I think Fuji just wanted to suck in the people who wants a digital Leica, but can’t afford it.
    And they succeeded pretty well.

  • Waiting for Lecia M10

    Not much difference, I will wait for M10

  • Mugget

    Makes me so glad that I already picked up an M8 – Leica digital on a budget. Good pickings!

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