The $28K Ralph Gibson Leica Monochrom Sold Out in 5 Minutes


A lot of people might have thought Leica had staked out enough of a challenge convincing people to pay $8,000 for a digital camera that only shoots black-and-white.

Never one to shy away from a luxury marketing opportunity, however, the German camera maker briefly offered the opportunity to pay an extra $20,000 for a limited-edition version of the M-Monochrom… an opportunity people jumped at.

The main pitch on the new variation is that it’s signed, endorsed and practically drooled on by noted art photographer Ralph Gibson, a longtime film holdout who says the Monochrom finally convinced him there was an advantage to going digital. “I will never get to the end of what this instrument can perform,” he says in a Leica promotional video.



Besides Gibson’s name, the limited-edition model comes with a special Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 lens. Also: a silver-plated top, lots of chrome and black leather “volcano pattern” detailing for the camera body and the strap, plus a copy of Gibson’s latest book, “MONO.”

But even if all that sounds tempting to you, you’re too late. It seems all 35 available units sold out in 5 minutes or so!

No word on whether this officially supplants the Ralph Gibson Signature Leica MP fully manual film camera ($9,500) as, in Gibson’s words, “my ideal Leica experience.”

(via Leica News & Rumors)

  • Tony B.

    Ah, missed it!

  • Tyson Williams

    By the time I knew I wanted it, it was all gone…

  • Sean Walsh

    I didn’t!
    Of course, I had to mortgage my house. And cash in my kid’s education savings… but it’s sooooo worth it. [/sarc]

  • jrconner

    An ideal purchase for camera snobs who are more interested in their equipment than their images.

  • John R

    35 cameras that won’t come out of their boxes

  • MI

    Sadly, Ralph is probably the only owner that will actually shoot it.

  • upzmtn


  • Mike

    Dang, Ralph, what a sellout

  • Stan B.

    I remember reading how Ralph was fond of processing his film his own unique way for his own unique look and grain pattern. Wonder if the camera sold with the software to emulate his top secret film signature.

  • Ilkka

    Leica has learned. Some years ago it gave a one of a kind, probably signed as well, camera to Salgado who promptly sold it for a fairly significant sum. Leica, the company, was not happy. Now Leica is cashing in on the profits of these limited editions. They have probably found the sweet spot of how many to make to keep it rare enough to push up the price, and maximize the profit.

  • David Liang

    *Jaw meets floor*

  • David Liang

    Yeah, as much as most consumers don`t understand Leica or their market, it`s very clear that Leica does and are very effective at capitalizing.

  • Broseph of Arimathea

    It’s cute how bitter people get because others can afford nicer toys and the epic leaps of logic they make to denigrate an entire market to make themselves feel better about their shortcomings.


  • Vlad Dusil

    I am disappointed that Leica did not release the MM sensor in the M240 body with its modernized, updated features. While I know that live view can’t work with the MM CCD, the updated screen and frame lines would’ve been a great addition.

    I guess there’s always room for a modernized MM2 to come along.

  • Cynical Bloke

    I could get 3 Hasselblad lunars for that.

  • kodiak xyza

    « A lot of people might have thought Leica had staked out enough of a challenge convincing people to pay $8,000 for a digital camera that only shoots black-and-white. »

    there is something good about being snarky to start a snarky-opening worthy article, but it is good if it makes sense. why would the BW Leica digital be cheaper than the colour? why should BW be less than Colour? there is no challenge if the brand is staying within an established Veblen Good pricing.

    with the Jonathan Ive design Leica being in recent memory, there is a lot of apt snark there! or the Salgado one as noted elsewhere. also, look at the comments… there is some good snark there, especially with Hassy “cameras”.

    *sigh* hoping for good snark people… work it! so much material…

  • kodiak xyza

    except all this cashing-in is not that much of big bucks… but it is excellent promotion, in which they don’t spend money.

    they know their market and seem to be playing it well. Hasselblad, on the other hand, seems to be rather lost at the moment…

  • Mike

    Right, so they bought it just because it’s a good camera…In monochrome…
    It’s an investment.

  • Jake

    So you’ve never paid extra money for nicer-looking clothes?

  • Gerasi

    The Leica M system are created for photographers & enthusiast that want to enjoy the experience of rangefinders; simplicity, great optics, manual-focus, small form factor, etc.
    However as like many things in life, any products that bears legendary name and rare are bound to attract customers with bottomless pocket. They could be the Hollywood A-list celebrities, Rock stars, Russian Oil Oligarch, Chinese factory entrepreneurs.. to find 35 of them with $28k as chump change isn’t that difficult.
    Historically, most of Leica’s main customers were professional photojournalists. However with photojournalist is fast becoming a dying breed, Leica has to know other ways to make extra money. There is absolutely nothing wrong that.

  • Gary

    OMG. Leica understands that there’s a “sucker born every minute.”

  • Mike

    No, Jake, the issue here is that the clothes are exactly the same grey suit, just with a signature that no one would recognize in a decade because smartphones will rule the world. Anyway, why buy that suit when I’m so afraid to wear it for fear that it’s value would diminish? So what’s the point of it looking nicer if it just hangs in a bag in a closet?

  • Ed

    If I had a chance to buy it, I’d keep it sealed in the box until it’s worth as much as an Aston Martin.
    Of course it’s an investment for some and a collectors item for others.
    If it’s just for using it, you could buy the £8000 version!
    Listen, life is too short to be bitter about what other people want to do in their short life time.
    Go do what you enjoy doing and live life instead of being bitter.

  • Avril111

    My Uncle Zachary recently got a 9
    month old Mercedes-Benz CL-Class CL63 AMG only from working off a home pc… go
    now B­u­z­z­3­2­.­ℂ­o­m

  • keru

    Who care if the others doesn’t recognize it ?
    I have a Leica Monochrom (the regular one) and i use it.
    NOBODY recognize my Leica, in fact nobody seems to notice that i have a camera, while people look at me when i take my DSLR with me.

    If you want to be the attraction of the street, get a Nikon D4 with a 70-200 (don’t forget to use the hood) and a facebook T-shirt. Otherwise, get your own Leica :)

    Ho, and about security, i feel safer with my Leica. It doesn’t even have the red dot.