The Intricate Paint Work on This One-of-a-Kind ‘Takahashi’ Leica M4 is Magnificent


Nothing like a little bit of gear porn to get you through hump day. But don’t worry, it’s… like… super classy gear porn. All ‘hump day’ and ‘gear porn’ word play jokes aside, this gorgeous one-of-a-kind Leica M4 is truly a work of art… and you can’t have it.

Spotted by Japan Camera Hunter Bellamy Hunt at a camera fair in Tokyo, most people were passing right by this beauty without a second look. Relegated to the back of the display case and hidden away in an unassuming box, the camera was shown specially to Hunt because “they said I would be someone that truly appreciated it for what it is.”


And appreciate it he did. What you see here is a ‘Takahashi Leica,” altered by master painter Takahashi in the Kesshō tosō style. We’ll let Hunt explain this unique style:

This is a completely one of a kind Leica M4. With a totally custom covering that you are never going to see on another camera […]

Kesshō tosō is the style of painting that is used. Most commonly it is known as stone fleck paint or crystalline coating, but that would not really be an accurate description of this piece as the paint work is so detailed that this camera is known as a ‘jewelleryware coating’ in Japan.




According to the folks running the stall, this camera is the last one Takahashi painted before retiring. Described by Hunt as “like velvet sandpaper,” he says the coating really has to be seen to be believed.

Except that you can’t see it, because when we got in touch with Hunt for permission to share this story and the photos of the camera, he told us that, “the camera sold about 15 minutes after I wrote the article up,” lamenting that he kind of wished he had kept it for himself.

So, for now, you’ll just have to admire this gorgeous piece of artwork from afar, and wonder at what exactly “velvet sandpaper” feels like.

(via Japan Camera Hunter)

Image credits: Photographs by Bellamy Hunt and used with permission

  • E. M. Crawford

    Interesting, but cameras that actually get used are much sexier.

  • brad

    More fetish than photish.

  • junyo

    And off it goes into some well heeled collector’s trophy case, never to take pictures again. Sigh…

  • jaakewilson

    all black evera thang

  • Martin Garcia

    can we just appreciate the artistry done with this camera instead of commenting on it being a trophy camera and not being put to use? The paint job is crazy good and I am assuming hard to do as well! Beautiful camera!

  • Ivor Wilson

    You’ve got my vote Martin, it’s gorgeous, and I *would* use it. :)

  • Mike

    They could sell some of that paintwork on a piece of paper for the same price :(

  • David Liang

    Hmm…wonder why he did it to an M4….the least notable version

  • ms

    M4 is cool.

  • Peter “Pots”

    I was wondering how he did it. Did he take the camera apart and paint or did he mask off the stuff that didn’t get painted. Either way, it is a superb piece of work. Very impressive.

  • JapanCameraHunter

    Actually, this camera is going to be well used. The new owner specifically mentioned that he wants it to be mechanically sound as he wants it as his everyday camera.

  • JapanCameraHunter

    The camera would have been completely stripped down to the bare brass and then repainted and re-assembled. Thanks.

  • junyo

    That’s a pleasant surprise. Thanks for that.

  • jefferylewis

    I love my M4! Had it for 25 years.

  • Joey Duncan

    “the new owner”
    links or it didn’t happen.

  • shannonglass

    uptil I saw the
    bank draft which said $9345 , I accept …that…my mother in law could
    actualey making money in their spare time at there computar. . there uncle
    started doing this 4 only about 9 months and just paid the morgage on there
    villa and got a brand new Car . website here >>>>> http://www.jℴbspup.ℂℴ­­­ℳ

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  • Samuel Ashdown

    It kinda looks similar to the faux leather on my AE-1

    *he said to himself, weeping over leicas*

  • Ivor Wilson

    Does anyone in admin pay attention to spam-flags? It’s kinda pointless allowing users to flag this rubbish if you don’t do anything about it…

  • JapanCameraHunter

    Do you seriously think I am going to disclose the customers private information? That would be highly unprofessional of me. I can confidently say that this camera will be used though.