Leica’s New Digital Rangefinder Has No LCD Screen, Still Costs $6K
Shooting with a Leica rangefinder is as challenging as it is rewarding. First, you have to be able to afford the dang thing—no small feat, as a Leica digital rangefinder costs at least five grand. That’s before you spend a few thousand more on a top-notch lens.
But the real challenge is learning the nuances of a rangefinder. There’s no autofocus system or even a traditional manual focus; instead, you line up a pair of images in a little optical viewfinder, fire the shutter, and pray that your precision was on-point. But maybe you’ve mastered all that and you’re seeking a new challenge. Or maybe you’re just a bad-ass. A rich, Leica-craving bad-ass.
In either case, the Leica M-D (Typ 262) might be exactly the camera for you. There’s no LCD screen on the back. Check it out:
Instead, there’s just a massive ISO dial. There’s also no menu system, no video mode, no Wi-Fi, or any of that modern fancy junk. And of course, no way to review the photo you just shot. Hell, it doesn’t even record JPEGs; all your photos are captured in RAW format as .DNG files.
From the front, the M-D looks a lot like the red-dot-free Leica M-P; both cameras ditch the Leica logo from the front in the name of arguably less-conspicuous Leica ownership. In terms of specs, the M-D is a lot like the display-equipped Leica M: A 24-megapixel full-frame sensor, manual-control dials for shutter and aperture, ISO settings ranging from 200-6400, a rangefinder peephole, an SD slot, and that’s it. One would assume it gets way better battery life than any other digital camera, as there’s no LCD screen sipping juice.
If the M-D’s premium no-frills feature set sounds familiar, you’re probably thinking of the Leica M “Edition 60.” Like the M-D, it dropped the LCD screen in favor of a ginormous ISO dial and had a similar ethos: Forget all the trappings of modern cameras and just take pictures. If you were drawn to the Edition 60 and simply couldn’t afford it, good news! At a shade under $6,000, the new M-D costs less than a third of the Edition 60’s $19,000 asking price.