I don’t care that the new Leica M10-P Reporter costs $8,795, I still want it. After all, the experience of using a Leica transcends any possible cost, or so I’m led to believe.
Ok, let’s be real. Yes, it’s obscenely expensive, but it’s also a thing of beauty. Leica’s new M10-P “Reporter” edition rangefinder digital camera, which is characterized by dark green metal wrapped in Kevlar armor, was created as part of the German camera manufacturer’s 40th-anniversary celebration of the Oskar Barnack Award. Barnack, the inventor of the legendary Ur-Leica camera, was an engineer who got his start working at the Leitz microscope factory. In the 1920s, despite a challenging economic environment due to World War I, Leitz took a big risk and released the first consumer version of Barnack’s 35mm Leica camera. As they say, the rest is history.
Photo: Courtesy Leica. Muhammad Ali, by Thomas Hoepker, 1966
Photo: Courtesy, Leica. Historic Wetzlar flood by Oskar Barnack, 1920.
At its core, the Reporter is an M10 digital rangefinder, and Leica has given this extremely limited-edition variant an updated shutter which they claim to be the quietest shutter in any Leica M— ever. This hearkens back to the roots of the original 35mm Leica film cameras which were created to be a minimally-invasive tool for photographers to take into the field. Because of their small stature and discrete nature, Leicas have allowed photojournalists to document some of the most iconic events of the 20th century in photographs.
With the Reporter, Leica has wrapped the camera body in Kevlar as a “homage to the great reportage photographers,” while at the same time creating a durable M model that is ready to take on the harshest conditions that exist. As it ages, Leica says that the outer Kevlar layer will take on a green patina to match the dark green metal found on the top and bottom of the camera’s body. Perhaps most notably in the design of the Reporter, they have foregone the infamous “red dot” which adorns most Leica cameras, further adding to the camera’s “stealthy,” unobtrusive appearance.
While many Leicas are put to good use, I fear that the Reporter, with its astronomical price tag and limited-production run of only 450 units, will likely be relegated to glass display cases and private collections. But I hope, for the sake of seasoned photographers everywhere, that I am wrong and they are put to good use documenting the next generation of historic moments across the globe.
Pre-order a Leica “Reporter” for your favorite Expedition Portal editor, here.
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