Leica and its special editions … if during the production cycle of a Leica product there aren’t at least a dozen special editions made, it’s not deserving of the branding ‘Leica’. Or so seems to be the consesus among Leica’s product managers. And since there hasn’t been a special edition of the M Monochrom yet, they probably felt it was about damn time to create one! Hence the Leica M Monochrom ‘Ralph Gibson’ was conceived, featuring the signature of the US photographer of the same name, whose work mainly consists of monochrom images.
The camera, which comes in silver chrome instead of black chrome, is clad in a unique vulcanite leatherette and comes with both a custom strap and a silver Summilux-M 35mm f1.4 lens. The first M Monochrom ‘Ralph Gibson’ will be handed over to Ralph Gibson himself on December 11th at the Leica Store in Lisse, the Netherlands. Overall, no more than 35 pieces of this special camera will be made. Whether or not they’ll be sold exclusively via the Leica Store Lisse is currently unkown, but probable.
Despite Leica sometimes seemingly overdoing it with their special editions, we have to say this particular one looks mighty fancy.
Leica M-mount rangefinder film cameras have always held a special place in photo history. For one, because it was Leica who started the 35mm film revolution. Then, because the M3, the first M-mount rangefinder camera that Leica made, started a series of incredibly popular photographic tools used by countless professionals and amateurs alike for decades. And finally, because Leica-made M-mount lenses can be considered to be some of, if not the best lenses there are for 35mm film cameras. In this article, we take a look at what we deem the five greatest M-mount film cameras that were ever made. Not necessarily all by Leica, though.
MS-Optical, the one-man company run by Sadoyasu Miyazaki, creator of the tinies M-mount lens(es) ever made, is reportedly working on new projects right now. Besides a new batch of Sonnetar 50/1.1 lenses, he is also preparing variants of that same lens in black paint and in Leica thread mount (M39). The tiny Perar 35/3.5 and Perar 28/4 triplet lenses will also be produced again. In addition, Japan Exposures reports that two new Perar triplets are in the making: a 21/4.5 and a 25/4.5. All of this is very good news. For one thing, because it means that Miyazaki-san is apparently doing well. But also, for users of M-mount cameras this means that the pool of lenses to choose from will soon see some very interesting additions.
And by the way, M-mount lenses can also be used on most mirrorless cameras, such as the Fuji X-series and the Sony NEX-series, with great results. And they’re often a great choice when there are no comparable lenses available for the system, or when you want to go small–M-mount lenses are manual focus, so they don’t need complicated AF motors, which reduces size significantly.
Before we decided to post this, we did a little bit of research and confirmed it to be true. Sigma’s DP line of point and shoots such as the DP1, DP2 and DP3 Merrill have been hacked by the Chinese to use an M Mount. We first heard about this via Mirrorless Rumors, and it is indeed real. There are some more images of the hack in this Google translated forum and a company is charging to do it for users.
So what does this mean? Well first off, this is one of the most exciting pieces of news that we’ve heard in a while. Sigma’s Foveon sensor is actually quite good if you can think of it as a Hasselblad Medium format camera–which means that you need to use proprietary software to get the best results and that the ISO range isn’t up to par with others. In this way, you could probably call it the closest thing to a Mamiya 7 II in terms of digital formats–but many of us who have used that camera know that nothing could ever touch it.
But the bigger question is why isn’t Sigma doing this themselves? Back at CES, I spoke with the President of the company–and his desk (he doesn’t have an office) is in the same area as the engineers. But I really wonder what he’s thinking, and am confident he’s reading this and looking at it with great curiosity
The inventive people over at Cosina never stop working and thinking up new stuff, it seems. At CP+, the big Japanese photo show, the company just unveiled a new superfast lens for Micro Four Thirds, and another fast normal lens for M-mount. As always with Cosina, both lenses come totally unexpected, with no rumors about their future appearance spread through the interwebs beforehand. There also isn’t much information available yet, except for product pictures over at DC Watch. Of course you are curious now what these two new lenses are, right? Well, head past the break to find out!
UPDATE 02/01/13 — Officially announced in Germany, see below.
After selling my Leica M8 a while ago, there was a huge gap in my camera collection: physically and metaphysically. There was a gap in my shelf, there was a gap in my lineup but there also was a gap in my soul. Because let’s face it, a Leica is not a camera you buy with your head, but with your heart. So I decided to get a replacement for it and bought a CL body — the smallest and cheapest M-mount camera ever made. And what is the cheapest lens you can get for your Leica? Well, the Russian Jupiter-8 of course!