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Something about the report of a new, cheaper Leica M film camera coming out in 2021 is intriguing. Maybe it’s the fact that their film cameras are still incredibly desirable. Or the fact that they last forever, basically. But Leica has never been known for making anything at a low price. They’re a company focused on sustainability. But something about this report actually seems plausible.
So could we see an actual affordable Leica film camera? In my eyes, it’s very possible.
Leica could take a light meter, stuff it into a camera similar to an M-A, and just call it a day. Ideally, it would still have a mechanical shutter. So it wouldn’t go beyond 1/1000th. And that’s fine if you’re shooting film.
I also think it could do something exciting for the market. It could make the demand for the original Leica M6 go up even more. So the price on the secondhand market would rise while the price of a brand new camera would stay the same. It’s brilliant. When I heard about this move being made by Rolex, I wondered why the photo industry didn’t do something similar. The Leica M6 is a passion product. It’s used by passionate photographers who care about the ergonomics and the tactile experience of a Leica. Most folks calling themselves professional photographers and earning taxable income from their craft wouldn’t care. But the hobbyists? They’d care. And in between all of those people are folks who are truly passionate about photography. They’d lust pretty hard over this.
Right now, the Leica M6 starts at around $2,100. Why am I referring to the Leica M6 so much? It’s the standard. This and the Leica M4-P are really the pinnacles of Leica M mount film cameras. Just writing this article and a call I had with a buddy just now made me pull my Leica M6 out of the closet.
What would also be cool is a fixed lens Leica point and shoot film camera. The industry has wanted something like this for a while. Ilford recently came out with one. Leica has a few film point and shoots scattered throughout their history. And considering the success of the Leica Q2, I wouldn’t put it past them to make something like this. A simple point and shoot with basic controls and a solid Leica lens attached? That would be the dream for so many.
More importantly, Leica still supports the film community. How many other companies really do that? Canon doesn’t care about the film community. Nikon is questionable about them. Sony, I’ve been told, has laughed in the faces of Artisans who said that they need to bring back the Minolta brand. Pentax doesn’t really care either. But Fujifilm and Leica both still appreciate the film community.
Are we going to see more of a revival of film? Personally speaking, I hope so. Film companies have been working to create something totally unique that digital can’t really replicate. And the two can co-exist. It’s still maligned by people in some circles (they’re called hipsters). But those hipsters don’t care about the harsh words because they’re too busy creating work that makes jaws drop.
All I’m saying is that it’s about time the industry tries something different. As a reviewer, I’m pretty sick of testing the same camera with the same sensor over and over again. The photo industry needs to try harder. And anyone toward trying something different shouldn’t be maligned unless it’s in a dying market. Film isn’t quite on its death bed yet. A new Leica M Film Camera would be very welcome.