The Cult Of The Leica Camera | Simon Garfield

The camera arrives in a thin, brown cardboard box. Inside the box is another box, also cardboard, but this time shiny silver with a small red dot on the side. One opens the top and the sides fall away in unison, like a Buster Keaton film set, only to reveal yet another box, this one black with hidden magnetic clasps. Open this and there is, of course, another box, grey and black this time, with that red dot again, and within this – finally – is a block of aluminium that has been polished by hand for 45 minutes (you can see a film of this on YouTube that’s called “The Most Boring Ad Ever Made?” ). Inside this aluminium block is 100 years of German engineering, and when you hold it in your hands you may unaccountably feel, as I did with all that cardboard detritus happily discarded around me, that you are holding the weighty sum of human worth. Just a camera, of course. The lump of aluminium is called the Leica T, and it is an unusual thing. It’s not just a new Leica camera, but a new Leica system. The system – much to the horror of those who picked up a Leica in the days when Henri Cartier-Bresson was dancing through the streets of Paris – is the first Leica designed and marketed for the iPhone generation, with a large touch-screen taking up almost the whole of its back and not very much else. Leica has been making mass-market digital cameras since 2005, which is the year the company came close to bankruptcy for failing to tackle the digital market earlier…….


Leica M Monochrom

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