Back in the 90’s, Honda decided to launch a special edition of their flagship NSX supercar. It was called the NSX-R. This was to be a no-nonsense high performance model so to make the car quicker and more agile, Honda engineers embarked on an aggressive weight saving strategy. They stripped the car out of unnecessary luxuries, namely the sound insulation, the power seats, the stereo, the spare tire, the air-con and some other stuff. Even the standard leather gear shift knob was replaced by a lightweight titanium knob.
Obviously, being a special edition, the NSX-R’s price was higher than the standard NSX, event though it offered less equipment. Yet it offered one thing the standard model couldn’t or just wasn’t designed for: that ultimate, pure driving experience.
The Leica M10-D
Leica M10-D: when the back of the camera says more than the front
While not being the first “D” version of a digital M system rangefinder, when Leica launched the M10-D it triggered my attention because, again, Leica is assuming that minimalistic and somehow arrogant attitude that only they can assume.
A digital camera without a screen sounds like an oxymoron. Having to pay more for it makes it even more insulting. But when it comes from a company like Leica, maybe you have to see it differently. In fact, to some extent, with the current technology the digital M rangefinder per se is a bit of an anachronism already.
Then there is the M Monochrom, remember? A digital camera that only takes photos in black & white. So this is Leica, and Leica can launch these products. Because it’s Leica.
So with the M10-D, Leica wants you to focus on pure photography and the joy that comes with the process of looking trough the viewfinder, focusing, measuring light, setting up the aperture and the shutter speed, and finally pressing the shutter release button to record a memory forever.
And your mind and soul shall focus on this and this only. No rear screen to check the results. Just like in the film days, you get to see the photo afterwards, when you are somewhere else, not during your shooting session. No distractions, just the bare minimum to create beautiful photo artworks.
Therefore, the Leica M10-D offers you the ultimate photo experience. And, just like the NSX-R, you have to pay a premium for this.
Does this make any sense?
Yes it does. At least for me. I’m not happy with the way the camera industry is going nowadays. It’s a technical spec race and new camera models are launched every year just to catch up in the race: the high ISO, the fps, the megapixel count, the EVF size, you name it.
I’m a bit sick and tired of this. Then with this you have a population of so-called photographers who seem to be only interested in the camera specs, and not in photography.
So yes, for me the M10-D makes sense as a statement. A statement against the other camera manufacturers that are constantly launching products with not much creativity and innovation, and are only concerned with beefing up the camera with technical specs that are unnecessary for photography.
If I was Leica, I would even remove the wireless mode that connects the M10-D to your smartphone via the Leica Fotos app. That for me is a potential distraction as it means during your photo session you can always check the photos or waste time playing with the camera’s settings. I would make the access to the M10-D’s setting difficult, say only by connecting the camera to a PC through a cable.
Old school, but good school.