Leica has just launched a new premium camera, the Leica M-D, and its most distinguishing feature is the lack of a display.
When you’re paying £4,650 for a digital camera, the very least you expect is for all of the basic components to be in place and of the highest quality.
The Leica M-D bravely goes against the grain by abandoning one of those core components altogether. It doesn’t have a screen for previewing your images.
What you get in its place is a giant ISO dial, which alongside manual shutter speed and aperture controls is all you have to contend with here. You compose shots using the built-in viewfinder, as every purist does.
So why has Leica released such a curiously retrograde device? In order to allow for “no distractions” and to capture “photography in its purest form,” apparently.
“In a way, the Leica M-D is an homage to the experience of capturing pictures on film. It brings back the joy of anticipation of waiting to see how our pictures turned out,” says Leica.
The lack of a fiddly menu is certainly a refreshing idea, but you’ll really need to be on top of your photographic principles to get consistently decent results here. But then, Leica has always been for the enthusiasts.
Aside from the lack of a screen, the Leica M-D looks to be a typically high quality product from the German brand. You get a 24-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, the company’s Maestro image processor, and access to Leica’s M lens system, which combine to churn out crisp RAW files (there’s no JPEG option).
Related: Leica Q review
There’s no video recording facility whatsoever either, ramming home that purist point.
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All of this will set you back a not-inconsiderable £4,650 – and that’s lens-free. The Leica M-D will be hitting shots in May, if you’re feeling brave.
Next, take a look at our hands-on video of the Leica-branded Huawei P9:
Would you spend the best part of £5,000 on a camera with no display? Let us know in the comments.