Leica’s Iconic Shooter Keeps Clicking

  • Leica MP
  • · $5,000 base, $8,690 as tested

Reviewed by Jon Snyder

What can you say about a camera whose design has barely changed in half a century?

First introduced in 1954, the M series is the German manufacturer’s flagship collection of range finders. Leica M system cameras have long been held in the absolute highest esteem by photojournalists, street photographers and travelers for their light weight, compact body and versatility.

In 2003, Leica introduced the MP, an all-mechanical version of its classic design that looks and feels like a perfectly preserved artifact from your father’s shelf.

The MP is a stripped-down machine that only presents the bare essentials. It doesn’t have any of the trappings of its high-tech cousins. (And yes, this is a film camera.) Even its solid, all-metal construction with brass top and bottom plates is an anomaly: It’s rare not to see or feel any plastic in such a small camera these days. The MP skips any garish branding, too. The Leica “red dot” logo found on the front of most of the company’s cameras is oddly absent. Not that the lack of logo would fool anyone from correctly guessing what brand of very expensive gear is hanging around your neck.

To test it, I did what a proper Leica owner would do: I hit the streets.

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