updated 07:51 pm EDT, Tue October 8, 2013
One-off design will raise money for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Maleria relief
Pictures of the one-off Leica M Rangefinder special edition co-designed by Apple's Sir Jonathan Ive and Marc Newson have surfaced, revealing a unsurprisingly elegant yet sparse design with a Dieter Rams-inspired off-white and aluminum design that would fit right in with Apple's products. The camera will be auctioned off on November 23 for Product (RED) and includes a 50mm 2 Summicron lens. Proceeds will be used to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria outbreaks in Africa.
The Leica M Rangefinder with that lens normally sells for around $9,000 -- $2,000 for the lens alone -- meaning that the auction price is expected to be far higher, as the version created by Newson and Ive is the only one of its kind. According to press information from Leica, some 561 "draft" models were created before the pair settled on the final design, and the finished product required 725 hours of manufacturing time. Work on the Rangefinder began almost exactly a year ago.
The Leica M series is intended to update the company's 1950s style with modern electronics, and despite its high price utilizes special glass for its lenses and offers color and contrast sensitivity not found in competing cameras. It features a 24 megapixel full 35mm sensor and the company's "Maestro" image processor chip, a three-inch full-image viewfinder and a weather-sealed body. The company often licenses its designs to Panasonic to produce less expensive "prosumer" versions under the Lumix moniker.
Leica fans have noticed that the Ive-Newson camera lacks the "hot shoe" flash socket normally found on the M model, making its absence a deliberate omission that somewhat limits the functionality of the camera, but the unit is unlikely to ever be used normally anyway. The camera is, however, compatible with a wide range of Leica and third-party lenses.