17.09.14 by Jeff

$20,000 Leica M Edition 60 Camera: The Stupidest Invention of the Year?


This year Leica celebrates 60 years since the release of the first Leica M3 camera, considered by many to be the most iconic rangefinder in history. Despite the camera brand’s sparkling legacy they continue to produce new digital products that no one buys; beautiful design objects with zero regard for usability.

Such is the case with Leica’s latest offering, the new Leica M Edition 60 camera will feature no LCD screen. No screen! For the fabulous price of nearly $20,000 dollars you can have all the convenience of not knowing what you’ve shot. Innovative! I didn’t think it would be possible to top the Apple Watch as the stupidest invention of the year but this is surely it. At least it looks better than the watch, I’ll give it that.



Why any photographer would buy a digital camera, at this price, and not have any way to view their images (or access to any onboard menu) is beyond me. If the idea is to get people to slow down and remember what it was like to shoot film why not buy an actual film camera and shoot film? Or use a digital camera and simply turn off the display???

It is no wonder all the images you see on Instagram are taken of Leicas not with Leicas. Anyone who buys this camera should be required to attach a giant spinning red light to it, at least then it could be a pretentious asshole alarm system.

I try not to be negative on this site very often but this is so idiotic. Feel free to disagree with me in the comments, but be honest with yourself – you are not buying this camera.



Jeff Hamada is the Founder and Editor of Booooooom. He lives and works in Vancouver.

  • Mendewesz

    “beautiful design objects with zero regard for usability.”

    The main thing that influenced Leica’s popularity through the history of photography was their ridiculous usability. It’s extremely fast and easy to take a photo with it, and that’s the whole point of the design. And the design hasn’t change at all from the first leica to the newest one. I’d love to see Henry Cartier-Bresson or Frank Capa (who used Leica exclusively) comment on your statement, how these cameras are impossible to use :).

    Of course, we can argue about the price point of the LCD-less Leica, even the whole point of its existence, but bashing on the design of one of the fundamental photography equipement, equipment that is recommended PURELY because of its usability is ridiculous and completely unprofessional on a website that claims to know something about photography and design.

    • if you read the sentence carefully i said “continue to produce digital products” – i am referring to their recent digital designs. the Leica T for instance is a brick, it weighs a ton and is so angular you can’t hold it properly. it is a beautiful paper weight.

  • They’ll probably send you a free Leica now lol (also, totally in agreement also about the apple watch)

    • haha somehow i doubt it

      (my fav part of the apple release was the public outcry to be able to remove the U2 album from their itunes)

  • Peter Minon

    I agree 100% on both fronts. The best thing I’ve read so far today.

  • Gary Le Masson

    What about the long battery life that the lack of a screen could allow… no doubt this is over priced… but Everyone would love to have one.

  • Why would they make a camera and sell it for $20,000

    • Waldorf

      To people that just buy a Leica, to say they use a Leica “like Cappa or Bresson” the reality is that a real photographer is an eye, a mind behind a machine, equipment needs to be useful, handy, light and with a lot of features to give you the right tools. Obviusly Leica is taking advantage of this fame they have and coolness and just became another snob gadget… good for the ones can afford it, and can say to their friends they’re doing a lot of really good selfies in the pool with a LEICA. By the way, Capa in his beginnings was a poor inmigrant, he have that camera, and he use it. I’m very sure that if him was being able to have all that money, he will expend it in travels and adventures to document a life, not a porsche, or a 20000 Leica….

  • Paige

    I wouldn’t worry about the spinning red light. Those white Mickey Mouse gloves should do the trick nicely.

  • mcgennisken

    Those gloves…….

  • martim

    This was the most idiotic comment I’ve ever read in my whole life. To the point that it makes me doubt anything you’ve ever written on this blog.

    This is a camera for people interested in capturing a subject. Not for people interested in the machine.

    The one thing I’ve wanted ever in a camera, is for it to be an analog camera with a digital sensor. I HATE screens. I HATE dials. I’m so impressed that Leica has dared to release exactly the camera I’ve always been looking for. Not even their analog counterparts have ever interested me. For once. There is a camera I actually want, and a camera that will actually let me focus on taking the next picture instead of checking if my last picture was good. I AM pissed that I will never be able to afford this camera, but at least my faith in camera developers has been restored. There is at least ONE among these people who actually care about photography.

    • troft.

      While I do agree with your argumentation, I don’t think that the price tag is justified.

    • Robb Hohmann

      I put gaffers tape over the LCD on my full-frame mirrorless. I spent the remaining $18,000 on snacks.

    • Sean

      “This is a camera for people interested in capturing a subject. Not for people interested in the machine.”

      Spare me. 99% of the people buying this won’t use it. It will sit on the chef as a collector’s item.

      Here’s an idea. turn the LCD off, or don’t look at it. It’s really not that hard. If there is a manufacturer who listens and cares what working photographers things, it’s Fujifilm.

      • martim

        *sigh* I don’t know why I care. Why bother being annoyed by what other people do with the camera. I know a bunch of people who never film with their 5D MKIII even though it’s an excellent camera for film. I’m fine with that. I also know a bunch of people who have 20+ cameras they never use. I’m fine with that too. It’s their money. I also know a lot of people who have socks they never use, or summer houses they never stay in.

        However, you obviously didn’t read what I wrote until the end, probably because more than two sentences stuck together is a bit too overwhelming for you, so I’m just going to ignore you.

      • You didn’t ignore him thou.

      • the 5D MKIII is also a fully functional digital camera. Unlike this Leica.

      • Leica is “not for people interested in the machine”… riiiiiiiiiight.

        Leica is more honest with themselves than their own fans are. Look at their marketing videos, this above is a guy unboxing a camera like a work of art. Their last video “The Most Boring Ad Ever Made?” (their title not mine) was a guy polishing a Leica for 45 minutes.

        Their whole brand is a celebration of the machine, and they are proud of it.

    • waiting for a camera to be released without a screen is like being a teenager dreaming of having a curfew. if you need someone to tell you to come home early in order to come home early than this IS the camera for you.

    • banzaimike

      i’ve just come up with this amazing new invention called the Financial Chastity Belt. it’s basically an uncrackable safe for storing all your money. it doesn’t come with the combination to the safe, but it DOES include a free abacus – because i HATE calculators and i HATE using email to read my credit card statements. it ain’t out yet but it is available for pre-order at the low, low price of $20,000.

  • I think it’s kind of silly too (at first I thought this was a link to an Onion article and was surprised when it was real haha) but I think it’s fascinating, not obnoxious (the only thing that is really awfully obnoxious is the price tag, as usual), that Leica would go forward with something like this. I actually am really intrigued to how this might pan out, and frankly I’m taken aback that you have such a visceral reaction to this. It’s different. I think that sort of disgust is understandable given the price tag, but disregarding the crazy number of zeroes for a moment I find this concept could be fun in a different way.

  • boooooooom

    • Tito Piccolo

      spelled it wrong, it’s booooooom

  • Meow, meow lets all try to remember our shared love for the medium as well as this blog.

    Is the new M60 completely unusable? No. Is it providing an image, design, or an experience that justifies the price tag? Definitely not. Does rejecting the screen/onboard menus contribute anything to photography? I don’t think so. Does Jeff’s post render everything photo/design related on Booooooom “unprofessional”. Negatory – he’s allowed to have an opinion, man. Is Jeff’s post “the most idiotic comment” ever? Once again, no, but it did generate a few stupid remarks in response.

    Leica is trying to say something about the current state of photography without just saying it – primarily because they’re a business hoping to capitalize on whatever thinking/ideas are in at the time (DIY). Which is more pompous and annoying than it is fascinating. Thinking that one can make more thoughtful images by spending money on a design-imposed limitation is an expensive test for those that are fearful of losing their sense of creativity to their riches. (“Buy this camera, go broke an destitute paying it off, then make good images again!”)

    Where I like the idea of raising the photographically-inclined dead (HCB/Capa), I don’t know that I would bring this comments thread to their attention. I think I’d rather just listen. That said, Capa’s Leica found him a land mine, while Cartier-Bresson gave up taking photos altogether for a return to drawing/painting. In regards to the new M60, they might inquire as to the responsiveness of the shutter and little more. Now lets all get off the web and go shoot something!

    “It is in an illusion that photos are made with the camera… they are made with the eye, heart and head.” – HCB

  • magenta

    Not to mention the direction of the promo, maybe someone from Brazzers crew.

  • Rodrigo Gameiro


    I think that this camera could be a Strong brand Point of View about photography itself.
    I don’t know about you, but I have the feeling that I take better pictures when shooting on film. And this is not about the media itself, it is about the process. When I am not watching the result on the second after, I need to think more, to understand better the scene. When I shoot digital, as I look to the result instantly, everything is more objective, fast and automatic. Therefore, less deep. This is my perception. I would love see a Camera brand as Leica endorsing this Point of View. :-)

    For me it is very similar to the moleskine boom on Ipad era. It is not about taking notes, it is about a belief that you’ll take better notes on paper.

    Unfortunately, $20,000 doesn’t leave room for this kind of thinking

  • Jamie Thomson

    You have written a bad article.

  • Ashton Ireland

    but look at that friggen sweeeeeet box you get! you can keep all your little knickity knacks stored safely away. Aaand use the gloves to look for fingerprints if it gets tampered with!!!

  • Matthijs

    When you know Leica you know this is not a camera that’s made for users but for rich collectors who put them in cupboards, and there is nothing wrong with that. Leica has always been expensive, but they still make excellent rangefinders and great lenses that last you a lifetime. If making ridiculous special editions helps the company survive among the Nikons and the Canons of this world, it’s fine with me.

  • Bryan Jones

    This post reads like someone describing their annoyance at a parking ticket. Not sure why you are judging it the way you would a 5D or a D800 – this is a limited run collectors edition. It’s the same as taking a dump on a Vertu phone or Patek Philipe watch because it is impractical. Isn’t this a design site? I thought you would be open to something like this.

    • It IS like I am describing my annoyance for a parking ticket because I am describing my annoyance for a camera – you could put any word at the end of that sentence. I don’t understand the point of your observation. You CAN absolutely dump on something with impractical design if the discussion is about actually using the thing. If you are saying this camera is impractical and its appeal is as an art object then great we agree.

  • Conceptually this camera forces the user to approach taking a photograph what has become unconventional. i believe to reduce the mechanical process would amplify the creative process. too bad its price makes it exclusive to people who we assume would not appreciate this.

    • I feel your negatively charged article should have been considered before posting Jeff but I understand that this blog is opinion based. :)

  • exactly.

  • Tito Piccolo

    Jeff is mad, be careful he knows Karate!

  • Joey Verano

    So its basically an ALL manual digital camera that has no screen, for hip-shooting and people that want to “slow down” and “focus on looking at the subject” and for trying as many lighting styles for 1 picture as possible, to get the best shot possible… and for people that LIKED film, but want the convenience of printing out your pictures rather than having to have them developed or self-processing. It’s not the worst idea in the world, i mean, I like the idea of it actually. esp if the camera comes with software that allows u to make the pix look like film pix. That would be nice and convenient, because a lot of us like film, or photos processed to look as though they came from film. X-processing, sepia/B&W, lomography. But, the price tag is ridiculous, I can agree there. I’m pretty sure the price tag is ridiculous to EVERYONE… EXCEPT the wealthy millionaires whom hobby w/ lomography. Duh. No middle classed citizen is gonna take the price tag srsly. But, if Paris Hilton loved Lomo, and, she already owns an OLD Leica camera for her hobby, and, it’s her favorite lomo camera ever, then yeah, she’s prob gonna have her personal shopper pick her up 1 of these 20k Special Edition Leica’s. Right?

  • Tomás Salvador

    The comments coming from you are just from someone who does not understand the purity of taking photographs as it was 60 years ago when Leica lanched the M3. Obviously targeted at a wealthy and scarce public, but you really should not talk about something you just don’t understand: photography at hart, instead of being a gadget nerd…

    • I voice a negative opinion about a camera and instantly I am a gadget nerd who knows nothing about “photography at hart”.

      I love that everyone feels like they have this strong connection to the experience of taking photos 60 years ago. Were you alive then? If you’re at least 75 years old you should tell me about it then since I don’t have any idea – I wasn’t alive then. I have shot a fair amount of film, and having taking a photography class I know a bit of what it feels like to develop my own film and see the results in the darkroom. I also understand the excitement of not knowing if i got the shot until the image appears in the developer. This camera will not help me experience that process anymore than my current digital camera would with my screen turned off.

      -Gadget Nerd

      • Tomás Salvador

        Actually, i’m a professional photographer, with years of dark room and field experience, as well with countless cameras and systems (leicas included…). I spend my time taking pictures and living well of it, instead of talking about equipment…
        It was the very 1st time i’ve ever commented on any photo site and it was only because, in my opinion, what you said was pathetic.
        Good luck with your gadgets

        P.S. – ever thought on going back to the dark room? You probably need it

  • twoheadeddude

    I mean, to each his own

  • Parker Fitzgerald

    Price tag notwithstanding, this is my ideal digital camera. If something like this could be released in the $2-3k range, I’d snatch it up so fast I can’t say how fast I’d snatch it up.

    I shoot regularly with an M3/2/4, and I understand what you’re saying about putting the money towards film/tape, but sometimes you just don’t want to/have the luxury to shoot with film. This camera is almost literally the closest you can come to the film shooting experience while still having the convenience of giving your clients imagery on set. The only way I’d improve this camera is by adding an advance lever to recharge the shutter. :)

    That, and shaving 85% off the price tag, of course.

    • I guess the bigger perhaps more interesting discussion here is can a digital device be designed to have a soul? will designing a camera to emulate light leaks or a version of itunes to simulate a warm crackle like vinyl ever be the same thing? we are in such a weird time in terms of product design – kids are growing up with products that are designed with a sense of nostalgia for a time they weren’t even alive for.

      • Parker Fitzgerald

        A very good point. My brother and I were talking about this precise thing the other day – he and his wife just had their first son and we were listing off all of the things that he’ll have no personal experience of or context for.

        My initial inclination is to say that no – a digital object will never have as much soul as an analog equivalent. Faux crackling and light leaks aside, I think the more important differentiation is digital rot – particularly with photography. The REAL reason $20k is an insane price tag for this camera is that beautiful or not, limited edition or rare materials aside, its insides will be technically obsolete in half a decade. My main M3 and lenses are older than my dad and after adding some grease and tweaking some screws, will be completely functional for my brother’s son to use when he can finally hold a camera (and understand what the hell film is).

        This camera will be a relic long before then, right along with my iPhone 3/4/5/6/7/infinity.

        UNTIL that day, though, this camera comes closer to mimicking the heart of the Leica film experience better than any other digital camera ever made (with maybe the Epson RD-2 being the exception).

      • Sean

        Parker, I know that exact experience you talk about. I never felt satisfied using a DSLR. That is until Fujifilm came along and made it affordable (although far from perfect). The funny thing, people actually complain about the analog knobs (ie, having to change ISO with a knob!), but for me it was the closest thing (as of now) to what I feel when using film cameras.

        And as for digital rot, my first digital camera was the original 5D, and it really pained me to pay full price for that thing and when I sold it, it literally was only worth $400 USD, yet it still took more than ok photographs.

        Meanwhile all the film cameras I own still retain their value even thought I purchased them years ago.

        I’m not sure a device can have more a soul than another, if that can be even measured, but what can be measured at least subjectively is the relationship say you and I have with our own cameras. And that’s something very personal.

        In theory, it’s not so much I’m against the camera per se, it’s more the marketing and branding behind it and it’s these reasons why you find Leica stores next to Louis Vuitton stores and other luxury items here in Asia.

      • i agree with the things you’re saying here, i guess what i’m left wondering is once you’ve shot images with this camera will you take them and put them on your computer and edit them digitally/post process them as you would any other image in Lightroom etc? or will you treat these images differently? is it about changing your approach/focus only during the actual shooting part?

        i think regardless of whether or not the screen exists on the back of your camera the fact that you’re not risking actual frames of film every time you snap a photo has already fundamentally changed the experience. it’s not costing you anything to shoot a million images and you will eventually see the images, just later on your computer.

        you could take this experience a step further and limit yourself to small sd cards that could only hold 36 images and have to change them out as you would a roll of film. there could be a digital bath and an enlarger, a faux darkroom etc. i think you can kinda see where i’m going with this. the debate over the screen is really just delaying at what point you give in to the digital world. unless of course you are going to jump through all the hoops to mimic the whole experience.

        i’m just posing the idea that perhaps there is no point to have digital try to be analog. that digital and analog will both remain because each does what the other can’t.

  • Antjen

    There are only 600 Cameras produced and I believe, they are already completely sold.
    It is not a mass product.

    It will be a design classic, just because of the presentation and the
    price and the limitet edition. I wish it would become a design classic
    because of the use, it’s sustainability and the fun and the great pics
    you get from it.

    I admit, I wish I had one.
    Just because it’s made with love an care for the product – that is something rare these days. How many products are made to last and to be beautiful.
    Its so nicely packed even a pair gloves comes along! I bet it smells great when you open the box.

    I wish I had one and be cool enough to use it – just for fun. Sings of
    use create character – that would suite this camera well.

    Except I am so far away from beeing in the position to naturally spend 15000
    Euros just for fun and even if I was, not feeling totally decadent about

  • unn vigdis borgersen

    Sounds like you have a dominant urge of being condescending.

    • GinnyP

      I would offer you a tissue, but tissues are likely too mainstream. Perhaps I can offer you a silk tapestry from the Ottoman Empire era?

  • This sketch from Steve Jobs acid days show that he planned to also release a pear watch, unless these were just ideas for fruit smoothies.

  • Delphi Ote

    But with the blast shield down, I can’t even see! How am I supposed to fight?

  • Erin

    ridiculous concept.

  • gary le

    Yes it’s pretty cool blog.garyle.io/gary-le-an-apology-to-kevin-zhang/

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