Leica just unveiled a new, very limited-edition M Monochrom rangefinder camera that costs a whopping $12,950. We know: This is a lot of money—certainly more than you’re used to spending on a camera. You can buy all different kinds of great cameras, multiple cameras even, for way less than $12,950.
But Leica’s new, very expensive camera isn’t expensive just for shits. It’s a tribute to the legendary rock and roll photographer Jim Marshall, who was said to always carry at least one Leica camera with him at all times.
Marshall, who died in 2010, snapped iconic shots of every musician that mattered in the ‘60s and '70s, including the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Led Zeppelin, Johnny Cash, Neil Young and Jimi Hendrix, among countless other titans. Picture any one of those artist’s album covers or concert photos, and there’s a good percent chance Marshall took them.
We’re not saying that you’ll immediately possess the spirit and skills of the late Marshall upon buying a camera similar to the one he used, but hey — you never know. Here’s what you’re guaranteed to get, however, when you plunk down $12,950:
- The camera itself, which is individually numbered, finished in brass, features Marshall’s engraved signature, and shoots in black and white.
- A Summilux-M 50mm f.14 ASPH lens that’s also finished in brass. Leica says the lens is modern in its optical design, but its knurled focus ring and hood give it a classic look and handling straight out of the '60s.
- An artisan-style brown leather strap that’s a dead ringer for the one Marshall used with his trusty Leica M4.
- An 8 x 10 print of Marshall’s “Thelonious Monk at Monterey Jazz Festival 1964,” made from Marshall’s original negative. The shot has never been printed or sold.
- A numbered copy of Jim Marshall: Jazz Festival with a special dust cover. The book highlights Marshall’s previously unseen jazz fest photos from the '60s, featuring artists like Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Nina Simone and Dizzy Gillespie—and a foreword by Bill Clinton.
The only thing that isn’t included in the set is unprecedented access to hundreds of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers. (You’re on your own there.)
But if you’re prepared to splurge, you’ll have to act fast: Leica is limiting the collection to just 50 sets, so preorder now.