Leica M9-P hands-on

The Leica M9 is a very tricky camera to improve upon. That's essentially why Lecia hasn't in the creation of the Leica M9-P, which Pocket-lint had a little play with over at the Leica Store in Mayfair, London.

Already the world's smallest full-frame digital camera system, the M9-P is largely about discretion and being a bit tougher than its sibling which will continue to sit along side it.

The story runs that photojournalists, out in war zones and the general badlands, where you might likely end up a grease spot for one's shoe laces - let alone that interesting piece of kit hanging around your neck - requested a camera with a little more subtlety, ie: one that doesn't have a red dot on the front saying "I'm a Leica and I'm worth the annual GDP of a small Central American state".

The insides and the workings of the camera are otherwise identical but, perversely, one of the other few aesthetic differences is the addition of a large - and very attractive - Leica freehand-style engraved signature to the top of the case. So, face-on snappers can be more incognito but do beware if your would-be thief has a view from above.

The signature addition actually dates back to the design of the Leica rangefinder cameras built in the 1930s (the Leica IIIb et al) but we were reassured that, Leica being Leica, you can request to have the engraving left out as indeed you can request just about any other detail you require, which have included some fairly bizarre and expensive requests that Leica insists will stay well and truly between itself and its clients.

In fact, one of the only things the company won't put on the M9 for you is a white leather finish - firstly because it doesn't stick very well but largely because it marks too easily and will end up making your 5-grand camera not looking as premium as it should. iPhone take note.

As for the rest of the changes, the 2.5-inch rear monitor is now finished in virtually indestructible and scratch-proof sapphire crystal glass that's so damn hard that you need diamonds to cut it. Again, perfect for taking the odd bit of shrapnel out in the Middle East.

Like the M9, the M9-P comes in all black or black and chrome finish but this time both have the vulcanite leatherette grip. Yours for £5,395; including VAT, mercifully. 



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