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Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Bespoke Leica

"Shooting with this bespoke camera that bears my name, I know that I have truly arrived!"

Hard to argue with that. For his limited-edition Leica, Ralph Gibson chose the MP, but with the angled rewind crank; 35, 50, and 90mm framelines, each visible singly in the finder; matte black finish to be "less conspicuous" but then some notably conspicuous red leather; and he eliminated the preview lever. (And note the absence of the ever-controversial red dot.) It's pleasing that for the $5,500 it costs (which doesn't cover the 50mm Apo-ASPH. lens he favors) it does include the braided leather lanyard camera strap of the type Ralph has always used.

It used to be that there would be 1500 copies of most "limited edition" Leica products, because, worldwide, there was a shifting cast of some 1300 or 1400 collectors who would buy anything Leica made. By contrast, the Gibson Leica is a real limited edition, with just 50 made. (Here's betting RG's keeping 10 of them and selling the rest to cover the cost of the special run.) I can't imagine that there are any left, but if there are and you want one, e-mail Ralph at lustrum[at]pipeline[dot]com.

Posted by: MIKE JOHNSTON and O.G.


Blogger Albano Garcia said...

It looks like a Versace Leica to me. ;-)

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two for sale on your favorite auction site, one used and one new. Used $4995, new $5995. The used one is #5. What amazes me is that someone actually used it. I can just imagine all the Lecia collectors having a fit.

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought it was Gucci


chris a.

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

B and H has three of these for sale and in stock.

12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I realize most Leicas of this category probably don't actually get used, but it's almost impossible for me to imagine myself shooting with that. That red! It has to be the most distasteful thing I've ever seen. And then to claim its les conspicous thanks to the black finish?

No thank you. I think I'd much prefer a brassy, scratched user M3 that only the true photographers of the world would see beauty in.

Of course, that being said, I would be tempted to throw a braided leather strap on it once I got it! ;-)

2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i don't know about the camera, but the strap is hot!

and if you don't like the red leather, it can always be replaced. i dunno about the signature engraved on the top, though.

3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact is that since Leica offer what they call an "Al La Carte" program you can order your own M pretty much dressed any way you want. You can also get your name engraved in the top plate.

It's ridiculous.

Personally, I bought my M7 as just a plain black body. No engraving. No leopard skin. No ego. Just a nostalgic camera that's very enjoyable to use from time to time.

7:10 PM  
Blogger aizan said...

since i can't get the leica i want, not even with a la carte, i've done my best to photoshop them up for mental delectation.

12:21 AM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

Aizan, your link doesn't work for me.


1:21 AM  
Blogger aizan said...

oh yeah, you need to be signed into flickr for that. here's a link to the tag instead.

1:45 AM  
Blogger jamesiv said...

Where can I het a strap like that. Looked everywhere... seen them all. I want that one. Do I have to have it custom made? Who makes Ralph's?
I've e-mailed him, and asked if he sold them seperately... no answer

9:46 AM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

You can have one custom made at any leatherworking shop. If I remember correctly, Ralph's original one (from which the "bespoke Leica" strap was copied) was made for him by a friend. It's simply a leather lanyard. Any half-competent leatherworker will be able to make one for you no problem.


7:43 PM  

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