Leica MP w/ choice of variable viewfinder magnification ratio - MIR Image Library


Site preview 2nd draft 10.09.2008

LEICA MP 0.72X Black Lacquer Finish Rangefinder camera model (10302), 2003

During the PMA in Las Vegas 2003, Leica had surprised the photo community by officially announced a remake of the original MP but given a new Y2003 dressing. The Leica MP 2003 has retained most of the basic configurations for old days photographic parameters but it also has a few points which can be totally different from the original 1956/7 models. Essentially, the new rebirth MP is still carried with a quintessential mechanical range/viewfinder camera concept. It shares many of the original LEICA MP as well as the classic M3 basic common features which include old-style film advance lever, rewind knob mechanism, extra-long rangefinder base. Top & bottom base plate with reinforced brass etc. One of the marketing concept by Leica AG for the MP was adopting the multi-options in viewfinder magnification. It was offered in 0.58x, 0.72x and a high magnification finder 0.85x. Further, the LEICA MP is available with two different surface designs: silver chrome finish (10301) or black lacquer (10302). In addition to this, more options are available in the Leica à la carte range - a service Leica AG offered to tailored made a particular combination that suits individual preferences.

The Leica MP has a universal finder magnification of 0.72x that works with a wide range of Leica/Leitz lenses. If lenses with the focal lengths 28, 35, 50, 75, 90 or 135mm are used with the LEICA MP 0.72x, the associated built-in brightline frame(s) automatically adjusts in the combinations of pairs i.e. 28+90mm, 35+135mm, 50+75mm with automatic parallax compensation. The Eyepiece is calibrated to -0.5 dpt with alternate options for correction lenses from -3 to +3 diopter. The bright line frames activated in pairs and automatically displayed when the lens is mounted.

Sand blasted surface texture on its exterior covering
For any previous Leica rangefinder-M owners, one of the most distinguished feature in the MP is the materials used for the leatherette or more to resin coating rather than conventional vulcanite leatherette. According to Leica, it is made of a "proven, practical and wear-resistant plastic material that lends the camera its timeless and inconspicuous look" - it has a very rough surface texture, came close to high density sand-blasted kind of feel and look, except it is not as rough as sandpaper. One may have to get accustomed to this change - but uniquely it makes the MP very easy to be identified - although only time will tell if the surface texture will last as Leica stated it should be.

Viewinder Magnification with corresponding Brightline Frames for various Leica Lenses in gaphical display (Gif files):
0.58X | 0.72X | 0.85X | Combined (50k Gif)

But other major components in the LEICA MP are retaining traditionally high built quality and majority of the parts are made of metal. The top and base plates are diecast solid brass. For silver-chrome MP models, the surface is initially copper plated, nickel plated and then given an extremely durable fine matte shiny chrome finish. For black lacquer parts, a layer of a modern artificial resin lacquer with excellent adhesion property is applied. The entire camera body chassis is made of a lightweight magnesium alloy. The bayonet mount, which may have to encounter frequent change of lenses, has been chromium plated and essentially all-metal controls are also made of brass and each was provided with a sealed surface. Generally, silver chrome surface has a more scratch resistance property than a comparing black lacquer type. Further, the shinny white finishing stealth well and not as contrasty of ever a scratch of surface on a black finished MP body. Although some photographers thought black would be less noticeable in photojournalism or street photography but overall, I guess getting down to a choice between a silver chrome or a black lacquer MP can be entirely personal. Personally, black still looks great over a comparing silver chrome but if you are a collector cum photographer and wish to see your investment in a MP to appreciate over time, you probably have to spend triple the effort in maintaining it, as the black lacquer finishing may not be that forgiving to constant physical abuse.

With its universal compatibility with a wide range of M-lenses, 0.72x finder MP was the most used model even for special edition MP collectibles as well as other commemorative set. Shown below is a profile on a typical black lacquer LEICA MP 0.72x model.

High definition photo/picture of a Leica MP Black Lacquer 0.72x finder model, 2003
Top plate,  Leica MP Black Lacquer 0.72x finder model, 2003
Camera base plate, Leica MP chrome 0.58x finder model, 2003

Base plate,  Leica MP chrome 0.58x finder model, 2003

Leica MP 0.58X model maintains a high quality Leica tradition. Except for the rear film reminder disc section which I thought can be improved upon, overall, I would still think the physical built quality is exceptional and could lasts a few decades of hard use. In a world dominated by digital imaging, it remains a a purist camera which serves the traditional photographers.

Viewfinder magnification 0.58X,  Leica MP chrome 0.58x finder model, 2003
All metal construction on key camera control features,  Leica MP chrome 0.58x finder model, 2003.

A Black Lacqure finish LEICA MP sold in Japan

Detail view of S/N and Shutter control dial of a Leica MP 0.72x Black Paint model, 2002
<<<--- ABOVE: A typical LEICA MP 0.72 Black Lacqure finish model sold in Japan.

Credit: Image(s) courtesy of MATSUMOTO camera Japan ®. The group also operates their own active, popular Online Website, trading for many major camera brands and collectibles Leica & other major labels. Image Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

LEFT:- Closeup view of the Shutter Speed dial on a LEICA Black Laqure finish 0.72x model.

Japanese Guaranteed card for LEICA MP 0.72x Silver Chrome Finish Model

<<<--- A typical LEICA MP 0.72 Silver Chrome finish model sold in Japan. Shown with a sample of Japanese localized Guarantee Card endorsed by DKSH, Leica distributor in Japan

Credit: Image(s) courtesy of MATSUMOTO camera Japan ®. The group also operates their own active, popular Online Website, trading for many major camera brands and collectibles Leica & other major labels. Image Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
Top plate view, LEICA MP 0.72x Silver Chrome Finish Model Base plate, LEICA MP 0.72x Silver Chrome Finish Model Front view, LEICA MP 0.72x Silver Chrome Finish Model Rear view of a typical LEICA MP 0.72x Silver Chrome Finish Model, sold in Japan

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A short visual profile on a typical LEICA MP 0.85x Silver Chrome model

LEICA MP-Specific models/variants - Visual Profiles on selective Leica bodies:- Leica MP Prototype, 1955 | MP Betriebsk w/Electric Motor, 1956 | Leica MP-88/MP-150 Black paint, 1957 | Leica MP-167; Leica MP-171/MP-313/old/new Leicavit visual, 1957 | Leica M3E1 / MP 271/288 Alfred Eisenstaedt | Leica MP 367 & 368 Dual, 1957 | Leica MP-375, MP-368 & MP-386 | Leica MP 'Edition Hermès', 2003 | Leica MP Betriebsk 0.72x | Evential production model MP 0.72x Black paint, 2002 | Leica MP classic Kit Set 1 / Set 2 | Leica MP chrome 0.58X(2 parts) | Leica MP Black Lacquer 0.58x | Leica MP Black Lacquer 0.72x Standard | Leica MP 0.85x Finder Mag. model | Leica MP Anthracite* Limited Edition Set | Leica MP LHSA 1968~2003 Special Edition Grey Hammertone Finish (3 parts) | Brief Introduction on Leica à la carte:- Leica MP Red Leather 0.85 / Nappa racing Green Leather 0.58X | Others:- Visual case study on counterfeit LEICA MP ; Leica MP Prototype w/Prototype Leicavit-M; Leica MP-3 LHSA; Leica MP TITAN, 2007

| Leica MP Nomenclature | Leica MP Instruction manual (1MB PDF) | Technical Specification (96k PDF) |

Recommended resources / Reviews on Leica MP Models (External Links): Popular Photography (4 parts) | Shutterbug (2 parts) | Stephan gandy/Cameraquest on MP | Photonet;
How to load M6/MP w/Rapidwinder-M(Video); Comparing M3 with MP (Leica FAQ); Price indications: Westlicht Auction House; Ebay Search on Leica MP

Visual Library on Leica M3 Prototype, 1952; Leica M3 Test model, 1953/4 | A photo showcase on early series of Leica M3 DS bodies:- Leica M3-700131 / M3-700170 / M3-700000/M3-70031x/M3-70051x | M3 double stroke chrome 1954~1957 bodies:- Part 1/Part 2/Part 3/Part 4; Leica M3 Single Stroke 1957~60/1961~66 | Leica M3 Black Paint:-1955/1958/1962~1964/66 / Case study on Prices | Leica M3 ELC, 1955/56

Other Leica M3 Variants:- Leica M3 chrome Leica-Technik 57 1954; Leica M3 GOLD Edition, 1956 | Leica M3 DS United Nation Edition, 1957 | Leica M3 Olive Bundeseigentum outfit 1957/ Olive Green Bundeseigentum outfit, 1959 (2 Parts) w/info on high quality M3 Olive Conversion | Leica M3 Betriebskamera/ Betriebsk 1960 | Leica M3 Royal Dutch Marine Periscope Model, 1966 | Leica M3 Dummies / Riesen-Mode (Giant scale Model); Leica M3 Cutaway Display Unit , 1954

Recommended External Link: Leica FAQ | Leica M3 Instruction Manual 1) Location 1 (1.35mb PDF) by Joe Chan; Location 2 (1.2mb PDF) by M.Butkus < Mike@bukus.org>;

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Credit: A special thanks to my buddy, Tony Leong® <work place> in sharing his private collection of various Leica/Leitz camera/lenses.