Leica just announced a “Safari” version of it’s M10-P Rangefinder. You may be wondering if there is anything special about it, and if maybe you should buy one.
First of all, the “special” part: It’s green. It’s a green camera. That’s it. In addition to the body, Leica is making a green version of the not particularly distinguished 50mm Summicron. I think the lens looks pretty cool in green, but it’s still a version of a lens that by Leica standards is nothing special.
So should you own a green camera? Let me share my personal experience.
I own an M-P 240 Safari kit I purchased in 2015. The green body came with a 35mm Summicron (old version) in silver and the old-fashioned and very cool vented metal hood, along with a leather strap and a few other small accessories. I wanted a black M, but through a still-unexplained quirk of Leica’s pricing strategy, at that point I was able to save about $1500 by buying the kit. (No such discount applies to the M10-P Safari.)
I get lots of questions and compliments when I shoot with the Safari M. It’s a real attention getter. That’s also the problem. Don’t get a green camera if you want to do stealthy street photography. It’s such an unusual color for a camera that it draws the attention of everyone within ten or twenty feet. For street photography I had to learn to shoot from my chest without using the viewfinder. As soon as I lift the camera, every head turns toward me. It gives my work a quirky and distinctive look, but I’d rather have more options.
Here is my Safari M-P 240, with a 50mm Summilux mounted and a matching Thumbs Up! thumb rest and soft release.
It’s a gorgeous color, but be aware of the downside of being more conspicuous. If you’re mainly a street photographer or want to do candid work, don’t buy a green camera.