UPDATE: The Leica M10-P Reporter – Leica's special edition camera coasted in bullet-proof kevlar armor – is now in stock.
Designed to honor photographers in war zones like Gabriele Micalizzi, whose Leicas saved his life, the Leica M10-P Reporter was born of executive Andreas Kaufmann's "little bit of a weird idea: can we do a camera which really saves your life?"
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Leica notes that nobody has actually fired bullets at the Reporter yet, so now you can buy one for $8,795 at B&H and conduct your own tests. (Disclaimer: please don't do this.)
ORIGINAL STORY (21 Jan): A special edition Leica M10-P Reporter is set to be launched imminently, and features kevlar armor – the same bullet-proof material used in flack jackets and other protective clothing for the police and military.
The Leica M10-P Reporter is, as you have probably guessed, a special edition of the existing Leica M10-P rangefinder camera. While other Leica limited edition cameras feature things like faux snakeskin (for the special Lenny Kravitz Leica camera) or a secret agent-inspired colorway and briefcase (as with the delayed James Bond Leica), the Reporter was inspired by professional photographers working in war zones.
"A couple of years ago we got to know about Gabriele Micalizzi, and his saying that a Leica saved his life," said Leica's Stefan Daniel when unveiling the camera. "He was photographing in Syria, and he was hit by shrapnel. And he had one camera before his face and the other one in front of his chest… and without his Leicas maybe he would not be here, or he would have been much more seriously injured.
"His [protective] vest inspired us a bit, because this is a kevlar vest, which protects from bullets and so on. And we thought, maybe it's also time to honor these photographers, these reporters, the people who really risk their life on a daily basis. And so, we talked."
Thus was born the concept of a bullet-proof camera that could save a photographer's life.
"We had a little discussion, I had a little bit of a weird idea: can we do a camera which really saves your life?" continued Leica's Andreas Kaufmann. "We should really do it, and then test it, we shoot at it et cetera – so it probably was a little bit too much! But it started this idea."
Other than the kevlar armor and dark green paint scheme it is the exact same camera as the existing M10-P (and Daniel confirmed that, "Nobody has tried so far to shoot at it," so we don't know how effective that armor is!). The Leica M10-P Reporter is available to pre-order now, limited to 450 pieces worldwide, with a price tag of $8,795 / £7,100 / AU$12,700.