Hands-on with Leica's super-rare $19,400 M Edition 60

As of this writing, 15,000 Euro is the equivalent of $19,400 -- a very reasonable exchange rate indeed, and a fair price to pay for a mid-range car or a year of college. Only a select few can justify handing over that sum for a digital camera, however, regardless of the exclusivity that comes in tow. Leica's counting on at least a few die-hard fans to fork over the cash, though, for the M Edition 60, a very special model created to celebrate the M system's 60th anniversary. Only 600 have been made, and each is numbered between 001 and 600. Most peculiar is what this camera doesn't include -- a display, menu system, electronic viewfinder or any indicators at all, besides a tiny red light that flashes when the SD card is in use.

Instead, the only way to review your shoot is to pop the SD card into a computer. There's no USB port to speak of, or an HDMI output. Not even a monochrome LCD readout. A large ISO dial (from 200-6400) occupies the area where you'd normally find a display. You set the aperture directly on the bundled Summilux-M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH lens, and the shutter speed using a dedicated dial beside the shutter release. The M Edition 60, which is based on the 24-megapixel Leica M-P and includes a stainless steel build, shoots RAW image files (but not JPEGs). You can only adjust focus manually, using the rangefinder system. Expect to find it in very select stores beginning next month.

Edgar Alvarez contributed to this report.