Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Kravitz Drifter: One for the rock n’ roll nomads

Kravitz Drifter: One for the rock n’ roll nomads

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It's the complete works and not a bit of real animal skin in sight. The Kravitz Drifter Leica Monochrom edition costs £20,500.

Not sure I’m quite the target audience for this one, but the new Lenny Kravitz Leica M Monochrom Drifter will definitely turn a few heads. I’d need to update my image and adopt a bit of attitude before I took this one out for a bit of stealthy street togging. However, if you are in the market, please bear in mind that the python snakeskin trim is synthetic. That’s important. I used to have a pair of matching shoes but sold them a few years ago.

It's the complete works and not a bit of real animal skin in sight. The Kravitz Drifter Leica Monochrom edition costs £20,500.
It’s the complete works and not a bit of real reptile skin in sight. The Kravitz Drifter Leica Monochrom edition costs £20,500.

M240 Monochrom

From a technical point of view, don’t forget this is the current Monochrom which isn’t based on the current M10 — it is a version of the now-discontinued M240. The set comes with two lenses finished in a matching sepia: A Summicron-M 28mm f/2 ASPH, and an APO-Summicron-M 75mm f/2 ASPH. In a departure from the standard production model, the Summicron-M 28mm f/2 features a built-in extendable lens hood to match the design of its 75mm counterpart.

Mr. Kravitz with the new artificial snakeskin exclusive Monochrom
Mr. Kravitz with the new and very exclusive artificial snakeskin-clad Monochrom

And you’ll need something to carry it all in. Fortunately, the kit comes with a brown leather-like (naturally) ‘Drifter Traveller’ bag, two pouches and cases for both lenses.

Incredibly exclusive

Vegan strap includes
Vegan strap (so the press release days) is included as a bonus

Leica say this will be a very collectable edition and will be “incredibly exclusive”. It’s a snap at £20,500, including synthetic value added tax.

What do you think? Would you buy a snakeskin Monochrom or do you prefer to keep your money and wait for the M10 Monochrom that can’t be all that far away now?

Brass highlights will age gracefully
Brass highlights will age gracefully

Press release

One for the road: new limited-edition Leica M Monochrom ‘Drifter’ is Lenny Kravitz’s ode to touring

Wetzlar, 23 May 2019. Leica Camera AG and Kravitz Design have collaborated on a camera built for rock n’ roll nomads who can be found on either side of the lens. The look of the Leica M Monochrom ‘Drifter’ has been created by Grammy-winning musician, actor and artist Lenny Kravitz, who is no stranger to bold style and individual expression. The result is an attention-commanding and soulful Leica camera made for global touring. The name is inspired by how Kravitz sees himself, “I’m a drifter. That has been my life since I was 15-years-old; I’m always on the road.”

This limited edition camera is designed with an eye-catching ‘synthetic python’ snakeskin covering, made from premium-quality vegan leather which looks straight out of the rockstar’s wardrobe. Kravitz was made aware of this synthetic material by his close friend, fashion designer and animal rights activist Stella McCartney, who uses it for many of her own creations. The matching carrying strap made of woven fabric is coated with the same vegan leather as the camera. The camera’s monochrom body is luxuriously retro in special sepia brown paint, and the hotshoe, thumb wheel, shutter and soft-release buttons are made from untreated brass, which will allow a stylish vintage look to develop over time.

Two state-of-the-art lenses are included, both finished in sepia brown; a Leica Summicron-M 28mm f/2 ASPH, and an APO-Summicron-M 75mm f/2 ASPH. In a departure from the standard production model, the Summicron-M 28mm f/2 features a built-in extendable lens hood to match the design of its 75mm counterpart.

This camera demands five-star accommodation; a smart brown leather-like ‘Drifter Traveller’ bag, two pouches and cases for both lenses are included, so your kit is always protected.

Lenny Kravitz was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1964 to an Afro-American mother and a Ukrainian-Jewish father. He is not only a world-famous musician, songwriter, producer and actor but also an accomplished photographer. As a musician, Kravitz is a multi-instrumentalist who uses analogue recording technology to underline the retro-character of his songs. As a visual artist, he has enjoyed success with his design studio, Kravitz Design, and has also become an accomplished photographer publishing ‘Flash’, a book of his black-and-white photographs in 2015.  “I love the quality of the Leica’s monochrom system’ says Kravitz, “it’s exquisite. I tend to see things in black-and-white. It looks more real to me, and timeless.”

This is the second time Lenny and his design team have collaborated with Leica on a limited-edition masterpiece. In 2015, he was inspired by the life of his father, a Vietnam War reporter and TV news producer, to create the ‘Correspondent’, a vintage-look Leica M-P.  This time, Lenny has looked within himself and authored a design which reflects the lifestyle of a cosmopolitan artist and travelling musician stopping to capture his or her unique experiences.

With production limited to 125 units globally, the Leica M Monochrom ‘Drifter’ is incredibly exclusive and highly collectable; RRP is £20,500.

16 COMMENTS

  1. Sorry Mike you old hipster, I couldn’t get the image of you wearing snake skins shoes out of my head reading this one 😂😂😂

    Cheered me up no end after a twelve hour shift 🙄

  2. Hell’s bells, what will they do next to earn a few bucks? You can tell when a model (the Monochrome 2) is getting to the end of its life when they start producing dubious special editions. This takes the cake. It’s a travesty and it makes me wonder whether Leica is just turning itself into a fashion brand.

  3. Oh dear Leica not another daft limited edition. Time I think for me at least to ‘Drifter’ off to another camera brand, I despair.

    • I suspect you are not alone, Don. This latest travesty is the most hideous I’ve seen. If they think this association will sell more mainstream cameras I fear they are sadly mistaken.

      I’m not a great fan of special editions in general, although some have had merit. This is not one of them.

  4. I don’t know what it is in German, but hideous is the first word that came into my head when I saw it too. I hope Mr.Kravitz buys all 125 units and keeps them locked away safely in a vault where none of us ever have have to look at them again. Kravitz Design? Seriously? This camera doesn’t say rockstar but it screams tasteless.

  5. Thank the gods they made only 125 of these dreadful sets. I’d be ashamed to buy one but I wish the “investors” well with their purchases.

  6. Leica seems to sometimes do more interesting and subtle special editions for Asia — based on historic models or tasteful changes to current models. For example, the M3J based upon an M3 black paint but with light meter or the MP Classic (black paint) based upon current production MP but without light meter and with some other changes like different grip material and black film counter. The MP Classic was a set with a modern Summicron-M 50mm but made in vintage style housing with black paint finish. These were, I think, around the years 2004-2005. Maybe the special edition thinking has changed since then.

  7. Leica please explain-what exactly is a vegan snake? Maybe a vegan snake does not bite people in that case we need a few of them in Australia but I suspect that vegan is a hipster word you just threw in to make us squirm even more?
    I’m with Don Morley it’s time to have a serious look at another brand like say Fuji. If Leica carry on like this I’ll be putting black tape over the red dots when I take my cameras out.

  8. I’m always a little impressed with how good Leica has become at taking one of the most beautifully designed objects and turning it into something truly horrendous with each subsequent limited edition.

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