The new Leica M11-P is far more than the usual cosmetic upgrade to the standard model. In a world first for digital cameras, the -P incorporates the ability to attach the digital Adobe Contact Credentials label to images at the point of capture to protect authenticity. Last week, during the LSI conference in Wetzlar, I learned that the new system, which involves a physical chip, will be incorporated in most (if not all) future Leicas, presumably from next year’s forthcoming SL3. However, it is not something that can be installed retrospectively in older cameras.
This development sets the M11-P apart and will be welcomed by all photographers, particularly those professionals who wish to protect their images. However, the new camera offers several upgrades over the original M11, mostly in line with normal expectations for the -P model.
Leica M11-P upgrades
The Leica red dot is absent, “allowing for even more discreet photographing”, and the top plate is engraved with the Leica logo. This is standard fare for the -P models. In addition, the top plate and bottom cover are milled from aluminium, in the case of the matte-black model, and from brass in the silver-chrome camera version. This is all merged with the magnesium alloy body to ensure maximum protection for the interior of the camera.
The LCD monitor, made of sapphire crystal glass with an anti-reflective coating, is designed to achieve optimal viewing of pictures in all lighting conditions. The M11-P uses the same 60MP back-lit CMOS sensor with Triple Resolution Technology and the high-performance Maestro-III chip that can be found in the M11. Internal storage, however, has been bumped up to 256 GB to provide extra flexibility when shooting. This also helps overcome the Leica’s disadvantage of using a single SD-card slot, when most modern professional cameras offer two.
In the past, when the -P models were introduced, usually around 18 months after the basic model, many owners chose to upgrade simply because of the cosmetic and small technical changes. However, this time round, the incorporation of the Content Credentials chip will encourage even more interest. It is a very significant move at a time when AI and post-processing can be used to alter images and, in some cases, misrepresent the intentions of the photographer.
The importance of content authenticity verification
The M11-P pioneers the use of secure metadata in compliance with the Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI) open-source standard. The feature provides an additional layer of transparency when designing and modifying an image. It allows information such as names, dates, changes made to an image and tools used to be securely attached to the photograph, thus creating transparency of the file’s origin.
With Contact Credentials, each image capture on the Leica M11-P receives a digital signature backed by a CAI-compliant certificate. The authenticity of images can be verified easily at any time by using a free open-course CAI tool by visiting the Contact Credentials website.
Leica’s Content Credentials technology ensures a picture’s authenticity using special hardware in the camera. It includes a special chipset for storing digital certificates from the German Federal Printing Office (Bundesdruckerei or BDr). The state-of-the art integration guarantees complete verifiability of the picture’s origin.
According to Leica, the company is setting a new standard for the protection of digital content in cooperation with Adobe. It joins a global community of nearly 2,000 members, including media and technology companies, NGOs, academics and many more, to promote adoption and implementation of Content Credentials.
View from the top
From Leica’s perspective, Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Leica Camera AG, says: “Leica cameras have always stood witness to iconic moments in world history. However, determining the authenticity of visual content has become increasingly difficult and important in the age of digital photography. Now, with the ability to provide this proof, we are once again strengthening trust in digital content and re-establishing Leica cameras as authoritative tools in the documentation of world events.”
Speaking on behalf of Adobe, Santiago Lyon, head of Advocacy and Education, said: “…this is a significant milestone for the Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI) and the future of photojournalism: It will usher in a powerful new way for photojournalists and creatives to assert their digital rights, combat misinformation and bring authenticity to their work and consumers, while promoting widespread adoption of Content Credentials.”
Leica Contact Credentials in action
How does this work in the new M11-P? When the “Leica Content Credentials” function is activated in the camera menu, the Content Credential logo is visible in the display and every image taken on the Leica M11-P is reliably signed using a special algorithm. The image therefore receives an unalterable and verifiable proof of camera model, manufacturer, copyright, and image attributes. The authenticity of these certificates can be verified and examined through free CAI open-source tools at any time. They prove whether an image is available in the original or in an edited version and, in the latter case, they provide insight into the history of the changes that have been made to the image. This allows photographers to demonstrate the authenticity of their pictures from the moment they are taken to the time they are published.
The black and silver versions of the Leica M11-P are available from today at all Leica Stores, the Leica Online Store and authorised dealers. The retail price in the UK, including VAT, is £8,000.
In addition to the new camera, there are two new black-leather accessories for the M-System. They are an M-System case and a carrying strap that complements the design of the M11-P.
About the Content Credentials and Content Authenticity Initiative
Adobe co-founded the Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI) in 2019 to help combat the threat of misinformation and ensure proper attribution for creators. Today the CAI is a coalition of nearly 2,000 members, including AFP, the Associated Press, the BBC, Getty Images, Leica Camera, Microsoft, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal and more. All are working together to add a verifiable layer of transparency and trust to content online – via secure metadata called Content Credentials. Between the tremendous momentum in attracting new members and the growing adoption of Content Credentials by leaders spanning multiple industries, the CAI is ensuring that technological innovations are built on ethical foundations. Please visit the Content Authenticity Blog for more information.
All images supplied by Leica Camera AG and used with permission
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