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Leica M11-P: The world’s first camera to offer image authentication with Content Credentials

The announcement of the -P (for “professional”) version of any M camera is a well-rehearsed occasion involving desirable cosmetic enhancement and a few juicy technical differences. But this time it is different. The M11-P comes with something never seen on a digital camera before. It's a world first…


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.

With the new M-System case and accessories

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

Read Jonathan Slack’s review of the Leica M11

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  1. Am I the only one who noticed that something is off with the first picture of the camera? Is it photoshopped? The ISO of the M11-P starts at 64 right?

    • Those are just the settings on the external knob (..100, 200, etc..) but you can ‘fine tune’ settings ..or choose what you want to use.. via the camera’s Menu ..as shown on its rear screen.

        • Shush, you may have discovered the ‘exception item’ which could become a rare and valuable collectors’ item many decades from now.


        • If you’ve ever driven a car, you may have noticed that the speedometer has numbers like ’10’, ’20’, ’30’ … ’80’, ’90’ etc.

          But what happens if you want to drive at 25 miles per hour? Why doesn’t the speedometer show ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’, ‘4’, ‘5’ … ’10’, ’11’, ’12’ … ’15’, 16′, 17′, ’18’ etcetera?

          And if you want to drive at the car’s slowest speed, why doesn’t the speedo show ‘0’, ‘0.1’, ‘0.2’, ‘0.3’, ‘0.4’, ‘0.5’, ‘0.6’ etc?

          Clue: it assumes you can choose the speed which you want, and it just shows the ‘most used’ speeds, as there isn’t room to display all the rest.

          Same with a camera’s shutter speeds, too. What happens if you want to use 1/12th sec ..why isn’t it on the shutter speed dial ..and how would you actually set that speed?

          • P.S: The camera is set, on ‘AUTO’, to ISO 64 by default ..as long as there’s sufficient light to use ISO 64.. and if there isn’t sufficient light it’ll AUTOmatically use higher and higher ISO settings ..up to the limit(s) you set in its Menu.

            The values on the ISO knob are for when you’ve decided NOT to use what the camera’s going to AUTOmatically provide for you, and they’re there for you to easily choose OTHER values ..not ALL values, but some values other than AUTO (..which gives you 64 – by default – or AUTOmatically-set higher values).

            All of these details are available to read in the downloadable instruction book for this camera on Leica’s website(s).

          • David B. you do not seem to get my point. Please have a look at the close-up picture from this article and then check the pictures on the official Leica-Homepage. The knob starts with 64 on the official homepage, in this article it starts at 100.

          • David,

            So which photo is the accurate one – or which is the Photoshopped one? Is it THIS one, above .. or is it the one on Leica’s official homepage? ..For that matter, is it the big close up, above, or are the smaller photos – the set of four – just beneath that (which do show 64 on the ISO knob) the ‘correct’ or the ‘Photoshopped’ version?

            Manufacturers often make various try-out and mock-up versions and prototypes of their products, and perhaps Leica has made various versions of their ISO knob to try out, or for publicity photos. Leica will have been the source of the photos for this article, so maybe you’d better ask them which are the ‘real’ photos!

          • The photograph in question was supplied by Leica as part of the press pack. The series will have been taken some time before the camera was launched, so I don’t think we should read anything into this. All that matters is what the final camera looks like.

    • David
      That’s excellent observation – I hadn’t noticed – it’s a very surprising picture, I’ve had prototypes of the camera and they all have the normal ISO dial (starting at 64). There must be a story there – I’m so interested I might try to get to the bottom of it . . . to that end, as I don’t have the press pack, I’d be grateful if you could send me a copy of that shot @Mike and I’ll report back if I get anywhere!

    • Nor would I, but it would be important to professionals and others who might want to sell or otherwise use their images in a public context. There should be a way of cancelling IDs when disposing of a camera, as, otherwise, the system would be set-defeating.


      • Hi There Wiilliam, Stephen
        you simply change the credentials within the camera – nothing else needs to be changed. If you reset the camera to factory settings the new owner can enter their own details.

  2. Okay, I do not care about the protect my image feature. However, I am going to buy this sublime camera. Who can wait for Jono, my favourite reviewer.

    • For me, the engraving is a lovely aesthetic upgrade. However, I must confess that I do appreciate finesse and will pay for it. Life is short.

    • I can reply for Jono… He is up to his ears in work following our return from Wetzlar last week. On Monday next week will be publishing a fascinating account of Jono’s presentation at the LSI conference in the Erst-Leitz Hotel, and he is working on something about the M11-P. The article couldn’t go tomorrow because someone else has already booked the spot. Wonder who? We heard quite a lot about the new CAI during the Wetzlar visit but, of course, we were unable to say anything until 2 pm today. Boring as it might be, we stick to embargoes and, for that reason, we sometimes get advance information because we are trusted players.

  3. Good afternoon Mike,

    I have just been looking at today’s blog which discusses something called the “Content Authenticity Initiative”.

    Now I am an old(ish) man, and I could be accused of seeing things awry, but I would swear that the picture that is being used is highly distorted. It features a skyline that consists of what I used to call ‘skyscrapers’ (very tall buildings), and they all seem to be pointing at different angles, as if they were designed and erected by that bloke Bonanno Pisano, he who designed and began construction of the ‘Tower of Pisa’.

    I note that you do not feature the example given on the “Content Authenticity Initiative” website.

    Have you noticed too? Personally I can only think of one camera that could improve that vista by paying attention to fixing what our eyes naturally do, and it is no longer made. Naturally it is still an expensive camera, and I wish that I had not sold mine, buying back in seems to have become almost prohibitive.

    That camera is of course, the Hasselblad SWA/C, and its various iterations. That camera is in reality distorting the actualiteé, as Mr. Clarke might have said, but in my view, the introduction of deliberate distortion is less jarring than leaving it alone.

    Kind regards

    Stephen Jenner

    • My apologies Mike, but instead of the words:

      “That camera is in reality distorting the actualiteé”…

      “That camera is in reality distorting what the lens is recording”…

      But I would imagine you appreciate my point, the camera does lie, after all.

      …My brain hurts.

    • Hello Stephen,

      First, I have to say that the M11-P article was done in a rush because the press pack arrived only yesterday when I’d given up hope of a launch today (which I have had pencilled in for some time and I was therefore a bit troubled). Usually, we get two full days to put an article together.

      I confess I haven’t looked at the Content Authenticity Initiative website, but I will now have a look.

      I am mystified by your reference to “the picture being used” because I don’t see any skyline or skyscrapers. Are we looking at the same thing? All the pictures used were taken from Leica’s press pack.

      • Ah… I now see you are referring to the Adobe blog, which goes into some detail on the CAI. I now see the skyscrapers. All I can say is, “not my fault, Guv”. You will have to write to the author. For once, we are off the hook.

        • No, not you Mike, sorry if I gave that impression.

          However, if I were the CAI, I would be embarassed by that snap, and it is part of Adobe, of all companies.

          • The Content Credentials are a Work in Progress and, I suspect, there is a lot more to come. I suspect also that the leaning towers were done with the latest 28mm lens. If you lean one way or another with a wide-angle lens you will get such an effect and I would not have not have really noticed this without Stephen’s comment. You can fix this to a greater or lesser degree in Photoshop or Lightroom if it bothers you. What the Content Credentials show is the original image and what changes were done by the author, again if this is important to you. I wonder how the ‘Cottingley Fairies’ would have done under this new innovation? Now, if only they could apply Content Credentials to things which people say and write, that would be a ‘Great Leap Forward’. ‘Fact checking’ is only as good as where you go to check on ‘facts’.



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