Known for having unprecedented access to musicians throughout the latter half of the 20th century, Jim Marshall was a staple of the music industry and the only photographer to ever win a Grammy Trustees Award. His lens was aimed at some of the most renowned performers of his day, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Johnny Cash. He also owned no fewer than 20 Leica M rangefinders throughout his life, a fact that has made him the focus of the German camera company’s latest special edition: A brass-plated M Monochrom with a Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 lens.
Aside from the brass, or “Laiton,” finish, the camera is inscribed with Marshall’s autograph on the top plate, but is otherwise a standard Typ 246 M Monochrom. Unsurprisingly, Leica has drawn special attention to the lens (which also features a brass finish to match the body), noting that while its optical design is modern, its look and feel resemble the classic M rangefinder lenses of the past.
The M Monochrom was a natural choice for this special edition as the camera only shoots in black and white. It uses a 24-megapixel full-frame sensor with no color filter and no optical low pass filter, resulting in significant boosts to sharpness over a traditional RGB sensor. It has been described as being like shooting a film camera; not too unlike the rangefinders that Marshall used.
In addition to the camera, the Jim Marshall Set also contains a limited edition print of Marshall’s Thelonious Monk at the Monterey Jazz Festival 1964 and a numbered copy of the photo book Jazz Festival: Jim Marshall. Just 50 units of the set will be produced worldwide.
The set is a collaboration between Leica and the Jim Marshall Estate, who are also working together to display a collection of Marshall’s photos at the Leica Gallery Los Angeles in an exhibit titled “Jazz Festival” opening June 15.
Update June 5, 2017: Pricing on the Jim Marshall Set was not immediately available, but Leica has confirmed that it will go for $12,950. Leica fans hoping to get their hands on this highly limited special edition can preorder it through their local Leica store.
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