If you’re heading to Las Vegas and need to pick up a new Leica camera or just want to spend time with their latest offerings, you’re in luck. This past July, Leica Store Las Vegas opened in the Forum Shops located inside Caesar’s Palace. Finding it couldn’t be easier. Walking southbound on the strip just past the Mirage, hang a right into the Forum Shops and it’s the first shop on your left, ground level. Prior to July, the only way to interact with Leica camera models was at the Leica Boutique located at B&C Camera, three miles west of the strip.
As one of the top travel destinations in the world, Las Vegas is a perfect place for a branded Leica store to support their photographers and enthusiasts. I’d argue that more photographers pass through Sin City annually than any other destination in the world. This isn’t just a great city for gambling and drunken shenanigans. Incredible street photography opportunities present themselves every moment, the strip at night is filled with dancing lights, and don’t forget the Mars like red rock filled Valley of Fire is less than one hour away.
The same attention to detail you find in the construction of Leica cameras went into the design of the store. The layout is clean, well-organized, with a designated place for every item. It was a pleasure seeing products on display from our friends at Cub & Company, as well as ONA Bags, COOPH and DSPTCH.
Both of the ladies on staff did a great job of handling all customer questions. The gentlemen in the brown cap was there to purchase a new Leica M. His list of questions continued on and on. Felicia had no trouble providing thorough information and experienced answers. Something I’ve failed to get at nearly every camera store I visit. Typically, camera shop employees either aren’t up to date with brand information or they feel the need to shove how much more than know than you do in your face. Happy to find neither here.
The store was busy during my entire visit. I even noticed quite a few fellow SEMA friends dropping by for a visit.
Leica glass extends beyond the world of black and white street photography. Their line of hunting glass is equally coveted. They offer a full line of riflescopes, rangefinders, binoculars, and spotting scopes like this APO-Televid.
Minimal, clean displays in both corners draw onlookers eyes in. Love the subtle Las Vegas touches.
The beauty of the bright red display case is something to behold. The presentation is spot on. It makes you feel like you’re purchasing a work of art. Every Leica M model camera is on display and ready for customers to try. Yes, those are film (analog) bodies along the top row.
One of the models I have had my eye on for some time is the Leica M Monochrom. I’ve been shooting an increased amount of black and white photography this past year. Something this camera is specifically designed to do better than most. It’s a big, bold chunk of black metal in your hand lacking the signature Leica red dot. Everything here is manual, and I’m not complaining at all.
This is a 24MP full-frame black and white only camera with no color array or low pass filter. The entire body is made of magnesium alloy that will develop an amazing patina should you use it enough. It accepts all M-mount lenses from 16mm to 135mm. If street is your aim, this is your weapon of choice.
If you spend any amount of time on photography forums, you’ll quickly notice that when the name Leica comes up, the Leica M (Typ 262) is what many are talking about lately. It carries the elegance of the M line that dates back to the original M3 model produced between 1954-1966. The body is surrounded in magnesium alloy using an aluminum top plate. The 24MP Leica MAX Full-Frame CMOS sensor is activated via a dead-silent, quick shutter. It is compatible with all M-mount lenses and accessories.
Speaking of accessories, I am guessing some of you are wondering what that is parked into the hot shoe. The Leica Universal Wide-Angle Viewfinder enables the photographer to precisely crop the subject at five focusing distances. It works with both digital and analog Leica cameras to assure you never miss focus regardless of lens choice.
Do you like your bokeh extra creamy like a smooth Sunday morning latte? The Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 lens is what you’re after, if you have the cash. At nearly $11,000, this lens is not for everyone. This is a specialty lens, designed for special photographers. Those who are not willing to accept anything less than the best in their bag of tricks. Every sample image we’ve seen from this lens is nothing short of magnificent. Yes, it also comes in black.
My first experience with the Leica Q was at this year’s WPPI convention, also in Las Vegas. I had a few brief moments snapping away at the Leica booth. Visiting the store, I also was able to get my hands around the Q for a few moments continuing my secret love affair with this camera. Shh, don’t tell my other cameras what I’ve been up to. As an avid traveler, the Q resonates with me as possibly the perfect travel camera. After learning the store had a loaner Q available, I was both excited and sad. It was checked out, which meant I wouldn’t be able to use it before leaving Las Vegas.
The Q is a 24MP full-frame, fixed-lens camera. Unlike many fixed-lens cameras from other brands, Leica didn’t skimp on the lens. Something very common in the “travel camera” and “sub-compact” marketplace where this camera is often talked about. The Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.7 ASPH lens is on par with any of the M-mount lenses. The image quality is tops, all Leica lens controls and markings are present, and its built like a tank.
Many were shocked by the launch of this camera. A Leica with a fixed lens, touchscreen LCD and WiFi built in? What is happening in the world of photography?! I consider this a bridge camera for the company. The success of this model should, and will, dictate the future technology we see in Leica bodies. It only took moments for me to realize Leica did their homework. This is the best touchscreen I have used on any camera. Feels akin to using my iPhone 7 Plus. Very responsive, easy to see and use.
Hopefully, I will be able to spend more time with the Q to provide all of you and myself a thorough review with image samples. Here’s to hoping I run into another one soon!
Recently, a new Leica Q Titanium version was launched. As if I needed to be teased even more.
If you want a peak into the future of Leica, take a look at the SL (Typ 601). This is the flagship model for Leica Professional Photographers. The first thing I noticed handling this camera is the heft. The weather-resistant milled aluminum body lets you know it’s there quickly. The body is produced using two solid blocks of aluminum. It feels like a tool. Something that begs to produce. Everything from the integrated hand grip to the oversized controls are stout. This camera feels serious.
The 24MP full-frame CMOS sensor produces top level still images as well as DCI 4K video. The L Bayonet Mount allows photographers to connect any full-frame SL series glass, which benefits from electronic communication, super fast auto focus, electronic aperture control, and optimal image stabilization. Using a bevy of available adapters, the SL will also accept M-mount, S, R, and Cine lenses.
Looking to dive head first into a Leica M system? Save yourself some cash and grab one of their bundles. Available until November 30, you can save upwards of $1000 depending on how you outfit your bag. That’s a good chunk of change anyone can appreciate. Details here.
The more pocket friendly Leica X, D-Lux, X-U (waterproof), X-E, and X2 compact cameras are also on display.
Tucked behind the showroom is a small gallery that regularly rotates Leica prints, books, demonstration videos and meetings.
Looking to trade up or test drive a new camera? Pop in to the store and see whats available. Next time, I may need to take the SL on an adventure.
I had a wonderful time visiting Leica Store Las Vegas with special thanks to Felicia for taking the time to walk me through the entire range of cameras and store happenings. Although, I have yet to take a Leica camera home in my bag, I truly wish every photography buying experience could be like this. It all felt very welcoming and personal. I imagine this is what it must feel like moving into the Leica ownership group of photographers. Feeling like you’re part of something, not just part of the crowd.
You can learn more about Leica Store Las Vegas on their website here.
Editor’s Note: We have a number of shop visits planned for the months ahead. Want us to stop by? Drop us an email to see when we will be in your neck of the woods.