The Leica M Reimagined Concept Focuses Upon Minimalist Simplicity

When does a design attain iconic status? We’d venture a guess it’s when following generations deem the original worthy of celebrating through a reboot, rerelease, or reinterpretation. Shanghai-based industrial designer Wencheng Zhang pays homage to the Leica M with his own one-off Leica M Reimagined concept, paring down form and function right to its charger.

A silver Leica M Reimagined Concept camera on a white background.

A black and white image of a group of black and white Leica M Reimagined Concept camera aluminum unibodies.

If you’ve ever had the opportunity of holding and shooting with a Leica M series camera, what is often remembered most is the device’s solidness and simplicity. Leica cameras require a minimal amount of time to become acquainted with, prioritizing a fantastic shot rather than compensating with an abundance of features.

In that same vein, Zhang’s version of the Leica M is imagined to be precisely forged from a single block of aluminum alloy, imparting the form with a similar unibody confidence with what seems to be a cross between the Leica M11 and the smaller machined TL2. The designer himself says the concept’s minimalist form was actually inspired by a film camera of much older origin: Leica’s first ever camera, the Ur-Leica Replica.

Corner shutter dial and button across top plate of black Leica M Reimagined Concept camera with Leica logo in the middle

Bottom view of a black Leica M Reimagined Concept camera with a lens attached to it.

Zhang’s M Reimagined Concept diverges from the classic Leica M’s control layout in an effort to improve in-hand ergonomics by adding an angled top plate to his minimalist edition of the Leica body. The concept also shares a viewfinder and large touch display like its real world M11 counterpart, but in pursuit of simplicity, Zhang edits out M11’s three customizable function buttons.

A Leica M Reimagined Concept camera is sitting on a white surface with left side hanging partially off from the edge.

A Leica M Reimagined Concept camera with an image of mountains on its touchscreen display.

All essential physical controls are located on its top plate like a classic M, with raised numbers adding some much needed texture to the top mounted shutter speed dial. While providing convenient rotation operations, the overall interface, alongside the nearby shutter button, are both perfectly flush with the camera top.

Black Leica M Reimagined Concept digital camera's plug-in power accessory.

The charger with two slots brings a compact and convenient battery life experience when traveling.

An image of a Leica M Reimagined Concept 2.0 aperture camera lens on a white background.

A Leica M Reimagined Concept camera sitting on top and partially off of a shelf.

For more about Leica cameras and other imaging solutions, check out our archives.

Gregory Han is a Senior Editor at Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools, and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at gregoryhan.com.

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