Camera porn: Leica M8 Anti-Panda

Leica M8 Anti Panda

Don’t know about you, but I think there is something damn sexy about a black paint Leica camera. Lines of brass caress shiny black lacquer paint, revealing the timeless brass body hidden underneath that is only rewarded to the most ardent users as the camera ages (unless you let Lenny Kravitz sell you this camera for $24k). What’s not to find irresistible?

For those who don’t know about the Leica M8 Anti-Panda edition, it is a unique camera created at the end of the M8 run just as the M8.2 was being released. With only 100 pieces made, it stands to be one of the rarer versions of Leica’s first digital rangefinder. What separates the Anti-Panda from regular production Leica M8 are the black paint top and bottom plate paired with silver accented shutter speed dial, frameline preview lever, and on/off switch. While the black M8.2  had the black paint as standard, this is the only M8 to boast this gorgeous feature.

My journey to this camera came from looking through photos for this site, and seeing that the images from the M8 were some of my favorites overall. Sure, I hate the UV/IR filters as much as the next Leica geek but there has always been something special about this camera. Maybe I have a soft spot for the M8 since it was my first Leica rangefinder, and it has always been on the top of my list of favorite camera to shoot with. So began the search for my third M8.

At this stage I really wanted the M8.2, which features black paint, upgraded framelines with increased framing accuracy, a quieter and more robust shutter, unscratchable sapphire glass on the LCD, and retro vulcanite covering. Problem for me was the M8.2 still commands a hefty premium in 2015; right around $2,000 on average while the original M8 will set you back about $1,400. For nostalgia’s sake the added expense wasn’t worth it. So, as a gearhead often afflicted with G.A.S. (gear acquisition syndrome) I kept an eye on eBay and the Fredmiranda.com Buy & Sell forum for a cheaper M8.2 since I really wanted the black paint camera. Low and behold the M8 Anti-Panda showed up on FM. A black paint M8 at a reasonable price? Yes, please.

So, after purchasing the camera from a great guy in Canada, the sleek Leica M8 Anti-Panda was in my grubby hands in short order. Being particular about this camera, I almost immediately changed out the original slippery shark-skin covering for the vulcanite-like Aki-Asahi #4008 leatherette, and swapped the ubiquitous red Leica dot to the low-key black purchased from DAG Camera to complete the understated style that I find so appealing. Throw on my trusty Tap & Dye leather camera strap and I’m good to go! Normally I’m much more pragmatic about my gear but we all need to peacock at some time or another.

Well, enough chatter. Check out this sexy camera!

Leica M8 Anti Panda

L1162714 L1162717 L1162720 Leica M8 Anti Panda

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2 thoughts on “Camera porn: Leica M8 Anti-Panda

  1. Beautiful camera, but you should have left it in original condition, i.e. not exchanged the slippery skin for vulcanite–unless you are not concerned about potential value one day. As you might know, you have only 1 of 100 M8 Anti-Panda made. Extremely rare. Right now, only moderately more expensive than an M8, but one day, in Leica world, who knows? Peace, M

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