Cosmetically, the iconic 'red dot' in front of the camera is missing. Taking its place is a big, black screw head that sits in the middle of the front plate just above the lens. Now we know what the red dot has been concealing all this time. I'm not sold on this being a design improvement. The screw head sticks out like a sore thumb. The top plate is now engraved with the Leica script logo.
Something I have missed on the M 240, the frame selector lever beneath the viewfinder window, has been restored. It brings up frames in focal length pairs of 28 and 90mm, 50 and 75mm, 35 and 135 mm. This is a very handy item when you are thinking about switching to another lens but want to know how it will look.
A scratch resistant sapphire crystal now covers the LCD display to add an almost indestructible surface. An anti-reflective coating added to both sides of the cover glass should improve image viewing, even in difficult lighting conditions.
The biggest improvement to performance it an increase in the buffer memory to 2GB. This is twice as large as the M 240 and should result in a considerable increase in processing speed by allowing shooting up to 24 frames at 3.7 fps. The 7 frame buffer at 3 fps on the M 240 has been a big impediment for any kind of speedy shooting.
The Leica M-P in silver will be available towards the end of August, and the black-paint version in September. The Leica M-P is not a replacement for the M. Both cameras will be available. The price of the M-P increases to $7950, which is $1000 more than the M.
In the past, Leica has made some of its improvement available for prior models. No mention has been made of this, but it would be nice it some of the upgrades could be added to the current M model.
The Leica M-P can be pre-ordered now and will be available in silver by the end of August and in black later in September.