Leica M/M-P Protector half-case review
Leica M/M-P ‘Protector’ half case review
I’m not one for cases or half cases; working cameras are just that, they’re not pampered, and I’m not really one for straps either as they’re a problem when working with tripods. That said, I did once have a black ‘ever-ready’ type some thirty years ago for a black Nikon F2AS that was constantly with me (and one of my favourite cameras, ever*). I discarded the detachable front and used it as a half case, as it provided a secure grip and a lot of protection. And yes, that camera had a strap, one of the superb, thin Nikon black and yellow nylon woven straps.
In 2014 I bought a Leica M-P from the Leica Store in Mayfair and intended to buy a half case for it for much the same reason. At the time I considered a Leica branded case – the Leica M/M-P half case, and who better to buy a case from than Leica themselves? But I wanted a black one and they were out of stock…
Fast forward a few years and I decided to buy one. The black appears to be no longer made (the M-P itself exists in a different form, having been replaced by the outstanding Leica M10 and variants – the Leica M10-R being my preference), so I was limited to the brown instead. It’s described as ‘cognac’ coloured – a little too light for my liking (and a little lighter than pictured, I would say), as I wanted the camera to remain discreet. But, in fairness, no one gives it a second glance.
On the base, there’s a stamped Leica roundel but it’s very low-key and, anyway, it’s not visible from the front.
I had heard that many Leica users preferred off brands but I couldn’t see why, and still can’t. At around £150 at the Leica online store, the Leica case, or ‘Camera Protector’ as it’s called for the M/M-P, is also very competitively priced.
With precise stitching and a soft velvety lining, the Leica M/M-P ‘Protector’ half-case is superbly made. It’s quite rigid and it fits the Leica M-P quite tightly, and without the need for a metal screw and plate in the base it’s quite light in weight. It’s held in place with two leather snap-down collars which fit over the strap lugs. They’re slightly recessed so the button-snaps sit quite flush around the lugs.
This means the case is quick and easy to remove, which you’ll need to do when replacing the battery or you need to retrieve the memory card, as the camera’s base plate must be left in place. That also means you can’t attach the camera with its case to a tripod, but this isn’t an issue for me, as I use the hugely versatile Arca-Swiss L-Bracket anyway. I wouldn’t want to attach the camera via a 1/4 screw in the base of the half case to a tripod – that idea was discarded in the late 70s.
At the rear, the case fits closely around the buttons, screen, and control pad, and I’m pleased to say there isn’t a high ‘lip’ at the front under the lens. Indeed, at 11-12mm, it seems no higher than those cases where you can remove the baseplate.
The leather looks and feels sublime; it’s not oily at all, and the surface provides a very secure grip. One further benefit is a well-positioned grip at the front. Although narrow it’s firm and the surface offers enough purchase for the fingertips to grip hold of. While that sounds insubstantial, it’s actually very much appreciated.
Overall, the case greatly improves the handling experience while also, of course, adding protection from life’s knocks and bumps. With no downsides thus far encountered, I only wish I had bought one with the camera. If you’re looking for a case for your Leica then don’t dismiss the Leica-branded ones, they’re outstanding. In fact, they’re so good I bought another for a Leica Q2, only this time I could choose the black.
*I really wish I still had it.