Leica i9 concept: “Turn your iPhone into a Leica” v2.0

There are already several different solutions to turn your iPhone into a Leica look-alike (see here, here and here). BlackDA went a step further and created a Leica i9 concept that features a rangefinder styled housing that can be attached to an iPhone via a 30-pin connector giving full access to all of the phone functionality. If this product ever materializes, the estimated cost will be between $900-$1200.

Updated: I just received the press release from BlackDA:

Compliment without Compromise

The Leica i9 Concept for iPhone4 exhibits a new way to combine your camera and smart phone.

EL SEGUNDO, CA, April 25th, 2011 – Black Design Associates, LLC announces the Leica i9 Concept Camera for Apple iPhone4.

A better camera phone designed for photographers. The Leica i9 concept offers the unmatched brilliance of Leica’s professional CMOS image sensor and lens, made specifically for the unparalleled processing, display and sharing capabilities of Apple’s iPhone4.

The i9 was designed with a “Compliment without Compromise” philosophy. If the best camera is the one that you have on you, then the better camera is the Leica i9 concept. The i9 is the only professional camera that’s also an iPhone4 case. The goal was to create a camera system that inspires photographers to shoot and share their photos and videos at anytime and anywhere.

The i9 offers an independent professional camera system with an ultra-compact body that doubles as a rugged protective case for your iPhone4. The i9 is a true ready-to-shoot camera with Leica’s superior range finder and a 0.3 second start-up. Photos or videos are stored on the i9’s internal flash memory (expandable with SD) and then uploaded onto your iPhone4 once the Leica app has launched.

The i9 is the ultimate point-and-shoot camera combining the high performance of a Leica (CMOS image sensor with effective 12.1 MP, professional lens with 8x optical zoom and 35 equivalent focal lengths and ready-to-shoot operation) with iPhone4 (retina display, multi-touch interface, extended storage capacity and mobile/wireless connectivity). Beyond camera features, the i9 and iPhone4 can share their independent batteries for extended operation.

The i9 takes professional photos and videos and allows you to easily compress and share your content to Email, MMS, Flickr, Facebook and/or YouTube directly from the Leica app.

To compliment Leica’s timeless design, the i9 includes an interchangeable backing for future generation iPhones. With upgradeable software and a growing list of iPhone features, the possibilities are limitless including a remote voice activated shutter control that as easy as saying, “Cheese!”

About BLACK Design Associates, LLC:

BLACK Design Associates, LLC is a product development, incubation, and retail marketing strategy consultancy based in El Segundo, California. Our team of creative strategists, designers, and engineers, specialize in new market-disrupting products that have maximum impact in the marketplace. Working with new products constantly pressures us to find customer audiences in new and creative ways. Our clients include: InStyler, Mattel, Jakks Pacific, Dial Corporation, Plantronics, Epson and Disney.

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  • rob

    “If this product ever materializes, the estimated cost will be between $900-$1200.”

    Not if Leica produces it. 🙂

  • M!!

    a little pointless. the “designer” obviously is not a camera user or understand the Leica brand. look at the way this ‘camera’ is supposed to be held, with your finger tips. not with your left hand braced under the camera for stability and focus.

  • photomic

    Episode 124 of “People not knowing anything about photography, designing concept cameras”

    This “thing” isn’t a Leica and isn’t a rangefinder, period.

    (also what’s the rewind crank for?)

  • mat

    Whoa, seldom do I see something as pointless as this in photography.

    • George

      and so was the AutoFocus invented by Leica few decades ago… oh wait, today 99.99% of all cameras have AF and Leica is considered a “designer” product

      • J

        Completely irrelevant…

  • Fluff.

  • MH


    • VaP*

      Haaaaaa…Ha x100

  • I love my iPhone but above all i love my Leicas (i Got 6 M’s plus 3 other) so I would love to see this study come true !

  • Tyson

    This is what you get when someone likes the way that Leicas look but can’t stand that if you use one you have to develop film or (gasp) transfer the files to your computer before spamming Twitter and Facebook with your “art.”

  • peter drijver

    I’d love to see Leica make Apple-pies. With rewind cranks of course.

  • Bob

    Would love to have one, hope they produce it

  • Kevin

    What a great concept. I love Leica cameras and it would be nice to be able to upload high quality photos to my online social network or post to my blog without hassle. This seems like a brilliant marriage of the two. I just need the price to go down. I hope Leica and iphone listen up.

  • Tom

    Or this is what you get from someone who actually a) often finds himself w/o camera but with iPhone and b) realizes that iPhone quality is terrible and c) isn’t stuck in a little mental box about what a Leica “is” – other than a useful, ergonomic means of doing photography.

  • Robert Falconer

    Wet dream…? 🙂

  • Just imagine what you would look like, if you actually made a phone call using that thing 🙂

    Seriously, though, I’ve had some thoughts for a while that having a totally minimalist camera where all advanced settings (color space, file formats, etc) would be controlled wirelessly from your smartphone, would actually be neat. This would reduce the number of buttons (that I, for one, almost never use) on the camera significantly. Even chimping could be done on the phone only…

  • VaP*

    it’s incredible as Leica concept. No!

  • Matt

    While in principal I’m not opposed to the design concept, I think branding this as a Leica is a serious miss-step. Leica’s traditionally are seen as long-life products – it’s one of the reasons their products can demand such a premium. Coupling a camera module with a premium price tag to a phone with a one-or-two-year product cycle and a similarly time-limited contract from a cell carrier seems at best ill-considered for the brand.

  • Peter

    more designer rubbish… just what the world needs…. if it ever gets made, after ten years its going to look great in landfill

  • Joe

    The designers, it seems, are using their creativity to contemplate a new type of convergence device. I can imagine an implementation in which the “camera body” contains the optics, controls and sensor. Meanwhile, the iPhone handles the processing, storage and display. It would seem, too, that the phone and camera body could be separated from one another at any given time. For those of us who don’t like being without a camera, this may be an interesting concept. I think it’s an intriguing idea.

  • very interesting

  • Ed

    Just buy a point and shoot! I got the S95 so I could get quality shots instead of what my iPhone gives me, and it’s probably about the same size as that thing would add to your phone. And it was $400.

    I love Apple and Leica, but this fails both their philosophies.

  • Ken Elliott

    This is a interesting idea – as a way of getting attention, but not as a camera.

    I can’t imagine any Leica shooter (or any real photographer, actually) wanting to have a camera that depends on their phone. My cameras are far more reliable than my iPhone.

    Now, if you take a FujiFilm X100 and add a bluetooth or WiFi link to any iPhone or Android phone, you’d really have something.

    Heck, just give me a WiFi-enabled Compact Flash card. Please!

    • kark

      Hello, The wifi CF card link stuff allready exist. It is the eye-fi. Never used it but it could be pretty useful.

      • As far i heard, eye-fi doesnt work on a leica M9

  • amazing

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