How To Change Your Apple iPhone Into A Leica Digital Camera – Meet The Leica i9 Camera


Impossible, I can hear you all cry but not in this case. The masterminds at Black Design Associates have managed to pair a Leica fixed-lens rangefinder camera with an Apple iPhone 4 – and it looks good. The Leica i9 concept offers an independent professional camera system with an ultra-compact body that doubles as a rugged protective case for your iPhone 4. 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 offers 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 Leica i9 Concept offers timeless design, durability and the unmatched brilliance of Leica’s high performance camera system to compliment the unparalleled processing, display and sharing capabilities of Apple’s iPhone 4. With upgradeable software, partner plug-ins/apps, and the ability to take advantage of an ever-growing list of new iPhone features.

The Camera Back Dock


The Camera Back Dock is a tribute to traditional 35mm film. The Camera Back swings open like a traditional film door to reveal the standard Apple 30-pin connector dock. The Camera back is also interchangeable to accommodate compatibility with future generation iPhones.



    1.    CAMERA/iPHONE TOGGLE – turns on your camera with an instant start-up time of 0.3sec., while simultaneously loading the Leica app on your iPhone4.

    2.    ZOOM/VOLUME CONTROL – adjusts Tight and Wide when your camera is on, and adjusts volume Up and Down when your camera is off.

    3.    DEDICATED APERTURE AND SHUTTER DIALS – offers fast and easy option for manual operation.

    4.    PASS-THROUGHS AND ACTUATORS – gives you full access to your iPhone4 controls and headphone jack.

    5.    FLASH AND LIGHT METER – offers higher quality photos and videos in low-light conditions.

Flawless Functionality


From F-Stop to Facetime, use-patterns were reviewed continuously, making sure the i9 functioned flawlessly as a high performance camera and smart phone.



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.



Careful considerations were taken to get every detail right. The i9’s cohesive design compliments form with function, preserving and celebrating the way a Leica and iPhone4 should perform and operate.



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.

This i9 concept will set you back, if it comes to fruition, a cool $1,000 – would you spend that. Perhaps if you thought of it as as Leica and your iPhone was an accessory for it, this might make the price a little more reasonable?

Let us know what you think, remember how much Steve Jobs loves Leica, he is bound to be in love with this concept, don’t you think?

Joanne Carter, creator of the world’s most popular mobile photography and art website—— TheAppWhisperer platform has been a pivotal cyberspace for mobile artists of all abilities to learn about, to explore, to celebrate and to share mobile artworks. Joanne’s compassion, inclusivity, and humility are hallmarks in all that she does, and is particularly evident in the platform she has built. In her words, “We all have the potential to remove ourselves from the centre of any circle and to expand a sphere of compassion outward; to include everyone interested in mobile art, ensuring every artist is within reach”, she has said. Promotion of mobile artists and the art form as a primary medium in today’s art world, has become her life’s focus. She has presented lectures bolstering mobile artists and their art from as far away as the Museum of Art in Seoul, South Korea to closer to her home in the UK at Focus on Imaging. Her experience as a jurist for mobile art competitions includes: Portugal, Canada, US, S Korea, UK and Italy. And her travels pioneering the breadth of mobile art includes key events in: Frankfurt, Naples, Amalfi Coast, Paris, Brazil, London. Pioneering the world’s first mobile art online gallery - has extended her reach even further, shipping from London, UK to clients in the US, Europe and The Far East to a global group of collectors looking for exclusive art to hang in their homes and offices. The online gallery specialises in prints for discerning collectors of unique, previously unseen signed limited edition art. Her journey towards becoming The App Whisperer, includes (but is not limited to) working for a paparazzi photo agency for several years and as a deputy editor for a photo print magazine. Her own freelance photographic journalistic work is also widely acclaimed. She has been published extensively both within the UK and the US in national and international titles. These include The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Popular Photography & Imaging, dpreview, NikonPro, Which? and more recently with the BBC as a Contributor, Columnist at Vogue Italia and Contributing Editor at LensCulture. Her professional photography has also been widely exhibited throughout Europe, including Italy, Portugal and the UK. She is currently writing several books, all related to mobile art and is always open to requests for new commissions for either writing or photography projects or a combination of both. Please contact her at:

One Comment

  • Gabi

    Why buy a new display if you already have one of the best out there? Why go for built-in wifi to upload your photos to the Internet if your phone already has it? The concept of modularity and upgrading existing technology with specialized functions is one that appeals very much to me – particularly from a perspective of sustainability and preserving natural resources. Paying $1,000 for it – not so much.