While the other traditional camera maker Hasselblad infuriates its last loyal customers with a luxurized NEX-7 hardly anyone understands, Leica seems to feel the pulse of what the market wants. After the highly successful M9, world’s smallest compact full-frame rangefinder camera, Leica achieves the feat to further develop the digital M line without renouncing what it does best: the reduction of photography to its essentials. Leica gets more electronic and announces its new top-end rangefinder, the timeless Leica M Typ 240 (specs), another home run giving you a 24MP CMOSIS full-frame sensor with ISO sensitivity of up to 6,400, live view, video, a dust- and splash-proof body, LED frame lines and, joy of joys, live focus peaking on-screen and when used with the optional EVF, the M240. It’s well known that worsening eyesight forces many photographers to give up Leica as shooting becomes a hit-and-miss exercise. Those days are gone. Nevertheless, the manually focused rangefinder experience is not for everyone. Spending $7k comes without satisfaction guaranteed. Chances are you’ll shoot a Leica much more carefully than a fully automated camera with all of technology’s latest bells and whistles. I for myself, as a Leica M buyer, would take the German boutique camera maker by its word and buy the camera for it’s guaranteed long and reliable working life — just check out the new M Max sensor! First sample images are very promising. No more color blotches, much cleaner noise and very usable files! No reason to buy another camera for quite some time.
What do others think of this most innovative and versatile M camera that Leica’s modern M system has ever created? Read our definitive, continuously updated Leica M Reference File bringing you all the relevant Leica M hands-on reviews and field reports that matter (latest update on top).
Nice review by Kristian Dowling. Bottom line being the “M 240 is the best, most versatile digital M camera that Leica has made to date”:
Finally, Leica have released a camera that’s specifications and performance match up to the very best cameras in the marketplace, and easily surpasses its predecessors in the following ways:
- Resolution: Pixel density for the size seems very close but with a large file.
- Battery: 2-3x more battery life
- Processing speed: More shoots in initial burst at a faster rate
- High ISO performance: Shoot up to ISO 3,200 without being concerned about the quality of your file. The M9 can only compete at base ISO 160
- Color: quality is maintained right up to ISO 3200, where the M9 fails from ISO 640+
- Viewfinder: New framelines make framing and composing much easier
- Focusing: New focusing options allow for potentially greater accuracy
- Adapters: Use of adapters and Live View/EVF means almost any lens can be adapted and focused
- Video: Video can now be recorded on an M camera in HD quality
Most importantly, in the field, even with all new features, the M 240 works much faster than previous M digital cameras and never once got in the way of what I was doing. With the new enhancements, it not only provides more ways to operate the camera, but allows the user more creative flexibility as it can be framed and composed differently thanks to the EVF and live view. While many M9/M9-P/M-E users are perfectly happy with what they have, there’s no disputing the M 240’s superior abilities as a flexible tool, capable of working in any kind of rough environment, especially ones with beautiful models. The M9 was, and still is a great camera at base ISO, but beyond that the M 240 supersedes it in every category, and in the field it truly impressed me with its reliability and results.
For those looking for a chance to get into the M system, this is the perfect opportunity, and for those experienced M users, you’ll never know anything’s really changed… but one thing you will notice is how much more enjoyable it really is.
“Both pleased and annoyed by the M”… From Luminous Landscape‘s “24 hours with a 240″:
I was both pleased and annoyed by the M. Pleased by the superb image quality, and of course the ability to use my M lens collection on a camera that they were designed for — or should I say one which was designed for them. On the other hand, for me and the way that I now prefer to work when doing documentary style street shooting, autofocus has become de rigeur. I understand and appreciate the accuracy of a rangefinder, and I absolutely love using a window finder style camera for this type of work. But there are many situations doing other types of shooting (for light weight travel, for example), where subjects such as foliage are downright difficult using a rangefinder.
I sold my M9 last fall before heading to Mexico for the winter, anticipating that I would buy the new M when it came out. But now that I have had a chance to use one — albeit just for a day — I am no longer in a great rush to actually buy one. I have a couple of other cameras that do a very nice job with my M lenses, and while not necessarily offering the absolute resolution or other possible IQ advantages of the M, do a quite admirable job and are suitable for my current needs. I reserve the right to change my mind (depending also on the state of my bank account at some future point in time), but for the moment I’ll live without a Leica M, the first time that this has been true in some 40+ years.
In the end the Leica M experience boils down to “emotion”… Sam Hurd‘s real world review conclusion:
So many people have asked me why I spent so much money on a piece of kit that will largely create images on par with a camera I’ve already got and my answers always seem to drift back to the emotional experience of shooting with Leica equipment. Much like Apple products tend to trigger an emotional connection with their users, Leica products do too. The simplicity and and elegance of the camera just plain makes it fun to use. It’s in no way required to spend so much money on the Leica M to make professional photos, but I’m in love with create images that are unique as the people I photograph and by shooting with the M + Noctilux F0.95 it’s safe to say I’m one of the only working professionals in the world that is able to deliver that.
There’s a lot more I could say about this camera. What I love, what I don’t love, what could be improved and what is overkill, but in the end you should know that I love it, recommend it, and use it as much as I possibly can. Yes there are many other wonderfully affordable mirrorless cameras on the market, but the Leica is still the only game in town that will provide interchangeable lenses and full-frame sensor size.
Another great “emotional” review by Luminous Landscape‘s Mark Dubovoy. Nah, he won’t buy that camera, promised…:
The new Leica M is not a camera for everybody. For example, if you are the type of person that wants or needs to shoot thousands of images a day with autofocus at 8 frames per second or faster with very long lenses, etc., this is obviously not the camera for you. The Leica M has a number of limitations that I will not bother to restate as they have been discussed and published ad nauseum for many years. The type 240 has less limitations versus prior M models since it will work with Leica R lenses. This means that zooms and long lenses are now usable with this camera.
The Leica M actually requires some skill on the part of the photographer (what a concept!). You cannot just point it at something, push the button and expect it to do everything.
On the other hand, if you are the type of person who appreciates design, quality, uniqueness and craftsmanship and you enjoy developing your skills as a photographer I can think of no more delicious piece of equipment to have in your hands than the new Leica M. Besides that indescribable pleasure derived from the design, the quality of construction and the “Leica feel,” you will also be rewarded with the highest image quality currently available from a 35mm sensor.
It is no wonder that I ended up buying the camera…
Tim Ashley‘s review is in. His (preliminary) verdict:
All things considered, what I think so far is, I just don’t know if I’m going to keep the M 240 or not.
It looks nice. It feels very nice. It produces very good files (not quite as good as I’d like but largely as good as I need) and I have great faith in Leica to fix those things I have mentioned above which are broken, incomplete or poorly conceived. Leica are keen as mustard, responsive, engaged, dedicated and they listen and respond. Their firmware updates are, historically, intelligent and timely.
So let’s say that all this stuff does get fixed, even down to the stuff that is merely my preference rather than a particular fault. Let’s say that I also discover (though I do have one or two doubts) that my treasured M lenses are not outstretched by their new stable mate. How would I feel then? Would I add the M 240 permanently to my armoury, possibly replacing the RX1 and even the D800E?
I think probably (but not certainly) not. I think I have found, since shooting the M 240, that I prefer the files on the RX1 and the D800E and that the Zeiss lens on the RX1 is in many ways better than the 35 Lux FLE. I will post more about that in future, when I come to some system comparisons. And yes, I do know that you can’t compare apples to oranges but hey, sometimes you have to choose a piece of fruit.
I have also rediscovered that lenses shorter than 50mm are a pain for spectacle wearers to use through the rangefinder and that, useful though the EVF is, I want it to be a switchable internal one like Fuji make. Add-on EVFs catch on things, feel carbuncular and don’t lock in place securely (if at all) and that applies equally to the RX-1.
But. But but but. Those M lenses that I have kept, my cherished babies, have such a lovely look — better on the M 240 than on any alternative. They make me seem to be a better photographer than I am, and I like that.
So that’s where me and the M 240 have a chance of making a go of it. The lenses might keep us together. And if they do, I will be secretly rather happy.
I will let you know how it goes. But one thing is for sure: the M 240 means that you can opt for a digital M because of the lenses without that also being despite the camera.
Tom Grill reviews the M — his hands-on verdict:
I primarily use the Leica for travel and landscape photography. I realize that it also has a very large following for taking candid street photography. For the latter, using the traditional rangefinder viewfinder is going to be the way to go. EVF finders on mirrorless cameras have an inherent drag to them that slows down shooting. As this camera type becomes more popular, I expect this to improve. For now, however, expect the M to behave very differently in live view mode. It will definitely lack much of its characteristic spontaneity. Nonetheless, the convenience this feature adds of precise compositional alignment for photographers like me is well worth the extra delay it might take in capturing the photo.
In terms of resolution, dynamic range, capability in low light, and expanded features, the M (240) has reached a pinnacle of digital perfection that is exceptional in the tests I have done so far. Keep in mind this is a system camera and gains in strength when coupled with its superb optical support. That support has now been expanded to include R lenses — something that adds to the convenience of the M as a full system camera. It will be interesting to see if Leica will now expand and improve upon its R lens series.
Another Leica M Typ 240 video test, here by Johnnie Behiri — well the freelance BBC cameraman is not too excited:
Spending a day with the camera left me wondering, was Leica ever talking to any professional cameraman before implementing HD recording for this unit or just decided to “join a trend” without really meaning this camera to be a capable working video tool?
In my opinion, the video quality coming out of the camera is very disappointing and its operation in video mode is nothing but easy/logical. I hope features/video quality can be enhanced with a firmware update.
The Camera Store‘s Chris Niccoll’s M hands-on field test is up:
cinema5D asks whether the M240 HD video is capable:
The first serious video test is made available by Thorsten Overgaard. Terribly out-of-focus at times, it still gives you an impression of the M’s video potential:
That was fast! A few days after getting the M, Steve Huff‘s real world take is up. Says the sensor has its own new look, but there is loads to rave about. It’s a long review, here just the bottom line of this camera that’s a much bigger step for Leica than from the M8 to the M9 — yes, unsurprisingly, the M is Steve’s most favorite camera ever:
So yes, I now prefer the new M files to the M9 files and by quite a bit actually. I do not miss the noise, limited DR and sometimes off-color of those M9 files. Once again, I am getting spoiled, but this time from the new M files (…)
While we lose just some of that M9 crispness we gain so much more due to the use of the new CMOS sensor. Much better dynamic range, better high ISO performance, richer color and more robust files that can be tweaked more during post-processing, the ability to have live view (which I do like having) and the image quality is up there with the top full-frame DSLR’s like the D800, 5D Mark III, and in some cases better with more character due to the gorgeous Leica glass available.
Some initial M thoughts by Tulip Frenzy:
It is a camera, like previous Ms, that you can feel comfortable walking around the city with, because it is small and unobtrusive. Whatever advantages top-of-the-line Canons and Nikons have over the M, they are massive in comparison. We look forward to seeing the quite small Sony RX1, but even with that Zeiss lens, we doubt one can walk down the street, realize you are missing an image, and then whirl to get it, the way one can with a rangefinder.
In two quick outings with the M, in both cases using it as a classic rangefinder, we are prepared to say it meets all our expectations and more. We are beginning to master using it with the EVF, and as soon as the adaptor arrives, look forward to using it with long lenses. For now, though, we’re satisfied using the M as what it absolutely can be: a camera in the tradition of the Leica M3, updated for possibilities of modern life.
Here’s the famous first awesome look at the M video by Steve Huff:
Some rather “contrarian” M observations by street photographer Olivier Duong:
The M8 was the best camera. The M9 wast the bestest. The M is the bestest best camera. If you say otherwise you can’t afford it. And don’t go buy that stupid Hasselblad “Lunar” camera, it might cost as much as a Leica but it has no MOJO and wasn’t made 100% in Germany, it has Japanese guts. Germany: good, Japan: bad. Wooded grips are for wussies, real photographers get all metal. Plus M mount sounds cooler than E mount, who wants an E mount anyway?
Luminous Landscape has Sean Reid’s impressions from beta testing the M. A word on battery life:
The new camera is very slightly larger than the M9 but I never notice that when using it. It’s also heavier, though, and I do notice that. About half of the extra weight comes from the new features in the camera and about half from the mass of a new, large and serious battery. Sony did a lot of things right with their RX1 but when it comes to the battery I really wish they’d taken the task seriously and given their camera the kind of capable battery the M uses. I won’t have formal battery life figures for the M until the camera is finalized but, informally, I can say that battery life has been excellent so far.
Here’s our The Leica M Max Sensor Explained. Excerpt, quoting Leica:
It wasn’t easy to find a partner who could fulfill our specific requirements for the sensitivity of the sensor in relation to the incident angle because of the M’s low flange distance, considering the quality of the color filter and much more. With the M9 we were still working with microlens shifting to get a grasp on the problem, but with the M it was clear right from the beginning that the camera had to also work with the lenses of Leica’s R system, which are much more telecentric (…) The second criteria was the energy consumption, because with live view and video the sensor needs to run continuously.
Erwin Puts weighs in on the M. He comments about the improved build quality and manufacturing tolerances. Also, careful tests have indicated that the rangefinder focus is not less accurate than the LV with focus peaking… Also, Puts rings the alarm bells, fears future Ms will lose the Leica soul. Excerpts:
As a coupled rangefinder camera the M can hardly be faulted, but the inclusion of features that enhance the versatility and broader the sphere of activity is a sensitive move. These features do not in any sense improve the capabilities of the camera as a CRF, but manoeuvre the camera in the mainstream of current photographic equipment (…)
With every new model, the original features of essential minimalism were sacrificed to the demands of the time. The current M is on the brink of what a rangefinder should be. The shape is immediately recognizable, but the vital statistics are slightly elevated, like a coat that is one size bigger than you need. In its evolution the M has incorporated features that are there because everyone else has them too. The M is almost perfect, a well-constructed compromise, but such a compromise that it is in danger to lose its soul. The M Mono is, from this perspective, the true heir to the digital CRF throne. The M however is the camera that has all important mainstream features and its success might be living proof that the classical rangefinder photographer does no longer exist.
Beautiful M testing done by Jono Slack. Not much to add, read the whole thing. His (surprising) conclusion?
I think it’s easier to discuss the new M (240) as two cameras.
The First Full-Frame Interchangeable Lens Mirrorless Camera
A brave move from Leica, and an interesting camera. The facilities and firmware have been wonderfully well thought out, simple, and absolutely Leica in character. In this mode the camera is no speed merchant, but if you have the time and the lenses, then it produces excellent results. You can hand hold up to about 200mm in decent light, and after that it works really well on a tripod (the R adapter has a built in tripod connector). The Leica 28-90 R is particularly successful as a travel/walkabout lens.
The Latest Successor to the M3
I think it’s a total success. The M8 and M9 were excellent cameras – with much to love and excellent Image Quality. The new M is a joy — the ergonomics are subtly improved, the general responsiveness and speed is a real revelation. Of course, it isn’t perfect, (which camera is?), but if you want to catch decisive moments with lovely lenses and a delightful camera then, for me, for now, this is it.
Ming Thein‘s review is up, not to miss! Besides posting wonderful images, he provides the most in-depth analysis of the marvel of a photographic tool so far. Take you time to read the whole thing. Conclusion:
The M 240 delivers on a level that’s at least one, if not two, complete generations ahead of the M9; it finally feels like the M system has come of maturity into the digital age. Unlike the earlier digital Ms, the camera no longer feels like the limiting factor — barring startup delays — it really does feel like the time when Nikon went full-frame all over again. Leica has come under a lot of fire for the limitations of the M8, continued limitations of the M9 and somewhat stopgap means of addressing high ISO performance with the Monochrom; I freely admit that QC issues with the M8 and lenses at the time forced me to abandon Leica at the time, and I’ve had a love-hate relationship with the M9-P — loved the tactility and experience of shooting it, hated the unreliability and high ISO performance. I am as impressed with the image quality as I am with how much difference all of the little changes make towards overall usability. Yes, there are still things to be improved — ergonomics (that damn right strap lug!), microphone placement, EVF behaviour, color — but for the most part, the M 240 shows Leica are firmly back in the game.
We just received a new set of full resolution DNG and JPEG files for you to play with, available for download at THEME.
We also added a high ISO comparison with DNG and JPEG sample crops.
Finally, the first official Leica M sample gallery is official. Absolutely see- and readworthy. Writes photographer Jono Slack:
This is the really good news — Leica have listened to their user base. The M9 was (and is) a wonderful camera, however, there was room for improvement in a number of areas. The new M has addressed almost all of these:
- Faster processor
- Larger buffer
- Higher resolution LCD
- Weather sealing
- Quieter shutter (without re-cock pause)
- Less shutter lag
- Better high ISO
- Better image quality
- Higher resolution
- Integrated thumb grip
- Improved ergonomics
I’ve long felt that 24MP represented just about the perfect compromise between high resolution and manageable file size; allowing very big prints but still making it possible to process lots of images in a reasonable time.
There has been much discussion on the internet about the benefits of CCD vs CMOS sensors. I really feel that a look at the files from the M will dispel those worries. For me, the colour is slightly better than that from the M9 at base ISO and much better at higher ISO. In most circumstances the results from a well exposed 6400 ISO are completely useable (perhaps equivalent to 1600 ISO on the M9).
Rangefinder photography is what I love most, and this new camera is a worthy successor to the long line of Leica M cameras. Throw in an exciting and revolutionary full frame mirror-less camera and it’s quite irresistible.
Well Dr. Ulrich Rohde, an early M beta tester, is quite ecstatic about the latest generation M. He provides THEME with first available full resolution JPEG and DNG files — and has this to say, but read and see the whole thing:
I would describe the M240 as a huge boost in capabilities. Straight out of camera, without any processing, the M images are sharper, the color is more spot on and dynamic range is better. The M has 6 dB better dynamic range. A word about noise: The silly noise issue has become a witch hunt to play one manufacturer against the other. I also have the D600 and Canon 1Dx. In terms of noise, the M is equal or slightly better than the D600. Don’t forget, exposure meters have tolerances and if the contrast of the picture is too high, M noise at ISO 6,400 is slightly visible in some corners. But of all the high-end cameras I have, this Leica has the cleanest noise performance. The M has become my favorite camera. Congratulations to Leica, six months ago nobody would have believed me that the M can produce such phenomenal pictures. Incredible how much more “real” the M files look.
Here’s another Leica M hands-on with John Dooley of Leica Academy:
More M impressions by THEME, here’s a quick look at the menu, settings and live view focusing:
More hands-on reports coming in, this one from ProPhotoCoalition:
In the hand I found it to be noticeably bulkier than the M9 and ergonomically superior. The button layout is spot on and I love to see a more minimalist design, unlike something like a Panasonic GF-3 which just has a button-for-everything, infuriating layout. Even in early alpha firmware stages there are huge improvements in the responsiveness of the UI which bodes well for the release version in Q1 next year. The new built-in thumb rest is a nice touch and as weird as it looks (…)
I liked the M9 when I had the chance to shoot with it and Leica have essentially fixed every problem that most people had with it and have done so with a new CMOS sensor which ought to give much superior higher ISO results. For me it’s a pretty exciting camera considering that it also comes in cheaper than its predecessor. It certainly signals a new era for the M system and Leica looks to be in very good shape as a company hang just bought back all their stocks and removed themselves from the open market.
Steve Huff refers to the first Leica M image samples spotted. Usable even when pushed to ISO 2,000! Writes user rayyen in the mentioned forum:
Says Red Dot Forum member and Leica specialist Josh Lehrer after playing with the M:
- It feels almost identical to the M9. I had read some concerns about a size/weight increase but I could not tell much difference.
- The thumb “bump” will not be a replacement for a Thumbs Up. It’s really only there to prevent you from turning the wheel accidentally.
- The feel of the shutter button has been vastly improved. It’s quicker, quieter and has a slightly shorter throw than the M9.
- Live view focusing is easy. Easier with the EVF as it allows me to hold the camera in a more natural position, however it was simple to make minor adjustments using the LCD screen. Keeping in mind that (as long as you are using an M lens) you can always use the rangefinder (because there is no mirror blackout during live view) even if you have the EVF activated, I can see myself switching quickly between the two to confirm my focus.
- When using live view on either the EVF or LCD, you can zoom in to the center but you cannot move around the image.
- With the hand grip and EVF attached, using the M in conjunction with the R-adapter-M and 35-70mm F2.8 R lens felt almost like using a DSLR. The ability to switch between the classic rangefinder form factor for compactness, and SLR-style shooting for zoom/telephoto/macro lenses, will be extremely useful.
In short this will be (in my opinion) the most exciting new camera for 2013.
- Body — The design, weight, leather, almost identical to current digital M9, so the feeling of holding the camera in hand is no difference to any digital hand.
- Frameline — The traditional three or five sets framline all gone. When you half press the shutter, a new light blue color electronic frameline will appears in the viewfinder. Very similar to M9Ti design.
- UI — The new M brought us more advance features and perhaps that why more buttons on the back of the camera, and also the UI is more advance and more complicated. Personally, I prefer the old simplicity design UI.
- WB — Way better than the funny WB of M9.
- Shutter sound — Different to M8 and M9, very quiet, very discreet.
- LCD — Everyone was pleased by the new LCD, larger and high definition. Now can really check focus and sharpness on LCD.
- Video recording — The experience of using Noctilux for video recording is amazing. However, without anti-handshake mechanism, it could be rather painful. Need a pair of super steady hands.
Leica Rumors has some interesting details on the M’s sensor. The new MAX 24MP full-frame sensor that will be used in the new Leica M is basically described as a game changer — what is also called “the most advanced process node among the full-frame sensors vendors.” In case you understand it:
Leica FF CIS will be fabricated by CMOSIS’ foundry partner STMicroelectronics. STMicroelectronics’ IMG175 300mm Cu process, developed for 1.75µm mobile CIS, will be adapted to 6µm pixels and use 0.11µm design rules for the front end of line (FEOL) processing and 90nm design rules for the BEOL. While Leica has nowhere near the market share of Japanese FF camera companies, the transition to sub 0.18 µm device production is an event that could possibly alter the product roadmaps and strategies of several companies.
Informative interview by David Farkas with Jesko von Oeynhausen from Leica on the new M:
The Leica M for filmmakers? Don’t laugh. “The New Leica M as a Filmmaker’s Tool” — another interview with Leica’s Jesko von Oeynhausen, this time by EOSHD. Here’s a recap of the main points, compiled by Leica Rumors:
From Leica Blog, here are award-winnign French Magnum photographer Jean Gaumy and the Leica M, him saying:
It’s a type of photography with the Leica M which is very different from the reflex viewfinder. And which lets you create photos very differently and intelligently.
Leica has made some smart moves with the M, says Steve Huff:
Yep, the “M10″ is here but it’s called simply… “The M” because it appears they are taking the Apple approach. The next M(11) will simply be called “The new M.” It looks sweet and appears to be an M9 killer with ISO up to 6,400. The new CMOS sensor should be a huge improvement for low-light high ISO but will it reatin that CCD crispness we have all come to love from those Kodak sensors? We shall see but we all know the magic is in the glass. This also may be the same sensor in the Sony RX1 and if so, the M will rock. This seems to be the one M that may last five to sex years… double bravo to Leica.
Yes, the new M is still a rangefinder, but when you buy and attach the Leica EVF you can use it to frame and shoot just like any other EVF camera. This will take away any focus issues/calibration problems. The EVF will set you back more cash but it will be good to have for those that want to shoot the M like any other camera, though that may take away from some of the charm (…)
Leica is back and it seems they have done it again. Beautiful design, better functionality, better all around in every way.
Thorsten Overgaard offers rolling Leica M impressions. Some of the highlights:
I shot 11 images in a row, DNG 24MP with 3 frames per second, and then had to wait 3 to 4 seconds before I could fire another 5 images. So whatever the exact time is, the buffer is bigger and faster than the Leica M9 (as a comparison the Leica S have twice the size buffer of the Leica S2 for the same reason).
LED-Lit Frame Lines
The frame lines are very bright due to the new LED lit frame lines. I like it instantly. No question. Choice between red and white lines, adjust to the amount of light around you so they are always clearly visible.
The frame lines are set by the lens and does not require 6-bit coding; same system as it always was before 6-bit came about. No manual selection of frame lines and you only see the actual frame lines for the actual lens, not two pairs.
The battery in the Leica M is approx twice the size (thickness) of the Leica M9 battery. 7.2v, 1.8 A/hr.
Handgrip in Two Editions
A plain handgrip can be attached to the camera bottom and offers the possibility to screw on a rubber finger lock (that comes in three sizes with the camera).
A studio handgrip with GPS comes that connects up into the camera body via one large (the size of an iPhone 5 connector) and has four connectiors on the handgrip for USB, power and two types of studio sync. This studio handgrip also comes with the three rubber finger locks.
If it has it or not, I don’t know. But the bottom plate has been redesigned with a thin rubber sealing inside that protects the electronic parts inside the camera from water. The buttom of the camera is closed completely apart from where the SD card and the battery goes in (and it is those parts that are sealed by the bottom plate’s new additional rubber sealing). As you may recall, the leica M9 is assembled with plastic button to the body. The Leica M seem to be metal all the way through; no assembling.
The shutter release button and shutter time wheel on top of the camera looks like the Leica M9. They never said it was weather sealed, but mine have survived heavy rain despite the lack of promise that it could resist water.
New Top Button for Recording of Video
The Leica M has a new chrome button next to the shutter release button on top, this is the on/off for video recording.
A new dedicated button on the back is LV which will turn on live view, meaning that the screen is on all the time (or the EVF on top of the camera if that is used). Not much interst to me, if I want live view I would use the EVF. More discrete, easier to hold the camera still.
The light metering in the menu offer Classic and Advanced. The grey and white stripes on the shutter curtain as well as the three small eyes inside the camera for metering the reflections from the stripes are the same.
Here’s Overgaard’s great, but definitely weird interview with Stefan Daniel, head of product management at Leica, with both of them happily lying and chatting on the floor:
David Farkas was among the first to get his hands on the Leica M, giving you all the details that matter. His intro:
I picked up the M. It felt great. Good heft. Nice leatherette. The thumb rest felt nice, maybe not as perfect as the Thumbs Up on my M9, but certainly better than a stock M9. The new D-pad, now in metal, had just the right amount of clickability. The added thumbwheel, also metal, felt smooth but still had good click stops. I started examining the new buttons. On the front of the camera is the focus peaking activation button, within perfect reach of your middle finger. It’s slightly concave and easy to find and press. I immediately felt comfortable with its placement. The top “M” button next to the shutter release was also easy to get to, and reminds me of the placement of the movie button on the D-Lux 5. When I asked if M stood for movie or motion, my Leica friends replied simply, “No. It’s just M for M,“ and smiled.
Read the whole thing.
Unlike its ascetically restrained external tweaks, Leica has really overhauled the innards of its new M series camera. Gone is the beloved CCD sensor of the M9, to be replaced by a new 24MP, full-frame Max CMOS sensor — produced by Belgian supplier CMOSIS, but designed specifically for Leica — which works together with the so-called Maestro processor to support the new HD video mode while maintaining the famous Leica image quality (…)
Everything about the Leica M feels refined and obsessively thought-out. Even the sound of the shutter is subtle and unobtrusive, while the control scheme is quite idiosyncratic, but sensibly laid out. The new peaking option in live view highlights your in-focus area with a red outline, and is additionally enhanced with a live view zoom, which lets you zoom in up to 10x on the rear display to get a really granular look at how sharp your focus is. Both are immediately useful additions to what feels like a well-implemented live view mode. Turning video recording on and off, capturing photos, and browsing through your recorded media were tasks that the Leica M handled quickly and adroitly.
As usual with Leica, we can find little cause to complain about its latest product — other than the price, of course.
The new M’s body is the teeniest, tiniest bit larger than its predecessor too, though it’s hard to tell. Add the optional hand grip and it takes on a yet more dominating, weighty form. But we like weight when it’s the good kind: something that the solid brass top and bottom plates coupled with the self-contained, die-cast magnesium alloy body bring in abundance (…)
It’s far from a consumer camera, but we’re suckers for quality, high-end camera gear. This Leica pretty much hits the nail on the head and tops our “would like to have, even if just to show off” list.
“Leica M as in milestone,” say Leica:
The new Leica M is the most innovative and versatile M camera that the modern M system has ever created.
It unites decades of experience in rangefinder technology with groundbreaking digital technologies: It features a completely newly developed high-resolution full-format CMOS sensor that, in combination with its high-performance processor and the legendary M lenses, delivers outstanding imaging results. With live view, video and new additional focusing methods, it is also the M for photographers who do not wish to miss out on any of what modern digital technology has to offer.
All the new features of the Leica M at a glance:
- Outstanding image quality thanks to newly developed LEICA MAX CMOS sensor
- Extended applications with live view and electronic viewfinder
- Simple, high-precision focusing thanks to live view focus and focus peaking
- Digital full-frame for Leica R lenses, with the Leica R-Adapter M
- “Leica Look” videos with Full HD video capture (1080p)
- Enhanced sensitivity range up to ISO 6,400
- 3″ display with 920,000 pixels, Corning® Gorilla® glass screen protector
- Fast image processing by the Leica Maestro image processor
- Splash-protected body
- Extremely long battery life
- Multi-pattern and spot exposure metering
- Revised ergonomics and controls