Why the Leica M type 240 works for the general enthusiast! By Gage Caudell

Why the Leica M type 240 works for the general enthusiast!

By Gage Caudell

Steve, I’ve posted here in the past and visit your site daily. Thanks for creating this wonderful site for all of us too enjoy!

I have been fortunate to have received my Leica M240 when the first batch was released. For four months I’ve been extremely happy with the camera. I wanted to post a few of my pictures and explain why in my opinion this is the best Leica M yet!

I routinely read comments about how Leica has went away from their roots and have created a camera that is more Nikon/Canon like. The only reason for the similarity is due to the improved dynamic range of the sensor. Leica was in a no win situation. Either create a $7K camera with a subpar sensor or create a new sensor that rivals other top market sensors. Personally, I believe they did the right thing. The improved dynamic range of the camera allows Leica to enter new markets. In the past, the only person interested in a rangefinder was the street photographer. Now, landscape, studio, and general enthusiast photographers have a camera that is small and compact but allows them to shoot with the best lenses in the world.

For example, shooting landscape in the past was sometimes difficult and timely because you would have to review your picture each time and make adjustments accordingly. Using graduated filters, such as the Lee filter system was very difficult because the filter would be in your way when trying to compose and it was difficult to correctly place the filter. All these prior complaints and problems were fixed by enabling live-view or use of an external viewfinder. Now, you can see changes to the aperture, shutter, and exposure in real-time. I’m not a studio photographer but having the ability to use the EVF and having the increase dynamic range in my opinion makes the camera a no brainer in comparison to the M9.

I’m sure many will disagree with my opinion but this is coming from somebody who has shot with a Canon 5D MrkII, Nikon D800 E, Leica M9, Leica M Monochrom and now the Leica M240.

I consider myself an enthusiast photographer and therefore take pictures of whatever interest me. One day it may be taking pictures of my daughter, the next might be for a friends engagement. Some days I feel like shooting landscape, others birds (ok, I really don’t like birds). The M240 has performed well with my type of photography and will continue for a long time.

Here are a few pictures encompassing my type of photography.

Gage

www.rangetraveler.com

Big Red

Ready to Awaken

L1000600

L1001884

L1000051

L1003718

L1002869

L1003846-Edit

L1001397-Edit

L1000552

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85 thoughts on “Why the Leica M type 240 works for the general enthusiast! By Gage Caudell

  1. Please note: This item is currently back-ordered by the manufacturer. Although we have no estimated time of arrival for this item, you can order it now and it will ship as soon as it arrives. Your card will only be charged once item is shipped.

    Hi! do you or anyone know 2nd batch Leica M 240 will be released? I see many professional photographers discussed and talked much about the Leica M 240 but I never see any information about 2nd batch will be released date.

    I am only a beginner of photography, not a professional talker about a camera product. I want a Leica M 240 only. If you know when Leica 2nd batch release date then please do professional talk much. Tony

    1. They have shipped the 5th, 6th and 7th batches already. They are shipping cameras every 3-4 weeks. But the wait list is HUGE at most dealers and they do not get many cameras when they do get them.

  2. Hi
    The discussion above about the apparently different levels of validity attached to the print as against the digital image on a screen is an excellent one and I have enjoyed the different contributions. I have no strong opinions but tend
    to like the tactile and so have a bias towards the print.That is just me however.
    How refreshing it is for photographers to be discussing this important topic rather than ranting on about gear and wishing bad on this brand or whatever other brand!

  3. Loved the photo of the little girl in front of the window — amazing colors and composition. Thanks for sharing this nice set of images.

  4. What I like about this post if that you have a good example of images used with the M. This is not the usual M review we get when folks post a flower or tree shot and then drool over the bokeh.
    Well done.

    1. Thanks Chris! As stated in my article, I don’t have one general focus in regards to photography therefore sometimes I’ll shoot wide open, others will be at f11.

  5. Hello Gage,
    It is always good to read your post. Very nice images!
    M240 starts to shine, comparing images on line from a few months back. I used to question about its DSLRish images as compared to M9. Now, after seeing more images from various fellow photographers, I start to like M240, though the image signature is different. It is very high in image quality indeed.
    I think all of the M9, MM & M240 are great cameras which inspire photography.
    Leica M cameras inspires me and it is hard to use words to explain such passion.
    One can always talk about technical details, comparison, charts etc. Perhaps, M240 may not be able to compare with some of other system technically. But to me, it is this passion that is more important.
    I am happy that I have finally landed in the Leica land.
    Michael Sin.

    1. Thanks Michael! The more people we see owning the M240, the more ways we can see the images processed. Eventually, more people will like the images from the camera (I remember when the Monochrom came out and everyone complained about those images until people learned how to properly process them).

      gage

  6. I looked at the pics several times, to make sure i got them right.
    The pics are nice and yet i find the colors not different than any other camera on the market, no more Leica colors. I know how much Steve likes this camera but i feel Leica simply left its uniqe colors and look, simply another camera in a long long line of twin cameras in the market.
    I guess i shall get some angry responses from other readers but this is how i feel. and i was a proud owner of the Leica M8 and M9 , so i know what i am talking about
    When i look at the happy couple i can see the red color dominance especially on his nose and years,
    The girl in red is overexposed but you can still see the red circle around her eyes.
    As said Steve loves this camera, i would still buy the M9

    1. There is no red color dominance..what you see here is his choice of PP and use of filters. It is not only me who loves the 240. Every single person I have spoken to that switched to it said they would never go back to the M9..with the exception of one which I believe they had a problem with the RF.

      If I felt the M9 was better I would be shooting an M9 or M-E and NOT The M 240. Until you own one and shoot it for a minimum of 3 weeks you will not realize how much better it is over the M9. The M9 has off color, limited DR and limited high ISO when compared side by side. The M 240 has just as much sharpness and detail if not more and a much hardier file.

      All you are seeing is a normal color profile (with OOC images) and much more DR. That is all the difference there is. Ive done many side by sides and all I saw in an M9 shot vs the 240 shot is a few blown highlights and more contrast, which can be replicated in the 240 if you wish, but I would never do that (intentionally blow highlights). It’s a solid camera. I prefer the RX1R output though 🙂

  7. “Henry, thanks. I’ll list them in order later today (I’m at work). It is a combination of Leica 21mm super elmar, 35mm summilux FLE, 50mm summicron APO, and 50mm noctilux.”

    I think with glass like that you should change your username (and rank) to General Enthusiast, and pick up a four-star uniform off of an army surplus website.

    And, of course, you’ll need a small country somewhere. But you can afford one. 😉

    Great shots. Some of the best I’ve seen with this camera.

  8. Kartik, how can you tell anything about the quality of a camera by looking at internet pictures? As Constantine Manos said, “You don’t have a picture until you create a print and hang it on the wall”.

    1. You can tell quite a bit by looking at large size internet photos. Honestly, I have seen many high quality prints and if you have a high quality larger file showing online that is not compressed it can look just as nice. You do indeed have a picture before hanging it on a wall in 2013. Maybe not in the 70s and 80s and even 90s but it is a different time. Some of the most amazing images I have seen in my life were viewed online, in good quality larger sizes on a nice display.

      1. I do not mean to be argumentative but there are way to many variables involved in looking at internet images. Not many, if any, museums or collectors of photography collect internet images, nor do any major competitions use internet images.

        1. No argument at all, just discussion. Think of it this way. There are millions more who enjoy online images than those who collect prints or see them in a museum. There will be some images online that are much more striking and powerful than what is seen in a museum or exhibit and vice versa. As for major competitions, there are indeed a few online that are pretty major with some pretty astounding images, images better than what I have seen in print. It’s all heading this way. We have high resolution large displays and we have large high resolution files. They will look great online when presented and viewed correctly as well as in print on a wall.

          1. Guess I am old fashioned. I have nothing against internet viewing. Do it all the time. But I am bothered by the incidence of attacks on Leica that you allow that are based on some body’s appraisal of an internet posting. I sometimes think your site is turning into a forum for Leica attacks to the detriment of the site in general. Your premature attack on the Vario, based soley on specs did a lot to harm your reputation.

          2. #jacklarson quite to the contrary, I think Leica are HUGE benefactors of Steve’s site and reviews. I think he sometimes goes out of his way to overlook Leica’s faults. As a Leica shooter, there will always be attacks. It’s the insane prices, the aura of exclusivity, possibly jealousy and envy, or not understanding the experience. But I don’t let others influence what I enjoy, and I don’t need constant validation of comparing my kit to CaNikon or Sony.

            I consider myself a great admirer of Leica but even I could not overlook the pathetic specs of the X-Vario and attempting to associate it with the M. Slow glass on a dated sensor for $3k?

          3. That was no attack, nor was it premature. Don’t forget that Leica ginned up interest and insinuated they would announce a “mini M”. It is a solid, competent product at a premium price, but Leica fans weren’t wrong to be disappointed in the specs, especially given Leica’s hints.

    2. Jack,
      I was merely stating an opinion. I may have used the wrong word in ‘flat’. I would prefer the word bland instead. The images are completely inoffensive but the different look offered by digital leicas of yore and to an extent by the OM-D make the images look different from canikon crowd. These look like they were taken with a 5d and saturated on photoshop. The lenses are obviously exceptional but maybe less dynamic range is a good thing. I am too young to remember printed pictures and have only looked at pictures on my screen. The M240 looks different from the M9/8 pictures. I do not necessarily prefer the appearance. Your opinions may vary.
      Regards,
      Kartik

      1. I have both an M9 and an M, and both take fabulous pictures. Nothing produced by either can be fairly described as flat or bland. Neither creates a look like a Canon. You really should take some of your best images to a good processing outlet, have them printed fairly large and look at them. A picture takes on a completely different aspect when turned into a photograph that can be framed and viewed by others. I don’t know where you live but surely there is a museum or gallery that shows fine photography where you can look at the work of photographic artists. And such pictures will in fact be taken by many different brands of cameras. That is really beside the point. What irritates me about your comment is that you direct it at Leica, but I would think it equally inane if directed at another camera. On the other hand, it seems that you and others always seem determined to make such comments about Leica. And when it turns out that you simply have never looked at real photographs, it seems to me that your comments have no weight at all. You are obviously interested in photography, but you have a lot to learn if you are only looking at internet images on computer screens.

        1. I don’t know what I said to set you off, but I have a right to my opinion as you have to yours.
          I did not attack Leica. I did not attack the M or Canon. The author of the post did aknowledge that the increased dynamic range drew more similarities with Canon and Nikon. I have little else to reply to your misplaced comments.

          1. … and just because books were originally printed on parchment, my reading my kindle doesn’t make me any less literate. Your adherence to older media, while laudable, also seems anachronistic.

          2. Come on. A framed photograph is not “older media”. Don’t be absurd. Just go look at some.

          3. #kartik – yes, #jacklarson is right about that. Reading a book, your just trying to absorb info from the words, so it matters little where the words are printed – it doesn’t change the content. Art/photography is entirely different, since the content you are trying to pick-up has everything to do with the composition, which includes the medium. Otherwise, we’d just abandon the Guggenheim, the MoMA, etc. and just view the masterpieces from our iPads and iPhones.

            As for the look of the Leica M, IMHO the look is different from Canon or Nikon. I recently printed a Leica M photo 11×14 (not overly large) and also a similar sized image from Nikon D800E and there are definitely differences. Yes, I agree that if you looked at two photos at some small Internet size, you’d probably miss the subtleties.

  9. Not to sound contrarian but IMHO, the M pictures are looking more and more 5D like than before. Looking back at Steve’s pictures as well, the M240 pictures look decidedly more flat than the noisier but more snappy contrasts on the M9 and definitely the M8. The only difference from the 5D are the way the lenses transmit light. Maybe using L lenses on the M will be an interesting test for this sensor. I really think that among the CMOS sensors, the sharpest pictures are with the OM-D and now, the RX-1R. The color dynamic range is better but there is something missing in these pictures.

    1. kartik

      Thanks for commenting (no offense taken). As I stated in my article, It’s my opinion that the improved dynamic range is what has made people compare the M240 to Nikon/Canon cameras. I really don’t think Leica had a choice. I think Leica will probably make some color adjustments in future firmware updates.

      In regards to the sharpness of the OM-D, I think it’s sensor is comparable to the M9, and that’s why they look similar.

      I 100% agree the sony rx-1 series currently provides the best quality photos. I only wish they can do this in an interchangeable lens camera. I’m not sure they can at the same quality (the sony a99 mirrorless camera uses the same sensor but I don’t think it performs as well as the rx-1). If they can, Leica will be in trouble.

      gage

      1. Another thing. I am neither insulting the M240 by calling it a 5D like product, nor vice versa. I am just intrigued that we are entering a generation of devices where everything looks the same. The fact that the DxO mark score is better on the M240 is a sign of the same. I like the M8 because nothing produces pictures the way it did, and to a great extent the M9 too. To each his own. I’m glad you are enjoying your pictures, because I certainly did.

  10. Nice work and I would have to agree it’s the person behind the camera that takes the image, well done.
    We are all waiting patiently while one technician at Leica personally inspects every camera that has come off of the production line for the same pleasure.

  11. Are you claiming that one of the best cameras on Earth can capture some of the best images of moments on Earth? 🙂 Someday….OH YES…SOME DAY I will have one I think…or hope!

  12. Great shots Gage. Though I’m a sucker for the bold colors shown here, my favorite is the black and white one. Go figure. 🙂 I’m definitely going to be following your blog for inspiration.

  13. #GageCaudell – you’re a blessed enthusiast with all that Leica kit and you deserve it because you have the talent to match. These are some fine examples, but I’ve admired your work on the m240 FB site too, so you certainly do these fine instruments justice. The colors are so spot on and convey the mood of the moments wonderfully.

    I have a question for you though. Since you seem to think the M Type 240 is a step above the M9/P/ME, and is distinguishable from CaNikon/Sony CMOS based products (I wholeheartedly agree btw), do you find yourself doing more of your B&W converted from the M 240, or do you stick with your MM? In other words, do you consider the MM needed if the M 240 fulfills 90% of the B&W needs (sentimental reasons aside)? I only ask b/c now as the MM becomes available, I am sitting high on the fence with trading in my M9-P for an MM, or just banking the cash (probably $4.5-5K) and waiting to see if Leica develops an M 240 Monochrom.

    Thanks and again, I am a great admirer of your work and I’ll go further to say that the M Type 240 is the best platform on which to currently shoot M glass.

    1. Thanks leicamann.

      I would say the majority of my pictures coming from the M240 are kept in color. If I have to significantly increase the ISO about 1200 I will often times convert to B&W only because the increase noise in my opinion works best in B&W. Also, when I’m in a mood to shoot black & white, I get the Monochrom out and shoot in black & white. I think my main problem is the fact that I own both cameras and because of that, I feel I can take better black & white pictures when I’m using the Monochrom (doesn’t necessarily mean that’s true) versus the M240. If I just owned the M240 I would problem not think that way (how could I) and would convert more to B&W. I know I answered your question like a politician, I hope it helps a little?

      gage

      1. #Gage: a bit political but its okay. You do great work so please keep posting so people like me can learn and continue to be inspired.

        I think the real gain with the MM is the resolution b/c of the removal of the Bayer color stack and higher ISO, if one prefers that more grainy high contrast B&W look. I downloaded a few samples of the MM and played around with the files in LR5, and it seems the DR is similar between the MM and the M 240. What do you think?

        Thanks #Gage and again, nice work!!! Steve was right to highlight it here.

  14. These are great pictures. But reading through these lines, I don’t understand so much why they have to serve as a kind of vehicle to praise the Leica M for general purpose pictures. Quite a few cameras and HQ lenses would be able to deliver this type of result, far beyond the M-universe and most of all, with a much more affordable price tag. It’s just a myth that you can take better pictures with a Leica than with a Nikon, Canon, Sony, Fujifilm,…whatever! It’s like you would be a better driver if you buy a Mercedes. Or a more intelligent reader if you buy a book in a premium leather edition. So Toyota drivers are stupid and paperback readers imbeciles? It’s all about the photographer, not about the box he’s using. There is way too much focus on that last one since everyone has learned to read through the spec sheets and count the bits, pixels and EV’s. Go out and make pictures, whatever camera you have!

    1. DJPB, thanks. You are 100% correct, you don’t need a $7K camera and $3-11K lenses to take great pictures. I personally enjoy shooting with a rangefinder and find it a little challenging. By no means would I expect everyone else to think that way. The post even though oriented towards the Leica shooter (or rangefinder shooter) wasn’t to try to persuade others that this is the only camera to own.

      gage

      1. One thing to keep in mind is that using a rangefinder changes the way you think, behave, and approach a subject, and this can have a very real impact on the results you achieve. So while I agree that you can take great pictures with any camera, you will definitely capture images differently with a rangefinder than with an SLR or an iPhone. Throw film into the mix, and watch out!

          1. I agree, too. Especially with the last sentence about throwing film into the mix. Shooting film I find myself looking to photography LIGHT as much as subjects. Because light exposed to film provides its own joys. With digital, I’m looking for subjects and hoping I have light.

  15. Good to know that a $7,000 camera ‘works’ for the general enthusiast:) Really, would you expect any less???

    Anyway, you’ve got a good eye and I like your pics…nice pop to the colours!

  16. Gage Caudell, you had many cameras. All of them was fine photographic tools.
    But you would make fantastic pictures with any camera. A good composition does not need an expensive equipment. You have the most important: “the eye”!

    1. Hugo, thanks. You are 100% correct you don’t need an expensive camera to take great pics. “The eye” is the important part. I’m still trying to learn that part (I think I’m getting there) 🙂

      gage

  17. I like the versatility of the selection of photos, colors are great, nice composition. It shows both the capability of the M and of the eye behind the M. Thanks for sharing and inspiring.

  18. Nice batch of photos. And they do show a great range for the M type 240, however I feel it is out of reach for the average general enthusiast. It is good to know that those with deep enough pockets will be able to get a wider range of pictures.. I used a range finder camera for fireworks for the first time the other night and would have loved “live view”.

    1. Tom, thanks. Some people enjoy collecting guns, others like buying motorcycles and cars. My enjoyment is cameras. I’m fortunate to be able to purchase and use Leica cameras but by no means does someone need such a device to take great pictures (not insinuating that is what you are thinking, just a general comment).

      gage

  19. Henry, thanks. I’ll list them in order later today (I’m at work). It is a combination of Leica 21mm super elmar, 35mm summilux FLE, 50mm summicron APO, and 50mm noctilux.

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