A NEW Leica M coming soon? My thoughts and history with the Digital Leica M

A NEW Leica M coming soon? My thoughts and history with the Digital Leica M

By Steve Huff

This year of 2016 has come and almost gone and many Leica fans are wondering…“where is the new Leica M”? My good friend Ashwin Rao has already created a facebook page for the new M HERE as most Leica die hards just have a feeling the new camera is right around the corner. Rumors are swirling in the air and it just feels right for a new M to hit the streets. For me, this brings some much needed excitement back to my photography world. With the excitement mounting at the possibility of the new M hitting it made me start to think about the last 8-9 years and my memories of all the Leica digital M cameras that helped shape and change my life in some ways….

The Leica M8

I remember with vivid clarity when the M8 was released. In fact, it was that camera that basically created this very website. I loved it so so much, and no one was really talking about it on the mega review sites so I decided to create my own review site and talk about the cameras that drive me to get out and shoot, and the M8 was it!

It was so anticipated by the Leica die hards on the Leica forums yet it was far from perfect when it launched with a few issues that some were pissed off about and others accepted. Even so, I loved that M8 as it was giving me some of the best image quality from a digital camera that I have ever experienced up until that time. The files had that Leica look, feel, pop and glow as well as the incredible sharpness from the lens. It felt great and was a beauty for sure. It was incredible for the time but as mentioned, far from perfect.

Almost eight years ago, 2009. I thought I was getting older THEN!! The M8 created this memory of a time in my life when I was unsure about where it was headed. 

Even with its flaws the M8 to me, was special. It had that “thing” about it that allowed you to easily bond with it. It was so beautiful, I wanted to bring it with me everywhere, and I did. It created memory after memory for me and when I look back on them today I look back with a smile. Not only due to the memory made but the memory of the camera that made the memory. The M8 was the digital camera that truly started my intense passion for capturing those moments and scenes that our mind would normally forget over time.

The M8 even went with me during lunches with my Mom and family, and even to old abandoned hospitals 😉  

The Leica M9

When the Leica M9 was released it was the first full frame rangefinder in digital format, EVER. It was huge, it was big and when it launched and hit the streets so many were complaining about how it lost the magic that the M8 had. I LOVED the M9 from the get go but some Leica fans did not. Many went back to the M8, and said the M9 lost that Leica feel, look and pop. Me, I noticed a difference but it was for the better IMO. Color was improved as was about everything else, plus it was full frame so we had a camera that could finally use those M lenses like they were meant to be used! But again, it was not perfect! Low light and high ISO were not it’s strong suit, but once more and more started using it, and learned how to process the RAW files (was different from the M8) the love for the M9 grew and grew. Today, many still shoot with an M9.

The Leica M9 had some Mojo ; ) 

The M9 was a very successful camera for Leica. Almost all Leica fans eventually switched over to it and really enjoyed it once they got in the groove. Each Leica digital release has a new sensor, so image quality and character is different in all. The way I see it is that with each new release we get better dynamic range, which gives us a look that has less of that pop. The M9 has less than the M8 and the later M 240 had less pop than the M9. But we gained dynamic range with each release.

The M9 on the streets of Vegas

The Leica M9 to many is a classic, one to go back to when they want to experience simplicity at its finest.

The M 240

Leica moved on over the years to the M 240. Nope, no M10 as Leica decided on a fancy new name game where they would give their cameras numbers for the names. So the M became the M 240. Most just called it the M. The new M 240 for me was exciting as it had an all new sensor, new battery system, new EVERYTHING and much better dynamic range than the M9. My review was MASSIVE. To me, it was fantastic and it took about a week to figure out how to process the RAW files again. While some of that pop and snap was missing, we gained Dynamic Range, better low light performance, much better battery life, and a feature no one really wanted in an M, video as well as that slightly added thickness.

The M 240 IQ can be stunning. The 1st with a Leica 50 APO, 2nd with an old 50 Summarit f/1.5

If I look back today at my favorite digital M, for me, it was and is the M 240 as it had the least problems/issues and was truly, for me, the best made and performing digital M there was. I tried to go back to the M9 at one point but the lacking high ISO performance killed it for me after I was spoiled with Sony cameras and even the new M 240. Also the LCD, menu system and battery is so much nicer on the M 240. But the M 240 was not as huge or popular in sales as the M9 as many failed to bond with it and some gave it a bad rap. I never understood that as to me, it was giving me fantastic IQ and the Rf Experience. There were some color issues out of the gate, some did not like the larger beefier body (though it was slight) and some felt a disconnect due to the  new features. That was really the bottom line on why many did not prefer the 240 to the M9. For me though, it was and still is lovely.

M 240

So here we are years later…waiting for a NEW M to come from Leica.

Will this new M be a reality, and if so…will it be the “one” many Leica fans have been waiting for?

Well, I feel if a new M is coming (and I feel it is) it will be a back to basics type of M. I feel it will be slimmer, sleeker, and as I said…back to basics. As in no video, no fancy features. What I would like to see is a new digital M with a new sensor, kept in the 24MP range (I feel 24MP is perfect for an M), with higher ISO capability as well as image quality that gives us some of that pop back we had with the M8 and M9 while keeping DR to a nice level. I am hoping for a new Rangefinder hybrid viewfinder but not counting on it nor is it a must. Bottom line, I feel if a new Leica M is coming, it will be something that pleases all Leica fans. If not, it could spell trouble for the M.

Here is why…

If the M tries to be a Sony A7RII in rangefinder form, they lose. The M would be larger yet again, pricey, and as it is we can use our M lenses on the Sony cameras. So Sony wins if Leica tries to be a competitor to Sony. If Leica goes back to basics, makes the M what it originally stood for (simplicity, small size and beautiful construction/design) they will have a winner on their hands. Having an M with a simple 50mm lens attached that I can just turn on, frame, focus and shoot without muss or fuss would be lovely. I think a new M is coming soon, and while I can’t say for sure…I think it is going to be the one we have all been waiting for.

What are YOUR thoughts?

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88 Comments

  1. I doubt if Leica will go back to a CCD sensor due to their investment with the current CMOS sensor maker. I love my M9, maybe they will come out with a CMOS sensor, 24-30 Mp, that does not go for maximum ISO but with color rendering reminiscent of the M9.
    Can they come up with an optical viewfinder with focus confirmation and a Lcd screen with live view?
    No movies, hybrid Vf or EVF, perhaps like an upgraded M262. Spot + center-weighted metering, too.
    A companion to the Q would be also nice. Same camera but with a 50-55mm AF lens at at least f2, f1.7 or f1.4 would be fabulous! AF with manual focus override.
    Either of those would get me away from my M9!

  2. The M9 is THE Digital Leica. Was not impressed with the M240 as it was a “catch up” camera. Let’s try to match the features and specs of Canon and Nikon. Used one for a bit and was able to surpass it with the Canon. Sure, I did not have the feel of a rangefinder, but the images could be processed to be almost identical. The M9 was just MAGIC.

    Now, hopefully they are getting back to CCD with the M10. Better Dynamic Range, Color, 24MP, no video, Live View, etc. Make it the best LEICA you can – don’t worry about Canon, Nikon, Fuji or Sony – they are a different market entirely!

    • If they go CCD they are done, as in bankrupt. Also, the M 240 was far and is far superior to the M9 in every conceivable way. Leica needs to go back to simplicity and back to what makes an M and M for the purists. But go back to CCD, never. The M9 as a camera today is so so limited in many many ways. If Leica went back to CCD for a full on M10, I would revolt. CCD means ISO max of 1250 or so, it means limited DR and it means going backwards instead of forward. If Leica ever does do a CCD it will be some limited run 100 camera special for the 100 or so who want one 😉

  3. M240 is better than M9 in any perspective. It renders differently. Rendering is really a personal taste anyway. But M9 was the most successful digital Leica, it was the hit and icon. M240 is great, but just didn’t bring that kind of huge impressive feeling to the users. Leica needs to come out a big surprise to surpass the milestone where M9 reached.

  4. Wondering why most people wait for a bit of the same again. Classical design etc.
    And nearly none for a real new M camera.
    Probably because Leica can’t actually get out that path.

  5. i think you may be right on the new m10.

    so far, with leaked info and pics, it appears it should be thinner and back to size much like the film m bodies. I believe they may have removed the video button as well, which may mean no more video on the new m10. and, it’s still hard to see, but the rumor is the dial on the left side by the viewfinder that looks like an old school rewind knob is supposed to be an ISO dial, which I think be pretty cool much like the Fuji X-T’s have.

    and, hopefully, the high ISO and overall processing will be yet again updated and better and faster.

    I would really love to hold out and see what the new m10 is going to really be all about.. which should not take long.. I believe it’s supposed to be officially announced some time this month in Jan 2017.

    That being said, I can’t help but think if at least the thickness of the current M’s isn’t an issue, it might be worth it to get a discounted current M (240, 240-P, M-P, 246, etc..)

    I had considered an M8 before, but for the price of an APS-C digital rangefinder body, I felt better about sticking with Fuji and the X-Pro2.. which I currently own.

    I’ve also considered a M9 or M-E(same thing).. full frame ccd.. but, like with the m8 & m9, nearly everyone says it performs great at base ISO.. or nothing very high like what I can do with my Fuji.. that does concern me as having the ability to push the ISO higher will mean capturing sharper less blurry-prone images in low light in particular. plenty of people have worked with such “limitations”.. but, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned about this since I’ve been spoiled by better high ISO performing all this time.

    IDK.. I have to see what the new M10 is going to be like.. it really sounds like a huge winner, but if it’s not THAT much of a difference, then going for the previous m240-alike model at a less expensive cost would still be tempting.

    Then, there’s a matter of foregoing digital all together and just a good solid film M body.. preferably an MP, but I’m open to whatever is nice and available for the right price when I’m ready.

      • So… M11 then, another Boring British Motorway number (Route as in Route 66)
        like the the other M’s ;-). M3 South, M4 London West, M5 over in the west, M6 to lovely Liverpool, M7 not sure, M8 and 9 Scotland, M11 a pretty dreary road towards Cambridge ( the real one, not Mass.)

        Tongue in cheek, no offence intended….

  6. Chose the M9 this year over the Q. The advantage of changing lens I just can’t give up. Will not be buying any soon. Will only buy if M9 cross fingers is broken – I hope I don’t eat my words. I’m one of those who felt the M240 was too big in the hands. I bought a near mint M9 and it was expensive especially in Taiwan. Anyway I pulled the trigger.
    I experience bad luck when the lugs fell off!!! Imagine. Not even my X700 Minolta did that. Funny the shop in Japan and Taiwan was puzzled. The screw behind blocked the gear shutter lucky not so much harm happened. With that experience I became a little hesitant with more and more cameras. Sony A7II in the repair shop as well after only 2 years. These are the only 2 digital cameras I have. The M7 I might send for OH even if it doesn’t need one. The film cameras I have are mostly doing great.
    In my opinion in buying digital like what Steve does is sell the old ones. Do expect to loose money but it will never improve your photography. It will only wow you for a while.
    I will let go of some gear I hope and move forward I hope slowly. Enjoy the M10 or whatever they call it. It will surely be a great camera. I’d rather buy the 28 lux or a 50 lux instead of a new body.

  7. I don´t have a 240 but I had the impression that it was thicker than my M9 when I used it. It´s definitely heavier and I hope Leica delivers weight reduction while holding build quality.

    I would like some shifting of weigh towards the bottom of the camera to let it rest on the plate with large lenses.

    The ISO wheel should be placed on the right side of the back to keep the design consistent with the M-family. Please no ISO wheel on the top!

    The image processor should deliver a modern signature even with old lenses. So no need to spend 6000 € for a 50f2APO.

    As for the rest, please one extra leather wrist strap and battery. Thanks 🙂

  8. I want a digital M with the same dimensions as a 1954 M3, perhaps later with a choice between rangefinder, EVF and monochrome versions. No back LCD, no menu, but just the basic levers and dials from the M3 (or M6) with “digital” functions behind. A USB oder bluetooth interface for individual programming would be nice.

    In particular the rangefinder version should have modular electronic innards for easy upgrading or replacement. What a waste to through away an M8 with sophisticated rangefinder, brass body and engraved dials, all designed for decades of heavy duty usage, because the sensor, the LCD or any other cheap part blacked out, and the supplier is no longer able or willing to make spares. This would extend economic life well beyond the lifecycle of conventional digital cameras, and justify the higher pricing.

    No back LCD and no menu means no power consumption for playing with settings or images. That means the new M could go for alternative, lesser power sources, from disposable batteries to thumb-operated generators.

    • The very problem with auto-everything cameras is that programming the auto-features is more complicated than setting the values yourself. TTL exposure measurement was nice, but created a new choice between spot, selective or averaged metering. Auto-exposure improved speed and convenience, but we now had to think about exposure compensation or trust multi-spot metering. Remember the endless discussions between aperture and shutter priority AE. P or “Programme” mode did not end this, but generated even more choices, like programme shift, mininmum shutter speeds. Minolta gave us AF-SLR, but then we had the choice between continous or single AF, later in addition between multiple AF fields, then face and smile detection (for which we can store faces). With digital we no longer change film rolls between colour/B&W or for different ISO. We just flip a switch. But even ISO now is automated, with a choice of maximum ISO or minimum shutter speed. There were AE lock and AF lock buttons, and combos for both. Camera bodies run out of space for the multiplicity of controls. Nikon for a while tried to put new controls all over the body, whereever space was available. But at one point they gave up. Most cameras now operate like MS Office under MS DOS. That is ok with a keyboard, a consisten menu structure and short keys for the most frequently used commands. But the cameras only gave us cursor keys. Fortunately cameras skipped the mouse, but went directly to touch screen.

      However, on a Leica M with classic Summicron 35/2, you set aperture by counting clicks and preset focus by position of the focus tab.

    • Yes, thickness of M3-M6. Could be achieved by moving bayonet a bit farther from body. That in turn would call for EVF with focus confirmation, just a green light in the bottom and arrows to indicate which direction turn the lens ring (for Leica lenses at least). A great thing would be stamp size top readable in sunlight display showing ISO, shutter speed in A or picture framing with focus confirmation, great for low angle shooting or of course display with magnification to check sharpness, or to set basic menu like WB.
      EVF would do away with need for additional finders for wides and enable to see pict in black and white,something that should be natural in Monochrome bodies. An optional M winder size bottom with GPS, remote wireless flash trigger and link to smartphone would be perfect too. Make a compact underwater housing to round up the perfection and Leica you are there.

  9. Everyone is arguing about the thickness of the M240 vs the M9. Yes, they are virtually the same. But the M240 is much heavier!!!! Maybe that is why everyone seems to think it is bigger. I still use an M9 and MM1. I love the output from both cameras, and it is much easier carrying an extra battery in my shirt or jeans pocket than carrying the extra weight of the M240 around my neck for hours. It really makes a difference.

  10. I have had in the past an F3, M6, R6.2, RD-1, M8, M8.2, M9 and briefly an M 240. I was disappointed with the thickness, weight and electronic unreliability of the digital Leicas and now use a D810, an A7r and an old NEX-7. I use AF lenses with the Nikon and the excellent manual focus Zeiss Loxia lenses with the Sonys. If Leica made a digital camera of the size and feel of the M6 with a built in EVF with focussing triggered zoom-in focus assist as effective as the Sonys and with the electronic speed and reliability of the Nikon, 8 would go back to Leica.

  11. I miss M8/M9 pop and colour rendering, with 240 I lost admiration with its new rendering that are close similar what others offer…I hope new M will bring my admiration back to Leica including image rendering.

  12. I have a M6, M9, Kolari A7, and RX1r2.

    I think the M10 is the digital M6. It will be a huge hit, in the Leica world anyway. M6 is so much nicer in the hand than the M9.

    I don’t think the M10 will have many bells and whistles. Might not have video at all. It will just be a beautiful RF camera which shoots the best FF lens line on earth up to 135mm. No tiny TVs to peer into and make you want a ibuprofen later.

    Let’s hope the ISO/DR and high ray angle performance is improved, but even just a slight improvement will be fine in terms of sales.

    Leica shows with the SL they are no luddites. I just wish they would add another option: the interchangeable Q, but a more serious effort. Basically a field camera body for M, Barnack sized with modern ergos, very tough, and with many features.

    I’m not holding my breath and just plan to make my own, though it will fall short in some of those respects. It will have 42mp, 4k, 6400iso usable, silent shutter and M AF, with no Sony smearing, but M240 level performance across the frame with all M lenses. I can swing it for under 3k I think.

    So I will keep my M9, which I love and use all the time, and use this new camera as my 2nd technical back, replacing the Kolari A7 (which has been great but not as good as M240).

    May take me a few months to get it all done, and when I have the rig I will check with Steve and see if he wants a write up 🙂

    But Kudos to Leica: I would love a M10. I think it will be a fantastic camera. And I admire Steve for his adoption of the SL, when so many bashed that beautiful camera.

  13. Steve, et al

    It looks like I am alone in my desires for the M10.

    Considering that Leica has announced a new naming convention (M240, etc.) and stayed with it for several new bodies, the announced M10 came as a bit of a surprise to me. Assuming that Leica has given us the real name and not something fake to generate hype, I would like to think Leica may be giving us a retro camera.

    For my wishes a retro camera will be an improved M9, with the following features:
    M9 body
    Improved rangefinder
    24 MP (or the new 18MP) CCD sensor
    Maestro-II processor
    ISO control at the top of the camera
    Improved shutter (quieter, silent mode, 8,000 shutter speed)
    Improved LCD screen
    Improved menus with user set able memory for legacy lenses (10 please)

    For myself the CCD sensor with the new processor and a more reliable rangefinder would probably be enough for me to buy a new Leica.

    PaulB

  14. What a difference 8 years make. Not for Leica, but you, Steve. The current self-portraits show you markedly more happy. Success and love, apparently a good combination.

  15. Thanks Steve to have passionately talked about the Leica M from the M8 to the last MD since 10 years: I share this passion like you, and my MD ( wich is my 11 M) remind me how my photographies are linked to this small machine.

    MD make me realised that the digital world fool us with useless menu, choice and button.
    Of course it is not for everybody as you need experience and confidence, but I would like Leica to go on this simple philosophy.

    The triangle ( speed, f, Iso) and then, minimum.
    I see a slick back with nearly no button, a touch screen ( to avoid button), a direct access to Iso ( but not the one people expect on the left corner,), a WiFi ( simple as Eyepro AS), an like you a telemeter/evf but don’t believe in it as Leica has not the engineering to do it.

    Weight was a problem in my two m240.
    I was finally use to the size with the Md but 5mm slimer will be good. ( 3 on the body, and push the lens 2mm more front).

    I am disappointed with the new Summicron 35 on the M240 and moved to the new Voigtlander ultron asph.
    Hope the new M10 sensor will be more addapt to this new summicron or Leica has to provide a new one ( shorter).

    Passion is here…I would have prefer the new one name M11.
    quality of the sensor? Like you… Better dynamic but it is obvious that we will get that.
    And hope Leica will lower price….or (my dream) will start a new N line for young photographer and student).

    Happy New year

  16. The sensor from the SL, forget about video, and the classic Leica size of the film cameras. I don’t care about an EVF. Make it as simple and Leica-gorgeous as possible. A camera for photographers.

  17. Something truly extraordinary? A Leica M3 with a 35mm Summicrin lens. No need for upgrades, ever. DSLR is techno-speak for landfill.

  18. Here it is again, I posted this yesterday. Hope it gets approval 🙂

    I see and feel where you are coming from Steve. I would definitely think it would be a winner if it is SLIMMER, LIGHTER.
    Walking around with an m240 around your neck long hours is no fun.
    As for video: Although I can hear the purists saying “no video for the M” and I can’t blame them a lot, a full-time photojournalists are often asked to provide short video clips from their assignments for the social media. If it would not add to the thickness and weight too much, I would be ok with it. We just can’t deny the importance of video anymore, I am sure 20th century photo gods would not oppose to it as much.
    One thing I don’t expect it to have is a tilt-screen.
    When I photograph a social event in massive crowds where you can’t even more 3 feet, the Fuji XT-2 won over the X-Pro 2 as I could lift the camera and see what I was getting.
    Just my two cents.

    *Also, I second the comment above, wishing for a M-D-262 Monochrom. Thin, BW, MD262 with no video with the shutter sound of the M-8 would be “back to basics” for me. Can you imagine if Leica came up with a new M-D 262, no screen in the back, only black and white, no video, light weight, slimmer and have a film advance lever like the EPSON’s digital rangefinder did?

    Most would remember M8 was the first Leica Digital rangefinder but NOT the first digital rangefinder, EPSON holds that title. That was ABSOLUTELY amazing. I would probably sell a lot of things to buy a Leica like that.

    a digital M with film advance lever, no screen and shoots only Black and White RAW files. 12 megapixel, (larger pixels for better low light performance like Sony A7s series)
    That would be a nuclear rangefinder for me. For me 🙂

  19. I’ll stay with Sony until Leica makes the right camera…

    I wish a Leica Q-MD will make it to the market.

    That’s a M-D crammed into a Q-body with EVF and M mount – yes, no LCD!
    That will be a game changer! For me at least…
    Due to the simpler design Leica can lower the price for this body so it can be competitive with Sony FF…

    As this is unlikely never will happen I’ll stay with Sony despite the cluttered nonsens design.
    Maybe Konost will make the right body available next year…

    In fact I lost my interest in photography due to the feature overloaded digital camera designs these days… Only the Leica M-D and M60 was made right but the cost is too step for my pocket…

  20. I reckon that the Leica engineers had the following design brief for the Leica M10.
    Train smash:
    • the sensor of the Leica Q & SL, with micro-lensing modified for M lenses
    and
    • electronics and OS of the Leica TL, including Visoflex EVF, LCD and menus
    into
    • the form factor of a Leica MP film body.
    without video.

    In effect, this is the M many have been calling for: a Leica Q train-smashed into a film Leica MP body. Just as the Leica Q has sold like hotcakes, there won’t be unsold inventory of this M10 on the shelves for the first year.

    Having said that, there is definitely another breed of M shooter who loathes the LCD. No doubt the Leica M product line will continue to bifurcate, with future releases of essentially the same M10 camera also packaged as:
    – M-D, sans LCD
    – Monochrom

    I hope we don’t have to wait too much longer to find out!

    • I hope they do not try to sell a big wart of an external EVF for $600 again. It would be much better to have a RF/EVF hybrid. Everyone hated the EVF of the M240 (which is the real M10) so not sure why they would repeat that when external EVF’s have vanished due to being unpopular and disliked by most.

      • I too really hope there’s a hybrid RF/EVF.
        However, Leica have a track record of releasing external EVFs, even technology that is obsolete when announced, and the leaks are suggestive of the Visoflex Typ 020.
        Leica are also catering to the viewfinder-rangefinder cultists who would be prepared to foreswear any new model with integrated EVF.
        My hope is that cameras like the M-D 262 can keep the fanatics happy so the M10 can evolve the hybrid.

      • i might be wrong, but i swore not too long ago, fairly recently, that they said the external EVF for the M10 will be the same one as from the Leica TL (I think the same as the T).

        I think it’s’ better than the old tech external EVF for the M240, but still by today’s EVF standards, behind in tech.. still, at least there’s an EVF option for the new M10.

  21. I’d like to see an M/Q hybrid. Older thin M body, 50mm summilux fixed lens, autofocus, better sensor with high dynamic range. No video and price under $6k.

  22. Thanks for your thoughts and feeling about this, Steve. I think this is going to be a significant and possible pivotal release for Leica. With the success of the Q, showing how well they can do a FF mirrorless, and the “teasings” of an M that had no LCD, it will be interesting to see what Leica has in store for us. I agree that they should not try to go head-to-head with SONY, and I also agree that they somehow need to satisfy a large number of their customers.

    This will be a tall order. If they do simplify by eliminating functions, they risk losing the population that wants (or requires) modern convenience. If they head in the direction of a hybrid viewfinder and added functionality, trying to be “something for everyone”, they might risk losing customers to other brands and pleasing fewer and fewer traditional Leica buyers.

    It just might be that Leica will announce two FF Ms, one for the astute and capable minimalist and one for the forward-leaning modernist. Just sayin…

    Happy New Year, Steve.

  23. Do not expect an internal EVF.
    The Visoflex EVF that is used with the T might play an important role ………
    John

    • The TL Visoflex Typ 020 external EVF is pretty much functionally the same as the Leica Q’s.
      It would be a huge leap ahead of the M240’s EVF2, which was obsolete when first announced.

      • Stefan Daniel from Leica said in 2015 during the “Erlebnistage” in Wetzlar: “the M stands for Meßsucher (rangefinder) and that will stay”.
        If somebody wants an EVF, it will be possible but by adding it externally!
        The Visoflex (from the T) has a resolution of 2.4 million pixels, a significant improvement compared to the EVF2

  24. 12 M lenses in my cabinet and collecting dust since 3 years. When the M8 and M9 were released there was no mirrorless competition. In 2017 there are plenty excellent alternative options to choose from, most offering a much larger shooting envelope than a RF ever will and costing significantly less. Rebuilding or gaining market share will be tough for a new M. Only die hard RF nostalgics might buy it and I might be one of them. Bu it will be a heart decision only.

  25. Looking forward to the new M as well.
    I originally found your site when I was looking at getting an M9 .
    Have been checking back here regularly ever since and enjoyed your work very much.
    Keep up the great work and your enthusiasm is wonderful.

  26. I’d love to see a really great EVF. One with the quality of the SL that would attach to the new camera in a very secure manner with a low profile so that it would attach to the camera as if it was molded as part of the camera itself. It would be compatible with the M240, but maybe not have all the features when used with the older camera. I would keep the body of the new camera identical with the M240 so that I could continue to use my current battery and charger, my RRS L bracket, and leather half cases with the new camera. That would be a great situation to use one as a back up camera. I would like to see improvement in the sensor with slightly more megapixels, higher ISO and greater dynamic range. I’d like to see the EVF good enough that the new M camera could be sold with and without the mechanical rangefinder. That would give the buyer a lot of options: mechanical rangefinder alone, EVF alone, or both. People who own the M 240 would have many options with many shared parts and accessories. The M240 would not become obsolete overnight.

  27. The sensor will be the most interesting thing about the new M, if it is the same as the SL would it take sales away from the SL (not sure) If it was one of Sony sensor’s the Sony users will argue why bother. My guess it will be similar to the M240 just tweaked and a few more MPs, as for size I have M9 and M240 I don’t notice much difference to be honest.

    • The M and SL systems offer a sufficiently different operational concept, and cater to sufficiently different market segments, that I don’t anticipate any cannibalisation of SL sales.
      The SL is going toe-to-toe with professional DSLRs.
      It is not optimised for M mount lenses, and can’t really replace the Messsucherkamera for the same reason that the very capable Sony mirrorless camera can’t.
      (Of course, M lenses can be freely adapted onto the SL but the two are not made for one another. The Noctilux may be the exception.)
      In all likelihood, some shooters will end up with both once the SL family is sufficiently capable to displace the likes of Canon and Nikon from people’s bags. I don’t think the SL is quite at that level yet, but it’s not at all far off.
      As for people focussing on the Sony (or other) sensor, a camera system is just that: a system. It can’t be reduced down to just sensor characteristics. Ergonomics, haptics, reliability, optics and autofocus optimisation are all at least as important.
      Talking about a Sony sensor as though it was what makes the camera system is like believing that Rolls Royce engines are what really make a Boeing aircraft, so why would anyone bother that Boeing is the manufacturer.
      All the best.

    • The M240 and the M9 are exactly the same size unless your measurements include their various protrusions such as the thumb outdent on the 240, and the step down on the right side of the M9’s top plate. Also, chrome models look bigger than black models, but it’s an optical illusion.

      • Stop the madness! Yes! Go read the complaints on the old forums from M 240 buyers who complained of a slightly larger beefier body. I NEVER complained about it, but many did and wether they felt it was larger or whatever, that was a complaint left by many. Many even said the inclusion of video made it larger. IN reality, the body can not be thicker and in order for Leica to make a thinner digital M, they would have to make the body thinner but the mount thicker to compensate. Let’s see what 2017 brings 😉

  28. I own an M 262 and don’t miss any fancy feature such in M 240, Live view is not needed in experiencing Leica style of shooting and I really love how quiet it’s shutter is.

    What do I want to see in a new M? The only real wish is improvement in speed. The only problem I found in my beloved M 262 is somewhat slow boot-up after switching on and waking them up from standby. Some people said it depends on SD card but I tried, tried and tried so many card types and capacities and the results are not varied by much.

    I would like to see if the new M can be speedy and ever-ready like the film ones.

  29. I think you’re absolutely right that the new M will not have video. I think it will have an interesting flash feature, just for those few photographers who like to shoot that way.

    There’s no point in adding resolution for the sake of it. The output from the Q and the SL, and even from older models, prove that.

    I’d like to see an M zoom, as well, but something tells me we won’t. I would also like to see a frame rate of about 9fps or so. But again, I bet we don’t.

    What is realistically possible is an option for an electronic shutter.

  30. If the new M doesn’t have the detail and color pop of the M9, good high ISO’s with no banding and good dynamic range then they lost. Hopefully they also addressed wide angle lense corner issues. If they done that then I’m selling everything going 100% Leica.

  31. Camera of the year 2017… A9R vs. Leica M10? My money is on the M10. thinner, Q sensor, the latest TL EVF, ISO dial, improved controls, and quiet shutter. What’s not too like? 🙂

  32. The Leica M10 is a certainty, and they’ve already sent out invitations to its unveiling on January 18th. Photos of the camera have been posted online and indeed it is a bit sleeker and more minimalist than the Type 240. I’m really interested to learn about the specifics of the M10 and especially to read the Steve Huff lowdown on it. I bought my Mononchrom largely on your recommendation, Steve, and it’s been a fabulous camera.

  33. I’ve stayed with the M9, but was strongly thinking of the M-D, as it was closer to what I always wanted. But the rumors about M10 features make it sound more appealing. If it is really “basic” like the M-D without an LCD, but thinner, etc. I expect I’ll go for it.
    I do use an A7 for low light and my old SLR lenses, but for a 50 or 35 nothing beats an M.

    • NOT …. ECVEN…. CLOSE to even the M240. The Fuji X Pro 2 is no where near the quality of an M from design, to build, to feel, to use (it is NOT in any way a rangefinder) to the lenses to the size and yes IQ.

      • The XP2 is weather sealed the m240 isn’t. The XP2 has that duel VF you want in the next M. The XP2 is on another planet compared to the m240! With one exception the lenses of the M are special.
        Once Leica finally decide to put an evf in the M. All those rangefinder enthusiasts will be jumping ship! You can bet your house on it!

        • Well, we can each have our own opinion. I shot with the X Pro 2..nothing like an M, nothing. Not even close. But as I said, you are welcome to your opinion. No true Leica fan would jump ship for a Fuji. Some have that I know, and all went back. The Fuji feels like a toy in the hand in comparison, is clunky, cheap feeling dials and buttons (again, IN COMPARISON), EVF is “OK”, feel is not so hot, low light is awful as the files degrade as quick as the light does… lenses for Fuji are lightweight and quite a bit larger, shutter is clunkier..nothing about it is technically better than the M – menu? No. Battery life? No. Build? No. Shooting Experience? No. Lenses? No.I have not been a Fuji fan for the most part since the original X100, which I loved. Their sensors are great in good light, but when the light gets low, the files get waxy and off in color. The M is a rangefinder, all manual. The X Pro is just another mirrorless. I prefer many cameras to the X-Pro 2…EM1 MKII, Sony A7RII, Leica M, Leica SL, Fuji XT2, etc. But again, I am happy you enjoy it 😉

          I still have not seen any images from any Fuji with X Trans that make me go “wow” that’s beautiful in anything other than perfect lighting.

          • Just because the M is made from brass doesn’t make it better built. Heavier more substantial feeling yes. Weather reaistant absolutely No. I know what I would prefer. As for design…yes simple is better but the M is reknown for being buggy….slow to switch on and the buffer is slow…..rangefinders are for old people and nostalgics. Shooting wide open is such a pain….having to get the thing calibrated every so often is such a pain. So design is questionable too. Shooting experience is very personable…BUT those Leica lenses are what it’s all about! They are just wonderful! I’ve never seen such beauty…
            Once Leica bring out an EVF version of the M. There will be a shed load of the rangefinders for sale. 100 year old tech that hasn’t improved in a 100 years. Yes there will always be purists but once Leica introduce an evil M. They will be a very small group. That’s when Leica can have my money. An M with the SL EVF would be a joy and a desert island camera…

  34. Steve, I am sure you have seen the new one 🙂 I pray that it is the simplest M and much cheaper too…

  35. First of all, I’m not into Leicas, they just don’t float my boat, but that’s fine, I well understand the love that others feel and I agree they are just beautiful.

    What does concern me is that Leica owners have been expected to deal with some pretty dodgy aspects that would be roundly condemned if the camera in question was say a Sony, Nikon etc.
    Leica owe it to their user base to produce an M that really shines in the important ways, like rock solid RF system that doesn’t need expensive periodic tuning, brilliant LCD, super quiet and smooth shutter, some sort of residual front grip that doesn’ t kill the looks but make the hold a little more comfotable and secure, exemplary high ISO performance, super fast processor that supports a frame rate that can compete with high end contemporaries.

    And ultimately superb bug free reliabilty, at the price Leica will charge owners should never ever have to make excuses for foibles that really would get lesser cameras mercilessly hammered.

    If Leica can do the above, I reckon they could win some sales from new converts and produce a product that continues to shine as time goes by……I hope they do.

  36. I can see why users would prefer the M9 over the M240 for the reasons you mention. I have both, The M240 is the winner for me. I still cannot get over the M9’s loud obtrusive shutter sound, the main reason I prefer the former. All I would like to see is a 1-2 stop higher ISO noise capability and back to basics design.

  37. Wait no more for a smaller simpler Leica. It,s already here. The cam is called PEN F. The people of Olympus have simply forgotten the red dot on it.

    PEN F and 25/1.8 Cartier Bresson would have died for this combo.

  38. It was the M262 that got me to bite. Wasn’t willing to give up the LCD display but didn’t want video. Loving it!

    A slightly slimmer and lighter version would be appealing. But it would take a big improvement in the sensor to make me upgrade anytime soon.

  39. I’d like a MD with a hybrid VF, Fuji’ish but with a real RF or attached VF for the full system menu, WYSIWYG SL quality experience. Then remove it when wanting the digital film MD simple experience. No screen makes it slimmer, stronger and probable better at heat dispersion. Unlike many though I’d like video, I don’t want to own or carry two camera systems. At corporate events or weddings I often set one camera to record a speech. I also shoot some Jazz events, very useful to record a song, when talking to a repeat client a year later. M240 still prioritises stills so you can always snap a shot if something amazing appears. Plus it’s important to Mum to catch to odd video of the children, the camera on me is a M. I know it’s not on the next one, so for me that’s a pity. 240 vs M9 I love the M9 look, but as you’d of gathered the M is the more flexible for paid work.

  40. I see and feel where you are coming from Steve. I would definitely think it would be a winner if it is SLIMMER, LIGHTER.
    Walking around with an m240 around your neck long hours is no fun.
    As for video: Although I can hear the purists saying “no video for the M” and I can’t blame them a lot, a full-time photojournalists are often asked to provide short video clips from their assignments for the social media. If it would not add to the thickness and weight too much, I would be ok with it. We just can’t deny the importance of video anymore, I am sure 20th century photo gods would not oppose to it as much.
    One thing I don’t expect it to have is a tilt-screen.
    When I photograph a social event in massive crowds where you can’t even more 3 feet, the Fuji XT-2 won over the X-Pro 2 as I could lift the camera and see what I was getting.
    Just my two cents.

    *Also, I second the comment above, wishing for a M-D-262 Monochrom. Thin, BW, MD262 with no video with the shutter sound of the M-8 would be “back to basics” for me. Can you imagine if Leica came up with a new M-D 262, no screen in the back, only black and white, no video, light weight, slimmer ANNNNNDDDD have a film advance lever like the EPSON’s digital rangefinder did?

    Most would remember M8 was the first Leica Digital rangefinder but NOT the first digital rangefinder, EPSON holds that title. That was ABSOLUTELY amazing. I would probably sell a lot of things to buy a Leica like that.

    a digital M with film advance lever, no screen and shoots only Black and White RAW files. 12 megapixel, (larger pixels for better low light performance like Sony A7s series)
    That would be a nuclear rangefinder for me. For me 🙂

  41. Isn’t it a forgone conclusion that the new M10 will simply have the Leica SL sensor in it? Would Leica really develop a whole new sensor having only just released one a year ago?

    The obvious card to play would be the hybrid view finder a la Fuji, that would be a good card to play and would be something genuinely exciting (even if Fuji already played that blinder four years ago).

    Imagine if you had the two range finder patches overlapping and then offering focus peaking on the squares themselves to confirm focus, the two squares light up white when you get it nailed! Wouldn’t that be cool?

  42. Slimmer, simpler, back-to-basics. That is a perfect description for the M9. Really the M9 has everything except high-ISO, and that is why so many photographers are still using it, or going back to it.

    I own an M-E (stripped down M9) and M Monochrom (M9 without the bayer filter) and love them. I’ve toyed with the idea of getting the M-D 262 for its even simpler, screenless operation, but the screen on the M9 is so bad as to be essentially the same thing. So for four years I’ve watched the M240 come and now go, and realize that it will take a much slimmer (as in M7 slim) body to get me to consider the next M. Everything else a digital rangefinder should be is already here and has been since 09/09/09.

      • Well it is. But the question is where!

        The issue.. at least for me… is that they move the “Arrow Pad” upwards. That’s where on my M9P the thump rest so that I touch basically front and back metal. That’s the Thinnest section of the M9P when holding. With the M240 you’ve got now the plastic Arrowpad more or less under your thumb. That adds about 2mm Boddythickness. Therefore for me the M240 is thicker and more unpleasant to hold ergonomically.

        B

  43. I lived those moments Steve and would concur with most if not all you have said.
    I would love the new Leica to have Leica T interface a kind of Fuji RF focus and the same sensor and EVF as the SL.
    Truth be told a super simple minimal menues with great build quality Leica would do the trick.
    There will always be people who love beautiful things. Always be people who love minimalism -always be people who love wonderful optics -always be people who love being in control of the apparatus.
    Let’s see what emerges?

  44. Your article is timely. I have several film Leica M’s, but I’m buying an M-E today as a matter of fact (stripped down M9, as you know). My first *digital* Leica. The prices continue to drop on the digital Leicas, although slowly, and I think I’m getting a good deal. I’m looking forward to it. Thanks, Steve, for keeping your site up and all the hard work you put in for the photographic community. Happy New Year to you and your whole family!

    • Love my M-E more than any other camera (have owned / tried most all of the current systems). I like to think of it as a stripped down ‘limited edition’ version of the M9, usually you pay more to have less with Leica, but it is simplified with no frame line selector or big ‘M9’ plastered on the front and the battleship grey with silver controls is pretty unique in the Leica world.

      Enjoy!

  45. Steve
    Definitely like to see more POP and no need for video. I have a M240 plus SL and never use the video features. It would be nice to see a simple new M body with a built in EVF like the SL plus the rangefinder and keep the price to about $5K.

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