The new Leica M10-P is Here. The quietest mechanical shutter of any camera.

The new Leica M10-P is Here. The quietest mechanical shutter of any camera.

By Steve Huff

Video Below..

So I knew this was coming ever since the day the M10 was announced. Leica always releases a “P” version of their current M when the sales of the current M start to slow down, and this time is no exception. The “P” designation always meant “perfection” and normally Leica would really only add cosmetic updates to the “P” versions. For me, the M8P, M9P and M240P were gorgeous, classic, and yes even a bit snobby now that I look back at them. But I loved them, always bought them and always shot with them instead of placing them on a shelf as some seem to think many Leica shooters do. I have reviewed them all here in the past. All of them.

Normally, I would have been all over this and called Ken Hansen to order my M10-P but this year, this time, I am just going to live through those of you who WILL do just that (and I know a few of you who already placed your orders). These days when I shoot Leica it is still the SL, as I find it to just give me the best experience of ANY digital camera. Shooting the SL with M lenses, for me, is “perfection” but hey I will not lie, there is something in me scratching to get out and buy this new M10-P for the sheer beauty of it, and the new features Leica added. Sadly my wallet is slim due to recent purchases, and I just do not have $8k laying around to buy a tricked out M10 : )

The M10-P now has the quietest mechanical shutter on the market. It’s QUIET. Even more quite than the iconic ANALOG M6. That’s quiet. It’s discreet. Yes, the standard M10 is plenty quiet (believe me, it is) but this M10-P shutter is like virtually silent. To me it sounds a lot like the Fuji XH1 shutter but at this point most mirrorless cameras have pretty quiet shutters. This M10-P though, takes the crown for being able to be used next to your sleeping wife when you lay there taking pictures of your ceiling fan, just to appreciate the feel and sound of this body. This camera will be the mistress of many, c’mon, you guys know who you are. The camera is already partially undressed and nearly naked without that Red Dot Leica Logo.

I was invited to New York to have a look at this camera before the launch but was not able to make it and since it is basically an M10, a camera I have already used extensively, and written about extensively, I figured a NY trip was not worth it to sit here and tell you how beautiful it is (it is) or how quiet it is (it is) or how when using an M it speaks to your heart, your soul and allow you to truly connect with it in a way no other camera does (it does). See, I already knew all of this so for me, the M10-P was not really anything of a surprise. I KNOW first hand how special these things are and also know if I did go to see it, to hold it, to hear it…I may have caved and went into debt to buy one.

Leica also added enhanced touch functionality so now you can easily check focus by pinching and zooming. Yep the M is coming into modern times but still retains that old school charm as it should. A level gauge is also present to keep those shots level.

I will tell you that if you have $8,000 to spend on a new camera, and want to be different, be unique, stand out from the crowd and have that emotional connection to your camera that few other cameras can achieve then take a long look at the M10-P from Leica. It’s not cheap as you will also need a lens of course but this is one of those camera decisions you make with your heart, not your brain. Can other cameras these days give you the same or better image quality? Yes indeed, today there are many. Are there other cameras that can give you that special feeling, to motivate you to get up and out of the house to use it, to help you push your boundaries and explore your inner self? No, at least I have not seen any.

In these days of disposable cameras, a Leica will always fill a special place in your heart but to get there requires passion, dedication and a healthy bank account.

My fave M’s still to this day are the M240 and M-D (no LCD on the back) but if I were in the market to buy a new M, well….this would be it as I have always been a sucker for the Leica M-P.

You can order this camera TODAY from the recommended dealers below:

Ken Hansen: email him at [email protected] 

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33 Comments

  1. I still enjoy using my M9P with a few lenses like the 50mm f1.4 Asph, 35mm F1.4 Asph and rarely the 28mm F2.0 Asph. I had the sensor replaced around 2 years ago due to the dreaded deterioration and so far everything is oay apart from a dust spot I need to clean.
    I have resisted the purchase of a newer Leica M like the M240 etc and avoiding thinking about the new M10P despite the 24MP opposed to the 18MP sensor in my M9P but the satisfaction and IQ is still good enough to make excellent images. I feel that previously I spent too much time and wasted much of it by hankering after this new lens or camera etc and should have spent more time actally shooting images for various projects etc. Perhaps the Leica M11 will be more tempting if it offers significant improvements but I am still using a lovely Leica M3 with great and unbeaten satisfaction, the quality of build and the handling pleasure are unsurpassed even if film is more time consuming to receive the processed results.

  2. Slightly different perspective here. As someone who does not own any leica cameras but is heavily invested in Canon/Nikon for professional use, I feel the M10-P makes it the perfect time to buy a Leica M. I used to use an old M3 and have always lusted after a digital M, but the 240 and M9 just didn’t feel right because of their thickness. The M10 solved this, and made me start saving up to buy one, but I was still slightly on the fence. The M10P, who’s features emphasise one of the main strengths of Leica rangefinders – descreteness – has just tipped me over the edge. I silver M10-P is on its way to me.

  3. I agree with you, Steve, that the M10 and M10-P sensor does lag behind. I’ve even been wondering if Leica simply re-worked the M240’s sensor to save costs.

    One thing that interests me when testing the M10 is that the ISOs seem over-stated by at least a stop, and sometimes 1.5 stops, compared to my other cameras including the Q. I think DXO came to this conclusion too. For example, ISO1600 on the Q approximates ISO3200-ISO6400 on the M10 at the same aperture & shutter speed. A bit naughty of Leica, I think

    • The M240 sensor, IMO is better than the 10’s. It has greater dynamic range and the files are richer. I prefer them to the 10 after much more use with the 10. So it is not the same sensor. Leica tried to give users the “M9” look they have been asking for which was higher contrast, lower dynamic range, and sharper out of camera. IN that way they succeeded 80% but then failed by reducing the DR and changing the color, again. The digital M I loved most, of all time, has been the M240. I may buy a used one here soon just to have around. Then again, maybe not.

  4. J.utilise un M9 et un MM1 qui font de superbes photos si on ne regarde que le résultat final – qualté des images équivalentes à celles d.un M10P – à moins de faire des agrandissements de 1.50x 1m, ce qui n.est pas habituel pour la plupart des photographes qui se contentent d’une vision écran!!!
    Le reste n’est que du confort tout à fait relatif… quant à l’esthétique des boîtiers, les M9 et MM sont plus beaux, sans cette vis affreuse qu’on trouve sur les nouveaux M depuis le 240.

  5. I don’t think the shutter is any different between the M10 and M10-P. All Leica did was add extra sound insulation in the body. The way to tell this is take the lens off, and fire the shutter. While doing the same with a regular M10.
    They sound exactly the same. Which means the only reason why the M10-P is quieter with the lens on it is because the body has some extra insulation.
    Is this a good thing? Could it cause overheating? I guess it depends on how hard you use it.

  6. It happens that it was all fireworks. The MP was introduced in 2003 and since then there’s been, how many? 30 different M models maybe that some people bought one after the other. Today they launch one more

  7. Oh, Leica, why do you do this to us? Funny what is happening lately. Steve passes on a chance to see the new camera, and if I remember correctly, even Overgaard seemed kind of underwhelmed with the release of the M10, which he called the best M yet, but with the enthusiasm of someone about to have a root canal. I can only remember just a mere 4-5 years ago when the new M’s generated such enthusiasm (I bought both the M9 and M240). Lately, though, even when people still recognize how great those M’s are, it seems that something is missing in their tone. And when an audience that used to cheer left and right about releases now become sort of blasé about their new release, it is time for Leica to notice. Perhaps if they do, and only maybe, they can get people like Steve to not just want to go see the new camera, but to want to run there if they have to.

    • Well, what I think is happening is that back in the M9 and M240 days, there was truly nothing that competed with those cameras. Mirrorless was just starting, and those bodies were slow, clunky and not so hot and NOT full frame. Leica was the only option for those who wanted smaller, well built, high quality full frame cameras. There were no other full frame mirroless options and the Leica M’s stood out as they are indeed mirrorless cameras and were great if you did not want a DSLR but wanted high quality and an enjoyable experience.

      The price was high for the M9 and M240 but to many, worth it for being so different and unique. Over the years, Sony started making full frame mirrorless that were 1/4 the price and offered the same IQ and allowed M lenses too be used on them. Then even better IQ. These days, we can get a Sony A7III for $2000 that has a much better sensor than what is in the $8000 M10-P, and it does video as well, which is HUGE now. For $3k you can get an A7III body and a 50 f/2 Zeiss and that would set us back $9k+ for an M10-P and Zeiss 50. Sure, the Sony is ugly and has a less enjoyable interface but the majority really only care about the features, IQ and price (and trends). So those who used to be interested in those M9’s and M240’s are now buying the Sony A7III and a smaller niche are buying the M10. I think Leica’s MD and M240 were more standout than the M10 and M10-P, and looking back I really LOVED the MD for what it stood for, and it was so much fun to use, like shooting film. The M10-P is really just an M10 so I felt no need to spend money to travel to NY to see it. It’s an M10 with a few minor upgrades.

      Sony is and has been disrupting the entire digital camera business. They have eaten into profits of Canon, Nikon, Leica and others because they are pushing tech and constantly doing so. Now Nikon and Canon have to compete and will try this year and that will use put more options into the full frame mirrorless world, and IMO, taking away even more sales from DSLR’s and even Leica.

      I still love Leica but feel the SL is a better camera than the M these days just due to the EVF, feel, control and build but it does need a new sensor soon to stay in the game. If the M had an EVF like the SL, these days, I would be ALL OVER IT. After all these years I feel it may be time for them to retire the rangefinder or at least offer two models. One with a Hugh res EVF. That could disrupt things and get some excitement going for Leica again.

      The M9 was their most successful digital M camera due to timing and being the 1st full frame small form factor camera that was also beautiful to look at and use.

      • Thank you for sharing your perspective on the M10-P. What, in your opinion, is the reason behind Leica’s continuous reluctance to upgrade their 24MP censor? Is it technical? Financial, in that they can’t afford to kill off their entire 24MP line yet? Whatever their considerations, they are now lagging behind, disappointing many dedicated Leica users, and losing market share to Sony. The M10-P sounds like a new, more expensive iPhone whose single new feature is its pink color. Sure, as a street photographer, I’ve often wished that the shutter sound of my Monochrom 246 was more discreet (it is quite loud!). Yet, if I’d had the choice to pay extra for a quiter Monochrom, I would’ve still bought the louder, cheaper version.

        • Well, Leica never ever upgrades the sensor for the “P” models. They only do so with the next version of each camera. So an M11 would have a new sensor and I suspect when that happens in 3-4 years it will probably change quite a bit. Not just the sensor but I feel they will one day have to go to EVF or make two models. A classic with RF and modern with EVF.

          • Thank you for your answer. I hope you’re right about the M11. The EVF of the Leica Q is truly a marvel and I too wish that they will figure out a way to incorporate it into the M series, without negating the classic RF feel.

  8. The main improvement for me is the level indicator. That’s a nice feature. The touch screen and quieter shutter are also nice, but not dealmakers for me. The M10’s shutter is already pretty quiet. So I will not be upgrading from my trusty M10.

  9. Nothing beats the MD and the Monochrom! I have these two and no other Leica camera comes close.
    My wish is that one day Leica launches a Monochrom in an MD body (in silver), that would be the perfect camera and really bring the brand back to the iconic M3.

    • That would be a fantastic option that I would love to own. But you can get the M-A today in silver and go the whole way and use film. There’s nothing like Tri-X!

  10. I agree entirely with your comparison between the M10/M10P and the SL.

    My needs are simple. I’d take a smaller, lighter SL with an optional ISO dial and wouldn’t need to upgrade for years.

  11. I agree entirely with your comparison between the M10/M10P and the SL. In truth my needs are simple. I’d take a smaller, lighter SL with an optional ISO dial and wouldn’t need to upgrade for years.

  12. How could they have not improved that sensor. Break the damn mold, Leica! Sensor technology advances at too rapid a pace these days for Leica to withhold an upgrade on these monoliths of brass.
    Steve, be honest, what do you think? Compare for us the M10 sensor to let’s say one of Sony’s recent sensors. And help us understand what we’re actually missing.
    Leica’s iteration schedules do not work in a digital world!

    • I will tell you the truth. The Sony sensors are superior to what is in the M10, hands down. The M10 dynamic range is lacking but with that said, it produces a pleasing file. In the past, the M9 days to be exact, there was nothing that got close to the Leica look and feel. Today though, sensors have gotten so good we have extended DR, Low light and great color with Sony leading the way in sensor tech. The M10 and M10-P sensor does lag behind, without question. With this camera you are paying mostly for the experience, the pride of ownership and the name which has some amazing history.

      • The M10 sensor I feel produces lovely files and have great dynamic range. The camera also can use small RF lenses properly which non of the Sony’s can. I think the issue some people have with this P version is the original M10 is near perfect and there’s little to upgrade. The only thing i’d prefer is for it to loose a little weight and have longer battery life. If you really need a level gauge (in a rangefinder camera) a bubble one in your hot shoe would do a better job and not drain your battery.

      • Hello everyone,
        Is true the Sony’s are great do-anything-cameras. But when you compare both files, for me, Leica files have better accurate color, and for my work that is a game changer. Sony colors tend to be saturated and colder feel. For ex. greens tend to have a plastic un realistic feel, blues are colder. So at the end I sold my loved 7RII and got back a M10. And yes I will love a smaller SL or a M with 1/1600 speed shutter and no bother wit ND filter with fast glass.
        Thank you Steve for this space of exchange.

    • Hello everyone,
      Is true the Sony’s are great do-anything-cameras. But when you compare both files, for me, Leica files have better accurate color, and for my work that is a game changer. Sony colors tend to be saturated and colder feel. For ex. greens tend to have a plastic un realistic feel, blues are colder. So at the end I sold my loved 7RII and got back a M10. And yes I will love a smaller SL or a M with 1/1600 speed shutter and no bother wit ND filter with fast glass.
      Thank you Steve for this space of exchange.

  13. Interesting to see that Leica reintroduced the level gauge that they took out of the M10. The M240 had it, and I used it a lot, and by Leica removing it from the M10 they lost a sale to me. Maybe I’m cynical, but there was no reason to remove that functionality apart from reintroducing it in the next model and claim it’s an upgrade, for more money of course.
    The pics look the same at regular ISOs (which is what I use) between the M240 and the M10 (and now M10p), but if you want the level gauge you have the pretty sweet option of picking up a mint M240 for about $3000, or spending $5000 more and getting the M10p.
    I’ve heard the shutter of the M10p, and it is more muffled than the M10, but no way quieter than a Leica M film camera, especially the M7. Jona Slack (a Leica ambassador) has a sound clip on his ‘review’.

    I’m with you Steve, it’s either the M240 or the SL for me. The SL with it’s incredible EVF does bring options to the table that that the M10 cannot, while there is no difference in practical use between the M10P and the M240. Whereas the M240 offers MORE than the regular M10! (level, video, battery life)

  14. Nice but I’m happy with my M10. I’ll wait for the M11 (or whatever it’s called). I don’t like the exposed screw. OK to get rid of the Red Dot logo but Leica should have covered the bare screw with a cap. Even Ikea gives you a cap to cover screws.

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