A few thoughts on the Leica M 240. Softer than the M9?
By George Sutton
I thought I would add my comments on the Leica M240. By way of background, I owned a M9 previously and now shoot a M240. It has taken some time to get used to the M240 but the more I use it the more I like it and now rank its image quality among the best available. At first the images seemed less crisp than the M9 but when enlarged the detail is there and the images have a kind of 3D character. The softness many people see with a M240 is actually a smoother rendering that really shines when the image is enlarged, especially compared to the grittier character of the M9. Another thing I notice is that details just flow out of an image when it is enlarged. The M240 has a lot more range than the M9. Shadows are noiseless. I have increased the exposure by 3 stops on underexposed shots with no noise or loss of color or contrast. In terms of ISO, the M240 is as good as any camera I have used. The live view is helpful much of the time especially for framing the shot. I can shoot an 18mm lens easily without having to mount the extra viewfinder. The only thing I don’t like about the new camera is having to go into the menu to adjust exposure.
When I travel I want a simple and compact camera but also the ability to get the best IQ when a I encounter something special. I now carry a Sony RX100 in my pocket and a small backpack with the M240 and a couple of lenses and small tripod. The only photo I can’t get with that kit is a fisheye or very long telephoto. I also have a top of the line Canon DSLR and lenses and I know I could not get a better image if I hauled it along instead of the Leica.
I have not shot a MM and would not buy one because I don’t want to be limited to B&W and I am very satisfied with the B&W conversions I get with the M240. Would I get an even better B&W image with a MM? I don’t know. I do know that the images I get from the M240 are really good and meet my needs for both color and B&W in one camera.
The following are three shots I took on a recent trip to visit Christmas markets in northern Europe. The first is a color shot of a restaurant on the main square in Brugge, Belgium taken with a 35mm Summilux. The color is a big part of the character of this place and the shot would not work as well in B&W.
I recommend right clicking these and opening in a new window as they are full size files..
The second is a night shot of part of the front of the cathedral in Cologne, Germany taken with an 18mm Elmar. it is cropped about 50%. Although there is not much color it still works better in color than it would in B&W. It shows how well the image holds up enlarged.
The last shot is a B&W conversion showing sculptures on the face or our hotel in Colmar, France taken with a 90mm Elmar. It works much better as a B&W and retains the detail and 3D character of the original color photo.`