The new Leica M 240. Sample images on the web. What do you think?


The new Leica M 240. Sample images on the web. What do you think?

Well January is upon is now 2013 and I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday. Me, I had a GREAT one and spent it with loved ones though I wished I could have had my Mom here this year. In any case, 2012 was a rocking year and I am guessing 2013 will rock even harder, in fact, I will make sure it does. One camera I am excited about is the new Leica M “240”. This camera is either going to be HUGE or be a big flop. I am guessing it will do very well for Leica as on paper it seems incredible. But being an M camera it is also going out on a limb with all of these extra new features and I have heard it through the grapevine that the new M may be coming out later rather than sooner. To those who pre-ordered I am hoping these cameras come in within a couple of weeks but in reality I am thinking it may be a couple of months. The B&H Pre-order page says Feb 28th, which may extend to March 28th 🙂

Leica has a way of announcing things well before they are ready to rock and roll out the door. In fact, when did they announce the 50 APO Summicron? See what I mean?

Anyway, some of you may or may not have seen the leaked pics from the new M 240. I did and when I saw them I was not sure what to think. The pics are basic snapshots inside of a horribly lit Costco store and to top it off they are JPEGS. So that right there is going to ruin ANY shot from ANY camera 🙂

You can see those images HERE if you have not yet seen them. Me, I think they lack that pop that comes from the M9 files but it is much to early to judge, especially with these images and pre-release firmware. This camera is such a beautiful instrument and I am confident that when it is released that it will blow our minds with its feel, operation and quality of files. If it doesn’t then it could be a problem for Leica because there is so much competition out there now with more on the way to challenge the mighty M. None will be an M of course and nothing will give you that RF experience quite like an M but the image quality coming out of this camera has to be a notch above everything else, like the M9 was at launch. If the quality is below the M9 then I feel many will go back  to the M9. If it surpasses the M9 (some on the inside are saying it does indeed) then we will have a very special camera on our hands. Personally, I can not wait to test it out.

The cool additions to me are the weather sealing, new cosmetics (I like the larger red dot), the plain “M” on the front and the newly redesigned back side and larger LCD. Sucks that it does not have a built-in sensor cleaner but Leica says it would not fit. This will also be the first digital M with high ISO capability that is usable. The M9 was good but the M will be better. My favorite thing is that it is the same price as the M9 when it was released and Leica stayed out of the insane price hike mode they have been on for years.

Do you think the Leica M 240 will beat the M9’s IQ and POP? Take the poll below!

[polldaddy poll=6808605]







    • “M9 with CCD sensor is become a legend”, yes, the legend of the broken sensor… Like mine, which broke after one year (luckily under warranty). I never bounded with the M9, always regretted the M8 : No magenta cast, very sharp and a much more “film like” pictures. I won’t regret the noise of the M9’s sensor and the greenish tone that was so uneasy to get rid of with post-processing. Welcome to the new M !

  1. I personally have to try it on my own, but I think a CMOS is not a replacement for a CCD. However good a CMOS is, it just feels different than a CCD. But then again, it’s just me, and I really would need to try for myself to really understand the new sensor’s characteristics.

  2. I took another look at the sample pics today. I understand that it is still early for any judgement but the pics really look “CMOS” to me. I do miss the CCD look.

    • Wow guys, get off the “They look like CMOS” bandwagon. That’s just BS. Yes they do look like “CRAP”, but that’s only because they’re lousy snapshots. It’s not the sensor technology you’re “seeing”.

  3. My biggest beef with the M is not going to be it’s image quality, because i know it’ll be good enough. My biggest beef with the M is that it’s in a thicker body than the M9 thus reducing the RF’s mag even further, for this reason alone, I’ll wait until they came out an M that’s lot thinner than the current M9.

  4. Yeah, out of the camera my M9 files beats the muted contrast and colours easily. Those are so bad i can scarcely believe thats the M240 remotely at its best even given the lighting. Infact i do not, when someone post the unedited DNGs I’ll judge.

  5. Hard to tell by these images. The shots are not great and the files not large, still there is a nice warm tone in some of them. So lets wait for better samples. I sold my M9 last April and used a Sony Nex7 with Leica lenses instead. Never felt like a camera to me and never liked the files. So a few weeks back I bought a used M9 again, which accidently turned out to be a M9P ;-), and it has been fun again to shoot and to process the photos. The M9 is an old horse by current standards but a really good, old horse. D!RK

  6. Guys- wait until we see some pictures taken by a person who can actually use a Holga (my 11 year old niece could teach him). He might then understand stuff like composition lighting and exposure. We might be able to judge the images better.I wish the camera well -it is the highly specced M people were always asking for ….high iso sealing …end of focus issues with certain lenses etc… even access to old R lenses including telephotos …in keeping with the old Visoflex idea !
    But now we have people with issues again ..people seem to always have problems with these cameras !
    Some niggle here or there. I think all the great photographers who have used Leica cameras just got on with the business of taking great pictures with them -that is what they are about!

  7. sorry, last comment got stuck and now i see it came twice, but c, or e, or d, class, doesn’t matters. The red dot is too expensive after all and anyway not better than a Mercedes Benz.

  8. I have seen that shots, unfortunately they can not be seen in big size. But on the end, it is just as much as you can expect from the Sony FF sensor. It will perform a stop higher in ISO range than a NEX-7, not making a better or a worse shot after all. Just ask yourself if you want to pay the price for it. To me, those shots look “Sony”, that’s all. So, D600, A99, RX1 or M420, make you choice and if you go APSC, take a NEX-7 or an A77. Shot with all of them the same subject at 100 iso and print. After that shuffle and ask to all those around you to find what camera shot what picture. Yes, yes, I know, I am a joker. But, do not forget, all of them have the same capture device and thus, with a few “nuances” in color spectrum, the same good picture quality.

  9. Well Digital technology….Sensors, Firmware/Software, experience…the learning curve…

    After 6 years, M8, M9 and now M, Digiluxes etc,…Leica build a lot of knowledge.
    The new M will benefit of course…and the Leica lenses are, and have been, so far good enough to feed
    the 18 or 24mp capacity. Interpretation software van Leica imo is ‘Photograhic’ ok and always optimized
    to the capabilities of the Leica lenses.

    The M8 wasn’t so bad, the M9 with a Summilux 50 is a fantastic combination… and the new M ad some new features and will be ‘real Leica’ to. 100 or even 25% better than a M9, not likely…it’s always
    evolution at Leica, not revolution.

    I don’t believe in ‘M5’ events anymore…Leica is a ‘Modern’ company now

    And as always…bodies will come and go, the lenses will stay and help you to freeze what you see

  10. Leica quality is like seeing ghosts. If you beleive you will see them, in your eyes and your head, then you will see them. If you don’t believe, than you wont. Modern lenses have all since been developed with computers with machines does much of the precise work and calculations if not all. This isnt the19040s here, the truth is any average modern lens wil do you fine. I seen prints from the so called best lenses to average one to know it doesnt make a difference and I doubt anyone can tell what brand of lens was used on what print in a test. No one looks at a photo and says, gee that must have been taken with a Leica, except those who know it was taken with a Leica. If folks were less gullible, there wouldnt be so many sharks and tricksters in society, in government and in the world.

    • You couldnt be more wrong with this statement. It is the quality of the glass that makes the difference, not so much the construction. In past blind tests done on me by others I was able to spot the Leica shots out of images all mixed in with other cameras and lenses. (M9). There is a noticeable difference of a shot taken with something like a Canon 5DII and 50 1.4, Nikon D800 and 50 1.4 and a Leica M9 with 50 1.4 ASPH. Pretty big difference at that. It is in the color, contrast, bokeh, OOF transitions and pop.

      • I think the issue here is with the examples given. A good lens will make a photo pop even at smaller sizes. These shots are simply lackluster, if not a tad embarrassing coming from a camera like a Leica.

  11. Hi Steve!

    I already wrote to Dr. Rohde – weeks ago as this pictures went online, that I am not convinced so far by this pictures – for me personally they are lacking sharpness and detail.

    We’ll have to wait for the final firmware and a side by side comparison to the M9.



  12. I am sure they won’t let us down.
    Love my M9 and am keen to get an M 240 we just have to wait and see.

  13. We don’t have to worry about the CMOS technology in the new M. With the X1 and the X2, Leica have shown that CMOS sensors deliver very high quality DNGs which easily yield the Leica look in post processing.
    That said, I love both my M-E and my X2. Both are simple and pure.

    • Very good point made that JR about the look of X1/X2 images. 😉

      End of the day nobody knows how the new M will fare until it is launched. I personally reckon it will be just a bit of a different look image wise from the M9 with much better ISO. How different to M9 images we’ll only find out when the new camera is readily available.

    • Dear JR

      you got both cameras I have to choose between when I will “upgrade” from my V Lux 3!

      Therefore I would like to know your opinion:

      Let’s say I buy a ME plus 28 mm Elmarit: 7 700 $

      X2 plus VF (Olympus copy haha): 2 250 $

      Quite a difference, isn’t it?

      Ok, you cannot change the lense on the X2 but if you do on the ME we talk already about 11 + grands.

      28 to 36 mm: I don’t care but I worry about not having a zoom. Sometimes I have to cross a road or a river (I live in Thailand) -I am not lazy but sometimes this is impossible. Furthermore zooming in/out changes the color and contrast of the photo and I like to play with this.

      So what about IQ and speed? On the web the X 2 images are amazing – what do I loose compared with the ME?

      For the kind of photography I do I need a reasonable fast camera – I never shot without AF. My eyes are not that good, I wear constacts or glasses etc. I do a lot of “street” so a quick AF is what I need. The V Lux 3 is the absolute minimum. BTW if you know your camera you can compensate for the slow responsiveness of the camera as I do with my FZ 28. A DSLR is much more convenient for this.

      I shot rangefinder only once with a M 8 in a shop, around 10 images, so I don’t even know if I get used to it and how fst it is.

      Bukeh: I do not need a complete blurred background, I actually prefer to see the space where the subject is with a slightly unsharp background.

      As I come from painting I am crazy for colors, more important than ISO etc for me.

      I usually shoot jpeg, do some pp (paintnet, mostly brightness, contrast, sharpening, cropping if neccesary) but I am aware that I have to get to RAW if I want to get the best IQ.

      On the other hand this hobby is very important for me, so before settling for the second best I would wait and safe some money and buy the best. 5 450 $ difference looks a lot but it is only a fraction of the amount most of my friends pay MORE for a car than I do.

      JR, do you have any idea to help me making a decision?


      • Hello Heiner,

        you are lucky that I came back to this page.

        If you are on a budget and if you want to have a real Leica (which doesn’t mean that the V-Lux is bad – I love the V-Luxes, had a Lux1 years ago), you should take the X2. Don’t worry about the fixed lens, as you will enjoy exploring the X2’s Leica lens that much that you won’t need another focal length, especially not a tele lens (75 to 90 mm range). The 35 mm equivalent of the X2 (or the X1) will reward you with close-to-life shots, which is much more important than having a longer lens. And the bokeh of the 24mm/f2.8 lens is outstandingly delicious.

        Well, essentially the same is true for the M bodies. Most of the time when I use it I only use one lens, very rarely two, and never three. The reason for this is that each Leica lens has got that much personality, that it can completely satisfy your photographic needs. You can spend many years exploring a Summicron-M 35 mm.
        Why then choosing a M body over a X Leica? Let me state it this way: It can be very rewarding to have the possibility to exchange the brush, to bond with the personality of another artistic tool. But then you have to know why you want this. For example you should reflect if you feel more comfortable in certain situations with a more distant relation to the subject (take a 50 mm lens), or if you really want to “break the ice” and move up to it and show it in its environment (take a 28 mm lens). You should also reflect to which extent you want to have the possibility to separate the subject from the background (the larger sensor of the M9/M-E logically provides enhanced control of depth of field), and how intensively you want to play with perspective.
        An M body offers you all these possibilities and, by this, goes far beyond a X Leica. But you also see that this implies much more creative thoughtwork in order to come to a good decision.
        Furthermore, my experience is that people take you more seriously if you take photos of them with a M body, which can largely influence the results you get.

        In terms of IQ, both the M-E and the X1/X2 yield great results with wide latitude for post processing.
        A not too unimportant point to mention is the fact that I find developing X2 DNGs much more challenging than M-E or X1 files. So, with the X2, the learning curve in post processing can become quite demanding… Indeed, I think that developing M-E files is a breeze compared to the effort required for X2 files.

        Hope this helps you decide which one best fits your needs.

        Maybe a X1 would be the best and least expensive entry point!

        • Hi JR,

          thanks for the long reply and your advice, very helpful.

          will the x 1 be quick enough for me (pl see my comparison V lux and DSLR above).

          I f I got furhter questions, what is your e mail?


  14. Hi guys,

    has a look at the link of the samople photos – totally disappointing! Neither magic nor anything else!

    The first 2 photos look like the p&S of my 10 year old daughter (her photos are most time even better) the in-doors re ok – but that’s not enough for Leica.

    If this is not due to internet/my monitor could it be that Leica goes the same (wrong) way as CD did 20 years ago? The first players were quite ok, then they wanted to reach for the sky and the sound went worse until they understood how to use the medium.

    I am more motivated now to buy a M 8 or 8.2 than buying the new M.

    CCD vs. CMOS: I am still not sure as I compare Lumix FZ 28 (I think it has CCD) and FZ 150 (I have the Leica version V Lux 3) and in good light the FZ 28 (5 year old technoloby) seems to be better.

    This is for JPEG!


  15. Click through and you get a slightly larger format image. Check the EXIF data. The TV controller shot is at ISO 4000 and even though the image size is not great, noise is much better controlled than on my M9. I would not even consider going to ISO 2500 on my M9. The M240 may be a low light winner.

  16. Pretty poor looking samples. Any cheap Sony on Vivid mode would blow these pics away.
    Heck any I-Phone pic would blow these away. These look like digital pics from 15 years ago.

  17. Why on God’s green earth would Leica place their new beta version ‘M’ in the hands of a photographer as incompetent as the individual who took the sample photos posted? They are out of focus, have blown highlights, inaccurate white balance, and dust bunnies on the sensor the size of Arizona tumbleweeds.

    The good news (for Leica) is, the sample snapshots are so subpar that no serious photographer will consider them as a legitimate assessment of the M’s true capabilities. Two final talking points:

    1. The example snapshots taken with the new M are a case-in-point that spending $10K on a camera system will not make you a good photographer.

    2. When did the ‘M’ become the ‘M240’?!

    • From here on out all M will be designated as just M with no nomenclature to designate the generation behind the M decal. A type number will designate the model from here on out as well. For instance the “M10” is the M type 240 and the “M-E “is the M type 220. The changes were announced at Photokina 2012.

  18. Who in their right mind would decide anything based on some happy-snaps on the web? The reaction to the posted photos is the real story. Its another illustration of web driven mass hysteria. Proof again that in the absence of real information the internet is fully capable of filling the void with manure.

  19. Am I the only one that doesn’t like the silver wheel on the back of the black M camera – besides the massive display which is too large for my taste? Weather sealing is a joke, not “awesome”.

    • I think, they follow the naming like in Mercedes Benz, BMW.

      They think, they are so cool like the legendary german cars. 🙂

  20. Sad to see such ordinary first images from such a hyped up new Leica just prior to it’s release.

    I recently added to my trusty m9 the m9p as well as the MM. I love the ccd IQ fidelity far too much to forsake its unique look and personality for now. I decided to wait and see what this new M can really do before ordering it. In the meantime I have amazing M cameras that can certainly outplay me and my photo skills for years to come.

    Must say, that M does look great on paper.

    Thanks for a great site, Steve. Wish you and all your readers a fantastic photo year.

  21. The M9 sensor is 6 year old technology, I consider it ridiculous to believe a modern design CMOS sensor will lead to worse images. I attended a Leica M presentation in Munich on December 21. Judging the M images I saw there (on a Mac monitor, not on the camera screen) the new sensor is beating the heck out of the M9 CCD – in particular at high ISOs. Im 100% sure some pixel peepers will find something not to like about the M but for those who are interested to go out and shoot real world images there will be nothing left to worry about. Leica managed to create a great camera like the S2 out of nothing, so I see no reason to assume they will spoil the M. I ordered mine and I feel nothing but pity for those who cancel their order due to some small scale internet JPEGs telling nothing about the capability of the camera.

  22. I am looking forward to see how this type 240 will perform. Right now I find the weather sealing to be one of the most important additions. Will it outperform the M9? Well, it should, right? 🙂

  23. I have no doubts that Leica has a winner here (I am still wondering whether these poor pictures actually are from the M/240). I trust Leica’s ability to make an outstanding camera, with lots of great qualities.
    Also, I do not believe that the “modernization” (video capability, GPS, R-lens-compatibility etc.) will have a negative impact on its sales. For most customers, it will be either positive additions or a non-event (I personally don’t care about video mode and would not invest in the additional grip for GPS capability).

    Despite all its qualities, I think I will pass on this one:
    1) While its technology is supposed to be outdated, my M9 still delivers outstanding images
    2) In “available light”, my D4 will not be surpassed by the M
    3) High ISO with manual focus and a target group of customers with aging sight does not make much sense
    4) Price remains too high for a camera with such specs and which will quickly depreciate when replaced with the M/XXX. Leica claim that the M line will be organized like Porsche’s 911 which should help keep long-term value to their cameras. Everybody knows that this will not be 100% the case and that depreciation of previous models will still be high. I rather think that this is a way to exit the race for more specs by entering a track of marginal improvements with each upgrade.
    5) At some stage, Fuji will go full-frame with their X range. They may become an alternative for M-lens owners like me – at a lower cost and with high IQ.

    I wish Leica great success with the M/240 and customers lots of great pictures with it. At least, better pictures than the ones visible online, which does not seem to be too much of a challenge …


  24. I cancelled my preorder pics looking a little to
    Normal !! So far I recently purchased fuji xe1
    And it seems to work very well with Leica glass
    And has sort of Leica look and feel until I see
    Evidence this new camera is Leica like and not
    Canon like I will hold off

  25. Unquestionably, it is a beautifully designed camera and, in the right hands, it will surely produce high quality images. That said, it must be a significant improvement over the M9 in high ISO performance to compete in the future. Up until now, Leica has had virtually no competition, allowing them to demand ridiculously high prices. However, if, for instance, Fuji produces a full frame x-series like camera with significant improvements in its AF and EVF/OVF performance, and irons out its raw conversion issues, there will be some direct competition for sure. And, if so, in my opinion, there will be no need to buy a Leica at those prices unless one truly needs or wants the rangefinder experience. There will, however, always be pretentious people that will buy the more expensive camera for show, so Leica will likely always retain a sufficient niche market share, even if direct competition emerges.

  26. I think the only place the IQ will overshadow the M9 is in the high ISO and in the higher dynamic range but CMOS does have its downside as well as its upside.

  27. I think my m9 will stay for me some time and invest in the lenses…when I can afford to. Most of my pics are outdoors anyway….the camera still works and renders images I am happy with. I am sure the results will look great and near enough the M9’s CCD. CMOS sensors aren’t meant to be as good but cheaper to make than CCD’s. Hopefully, taking control of a own sensor-producing company..Leica have engineered something that covers all the bases.

  28. It is a shame that the lighting in most, if not all, of the sample photos is lousy. Hoping for some more interesting sample photos to be able to make a more accurate judgment. Progess looks good, and have high hopes!

  29. I think the new M will be an awesome camera. But there may be some initial issues not unlike the M8. That’s my opinion as Leica has to contract out part of the development of their digital Ms.

    The weather sealing will be awesome.

    The reason I just bought the M-E now is I didn’t want to wait, plus since the boss gave me the go ahead, there was no point in waiting as minds can change! ; )

    • i’m trying to understand the weather sealing part. if i use the M240 with one of my existing Leica glass, will it be weather sealed? it’s just the body that is protected, right?

      • Makes no sense at all. The lenses will probably never be sealed in the future either. Protection from dust etc will be the only real benefit as I see it unless anyone wants to take a chance out in the rain with a Noctilux mounted?

  30. Can’t tell much from those leaked pictures, but my guess is that the 240 will represent a big step in the right direction for Leica. The CCD sensors in the M8 & M9 are woefully obsolete by today’s standards. With the 240 Leica has a chance to show it can still outperform the competition.

    • I think that the ‘pop’ comes much more from lenses than sensors… and by the way… who uploads untouched jpegs? Let’s be honest… So after all the digital workflow it’s completely irrelevant if CCD or CMOS… I think it will pretty much be what one could wish for in a camera… Still… I’m thinking of buying a used M9… Don’t know if i can justify the prize of a new M240! :/

      • That’s like saying that film isn’t as important as the lens. Both are crucial. CMOS has capabilities that CCD sensors can’t match. It’s time for Leica to produce a digital M that can really show what their lenses are capable of. The 240 might be the one.

        • No that’s actually not what I am saying Doug! Each film has a unique look, no question! And I am not saying that CCDs and CMOS files are equivalent! If you only shot jpeg then yes, it does make a difference… Just as much as it does when you print from negative! What I am saying is: nobody who is serious about his shots is using jpeg… why? because you edit them on your computer! And after editing the difference is gone! That’s what I was meaning! I think you got me wrong!

      • Doug….I used to think the magic was solely in the lenses too….I was shooting a 50mm Summicron and 25mm Zeiss on my M8 and was amazed by the quality. The thing is, I sold the M8 and bought an adapter to use these lenses on my Fuji XPro1…and camera with a world class sensor. The images I get do not have the ‘magic’ they did on the M8…and I am not the only one to notice this.

        Yes, the M mount lenses are superb, but there is something in the way the M8/M9 CCD sensors work at base ISO’s that is just incredible.

        • I’ve never really cared for the way the M9’s sensor rendered. I always preferred the look of the M8’s files. I’m betting that the 240 will be superior to either of them.

    • The pics retain the character and those who think a CCD is obsolete because of diminished high ISO capability and lack of live view are mistaken. I won’t get into a war over which is better – they are different. CMOS generally is cheaper to mass produce than CCD. It’s compromise for sure when it comes to the limitations for some people but I think CCD provides a richer and more organic look to the images. I’ve shot my M9 in concert lighting and live bands at nightclubs no problem (albeit with faster lenses.)

      I have no doubt that Leica won’t release the new M until it is technically better than the M9 but the M9 is nothing to sneeze at. The shots retain the character (more of a refection of the lenses used) but it retains most of the rendering of a M9. I will reserved final judgement for the production model and after official shots are released.

        • I do as well Edd and that’s why I bought two M9’s (regular and -P model) besides the other pros associated with the camera for me (rangefinder, size, FF, uniqueness, etc.) I think the weaknesses are overstated (high ISO for example.) So while the M looks to be down on the specs in high ISO most SMOC sensors are completely misleading. Yes SOME of the pro bodies can do a pretty clean ISO6400 but most of them are still clean ISO1600/3200 cameras. Yes this is still technically better than the M at high ISO but it’s not the misleading gap of putting ISO25600 (or ISO 102400 for that matter) on the box plain as day.

          I was pleasantly surprised to see the results are more usable for me than I expected. I would say it’s usable for prints to ISO2500 for black and white photography and up to 1600 for color with the right exposure methods. No this isn’t 100% with every shot but I have some that turned out well. Don’t get me wrong I’m not just a Leica “fan boy” as it’s just a tool but generally it is my favorite tool I own (I also have Sony Alpha, NEX, and Micro 4/3 systems.)

    • Agreed.

      But I would be watching Fuji very, very closely this year. With the new X100s they have gone from laggy autofocus to, if reports are accurate, a new contrast and phase detection autofocus system with, they claim, the world’s fastest AF…in as little as 0.08 seconds. That’s quite a turnaround. In addition, the camera will offer not only focus peaking, but also a split-image manual focusing mode. That could be very, very cool. And if either work in the OVF, whoa, watch out, Leica!

      Expect a successor to the X-Pro 1 to incorporate not only these innovations, but an improved X-Trans sensor as well (possibly even a full-frame version eventually).

      Fuji are really listening to their customer base, and with this kind of tech, and access to not only Fuji’s growing lenses, but the arsenal of Leica and Zeiss glass as well, the argument for selling your kidneys for an M camera really diminishes more and more.

    • I can see typical CMOS image here. Horrible highlight detail.
      I’m not a user of M9 and not biased. I’m a film user.

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