The Leica M 240 Real World Camera Review 2013 by Steve Huff
Is it 2013 Already? WOW.
2014 UPDATE: The ever growing Leica M 240 Sample Gallery is HERE
Wow. I can not believe it is March 2013 and I am sitting here at my big white Ikea desk writing about the new digital Leica M! No, NOT the M10 but the M Typ 240. Yes, Leica decided to be clever and call their new 24 Megapixel monster M, simply “M” with a number attached at the end to distinguish models. Problem is they were already doing this with the M (M3-M9) successfully but with shorter numbers. Now we have more to type when we write or talk about the M as we have to add “240” to the end…and that is a pain. The “220” is the M-E, which in reality is an M9. After much thought, I would have preferred the new M to be called the M10. Much easier, shorter and it would have kept with the history of the company using sequential numbering. Then again, Leica just wants us to call it the “M”. But I know if I tell someone I have an M, they will ask “Oh, Which one”? 🙂 Then I will have to say, “Oh, the M 240”.
Yours Truly with the M240 and Voigtlander 15mm
But hey, I am no Leica big wig. I am just a guy that writes on a blog about his passion, and man have I always been passionate about Leica cameras. So much so in fact that I have been labeled a “Leica Fanboy”, especially in 2009-2010 when I heavily used my trusty M9 for just about everything. From family to casual and even tons of pro work and it never failed me.
But what those people who were trying to irritate me did not realize is I actually considered myself a Leica fanboy! I mean, what is a fanboy? I see it as someone who REALLY loves something and is crazy passionate about that something. Leica and photography go hand in hand and always have. Using a Leica is a wonderful experience and when you shoot with one you know you have a piece of quality gear as well as the history of the company behind you. If that makes me a Leica fanboy then so be it! I guess I am also an Olympus fanboy and Sony fanboy as well though because I love what they are doing for photography as well with the OM-D and RX1.
The new 50 APO Cron wide open at f2
So yea, I love Leica products, well…most of them (but NOT all). The Leica M9 has been my favorite camera ever since its release but can the new M change that? I know the answer to that question and you too shall soon see the answer because I am about to write my review of the new M 240 and I bet you will not find a more passionate real world review of this camera anywhere else (at the time of this writing anyway)! So thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings, my thoughts and viewing the sample images I was able to snap during the review period.
The color…oh the color. Color can be MUCH MUCH richer and more beautiful than it was with the M9. This was while driving home with the 50 set to infinity..2nd image shows the wide Dynamic Range and smoothness of the files
It’s no secret I was one of the worlds biggest fans of the M9 and I was not shy about saying so. Millions of people have read my “Big Bad Ass Leica M9 Review” and hundreds if not thousands have purchased the M9 due to me pouring out my love for such a machine over the past few years. I am not tooting my own horn but it is a fact. The words I write on these pages seem to be heavily influential just as a movie reviewer influences the publics movie choices, which is why I always keep it real and am always honest and let my heart do the talking, even if I get grump-o’s attacking me for being overly enthusiastic. That is just who I am and when I am excited about something…you guys will know it.
The fact is that myself and Thorsten Overgaard (the original Leica web presence) have probably done more for the M9 than anyone else has due to us oozing our passion for that camera over the past few years. We have taken heat from many of those who disagree with us but that is OK, it is well worth it. I will always speak my mind and speak the truth about the cameras I write about. Period. As for Thorsten, he is a GREAT guy and after meeting him in Berlin for the Monochrom event I sensed his Leica passion as well. He is the real deal and I have been reading his words since the Digilux 2 days. He also just received his M 240 and I look forward to seeing what he has to say.
If you go to the “About me” tab above you can see that most of the galleries there were shot with an M9 from Seal to Rural Landscapes to Street. Yes, the M9 gave me the one thing I loved about photography. Simplicity. Of course it gave me the quality as well and when using those gorgeous Leica lenses (the best in the world, period) everything just came together. The M9 was not and is not perfect but no camera is 🙂 Even with the lowest DXO score of any full frame sensor ever, the M9 sensor delivers stunning results in real world photos as long as you keep the ISO under 800 or so.
FACT: DXO can not judge real photo results but I am sure when they test the new M, it will rank fairly high and much better than the M9 sensor.
The M9 and the competition
With the M9 I had the classic body, the classic feel, and the classic rangefinder system. It was all there, everything I needed. Being a rangefinder with a rangefinder focusing mechanism all you needed to be sure of was a properly calibrated body and lens and there was nothing like the output of the M9. Nothing. It had its own unique flavor or rendering images in 2009-2010 and it was a pretty exciting time for Leica fans to be able to shoot the 1st full frame digital Leica.
But that was in 2009-2010 and in 2011-2012 we started getting cameras coming in from other manufacturers such as the Fuji X100 and that camera was able to deliver gorgeous results at 1/10th the cost of a Leica setup. The M9 was still on top but other cameras were creeping in with much better high ISO, faster processing times, bug free SD card use, AF and even in Leica shaped bodies. Competition is always good as this is what pushed Leica to improve the digital M once again but these other cameras, while technically superior in many, ways had one problem.
They simply were not Leica and did not give the M experience.
Those cameras were NOT rangefinders at all though somehow many felt the Fuji X-Pro 1 was indeed an RF. That just was not so and shooting the X-Pro 1 was/is nothing like shooting a real Leica M. The experience is not even close in my opinion and it all comes down to that unique rangefinder experience that you can not get from anything other than a true RF camera. If you want that RF experience, the only way to get it digitally is with a Leica (or an old RD-1). That my friends is a fact. But then again, that RF experience is not for everyone. Some hate it because it does take some getting used to, especially if you have never shot with one. There are also some limitations, like close focusing, or needing a massive burst of 20-30 shots. You will really not get that with a Leica M digital RF.
Kids having fun..always a great photo opportunity (50 APO)
Below: Shot with the old 1940’s 50 Summarit 1.5 wide open, flare and all!
But was that all Leica had going for it by the time 2012 hit? The “RF experience” and name? Well, not really. I still feel the M9 sensor is a great sensor, mainly at base ISO. When shooting an M9 you just know what to expect. But it was no secret that Leica needed to move on to something bigger and better with more modern features otherwise they faced the possibility of DOOM like the not so old days before they launched the M9 and were headed for troubled roads. They indeed had some improvements and changes to make so as early as 2010, behind closed doors they started to decide what to do with the M10, which became the M (Typ 240).
It looks like an M, feels like an M and that is because it is still an M
The Big Worry – Uneasy Feelings about the CMOS sensor
Most Leica shooters were worried when Leica announced the new M 240. Why? Well for starters many assumed that doing away with the CCD of the M8 and M9 that gave those cameras their unique look and feel would be a mistake, but yes…a change was gonna come. Instead of CCD, Leica was going to use a custom made CMOS sensor, made just for the new M. CMOS? Isn’t that what is in every DSLR today that gives us somewhat different output than what we are used to with our beloved M9’s and even Monochrom? Yep. That CMOS. Now there are debates and some feel there is no difference while others feel there is. I fall into the camp that know there is a (very slight) difference but is that a bad thing? No, not at all because the difference is actually a BETTER one.
My camera of the year 2102, the Sony RX1 uses CMOS and that sensor is amazing. So yes CMOS can be superb and better than CCD and I am telling you now that there is no need to worry. At all. Really 🙂
The Leica 35 Summicron and the new M – Lightroom 4.4
Being that this is Leica, many of us assumed they would in no way harm their reputation by releasing a camera that was anything less than the previous 09/09/09 Leica M9 and we all had hopes that it would beat the M9 output not just equal it..or God forbid…be below it.
So worry was all over certain forums about CMOS..and the addition of video..and the addition of Live View and the addition of a big fat EVF. I even felt a bit slighted when I saw all of the new additions but I also knew it was needed. This is 2013 after all and Leica has to do what they feel they have to do!
It appeared that Leica wanted to move to the future with the new M instead of sticking in the past with a basic but powerful featureless camera like the M9. In the beginning I sort of disagreed on that though as I felt the new M did not need video..did not need an EVF to sit on top nor did it need to be modernized. It just needed:
- a smoother shutter – M 240 has it
- bug free operation – M240 has it
- better LCD and menu system – M240 has it
- Better battery life – M240 has it
- Weather sealing – M240 has it
- A better CCD sensor – Oops, M240 has CMOS
But Leica had some balls and decided to risk it all with basically an all new camera. The new M 240 is really a ground up camera and it is in no way a tweaked M9 but instead it offers MANY improvements over the M9, MANY. After shooting with it for a while now my concerns on the CCD vs CMOS issue have faded 110%. I will state right up front that it does NOT share the same exact look or output as the M9 but the M9 did not share the same look of the M8 and guess what? The M output is even better than the M9 in every single way (and I know many M9 shooters are shaking their fist at me right now) and once someone works with the files of the new M they will see this for themselves.
But yes, you heard that right… I feel the M 240 is an improvement in every single way over the M9 and in this review I will go over each and every one of these things, even things other reviewers may have missed.
So for the “Big Worry”…you can ease your mind. No need to be worried as the M 240 can and does deliver the goods, it just may take a while to get used to the new look (of rich color and extended DR) if your brain has been used to seeing those M9 files, which to me now look a bit off after shooting the new M for a while.
The good thing is that once you use this new M you will begin to slowly but surely appreciate the sensor in this camera. It is technically better than the M9 sensor and does offer the Leica look but it offers much more as well.
Shooting at an Aquarium to see how the M does in low light. ISO 1000, 50 1.4 at 1.4
An M 240 of my Very Own 🙂
On March 1st I heard from PopFlash.com that they were getting in ONE and only ONE M from Leica. I tried to buy it from Tony Rose but I was not on his list at all so of course that did not work 🙂 Minutes later I heard from The Pro Shop Leica store and they said “we have gotten ONE M in and only ONE“…it was sold of course but I was wondering…”what is Leica doing? Sending out 50 of these as a beta test or are they trying to build up hype to create big demand”. I mean, they had a long time to manufacture these but as early as a week ago I was reading how the new M was still being beta tested. Hmmm. Not sure why Leica was being so stingy with the M stock but I am sure they have their reasons.
There are loads of people on pre-order lists and sending one camera to select dealers was sort of odd. Sounds like the same old Leica tactics to me but I really have zero inside info so who knows. I am just thrilled to death that I managed to get one of the 1st 50 in the USA.
The 50 Summilux is one of the best, if not THE best Leica lens available. To me it has much more character than the new 50 APO Summicron. Sometimes, too perfect is too boring and from what I have seen of the M and 50 APO I felt the results were a little “sterile”. I prefer MOJO to perfect. I prefer EMOTION to PERFECT. I also prefer imperfections to stunningly perfect.
Even so…minutes later I heard from Ken Hansen whose list I was indeed on from months and months ago. In fact, I was put on his list before the M was announced as my crystal ball told me it was coming, he he he. So I was 1st in line and Ken informed me he was shipping the camera to me. WooHoo! The very next day, Saturday, my mailman delivered the box..just one day after the email from Ken letting me know he had just received ONE M. I did not even pay the guy yet and the camera was in my house. Damn, he is good.
I immediately did my unboxing video and held the camera for the 1st time
I can tell you that I was pretty excited. Not quite as excited as the day the M9 landed in my house in 2009 or even when the M8 was delivered to my door but I was excited. This was the new M here..the latest and greatest M! It was almost 4 years since the M9 (not quite but almost) and 4 years in digital camera time is HUGE. My expectations were super high (This was Leica!!!) but as I was soon to find out, I have become quite spoiled. How so? Well, when shooting the M9, Monochrom and even the Sony RX1 you will indeed get spoiled by uncompromising image quality. When shooting these three cameras your eyes and brain get used to huge levels of detail (monochrom), dynamic range (RX1) and 3D depth and pop (M9).
The M with the 50 Lux wide open at 1.4 – LR 4.4
To make a long story short, my very 1st snaps (which are not in this review) with the M 240 left me a bit disappointed. I was seeing increased dynamic range for sure (over the M9) but the detail and pop that I was so used to seeing with my M9 and Monochrom files was missing in action. The files were pleasing, had good color but was just missing something when directly comparing to my old M9 files. But it was way early and all I have done was take a few snaps with my 50 Lux. I had a LONG way to go. I was also just looking at the OOC JPEGS and the images were just lower light indoor snaps with slow shutter speeds. HARDLY a way to test a new camera.
But as time went on and I became comfy with the camera and even using the EVF I realized that this sensor has its own new look. It is a mix of something like the D800 and Leica M9 mixed in with some Fuji color. The color is much much different than the M9. The color signature is not like the D800 or 5D II or II either. It is what I call “The new Leica color” and it is much richer, deeper (than the M9) and the sensor handles reds much better as well where the M9 had a tendency to blow them.
Hmmm. I see the Leica look here. The pop, the 3D depth, the color…
ALWAYS SHOOT RAW/DNG with the LEICA M!
Once RAW processing is figured out the files look gorgeous with a smooth and deep tonality that has lots to appreciate. Yes..always shoot DNG RAW with any digital M for best results. Period.
Be Careful What You Wish For
I remember back in 2010 there were so many people bashing the M9 (those who never owned one of course) just due to cost and then there were those bashing the M9 saying it had a horrible sensor. Others were saying they wished Leica would have just used the Canon 5DII sensor. So many were saying they would buy an M9 in a heartbeat if it just had the 5D sensor..well, that wish may have just come true for all of you who wished for it! While the sensor in the M240 is NOT the one in any of the 5D cameras, the sensor is now CMOS and can do the things no other M is capable of doing.
Lovely rendering even in harsh daylight sun..this was NOT taken in the golden hour but instead, mid day. Lightroom 4.4 – 35 Summarit.
In fact, if you keep reading this review (it may get long) then somewhere down there I will have a comparison with the M-E (M9) and Sony RX1 – same shot, same lens, same settings, same subject and light. I will do this with high ISO and low base ISO just so we can see what all of these differences are, if any.
But enough of the CCD vs CMOS debate, let’s get on with the review and talk about the new M and what is new because there is really nothing to complain about with the IQ, instead there is loads to rave about. It looks and feels like Leica because it is the LENS that draws the image, and the new M retains the character of the glass you use and this new sensor is beautiful.
The M with the 50 Summilux ASPH – missed focus a bit on the guys face but still liked the shot.
The New M 240 Is An All New Camera
The new M 240 is a beast of a camera. It is like a Sony RX1 on steroids. It is more muscular, has a viewfinder, is heavier, has longer battery life and is also a full frame sensor camera. In fact, this new M is not really much like previous M’s at all. Some will say THIS is the definitive digital M. Others will say the M9 is the definitive M digital. What do I think? Well, keep reading and somewhere in this review I will let you know 🙂
When Leica decided to start planning the design of the new M they had some tough choices to make. They collaborated with many of their long time Beta testers who gave their input on wether video should be implemented, wether they should go with CMOS over CCD and wether they should even ditch the RF and go EVF all the way. In many ways they caved under the pressure of certain folks who told them they would be doomed if they did not go the way of the future with CMOS, Live View, etc. Is that true? Maybe. Probably.
The new M has a very smooth way of rendering images. There is no harshness at all with the output, no matter the light. DR is huge, sharpness is just right and the color is sooo nice.
What they ended up with is a digital M that is a “tour de force” digital M that includes everything but the kitchen sink. This is good for the majority of camera buyers I guess, just not great for Leica die hards who love their simplicity and refuse to go any more modern than the M9. With the new Leica factory and their newfound ability to manufacturer in mass quantities they needed a solution for their new M that would allow them to break into new markets..such as the full frame DSLR user who may want a Leica but avoided them in the past due to the Leica M8 and M9 not having certain things like high ISO ability, video, live view, etc.
With this new M, Leica can attract a bigger audience and suck in some of those FF DSLR users who are now curious on the new M, and besides, the IQ coming from the new M will be right up their alley. Smooth, rich, and with great all around potential. To be honest, the IQ from the new M is improved over the M9. Better color, better dynamic range, better high ISO, richer files, more MP, and still sharp as a tack.
The new M 240 delivers really enjoyable color and the files still have that look. Click the image for larger and better version.
Like I said, the new M is all new. It is not a re-tweaked M9, it is an all new body, new button layout and new buttons, new sensor, new LCD, new video capability, microphones on top of the body (where water can leak into, or so it seems) and even a new baseplate and tripod mount. Speaking of the baseplate, it is a great upgrade to the M9 baseplate. Beefier, solid and now the tripod mount is directly in the body, which is also an improvement. I also LOVE LOVE LOVE the new battery. It is huge but man the battery life is superb. I wish Sony did this with the RX1 instead of choosing their teeny battery. The new M 240 battery rocks and the new charger does as well. It takes about 2 hours to charge the high capacity battery and I was able to get 1700-2100 shots from a full charge using the RF to frame my shots. Incredible for a Leica M.
Leica also made the new M with the ability to use the Olympus VF-2..ooops, I mean Leica EVF just like they did with the X2. So now you can plop on the EVF and frame and shoot just like you are shooting any other mirrorless EVF camera. It works well but if it were me I would have created a viewfinder much like the Fuji hybrid where one button press would give you a high quality EVF and another would bring you back to the RF, and of course this would be all internal. This would have avoided the huge wart on top, added convenience and shooting pleasure and just been more sexy. I would have paid an extra $1000 for this alone. Maybe the M Type 260 will give us this in 2017 🙂
The 35 Summarit in WhoVille – see the wide dynamic range? This is not HDR but direct from RAW.
Below: The old 50 Summarit 1.5 for a street portrait
As it is though, I am happy to see the EVF ability added as this can give you confirmation that you have an RF that is either calibrated or out of whack. I have had many times with my M9 where the rangefinder accuracy drifted and I can tell you that is super frustrating as it makes the camera unusable for me. Now with the EVF and live view I can still get rock solid in focus shots, even if the RF drifts a little. I can say that the RF in this new M was calibrated correctly out of the box as it should be. That was a good thing because I did buy an M9-P once with an out of alignment RF out of the box. That really sucked.
So yes folks, the new M is a much different camera than the M9. In looks (it is slightly thicker), in use (it is faster and the new shutter is beautiful) and in output (different than M9 but this is not a bad thing).
Let me put up a list of the things that are different over the M9, just off the top of my head:
- The body is slightly larger and thicker – wish it was M6 sized as that body is perfect IMO
- New battery system – this is a big improvement
- New 3″ LCD – this is HUGE over the M9 and MM
- Newly “S2” styled menus – nice
- Maestro Processor of the S2 – Anything S2 is good
- Now 4 FPS for faster burst shooting
- Live View mode for critical focus if needed – with focus peaking!
- HD Video now on an M! One button press activates it though video is not my priority with this camera.
- Newly designed custom CMOS sensor improves high ISO, color and DR
- Focus assist button in front for manually activating assist using live view
- EVF capability
- External microphone can be added to hot shoe
- Improved performance with ultra wide lenses
- New electronic frame lines taken from the M9 Titanium (red or white, I prefer red)
- New thumb wheel scroll and thumb grip – I like this better than the M9
- New layout of buttons on back left, they feel nice and solid
- Power on and off button is more solid
- Shutter is a 2 stage shutter instead of 3 and is more damped and quiet. No grit.
- Shutter button no longer has grit. Smoother to push.
- Tripod mount is solid and now mounted to body instead of base plate
- Weather sealed!
So there you go, just off the top of my head there are 21 things different than the M9, most of them are big improvements. What it boils down to in the end is YOUR preference. Over a new M-E (which is an M9) you will spend about $1500 more and to me, $1500 is well worth all of these improvements.
The M240 for B&W shooting. Uh Oh..I may prefer it to the Monochrom..Let me tell you why.
Oh no! I am going to get attacked for this one… no question! I have been shooting with the Leica Monochrom for many months. I tried a beta camera in Berlin and then bought one of my own but it took a while to learn it and how to process the files. In fact, the Leica Monochrom is one tough cookie to master and I chalked it up to it just being better than I am. I have friends who LOVE it to death and produce consistent gorgeous results with it but for me, after shooting the new M 240 and doing some B&W conversions…I have to say I prefer the M to the MM! Oh the insanity! But let me explain.
Why do I prefer it to the MM (Monochrom)?
Easy: It is not because I think the new M gives better B&W results it is because The M is cheaper by $1000 and shoots color as well as having all of the new 2013 upgrades I spoke about above and it does B&W very very well. It may not have the exact signature of the Monochrom or the ultra high ISO but I can not complain about the B&W performance of the new M, or the higher ISO. Unless you are super duper picky about your B&W, need HUGE prints, or are just a dedicated B&W only shooter I feel the new M is a better buy, unless you can afford BOTH. Then you are in Leica heaven and have the best of both worlds. I still love the MM but if buying new from scratch one has to think…$1000 less for the M that can do color and a good B&W or $1000 more for a camera that will ONLY do B&W, but excellent B&W.
Here are two shots of ME taken same time, same place, same lens, etc – the differences, even in the 100% are MINIMAL
So the TOP image is the new M, the 2nd image is from the Monochrom – direct from camera and no PP – click for larger
Again, look at the TONES of each image not the DOF or lens character. Tonality wise they are almost the same. The M shot was not even converted using a plug in but rather just by sliding down the saturation. One more..the image below has one from each. One side is the M and the other the MM. I see the character of each, do you?
BTW, the answer is: Leica M on the left, Monochrom on the right.
Now I know there are loads of Mono users who love their Mono ( I love it as well) and technically, it can do a better job due to the sensor and insane detail it can capture with the right lenses… BUT….I just can not argue with these M B&W conversions that have a bit more snap, crackle and pop over the Mono. You can see my Monochrom gallery HERE and yes there is a difference in tones but it is personal pref as to what one will enjoy more. The Mono out of the box offers less contrast and more “sharp” in the rendering. Taking an M 240 file and using Alien Skin Exposure on it gives you the chance to do what you want. Low contrast, high contrast, deep blacks, faded blacks, etc and it is 95% as sharp as the mono file.
As always, just telling it how it is FOR ME, not for you. What you like will depend on your preferences. The MM is fantastic and the M is as well, just gives a different flavor of Monochrom. Below are all samples from the M240 that were converted to B&W in Alien Skin Exposure 4. Click them for larger views with more detail to see them correctly. BTW, if you are a B&W shooter and want to make huge huge prints, the MM can not be beat and would be the one to go with due to the detail it is capable of capturing. It also has a different way it renders those Monochrom tones.
The M is capable of high contrast (what I prefer) or low contrast (which I sometimes like) conversions or anything in between as you will see below. One image below is from the Monochrom. Can you spot it?
What I am really digging about the files from the M240 is that they are HARDY and very very “rich”. Much more so than M9 files that fall apart a little easier. They are also more hardy than the MM files (Monochrom). Again, it takes getting used to if coming from an M9 but after a few days you learn to appreciate the quality of file coming out of the new M. Seriously. I am guessing you will hear this from anyone who owns the M for any amount of time.
So yes, I now prefer the new M files to the M9 files and by quite a bit actually. I do not miss the noise, limited DR and sometimes off color of those M9 files. Once again, I am getting spoiled, but this time from the new M files. I have well over 100k exposures with the M9 and only a few hundred with the new M, so the good news is I am only scratching the surface and have not even begun to see what this camera can do. I can not wait to see what comes from the camera over the next 3-4 years, not only from me but from all who shoot it. I am sure there will be some beautiful “Daily Inspirations” coming in over the next few months.
The 7 Days of the new M Creation:
And on the 1st day Leica said: Let there be ELECTRONIC FRAME-LINES!
An actual shot of inside the viewfinder with the RED Electronic Frame lines activated taken by my iPhone 5 🙂
One thing I LOVE about the new M are the electronic frame lines and the accuracy of these frame lines. You can choose to have them show up in White or Red. I prefer RED as they just pop and glow and you can easily frame your subjects plus it looks super cool. When I 1st saw these in the Titanium M9 a while back I so wanted them in my M9 but there was no way I could afford the cost of the Titanium M9. At the time a buddy owned the Titanium and he let me shoot with it a little and I do remember loving those frame lines. Now we get them in the new M and they are great. Purists may not like them but I sure do, and that is a fact. The frame lines are optimized for a 2m distance and this is also an improvement over the M9.
NOTE: Some have showed concern that the electronic frame lines will be too bright but fear not! The frame lines dim in low light so they are not all bright and distracting. In fact, they are never distracting. In full sun they get a little brighter so you can still see them but they are always lit up just right.
And on the 2nd day Leica said: Let there be a big ass & bad ass battery!
When I first saw the new battery I was upset that Leica would change this. Many M9 owners have stocked up on batteries and it would have been cool to use those when upgrading. But after using this new big battery I have grown to LOVE it and I applaud Leica for the choice of making it like this. I get almost 2,000 shots per charge using the RF (not live view). This battery is a beast and the new charger rocks too. Sleek, slim and a fast 2 hour charge. Bravo Leica, Bravo!
And on the 3rd day Leica said: Let there be a new smoother shutter!
I remember all of my M9’s. I have had three M9’s and two M9’Ps over the past 4 years. ALL of them had a different shutter feel. Some were gritty, some were rough, some would feel nice, some were louder than others. It was odd to me that all of them were a but different. They all had one thing in common though..and that is that they were a little rough to push/press. The new M is more of a thud/thunk sound and the shutter release is much smoother. More similar to an M6 than an M9. This is the best shutter feel and sound of any Leica M digital to date.
And on the 4th day Leica said: Let there be Live View & Focus Peaking!
There were MANY mixed feelings by Leica fans on this one. Those who love Leica for who they are and what they have stood for hate the idea of Live View on an M. It just makes it so “DSLR”. I was one of those who were against it as well but damn…Live View has been a great addition and using the EVF, while slower, is nice for getting critical focus.
The focus peaking with EVF works very well and it has been easy to manual focus in this way. If your RF is out, the EVF or LCD can be used for critical focus.
I prefer using the RF but live view is nice to have on the M. It is well implemented and bug free too, which is good. Be aware though if you use the EVF there will be a slight lag when shooting. It is slower and I do prefer using the RF as already stated and would not recommend the EVF or LIve View for any kind of fast or even street shooting.
The focus peaking works like it does on the Sony cameras but it is not as pronounced..it is more “light” but you can easily see when eyes or any part of your subject is in focus, and it has been pretty accurate for me. Focus Peaking is good to have. If I could though I would wish for a more pronounced peaking level and continual focus peaking during video shooting (it is off while recording).
When shooting using Live View/EVF you also have the ability to enable focus magnification/assist. You can zoom in on the scene by up to 10X for super critical focus but when you do this it is only the center of the frame that blows up. You will just have to move the camera to where you want to focus and then recompose. You can not scroll around while zoomed in for focusing now can you choose the focus point, it will blow up the CENTER only. Once you focus critically in the magnified view you simply tap the shutter button lightly to go back to the full 1X view.
I have had no issues using this feature and all shots have been in focus when using the zoom focus assist. As I said before, it just slows things down quite a bit as it does on all mirror less cameras when using manual focus lenses so most will just prefer to use the RF which I can use MUCH faster than the EVF/Live View.
Oh, and Manual focus assist can be set to Automatic or manual. When in Automatic it will activate as soon as you turn the focus barrel of the lens. You can then adjust the level of magnification up to 10X using the thumb dial. If you do not use Automatic you can use the button on the front of the camera to activate it. I use “automatic” as I find this to be easy and I do not have to mess with the front button.
NEW METERING MODES
Another feature of Live View mode is that you can now for the 1st time ever choose Spot or Evaluative metering. Yes, the new M can be set up to use different metering than the classic center weighted of all previous M’s. I have tested all modes and while spot is a but tricky to use, evaluative seemed to work great. Only problem is the lag with those modes and I much prefer to use the RF/classic for my every day shooting. Still, it is nice to have these choices if you need them.
And on the 5th day Leica said: Let’s make movies!
For the 1st time EVER Leica has put HD Video capability in an M camera. This is a little weird if you ask me because A: There is no real image stabilization. B: The M body style is not the best for shooting video (if trying hand held) and C: There is no Auto Focus so you need some experience using MF for video. The video can also show the dreaded “Jello Effect” when shooting handheld.
Still, the M can take good video though not perfect or up to the standards of the video gurus. The great news is that it will let the character of your Leica glass shine through. It seems to be something for M users to try and possibly enjoy but it can also be used by those who want a great cinematic look to their video. I am sure we will see some killer video coming from someone soon because this camera delivers great colors, even in low light (as my sample video below was shot) so video looks great. If you are in funky lighting the colors will be off if you do not set white balance manually but for the most part it takes fantastic video.
I suggest using a tripod to avoid jello shakes.
See my video sample below mostly shot at night using the 35 Summarit wide open…
…and one more shooting the Noctilux 0.95 all wide open 🙂 Also, I had the camera set to B&W so the video gets shot in B&W as well.
Keep in mind I am not a hardcore video guy so others will do more testing with this. Still, I had to include a couple of samples because no one else really has yet. Video is here but for me it is not a make or break thing as I will not use this for video at all I feel, and if I do it will just be for family fun stuff. Some will though and it hurts nothing to have this capability. If you do not want it, you do not even have to know it is there.
I’d like to see a firmware upgrade that allows us to re-assign the top movie button for those of us who will never use it so maybe they can give us this. Leica is good about firmware updates though sometimes it can take them a while to get it released.
And on the 6th day Leica said: Let there be a solid Tripod mount!
As I mentioned earlier the baseplate of the new M is newly designed. It feels beefier but that may be due to the fact that it is a little thicker. With the M9, the tripod mount was built into the metal baseplate. In the new M, the tripod mount is mounted in the body and it looks very sturdy. This is yet another improvement in the all new ground up M. What you would expect from a hand assembled German made and designed camera. Another feature is that you can actually access the SD card without removing the baseplate if you so desire.
And on the 7th day Leica said: LET THERE BE CMOS!
The most controversial decision was to go to CMOS from CCD and there are so many out there screaming about it. When I saw the 1st test shots that were slowly leaking out from Leica I was very disappointed but I tried to hold back judgement until I used the camera. I still see others bashing the CMOS sensor yet they have not used the camera. Instead they are judging from early images taken by others with Beta firmware. Sure, there is indeed a difference but let’s break it down some:
The M9 files are sharp, detailed and have pop. They can be gorgeous at base ISO and in good light it doesn’t get much better.
The M 240 files at first glance do not appear to have the same pop, but in reality they really do have the same exact pop but with more richness in color and overall look. We do indeed get better color, richer color, extended dynamic range which makes it much easier to shoot in not so nice light, better high ISO performance (but not HUGE, Id go to 3200 on the new M and all the way to 10,000 on the MM) and more megapixels (which to me is not important as I prefer fatter pixels). I’ve already said this but the new M files are technically better than the M9 files, period. It is what it is. It is fact. It is reality.
We get more hardy files from the M as well and we can push them more and let’s face it, they are still very very sharp . It doesn’t matter because to my eyes, the M files are easily better in just about every way to these eyes. The new sensor is really good, and better than the M9’s CCD. It pains me to say that but it is the truth. With careful RAW conversion we can equal the M9 detail while gaining all of the other benefits of the new CMOS sensor.
The new files are just so pleasing to look at as they seem to have everything one can ask for. This is not me hyping the camera, it is fact, pure and simple. Are they better files than something like a D800 or 5DIII? Probably not but to have this in the M form factor is something so many have been asking for since the launch of the M9, and they can surely equal those high end DSLR files without a problem. Add in the Leica M glass and you have that quality with the character of Leica.
A couple of full size from RAW files. Click them for the full size.
These next two shots were converted from RAW using ACR and you can click them to see the full size files to see that the detail is still there, even with the CMOS sensor.
and an image with crop – you must click it for full size crop – this was full harsh AZ mid day sun!
Image Quality Comparison between the M 240, M9/ME/M9P, Sony RX1 and Fuji X100s
Many out there in internet land have been claiming the new sensor in the M 240 can not compete with the M9 for pop and detail. I am here to tell you and show you that this is not true. In fact, the new sensor can not only match the M9, it can exceed it in every area. Below you will see a three sets of comparison shots. They are between the ME (which is an M9) and the new M 240. ALL images below are from RAW. Same lens, same subject, same light, and using BASE ISO of each camera which is 160 on the ME/M9 and 200 on the new M. Take a look and click on each image for the full size file (the 1st set is full size). 18Mp for the M9 and 24 MP for the New M 240. The 2nd set is resized with a 100% crop to show noise at ISO 400 in the dark area.
The third set is the big one – 4 full size from RAW samples using the same focal length and aperture using the M 240, ME, Sony RX1 and Fuji X100s.
First, the M 240 file. Click image for full size 24 MP file.
and below is the ME/M9 files, Same lens, same aperture, base ISO. Click it for full size 18MP file
What do you see? I see minimal difference and no loss of any Leica look or pop or depth. Period. But let us try a couple more shall we?
The 1st one is from the new M 240. If you click it then you will see a larger version with a 100% crop embedded. Both were at ISO 400, indoor, medium light, 35 Summarit at 2.5. As with all of these images you MUST click them to see the larger version. Both are from RAW/DNG.
The image below is from the ME, which is the M9 with a new paint job. I much prefer the color in the M 240 shot as to my eyes it is more natural where the ME file has the M9 color signature which now appears off and ruddy when doing a direct comparison to the new M. There is also more grit in the ME crop at ISO 400.
So for these eyes, the 1st shot is a draw but in reality the win goes to the 240. The 2nd shot for me, goes to the 240 as well. I prefer the color of the 240 here as well.
Now for the big one.
The four images below are all full size images direct from RAW from the M, ME, RX1 and X100s. You can click each image for the full size file. You can save them to your own computer if you want to mess with them, resize them, whatever you like. OK, so here they are and each file is marked. All cameras were shot at f/4, base ISO using the 35mm (or equiv) focal length.
1st up the Leica M 240 – From Lightroom 4.4, exported and saved as an “8” JPEG
Now the Leica M9 file – Lightroom 4.4 – saved as an “8” JPEG
The Sony RX1 file – Lightroom 4.4 – Saved as an “8” JPEG
The Fuji X100s file – Lightroom 4.4 – saved as an “8” JPEG
So there you have it! All 4 cameras give plenty of detail and pop but to my eye, after careful examination I think the M240 and RX1 wins this one overall for sure. Look at the base of the hydrant. The RX1 and M240 have plenty of detail and DR and the X100s has a little mush here. Still, the X100s is impressive because it is $1299 vs the $2799 of the RX1 and $over $8500 price of the M combo. As for the M9, it also did very well as expected with detail and really cant be faulted. What are your thoughts?
High ISO. How much better is it over the M9?
One of the reasons Leica went to CMOS besides Live View is to achieve better high ISO performance. With the M9, shooting at max ISO of 2500 was pretty rough in lower light. In order to avoid the noise we had to crush the blacks to hide the massive noise. I tried to keep my M9 shooting at lower ISO and usually avoided 1600-2500. With the new M I can comfortably go to ISO 3200 if needed, hell even 6400. So 6400 is a huge improvement since the M9 days BUT if you are shooting in the dark or VERY low light you may see some banding in ISO 6400 shots. In average light you will not see it, at least I did not.
The new M still does not get us to Monochrom ISO performance. I can use that camera at 10,000 ISO if needed and it still keeps the detail as well. The new M also loses a little bit of Dynamic Range the more you pump up the ISO so in reality, this new M is also at its best at lower ISO. 200-1600 seems to be the sweet spot for me but you can still use it with confidence up to 3200.
The incredible news is that it beats the amazing high ISO champ, the Sony RX1 from 1600-6400. This surprised me as I thought it would fall short because Leica has NEVER been known for their high ISO quality At the end of the day it is a huge improvement in real word photos over an M9. The ISO 6400 shots I am getting look better than the ISO 2500 on the M9. Want to see? Take a look at the samples below in the high ISO test.
HIGH ISO tests:
A HIGH ISO quick comparison: Leica M, Leica M-E, Sony RX1, Fuji X100s – all at 35mm f/4
Many have asked me for this and it has been the #1 request for this review. You guys want to see the same shots, same settings, same everything, tripod mounted and all side by side. So here you go. One shot from each camera..the M, M-E (M9) and Sony RX1. You can click the images below to see the full size from RAW out of camera files. Which do YOU prefer? I decided to go to extremes – Max ISO on the M of 6400. Max ISO on the M-E of 2500 and ISO 6400 on the RX1 to match the new M.
UPDATE: Some have stated here in the comments that my results do not match that of focus-numerique. That is because their Sony high ISO samples have Noise Reduction added and their Leica M files do not. Without NR the Sony files would be just as sharp as the M with just as much if not a little more noise. So their test is flawed due to that fact. I never use NR in my ISO tests or personal shooting, it is always 100% off. You can always spot NR as it kills details and adds mush. This makes their Sony test files look very soft as well.
NOTE: I test high ISO in a way that anyone SHOULD test high ISO. In dim or low light conditions. I use the same aperture, same focal length (if possible) and use A mode for all cameras letting the CAMERA choose the exposure. Why? Because this is what you will get in the real world when USING the camera. We do not go out and shoot an RX1 saying “Oh, I have to match the exposure to the Leica M”. No, 85% of shooters that use advanced cameras shoot in A mode. So what you see below is what you REALLY get. I would also NEVER EVER do high ISO tests with studio lighting for the very obvious reasons as that is a condition that is so far from “real world” it is really useless. No one will crank up the ISO to shoot with bright studio lighting unless it is by accident. I prefer to shoot a camera how it is meant to be shot so the results you see here are what YOU will get when you take the camera out to shoot.
1 – Leica M 240 – ISO 3200 and 6400 crops embedded in file. Click it to see them full size
2 – Sony RX1 – ISO 3200 and 6400 crops embedded in file. Click them to see full size. M beats RX1 at these ISO for noise
3 – Fuji X100s – Yes, the new S 🙂 ISO 3200 and 6400 crops embedded in file. Click them for full size. Impressive!
4 – Leica ME (M9) – The MAX ISO of the M9/ME is 2500 so the crops here are ISO 1600 and 2500 crops
As you can see, the high ISO champ among these contenders is the new Leica M where it beats the RX1 for noise by a tad. None of these had any Noise Reduction. What you see is what you get. I am impressed with what Leica has done as they can now say it as fact “no compromise”. The X100s was added last minute and this test impresses me. It appears the X100s will be mighty good. My full review of this camera is coming in 1-2 weeks.
The ME has a greenish hue to the color and for me, the color winners are the M240 and X100s as they are closest to the real scene, which was garage lighting. All cameras were set to AWB to see how they would render the color/WB. All cameras were at 35mm and f/4 (X100s 24mm lens equals a 35mm due to sensor crop).
So there ya go, the M240 chalks up another one with impressive high ISO performance.
Here are two snaps at NIGHT at ISO 6400 with the new M. The M9 could not do this at 2500 at night and this is a nice improvement for night street shooters. You may sometimes see slight banding at ISO 6400 but this is a PUSH mode and why I would normally stick to ISO 3200 for my max.
The new “Info” screen. This was shot on day 4 with the camera and I was still on the same original battery charge with 65% left. Notice it tells me what lens is attached, my ISO, metering mode, WB mode and my quality settings. You access this screen by pressing the middle “info” button that is in the back “d-pad” on the right.
Dynamic Range – Can you recover shadow detail?
I was shooting one day in an old abandoned house. It was smelly, nasty and a cold 34 degrees and I just wanted to take a few test shots and get out. There was one shot I snapped in a rush and when I arrived back home I realized it was underexposed a little. I decided to open the RAW file and see if I could pull out detail from the shadows. Worked like a charm. I was able to recover ALL of the detail and what was invisible before. This is a good indication that the sensor in the M is fantastic. Check out the before and after images below:
1st image is out of camera JPEG. 2nd image was the RAW where I pulled out the shadow detail. The DR of this sensor is HUGE.
Get a Grip
There is a new grip in town from Leica and it means business. Coming in at $895 it is insanely priced. I mean, this is a GRIP you add to the bottom of the camera and it is $895! But it does add GPS functionality to the camera so you can see exactly where all of your images were taken. The grip, which I have not seen or used seems like it adds some size to the camera. I was never a fan of the big grips for the M8 or M9 but this one does look cool and well made. Personally, I will not be shelling out the near $1k for the grip but I am sure many will. Just a bit too rich for my blood.
The M Multi-Functional Handgrip is a beast 🙂
don’t miss these amazing contests at I SHOT IT with prizes of cash and Leica cameras:
The Pros and Cons of the new Leica M Typ 240
- New LCD rocks!
- New shutter rocks!
- New Electronic Frame lines rock!
- New big ass battery rocks!
- Focus Peaking and Live View are a welcome addition
- Camera feels great and new buttons and layout are an improvement
- Camera is still beautiful and pure Leica in build and quality
- Speed has been improved, new Maestro processor from the S2
- New menus look 2013 instead of 2001
- HD Video is on board and while not perfect, the quality is great.
- EVF Capability is good for some situations
- Camera has been 100% bug free. No issues at all.
- Cost is $50 less than the original M9 at launch at $6950
- Color is very rich, files are hardy
- Dynamic Range is improved over the M9 and is incredible!
- HIGH ISO is improved over the M9, ISO 3200 is VERY usable
- New thumb grip helps quite a bit and thumb wheel is a nice improvement
- Battery charger is very nice, slim and charges in about 2 hours
- You can use the Olympus EVF or Leica EVF, same with the add on microphone.
- The new CMOS sensor is exclusive and designed just for this camera.
- Still feels and shoots like a classic RF, but with modern twists.
- Weather sealed!
- A definite improvement across the board for the digital M shooter in every way.
- You can shoot your R glass with an adapter. This IS Leica’s “R Solution”.
- More accurate frame lines now optimized for 2M distance
- Less shutter lag than the M9 while in “classic mode” (not Live View)
- Color and B&W both look great out of this camera.
- You can now choose classic metering or evaluative or spot, but there will be a lag with spot or evaluative.
- No more lag for your LCD previews like with the M9. When you take the shot they pop in immediately – crisp and clear.
- Camera is thicker than the M9 and the M9 is bigger and thicker than an M7. I would prefer M6 size but just not possible.
- When you power on the camera there is a short 2 second delay, it is not anywhere near instant to power on and it should be.
- Still no speed demon at 4FPS, but then again, that is not what the M is about.
- Red dot is a bit too large IMO. Leica really wants people to know you are shooting a Leica. M9P design would have been nicer.
- 2 year warranty. At this price I feel at least a 3 year would be best, 5 would be perfect.
- Small shutter lag when using Live View that slows it all down a tad. I do not recommend using the EVF or live view for street or where you need fast response.
- AWB is improved but can still give some odd results in mixed light.
- Wish there was continuing focus peaking during video shooting.
- Should be a way to choose the area you want to magnify for focus assist
- Banding may be seen in some situations at PUSH ISO 6400, stick with 3200 for max and that will not be an issue
- Frame line preview selector switch is gone and some may miss this (I never used it ever)
- HD video has some rolling shutter/Jello effects.
- Sometimes there is an odd orange-ie type of color cast going on and I expect a FW fix is coming for this
- Finally, there are other cameras for less money that can give similar results or come close (D800, 5DIII, RX1, and even Fuji X100s) but you lose the RF experience and Leica glass on a full frame sensor.
ISO 800, 50 lux at 1.4 – Blown highlights at the top? This was done on purpose. I will state why in a new article soon 🙂
Is it worth an upgrade from an M9 or to buy over the M-E?
I have been watching the online comments from potential M buyers and many of them are saying “I see nothing that makes me want to upgrade from my M9”. There are many passionate M9 owners and I can understand that statement because the M9 is a special camera and it somehow has a way of “attaching” itself to you. It is still a highly capable camera and always will be as long as it is functional. If you enjoy your 9 then you have all the camera you need right there.
But for those on the fence, here is what you gain over the M9 with the M, and these are my honest opinions after extensive use with BOTH:
- The LCD on the new M is 100% better than the M9. It’s jaw dropping when comparing them side by side.
- The New M thumb grip and thumb wheel are improvements in control and feel.
- The electronic frame lines are a nice improvement.
- Battery life is hugely improved as is the new charger.
- Live View has already saved me for a few shots using the EVF.
- The new sensor will provide you with better low light results, no question!
- The new sensor will provide MUCH richer and IMO better color than the M9!
- The new M has improved AWB.
- The new M has the ability to use old R lenses if that is your thing.
- The new M has focus peaking and focus assist when using live view!
- The new M has HD video capability that is quite decent.
- The new files are much more hardy when processing.
- Dynamic Range is much better on the new M, easier to shoot in full sun without harsh results!
- The new sensor provides just as much pop and detail as the M9. Yes, it really does.
- The new M has weather sealing so light rain should not be an issue or worry.
- This is indeed the future of the Leica M, and will be the current model for at least three years.
The M9 is a great tool no doubt and can still take amazing images today as it did in 2009. If you are pondering an upgrade just decide if you want any of the new improvements. If not, stick with the M9. 🙂 If you are contemplating buying an M-E or the new M, the new M will set you back an extra $1500 so just be sure these new features are worth it for you. To me, they are VERY well worth it. To you they may not be. Choose what fits your needs the best. Either way you will be getting a great tool but I am telling you now, you will want this new M if you are contemplating an M and can not decide between the ME and the M 240.
My Final Word on the new Leica M Typ 240
So many of you have skipped here I bet..avoided the over 13,000 words above and just came to the conclusion. Well, if you did that then I suggest you go back up and read all that I have written. I have spent countless hours (over 80) on this review and have went out and done LOADS of shooting! Lol. BUT if you just do not have the time or desire to read it all then I guess you can get the flavor of it all in this final breakdown:
Yes, Leica has finally delivered a modern super versatile rangefinder camera. The new M is filled with bells, filled with whistles, and all kinds of tricks that previous M’s NEVER even thought about or could have even ventured into. The new 240 is loaded and to some this is good news and to others it is not so good news, but to those who feel it is bad news let me say..DO NOT FEAR. The new M is excellent and a worthy successor to the M9. In fact, it has exceeded my expectations and I have found it well worth the admission cost. I have ZERO regrets for selling my M9P for this new M. None. Zilch. Zero. Nada. In fact, if I had to go back to the M9 it would be tough now that I have seen what the new M is capable of as well as the joy of shooting it!
The 50 Noctilux wide open
Some of you have seen early online samples and had mixed feelings on the new sensor. The bottom line is that many of us Leica fans have been shooting with the M9 for over 3 years. We are now so used to those M9 files they are almost hardwired in our brain. The amazing pop and detail of those M9 files with a calibrated body and lens are astounding and when we switch to this new M 240 things are not quite the same…at 1st because they look so much different. In my opinion though, they are even better and by a large margin but you do have to get used to that difference and it can take a few days.
The new CMOS sensor in this camera is much different than the Kodak CCD sensor in the M9. The look it will give you is a little bit different and you can not replicate the M9 feel with the new 240 just as you can not replicate the M 240 look with the M9 or even the look of the M9 with an M8 and vice versa.
After extensive use with this new 240 I have a deep appreciation for what this camera can do and how it goes about doing it. While we lose just some of that M9 crispness we gain so much more due to the use of the new CMOS sensor. MUCH better Dynamic Range, better high ISO performance, richer color and more robust files that can be tweaked more during PP, the ability to have Live View (which I do like having) and the image quality is up there with the top full frame DSLR’s like the D800, 5DIII, and in some cases better with more character due to the gorgeous Leica glass available.
The 50 1.4 strikes again – LR 4.4
One thing I found is that it took a few days of using the new M 240 to realize what it can do. I had to relearn processing of the RAW files as they do not work like the M9 files did. Different sharpening levels are needed and there is so much more DR my usual tricks for the M9 files only made the M240 files look worse. Once I figured out my workflow it all started to come together. I started seeing the benefits of the new sensor.
Once this happened the M9 files started looking a bit “hard” in comparison..a bit “off” in color. Yep, my brain has now gotten used to the M240 files! My guess is that if the M240 came out in 2009 and the M9 was just released now that M shooters would be in an uproar asking where their color is, where their DR is as well as their ISO performance. I even prefer B&W conversions of these M files over the M9 B&W! It’s a win win.
So all of you Leica fans can rest easy.
The new M 240 is a joy to shoot and while it has it “all” you can still shoot it like an old school M8 or M9 using the RF and avoiding the new features. That is what makes it so cool. You can shoot how you want and it is all there for you when you need it and it even has some weather sealing. Nice.
My 240 has been bug free and never had one freeze up, SD card issue or any problems. Seems like the most stable M yet hardware wise, so congratulations to Leica for creating this and having the balls to go into modern times with the digital RF.
When I first obtained the M I was unsure if I would keep it or go back to an M9 or M-E. After using it every day for the past 2 weeks I will not be going back to the M9, no way no how. I have once again been spoiled by the new kid on the block. While the M9 has served me well for almost 4 years, I expect the new M to do the same for the future. This is not spin or me trying to sell cameras, it is my honest to goodness opinion, as always. I even enjoy using the video feature on this camera! I am also not trashing the M9, as the M9 is a legend in my mind. Just as capable today as it was yesterday.
But yes my friends, the new M is a fantastic tool as well as a real Leica. The M has come a long way and the new 240 is a bonafide winner. The great part is that Leica did not increase the price for all of the new additions. It is actually $45 less than the M9 was at launch and comes in at $6,950. Still an insane dollar amount for a camera but as I spoke about in older M9 articles, if this is your passion and you get enjoyment in your life from it then it is well worth it.
Me, I skip the fancy cars, boats, ATV’s, and other toys to afford my cameras and enjoy my photography. This is what I get enjoyment from in life (besides family and friends of course).
If you are stuck between buying an M9 or M-E or new M, I can highly recommend the new M with ease. It is my favorite camera EVER and the new king of the Leica M hill. This is the best Leica digital RF to date hands down and yes you can quote me on that. It has the Mojo, the feeling, the maturity, the soul and the history of Leica behind it. I think this will end up being my new favorite camera ever.
With all of that said, other cameras like the D800, Canon 5DIII, Sony RX1, and even the new Fuji X100s can get close (X100s) or equal the new M in IQ (FF DSLR’s). But to those who want an M, nothing but an M will do and it is the only camera where you can use all of the gorgeous M lenses on a full frame camera.
I have not even touched upon the new feature and ability to use Leica R glass via Adapter, out of camera JPEGS or new film modes of the M 240. Those sections will be added as I test them and the next update on JPEG and film modes will be next. Soon.
Where To Buy the M 240
Ken Hansen – Ken is the man. A legendary Leica dealer. Ken has done so much for me since day one of my web site and I owe him so much yet he continues to act like he owes me 🙂 Ken does not have a web site, just an email and phone number. If you need anything leica, new or used feel free to send him an e-mail (email@example.com) and tell him I sent you. You can not go wrong with Ken or any of the dealers I recommend. Period. If it were not for him I would not have this M or the Monochrom.
PopFlash – Tony Rose at PopFlash.com is another legendary dealer. Leica fans know him by name for good reason. Me and Tony have not always been best of friends but today we are solid and he is always going out of his way to please every customer that comes his way. He also sells the cool Artisan & Artist strap you see on my Leica M. You can read about it HERE. But Tony is a great Leica guy and his website is HERE.
The Pro Shop – These guys are awesome. They know their stuff and within their walls is an official Leica Shop. They also sell Nikon and other high end cameras as they did not get the name “Pro Shop” for nothing. You can check out their site or give them a call here. Great group of guys and they may just have what you are looking for, Leica or otherwise.
B&H Photo – The store I have been shopping at for anything photographic since the early 90’s. I have spent so much money at B&H it is embarrasing but one thing has been constant. In almost 20 years of shopping with them I have never had one bad experience with B&H Photo. Their website is the best, their tracking rocks, their return policy is about as good as it gets. I can only go by my experiences but B&H is known world wide. They have everything you can imagine for your photo needs and even other things like TV’s, High end headphones, binoculars and much more. If you click HERE to go to their site anything you purchase..anything will help to keep this website alive. They have the new M HERE for pre-order.
Amazon – What can I say? Amazon rocks. They have the new M HERE. Same goes with Amazon, if you follow my link and end up buying ANYTHING, even a baby wipe I will get a few pennies that build up over the months and it helps to fund this site. So thank’s to anyone who has helped out!
Questions you may have for me after reading this review:
Q: What camera did you use for the product shots?
A: I used the Sony RX1 for all product shots, all JPEG.
Q: Do you really like the new M better than the M9?
A: Yes, without a doubt. 100%. The improvements are pretty huge and it is a worthy successor. Take a look at the images from my M9 review and then at these in this review. You will see the difference in color, rendering, tonality, DR, etc all for the better in the new M. This is just IQ. When you add in all of the other things it takes it over the top for me. This is also the most fun to use digital M yet.
Q: How come you did not test resolution?
A: I do not do that. never have, never will. You can see tests like that from Sean Reid over at Reid Reviews. I like to test in a real world way, using the camera just as YOU would use it. What you see is what you get 🙂 Sean goes the other route which many love as well and Sean is a good guy. I also met him in Berlin and he let me use his Monochrom for that one hour test (though I think Leica had something to do with that).
Baker Baker – he was in FULL sun – LR 4.4 – click it for better view
Q: Did Leica send you that camera for free?
A: NO. As stated I bought mine from Ken Hansen, Leica dealer. Leica has never given me anything. Not even a lens cleaning cloth. My check has been sent to Ken. 🙂
Q: Is the camera you have a final production camera with latest firmware?
A: Yes, this is one of the very 1st full production models in the USA. It also is running the very latest firmware.
Q: How can Leica charge $6,950 for a camera body in 2013 with so much competition?
A: Easy. It is a Leica. Many people have strong feelings and passion for Leica. Yes, we do pay for the name and red dot but we also pay for a finely engineered piece of gear, which when shot with and held gives a sense of price and ownership that not many cameras do. It’s hard to explain unless you are already a Leica user. Plus, those lenses are the best in the world, hands down. From construction, to feel, to image quality. Yes, Leica is priced in the stratosphere and I am just glad they did not jump the price of the new M into the $8-10K range as previously rumored. They kept it at $6950 and at that price they sold loads of M9’s. I mean, did you expect the new M to be $3000? No one did. Again, it is Leica. Oddly enough, when I shoot the M 240 I feel it is worth the cost for me as it gives me so much inspiration, joy and happiness.
Lightroom 4.4 for the RAW file
Q: Do you like the new M more than your “Camera of the Year 2012” the Sony RX1?
A: Well, I LOVE my RX1 and it has given me incredible quality in a small well made body and lens. I have the EVF, the Gariz case, and it has never failed me. It has its own unique look due to the Zeiss lens and huge Dynamic Range and is a dream street machine that can even close focus. The M is a different tool all together. With the M you can change focal lengths/lenses but the RX1 is a 35mm camera only. If you shoot only 35mm, the RX1 may just be the better choice as the IQ is somewhat similar between the two, just with different color signatures and mojo. Then again, if you want the rangefinder experience, then Leica is the only game in town for digital RF. The M experience (in use) can’t be replicated with a normal digital camera from Sony, Fuji, Olympus, etc. I love both cameras but to be 100% honest, if I had a choice to grab the M and a 35 or the RX1 for a day trip..I would probably take the M. For an evening street walk, it may be the RX1 or M, depending on mood. Bottom line is both are superb. Pick your poison as they say. I am keeping both.
Q: Are you paid off by Leica or the dealers you recommend?
A: Lol, No. The dealers I recommend are all dealers I shop with or have good experience with. Those dealers are also site sponsors (advertisers) but I accepted them because they are the best in the buz. Any business or dealer I recommend is due to the fact that I know you will not be ripped off or taken advantage of. They are top notch. They pay a yearly fee to have their ad on my site (as with any website/blog) but that is not why I recommend them. As for Leica, they do not give me anything..ever. In fact, they do not even send me review samples at all anymore and I have no contact at Leica due to some oddball political reasons.
But that is no problem as I can get their cameras to review from the dealers early on like this M. I’d rather OWN the review camera anyway instead of feeling pressure from a camera company to write a good review. Even one of the beta testers (who I deeply respect) said in his review that he will talk about good things and not the bad because his loyalties are to Leica. I like being able to say what I need to say though in the case of this new M I really do not have anything horrible to say. 🙂
Q: Does the Olympus EVF VF-2 really work on the new M? How about the $48 Olympus Microphone set?
A: YES, and yes. I have tried the Leica EVF and the Olympus VF-2. Both work perfect and are exactly the same in quality, build, feel and use. The Leica comes in a silver box and has the LEICA name on it, which I admit looks great on the new M. The Olympus has “Olympus” on the front which looks odd on a Leica M that cost $7k. Both are made by Epson, same EVF. The Olympus is $249 and the Leica runs around $450-$500 depending on where you buy. As for the microphone set, the Leica is the same one as the Olympus SEMA-1 which sells for under $55. The Leica version with the Leica name on it is $250-$285. Same exact mic. I tested them and found the sound quality to not be a huge improvement over the built in mic anyway. The good news is you can use the shoe adapter from the mic set to plug in any mini jack mic you want. Even though they are the same as the Olympus versions, I am seeing most M buyers springing the extra for the Leica versions just to feel “complete”.
Q: Why not just spend less on a Nikon D800 and Zeiss lens?
A: If you want a rangefinder and the experience that goes along with it, as well as the size and weight advantage then a Nikon D800 just will not do. The D800 is a FINE camera and I loved the IQ coming from it when paired with a Zeiss 35 1.4. It was gorgeous in all areas of image quality. But I was happy to send the review sample back as I would never use it due to size, heft and weight.
I am a guy who takes my camera with me 90% of the time. The D800 is just too large and cumbersome for this, for ME.
Sure I can spend a little less and get a D800/Zeiss prime combo but it would end up staying at home 90% of the time. Unused.
Plus throw in the fact that I love Leica M lenses. They are just so nice, small, well made and the character of many of them are unmatched, even by Zeiss. if you want a Leica M, then you want a Leica M. It is all about what you like, what gives you enjoyment and what makes you HAPPY. If it is an M, go for an M. If it is a D800, go for a D800.
Q: What is that red strap you have on your M?
A: That is the Atisan & Artist Easy Slider and I wrote all about it and even did a video for it HERE.
Q: Why do you review in a “Real World/Real Use’ style instead of battering the camera with a series of scientific tests?
A: Easy! Back about 5 years ago before my site started I used to be a guy who frequented the main forums that were all the rage back in the day. Those sites would do technical tests and long reviews and I would usually skip right to the conclusion because I really could care less about some of those “scientific tests” that they were doing. When certain tests are done it sort of starts taking away from what the camera was built to do, which is take real photos. Memories. Slices of life. Many use these cameras (Yes, even Leicas) to capture memories of their children, their family, their life and yes, even their pets. When I get a new camera in to review I test it in the only way it should be tested. By using it to take pictures. Using it at all kinds of settings – low light, bright light, mid light and indoors. What the camera gives me back in the image quality is what reality is. if I set up a studio in my garage with studio lighting and take images of wood, plants or newspapers then this tells me absolutely nothing. Do I care how surgically sharp a lens CAN be in the perfect conditions? No, not me because I will never shoot in the perfect conditions. I will not set my camera to match another cameras metering when do high ISO shooting either.
What you see in my reviews is the results of me using the camera for 1-2 weeks and beyond. Real results in all kinds of situations and the same results you will get if you end up using the same camera. Scientific testing has its place and there are some who prefer that, which is great but there are also many who prefer this style as they like to see what they can expect if they buy the camera.
I will note that this was the very 1st “Real World” camera review site online. Now there are hundreds. That right that backs up my statements that there are more who enjoy real world reviews than technical reviews.
This site started because of the lack or real world reviewing. I would not review any other way.
2014 UPDATE: The ever growing Leica M 240 Sample Gallery is HERE with TONS of new images!
And now..the end is here…
I want to thank ALL of you for reading this long winded review and ramble about my experience with the new Leica M. I hope you enjoyed it and if you did not then that is OK as well but one thing is certain, it is all true from my personal feelings. Will you feel the same if you jump to the new M? I can not say as not everyone is not the same and if you have never shot an RF before expect a 2 week “getting used to” phase. In any case, thank you all! I will leave you with a few more samples from the M using the 35, 50 and 75mm focal lengths and if you have one of these on pre-order I truly hope your wait is not too long. ENJOY!
BTW, I will be adding to this review as I shoot more and discover more about the camera. I will also add more samples or comparisons when I can. Some of the samples below are softer due to slow shutter speeds of me missing focus slightly when shooting wide open. But click on any image for a much larger view which will always look better with more sharpness, color and pop.
THANK YOU ALL! EXIF is embedded in each shot! Most were processed with Lightroom 4.4 and the M profile.
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Love your site, reviews and content.
I’m a sony A7r2 user (mostly leica lenses), but my uncle recently lent me his leica M240. I have a few questions about the supposed pros/cons of using a leica M with leica glass.
Supposed Pro 1: “Rangefinder gives you more freedom” – As a spectacled photographer, I haven’t found the leica M to be “bright” or “free” in any way. even though I press up my glasses as much to the VF, i can barely see the entire frame lines (50mm lens) and on a 35mm lens, the white frames take up the entire space (0.85x). I feel like a rangefinder with 0.72x like the older versions would work better?
Supposed Pro 2: Leica glass works better on a Leica body – Sounds logical. However, I’ve done multiple comparisons, with a tripod in a variety of light conditions, and I’d wager a fair amount of money that no one would be able to accurately tell them apart 100 percent of the time. So is it just rationalization or is there something real about “Leica Magic”
Supposed Pro 3: Better shooting experience – This I found to be quite accurate. Using a Leica is extremely fun and really forces you to slow down. However, this is about as good as it gets.
Conclusion: I really love Leicas (especially the glass), but I’m having a hard time seeing how a Leica M is better than a Sony A7r2. In the end, do you think its just a matter of preference ? or the emotion of shooting a leica (very similar to film cameras)?
Sorry for the long post, thank you!
Supposed Pro 1: “Rangefinder gives you more freedom” – This would be a personal choice. It took me a year of shooting with a true RF to appreciate it in this regard. I hated it my 1st few weeks and almost ditched it. Now I love shooting with an RF for so many reason.
Supposed Pro 2: Leica glass works better on a Leica body – It is better on a Leica body and many tests from many photos have shown this. Its at the edges using wide angle lenses, as well as a tad more pop with normal lenses. The Leica color signature mates well with their lenses. A Sony camera will give much different color.
Conclusion: I really love Leicas (especially the glass), but I’m having a hard time seeing how a Leica M is better than a Sony A7r2. In the end, do you think its just a matter of preference ? or the emotion of shooting a leica (very similar to film cameras)?
Its all preference and as I said, if you only borrowed the M, you will not grow to appreciate it within a day or even a few days. It’s something one chooses for is, build, feel, IQ, amazing lenses, discreetness, speed (I can MF with an M faster than most AF cameras), and using the RF frame lines, which I absolutely love (but not all will). It comes down to, choose what YOU like best 😉
This is a very late comment as I am very late in coming to the Leica M-240. After trying to emulate the rangefinder experience with first an X-100S & then an X-Pro1, I finally was able to afford to get the real thing: a new to me but lightly used M-240. Your very detailed review was the most helpful source of info that I found when struggling to make my decision. But you hit on all of the points I needed, & most importantly got me to understand why I should not get a lesser expensive used M9 which was my original intent. So many, many belated thanks for your careful & complete analysis of the new M.
And now I also had the option to consider the new M-262, but first could not afford the new price but more than anything else just realized it was the same camera except for the live view & video features, which I may not use but they harm nothing by being available in the camera (I turned video off so I don’t have to worry about accidentally hitting the M button atop the camera). Thanks again & keep up the excellent work!
Such a great little camera, want one for the kit bag
You cannot run a marathon with a dress shoes so, don’t expect this camera to be everything, including a coffee machine or a refrigerator. This is a piece of art combined with the most amazing glass choices money can buy. Every machine has it’s pros and cons, so as the M240. Overall, it is the best for those who appreciate the simplicity yet the sophistication of the M offers. With M, you can crate the sharpest or the creamiest images when appropriate. Great review and I read it all without scrolling down to the conclusion.
Hi Steve, and hello from the UK.
I have enjoyed your first look video and the comprehensive review of the M(240) and finally, after many months of pondering, decided to join the Leica M 240 club
For the time being, having limited funds, I will only be able to buy one lens and was wondering what you would recommend?
I suppose I want a good general walk-about lens and considering either the 35mm or 50mm Summarit or Summicron lens.
I will mainly be using the camera for city/landscape and some street, if I can build my confidence up and as the area of London I live in (Greenwich) is rich in historical buildings etc that will keep me busy for a while.
Once again many thanks for all the time and effort you put into your reviews and video’s.
Sorry if I missed this, but I wondering about zoom and long lenses that might pair well with the M. Any word on a 70-200 range lens? Something longer? Practically speaking I should buy a Nikon, but I feel an unbelievable pull towards Leica. Given the range of photography I do the zooms and telephotos are often very helpful, but I really love photographing in the with 35-85 mm primes. I read about people with R lenses but they seem to be getting scarce.
Your thoughts would be appreciated.
Cant use zoom lenses on an M. It is a rangefinder. Only manual focus primes.
Thought you could use R lenses on the m(240) and that there are/were R zoom lenses?! Such as the R 28-70 f3.5-4.5. That seemed to be part of the hype around the evf.
Here is the statement from the Leica website:
Compatibility with Leica R-Lenses
The Leica M can take full advantage of almost all lenses in the Leica R-Lenses series, thanks to the new, state-of-the-art Leica R-Adapter. This extensive lens range includes various wide-angle, telephoto and macro lenses as well as a selection of zooms.
Stopped by the Leica store to try the cameras out and I’ll be getting one soon too. Very solid review!
Hi Steve, Have just completely read all of your review and all the comments and thank you for all the hard work and time you have put in to do the review. I went on a intro course for M240 at Leica in Mayfair London on a lovely day in May so was able to use it outside. I have hankered after one since then and your review convinced me I was on the right path so hopefully will get one in October when my savings policy matures. I love reading your write ups and seeing your photographs and the Daily Inspiration I get is most enjoyable. Take care and many thanks for providing a lovely site to read. Alan
Don’t forget – new firmware for Type 240 is released. Version 126.96.36.199 is a huge update!
According to Ken Rockwell from his review on the M9 240 there should be a problem handling highlights. I quote:
” The bad news is that DNG image quality from the M type 240 has highlights with relatively little dynamic range that turn a dirty brownish-red if you attempt to recover extreme highlights. The M9 by comparison has extraordinary highlight dynamic range when shot as DNG”.
Is this a relevant issue linked to the M 240, or should it be ignored. In my experience when highlights are blown out too much because they are totally out of DR at the time of capture, it cannot be fixed in PP.
Nonsense. Pure Nonsense. I have zero issues with highlights and the M and I shoot in the harshest sun in the USA. 🙂 The M9 on the other hand has very limited DR. His statement could not be more untrue.
Thank you Steve. I should have known better before asking your opinion on this matter, because you already explained DR very clearly in an utmost positive way in your review. Hopefully you do not feel offended, which was the last thing I had in mind when I posted my question. My experience with Leica comes from using Leica X2 only and I am in the process of upgrading to M.
No offense AT ALL! AT ALL! I just will tell you right now that what he says is nonsense. Either for attention or because he does not know how to use the M. DR has never ever been a problem with this camera, at all. It is one of the strengths. 🙂
I’m just another doctor Leica M9-P Silver owner and am currently using it with just two lenses – 50 lux and 35 cron. It took me at least 1 year to really begin to get the most out of it. I have my user profiles set up just the way I want. And after shooting dng for most of that time have recently just settled on OOC JPEG on the M9-P with moderate high contrast, sharpening and saturation. The results? Awesome.
I understand the M, and it’s feature and ease of use superiority – but it will ultimately be just the first of many video capable CMOS Leicas. I’m sure I’ll pick up the next version or the one after once they have all the new features sorted.
One thing I will never (or never have to) do is sell my M9-P. It’s the last of its kind and without its red dot, bombproof build and more true to classic Leica build and principles – will no doubt be the future classic digital.
When the Leica M 240 came out, it was advertised that now with a new Leica adapter, you can use your old Leica R lens with this M 240, but by the way, you also need to buy an Olympus or Leica EVF to made your R lens work great.
Leica, you have been sitting on hands too long, Sony beat you to the punch with the A7 & A7r, all Leica R glass owners now have a full frame sensor camera with built in EVF that works great and cost much less than the half baked M 240 “R Solution”.
Beauty is a philosophical question but just as the Hyundai immitates and then leads the BeeMah the actual curves are a delight to anyone not paying for them as they laugh listening to what they imagine is the roar of the finest engine imaginable but really just another deeeezel or infernal combustion engineering motor. What I mean to say is the M240 or rather the Z280 looks like all the other downsized ones today.
Steve. I have always wanted a leica. Your review of the M was great.
I have been on the waiting list with B&H for almost a year. Yesterday I got an email from B&H that the silver m was in stock. I just turned 77. In good health and now what do I do. Spend the 10 Grand or not. Well what the hell I placed an order for the M and the 50MM f2 cron. Thanks for making up my mind with your great review. I bought the xe 2 last may. Do I keep it or sell it?
I wonder–a lot–whether I am too hung up on the tech specs and as you say Steve, and being suckered in by them instead of the real world experience. I shoot mostly travel and landscape stuff, but leave my d800 at home cause of size and weight. Everybody should I just jump off the bridge and just do it? Its a big nut, and I don’t want this just to be an emotional experience. But I am learning that leica is an emotional experience.
Great review! I think you forgot to mention one thing: the rangefinder optics in the new M is actually better than the one in M9. It flares much less and is slightly brighter, making focus in darkness a little bit easier/quicker.
I have been using the M for a while now and do not notice any difference in the RF optics..at all. Side by side they appear the same to me. Neither brighter than the other. But I had no issues focusing the M9 in the dark, same for the 240. never had flare issues with the M9 either. Thanks for reading and glad you enjoyed it.
U are smitten fer shur Mr. Huff. Beauty is a philosophical question but just as the Hyundai immitates and then leads the BeeMah the actual curves are a delight to anyone not paying for them as they laugh listening to what they imagine is the roar of the finest engine imaginable but really just another deeeezel or infernal combustion engineering motor. What I mean to say is the M240 or rather the Z280 looks like all the other downsized ones today. There isn’t a lot of design changes one can do. Moving on.
The shots are quite good and prove useful to discern the meaning of what craftsmanship is defined as. As much as they are a delight to look at their appeal is the same as the D610, 6D, 5D3 and D800E. The rooster for instance is very bold. But I have to say the red is not really the blush that a rooster of that origin has. To each his own. The rest are fine shots as well. But not to exaggerate the importance of creativity none of them are going to be used at the banquet for the queen’s inauguration. Those are only good when the royal photographer takes them.
This question goes out to Steve or anyone who has advice. I just got my M and absolutely can not wait. I’m going on a 10 day photo trip soon and wonder how many batteries would be wise to carry. I’ll be able to charge nightly. Can you get through a full day of intense shooting with 2? Thanks in advance.
I have never needed more than one. I have shot 3 days on one battery, so two is PLENTY.
Wow, that’s amazing. Thank you.
I own an RX1 and d800. Thinking of dumping some Nikon lenses and the RX1 for the Leica experience-as i am an old school kind of guy–but I love the tech spec, the great RX1 and d800 files.
But I wonder–a lot–whether I am too hung up on the tech specs and as you say Steve, and being suckered in by them instead of the real world experience. I shoot mostly travel and landscape stuff, but leave my d800 at home cause of size and weight (14-24 lens for example). Everybody–should I just jump off the bridge and just do it? Its a big nut, and I don’t want this just to be an emotional experience. But I am learning that leica is an emotional experience. I am a big Apple fan, I think for the same reasons. Tell me what you think boys and girls. Should I just get used to the RX1 and forget about the rangefinder?
Optically speaking Steve, I find the viewfinder to be awful- the worst I’ve ever seen on an M series Leica. It’s barely usable at 35mm, and simply not possible at 28mm. As to the new,internally lit frame lines, they are barely visible in very bright conditions.
The Rf VF? The worst you have seen? Due to the colored frame lines? The VF is crystal clear, large, same as always. The only change are the electronic framelines which I love. They change brightness according to lighting conditions (or so it seems). I always use red, easy to see for me. Traditionalists will only use white but red is great, just like the titanium M9. But everyone has their own tastes and dislikes.
Hi Steve, another great review.
My chrome M240 has just arrived at the Leica store London. This one is from the Leica Select scheme, where a defect was picked up by Leica themselves and fixed before it left the factory. As a result, I’d get 5% off. It would still have a full two year Leica warrenty and one year accidental breakage. The store assure me it will be as good or better than normal in terms of quality control, as it would have been through the strict procedure twice.
I’ve never had any dealings with the Select scheme before. Should I buy as this one is available now and a bit cheaper, or wait for the next one to come in which could be another month or more?
I thank Leica for bringing out the new M. That made the M9 an even better camera for me, cause i had to pay even less. I could have bought a new M (if i would have found a shop that would have on for sale) but that is almost double the price.
But money was not the main criteria. I always loved the look of the images from the M9 and still do. I can see that the new M has a slightly different look but i could not tell that i like it better. I would like to have a better battery capacity, a better screen, the weather sealing (altough i had no probs with the M9 in bad weather) but other than that …
Speed is fine but that is not why i shoot Leica. If i want speed i have other choices. I dont want to take videos with it. I dont even think the new M does good video. Not because it is faulty but because there are no lenses that fit that purpose. Also with the current lens line-up i am quite happy to focus my M9 the way it is. No need for other options. Even if it may come in handy to have live view i doubt that i would use it much. It just doesnt feel right. The M9 is much more a classic Leica with all the goods than the new M is. Just my 2cents.
I have just been informed that my M 240 will ship in the next few days. I have a Zeiss Planar 50MM F2 here already boxed waiting for general use, but would like to hear from anybody who can recommend a lens for landscape.
Thanks Steve for a great review,
Thanks for your review Steve, I know it must be a pain testing all these great cameras. 🙂
I’m seriously considering putting the D700 down for a while and buying an M 240.
The only thing that’s stopping me is the Sony RX1. Honestly, I think the RX1 has slightly better IQ from the files that I’ve seen online.
That said, a Sony isn’t a Leica and doesn’t have interchangeable lenses.
Plus I’ve wanted a Leica ever since the M9-P came out, the M9-P is the coolest camera ever made IMO.
I sold my M9-P earlier this year because I’d had three SD card failures in just over a year. I literally tried everything, followed a whole series of guidance directly from Leica support guys to the letter. For digital photography in 2013, that just wasn’t acceptable in the end. It broke my heart selling the camera and I’d really like to invest in the new M 240, so you can probably guess what my question is – have you either heard of or experienced any SD/file corruption problems on the new camera? Do you believe Leica has addressed these issues in the new camera?
I’d hugely value your thoughts on the subject.
Loving you stamina and continued contribution to the photography community.
Well, I ever ever had a problem with any of my M9’s and SD cards. I only have always used Sandisk Extreme cards and they have never failed me, so I was never someone who had issues. SD cards are so cheap these days it is well worth it to invest in a few good name brand cards. As for the M 240, I have used all of my Sandisk cards without one issue, as well as a Sony card I had on hand. The Sony card was slower to write and boot up but no problems.
Thanks for coming back to me Steve. Like you, I only ever used Sandisk Extremes as well. In the end, I did wonder whether the problem was intermittent on some cameras. Thanks again.
Odd, not sure what the problem was but I have had no issues with any of the four M 240’s I have shot with. 🙂
Excellent Report, but I am missing your experience with Leica R-lenses like 1:2,8/60mm Makro or 1:2,8/180mm APO Tele in combinbation with EVF Visoflex .
Thanks Manfred in Switzerland with my first Leica M3 in the 60ies and the last M6TTL in the 90ies.
Wow ! What a review & follow up comments too. I can only ever dream of using a Leica as it’s way above my affordability level, but this does not stop me from dreaming of owning & using one !
Just to be able to try out a M240 would be a wish come true.
Thanks for this review. I am currently studying to become ‘a professional’ (whatever that is) photographer. I am the ‘proud’ owner of a d700 in a classroom full of students who are DREAMING of a full frame (nobody has ever heard of a Leica). I love my camera, and living in a dangerous city (last year a photographer was murdered for his camera), I know I miss out a lot of perfect pics just because my camera is hidden in my bag, or because I didn’t take it, for security reasons. I have my camera insured, but still, it is soooo heavy, causes me back pains, and if I look for possible replacements (one always has to be prepared) I wouldn’t know what not buy.
Until last week, when a friend of mine showed her ‘new toy’ : a 2nd hand M8. I loved the sight of it, so I started to look on the internet and found the M9 and the M and I just fell in love. I am in love with the sight (I could actually use it on the streets, no one would know it is expensive here!), with the weight (about 1/3th of mine! OMG!) and the images can be compared with the D800???
But I do have a few questions, I only shoot in RAW, process in CS6 Camera Raw, but need a PERFECT focus. I need to work on the edges of what is ‘possible’, low ISO, tripod, remote control… How does the M score on the ‘limits’, compared to a D800? How ‘feasible’ is the manual focus? Is it really slow or do you get used to it (is it just slow compared to auto focus).
This is a VERY expensive camera, but I have this feeling that it is worth it (also considering it is light and it looks inexpensive), so I just want to be sure I can use it in the way I need it.
Here they don’t sell the M (or any other Leica unless it is 30 years old), but I am traveling to the US in July, and would like to buy it. It isn’t in stock in BH (where I usually go), it seems to be difficult to get… Ì am going to California. I would love to have a tip on where to get it…
Thanks for you review. You have made me change my mind. I always wanted a Leica camera and lens but after seeing the photo; Kyleat1.5 jpeg……No way! That bokeh is absolutely terrible for a kit that costs that much!!
That image was taken with a cheap 1940’s lens that is supposed to have that character, lol. It all depends on what lens you attach, as you can see by the MANY samples here that were taken with MANY lenses. See, a camera is only as good as the lens attached. if you want old classic character, you use old lenses. If you want modern character, you use modern lenses.
Thanks for clearing that up! I simply love smooth bokeh. I really enjoy your reviews but I have a tough question for you now. You seem to have so many favourites but…..If I was to ask you which camera/lens combination would you be totally happy with…….what would it be? I do not care about cost and I’m not a pixel peeper. I simply want great image quality.
Clearly you are not Sebastiao Salgado.
Hey steve, thank you for your time for this brilliant review. But in the part comparing the m- monochrom and the m 240 black and white samples you wrote that the new M is the one at the top but the picture on top is a sample of the monochrom.
hi steve, thanks for a very thorough and energetic piece. lots of work! much appreciated. i read s. reid, and ming t. and luminous too, and benefitting from your collective expertise and enthusiasm and dedication has been so enlightening over the years.
i am a longtime leica user, picked up my first m4 in high school and never went back. finally could afford an m6 in my late 20s and was in heaven (metering, yay!), shot with that, and an R6.2 for years. couldn’t stand digital when it first started, then a few cameras became useable.. but everytime i compared the files to the scans from the m6 i crumbled inside. so stuck with film and the m6 and a hassy 501 for years. then the m8. i ultimately skipped it because of the various issues it had. waited for the m9. and have been rapturous since. finally a digital camera that made files that looked like the scans from my m6 negs and slides. same feel. same bokeh from all the beautiful glass they have made over the years. heaven.
but. yes, the nasty low lite noise at high iso, yes, the inadequate frame buffer, the moire, the occasional card crapout, the slightly annoying shutter, the delicate baseplate… that scary tearing in highlights every blue moon. but i love the camera. love the images. i don’t do weddings and such so fast frame rate didn’t affect me too often. when it did of course… arghh.
and now the typ240. solving most if not all of these issues, at least a good step forward in iso. much more useable. BUT. i have an initial reaction to the images that i’ve heard echoed in other places… some say pop, some say filmic, whatever. i can’t get past the initial smack that the 240s newfound resolution and uniformity is taking away something intangible, something in the contrast curve, that i found very pleasing in the m9. perhaps the files from the cmos are ‘better’. i’d love more dr, more latitude in the lows, less crunchy in the highs. i’d love better high iso performance. and everything else. but i can’t seem to shake the fear that no matter what i do in lightroom, i won’t get the feeling i’ve grown to love. from the m4 to the 9. even the bokeh seems less magical on the 240, i suppose because the microcontrast is smoother.. whatever it is. i don’t quite feel the same. the color does seem more ‘accurate’. certainly at higher iso. i’d like that too. but not at the expense of some ethereal, yet very real, feeling that is important to me. that first impression. that drama. the bokeh maybe needs the little contrast and non-uniform curve to really speak to me. i don’t know. i’m flummoxed. i’ve downloaded and side by sided a number of your test shots. it’s very hard to quantify, but i feel it. the shot of the tree with the houses and wall behind consumed me for several minutes. the m9 version just felt better to me. why? there is more contrast in the lower greys, but it’s not overall, it’s a curve thing. the highlights are a little crispier. but not in a bad way…. argh.
a real conundrum here. i wish i could afford to keep the m9 and just add the 240 to my bag. but i can’t. won’t sell the film cameras for that. i wouldn’t sweat it so terribly except that with the move to cmos, i’m afraid we’ll all slowly get used to the new look and forget the old one ever existed. i work in feature film production and we are seeing this year after year with the inexorable move from film to digital. it looks different, yes, that’s fine, but there is something we all miss about the storytelling of film. it wasn’t until the arriflex alexa that i could even stomach a digital capture medium. like the leica m9, arri finally got the sensor dialed right and the curves working so you gained all the dynamic range and immediacy of use of digital, but didn’t suffer from flat or video look and the clipped highlights didn’t wrench your stomach…
it’s a crossroads we’re all at here. i don’t want to be a dinosaur and hold onto things for the sake of holding on… but. there’s something about the ccd that i’m afraid to lose.
how’s that for longwinded? apologies. and i know the answer several paragraphs was ‘well just stick with your m9 dang ya and shut up.’ i know.
just sharing my struggle with the group. i may not be alone it seems.
I have a D800 (with some reasonable selection of glass) and a X100, I completely agree with your synopsis round practicality with size and weight; the D800 is a bit unwieldy.
The X100 is fantastically practical, but alas a bit limited with the choice of lens options.
As I’m mainly taking pictures of my super- hyper 4 yr old and his journey growing up I’m wondering on the suitability of the M-240.
Albeit will I get the little bugger in focus in time before he moves on.
I have had some stunning results with the D800. But I can also see the difference between a really good Nikon lens and the Leica counterpart.
I test drove the M9 tail end of last year and was on the verge of picking one up, when the M10/M-240 made the press.
I think your review has just confirmed what I need to do wrt M-240 …….. I so want one !!!!!!
Thanks for the thorough review Steve. The real world use of the new M and the results have convinced me to stay with my M9. The comparative “pop” or lack of it, colour rendering, and side by side pixel counting of the M9 versus the M240 has helped me decide not to be a gearhead and buy into the latest upgrade. Selling my M9 after 2 years and forking out another 7 grand for 6 more MPs, sound and video is not going to make me a better photographer. If I want more pixels, I will take out my Hasselblad 503 CX load it with 100 ASA film and then scan it. Whats the theoretical pixel equivalent of scanned MF film? somewhere around 50 MPs ? From a $900 hasselblad in almost new condition with a 80 mm lens.
When I look at the photos by great documentary photographers such as Alex Majoli, Alex Webb and Steve McCurry, the “pop” in the photos don’t come from the sensor, or even the sharpness, They come from composition, subject matter, and soul in the photo. In fact some of those great photos are downright blurry compared to those taken by a M8.
Your excellent and thorough review has convinced me not be be obsessed with the latest and greatest equipment and just concentrate of taking better photos. I will use my M9 until it or I wear out.
Thanks for the great review, Steve!
It strikes me, that your approach to camera reviews actually inspires to go out and shoot! For now that is with NEX-7, SLR Magic CINE (50 & 35). And my new love and workhorse RX1.
But for future hopefully Leica M, with only one or two lenses.
Keep up the inspiring work!
Thank you for the great review !! Marvelous Job !!
I also used the M9 (since early 2010), and like most viewers above, thought I was to hold on to my M9, cos it is still the best out there,
but I ordered my new M anyway, and regrete only why I did not order on the 1st day of launch like Steve did,
over and since the late years of the M8, I have collected all the Summilux
21mm (replaced the 24mm), 35mm FLE, 50mm, and I also have a Elmar M90 f4 (with marco adaptor),
all very hard to use wide open, and if the new M focus peeking and live view helps,
I am willing to spend another 7K to make all my above lenses more joyful to use
like steve I sold my 50mm summilux back then and only missed it and buy it back (almost at double the price) !!!!
No doubt Leica is expensive, I hate the high price too !! I wish it is cheaper !!
I see a lot of people buy Canon and Nikon (they are all great cameras), and spend 10k USD easily over their lenses alone,
usually 16-35, 24-70, 70-200, 50 f1.4 (if not f1.2), fisheye, tilt/shift, or even 300mm f2.8
for Leica, you need just 2 lenses, 3 at most (after you fall in love)
and for 10k you can buy 35mmf1.4 and 50mmf1.4 and 90mm f2.5
Leica just grows on you,
if you have yet tried “Leica M” please give it a try for a year or so, if you don’t like it, just sell it,
Leica is a experience that no Leica user forgets,
I sold all my Nikon lenses purchased with the D3, and never regret it,
but I still hold my M8, because it is still a special camera, and the new M will enhence my “Leica experience” further,
recently I got a used M8 and Voigtlander 15mm ASPH for a dear friend as birthday present, he had never used Leica before,
but I am confident that he will love it in no time
I also used the Hasselblad H3DII-31 (nice files and nothing special)
503CW with (CFV, and Phase One P45+)
and recently S2
but what defines Leica is the M series, if I can only keep one camera, I choose the M,
so for camera fans not using a Leica M yet, and try to justify buying a Leica M,
I say “why not give it a try ? even with Voigtlander lenses like 35mm f1.4 at 600USD, it will grow on you”
thanks Steve again for many lovely samples of your family !!
I enjoy all the pictures !!
Thanks for the review Steve,
It would be great if you did an article on how it handles wide angle lenses from Zeiss and Voigtlander (especially the 15mm Voigtlander which is a gem on film), as many Leica users spend most of their money on leica m cameras and 35-50mm lenses.
Steve, without going too much down the techie “does it do this, or does it do that” road, thank you, another great review and I think you have helped me make my mind up regarding my ageing M8.
I resisted the 9 & 9-P and have taken a long hard look at the Mono but I think M240 is the one for me.
M8 is still a great camera, in my opinion, but I’m going to put my name down for a M240.
Thanks again & keep doing what you do!
Can you tell me if the new, more accurate, frame lines are true to their respective focal lengths? I have a 40mm that I love using on my M9 and the 35mm lines frame quite accurately. Seems the 35mm lines on the M9 are a little tight. Any chance this is the case with the M240?
Steve, I enjoy reading your reviews immensely, not only for their content but also your engaging style of writing. Your methods of evaluating gear is also broadly in line with what I look for in my own gear.
There’s only one difference of opinion I have regarding the ISO comparison. Personally I do not just set the desired aperture and sensitivity and let the camera choose the corresponding shutter speed. I use high sensitivities to achieve the specific shutter speed and aperture combination I’m after.
If I need 1/60s, I’m going to bump up the ISO until I get there, whatever that is…or let the camera automatically choose the matching ISO. So comparing cameras at the same sensitivity and aperture but differing shutter speeds doesn’t make a lot of sense for how I use a camera. Of course that may be different to how others use this class of camera.
Two seconds to boot up? I remember how annoying a delay at start up is when I had a Digilux 2. Unless Leica can speed this up I’ll stick with my M9 which boots up almost instantly.
While I enjoy your reviews I don’t always agree with you on stuff, but find it very interesting and useful to hear others thoughts. Not only yours. I don’t care so much for tech reviews myself and usually skip to the conclusion part, but at the same time hate it when I find that one of my lenses have lots of CA or seem unsharp in the not too far corners. What is most important to me, next to the camera being capable, is that it is enjoyable to use. You are very good at pointing this out. At least for the cameras you like.
Anyway, I wish you could do less of putting more into others opinion than you have to. Like this: “I remember back in 2010 there were so many people bashing the M9 (those who never owned one of course) just due to cost and then there were those bashing the M9 saying it had a horrible sensor.”. You asume that those bashing the M9 either couldn’t afford it or just saying the sensor was horrible. I never bashed the M9 myself, but didn’t buy it either. Could I afford it? Certainly and I have spent more on cameras the past year than an M9 cost, but that is not the point. Personally I prefer AF and the size/weight of a Fuji or M43 camera. And I think those reacting and commenting on the M9 sensor does it in a sort of self defence for their own choices.
Don’t take this the wrong way – I read your revews frequently but finding myself less enjoying it due to your “self protectiveness”. I find Diglloyd the tech reviewer, Reid reviews the photographer reviwer and you the enthusiast. Myself I belong in the enthusiast reader which means I enjoy your reviews the most (in some fashion). Hell, as an enthusiast I buy more cameras than I need just because I like handling them! I noticed you removed your posting from the other day about comments you get and I think that was smart. You may believe in a positive attitude but it may also come across as arrogant without that being your intention. Just ignore the comments you don’t like (like this one?).
A nikon/fuji/leica fanboy myself
Cheers Steve…love your site and reviews. At the end of the day though, it’s still a closer run thing between the M & M9.
More about the person holding it and what they are pointing it at! 🙂
Thanks Steve for taking the time to write your review and give us the real soul food.
Thanks Philip. More to come.
Wonderful review and site… appreciate all the discussion above. I’m not into unearned praise and am a little surprised to be writing this. I am a great fan and owner of the M9 and had been shooting in the 90’s Leica film cameras… this review has been priceless for a guided look into the new M and THANK YOU Steve for all your work. You’ll hear from me in the future !
A great 240 review and, of course, I’ve read Ashwin on the Monochrom. If you could have only one, which would it be, the 240 or the MM?
Well, depends on your needs, wants and passion. If B&W is your thing, the MM can not be beat. If you are not so into B&W the M would be fine. You can also always go for an ME or M9 for less. Depends on what look you like.
What about the buffer? Any better than the m9?
Yes I get about 10 continuous shots before there is a pause 🙂 still not a camera meant for any kind of machine gun shooting
WOW When you said you’ll prepare tons of real world samples i didnt get what you mean.. 😀 now i know 😛 🙂 😀 😉 Awesome BTW as always “Thumbs UP”
The scarcity marketing game is getting a bit tired. Ok, one could argue that with the Leica glass process, it takes a while to produce the lenses, but having a wait list for a digital camera is more on the dramatic side. We get it. Leica is a premium brand and hoodwinking people into not being able to get something makes them want it more, but this doesn’t apply to everything.
HUH?? X100s beating RX1 in high iso??
The pictures of the bikes:
IS3200 and F4 on both
X100s = 1/20
RX1 = 1/80
That”s like comparing X100s iso800 vs RX1 iso3200??
So I am guessing you did not read the big statement above the ISO shots? Same way I always test. What you see is what you get from each camera. Same aperture, same focal length. same ISO, A mode – cameras meter chooses exposure because this is what you will get from the camera when taking real photos. When we shoot an X100s we do not say..”damn, should I set it to what the RX1 would choose”? No, we just shoot. So, what you see is what you get. Matching shutter speeds is OK if you want to see what a scientific test will tell you but I prefer to show what the real results will be when you go out and shoot the camera. Using it for what it was made for..pictures..not scientific testing.
I understand but the real point of shooting at higher iso’s is because the shutterspeed gets to low right?
This means with the x100s you have to set it 2 stops higher to get the same shutterspeed?
As I tought… no response…
Why can’t you be honest and admit they cheat on iso readings …are you objective?
the M looks great. Leica should do well with it, as they are moving in the same direction as every other camera manufacture that has been successful in the digital world. Great for Leica and likely great for Leica fans as the company should have more $ for R&D in the future if there sales are on the up and up.
I feel however that something needs to be pointed out about the M-E. It is likely the last full frame camera that will be made with a Kodak CCD sensor (and likely the last camera you will be able to buy without video-this, hybrid-that, evf/live-view/blah/blah). Leica might as well declare it a collectors item. Its unique with its look and its place in the market of same-old same-old cameras and sensors. And while I value DXO data, from a purely scientific-thats-nifty sort of perspective, their data is useless when it comes to actual viewing of an image produced from a given sensor, such as the Leica M-9/M-E, not to mention how it feels to use the camera that contains the sensor.
Yes, I own the M-E, I bought it a couple months ago as I wanted a full-frame digital camera that still operated like a film camera. The ONLY choice for that type of camera is the M-E…it’s the only camera, in the digital full-frame (35mm type), available…which is a bummer really. Anyway its a bad ass camera, the image quality out of it is amazing. Its way more enjoyable to use than my “work” camera, the Canon 5dMKII, and it is the first camera in a long time that I’ve wanted to have with me at all times. The funny thing is the X100 is the camera that motivated me to buy the Leica M-E…and I love the X100 but in the end the images always had that APS size sensor look no matter what, which I just couldn’t love.
Now if Mamiya made a digital version of the Mamiya 7II (someday please!) that didn’t cost an 40 bazillion dollars the M-E would have huge competition because the only look better than the full-frame digital is full-frame medium format.
As a M-E owner – I fully agree with your assessment here.
Excellent dedication to all that you do. Great review…After reading your thoughts on comparing the New M to the MM. It seems you might be selling your Monchrom. Are you? How much?
Great review! Wish I could afford even an RX1. Maybe when I retire in 45 years. Dream would be to get some summiluxes (24, 35, 50) and the apo 90. Oh man…
Thanks for the review. Keep up the great work. The only people guilty of anything are the Leica folks who are getting a serious increase in brand reach thanks to your site. Now that they are owned by a private equity firm, I think you should consider, a more Goldman Sachs approach to your work and get your fair share.
Hi Steve it´s my first time here and I like it 🙂 The pictures from the leica M 240 are great and looks like you say ( almost Fuji-ish ) i like the color . I have just seen your review of the fuji 100: http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2011/05/03/the-fuji-x100-digital-camera-real-world-review-by-steve-huff/ and the pictures are amazing the color 🙂 but the colors of the fuji are better than the leica x1 and the leica m9 i think and looking at the pictures of the new leica m240 you can see the colors are now ( almost Fuji-ish ) so leica is now more like fuji heee
Thanks for the great write up Steve!
I’m a Leica fan boy and have gone through Digilux 2, 3, DLUX5, X1 & X2, R8/DMR, R9/DMR before owning the M9 and MM which I have currently. Along side with OMD and RX1 which I bought after reading your reviews.
I have previously sold my R9/DMRs in anticipation to use R lens on the new M, with the lag you mentioned both in LV and EVF, do you see it being an issue as the “R solution” when using long focal lens?
Any chance you can do a quick video demonstrating the shutter lag while using the EVF?
Thanks for this post. It was informative and useful and I don’t feel like I overpaid for the subscription. It convinced me to get on the waiting list to at least try an M. Two things in your review stood out. First, the pop and detail is there. Second, the richer color. I like photos that grab your attention when first viewed especially when they have more to offer when viewed more closely. A lot of things contribute to that effect. The top one in my opinion (and it is only my opinion) is the subject, followed by the detail and the color if it is a color photo. Lots of detail and great colors grab, poor detail and colors repel. My M9 produces the most detailed photos of any camera I have used. I would not make a switch from an M9 to an M if the detail stood out any less, as some initial reports mentioned. The M9’s colors are good but I have noticed a welcome trend to richer color with most newer cameras. By that I mean more vibrant and deeper colors but not unnatural. I see this in the Canon 5DIII compared to a 1DsIII. I see the same kind of color in the Olympus OM-D and the Sony RX100. I’m am hoping the M shows this same advantage over the M9. If so, it will be a winner and I will owe you for letting me know.
While on the subject of the value of your site, let me mention that your blogs helped me decide to get an M9 and Leica lenses to begin with and also to get an OM-D and RX100. I have gotten a lot of pleasure using these cameras (each has special features that make it the best for certain situations) and some photos that are family treasures. For that I have paid you nothing (well I clicked through to some merchant sites a few times in gratitude for your advice). Thank you for that.
You disabled the comment thread on your blog about people dissing you so I will respond here instead. To keep current on new cameras I read your site, Ken Rockwell, Luminous Landscape, Canon Rumors Sean Reid, DP Review, Photozone, and others. I am not renewing my subscription to Sean Reid because I didn’t learn much. I’m sure he is very competent and his site is valuable to many people but not to me. Luminous landscape has very good videos to learn Photoshop and similar systems and good equipment reviews but fewer of those than you. Rockwell is very useful on equipment but he is shall we say eccentric. He is a savant, very competent in assessing the qualities of a particular camera or lens but you need to ignore all the comparisons to other equipment and rants on unrelated subjects like conspiracy theories and most recently the stock market. I still haven’t figured out if he is serious about those things or is just being outrageous to create a buzz and draw people to his site. (I have never met him but we have a mutual friend who says he is smarter than all of us combined and is not inclined to run with the pack). Your site is good to see what new stuff is coming but useless for DSLRs and Canon news. That is not a diss, you are up front about not liking larger cameras, especially Canon. I have grown to trust your judgment about smaller cameras and the subjective qualities of the images they produce. If you like it I want to check it out, especially if Reichmann and Rockwell like it too. Of all these, only Sean Reid charges for his site. All this free and very useful info! What is not to like? Thanks to all of you. Really.
I find all the negative comments kind of interesting, not for what they say but more as a strange sociological phenomena. These kind of comments occur frequently at almost all sites I read that allow comments including political and business sites. More than anything they reveal the surprisingly large number of people lurking out there full of anger and hate and a need to strike out. It really deserves some clinical studies.
Thank you George, I agree.
Great review Steve! Like a lot of people, I ventured into the M because of your M9 review. I started with the M8.2 and enjoyed it for a while but it soon lost its luster and its many flaws surfaced. So I sold it. I held on to my lenses for a better body to come out – and I think this might be the answer. I will wait for the prices to go more south and then I will snap 🙂
Enjoyed your Leica M review for what it is. Thanks for that.
But I would suggest to stay away from an extensive post to comment on your bashers. I find it an unpleasant read and eventually it will solve nothing.
Oh every now and then I like to have fun with them so be aware that in 6 months if I get an idiotic comment form someone attempting to trash me on my own site without knowing his facts, well, it may happen again. Like I said, I will never ever change the way I run the site and have been doing things like this since day one. This site is an extension of me and I inject lots of personal things into it. Not everything in life is pleasant but everything in life is real. How one deals with reality is what shapes a person. In any case, thank you for reading the review, I appreciate it. Hope you found it enjoyable.
Great stuff, Steve. My local dealer just received the “M”, just one single unit, and there are already 30 names in the waiting list. Mine is the 20th something name. Maybe my turn will come next year. Till then, I am making do with a Canon EOS M with the 22mm ( laugh if you want ). My favourite, a Nikon D300 paired with a 24mm F 1.4 is giving me curvature of the spine. Anybody wants to buy my Nikon outfit ?
I am, as a result of your reviews, absolutely coveting this camera and a Summilux 50mm f/1.4.
I really appreciate your take on photography, the real world usage part, passion and expertise. It really is testament to the gear that you use that your photos are great, but more so that you actually take nice photos (i.e. you are artistic). I think this is lost on my peers nowadays with Instagram and cropped sensor DSLRs. It’s just too much point and click and not enough focussing and framing! I agree with you that for everyday portability and fun, the smaller body / rangefinder experience is best. Carting a D800 around on trip would probably be tiresome after a short while… I imagine others could back me up on this too. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t want one of those too!
I know that my enjoyment of photography would skyrocket if I could get my hands on an M and some serious glass. Thanks for the inspiration! If you keep it up I might be able to live on Ramen noodles a few years longer and get some Leica stuff!
Is everyone changing their mind on Monochrom?
I contacted 4 Leica dealers to get a Monochrom 10 days ago.
All of them had wait lists up to 30 people.
Since the M was released last week I have had 3 of them contact me offering me a Monochrom.
Seems everyone is bailing and getting the new M instead?
I have the Monochrom 50mm 1.4 combo and definitely impressed with the overall look of the “Large” prints I get, fell in love with the tonality and smoothness, Kind of like a rolling stop rather than slamming on the brakes if you get my analogy.
The 240 still has the Bayer filter so resolution wise I don’t think the 240 would compete in my opinion when printing large even with the 6 added megapixels.
When I was pondering the Monochrom I had a few thoughts that made my mind up for me. I wanted a Rangefinder, I print almost exclusively B+W, I have the D800 and Fuji set up so colour if needed was there for me depending on what I was shooting. So I purchased the Monochrom. The 240 is clearly capable and more versatile and I am more than likely splitting hairs 🙂
The 240 is definitely worth looking at for me if that was my only set up but isn’t. I am still looking to add a colour ready leica to the arsenal and can’t make up my mind between the M9/M9-E and the 240 ……..loving that CCD look of the former and the Mono.
So if I wasn’t printing “Large”, wanted a single Leica set-up, and wasn’t exclusively shooting B+W, that 240 looks like a kick ass beast. They are both a lot of dough for most including myself so pondering and dithering are in my opinion a good thing……
Thank you once again for this informative and passionate review. No matter what anyone anyone says, your useful contribution has really helped me. It is through your site, I have developed passion for the Leica M Cameras, and this year I will be buying the new Leica M.
Thank you Salim!
Just keep doing what you are doing, You, Mike Thomas(youtube film and leica fan not the footballer) and Thorsten convinced me Leica was my next step on my photographic journey so I jumped in head first and bought a Leica MM and a 50 & 35 lux and I am so glad I did. Ignore the miserable people there is nothing you can do about them, they just have sad angry lives full of opinions they should just keep to themselves.
Great review, I really enjoyed reading this post, now I must spending money for new M. I’m Leica fun lots of years but never bought any Leica product, so I think now is time to spend lots of money for this system.
Generally spend most of the time with my Pentax gear but that is big bag of equipment’s and I need something else, something which I could spend more time. Reading your Blog every day so I wish you good luck and long time bloging…
Greetings from Croatia
Steve, you have the best site on the web reviewing today’s cutting edge equipment. The “real world” approach is your baby. Your approach is intrumental to well considered and balanced decisions on $$ purchases. By providing an excellent emotive juxtaposition to the technical reviews elsewhere on the web, you validate the intuition.
Do not be bothered by the ignorant and egocentric douchebags in the world who feel the need to fart out their faux-indignation by berating others. Ignore them as we all do. They will finish their esspresso and crumbcake and dissapear into the woodwork as they always do. Really their comments are only an indication of how big your site has become.
Thanx for this most excellent review and for all of the others you have provided over the years. I hope you find continued satisfaction and success with (and energy to maintain) your venture.
I see more shadow information in M9 photo on the base of the hydrant than the M240 and RX1. Also the M9 has more detail on the hydrant, gravel, branches.
The M9 is no slouch at lower ISO and holds its own for sure.
Thanks for your review Steve. I have the D800e with the 24mm f1.4 plus the 200mm f4 for macro. I love my Nikon gear, however the size can be and has been an issue. The only reason I may be reluctant to go for the new Leica, is that once I buy one, my D800e may end up gathering dust.
Terrific review but I wonder when you have just paid 7,000 for a new camera you can’t help but will it to be good I mean you have to justify the 7,000. To quote a famous sales trainer, people buy emotionally and then try to justify it logically. Someone like me need to see a review b4 someone commits to the hefty price it takes the emotion out. The images are good but yourself and other reviewers bring up comparisons to the Nikon 800 and Canon 5D111 both are great cameras but with the M8+M9 their was no comparison because the images just pop out at you I have not seen that on the M yet.
Oh I see the same old pop as the M9 but the new M has more DR which gives the illusion of less pop. It also has a much richer file. This is no justification review, if it sucked I would have said so and just 2 months ago I was prepared to write just that after seeing some early samples. I even asked my dealer if he had an M9P around because I assumed I would be selling the 240 to go back to the P. I am happy to say the 240 exceeded my expectations. Again, if it did not I would have no trouble selling it for what I paid. It’s a mature camera from Leica, no question and a joy to use. Expensive, yes and other cameras can do just as well (RX1, D800, etc) but to those that want a Leica and a RF this is the only game in town. It is the worlds only full frame mirror less interchangeable lens camera.
Cheers for the reply (I can’t afford but I do wish I could get my hands on one)
Thank you for a great review. Now I can order one… 🙂
I just noticed that the WordPress instructions for using html tags in replies at the bottom of your blog posts are incomplete. Sorry about the double post, but I had to go back and add the closing brackets after I hit submit.
This review is over the top. Seriously, my wife just bought a new car and I am pretty sure I can’t get 0.9% financing on Leica kit.
I am trying very hard to not buy another camera and you are not helping!
I just barely managed to stave off the desire for an M by going and buying the “Leica” 25mm f/1.4 for my OM-D.
After seeing the new Garry Winogrand exhibit at SFMOMA
, I put Tri-X in the F3 I pulled out of a battered Halburton case that hasn’t been touched in more than a decade.
So far, so good, the photos look pretty satisfying in a pushed to 800 kind of way that I would not get with the M.
I wouldn’t, would I?
The manual focus Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 feels great and the HP viewfinder is so bright, almost like a Leic…a…, hmm that’s not really working.
Oh well, keep up the enthusiasm Steve, the rest of us will find ways to cope with it.
Arėjukas at gerafotografija
The OMD and 25 1.4 is outstanding and can give some gorgeous results. You have a great kit right there, enjoy it! Thanks for the comments!
Typo – Camera of the year 2102 … Wonder how cameras would be like then!
I hear in person and through the other outlets a lot of trash talk.
Good on you! Congrats on the work, the site, providing a place for people interested in reading about Leica and other tools for our trade and providing for yourself and your family.
If this for any reason sucked…. it wouldn’t get the traffic. Cowardly haters are going to hate. Let them hate and go on about your life enjoying it.
It has definitely made me lean toward a Leica RF type camera for a future purchase.
Much nicer BW with the M 240 than the monochrome, guess we se a new CMOS monochrome pretty soon… And next year perhaps a M 250 and so on… The ball is rolling
Love the review. Some very good images, too.
In my bag …one day
35mm RX1 & X100s
50mm M240 & lux pre asph
75mm Sigma Dp3M (check out LL review & MH views on LL forum, Dpreview)
150mm OMD & Oly 75 1.8
Each giving a different look in Print.
P.s electronic led lens lines in m240 ovf sure makes it easier to use 90mm & 135mm lenses.
That’s my wish bag hands off 😉
Thanks for your thorough review!
Did I miss your thoughts on the cable release access? What’s the cost of a genuine Leica cable release for the M?
I agree that Leicas are sublime for hand held shooting though.
Scroll down, scroll up, wot’s going on? It’s not rocket science.
Good work Steve, but I have to disagree with you on one or two points. The two self portraits you have in your article, one with the M 240 and one with the Monochrome, show how different these two Leicas are. How come and you don’t see the richer tonality of the Monochrome against the harsher CMOS look of the 240? That’s one point, the other is about using the wrong lens in most of your shots: the Summilux 50 Asph, which – as we both know – is Leica’s top optic. You should have tried a “lesser” lens with a deeper DOF and more aberrations wide open to see if that new camera is worth the dollars. I would also choose Capture One instead of Adobe products to process DNG files, C1 brings out better detail and is closer to what Leica glass sees. Lightroom wears sunglasses when it looks at Leica’s DNGs.
~ Still happy with an M3 for film and an M8 for digital.
keep up the good work,
I just ran a roll of film through my M2 this morning and something hit me! Initially, I found the Focus Button and Motion Picture Button of the M240 to be oddly placed and not very discreet. But then I realized that the location of these buttons were found exactly on my M2 as the Film Release Button and the Frame Counter Marker. Many people have commented on the M240 as losing the Leica look, or even, its “soul”, because of these cosmetic placements, but I beg to differ. If looking like an M2 is NOT soulful enough to be a Leica, I don’t even know what is?
To me, the M240 now has an even more enhanced vintage appeal than its digital predecessors. If only they didn’t remove the Frame Selector Lever and if they updated the vintage Self-Timer Lever as a switch for a built-in EVF, it would have been perfect! Still very handsome though!
FYI: Somehow exactly this article did and does not show up in ‘Google Reader’ – I can imagine that maybe some interested people may will miss to have a read on your soulful review.
You may check.
Well done – I did like the read much, as it is not a DxO tech dry text, but does have MOJO…
Steve huff keeps astonishing me . This guy places such passion on what he does that Leica and other brands should be proud. He connects with real people. I am the Humble owner of a x2 and if i dont enter in this site everyday i feel i and missing something.
Nice! These images look like my X-pro1
Thanks Steve for a great job. Is there any chance you provide the RAW files of the man for comparison between new M240 and M9? Thanks.
Would be interesting to see how the Sigma DP2 Merrill holds up against these cameras in the comparisons ;o)
As base ISO I imagine the Sigma will leave the M for dead; it leaves pretty much everything else for dead too. But the Sigma is a one trick pony and it is also a very rare thing: a camera with WORSRE high ISO performance than Leica (something that a while ago I thought would be impossible). Turn the Merrill’s ISO up over 200 and it’s hardly worth using.
Of course this is a site for the Leica devoted, so I will probably be obliterated for suggesting that there is a camera that can do something better than Leica (lalala can’t hear you, Leica has better AF than the Nikon D3S, FACT, PERIOD and better resolution than a 50 MP Hasselblad shot under perfect conditions, FACT, PERIOD, OMG), but the Sigma at base ISO (and base ISO ONLY) creams, whips and destroys pretty much everything else out there.
The new M does look quite nice, I have to say though, despite the incredibly tepid shots used in most places to promote it. Go see Ming Thein’s review if you want to see pictures taken by someone who does a little more than just points the camera at whatever is around.
I still prefer the M9 M-E colours, even than the M seem to be a very competent camera and a must needed upgrade for Leica. What i don’t understand is why they put a half-baked movie function, if they choose to go for movie they must make it state of the art… I guess that we will se many new models from Leica in the years to come, i don’t think this M won’t last as many years as the M9 has done… The ball is rolling….
Why do you think that Leica changed the sensor for the M (240)? Did they conclude that the CMOS is better? Did they have to change it to accommodate the HD video? Or, did they change it because the rest of the world has it? And what will this change mean, in your opinion, for the Monochrome–will it also be redesigned for a CMOS sensor?
This is all stated in the review as to why they did the change. I am glad they did personally.
Hey yo Steve, nice post! It helps a lot.
BTW, do you know about using collapsible lens on the nem M?
Thanks, great job. Keep it up.
NOt sure on the collapsable lens yet but will try to find out.
Nice! Thanks a lot!
What’s your opinion on the 50mm Elmar-M?
I am not totally sure, but I think I saw Thorsten von Overgaard having a collapsible Elmar on his M 240 a few weeks ago.
thanks, Steve for your very interesting review with a lot of different samples; I think I will stay with my
M9-P for a while and maybe the next generation “M241” will be my next Leica,
$900.00 for a GRIP!!! That is past snobbery, robbery and plain BS….period….I don’t care who you are. And that is exactly the type of crap that puts me off about a company that i really want to enjoy, and lay down my hard, hard, hard earned money for. Then they rub it in your face.
The price of the grip is laughable.
How can that be considered anything but contempt for the customer?
Who would choose to support such a company?
Agreed a tad over priced:-). Something should be bouncing around here soon if $$$ are an issue. I have always found all their gear and customer service excellent!
I have been a regular visitor to your blog for getting on for three years and really enjoy your enthusiastic, free-spirited approach to photography and very much value your “real world” reviews. That is why, having traded in my DSLR kit 18 months ago because of back trouble, I am currently the proud owner of my first M, a silver chrome M(240) and the 35 & 50 Lux’s and 90 Cron. Even allowing for the dreadful weather here in the UK I happily endorse everything you have written about the new M; the results I am getting are wonderful and the DNG files have such great DR, colour and are a treat to post process. The Leica glass was very good on my NEX5N and is spectacular on the M. The camera produces images which are the closest yet to what I actually see myself.
Like others I too would value knowing what are your own preferred post processing settings in Lightroom 4 for your DNG’s, as I am still experimenting with this myself.
Thanks for all the effort you put into sharing your experience and insights with us: I for one am very grateful to you for enabling me to enjoy the whole Leica rangefinder experience for myself with confidence.
many thanks for the effort to put up such an comprehensive test/review.
But, when looking at some provided full size (converted from RAW) image samples (from your chapter entitled “A couple of full size from RAW files”) I can see a noise (or noise-like) pattern in the M240 files even at base ISO.
1) the full size image sample of the brownish building with the ‘balcony’ … there is noise in the clear blue sky. But I don’t now the ISO settings of this shot. Due to the good light it could be done at base ISO setting … (the image is entitled “fullsize2.jpg”)
2) But in the direct m240/m9(e) comparison by the tree shots (entitled “leica240tree” and “leicaMEtree”) – both done at base ISO (as stated) it’s visible again:
– the M240 shows a very visible noise (or noise-like) pattern in the blue sky
– the M9 doesn’t show it (of course)
Is it just me or do others see it as well?
Don’t misunderstand me, the shown noise level at base ISO (m240) would not concern me in real world, but shouldn’t it be viceversa with a new sensor generation??? And we are talking about high priced gear.
Btw, if one would clean up the noise in the shown M240 tree sample (with software) to bring it “on par” with the M9 sample .. how much detail would be lost?
This would be an interesting test at all. How would the (crispier?) M9 files compare to the (softer?) M240 files when cleaned up by NR software to bring it on par?
Thanks too for the noise comparison test (bike in the garage). This tells (me) a lot. Fuji and Sony look cleaner, yes. But, hey, the files look like as treated with heavy (in cam) NR. The Leica files show more noise but also by far (!) more details. Cleaned up with NR software to be on par and I’m sure they are still better. Which is good, considering the heavy price difference of the various cams.
I agree with you. The M 240 also would be better for b/w. Might sound wired, but a color sensor always will forward ‘better’ (converted) b/w. And we all know why …
As for now I (personally) am still not sure if the new M240 would be a benefit over the M9, just sensor-wise. The higher noise level at base ISO (as shown in your samples) confuses me a bit.The new features might be nice, but only if one needs it. At least for me, more usable higher ISO (I’m talking about 800, maybe 1600) would be the one and only reason to upgrade. I also would trade in the new bells & whistles of the new ‘soul-less’ M.
Anyway, thanks for the test!
I am stunned by your review. Stunned. I had hoped that since you are a shooter that I would get the “shooters” question answered and no where in your 13,000 word opus is it addressed. How many raw pictures does the the cache file hold? (my apologies if I missed it or you’ve already answered in comment since I don’t have time to read 195+ comments)
I can shoot 10-11 RAW images in a row before there is a pause for a few seconds. I do not usually bother with this on an M because an M is not meant to be used as a machine gun DSLR style shooter 🙂 I take one frame at a time and I am a “shooter”. Thanks
Thanks Steve, I appreciate your review and the time it took to reply promptly. I’m happy to FINALLY get the answer.
They should have named this the Leicafujipus PS (Paddle Shifter). This new M camera has lost that Leica charm. I have plenty of excellent cameras that do clinical-glassy and color really well. My M9, like my Sigma, is quirky and a downright obstreperous pain in the ass sometimes. It needs to be driven rather than simply pointed in the right direction. Its complements really mean something. I love my M9- 5 speed, full of piss and vinegar.
The M6 was the perfect size. My daughter once made me a camera out of cardboard and a toilet paper roll. The 240 is actually bigger than that- and heavier too 😉
GREAT REVIEW! The Fuji X100S pics gave me a full blown case of the GAS.
I think the camera industry has hit the top of the exponential curve now and they are going to be in trouble over the next decade with many going out of business. Fuji have been pretty smart targetting the high /medium end market because thats all thats going to be left.
Steve – you state aps-c matters – really ? I bet I could take an M-240 and my x-pro1 out to the street and take 50 shots each and defy anyone to tell me which came from which camera. Steve – maybe you could do this,( I’m sure you have lots of time on yoru hands!) – but no side by side shots, they have to be completely different. The only thing that might edge it is the more out of focus bokeh on the M…vs the xf35mm
I’m in a living heaven with my pro-1 having been taking photos since the 1970’s (yes, I wish I had the cash for an m-240 and a couple of lenses, that’s for sure – but not for image sake).
Thanks for your great and detailed review – refreshing as always!
I’d like to add one clarification concerning the new metering modes. Indeed you CAN use the new modes in conjunction with the use of the RANGEFINDER. You have to prepare doing:
1) In MAIN MENU select METERING MODE
2) In the submenu select ADVANCED
Now you may choose between all three modes without activating live view just by choosing the mode from the PICTURE PARAMETERS MENU.
As the metering is done by the sensor however you will not get rid of the lag 🙁
All the best
Well that is the issue. The lag.
great review, thanks so much for your efforts in putting it together. Though one can see it is an act of love.
The high ISO test was very revealing. In those tests, i always look more for loss of detail then I do the noise. The new M is indeed impressive. And as you noted so is the new X100S, despite what appeared to be in-camera noise smoothing, the detail in the pedal is to my eye a good size step over the RX1.
Anyway great review and photos thanks again.
Hi-ISO comparisons should be done at the same physical exposure. As they are, the RX1 received 1.3 stops less light at ISO6400.
Correcting for that, seems they use the same exact sensor type.
AS STATED IN THE REVIEW:
NOTE: I test high ISO in a way that anyone SHOULD test high ISO. In dim or low light conditions. I use the same aperture, same focal length (if possible) and use A mode for all cameras letting the CAMERA choose the exposure. Why? Because this is what you will get in the real world when USING the camera. We do not go out and shoot an RX1 saying “Oh, I have to match the exposure to the Leica M”. No, 85% of shooters that use advanced cameras shoot in A mode. So what you see below is what you REALLY get. I would also NEVER EVER do high ISO tests with studio lighting for the very obvious reasons as that is a condition that is so far from :real world” it is useless. No one will crank up the ISO to shoot with bright studio lighting unless it is by accident. I prefer to shoot a camera how it is meant to be shot so the results you see here are what YOU will get when you take the camera out to shoot.
If you want a test where exposure is matched, something that would never happen in real life, then you can see those in the technical reviews. Thanks!
Sure, but the Leica’s stated ISO6400 is actually ISO3200. And that’s a hard fact.
Great review as usual Steve.
To my eye the M9 M9P ME IQ is more unique even with it’s limitations compared with the M240.
Just my .2.
Excellent, intelligent review!…
Brilliant review, thank you. Dedication to produce this length and depth of review is nothing short of astounding. Very much appreciated. The thing that provides me the most are the shots you take, subject, composition & colours. Inspirational.
You talk about learning RAW conversions… As an RX1 owner (some guy recommended it…) a RAW settings walkthrough would be a great read. Especially as you say about the M240 signature took a few days to master.
Once again brilliant, thanks.
Great review Steve, and Thank You!!
The photos confirm what I was hoping to see.
WONDERFUL, LIVELY, FULL OF DETAIL and CHOC FULL of RICHNESS!
Id much prefer your blog to Ken Rockwell’s !
I’m currently well invested into Nikon pro gear – D800E and various pro lenses. Soon to purchase a D4 aswell. I would describe my self as advanced amateur pushing into pro. Shooting weddings, portraits, events and also photo-art. Suddenly I have a large itch to shoot street particularly around local markets here in Australia. I find the diversity of people amazing and really want to capture more of what I see when I’m cruising through the markets most weekends – for coffee and breakfast 😛 . However taking around my D800 and either a Sigma 50 1.4 or Nik 24-70 2.8 makes it a little tough to be discrete and decisive.
I am strongly considering investing into Leica m system either an M-E or M240. I don’t think the price difference is excessive approx. $6 k & $8 K (Australian RRP pricing respectively). I’m still yet to get my hands on any Leica and try out RF manual focusing but I’m prepared to take some risks particularly if there is a look that might give me an edge amongst the thick sea of fat pro DSLR users in my local area.
Of course I follow the history of Leica cameras mostly being about natural light and Leica users not particularly into flash photography.
Would you be able to review the use of flash and in particular wireless flash / triggers for outdoor portraits?
Realise that this would have been a labour of love, but thank you for all the work you put in on this review!
great camera ! ( for dentists and lawyers..)
Terrific review I own a M8 and M6 the latter gives me a wonderful experience of shooting B&W film and self developing (that is so good) But the dilemma is the next upgrade a low shutter count secondhand M9 or save for the M in Australia about $4,000 difference. I think a lot of Leica users will be pondering as the lawyers and doctors who just want the image of the latest Leica will be selling their M9s your review is good for us secondhand buyers. $4,000 for better iso and resolution but only if any image quality I think I have made my decision.
The ISO comparison is incorrect.
RX1 is definitely better than this Leica:
No, when you use studio lighting to test high ISO, that is when it is done incorrectly. Who will ever use high ISO in studio lighting? NO ONE. When using lighting like that you do not see the real high ISO results in lower light, where the camera will put out MORE noise. So I would say that those are incorrect for any type of real results. Those results are scientific and in no way represent what you will get when shooting out in the street or in low light.
ALSO, as I stated in the review above the ISO test:
NOTE: I test high ISO in a way that anyone SHOULD test high ISO. In dim or low light conditions. I use the same aperture, same focal length (if possible) and use A mode for all cameras letting the CAMERA choose the exposure. Why? Because this is what you will get in the real world when USING the camera. We do not go out and shoot an RX1 saying “Oh, I have to match the exposure to the Leica M”. No, 85% of shooters that use advanced cameras shoot in A mode. So what you see below is what you REALLY get. I would also NEVER EVER do high ISO tests with studio lighting for the very obvious reasons as that is a condition that is so far from :real world” it is useless. No one will crank up the ISO to shoot with bright studio lighting unless it is by accident. I prefer to shoot a camera how it is meant to be shot so the results you see here are what YOU will get when you take the camera out to shoot.
It’ll be very interesting to see your reaction to the X100s.
Zack Arias — who shot a Land Rover campaign with the X-Pro 1 — had one teaser quote about the X100s on his site about 12 days ago. It simply said this:
“They did it. It’s the greatest camera I’ve ever owned. No. Freaking. Joke. It’s perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
This is not a review its a thesis 🙂 I have never in my life come across such a brilliant appraise of s product. Thank you for the time and dedication in compiling this.
Thanks Steve for this useful review and discussion. I was unimpressed by the earlier pictures by Jean M. using R glass. Is there any chance you might try the combination and give us your opinion? I currently use successfully several R lenses on my D800 with a removable adaptor (not Leitax) but I am interested in using the 21-35 and the 35-70 on an M. Best
M8, M9, OMD5, X100, etc.
Thanks, Steve, for this incrediblely in-depth, honest, real-world, review. You have provided many of us with a lot of food for thought. I am suprised by the difference in color palette and detail rendition between new and old images. IMO, there’s something about M9 (and M8 files), a certain pop or grittiness, that I have gotten used to, which seems different on M files. I think you used the term “hard”, and the M240 files have a gentler, “smoother” rendering (reminds me of the X-trans sensor’s rendering, where focus is painted with a broader, gently brush, yet the detail is there)….Any thoughts or comments, beyond all that you have already made? the question may be redundant…
Further, I was always struck by how strongly people back in the day rebelled about the M8/9’s thickness compared to film, and here we are with an M that’s even thicker. Do you notice any hand fatigue?
I am really enjoying your images with the M, and I am sure that I’ll eventually fall into line and grab one, when the timing is right. I actually continue to see, through your images, why I love my M9 so much…that crispness and pop, color depth (different), and find it to “keep up well” with the M in many respects. I just wish that it operated at the level of the M, minus the EVF obviously…
Ultimately, I’ll have a $6995 question on my hands…and your review has made my choice more challenging, even more so….
One vital question Steve:
You said Leica redesigned the micro lenses in the M to work with wide angle lenses and not produce the magenta shift and edge blur that always occurs with mirrorless cameras that try to use wide angle range finder lenses.
Attach the Voigtlander 15mm Heliar and shoot a wall or landscape and show us 100% crops of those corners, top and bottom.
The Heliar on film rangefinders is flawlessly sharp corner to corner.
Will it work on the new M???
If it does then it is a done deal. Game over. M is the s–t.
Is it particularly the Voigtlander 15mm Heliar which you want to know about? Or is it super-wide angle in general?
If the latter, I can vouch for the quality of performance I got in the files from the WATE on the M240. I shot pictures with it in extremely bright, harsh sunlight and in overcast conditions, I’m afraid there aren’t any wall pictures or 100% corner crops, just real world ones instead.
I found very little, if any at all, CA in any of the shots, even ones against the bright sky & including the sun.
Neither did I think the corners suffered from poor definition. Yes, 16mm at f4 does give a little softness and slightly darker corners, but this is due to the lens characteristics. For critical work one would normally stop the lens down to f8 or f11. The corners improve to approach the centre performance.
Examples can be seen on the links in my reply to an earlier enquiry about super-wide angle performance.
I am extremely pleased with the WATE/M240 combination and like the easy way it is integrated when used with the live view/EVF.
I hope this helps.
Yes, the 15mm Heliar is the main lens I am concerned with as this lens will not work on any other mirrorless camera without magenta shift and blurred corners caused by the mirrorless sensor’s micro lenses.
Steve said in his review that the 240 had redesigned micro lenses to optimize the sensor for use with wide angle lenses such as the Heliar.
Did Leica succeed though?
I too am curious about the new M wide angle performance with lenses having a deeply recessed rear element – Specifically: Leica’s 21mm f3.4 Super Angulon, Voigtlander’s 21mm f4, and Voigtlander 15mm.
There was an M in the display case of the Singapore leica store when I stopped in to pick up some bits and bobs the other day. A chrome one, the second they have had, having sold a black version. Lovely, but too heavy for my tastes (probably the bigger battery) and felt very big in the hands. I had bought myself a cheap M9 second hand a few days before, and definitely don’t regret the choice. Sure, being able to go above ISO800 would be nice, but even being able to do that on the spot is better than I had on my M6, and it also made the decision to go for the cheaper f 2, 2.8 and 2.5 lenses easier – I’ll save my new little beauty for good light, and take my D800 for that cat in a coal mine!
M looks lovely, and is clearly a big step up in many ways – but it just got too DSLR like in size, weight and concept for me. I would be interested to see samples against the 24mp DSLRs though – the Canons, D600 and Sony. Whilst I recognize that they aren’t the m’s competitors, that’ll give us a view of where Leica are at on the electronics front, which has always been their issue (going back to fiilm compact days!).
May pick up an RX1 for low light though – the X100 is on its way out because it’s a pig to use, and I still have a lust for a Monochrom. Even without the amazing results, it’s the prettiest digital camera ever made, almost up there with the black MP, Nikon F2 Titan and black Olympus OMs in my book.
Okay – cheap by comparison to other FF Leica’s, including other S/H M9s.
Not compared to, er, say, er, pretty much anything else.
It seems like the new M is a spectacular camera… The only problem is the Fuji X-series (I know it’s not the same, but it’s a heck of a lot cheaper). I’m making 24×36″ prints off an X-Pro1 and X-e1 combo with no problem, and have gone all Fuji (from high end Nikon). The Fuji glass is spectacular, as is Leica, but the Fuji is so much cheaper. Sure, cost no object, there are many good arguments for the Leica, and only two for the Fuji (availability of zoom lenses as an alternate choice – the Fujinon 18-55 is the best zoom I’ve ever used, and that includes the Nikkor AF-S 24-70 f2.8, and autofocus (I wish the Fuji had better manual focus, but it has extremely accurate AF, if not always fast)). Leica could actually make zooms for the new M, at the cost of compatibility with older bodies, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some, especially if a new variant has a hybrid finder someday. Nobody would own an M to use only with zooms, but many photographers might add one to their bag of primes?
With the cost factored in, one can have a REALLY nice Fuji system, including most of the lenses and two bodies, for less than an M body alone. In the real world, Leica has to deal with the X series as a competitor, and a very competent one at that. The M is not just a Fuji with a red dot, but it IS a very compact camera with traditional controls and a strong focus on still image quality, which the Fuji system is as well, and the Fujis are the closest thing it has to a competitor, offering most of the quality (not all) for 1/5 the price.
After much thought, and having shot micro four-thirds for the past 3 years, I bought a Zeiss Biogon 35/2 and the Fuji X-E1. The biggest trouble I have these days with the m43 bodies is the weeny bit of noise even at base ISO. You don’t get clean shadows. I hate to apply NR. It kills the pictures.
The primes move one step up due to the crop factor. If you have a set of 24, 35, and 50 lenses they become 35, 50, and 75 (approximately). I am planning to buy the Leica M6 though. I have come to the conclusion that that is the real Leica experience. The 50mm lens would have to be the Leica Summicron.
You said you prefer the red framelines, but could you show the white for the readers so we can see both options?
Ill try to get a shot of it tomorrow but it looks like the old ones always did, just a little brighter. 🙂
Once again a terrific heartfelt review, for your hard work you deserve a million page views!
The one thing that I don’t think anybody has brought up yet, is that with the creation of the M-240 and it’s Live View capability, Leica now has the ONLY full-frame interchangeable lens mirrorless camera on the market. I personally do not like the rangefinder or DSLR experience and therefore only use a Ricoh GXR with about 20 different lenses (m-mount and vintage manual focus SLR glass). This morning I stopped by a Leica Store and tried the M-240 with the EVF using a variety of my lenses in Live View and am now a true believer. You are 100% right! The M-240 is a Killer Camera!!! Today I’m seriously thinking about getting the M as my main camera!
one of the best ever review you make
Appreciate 100 % you love passion and hardworks…
now I know which M I should go to ..
as vintage lens lover
Oh man, what have you done?!
I had been hoping for the M240’s success to drive down the prices of the M-9 and M-E so I could easily afford one. But now your review, and sample images, have changed my mind: I want the 240–badly!
All else, it seems, is a compromise.
I agree, the colors are richer, bright (without being overwhelming or gaudy), and the overall palette seems broader, more varied, dare I say more “true to life.” The black and white files are also rich and pleasing, very HP-5ish. And the 240 files are, to my eyes at least, very sharp, but with a nicely organic and gentle rendering. Teeerrific stuff!
Guess I gotta work a bit longer, and save a bit more money, for the new M. Once again, great review and insights. Ciao!
After reading your Leica M review I’ve ordered… Fuji X100s. It seems they fixed everything I wanted them to fix and even more.
Getting rid of X100 black now.
Steve, thanks for the review! I am on Ken’s waiting list, he wouldn’t say which position 😉 but I am sure I am no. 2….
Hey, is there any relation between the stronger color saturation and (my perception) higher contrast in the B&W pictures? Because the MM sometimes seemed a bit “flat” while these B&W’s seem very contrasty…
I think the MM “flatness” is by design so you get all of that information in the file from shadow to light. Also, with these, when converting using Alien Skin or Silver Efex it always adds contrast and pumps up the file. They can be tweaked to be less contrasty and flat if that is what is desired. It will not give the same look as the MM (the MM puts out a different kind of grey it seems) but my point was that for $1k less you can get an M which will do color and do decent B&W as well.
Sorry, Steve, this is a real question: What do you mean by “MM puts out a different kind of grey it seems”? What “kinds” of grey are there?
The MM files look more “grey” to me..more shades of grey where the conversions are more “black and white” – that is the best way I can describe it.
127.127.127 is neutral grey in a 8 bit color domain at least…….the MM uses a 16 bit greyscale sensor…..so can produce 2^16 perfect greys (I guess)….from black 0.0.0 to white 65536.65536.65536 for all white and anything in between…..for each and every pixel….ah color sensor has to interpolate grey using a Bayer array…..so totally different beasts…..and different results…..if M then MM for me…..therefore by design the best low iso black and white camera on the market (by design period).
BTW Steve, the first results of your M 240 (<- yuck) are totaly in line with earlier results…..some crispness has been lost as you have noticed also, so I suspect an AA filter at work (anything on that?).
Sorry to insist, Steve: But more “black and white” seems to me like “more contrast”, while more “grey” seems like less contrast. Which brings me back to my original question – is it possible that the higher color saturation translates in B&W into a higher contrast? For me, that would be desirable and maybe explain why you preferred the M B&W pics to the MM ones….
I just saw Ed’s reply – that might be the reason! Thanks, Ed!
Great review Steve! I had my doubts early on with the Jean Gaumy photos, but others that came after turned me to the BIG plus side for the 240. However, your review just solidified it for me…This is a must have for me! Gotta find out were I am on that list tomorrow. Thanks Steve!
Steve, this is a SUPERB review, especially when one considers the short time you have had your OWN M240. I am wait-listed for my own “M” from a supplier in the USA, for delivery to Australia. Maybe a long wait. (I have NEVER owned a Leica before). I shall in the meantime start buying the best Leica lenses from anywhere, starting with the 50 LUX, as recommended by you, and also the 21 LUX, 35 LUX and 75 LUX, (including the 50 LUX) as recommended by Thorsten. Thanks for EVERYTHING, “Fanboy”
That is one serious investment….all that glass!
Thanks for the hard work Steve. I had already decided to upgrade and placed my order with my dealer before reading this. That said, you’ve affirmed many of the reasons I chose to do so. My M9 has been brilliant but I think the M (typ 240) will be even better. I have been extremely pleased with my Zeiss lenses as I bought my M9 during one of those periods when Leica glass was incredibly scarce. I look forward to mounting them up on the new body.
I will likely pass on the expensive grip and wait for my friends at Really Right Stuff to develop an L bracket for the new body. I was also surprised to see that the new Leica flash is actually a Metz 58 AF-2, so I hope that my existing Metz with Leica SCA adapter will work with the new camera.
Thanks Steve for keeping the review real, oriented to photography, not just engineering.
The mono added some hair on that head Steve 😉 Great review!
yep. the mm definitely took a few years off you.
Sorry to be a pest about the high ISO test but I down loaded your JPGs to look better in LR and what I find is that the images posted show a discrepancy that would affect the results. The M240 shot and the RX-1 shot were both shot at ISO 6400 and f4 but the Leica shutter speed was at 1/30 sec and the RX-1 was shot at 1/80 sec or almost a stop and a half under exposed. Then the Fuji shot was at ISO 3200, f4 but 1/20 sec. Without original raw files it is hard to draw any conclusion but we are not comparing equivalent exposures and maybe conditions. Perhaps you could retest under better controlled conditions or in a dark bar or restaurant with aperture, ISO and shutter speed set to the same values. Thanks,
Already went through this in the comments and posted the NOTE above the ISO tests. Thanks
Steve, this is what I don’t like with the change you made a while back: new coments now on top. Please go back to the old format.
Oh, and thanks for a great review.
Looks like a really great release.
Only thing that I flagged was the shutter lag when using the EVF — street shooting at night and looking for a focus assist necessitates using focus peaking…which necessitates using the EVF. That sort of lag is tantamount to having a slow autofocus system.
Couldn’t care less about HD video — wrong tool for video shooting altogether. I would prefer to see some sort of rangefinder focus assist confirmation long before video in an M.
One thing I absolutely LOVE about this camera is the simple elegance of the design, especially when it comes to the new menu system. That menu display is beautifully straightforward. I criticize Leica for bringing up the rear when it comes to electronics implementation, but this is one place where they can absolutely teach the rest of the industry (read: the Japanese) a thing or two.
Can’t wait to read your X100s review.
And I absolutely can’t wait to see what Fuji’s successor to the X-Pro 1 will look like. Something tells me that camera is going to be a very, very serious contender, particularly if Fuji goes full-frame with one of them. A full-frame, 24 megapixel X-Trans sensor, combined with up-to-date processing and autofocusing technologies from the X100s, will be a game changer, IMHO.
With great reviews comes great responsibility. Your MM review got me to buy the MM, and I have been waiting for your 240 review before thinking about ordering. I read all your 240 review, good work and thank you, and tomorrow – oh curse you Mr Huff- I shall be ordering my M10! I can’t afford to read you any more, I was hoping you would say ‘nah stick to the M9’ and I could have bought the new uber Sumicron instead, oh well that will have to wait, or I just downsize and into a smaller accommodation, but your last review got me down to one bedroom, and my sensible non Leica obsessed wife, seems to have an unreasonable objection to living in a yurt albeit a yurt with a Leica.
……And now you are on the couch 🙂 Oh well…It’s Hockey season with a couple of beers in the fridge it will be like camping. (Shhhh don’t show her this post!!)
Great effort putting together this review. Kudos.
Now, you are very positive about the new sensor but specific about the color rendering, I’m noticing a tendency to a magenta cast in some of the pictures (the little dog for example). I’m leaning more to the M9 colors. Otherwise, it seems like a winner.
Steve, congratulations on a great review.
My few thoughts on the sensor issues.
There is no doubt that the sensor in M9 had it’s fair share of shortcomings and nobody in his right mind could deny it. However, people really loved it output and still do. It reminds me of an old proverb that you can’t love perfection, something has to have flaws to be loved. It also reminds me the early Sigma Foveon cameras who were totaly off in color but had such a beautiful film-like output that some people still swear by them in comparison with the new.
Also, there is no doubt then when you shot a picture with an M9 and a CMOS DSLR side by side, those two were usually quite different. And people called it the Leica look and it made the camera output different from everything out there.
Now, the files are seriously better and tonally correct, yet quite reminiscent of other DSLR bodies. I felt that most when I looked at that first shots from Normandy published by Leica. They looked just like when you point an 5DmkII at something, take the OOC JPEG and print it. I think that now people will have to work more to get a different look both by adapting their shooting as well as their post-processing technique to differentiate their look from a DSLR look.
My secret wish, which will probably never become reality, was for Leica to have a custom-made full frame Foveon sensor from Sigma. I can only imagine what would 30+MPx of a three-layer sensor with Leica glass in front create. And damn high ISO, if we could live up till now without it, we could live on. That camera would truly put out an output that would be different from everything else out-there. But as Mick Jagger would say, you can’t always get what you want.
All the best and hope you continue to write such enthusiastic reviews in the future.
In the APS-C size the Foveon is a killer as it is. I always wonder how a Foveon + 50Lux ASPH looks like from time to time. Glad someone is also out there having the same fantasy.
I’m sorry Steve but you’ve put it out there, you’ve said it now, and its been gnawing away at me ever since I read it:) You defended Thorsten von Overgaard. You said he’s the ‘real deal’
Perhaps because you both get some stick for being Leica enthusiasts, you are aligning yourself with him, but you really shouldn’t. You are a successful blogger and fairly even handed real-world reviewer of gear from many companies. Like many of us, you do a bit of pro work now an again.
Thorsten Von Overgaard claims to be a photojournalist of some repute, this is not the case. His entire blog is made up of Walter Mitty-like hyperbole designed to bolster his myth as the ‘Leica Guru’. He made a lot of money in business and is passionate about Leica cameras but he is in fact a very average photographer with very few photojournalistic credits. He runs the most expensive workshops imaginable for Leica users around the world. His success in this field does not say much for the wealthier Leica user. It suggest they don’t really know a good picture from a bad one, a genuine educator from a snake oil salesman.
You should not align yourself with this man.
Thorsten does not need defending. He is a great guy and I have known him for years. We had a little quibble a couple years back, nothing huge but yes, he is the real deal. His passion is huge, wether you want to believe it or not and when I hung out with him for a couple of days it was evident. When someone can constantly speak about one topic, their passion and do so in a way that is exciting, refreshing and honest then they are the real deal. When I hung out with him he truly had all of these things. As for his website, he runs a business and from the looks of it, a successful one. If he was a bad photograoher or person no one would want to sign up with him, but they consistently do, from all over the world.
I have only seen on man bash him consistently and from everything I have seen it is due to jealousy/anger and bitterness as that same person bashes me all of the time and this guy even complained to Leica about us both. Really silly stuff. The funny thing is, I much prefer Thorsten’s photos to this other guy who is a “pro”. Unless you have met Thorsten and hung out with him and know what he is all about I do not think it is fair to try and tarnish him. Him running a successful business, even if that includes charging high dollars for his workshops just shows he knows his stuff. People sign up so good for him, he must be doing something right. I enjoy his photography and his dedication. I could never travel the world non stop to do workshops, way too much work, and yes, it is work.
BTW, I am not “aligned” with anyone. Like I said, I have known him for years and read his site well before I started mine. What I say is a fact, his site and this one has done more for Leica than all other sites combined and when I say this I am in no way hyping myself. I am one of the most humble down to earth guys around but this is fact. The reason this is so is die to the passion we have for the brand, but I will be the 1st to moan when something is not up to par and I have done so in the past when I said Micro 4/3 can beat an X1 or X2. Probably why Leica stopped communicating with me. Fuji did the same. Kind of sucks but it is what it is.
If Thorsten is a “Snake Oil Salesman” I have yet to see it because if he was a sham there would be hundreds who have attended his workshops online complaining about his workshops. Ive never seen any but then again I do not peruse the Leica forums. He also happens to have a site with LOADS of FREE Leica information – His M9 review is insane and filled with valuable info and beautiful photos.
Thorsten is a little harder to read.
In fact I’ve found lots of Leica people think they’re overly good writers. I’m not sure why but it makes for weird, philosophical reading, passion or otherwise.
Steve is much more accessible – much more action packed, and less of that dark weird philosophy that a lot of Leica reviewers throw into their text. It was really Steve’s style of writing that got me out to a nearby camera store to see if the M9 felt and acted like that beloved M4 I once had.
It’s good fun.
What is biting you, Mate! What have you got against Thorsten? It is PATHETIC that you should air such venom against a very successful man who has done so much for Leica. PERIOD. What have YOU done? I am attending Thorsten’s workshops, perhaps closer to “home” in Melbourne, Australia. Have YOU attended one of his and did not like it? You disgust me.
This is hardly ‘Venom’ please:) If I see someone charging a fortune from the wealthiest sector of the photographic community I am entitled to voice my opinion. One would pay 1/3 of his fees to train with working Magnum photographers. What he sells and what people buy is confidence and enthusiasm for Leica products. Fair enough, but don’t go making out you’re a highly experienced photojournalist when you’re not! That hypocrisy disgust me!
I couldn’t disagree more.
Once again sad to see people complained about others, they personally never met.
Sign-up for one of Thorsten’s workshops – then form an opinion.
What on earth do you mean with “pro work”?
It seems you still have to learn a lot about photography.
Mathias, I think your website may have been hacked! It appears that all of your portrait examples are of…..Thorsten Von Overgaard:) (not that you’re a big fan or anything:) I see you are also a ‘feature writer’, how interesting. I’ve read watched and listened to a sufficient volume of his outpourings to realise that I would not benefit from attending his workshops.
This is not to say I would not benefit from any workshop, just not his. I would rather put my money into getting useful industry knowledge from Magnum Pro, David Alan Harvey or an accomplished Landscape photographer like David Noton or an inspirational speaker and working professional like Zack Arias.
Neil, I’m well connected to the Leica community and “yes” Thorsten Overgaard got me started years ago at one of his seminars into seriously doing photography with a Leica Camera. So, I do know the guy (you DON’T) and many others around him, Leica Camera AG, the Leica Galleries, etc. – this all has made my life much happier. I’m enthusiastic about photography and I have a personal passion for Leica. I like Thorsten, so I put up those portraits (which I also like). It is MY website and I don’t have to please anyone with different opinions. The website is fairly new, so you may expect portraits of other Leica photographers as well in the future … and oh yes, I’m sure there are many thousand more occasional feature writers on the planet 🙂 Most other content (my portfolios, projects, articles) stand completely for themselves.
I’m sorry to see that you are so NEGATIVE about others having passion and joy and creativity in their own ways. Your strange contributions on the “dpreview forums” in this respect speak for itself. – The time and immense effort you put into humiliating others you have never met in person suggests, that you are not often out to photograph.
For further reading, I allow myself to recommend the following article to you:
Please accept, that I do not wish to communicate further with you on this.
I’m out photographing, living a happy life 🙂
Neil (and Rohan),
When I took up photography a year ago, I eagerly looked around for some inspiration from skilled shooters. Who made – to my taste – exquisite outputs. And whose basic approach to photography somewhat reflected my own desires. I quickly realized that most modern “magnum”-high profiles didn’t really appeal to my taste, and I was more to the B&W street- and portrait shooting of my childhood.
And I think Thorsten von Overgaard is widely an exponent for the style I personally like. Thorstens “entire blog” is not made up of myths, but packed with shots from assignments for fashion, musicians, royal families, international politicians, from his exhibitions, and also from everyday family life. Always with a lot of hardcore background informations in the shots.
My point is: It was not a matter of knowing “a good picture from a bad one”. But – for me – to know my own taste from other photographer’s styles. I didn’t have the money for a workshop, but bought Thorsten’s online courses for a few hundred bucks. Which – along with articles, feedback and “dark weird philosophy” (which is all about passion and inspiration) – Is a huge impact on my own development. Development of my own personal style that is.
After only one year of shooting I am starting to get assignments here and there. Without any other marketing than fooling around with picture posts on Facebook. And a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet up with Thorsten and friends, meeting only open- and helpfulness from happy, easy going people. Me being the only non-Leica shooter by the way.
What he “sells” is confidence and enthusiasm, yes. But first and foremost for peoples to develop their own individual passions and styles.
Besides the article Matthias links to, I would suggest Thorsten’s own article about “The anti-social personality”. You might benefit from it (I did), and the people you debate with definitely would!
There’s no doubt that you’ve put in super effort with this review. But if you’re going to do a comparison it shouldn’t be haphazard just because this is a “real-world review” as opposed to a scientific review.
For example, in your high ISO comparison you shoot at the same aperture and ISO, but with different shutter speeds. In the ISO6400 comparison, the M240 is shot at 1/30s while the RX1 is shot at 1/80s. This gives the M240 a greater than 1 stop advantage (more than twice as much light is hitting the sensor) that the RX1.
You must not know how I’ve done reviews since day one. I am a huge believer in letting the camera do its thing. The exposure you see is the exposure the camera gave. Contrary to what you may believe, 85% of shooters use A mode with their digital Leicas and advanced cameras.
So this is how I do all of my tests. If one cameras exposes differently then that is what you can expect in real life when you are our shooting. We are not going to go out with a Sony and shoot at night thinking “oh I have to match the exposure of a Leica M”
No we will shoot it and count in the exposure system in the camera.
I do real results – not scientific that really show me nothing about real results. For example the reviewers who test high ISO with studio lighting. Plain silly as that is not the situations where we use high ISO. A camera is only challenged at high ISO when shooting in low light.
So thanks for reading but know I will never so a test in a way that will skew real life results when put shooting.
Fair enough. But then you shouldn’t state that you have used “…same settings, same everything…” since this is clearly not the case. The shutter speed is not the same and the difference between 1/30s and 1/80s is considerable. The M will undoubtedly look better than the RX1 under these circumstances.
Same aperture, same ISO, same focal length
Exposure = ISO, aperture, shutter speed. Unless the shutter speed is also the same you cannot fairly claim that you have applied “same settings, same everything”.
Sure I can, it is my site 🙂 But seriously, for the 5th time..read the text above the ISO test. Thank you.
Maybe not all ISO’s are the same?
No not necessarily. If for example one camera is under-reporting its ISO,say it says ISO400 when really it is ISO 500, the camera’s shutter speed will be calibrated to give a correct exposure for the true sensitivity of the camera i.e. ISO 500.
On this point I think Steve Huff is correct. He is using the camera in the way it will be used by a great many people. Had I done the shooting I might have matched up the settings so that if I know one camera’s ISO 400 reading is really ISO 500 then I would drop the ISO setting so that it is truly exposing at ISO 400 and then set all the other cameras’ settings to match (but that’s because I am a little bit more scientific in my approach to that of Steve Huff). However, I don’t think there is anything wrong with Steve Huff’s approach accept for the fact that he didn’t make it crystal clear that the cameras give different shutter speeds when set to the same aperture and ISO.
And that is what happens in the real world!
So based on the shutter speeds between RX1 and Leica M, ISO 3200 on the Leica M is actually what?? ISO 1250? Can someone confirm this?
I understand why you review the way you do and I applaud you for it. You go out and take pictures with the cameras and then compare the results.
In this case, however, you cannot argue that in hypothetical scene that is twice as dark as the one in comparison, the Sony would have lowered the shutter speed to 1/40, kept the ISO at 6400 and you would not have noticed any difference in image quality. Not so with the Leica.
I just wish you’d use spellcheck.
Never really have and the few typos do not bother me in the slightest. Every article on this site over the years has had typos, well, most of them. It’s part of the character of the site and me and I suppose there will be many more typos to come. I am not a perfectionist, not an expert, not a scholar and certainly no guru. Just a normal everyday guy who likes to write about what I like. 🙂 Thanks for reading.
Great review and great images Steve.
Thanks for the heads-up Steve – you have relieved my mind as I wait for my new M to arrive in Australia.
One extra thought – I am looking forward to getting hold of an adaptor and using the M as a DSLR with my Leica R lenses, as well as with my M glass – will extend the range possible.
Meanwhile, I am sleeping easier, knowing that the new M will be worth the investment. (I am yet another Leica fanboy).
You’ve taken great photos for the review, a very nice range to give you a feel in what to expect, which is the point of a review!
Would it be fair to say that the sensor can’t be criticized? I find that the “look” of a sensors output is a personal preference, this camera delivers great clean shots but I would’t want to say that a Nikon or Canon is any worse or better, just different, would you agree?
I’m looking at buying my mother another digital, I started her with a DSLR and watching her operate that camera is like watching a kid trying to navigate the Rubik’s Cube. I’ll be taking your advice and will rent the X100’s and RX-1 from Lens Rentals and will compare for myself to make the final purchase… but it would be fun to throw the Leica into the mix 🙂
“Legacy” NOCTILUX f/1.0 + M240 = ???? I have yet to see any images that come out of this combination and I hope it won’t be long until someone with a Noct will share their results. Steve, if you have a legacy Noctilux in your vicinity, I hope it wouldn’t be too much to ask for some sample images. Your M240 articles have been superbly entertaining, VERY informative, excellent samples and I appreciate the great work that you are doing. Thank you!!!
Thanks Steve for great and detailed review. After reading your review the decision is finalised to stay with MP and get a few new Leica lens. Update to digital RF I would consider MM. I love how the picture pop up like 3D with Leica lens.
Fantastic review Steve, as always…thank you!
I’m glad the new M is up to snuff. Is it safe to assume that the RX1 is still the King of OOC JPEG?
X-Pro 1 with 35mm XF f/1.4 is the king of OOC jpegs, IMO — but that’s just me. 😉
RX1 is current the king of OOC JPEG which is mainly the way I shoot it because it is so good. The new Leica M – it is an improvement in the JPEG area over the M9 but still not the best in JPEG.
Was looking at the RX1 the other day — build quality felt pretty average to me, and ergonomics…? Well, my hands were crawling all over the camera. Just “felt” wrong.
Plus no built in viewfinder at that price point? Nah.
I have no qualms about its image-making abilities — but it’s not for me.
Yeah I’d have to agree on the size thing; they almost made it too small. The Gariz case sorts that though, very nicely. I would still like to see a Leica like grip as an accessory option. Maybe the RX2 will have a built in EVF (Sony’s new 3,8M Dot OLED) and hot shoe. If they do that, and I think they will, it will have to be a bit bigger which will suit my big paws just fine. Add ILC to the mix and lookout Leica 😉 Your WAY off base on one thing; the build quality in anything but average, it’s a friggen tank…a Howitzer with a Zeiss lens 🙂 It is DEFINITELY for me.
Mmmm. Body felt “plasticky” to me. Nothing special.
Mmmm…my Glock feels a little too, but that damn shoots straight 😉
Thanks Steve for the great review. I could not wait to read it and have not been disappointed.
Could you share with us more details about the post processing you have found to be adequate for the M files and how they differ to what you were usually doing with the M9 files ?
Also do you prefer Alien Skin to Nik software for bw conversion ?
Steve, thanks for the review. I also got a new M last Friday and i’m impressed. I had a M9 before and loved it, but the new M is magical to me. May I ask you how what is your typical workflow on your shots? I am using LR and doing little basic adjustments on contrast/exposure and if at all saturation and vibrance, yet minimal. How about your process, have you found anything that blows the magic of the already brilliant DNGs even nicer?
two things worth to mention.
The base plate has the plastic slot to let the M work properly with wirless
SD Cards. Leica urge you not to use the plastic cover for swapping the
As I already mentioned in a previous email to you, Leica recommends to
use LR 4.4 RC1 to obtain the “Leica” look as it comes with a camera profile
for the new M — it is really different and a lot better/pleasant to look at.
This, of course, only applies to the RAW/DNG files.
Enjoy your new M
I just wanted to simply thank you for your detailed review and enthusiasm, so happy to hear that Leica improved on an already winning formula, I’m looking forward to the upgrade. That said I will be hard pressed to let go of my M9, it is still an amazing tool. If I can I will try to keep it as a backup, after all I have never had so much fun with photography, thanks to the first time I read your Real World reviews.
BTW, very good review. The new M 240 looks good. A lot of new features that match and some exceed the competitions. Thanks for your hard work to crank out this review.
One more thing, all the pictures you took and shared here are very good. Same as those on other camera reviews. That make me wander which one should I buy next?
Thank You so much for all this great written !
I have had a lot of fun to read your huge and really interisting review…
I truly LOVE my M9… But… HUM HUM !!! This new M 😉
Enjoy your passion and your new camera ! And Thank You again for the time You have spended for this great review !
“My camera of the year 2102, the Sony RX1 uses CMOS and that sensor is amazing. So yes CMOS can be superb and better than CCD and I am telling you now that there is no need to worry.”
By 2102, the sensor technology will be far far far advanced than Leica M 240’s sensor. If you live that long, you may have a chance to review the new M (2102) or Sony RXn.
Great review Steve …. I was out at Cologne last year at Photokina and managed to squirm my way to the front of the Leica M stand and tried the new camera ….
Having had Digilux 2, M8 and M9 I was v excited at trying the new M … from that brief experience it is a different feel to the M9 for sure a real leap in many ways offering much of the functionality I like with my 5DII … live view in particular …
The images from your selection are different and sooo rich … I have read the whole report and will re read many times to let it soak in … and no doubt pop into the London Leica dealers to get their input and try a hands on again … still love my M9 (and Digilux 2 …)
Is it just me or does anyone else think that the sample images in the review look a little soft?
Colour is a personal thing and they are a little too rich for me, but that’s easily adjusted to taste in ACR. I was always a fan of D2X MODE 2 in my D700 days.
It’s a tough call and I think that Leica are almost there with it. The perfect digital replacement for analogue 35mm M’s, Just not quite.
It’s not the technology. I think that what Leica is doing with its live view, focus peaking, evf, movie mode etc is amazing. It’s the SIZE of the digital M’s that’s so off putting.
I remember being truly aghast when I first picked up an M8 and disappointed when the M9 was the same size. Now the new M is even BIGGER.
Picking up a digital M is like picking up a Nikon F5 in comparison to a 35mm analogue M.
Special Thanks for the effort, sharing so much use- and helpful information in a passionate and condensed way. Thorsten’s and your evaluation are really outstanding! Photography is about passion, isn’t it?
Might I ask for a favor: When you have finished your Fuji evaluation, could you please explain the necessary differences in PP between M9 and M? This might be really helpful for everyone, reducing the learning efforts … & Take your time, the waiting lines for the M are long …
Best regards Axel
Thanks Steve! I do worry about one issue here, the camera body being larger yet than the previous digital M’s. Your comment is well noted, Steve, this thing should be the size of an M6. The Fuji guys can do it (admittedly with a smaller sensor), and so can Sony. For me, the M8/M9 is really bordering on too large. That is a main reason why I more often carry my M6. Great Review!
This is, no doubt, one of your best reviews, Steve, and it will surely stand up against all other M reviews, I’m sure, thanks to you typical approach.
While reading it, I regularly thought “this is something I need to comment about”, but you’ve included everything in your cons already. So, to me, it comes down to only one question: who’s image do I love the most: the M9’s or the M240’s? Well, it’s still the M9’s for me. (Up till now I’ve read no other reader’s comment, so this is my genuine, uninfluenced opinion.) I admire the 240’s IQ a tremendous lot and agree about everything you write, but I don’t experience the same emotion as with M9 images, that really have something extra flattering to me – call it pop or crispness, whatever – they stand out. One thought: I suspect the IQ of the 240 to allow a lot of processing, so I’m really eager to see more of your (and others) pictures after really getting to know this camera and its files fully in depth. Who knows I might be surprised…
Thank you so much for this great review.
A quick question. We know that the Kodak sensor for the M8 and M9 was a technological breakthrough because the engineers found a way to space the pixels to work around the problem of light not entering on the edges at right angles. Otherwise, no digital M at all. So, now we have a new CMOS sensor from Belgium, not from Sony/Japan. So, does the new CMOS sensor in the M240 also space the pixels so that the original M lenses will work properly? How was this issue resolved in the M240? And if the sensor was say spaced to correspond to Leica M lenses, how can other lenses be adapted to work on the M240?
The Kodak sensor for the Leica M cameras was not a breakthrough. They picked it out of a supply chain offer just like anyone else would and then provided customization parameters. Leica went with Kodak/FillFactory because they actually were the CHEAPEST solution. Anything else and the M would have been hideously expensive (ie: Dalsa, etc…) for such low volume production.
The idea of spacing out the microlenses and pixel faces was NOT invented for use in the M. For years sensor makers have made sensors (both CCD and CMOS) with varied tilt and pitch in the corners of the sensor. I’m sure this sensor has the same technology. Even Canon and Nikon sensors accommodate edge sharpness and light level differences.
Great review Steve! I log on to your website every day.(Hi, from Sweden..).. I own the M9 myself and love it. It is also a very HANDSOME camera. While, I could not argue with your preference for the M 240 files over the M9s, as I have no experience myself, I however fear that Leica may risk loosing their “soul” with the new M. To me a Leica M is a small, unobtrusive, camera with a minimalistic design and function. As few buttons and dials as possible. I think the “genuine Leica M looks” of the new M 240 is destroyed by the gigantic screen, the scroll wheel and thumb rest, as well as the extra buttons of the front side and next to the screeen. I also very much question a built in microphone, video, focus peaking etc. These are “soul-destroying” elements on a true Leica M. All IMHO. Keep up the good work!
Thank you for your article, what i like about it as all other articles is the emotion you put into it.
I also like the fact that your articles are based on your own feelings and not on cold charts that never speek to me. I am also happy that you critisize or praise only cameras used and tried repeatedly by you, never cameras you read about only.
I am glad you like your new toy and i am sure it is a good one too, but i cant help feeling it is in a way because it is NEW, and because it is somewhat DIFFERENT.
In psychology there is this term – Cognitive Dissonance- where you are always happy with what you have, it is always better. I am a great Leica fan as you know, I used to own the M8 which i loved, but… when the M9 appeared i immediately fell inlove with the FULL FRAME , and the lack of UV/IR filter which seemed a great step forward, i soon forgot how great the M8 was and what fantastic results i got out of her. I simply fell in love with my M9
Then came the MM, and the better ISO plus tonal range made me sell my beloved ally and buy the MM.
I ofcourse am sure today that its b\w pics are much better than the M9. As you prefer the 240 b\w pics over the MM which i doubt very much for obvious reasons.
Of course you write what you believe in, but that is not necessarily true.
I was whatching your samples very carefully, the pictures are creamy not as sharp and contrasty as Leica always do, the colors are nice but just loke any other Nikon or Canon, no better no worse, and this is not what i admire in Leica, i am used to better.
The colors are normal, the special Leica color has gone, my friend who is not an expert photographer when seeing my M9 colors said : Danny these are different colors, they remind me of old movies,
Now you can disagree with that kind of color saying : modern colors are nice, maybe so , but to me modern colors are common among all cameras except Leica. No other camera has the feeling of MONOCHROM COLORS except Leica. Is it good? i dont know, but that is what i love
From what i see and i maybe wrong this new toy simply does not provide the goods.
I like crisp and contrasty results, from what i see , the 240 delivers nice creamy uncrispy results
And what is DR ?
Incredible review Steve! I could never afford a camera like this but I really admire such an in-depth, unbiased and frankly, fantastic and thoroughly enjoyable read. Congrats!
We all waited patiently for this review. You touched on all the right points and backed them up with nice photos. What struck me was not that the M240 surpassed the M9 image quality–anything otherwise would have been a disaster in 2013–but rather that the M9 quality is still so close to the what the newer sensors are producing. That was my take-away from Reid Reviews. You can hardly call the M9 a stop-gap camera. Such a view is totally out of context: no one would have said that 3 years ago and someone will say the same about the M240 3 years from now. This is the course of all new digital technology, fantastic technological progress. That said, the resultant price adjustments will make a lot of people happy that they can now buy the M8 for even less cos, and that those holding out for the M9 will now be able to get it at a much more reasonable price. And still get a digital M9 whose image quality is still close to new cameras with the latest sensors from Sony. That’s what all the comparisons are showing: all are a slight improvement over the M9 (forget about ISO, of course). But enough of an improvement to upgrade! What better world could there be for photographers? For me, the improved sensor is great, but its the other features that close the deal (justify the cost). What happens to a M9 user like me when they start using say an Olympus OM5, is an immediate desire for focus assist on the M9. Added to autofocusing, but even with manual focusing which you can get on the $1000 Olympus (and the other new cameras) when you use legacy Leica lenses. The desire for the new features now available on the M240 grows the longer you get used to them on your newer “back up” camera. Since most of what I take is 28mm to 50mm, the new Leica M240 is on my list to purchase. And I suppose I’ll soon make someone very happy to give up my M9 for the same $ 2-3,000 deduction that I took on my M8. The question is how soon or how long to wait to do it.
I was in a dilema this morning. I was told my new M (Silver) was waiting for me to collect (and pay for) in the shop where I reserved it. I’ve been checking your site daily to see when your review was going to be posted. Do I wait till I see what you say (I’ve not found anyone else so far with any meaningful review) or do I jump in and pay my money and hope that you come back with something positive??? Answer, I jumped in, paid my £5100 and the camera is now at home and the battery is on charge as I speak.
I checked my browser and saw that you’d posted this since I last looked this morning, I have to say I started reading it with a few nerves jangling in my stomach, was I about to be told I’d just blown £5K or was I going to be gloating that I now had (at least in your opinion) the best digital Leica ever?
From what I’ve read so far I’m gloating, let’s hope your full review keeps me that way 🙂
Now come on battery, charge!!!
BTW – The silver version is really a thing of beauty! Maybe not as ‘stealthy’ as the black, but if you like the way Apple products are hewn out of solid block of aluminium, then you will love the look and feel of this camera, it’s simply stunning!
Jim, please let us know what you think!
Thanks for an exhaustive analysis, really great!
just a little question about an DR and color RX1 vs M.
Great review Steve and thank you for all your hard work. The M looks like a very versatile camera, street for sure but I now see landscape photographers taking more of an interest in the Leica system, better colour, DR, richer files, live view and the ability to critically check focus, the best glass on the planet and all in a compact system. Sounds great to me!
“My camera of the year 2102, the Sony RX1 uses CMOS and that sensor is amazing.”
Wow, 90 years from now, that must be a really advanced CMOS! 😉
Lol sorry 🙂
Hi Steve, Would you recommend to pair M and M9 (back up) or M and MM?
I’d do M and MM if that were an option
When will your MM go up for sale?
Sony’s metering is notorious for underexposing as to avoid any sort of highlight clipping. The Rx1 is no exception. The ISO comparison shots seem to show about 1.4 of a stop less exposure compensation for the Rx1 due to it’s overly conservative metering. I bet if you did your test again with a +1/4 exposure compensation on the Rx1 you might find a different conclusion to the your tests.
HI There Steve
nicely done – you’ve caught all the pros and cons well, and I absolutely agree with you about the colour with respect to the M9. GREAT JOB.
My real camera comes tomorrow (you beat me to it!), and despite spending the last few months with a prototype, I’m really excited to get the real thing.
All the very best wishes.
Steve, Excellent review, though I have a question.
On the image named “fullsize2.jpg” Shoot at 1/2000 @5.6 Iso 200, I see noise in the sky,
I am not sure how you sharpened the image in LR4/PS6 though either way it looks like the “M” underexposed the image and probably do better with ETTR to clean up the sky, reminds me of the OM-D, noisy sky’s unless one does ETTR, or in other words over expose by at least 1 stop.
When I output files I sharpen for print which always makes it very sharp. Same thing can be seen in my M9 full files. Ill throw one up there without that in the next few days and mark them. Thanks for the comment.
Thank you very much Steve for this to me excellent, very enthusiastic and comprehensive review. It’s really a long long story but worth reading every line !!! I totally agree with your statement: “I skip the fancy cars, boats, ATV’s, and other toys to afford my cameras and enjoy my photography. This is what I get enjoyment from in life (besides family and friends of course).” Guess, this will help that my dream at te end will come true as well: moving from the X1 (my first Leica) to M 240. 😉 or as Thorsten Overgaard anticipated as I was asking whether I could attend one of his workshops with a Leica X1 that I might end up with the M9. In this sense it was good to let some time passing by before going to realize my ambitious objective from OM2N via X1 to M. The only thing I have to get clear to me is the size of the new M 240. Actually I have always preferred ‘compact’ cameras (as OM2N was the smallest reflex camera) which have a good design and a handy size like the X1. Hope I will not have the feeling that the M 240 could be to big and heavy for me. However, reading your reviews is always a great pleasure to me. Thanks for all your inspiring engagement!
I really like the M240 rendering. I enjoyed your review, very objective. Still pondering whether my M3 needs a Leica companion. And very impressed by the Fuji x100s high iso pic. Shockingly, it seems to me the best of all four. I’ll read your review too. Enjoy your new M. (The only thing I don’t like about it is the silver lens with the black body. Looks cheapish for such an expensive piece of engineering. Just my taste.)
Great review Steve. Your M9 review was the straw that broke the camel’s back for my M9 purchase and I think you’ve done it again. Sorry Canon L lenses. I think your time is up. Will have to sell some gear to fund one but it’ll be worth it. Just hope they can get their supply chain running!
Congrats, Steve!!! Excellent review for the new Leica M240. Which lens did you end up using the most for the new Leica M?
Mostly the 50 lux, then 35 summarit and then a 75 lux
Thank you for the review.
The camera looks good, the pictures look great, the new possibilities are very attractive but the output seems to me to be less Leica and more great DSLR.
To me a good Leica picture is one which is instantly recognizable as a Leica picture. It often comes from the bokeh, the sharpness and a certain “nostalgic” coloration. The latter obviously only in color.
I can see the sharpness has not been lost, however, perhaps it is the examples, the bokeh seems to have lost warmth and the colors are less Leica. I am sorry I cannot explain it better. Even in the comparison pics I feel hurt, like I’m about to loose something….
For now I will keep my M9 and will wait and see if I can be convinced.
Steve, I Appreciate All The Time & Effort You Put Into This Well Executed Review! Still Waiting For Mine To Get Here Into Boston. Cant Wait! Files Look Extraordinary! Thanks Very Much!
Nice review Steve. I’m afraid I won’t be adding the M to my gear bag until the M480 is out though! Waiting for the price to drop to $4000. 🙂
Somehow I skipped over the M 240 vs. M9 with 35 Summarit portrait of your friend in the bar. Wow! Now that I look at it at 100% not only is the color much better with the M 240 but the M 240 is slightly sharper too. For those of you who don’t believe me, open up 2 browser tabs side by side and click on the photos to make sure they are 100% view and switch between tabs. His eyes in the M 240 photo are clearly sharper.
If there is any question of the M9 CCD being sharper than CMOS (maybe it is slightly) then the addition of 6 megapixels is enough to give the edge to the M 240. Clearly rendering of CCD and CMOS could be a personal preference, and I still prefer CCD by a small margin but more so th M Monochrom and M8 than the M9.
About colour, I think that the M9 colours can be adjusted to show less green/yellow. That is why I never shoot JPEG. And seriously if you invest in Leica equipment, unless you are a millionair, why would you shoot jpeg?
For landscape shots I have seen the M9 shows much better colours than M. Hopefully, one can adjust the M to be as good. I would hate for it to be as flat as D800, D5 III or RX1.
Steve, are you going to keep your Monochrom?
Great job on the review, Steve. Really appreciate all your hard work and am looking forward to seeing much more of your photography with the new M.
Nice review. Thanks for the work.
I would love to see your workflow that bring up the charm of image files.
As ever, … THE REAL STUFF by Steve Huff!
Congratulations on this unique review.
Hi, I assume that (with a CMOS sensor and the faster Maestro processor inside) there isn’t the awful 3-second (or longer) lag on replay – as on the M9 – until photos appear properly sharp ..and that there isn’t that same lag when zooming into photos on replay.
But you don’t mention that.
Are photos now displayed instantly on playback, or is there still some lag? ..Many thanks.
Nope, its pretty much instant. There is zero lag, they just pop in right after taking the shot 🙂
Many thanks, Steve!
Nice review Steve! If I was in the market for a “new” Leica no question would this be worth getting over the ME. I’ve got an M9P and after seeing the M released decided to get an MM and release my M preorder. I find the MM fantastic to shoot with and love the simplicity and the fact that it forces me to think in B&W without having the color as a crutch. As you know, you have to shoot with one to know what I mean. I’m sure the M provides great B&W conversions but with a more complex workflow. I think I will wait until the dust settles and get the M-P version without the big red dot (or even wait until the next great one after this) as the M9P has been working great and I’m not wanting for low light performance with the MM (albeit in B&W!).
Steve thanks for the review….very well written and quite thorough. With that said I would love to see some sample shots from ultra-wide lenses. I can only assume that the sensor is customized to avoid smearing in the corners etc but I would like to see the results.
I hope Leica starts selling a tonne of these so I can finally buy a cheap, used M9!
When I can get a hold of an ultra wide I will add to the review or make a supplemental page. Thanks!
If you are ever in Venice Beach, CA, you can borrow my Elmar 18mm Asph lens.
First of all, thanks Steve for the extensive review – well worth the wait. Your initial findings pretty much confirm what I have managed to glean from two brief ‘test drives’ of the demo unit at my dealer.
Initial reactions to the first files off the camera were rather mixed, perhaps a slight disappointment even. However as I mentioned in my reply in your original ‘Very 1st Look’ posting I got a lot more excited when working up the 2nd batch of pictures.
Although not immediately apparent, when I started working on the M240 files, the sharpness IS there, and yes I think that they sometimes do require a little bit more sharpening to make them sing out – your 2nd to last (b&w) picture really jumps out when viewed full screen!
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take the plunge and pre-order an M240 when it was first launched, so it will be a few months before I will have the luxury of having boundless files to hone my work flow to get the best from them, just like I (and perhaps many others too) had to when I first got my M9 all those 3 happy years ago.
In my mind the comparison between the M9 and M240 is like comparing 35mm film to 120 roll film. Back when I was shooting Nikon F2 & FM, for a short period I owned a Mamiyaflex 330 and used a Rollieflex too. At first, the negatives and prints from these 120 cameras looked too soft and smooth until you looked closely. Only then did you realise that the detail was there in abundance, but seemingly ‘obscured’ by the large negative requiring less blowing up to achieve any comparative print size and therefore giving that smooth almost plastic look. The 35mm print on the other hand stood out with more subject sharpness in focus and the sharpness & contrast of the grain added to the overall perception at first glance that these prints had more impact. That is more or less how I perceive the differences between the M9 and M240 files to be.
Anyway, I digress. Clint, as to your reference to samples of ultra-wides shot on the M240 – I used my WATE on quite a few of my ‘test drive’ pictures.
What can I say but how pleased I was when I first saw the results. I use CS5 in my work flow and I think Leica are doing things in the background of the DNG files. I see very little, if any perceptible vignetting in the corners of the files shot at 16mm. I don’t know if distortion correction is also working in the background too. I haven’t had the chance to shoot any formal architectural pictures yet and I need to do that. At present I shoot those for work using my 5D2 / 16-35mm L (version 1) / DXO combination and get good results at f11-f16. If the M240 / WATE can do the same, the Canon gear may need to find a new home!
When I use the WATE with my M9 I find the vignetting and distortion too severe for critical work. I find using the Super-Elmar M 18mm profile in the raw converter in CS5 (as I don’t have one for the WATE) helps sufficiently for most non-critical shots.
When I open the M240/WATE shots they look surprisingly ‘finished’ without feeling the need to tweak them. In fact when I tried to apply correction to this & other lenses used, there is no change displayed when toggled on & off. Strange but not a problem.
The major plus handling point is that I do not need to use the Frankenfinder with the M240 – HURRAH!!! It feels so natural using the EVF, so much so that I never felt the conflict I have every time I use that combination on my M9. And I usually have to take several frames just to get the composition I see in my mind’s eye.
Slight minus point is that I some time found focusing quicker and easier to determine using the rangefinder – but, hey, this was always the case with wide-angles when manually focusing them back in the pre-autofocus days.
If you haven’t already seen my two observations in the other post, I’ve copied the links to my web albums here.
Have a look Clint and let me know what you think.
Meanwhile Steve, get out there and show us more of what this new M can do! Keep up the good work.
Just noticed I’ve referenced the wrong picture in the write up about sharpness – it is your mono image of the two lady ‘cops’ Steve. That’s sharp!
I did not see a mention of multiple modes of metering in your review. Are you planning on doing any in-depth tests of that?
As for the metering modes, I knew I would end up forgetting something! Lol. I just added some thoughts about it under the “Live View” section “And on the 4th day…”
Not bad at all.
I hope to see more pictures taken with another lens. I guess I’m one of the few people in the world who does not like the new Summilux.
I still prefer the M9-P and his old CCD.
Greetings from Spain (and sorry for my bad English spoken).
I used three lenses for this review – 35 50 and 75.
I have not looked exif data, sorry.
Thanks to you I bought the Ricoh GRD III, the GXR and several Zeiss lenses for my M9-P. I’ve never wrong.
I love your reviews and photos. I visit your site every day.
Your finest review to date. You are a great “Typ” yourself and you deserve the camera early. Thanks for your efforts.
Very nice output from that camera.
I would love to see a comparison between the OM-D, GH-3, and the M240
Exhausting review;o) Almost a marathon there… You’re really takin’ revenge from the recent Super-Flu-Attack;o))
One thing that stood out on the picture-side was that everything looked so ‘smooth’, I mean almost as if polished/waxed??? Maybe thats digital anno 2013 for ya’ or maybe Im just to much ‘in love’ with my MM – lol…
I can understand/appreciate Your enthusiasm and I’m pretty damn sure it’s one hell of a camera, however there’s simply too much unneeded ‘stuff” under the hood in this M240 for at least my taste and use… I’m sure a lot (well, some… battery for one and DR, I dont even miss a better LCD – at most I do a histogram check once in a while) of the improvements are great and in some ways ‘needed’… but the simplicity in it’s deepest sense of the word, I feel is ‘slipping’ here – I know, I know – it’s still a rangefinder in Leica-dress and one can just choose NOT to use these new features but…… Call me old-fashioned or what-not but I’m pretty sure this one is not for me… Anyways, congrats with the ‘Fat Lady’ and keep on shootin’!
It is just as simple as an M8, M9 or MM. It has more under the hood but none of that has to be used if you do not want to use it (EVF, Video, Microphone, etc). It is still every bit as much of a simple M as the M9. Aim, compose, focus, fire. 🙂
Well, agreed – as I also already stated in my comment but part of my ‘point’ is that I still have to pay for tons of stuff I never really wished for in the 1st place… except perhaps the few issues I mentioned;o) – However evolution leaps forward whether I follow or not and as such I acknowledge the new and *improved’ M240. Dont get me wrong here: it’s without trace of a doubt a f….n’ great camera – I dont think I ever really used a ‘bad’ Leica come to think of it;o) Who knows? Perhaps they will make a feature-stripped down ME-240 version and I might have to look again-LOL
All the best!
The order is actually aim, focus, compose, fire. Having movable AF points is kind of nice with fast glass. I sometimes lose my focus to shifting parallax on the M cameras when I have to focus and recompose.
I completely agree with Steve here – if for no other reason, the new camera is worth it for the better shot to shot time and more importantly the Lovely Quiet Shutter.
Hardly ever exhausted the buffer or really been ‘needing’ better shot to shot times – guess I just don’t use the camera in this manner? – also I kind of enjoy the ‘klonk’ coming from the shutter plus I can always use silent-mode if absolutely critical;o) But I hear what You’re saying. Offcourse, I also aknowledge many of the improvements and a lot makes even sense from an evolutionary POV. But like Steve also said somewhere in the post: there’s a camera for each of us in the stable – or something along those lines, anyway;o)
Steve, thank you so for this review! Considering the length of time you’ve owned the M 240, you’ve got this done very quickly!
Your photos along with Ming Thein’s have impressed me the most (although Jono has some excellent onces as well). I enjoy the final samples you have posted at the end of the review the most. I own a 40mm f/2 rokkor, 35 summarit, and 50 summilux asph so it’s wonderful to see what kind of results I can expect to get out the 35 and 50!
The high iso photos are very impressive to me even at iso 6400. My 5D2 files can look good at iso 6400 but do not show as much detail and retain sharpness or color like the M 240 does. It’s nice to see that it also has a very slight edge on the RX-1 in terms of iso noise. Not only that but the iso 6400 M 240 photo is slightly brighter, almost 1/3rd of a stop. To me that shows that maybe Leica is being more honest about their iso 6400 and the RX-1 is closer to iso 5000.
I hope you will continue to post more photos in this review as you take them! I would be interested in seeing the 35 summarit at closer to minimal focusing distance at 2.5 or 2.8 to see that 3D pop it’s capable of not far from the 50 summilux asph.
These files are smoother than the M8 and M9, but its very subtle difference compared to the M9. If anything, the LiveView or Focus Peeking will make up for stationary subjects where someones focus could be slightly off with the M9 and be exact with the M 240, the M 240 will appear sharper. B&W conversions are better than M9’s too I agree (although the M9’s conversion are still wonderful) although I have a very slight preference for the M Monochrom still, but that is splitting hairs.
As for video, it seems pretty good to me although the rolling shutter is an issue, it doesn’t seem any worse than the 5D2 and I can see some of characters of Leica lenses.
Thanks Steve for your great and complete review.
I have the monochrome and was waiting for your review on the new M
I hope that you will make some comparisons of the Fuji X100S with the new M.
Enjoy shooting with your new toy.
Thanks a lot for this review
Very good and very thorough review. One nit and that is that your test of high ISO performance against the RX-1 doesn’t match either Sean Reid’s or the French site Focus-Numerique tests. I downloaded and compared the Focus raw images and the M (240) was good but not up there with the RX-1 so I am curious as to why your results are different than those of two careful testers testing under controlled conditions.
Quick question on the X100s, how is the AF spped compared to the EM-5?
Lastly, maybe now the LUF guys will stop bashing you. 🙂
I have done 6 high ISO tests, all showing the same result. What kind of lighting did they use? I hope they did not use direct or studio lighting of any kind??? High ISO is meant to be used when? In low light or natural light. When you need that extra sensitivity of the sensor. But all of my testing shows what you see here. None had any NR of any kind (unless Fuji pulls tricks with their RAW files) and what you see is what you get. I was shocked myself as I would think the RX1 would be the king of high ISO out of these, which is why I did several tests. But I am not going to change my results to match what others say, I present them as they come out of my cameras. Thanks for reading.
According to Focus Numerique their tests are all done in a studio with 200 lux of daylight balanced lamps at f5.6 at 1/4sec for ISO 100.
Of course a more difficult test would use incandescent lamps as these always challenge the noise floor. 200 lux is fairly bright, about the lighting for a warehouse aisle. A 100 watt lightbulb puts out about 1700 Lumens which is 1700 Lux when concentrated on lighting a 1 meter square object.
You are overstating it vastly by saying “LUF forum members are bashing.”
Overly sensitive much? Was more like poking a bit of fun about Steve’s enthusiastic personality. Do you ever poke fun at even your friends, or were you an only child?
I finally saw their images..they have Noise Reduction on the Sony RX1 files and none on the Leica at Focus…bad test. I never ever use any NR in any of my ISO tests or in personal shooting. Without NR on the Sony it would be just as sharp and noisy as the Leica.
Steve, This review was worth the wait. Thank you for all the time and work you put into it.
First thanks for the time and effort you put into this review Second I have been waiting for this camera for
so long I’m having trouble finding the words too say how i feel about it. Third I have a huge amount of money invested in Leica glass so I am going to sell all my Nikon gear keep an M8 for a second camera
What convinced me was the B&W conversions and a few of the colour shots .This is a new camera and will have further updates to firmware etc and it looks just as good as any camera out there so far.I find the red and greens a little too saturated for my likes but that can fixed in post.I would love too see some samples of a Noctilux or some old glass on this camera so we could see what feel it has cause old glass on my Nikon D800 gives a different look .Well thanks again Steve get some rest Dude
THX a lot for your efforts on the huge review. And YES – I did read ALL THE WORDS.
And I’ll get myself the new M this year, so I do hope at least if LEICA can provide in Austria too.
Thanks for taking the time to create a wonderful and thorough review of the new M. I’m late to the game in a way and never thought I’d have a chance at owning a Leica body but the opportunity arose and bought what was available, the M-E.
No telling when those not on a waiting list will be able to buy the new M but I can see one down the road for me. However, the price difference in the M-E allowed me to “justify” the purchase of a Leica 50mm Summilux and am very happy with my results.
Will continue to monitor your rolling M review just as I have Thorsten’s. One day I hole our paths will cross as I respect your enthusiasm and your Leica Fanboyism is beginning to rub off on me.
Thanks for the long awaited review Steve! In fact, i’ve waiting for this M240 since the day i’ve got the M8.. (decided to give the whole M9 a skip). You are right that the colors look great and much better than the M9/M8 output. Not sure if it is just my eyes, but the M240 pics kind of appear marginally softer (?less gritty) than the M9 or MM ones? Or maybe it’s just time for me to get my eyes checked..haha. Do keep posting more shots with the new M, can’t wait to see how the wide angle lens (e.g. 21mm) perform with the new sensor. Enjoy your new toy!
Not your eyes. They are definitely softer and loose some of the crispness that CCD provides. Wether this can be recovered by sharpening remains to be answered…
It’s due to it having more dynamic range than the m9. Bump up the clarity & contrast in PP and it’ll have that ccd look, only better. And by having more dynamic range, you get a lot more headroom in post production. Mo headroom= mo betta.
awesome review as always Steve, I always look forward to reading new reviews from you, i can tell theyre honest and it comes from the heart of a passionate photographer…very educational. i always recommend your site to friends who wants to switch to rangefinder cameras. im so looking forward to selling my hasselblad gear, i mean it is a nice gear awesome files but its not for me, i derive so much pleasure using the m8 than the hassy. more power to SteveHuffPhoto.com
Am I the only one who liked the look of the M9 files better in this review?
The M looks almost exactly like the Fuji X-Pro1 now.
It is far from the X-Pro 1 in look or rendering. You can not replicate a full frame look with an APS-C no matter who makes it, and the Fuji files are flatter than the M files as well. At times the greens can look like Fuji greens but that is about where it ends. When I get home from my trip tomorrow I will be adding one more 4 cam comparison at low ISO between X100s, Sony RX1, Leica M9 and Leica M240. This will be a daylight tripod scene all with same settings. But as stated, some will prefer the M9, some the 240, some a D800, some an RX1, some a Fuji or whatever. It is up to you to decide what you like 🙂 Thanks for reading.
I don’t feel it looks like the X-1 Pro either. The M files have better DR, tonality, and color regardless of the sensor size. However, IMO I think I like the RX1 color the best.
It may take you several months to finish this review/comparisons.
I don’t have the M, I think the focusing style o the M should be more or less like the Fuji X Pro1 now, Steve, you have no complaint on this :0)
Thank you for writing a great and detailed review for us M9 owners and after reading your review the decision is finalised, the move to Leica M it is! Looks like a very capable and amazing camera indeed, a worthy successor to the M9 and a smart move in the digital era!
Hope to get my hands on the New M soon and can’t wait to test it out!
Steve, After closely examining your images produced by the Leica M, I noticed not only the colours are richer (which I love personally) and the bokeh is creamier, which might be the reason that the images do not appear as sharp/crispier as the Leica M9 files. Overall the photos coming out of the Leica M are equally as sharp if not sharper than the M9 when viewed in high resolution. So everyone should not worry about the CCD vs CMOS debate and just focus on taking great photos because both cameras are equally capable and amazing cameras.
My conclusion exactly.
Nice review. But…
There may be many (significant) technical improvements to the camera but I defy anybody to say they actually prefer images from this as opposed to the M9 using Leica glass with it’s unique qualities. Fuji like colours as you say, what’s in favour for spending so much money on the new M as opposed to buying a Fuji X-Pro1?
I for one cannot see any significant reason for doing so other than gaining a red dot. In fact the Fuji 35mm f/1.4 is so darn good for peanuts prices I wager the Fuji has way more going for it especially now they’ve pretty much sorted the AF out.
I said it and I DO in fact prefer the M240 files to the M9, without any doubt at all in my mind. I just spoke with two others who have been shooting with it for the past week and they also prefer it to their M9’s. Why not get an X-Pro? Because it is APS-C, and the low ISO results are not in the same league as ANY full frame sensor. The X-Pro is also not an RF. I went over this in the review..one can get a D800, RX1 or 5DII and get amazing results. So why not? There are many reasons one will choose a Sony, or a Nikon or a Canon or even a Leica. But the M240 is a huge step up from an M9 and until someone shoots with it and uses it they will not realize that fact I guess. It is what it is 🙂
No, I recognise it’s a HUGE step up alright it’s just a personal choice with the rendering is all at the end of the day.
So, as you are in a position to tell having used both cameras do you really consider the high ISO files of the new M to be “that much” better than the X-Pro1? OK, so sure it’s an APS-C sensor camera but the results even at 6400 are pretty fantastic with it even beating the D600 in a recent high ISO test.
I think Steve said low ISO performance. I have d700 and xpro1, in my personal personal option I think even d700 at low ISO results better details and color depth compared to xpro1. xpro1 at high ISO is a beast, this I agree.
You cannot manual focus a Fuji worth a damn.
You cannot hyperfocal focus any Fuji lens except the new 14mm.
I’m huge Fuji fan.
I actually prefer it to my Canon 5D MK3!
I sold my X-Pro1 and 18 + 35 primes, kept the XE-1 and the zoom and prepaid for a m 240 🙂
*you cannot Manual focus *FUJI* lenses worth a damn. Mounting manual focus lenses on it is another story…
Disagree completely re: Manual focusing of Fuji lenses on the X-Pro1. In fact I feel it’s about as simple as you can get to zone focus with so long as you know what you are doing.
i.e. – Camera set in MF & set to single focusing point, then simply use the AE-L/AF-L button to set focus & VF scale to confirm distance should you wish then fine tune using lens focusing “should” you need to. Latest firmware on both camera & lens being essential of course.
Another great benefit of using this method and having auto switch off on the camera is that when you re-awaken the camera the zone focus distance you have set it up for still remains active so you can shoot instantly. It is perfect for street shooting when used this way.
I can manual focus quicker that way than I can with my Leica M6 so I really don’t see why anyone would have a problem so long as they know how to do it??
Mind you, that all being said the superb Rico Pfirstnger book on the X-Pro1 is a *must* for anyone wanting to unlock the full capabilities of the camera
I am Chinese,i am in Beijing of CHina ,Please tell me silver leica m camera price,Thanks!!!
I like the enthusiasm. Sometimes I imagine what great novels would sound like if re-imagined by popular bloggers. Today, Waugh’s Brideshead revised, as written by Steve Huff:
[Waugh]: “I knew Sebastian by sight long before I met him. That was unavoidable for, from his first week, he was the most conspicuous man of his year by reason of his beauty, which was arresting, and his eccentricities of behaviour which seemed to know no bounds.”
[Huff]: “Seb is one HOT HOT HOT guy, can’t miss that dude, EVER. Period. This sentence is inexplicably in italics FACT: He is wacky, like 110%. You will NOT regret being friends with him and yes you can quote me on that”.
P.S. This is intended in good nature. I enjoyed the review, I’ve been saving up for an M240 (I still have a way to go, I don’t want to eat into my main salary so am doing tutoring and things) and this review is just the kind of happy little dopamine massage my inner primate enjoys right now to keep me saving. Thanks, Huff.
fusspot, love it! And yes, you can quote ME on that.
Steve, don’t ever change your style or enthusiasm – we come here for that. Can’t wait for the wacky comparisons!
Thank you for the extensive review and effort and look forward to more, I do have X-Pro1, XE-1 along with the Monochrom w/50 Lux (Also D800 +D4). Yeh seem to have that “Issue” you and many others have with gear acquisition syndrome.There are aspects to all I like.
I do see the similarity in the Fuji “Reds” for sure. I am interested in the 240 mainly due to the ISO potential, I love the images that the M9 produces simply great to my eye but the ISO limitations would drive me nuts I think, kind of spoiled with that Monochrom.
The Monochrom never ceases to amaze, with the versatility and image quality and the large prints I can achieve with lots of detail and tonality, and of course the low light performance.
The D800 is a great rig used mostly for landscape and architectural shooting, the D4 for anything that can move faster than I…… But they are BEASTS for sure compared to the Fuji’s and MM, Again great image potential from that D800 especially if you print a lot.
Most if not all cameras can’t be everything to everybody, all different tools for different jobs, although this 240 maybe a nice well rounded alternative for most.
I am still going to wait and see what happens in the next few months for sure, going to grab the Leica 90 F2 and the 21 F3.4 before I make my mind up…… I am predicting a shortage of available lenses soon 🙂
Thx again… Steve love the site. Cheers Greg.
Thanks and yes, take your time. You have amazing cameras at your disposal 🙂
Steve, thanks for the review. Seems like Leica has produced a much less compromising digital M. Good for them and their customers. Although I love Leica and my M6, I don’t think a digital M is in my cards for a long time due to price.
With that being said, I was blown away by the X100s noise comparison. Phew, to my eyes it looked the least noisy while retaining the same amount of detail as the other cams. That’s mighty impressive, and much more in my price range… Can’t wait for your thoughts on the “poor man’s” Leica with everything BUT the rangefinder patch (does have split focusing).
I was starting to wonder if my eyes were that different compared to everybody else’s, but I too thought the X100S was the best perfomer in the high ISO test. I’m glad I’m not alone 😉
The M does deliver more details (perhaps due to more megapixels?) but the X100S seems less noisy than the other two.
I am very much looking forward to the upcoming review of the X100S!
..or “rich man’s point-and-shooter” LOL
Another excellent review, Steve. Thank you. Now I just have to figure out how I’m going to justify the expense of the M and a couple of Leica lenses. Sometimes I really hate having to behave responsibly.
Thanks for the review! It was a very good read!
The one thing that bothers me, and matters most to me, is that the pictures taken with the M (240) in this review are not as good as the pictures in your original M9 review 🙂 At least to my eyes. The comparison shot (M-E) of your friend in the diner seems off for an M-E/M9 after revisiting the sample shots in your original review.
On the other hand, so many of the M (240) shots appear soft (even when enlarged). It is hard to articulate this exactly, but they do remind me a lot of the 5D II files, which Canon designed to be handled in post. To me, one of the beauties of the M9 is lack of need for post processing.
I do think CMOS sensors are the way of the foreseeable future, so I am glad Leica started down this path. However, for myself, I think I will wait to upgrade until the second version CMOS from Leica comes as the basic M-E of today.
There is, of course, always the chance your follow-on reviews will slowly bring me over down the road 🙂
We will all have our own preference. The images in the M9 review are a collection of snaps over 3 1/2 years of shooting the M9. The images here are from 10 days of shooting. I prefer this new M hands down over the M9 but mainly for the maturity of the hardware and software and the fact there are way less compromises when shooting (low light, etc). The B&W is good (though the MM is more “Monochrom” for sure) and all of the features make it a slam dunk for me. The M9 can take incredible quality photos, no matter what DXO says. The new M has a different look for sure and everyone will have their preference. Thanks for reading.
I wonder if part of the reason why people are saying the M9 files have more “pop” than the M240 comes down to the increased DR of the M240. With less DR, the M9 files would have higher inherent contrast, which would give them more pop. A higher DR file will look flatter by default as it is capturing a larger tonal range. Still, nothing that can’t be remedied with a little contrast bump, and ultimately you’re better off with the higher DR.
More DR means more details in the shadows (and less blacks), so less séparation to the eyes…
I think that with the M240 files (as for the MM) you have more latitude in post processing than with the M9…
Add 25% Clarity in Lightroom and you got the M9 Pop back.
Again, nothing here that says “UPGRADE” but thats bc I have an M9P. If I was new to Leica than I would probably buy the new M and your review would be a large part of why. Your comment above though about the “10 days” with the new camera seems to overlook the fact that the 3 1/2 years of using an M9 has certainly made you a lot more ready and capable to shoot with the new M. Seems logical to me that the shots would be the result of that experience. The only other issue I see is that the new M is far more likely to be outdone by Nikon/Canon/Sony (it already has that DSLR/CMOS look). And those companies can throw a lot more at R&D than Leica can. Whats to stop Nikon from creating a new M-Like small camera with the D800 sensor and an M mount/adapter? What then will be the advantage of the M? The thing that Nikon/Canon probably won’t try to duplicate is the M9/M-E in its all manual form. And they won’t be going to a CCD sensor for sure. That means that the M9 will always be a unique, even rare camera that provides a really organic shooting experience – no focus help, no video. Just you and your camera. Thats what Leica was and still is to me. Beautifully simple.
Happy Shooting Steve!
I am an M3 owner. I have been critical about the M9 because I think the weaknesses do not justify the hefty price. I really really want Leica to succeed in the future. They need to make great innovative products. That’s what great companies do (see Apple). They cannot live on the glories of thier past forever. The market will catch up to them (see Kodak). It’s good to read that they may be on the right track. Thanks for the write up.
Great review steve, now I have another wish list…
Just want to say: thanks! Another great review.
Good “real world” review!!! To me, honestly, the Leica M type 240 was probably what the M9 should have been 09/09/09. I am also surprised to hear you state that you prefer the M’s converted B&Ws over the MM, which reinforces my belief that this was what the M9 should have been and the MM was nothing more than a stop-gap.
Now that Leica has finally implemented CMOS (almost 4-yrs. late), why can they not push ISO 25K, 100K, or God forbid, 200K? Before with the M9, I can understand b/c of the difference b/w the CCD and CMOS, but now CMOS state-of-the-art is at least ISO 25K (available in the Nikon D3 since 2008). I usually don’t shoot at those crazy high ISOs, but it makes me wonder why with the available technology, Leica is still at least 5-yrs behind the field. Your review should be saying that ISO 6400 in the M type 240 is as clean as the M9 at ISO 640; not that ISO 3200 is about as high one can go with the M type 240.
Guess I am stuck shooting the inferior sensor of the M9-P 😉
Great work & your images of the new M are by far the best I have seen on the internet. This will do justice for the new M! Indeed, it is a great innovation from Leica because it is not easy to win again for two consecutive rounds!!
Wickely good review, real world but extensive and what counts, tests prove nothing or real value IMO. Makes the wait to get my Leica M, which has been on pre order for 5months, even harder.
Awesome camera, I wish I could afford one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Great review as always!
Great review. I’ve had the camera for about a week and would have to agree with most of your thoughts. On a side note, I’ve noticed with mine that when I have manually set my ISO but then switch to “auto” ISO that it continues to shoot at the same “manual” ISO that I had previously inputted. I was wondering if you noticed the same? I’m sure it can be fixed with a firmware update in the future (if it’s truly a problem).
Hey Gage, thanks for reading. As for the Auto ISO thing, I had that same issue at 1st but noticed when switching it over to Auto you have to then press “OK” which is one of three choices after choosing auto. If you do not do this it will not change. But yea, I had the same thing happen until I realized you have to press in the OK to verify the choice.
Thanks, I’ll take a look tonight when I get home.
Thanks, this is very in depth, Appreciate the effort
Steve, your reviews are great and well needed. My only issue is that your tests or DXO or any one else seems to go beyond the real world. I use my M9 to street shoot and realize that the finished print is usually small. If I want big landscapes I bring out the Nikon D3X and hammer away. So much of any review is subjective.
That said the only Leica I would consider buying in addition to the M9 is the MM. I only shoot in BW and thats the perfect camera for BW.
But all of that being said it was your review on the MM that will push me towards buying one, if they become more readily available.
How did anything I show here go “beyond” the real world? It’s all just normal every day photos presented. No charts, graphs or science involved. Thx for reading.
Wow. That was one hell of a review! Makes me crave for a M-240.
Holy Moly the x100s really stands up in the high ISO test of the bike parts. Can’t wait for the full review.
In this interim this will give me something to do, thanks Steve for putting in so much effort for us all!
Thanks Steve for an excellent and as a previous contributer noted “enthusiastic” review of what looks like a superb camera! When Leica made their original M film cameras they were meant to be system cameras that could be used for many different photographic applications-ie they could be adapted to use long lenses etc by use of the Visoflex. This new model means that they are in some ways back in that zone again. This must be a good thing as a camera as good as a Leica has a greater repertoire than just reportage. I still use my M8 and love its simplicity and wonderful Black and White rendering.I was intrigued by your opinion about how well the new M renders in Black and White as my dream Leica has been the Monochrome since it appeared on the scene. I can always dream!
Leica really needs a a la carte option for their digital rangefinders for variable viewfinder magnification and frameline selection.
Hi Steve, great job, man !!!!! Well done !! All the best from germany, cu anywhere ! ;-))
Thanks Steve for the review.
The files look very similar to the RX1 when you did that review. An awesome little camera in it’s own right. BTW that x100s looks like it might have some punch in it as well and could be a big step up for Fuji.
Looking forward to seeing more and more images from the new M. I think only then, once a critical mass of work is available and people are seeing what can be done with the files will we get a better idea as to change from M9 to M.
Hi Steve, thanks for a fine and long review. I’ll be shooting my M9-P for now but some day I may afford a new M 🙂
Excellent and – of course enthusiastic – article. Thank you sharing your elaborately “first” impressions.
As I returned a M9 test sample after a few days due to all it’s limitations, I am quite sure that this new model will match my requirements and that it deserves a chance from those, who could not get warm with the predecessor. But I am still a bit concerned about the missing option to move the focus assist magnification area as I use it quite often with my current cameras.
Hope, it won’t take too long until my dealer receives a copy of the next batch!
Maybe now I’ll finally be able to afford a leica m8! High school budget sucks
Just recently added a Leica M8 (with the M8.2 Shutter) to my Leica M4. Loving the results, well worth getting. This excellent first review makes me wonder about waiting and skipping the M9 for a secondhand M (240) is about four years time!
Video looks awful, the fact that Leica even bothered to add it amazes me, they should stick to the stills, why would anyone would use video on a M? there’s more shake than the Harlem shake on that thing.
It looks no better to the M9 IMHO, not worth the money (as with every leica body) but am sire there wil be plenty of Dentists & “purists” buying one thinking it’s going to make them a street photographer and instant be able to take photos like Bresson, or Gilden.
or they may just enjoy using a range finder!!
I’m neither a dentist or purist. I tried many different high end cameras out there, from Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus. None gave me the joy of taking photos like the M. I finally settled for an M8 with two lenses in 2008, despite all the bashing back then. I never looked back to the DSLR days now.
Say what you want about the price. I like the photo taking experience so much that I think the costs are justified. After all, some of us drive Mercedes, some drive Toyotas, both give us the same ride from point A to B in the same amount of time. It’s all personal preferences.
haters gonna hate.
Sour grapes type of comment. It’s one thing to say that you won’t buy one for X, Y and Z reasons. Insulting others because of their camera choice is pathetic.
Do dentist use Leica for taking teeth pix? Is there X-Ray feature in it?
Leica needs macro and auto ring flash for toof pics?
nice think leica owe you something! maybe a handgrip!!
i love my m9 and don’t think i’ll swap just yet….or get an MM or new lens instead.
…maybe the 241…. .
Very thorough and interesting review Steve. Kudos for Leica keeping the expected standards. I am waiting for your X100s review. I am very hesitant and currently refusing to get rid of my X100, especially that it’s always with me and I never had any issues with it and the price drop is painful for selling it. What do you think ? (while waiting for your detailed review)
Great review! Can’t wait to get my M!
Thankyou. My next FF camera will be the Leica M with 50mm Summicron.
Yes but which Summicron?
I have a new 6 bit one and a 1957 old one that gives the old world character for B&W…
Great review as always Steve!! I’m sure it’s likely to generate a lot of discussion and debate. I just hope everyone can see the forest for the trees with something like this and keep their comments focused. I find myself in a quandary between my M9 and the purchase of a 240 or a Monochrom. The wait for the 240 is likely to result in my acquiring one in a couple of years and by that time there will be a new version lol!
Wicked full-on review, Steve. Love the real world approach – to the same way I use my gear. Really nice samples that shows off the power of the new M (type 240). 😉 As much as I love the details and what this baby can do – it verifies how happy I am with my new M (type 220!). I like the low light aspects of the 240 – though rarely do I go above ISO 400. Again, so happy you put this all together for your faithful readers. As a co-fanboy, thank you.
I love your reviews Steve – please don’t be put off by the inane comments of others. I even like reading the reviews of the non Leica kit even though I have no interest in the products and no intention of buying them.
I am next on the list for an M(240) and am trading my M9P for it. Your review has convinced me that I have made the right choice.
Keep up the good work.
It is always refreshing to read your leica articles. Keep up the good work! I sold my M9 last year.This makes me really thinking of getting the M240.
It is always easy to criticize. There are many people out there putting up critics but why not try to proof themselves to us by putting their own reviews and articles, if they think they can do better.
People keep saying the leica does not worth it or ‘too expensive’ but they forget it is the best camera available and people try to keep the same result with mirrorless and other M substitute lens and bodies. The review is what you can get out of it and cannot be compared with any substitutes like mirrorless with adopters. By the way, even at resell I could get most of the value back so it might actually cost you less than what people think for owning one.
Thank you for your article.