A look at the new Thumbs Up for the Leica M 240 by Brad Husick

New Thumbs Up for the Leica M 240

by Brad Husick

Tim Isaac has done it again. He’s managed to innovate the already innovative Thumbs-Up, now for the Leica M (240). Just like the prior models for the M8, M9 and MM, the new Thumbs-Up for the M looks like it was designed by Leica themselves. The fit and finish are exemplary, and Tim has perfected this down to the 100th of a millimeter, trying different prototypes on my M camera over the past few weeks. Honestly, he goes to these lengths to make sure that it feels just right going on and coming off the camera without too much pressure or too little friction to hold it in place. I suspect that’s part of the reason these are premium priced – the knock-off products can’t compete with tolerances that are thinner than a sheet of paper.

The new design is unique to the M though – it’s thinner from top to bottom to accommodate the M’s larger LCD. The contour of the thumb rest fits perfectly to the thumb wheel bump on the back of the camera. As with all the recent Thumbs-Up products, there is a protective rubber strip that runs the full length of the contact surface with the camera to ensure no marking will take place. The curvature of the thumb rest is just right and really adds to the comfort and safety of holding the M. There’s no wiggle in the fit and the black paint perfectly matches Leica’s. I haven’t seen Tim’s silver version for the new M but I have an older silver one for the M9-P and it perfectly matches that camera’s finish.

Tim tells me he’s going into full production now so dealers will have them quite soon. I usually buy my Leicas and Thumbs-Up products from PoPflash.com, but full disclosure here – I get to keep this prototype Thumbs-Up for the Leica M (240) and you’ll have to pry it from my cold dead hands to get it.

-Brad Husick

From Steve: Thanks Brad for this 1st look! The only thing I can see wrong with this is EVF use. There is no way to use the EVF with the Thumbs Up so it will have to be taken off from time to time if you want to use the EVF. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

24 Comments

  1. Good grief. What is Leica thinking?

    Why didn’t they just make the camera with a thumb grip? Everyone with five digits who holds this camera will want one.

    Leica dropped the ball here. This is a fair solution as this drops the EVF option.

    Sorry – this is a sub-par solution to an issue that Leica should have dealt with themselves.

    • Leica made an “interesting” design choice there. It appears they were only concerned about inadvertently rotating the thumb wheel, so they added the thin “protector” to the left of the wheel. If they had made that bump wider from top to bottom and it protruded a little more from the camera, the need for the Thumbs-Up would be diminished.

      Leica made a few other choices on the M that I have trouble with. The focus button on the front is very small and surrounded by a metal ring that is too deep. It’s very hard to push this tiny button and the “throw” is extremely short and stiff. Next, the Movie button on the top would have been the ideal location for the focus button. I hope that in future firmware releases they allow the user to decide the function of these two buttons. Third, I think the shutter speed selector wheel should have a button-lock. I know that’s not the Leica tradition, but on many occasions I have picked up the camera for a quick shot and the exposure was way off because the wheel got rotated. I do applaud many of the new design features like the new base, but there’s room for improvement, Leica!

  2. seems somewhat pointless as one of the main features of the new M is the EVF for use with wider or telephoto lenses. Hope that a compatible version of the Thumbie comes out as it leaves the hot shoe free

  3. To put it into perspective, look at how Nikon bodies evolved: F, F2 (great classic body shape, not all that comfortable to hold for a long time), F3 (Giugiaro design, grip appears, less classic shape, more comfortable), F4, F5, etc etc, into the more organic shapes that we now see. More plastic, more flexibility in shapes.

    Maybe Leica should make a decision: stick to the classic shape exclusively, or develop a more “modern” model line parallel to the classic line. One with all the mod con bells and whistles. Punters then have a choice.

  4. I have to agree with several of the folks here about this design. Why use something that interferes with the camera’s operation? Having just recently purchased a Fuji X100S, I also opted for a thumbrest accessory but purchased the Lensmate X100 Thumbrest+. Coming from pro-series DSLR equipment, I also added the Luigi halfcase. The pair really give me a feeling of comfort that I would not otherwise have. Plus the design of each gives me full capability to operate the camera without any interference.

  5. Wouldn’t some form of grip on the front of the camera body be more useful? It would also interfere with the classic shape but as we all know, a classic camera body tends to cramp up the hand that holds it, hence the appearance of all sorts of grips, back and front.

    I guess an M240 user with ThumbsUp would dump the EVF?

    • Always preferred using the Leica grip with my M8 same as I always have the old Leica grip mounted on my M6. Sure it makes the camera a bit bulkier etc but you’ve got to do what feels right for your hands. YMMV of course.

      If I were fortunate to ever own the new M I’m sure I’d use the new Leica grip with that too.

  6. Looks to be worse than a waste of time,interfering with both the evf and the thumbwheel.Possibly the beautiful design of Tims products might be better used on an elegant grip for fingers rather than thumbs.

    • My preferred setup is to use a Luigi case with built-in grip together with the Thumb-Up. The combination provides a perfect grip. The case even has a cutout for the grip.

      I can tell you the Thumbs-Up does not interfere at all with the thumb wheel.

      As for the EVF, well you can’t be in two places at once 🙂 The choice of when to use the EVF will be a personal one for each user. Some folks coming from the DSLR world love the EVF, some coming from the rangefinder world just think it’s a useless ugly hump. Horses for courses I guess.

      I do suggest that next time you have the opportunity at a dealer or with a friend, just try holding the camera with a Thumbs-Up and see what you think. It’s better than pre-judging.

      • Brad,I agree about prejudging and when possible I’ll try it out,unfortunately it might be a long wait out here in the wilds of southern Spain.My comment was obviously entirely a personnel one in that I don’t use cases on my cameras ,added to the fact that I’ve never liked the look of the leica grips.
        All the best, Neil

  7. I am more than disappointed with the finishing of the ThumbsUp products. I am about to purchase an MM and I will probably shell out for another ThumbsUp, but my first experience on my X-Pro1 has been quite disappointing – after a mere 8 months of use (nothing major, just hanging across my body with the strap) the black paint of the thumbsup has worn off.

  8. Well done, Tim! Whenever the M240 comes my way, I’ll be in touch! Thanks for sharing these images, Brad. I just got my first taste of the M240, and agreed, it needs more thumbs up!!!

  9. I used to have a Thumbs Up for my M-E. The fit and finish is truly wonderful and it feels fantastic in hand. Really transforms the handling of the camera.
    But I sold it and bought a Thumbie as the Thumbie allows unfettered access to the hot shoe. I use my flash a lot, as well as my 18mm accessory viewfinder. Thumbs up does offer a model with a cold shoe, but that creates viewfinder inaccuracy with the accessory viewfinder, as it sits too high.
    But, if you do not use the hot shoe, this is a wonderful product.

  10. I think this looks really good! And “cripple” sounds a bit harsh to me too. The previous M models without live view were hardly crippled cameras, but very fine tools with amazing picture-making ability.

    Not to mention, it would be easy enough to “un-cripple”.

  11. I’m sure there are more than a few new M shooters who have no desire to slide the external EVF on to their camera. They’ve upgraded to the new M to get the better ISO performance, faster I/O, and quieter shutter. The camera just happens to include live view and video.

    Its not like the Thumbs Up is permanent and I see those the live view great for lenses wider than 28mm or longer than 90mm. But I see many of those users putting the camera on a tripod and shooting more landscapes.

    I don’t think your “normal” streetshooter with the new M in his/her hands will have an EVF on the camera while in the streets.

  12. I have long preferred the Thumbie because it fit my hand better and because it didn’t depend on the hot shoe. I’m one of those who’ll be using an EVF regularly so I probably won’t buy the Thumbs Up.

    • I am not sure how the folks behind the Thumbie will design for the new M – their current design would cover up the thumb wheel. One reason I like the Thumbs-Up is there is no need for tape or glue that can potentially damage the finish.

  13. indeed cripples the camera, and looking at what Leica already did with the camera design, IMHO completely superfluous…. as if somebody who is not disabled at all needs another walking stick

  14. You think they could offer one with a hotshoe on top. Be more expensive but this one does somewhat cripple the camera.

    • Doug, a real hot shoe would require electrical connections with the camera, and that requires lots of work and international regulatory hurdles, perhaps even engineering cooperation with Leica.

      • But we’ve seen many other hot shoe products, why would this one be so special?
        Can’t it just pass the connectors through it?

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