Using the Leica M240 on the streets By Jerry Bei

Using the Leica M240 on the streets

By Jerry Bei

I had the new Leica M or the Leica M typ240 for quite some time now and Shot with it extensively to reach some conclusions when compared to the Leica M9. I have enjoyed the camera as much as I did with the Leica M9 and it goes everywhere with me at all times. The Leica M typ 240 is a debatable camera since Leica decided to use the CMOS sensor rather than the previous CCD sensor in both the Leica M8 and M9. However, the Leica M typ 240 is no lesser a camera than the M9 and this new unique “CMOSIS” sensor allows the Leica M offers so much more than the M9.

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I used the Leica M mainly for street photography as previously I was reluctant to bring the M9 out with me after certain hours since it is not the best for low light conditions. The Leica M brings significant improvements and it is truly an enjoyable experience when shooting with it. There are several advantages that the Leica M offers over the M9. Firstly, the M is capable of shooting up to ISO 6400 producing useable images and combined with fast Leica lenses allows the camera to shoot under any light conditions.

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In comparison,  I was only comfortable shooting the M9 at ISO 1600 or lower which means there are plenty of situations I simply would not use the camera. The improved ISO performance enables the Leica M goes everywhere with me at anytime whenever I needed it. Secondly, the added-on live view and focus peaking features on the Leica M helps significantly when shooting on the street., As the Sony Nex-7 owner that I was very familiar with those features and shooting with  live-view on the M has become a much enjoyable/convenient  process. When you are reluctant to raise the camera at eye-level that you have the option to use live-view at waist level to capture the moment you have been waiting for.

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Another advantage the Leica M provides is improved functionality. The faster in-camera processor combined with the hugely improved LCD means viewing and checking images is a breeze. There is no lag or waiting when zooming-in images and will able to give you instant feedback. The new shutter on the Leica M is a lot quieter than the M9 without re-cocking sound, which means even more discreetness when shooting on the streets. The shutter sound is very pleasant to the ear and it tempts me to keep shooting! Lastly, I had zero issues so far shooting with the new Leica M and the camera never locked-up on me or had SD card issues whereas the Leica M9 was prone to those issues. The battery life also lasts much longer which allows the user to have extended period of fun with the camera.

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Overall, the Leica M is a significantly improved camera compared to the Leica M9 and it is a much better camera when shooting on the streets, all those advantages allow the user to have higher chance of hit rate and the process of shooting becomes even more enjoyable.

My Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jerrybay/

My Leica M240 Review

32 Comments

  1. Hi, I’ve checked your photos on flickr.
    Congrats many good photos can be found there, especially when you take the Hassy or the Flex. I bet your scanner is crap as the M6 pix are not so much of sharp-quality. The M9 here and there excellent, but the M240 seems to noticeably give you not only pride, but joy, very much, too. A lot of excellent shots. Still I prefer your Hassy shots, qualitywise (tech).

  2. I like the Charlie Chaplin photo the best. Not only for its quality but also there is a good feeling about it. Someone is asking for money but a least doing something and something original for it and I find his idea wonderful and refreshing. Good on him….

    Excellent photo. There is something about the background that goes very well with the Chaplin character.

  3. I like your pictures and I’m sure Leica is great and the ability to take pictures with ISO 6400 is an advantage. I am sure that with any camera you would take beautiful pictures but it is good to have equipment that you enjoy.

  4. I have been using the M for a couple on months, mainly for travel, which includes “street”.
    I traded in my M9. No regrets: the M is a major step forward.
    Here are three aspects that I particularly like:
    1. Focusing with the EVF. I can now use the 90mm at f/2 and gets its beautiful bokeh.
    2. Low light performance matches my Nikon D3. I set auto ISO to limit at 3200 and get beautiful colours with low noise.
    3. Soft shutter makes shooting at 1/15s produce really sharp images.

    I have sold my 35mm f/2 lens. Instead I use the 21mm f/3.4 lens as my standard “street” lens.
    When necesssary I can always crop to 35mm equivalent. The croppability of the M nearly rivals my Hassy.

    Goff

    • The SE 21mm F/3.4 is my next lens.
      I’m going to pick one up before I go to Vietnam in November.

      How is it on the street?
      Are you using an OVF or EVF or LV?

      ET

      • When I had the M9 I used an OVF, until I got fed up with it and relied on “chimp and error correction”. But with the M I use the EVF, which is excellent for both framing and focusing, and for mini-chimping.
        The 21mm lens is the 21st century street lens, as the 35mm was in the 20th century.
        I’m sure you will love it.

  5. Very nice shots. I’m kind of at the point now where I’m down with Steve’s assertion in a recent post that… if you’re lucky enough to have one of these great cameras, and not just a Leica, and you love it. Great! It’s a great camera. Whatever it is. Shooting film for a couple of years with my M7 got me to the point where I don’t care much anymore about ISO limitations with an M9/M-E or the M-240. I have 1.4 and 1.5 lenses and 2.0 Summicrons, etc. You can hold these cameras so steady you can shoot a 50mm lens at an 1/4th of a second. And now, I’m not even caring about the noise when it shows up if I’m using higher ISO or Auto ISO. Combined with the characteristics of say a 50 ‘Cron it looks like classic 800 speed color film especially in early evening light.

    The only think that really struck with the M-240 is that it seemed there was something about the viewfinder/rangefinder that made focusing seem SO much quicker and easier. Like sighting a gun. Pow. I still struggle to focus my earlier Ms.

    Good stuff. Thanks for the impressions and beautiful shots.

  6. You must be lucky not experiencing any lockups?
    I’ve had mine lockup maybe 5 times now in the 2 months I’ve had it.
    I had to pull the battery every time 🙁
    I’ve got used to this with the Fujis too…

    I’ve also found that hypefocal focussing isn’t that accurate, at least with the 50 Lux and 35 Lux FLE?
    However I read something today that suggests that the lens markings are not accurate for digital sensors and that you need to use 1 or 2 aperture sizes smaller (or focus at infinity with the correct one).
    I’m still experimenting.

    My only complaint about it as a street camera is it is bloody heavy at 680g before adding a grip and thumbs up. An M3 is 580g and an M9 590g.

    I haven’t tried LV using the screen, but the Olympus OVF works great.
    I only wish the behavior was the same as the Fuji (i.e. press the thumb wheel to engage and taking a picture unengaged).
    The way Leica implemented this is brain dead 🙁

    Have you checked the sensor for dust using the built in controls?
    Mine was filthy from the factory…

    ET

    • Hi Ted, I have not experienced any lock-ups as of yet but experienced the same pain numerous times with my m9 (even lost heaps of pictures as a result). Hopefully the issues with the m9 wont appear on the m240 as time goes. The only complaint I have are the AWB makes Jpegs unuseable at most times, I wish future firmware updates will address this issue. Anyways, you have to try out the live view function with a neutral mind, it is very useful for everyday shooting.
      Cheers
      Jerry

  7. You forgot to mention the most important thing. Are the pictures noticibly better. I doubt most people cannot see the difference between M8/M9/240 pictures if they were honest. The 240 is only one stop ASA better than the M9 which isn’t a lot. EG: M9 1600 max with good quality and 240 is 3200 max with quality. The ASA graph sounds huge but it is only numbers with x2 factors. I have tried the 240 and while it is very nice I remain happy with the M9. If I had extra money for Leica I would buy faster lenses for lower light rather than new cameras. Cheers.

    • Well said Julian. I plan to buy a used M9 or M-E. Prices drop because of the type 240. The 240 is still no low light wonder and it makes sense to me to stay with the older model and some fast lenses. Video function does not interest me much. Would appreciate the faster image processor and live view will be quite handy but other than that …

  8. Hi
    Very nice pics. I have been giving Steve a hard time about the 240 colors not being as nice as the M9’s.
    Must admit he was right ‘ i keep seeing more and more 240’s pics which are as good as the M9 and have similar colors.
    You where right Stive 🙂
    Danny
    ( not sure he will see this)

  9. Very enjoyable — nice compositions, well executed, and tasteful pp.

    Say, do you have Amy Medina’s permission to photograph seagulls-against-water-with-bokeh?? :^) lol!

    • Dear Steven,

      i doesn’t know you but a little, .reading you every day.. for a long time..but a lot of pleasure.
      I can imagine you’re subjecive good feeling about M 240 (i’m waiting for one) BUT i can argue any of your positive “facts”..I try to do it..

      Best ISO well i’m from the generation where 800 asa was a must….and f1.4 too without really good post production in the “black room”.

      I’m from the time where every focus was hand made..like an M8 or M9..

      I’m from a time ..a film of 36 pics was develloped for an average 10 USD…

      Anyway the digital revolution was a good thing but the gap between an M8 or M9 is not so great !

      It’s less between a Canon/Nikon last generation and a Leica M 240.

      Anyway …subjectivity is subjectivity and for that i respect you ..and too, like you a lot…

      Martin, Paris, France (M4,M8,M9, Canon 5d MkIII, Nex7…and in a short time M too ;-)))

      http://www.theleicaphile.com

      Just trips with an M8

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