Back to Leica with the M-D 262 and 28 Summilux?

Back to Leica with the M-D 262 and 28 Summilux?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Full review soon of the above combo but it just arrived thanks to Mr Ken Hansen (Legendary Leica Dealer), and it feels nice to be back holding an M.

Ever since the Leica SL was released, I ditched my M. AHHHH NO!!! How could I? Well, all of this time later I have been asking myself that. While I adore the SL and feel it is one hell of an amazing camera, the M has the mystique that no other camera made today has. I mean ALL M’s in general. M6. M7, MP, M8, M9, ME, M240, MM, M262, etc. The construction, the shape, the attention to detail, the simplicity…it’s just as it should be, and it’s a breath of fresh air even with todays mega modern feature rich cameras. DON’T GET ME WRONG! I love my Sony A7RII, My Olympus PEN-F and all of the others I have here, but sometimes we get that itch for something “different”.

I will be taking a look at the new-ish Leica M-D which is as bare bones and simple of a camera that could ever possibly be. Let me explain…

The M-D, which I have been a little drawn to since it was announced, is the most FILM LIKE digital M in use, that there ever was. It borrows from the mega special edition “M60” and gets rid of the LCD screen on the back. No EVF, NO Display. No AUTO ISO. No JPEG shooting means NO settings on the camera. No MENU! You have a camera body, your shutter dial, your on and off dial, and on the back a big lovely retro inspired dial for ISO, which MUST be set manually.

Now I admit, I am a guy who usually shoots in AUTO ISO, a feature that has made me lazy over the years, so will be great to get back to BASICS and back to actually having to think more when I shoot, and this is what Leica has always excelled at, for me at least.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sure, this is an expensive camera that has no LCD, no Live View to speak of, NO auto features, and limited ISO range to 6400…BUT, it will and does appeal to many out there who want that “back to basics” approach. It’s true, we do not ALL need ISO 102,00 or blazing AF or HD video (this cameras has no video). This is a pure “memory” machine. A camera one can shoot on the streets, just like film. No idea if your shots are in focus, framed how you like…until you get home and load the memory card. Again, no way to “chip” or review images with the M-D. Many who shoot or own the M-D report on how refreshing it is to shoot.

Yes, this is a $5900 camera. At the same time there is NOTHING like this out there besides the uber pricey M60 edition.

So for me, I decided to pair this with a 28 Lux for my review purposes. It’s the new 28 on the block from Leica and it was released during a time that I was taking a semi break from too many reviews. But I am pumped to shoot this combo, to get back to the M way of shooting, to see how I will cope with no AUTO ISO, no Live View and I also want to see how the anticipation of NOT seeing my shots until I am home goes over. I think I am going to LOVE it but how about long term? I’ll see how that goes as well. One thing is for sure, this is a camera for the soul.

So be on the lookout for a few old school posts from me, as I will be using this guy over the next few days and weeks to see if I will miss my feature rich cameras or fall in love all over again with the M.

Stay Tuned!

 

32 Comments

  1. I’m missing my M9P at the moment. It’s got the sensor corrosion issue and is waiting in the cue at Leica service. It’s pretty much the same thing as the 262 — no live view and the screen is so bad that you may as well wait to you get home to look at your photos anyway! Anyway, yeah, certainly hard to beat a Leica M for a rewarding overall experience.

    The 262 is an interesting product given the timing. It really seems like we should be due an updated M sometime soon. I know with cameras (and other tech) you’ll never get anything if you always for wait for the new-new thing, but in this case it seems like it might be worthwhile to wait a few months and see what, if anything, Leica announces.

  2. I’d prefer a 240 MD instead or a 262 MD, place the EVF when shooting, wide, long, video or when you need to ensure you get the shot or at the beginning of a shoot setting up. Then whip it off when shooting for self, fun, anticipation, simplicity. Ideal new M for me, built in Fuji style Hybred, with SL or Fuji XT2 level EVF. (External of that level more likely but you never know given RF patient), with a MD back, I rarely use the rear screens. Tethered for professional video (given the Rumered Cinema M lenses) and Wifi to Tab or Phone. I’d image without a rear screen even with EVF and video heat disbursement it would still be slimmer then with a screen. For me it’s the best of both worlds and gives all the modern advantages when needed and classic fun and looks when not.

  3. Steve,
    Please, who makes that gorgeous wooden grip housing the MD, in the opening photo. Looked around your advertisers but couldn’t find it. It looks so absolutely correct, even for a modern accessory.

  4. I have been thinking about it back and forth. But with the not so great exposure metering of the M cameras I do often check exposure after taking the image when there are challanging light situations (which are often the most interesting light situations) and take a second or third image until exposure is what I want.
    If I didnt have a display I would probably underexpose 80% of my images slightly just to mae sure to not overexposre 20%. This would certainly not lead to less noise and better color.

    On the other side I do understand the “facsination” of phtographing the way it once was and allways focus on the next image and not being “disturbed” by the display.

    I am afraid the fascination to not have a display could disappear after some time.

    I like the way the RD1 was, with a display you can close, so you can use it both ways.

  5. I think one day, in the near future, the EVF’s will be so good, so detailed, so bright, that there may no longer be a need for a rear LCD. Perhaps one day, Leica will realize this and put a SL-quality EVF in their M’s and make everyone happy.

    But it was difficult enough to get accurate focus on the M240, with that rangefinder manual focus, thank goodness I was able to check for focus on the (mostly useless) rear LCD.

    How do you get accurate focus with this cam? or is coming back home and seeing what was and was not in focus half the fun? With their film cams, there was enough tolerance to get shots in focus, not sure if this cam has a magic or specially advanced rangefinder or not, but the decoupled rangefinder method of achieving manual focus wont cut it, if and when, Leica introduces higher pixel count cameras.

    • Many more people get accurate focus on the M240 platform than not. Maybe you had a faulty rangefinder that needed adjustment? I have 2 versions of the M240, one for well over 2 years and have no issues focusing.

      If you read Steve’s reports or many others there are rarely ever complaints about accurate focus with the M240 line of cameras.

      And no camera will make “everyone” happy. Enjoy whatever camera you enjoy!

  6. Wow. When I hear Photokina I regret not making it this year which I placed on my schedule a year ago already. Something personal happen and I need to lessen my travel. I travel too much.

    Anyway, hope you guys enjoy Cologne.

    That 28 Summilux is so tempting. I’ve been searching more pictures online but haven’t seen much.

    Thank you Steve – you’re back to the M. Also, if you have opportunity please do test it on the M9 which I chose over the Q (which was the same price as M9 I bought) and any other M-digital. I’m a 28-50 guy. I’m happy with the 50 Planar so far and hope can control my self with the 50 Summilux. I’ve tried it once and it is… I don’t have any words. The cron 50 (not apo) is definitely out. But this 28 Summilux must be a great replacement for the Elmarit 28 I use.

  7. This is the camera I would buy.I want minimalism simplicity and high quality combined.
    Would it be a camera for everybody? – absolutely not but that’s the point of it !

  8. Hi Steve
    Great to see you with Leica again.
    With all these fantastic cameras in the market there is no other camera that makes me so excited as the Leica. I always feel like i shoot film with it and use it manualy only. I like the Leica retro shape the photo quality and above all i love the rangefinder system and didlike the digital VF.
    I actually started liking your site ( years ago) because of your Leica ( cameras and lenses) articles , and felt sorry you neglected it lately.
    I am certainly looking forword to your next LEICA articles
    Oh i shall be in photokina in september and would love to meet you there ( when will you be there? )
    Take care
    Danny

  9. I agree here with Clint. While there is no LCD or EVF the M-D is no deal. From a maintenance perspective alone the M9 could be calibrated anywhere in the world by Leica service dealers, whereas the M240 could not and had to be sent back to Solms with a 3 month turn around.

    I will not invest in Leica with out these options, not in 2016. The M9 and MM in many ways are better options as they are so easy to maintain. I love Leica but for now there are no real options for me…

  10. Enjoy it Steve! It’s the digital Leica I always wanted, having used Leica M film cameras since 1968. When the M9 came out is was as close as I expected to see, so I used my retirement bonus to get one, and I’ve never regretted it. I’m still happy with it and use it (along with a Sony A7 purely for my orphaned Leica R, Pentax-M and other film SLR lenses), but the M-D is very tempting.
    I don’t use auto ISO, very seldom look at an image on the LCD. After decades of M use I know when I take a picture what I will get. And in all these decades I’ve never had a Leica camera RF go out of adjustment, from M4, M5, M6 to M9. I have had one misadjusted during a CLA, but once right they have been reliable.

  11. I just get jealous that Steve gets to play with such toys! Lol.

    Enjoy. Cant wait for the full review.

  12. Totally understand, those that have not used M cameras don’t quite understand, but they make you just want to pick one up and shoot. You just feel inspired when you use, looking forward to seeing your images.

  13. I’m a great fan of the Digilux 2, have owned both the M8 and M240 and now I’m on my way to the SL.
    Next M will be the MM, but the M262 is nothing for me cause I’ve learned to use the LCD, which I avoided when I got my first Digilux 2.
    Off course I would learn to go back to basic, but I’m sure, I would regret it.
    I’ll stay tuned to read Steves review…

  14. I absolutely love the idea behind this camera. It’s not for my wallet and use but that doesn’t mean I can’t love it.

    In some way this makes me intersted in Fuji’s top two cameras, the X-Pro and X-T. Nice viewfinders albeit both very different, aperture ring, ISO dial, SS dial, compensation dial, joystick and a nice manual focus aid. Less configuration and need for menus. Different and more involving way of shooting. I know, I know, the X-Pro is not a rangefinder …

  15. As far as I’m concerned the M-D will never be an option as long as you deal with rangefinders that go out of calibration. If the M-D had a hybrid viewfinder I would happily give up the LCD, but it doesn’t…

    My hope is that the new M uses some sort of hybrid viewfinder as that would really take the M to the next level.

    • It’s worth mentioning that for decades photographers took photos using Leica cameras with nothing but an ISO dial on the back, often without using the rangefinder for focus.

      • And in fact I am waiting on my first Leica, an M4-P. No meter, no screen, just me and the camera. I haven’t been this excited to get a new camera for.. Well forever.

  16. Great ! Anxious to know your feelings. I don’t use the EVF, the video, the liveview and minimally the LCD of my M240 but I couldn’t do without my MM (CCD, type M9). Oh, don’t forget in your M list the M3 (my favorite), the M2, the M4 (OK, let’s forget the M5).

    • (OK, let’s forget the M5)

      Mary-Rabine how dare you! The M5 is the greatest film Leica ever made! Out of my M3s, M4-2, M7, MD-A it is the one I would never give up!

      Here’s a thread discussing the virtues of the M5
      http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=30549

      Some really interesting news, Leica just started to produce new frame line units for the M5! What other mfg restarts parts production for one of their 50 yr cameras?!! That tells you how much Leica values the M5.

    • Do not over look the M5 by ANY means! Yes it’s radicidly different design from all other M’s. The build quality hardens back to the era of the M3 and the meter is the best ever in put into a M.
      As for digital I get get enough of my MM, SL and the gem M60 amazing…….

      • May I say I was expecting (and hoping for) that reaction on the M5 ? I would also prefer the M60, considering that its price is not that insane since it comes with a Summilux 35 aspherical.

          • The M60 is currently sold at the outset store of Leica HQ in Wetzlar! Body only: 7500 Euro
            Set with 35lx: 11.000 Euro.
            This price includes VAT, so if you export it outside the EU, divide by 1.19!

            John

Leave a Reply to FS Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.