The Leica MD 262, a Beautiful Grip and the 28 Summilux (VIDEO)

The Leica MD 262, a Beautiful Grip and the 28 Summilux (VIDEO)

By Steve Huff

Hey to all! Did a video this morning with my thoughts on the Leica M-D 262. This is a gorgeous camera to look at, hold and shoot. No LCD, No EVF, No menus. Just about as simple as it can get in a camera. But what do I think about it? Find out below…full review soon! Video was shot with the Olympus PEN-F and 7-14 Pro Zoom!

A special thanks to Leica dealer Ken Hansen Β – khpny19@aol.com

GRIP

70 Comments

  1. This is the camera that I said 3 years ago when Olympus revealed E-M1, that Olympus should make a PEN-F like camera without the rear screen. I said that the EVF should be there from E-M1 but no rear screen. And I was so often damned about stupid idea.

    Well, since then Leica has released this beauty, with great idea. And it is actually very cheap.
    And Olympus has released the PEN-F, that has that rear screen, but capability flip it around.

    So partially things did go well πŸ˜›

    The E-M1 made me already forget the chimping the screen. As EVF just showed what I got so no need to go back to check anything. It was like a next gen photography to get so good EVF and so great body as E-M1 has.

    But now I think that Leica with the OVF rangefinder even managed to remove that “worriness” and just accept that you see thing at home!

    • Having a film experience using a digital sensor instead is great. No rear screen is fine, I rarely use it in my E-M1. Except in a rangefinder like Leica M. Since the framing is not very exact via the rangefinder. One way to check the framing composition is using the rear screen. The rear screen can be a very instrumental part of operating an M.

  2. Great video Steve, that 28mm sure looks the business! For me this camera would be complete with a great evf and a playback of the image in the finder after taking the shot. Maybe we will see an evf option on M’s in the future. For sure Leica is giving us interesting options within it’s niche, can’t fault their ambition!

  3. This camera offers the experience of shooting film, but with a digital sensor and electronics. It’s not for everyone. When it first came out, I thought it was nuts, now I’m fine with it (and I don’t own one and can’t see myself ever doing so).

    Leica offers equipment that no other manufacturer does. They’re as much about the experience of taking photos as they are about the end result.

  4. Thanks for the review, Steve. I look forward to seeing the full review.

    To take issue with a previous poster, this camera is no joke ! I have been using my Leica MD for about 5 weeks now and it has become my photographic muse. Without doubt it has improved my concentration and composition techniques. Simple to use, beautifully tactile and inspirational – the MD really does help you focus on achieving better exposure and compensation.

    A camera like this, particularly when its a Leica, will always have its detractors, but concealing or hiding the rear screen on a digital model is simply a bodge (to use an English phrase) – it’s no comparison to the inspiration this model brings. Is this an illusion? To a degree, yes. But 95% of photography is about inspiration and feeling – the more comfortable you feel about your tools then the more inspired you will be and your photographs will be better.

    I hope Leica will introduce a Monochrom version of the MD. That would be my dream camera.

  5. If you were getting a home built and the builder stated that there would be no central air,
    heating or electric and yet the price of the home would exceed homes which contained all three you would take your deposit back and shop elsewhere. This is a gimmick. But worst then that it takes Leica engineers and other resources away from creating a better camera. In my life I have been blessed to be able to purchase this camera but I never will reward Leica’s decision to create yet another gimmick. I am a fan of certain types of Leicas but this is a joke. Next year we will have the Hermes version followed by the queen of something version. Then Leica will produce a camera with another subpar sensor when compared to the market place. Meanwhile companies like Fuji continue to improve their offerings at a fraction of the cost. In my opinion the X-Pro2 along with the quality of their prime lenses exposed Leica for what it has become. A high priced overrated camera. What is Leica’s response? A “back to basic camera.” All of this is laughable.

    • It does not take away resources. They have been working on the new M for three years, and as I said, its just one of many M models, and we have a choice. New M – I predict Photokina πŸ˜‰

      • While you’re in your predicting mood Steve …
        Clear your mind completely, look deep into your crystal ball and only think of two words: Fuji and Photkina.
        Now, what did you see in that ball? =)

        By the way Steve, I sent you a mail this week about an error (I presume) with moderation of one of my posts. I also noticed my posts (don’t know about anybody else’s) take a long time to moderate. I am on a few other huge forums where that all is done on the fly.
        I’m guessing you do all of that yourself? With your site expanding and adding reviewers I think you need a dedicated moderator.
        I’d be happy to volunteer!
        No offense meant, it doesn’t reduce the quality of your forum and the enjoyment I get from reading or posting here.

  6. This is one of the dumbest products ever. We crippled your camera to make you a better photographer. Thanks but no thanks.

    • I can see the point! It’s getting less for more. This is why it is an extremely niche product. I was shooting it this week and on one hand, I thought it was great to NOT even have the ability to check the image. On the other, I missed it at times. So when one can get a 262 or 240 with an LCD…for the same money I would go that route. This is a conversation starter, and a very cool design but for the money most would go to another model.

  7. This camera is the product of a curious kind photographic machismo. It’s the belief that you can never be a “real” photographer if you need to confirm your exposure by checking it on the LCD. They even have derogatory term for it: chimping. Maybe some people find it fun to blow shots by relying on guesswork. I’d rather not waste time. I prefer to nail the exposure as often as possible. I’ll take mine with an LCD, thank you.

  8. Hi Steve, ive never used a Leica flash before but I’m interested to know if you can choose to rear curtain the flash with the MD?

  9. Be interesting to see how this goes vs. the Monochrome camera they released a few years ago. Not convinced this niche will be as successful though!?

    .

    • We should have facebook thums up style thingies here, I know another forum (not photo related) that has them.

      Would be fun especially for me since I have no Facebook.

      I’m allergic to facebook, got pills for that from the doc but they don’t work.
      Then I wnet to a psychiatrist to see if he could help me. The poor fella has been in the looney bin ever since. =)

  10. OK, I have a real serious question for all the ‘lovers’ of this camera.
    You’re about to take the trip of a lifetime, places that you most likely will never return to…….you don’t want to take a ton of equipment, would this camera be in your bag?

    I shot film for years using great Nikon equipment, I also carried a fabulous Gossen LunaPro for light reading….are you going to now start carrying a light meter?

    To me this camera is a gimmick. No one forces you to use the rear screen on virtually any digital camera….all of the menus that are present don’t need to be used….but isn’t it all about options.

    Be honest….

    • Before you read anything I write further in this message, this thing does have metering, yes?

      So, Honestly?

      I love this camera and the idea behind it. Imagine how photographers after the second WW must have shot.
      I will never buy this camera, it’s too expensive. I could buy it but it would be an insane waste of money for a hobbyist like me, I don’t even consider myself an amateur.
      I can understand some people that will buy this camera and have high regard for them: the Pro that considers his work a hobby as well, the serious amateur that can afford it and use it and enjoy fine quality in his hands or by just looking at it like some can enjoy fine wine, the older person that was used to shoot film most of his life and can afford it, the professional gear reviewer that can anjoy life and quality gear in general (there’s a site like that, forgot the guys name πŸ˜‰ ).
      I can understand some people that will buy this camera but have no high regard for them: the guy who has more money than he can spend in a lifetime and doesn’t even know how to use a pocket camera, the simple hobbyist like me, but one that has an IQ level below 100 and spends that kind of money on something he will never be able to use properly. Let’s face it, this is not only like a film camera but it’s slo a real rangefinder so it’s twice as hard if you didn’t grew up with SLR film cameras.

      In my mind, my new X-T2 that will come in as my third camera is my own little Leica compared to my two Oly cameras due to the totally different way of using it with the dials which seems oh so natural to me compared to any mirorrless or DSLR. My Pen-F with the screen flipped so you see no LCD is my own little M-D. And for far less than this M-D and the fabulous Noctilux I have three really different cameras with a nice row of glass and even an original Nocticron!!! πŸ˜‰

      So, I appreciate different peoples views and opinions, yours as well.
      But your statement is just as correct, I would not take this thing on the trip of my lifetime as my only camera unless I’m on Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.

    • “….but isn’t it all about options.”

      You summed it up well. This camera is just another option for people if inclined to use it. Not for me personally though people now have a choice.

  11. can’t get any info. on wooden grip from Renatolamberti. please steve give use a LINK thanks jeff a.

    • Take an Opel Astra, paint it red, put on big wheels and a huge spoiler and you have a Ferrari.
      Oh, don’t forget the 2000 Watt subwoofer. And some sound tuning. ;P

  12. i think there are advantages to having no lcd screen. I hear start up/wake up time is almost instant and I’m sure battery life is even better than normal type 240’s.

    • Don’t go there about battery life Steve. I just got back from Yosemite, spent 2 days shooting each and every day and even sending pics over to my cell using the WIFI and still go over 700 pics (sent to 2 cards) with my Nikon D600….

      • Im sure you did, but I shoot Sony usually, and the battery life in those is 200-300 shots. The Leica M240 would get me close to 1k with no chimping. This one, not sure yet.

  13. I’m sure a grip is useful, but that wooden one is completely out of place: echoes nothing in Leica’s design.

  14. Now and then I go to remote (from here) places and practice a little photography. It costs time and rather a lot of money as in numbers of “Leicas”, for want of a new monetary unit.

    Since mostly switching to digital I’ve been pleased to quickly check whether the last shot has “happened” by very briefly looking at the LCD screen. For some reason this is called chimping (monkey business?). Apparently, it’s not the done thing for some. I’ve never known why. Perhaps it’s their loss of surprise when they’re later 12,000 miles away to find a setting was forgotten or inaccurate.

    Of course, a travel computer would, hours later, perhaps (if not for the Martian who popped up from behind the rock) provide the answer, but there’s often a little computer in the camera which is much more immediate and shows what’s happened. But not in the M262 (is that a relation of the Bf-109?). Oh no.

    Not to worry, if the little green chap is missing or fuzzy, I’ll fly back for a mere several Leicas (Ls)
    and take another shot ..maybe.

    (Are these same worriers also the critics of the Selfie Brigade?)

    • If you feel so insecure or uncertain; just put an Eye Fi and stream the images to your tablet or phone.

      • Insecurity? “SO” insecure? Why on earth would that enter into it? Psycho-babble. Uncertainty, yes, at times. I’m not that good that I don’t make mistakes.

        No, I “just” put my eye on the LCD screen for a moment; why bother with phones and tablets, for heaven’s sake!

    • I think that “chimping” is so called because of people going through their pictures with excited noises such as “ooh ooh ooh”

  15. Interesting concept. Simplicity and putting more thought into your shot before you take the photo, like when shooting film helps you improve your pictures. Nice Leica!

  16. Sadly the elimnation of functions does not lead to a decrease of price or size. But perhaps this model tests the waters and we will see something at Photokina.

    As an amateur it is so easy to forget the handling of a complex menu, but handling a Leica M6 (or 262) is like riding a bicycle (apart from digital post-processing).

    In the days of Film a Leica was good for several decades of usage. I wonder whether their would be a way to preserve the wonderful body, the engraved dials, all that brass and ball bearings, and the optical rangefinder rather than dispose it when the digital innards reach the end of their economic life. Variable ISO settings, white balance and colour profiles make us forget the days we used different film for different applications. But cameras likel the Sony A7S and the Leica M Monochrome demonstrate there is still a purpose for different sensors and image processors.

    • As a professional photographer in the modern time is money world you’re absolutely right.

      But maybe this camera isn’t aimed at the professional photograper for his work ?
      Maybe it’s aimed at the pro for his enjoyment of the hobby that is also his job?
      Maybe at the Rolls owner that can afford it like a bag of peanuts and simply enjoys quality and beauty?
      Maybe for the amateur that can’t afford it but would sell all his other hobby related stuff because he comes from the filme era and wants to go back to these days?

      But it does make one wonder, how were professional photographers able to do their job before the digital era? BrassaΓ―, Ansel Adams?
      Agreed, not a fair comparison to the professional photographers of this age who have to make their money in as little time as possible in this competitive and over-stressed world.
      For professionals like you it would mean a big loss of time and money but it might also be a relief when on a holiday for example (at a very high price I admit).

      Like a holiday without a cell phone, can you imagine?
      Nowadays, kids from as young as 12 years can’t survive a few days without their smartphones. How is it possible all of us that are above 30, 40 or 50 years of age managed to survive?
      In that time we didn’t have child locks on medicin, 20 warnings on foods and drinks, ABS, navigation, servo steering, computers … and we survived.
      Indeed, times are changing and so is the world we live in.

  17. The fact that you don’t have a screen is more exciting because you cannot chimp and you have to wait to be back home to check your pictures! On a 6,000-dollar camera!

    This is one of the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard about gear in my whole life… Maybe Leica will also ‘invent’ a 12,000-dollar TV without a remote, so we can come back to the basics of TV watching.

    • I have a 1000$ and a 3000$ audio amp without remote and I wouldn’t want one. There’s just no feeling like turning those quality knobs.
      I also have three Receivers from the 70s that don’t have remotes as well, A joy to use, look at and listen to.
      I get it that most people won’t understand that but I’m sure Steve does seeing the audio gear he has.

      Not sure that I wouldn’t want on my TV though so IMO your comment is absolutely valid as well.

    • Love it Alex my sentiments exactly. I will be trowing away my DeWalt drill and using a brace when I need to drill a hole in concrete, I don’t think!!!!!. In the 1960’s when I started photography I used to dream of the cameras we have today so this backward return to photography can be simply done on much reasonable priced cameras and assign a button to switch the LCD on and off. The mind boggles.

      • In the late 90s (I suppose) I had a PC, a Nokia cellphone and a Microsoft CE pocket computer for use as an agenda and keeping some files I needed with me.
        I dreamt of a device that combined my Pocket Computer and cell phone in one but could never have dreamt about is syning across the globe with my PC.
        Now I have a Mac and iPhone that does everything I dreamt of then as well as things I could never imagine. Much better than back then indeed but it also means I am never off work and never at ease anymore as well. Just a tradeoff I guess.

        But is everything so much better now?
        I have always loved fast cars (the ones that look like regular four doors but outperform many sports car and tuned little cars) and motorbikes, I’ve been riding them for 33 years now, the fast and fun variety.
        In the 80s one could enjoy stepping or pulling on the gas from time to time because the motorways here in Europe were much less crowded and there were times they were preactically empty. Now they’re full and for the odd time they’re less crowded you can bet there are speed flashes around.
        Driving fast and smoking is regarded upon a worse crime than driving drunk and steeling or assaulting people these days.

        So I ask you again, is everything so much better today than it was 20, 30 or 40 years ago?
        I for one would love a world with a change of pace from today’s modern world that is mainly about money, marketing and performing without regards for quality or honest sales and products.
        We have less and less time left for family, friends and pesonal life. I’d prefer a world where we go to visit the people we enjoy being with more instead of texting or videochatting with them.
        A gentler, more relaxing world.

    • …with 3 channels….real purity of experience. If ever there were a case of the emperor’s new clothes, this has to be it. Leica appear to be pushing the boundaries of what they can get away with…the “special edition” of this camera will have a built-in memory only with a 36 shot capacity and cost 20% more. If you want purity of experience, buy an M6 or M7. If you want a great digital camera, buy an M9 or similar. Leica are taking the rise…don’t encourage them.

      • The special edition of this one was the M60 πŸ˜‰ It’s just an option, not their only solution. They have the ME, the M240, the M 262, The MD 262 and the Mono. So one can choose what they like. It is very STRANGE shooting digital without an LCD so I have to put myself in that film mindset.

  18. So take out the advantages of film and the advantages of digital and you’re left with this camera?

    • I must agree. With my digital cameras, I can set my camera as I want and then not worry about making changes. And, I can ignore the LCD. I don’t have to chimp. Maybe some don’t have the discipline to not look.

      Sorry, Steve, this is NOT just like shooting film. It’s NOT the film experience.

      • I like to think I have my own M-D when I close the screen of my little PEN-F and just see a piece of P-leather. πŸ™‚

        • Nothing at all IMO.
          But try to explain that to your still gorgeous 40 year old wife when you were just eyballing a scantilly clad 20 year old maiden with the looks of a model.

    • That’s another way to look at it. Kind of a “The glass is half full or the glass is half empty” thing. πŸ™‚

      • The glass is always full: 50% filled with water, 50% filled with air.

        That’s not what he is saying. He is saying that this camera is a worst-of-both-worlds solution.

        • The 50% air isn’t gonna quench your thirst and the other 50% isn’t always water. πŸ˜‰

          I got what he was saying.

          “The glass is half full or the glass is half empty” is an expression, at least over here. Someone who thinks the glass is half full is an optimist, someone who thinks the glass is half empty is a pessimist.
          So seeing this camera as the worst of both worlds would be pessimistic. I myself would consider it a nice change of pace and the best of both worlds which would be optimistic.

          Neither of us is right nor wrong but I prefer to be optimistic as much as possible.

          Not that I’d spend that amount of cash on it though, nor on a Leica M with LCD. I keep in mind that one doesn’t even have glass yet then which costs a little more than 20 bucks from Leica as well.

        • By the way Mike, see my post 2 posts below here that I wrote yesterday but just made it through moderation. That’s how I feel about the M-D.

          It’s concept is neither right nor wrong. One can either fall in love with the concept at first sight, or one might not get it but give it a serious try and fall in love with it after all or get to hate it or one may think it’s totally absurd and delusional.
          None of those four would be right or wrong.

          In any case, I’m looking forward to Steve’s full review as I’m not planning to own one myself, but as I compared it to a car 2 posts below I think the concept is amazing. The price is a whole other matter.

    • @Christos

      It really is more like “Just replace the film with with a digital sensor and you you’ve got this camera.”

      In your terms you could also say:
      Just leave in the operational advantages of film and enhance the functionality with advanced digital technology and you’ve got this camera.

  19. That’s definitely a nice looking camera — and I’m looking forward to seeing what sort of results you get with that gorgeous 28 lux. As I mentioned in another thread, I think it would be hard to pull the trigger on one of these with Photokina right around the corner. But, features wise, it sounds pretty good.

    I’m going to consider upgrading my M9P if (and when) a new M comes out. Unfortunately, if you want that “P” look (which I also like) you’re probably going to have to wait even longer.

  20. If I could bring it up to sell all my camera gear to buy a Leica this would be the one. Man, that thing is a dream camera.

    Like selling your brand new high tech car and buying a fully restored 70ies Challenger or Porsche and just enjoy driving a real car and watching the scenery while listening to FM radio or that one good tape you made instead of checking your navigation, cell phone Coyote and HUD while trying to find that particular song on your harddrive with 5000 tracks on your LCD screen in the dashboard.

    Steve, you’re not planning on doing another giveaway with this camera do you? I wouldn’t go all out and include the lens, just some old Nocticlux to get started would be fine. ;P

        • Nope, nothing moderated.
          My post just didn’t go through for more than a day. πŸ˜‰
          I was complaining to Steve.

          I have an other complaint for him. I think he’s a chaepskate if he doesn’t do that M-D + Nocty giveaway. ;P

  21. Oooh, that Leica looks lovely. I get what you mean about the similarity with the MP. When I shoot film and digital they are very different experiences for me. I usually shoot film, but have been shooting digital lately – I notice that I take more shots with digital and probably am a bit freer in my approach as I can just shoot without worrying about the cost and time spent scanning the results. However, I do find that I like the more considered approach to film. It’ll be really interesting to see what you make of the MD in the next few weeks’ as this camera might allow for freer shooting with the extra mindfulness of film in my mind.

    • Yes, both make beautiful desirable machines that are wonderful to use, in their unique and characteristic way, which for some reason drives some owners of other brands nuts.

    • Yes. Both spend more on marketing then creating new innovations. Both live on the success of the past. Both owners believe the have the best when in reality other companies have wiped the street with Leica and HD. I take almost any motorcycle before HD. As for Leica, the last time they were a clear leader was when they introduced the M3. No…not a hater….

      • Can’t argue with you concering HD. I’ve been a biker for 30 years riding Honda, Suzuki and BMW sportsbikes (not racers) and naked bikes on and off track. Bikes are made for having fun and corners is where the fun’s at. Customs are for driving straight through. Ever did a roundabout with a Harley? Sure you’ve seen the sparks unde4r your footpegs.
        I did have one custom as an extra bike just for cruising at some point it time but it was a Thriumph Thundrbird 1700cc. Couldn’t turn as well but wiped the floor with any Harley.
        Here in Europe Harley’s aren’t bought by Angels mainley but by guys in their midlife crisis who never even rode a bike. They’re the joke of any real biker. You see the odd Lone Wolf that doesn’t wanna be in a club but is an Angel at heart. Respect for those guys.

  22. Coming from film I think this is the way to go. Sometimes it is best to set a certain iso so youll have more predictable results.

    I was happy with the poor lcd of the m9 as it lessens my tendency to chimp. And when I get a chance to review the images on my computer – there is always a feeling of wow. It is a magical feeling.

    I hope Leica will one day make prices more reasonable. They will make a lot of people very happy. Like this camera should have been priced lower and not base on emotion.

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