The Next Leica M – A Wish List By Ashwin Rao

The Next Leica M – A Wish List

By Ashwin Rao

m240

Hi all, it’s been quite a while since we last visited, and in the interim, I have been busy shooting with a number of cameras, including Leica’s SL, Q, and Monochrom bodies. I have been without a digital color rangefinder for well over a year, using the Leica SL as a proxy (and a worthy proxy at that) for my M lenses. However, I do long for the next M, and I am hopeful that it will soon be released, if the rumormongering is true.

So while this is not a rumor, the following represents my wish list for the next Leica M.

1. Smaller size. For years now, the digital Leica M has looked and felt like a bloated Leica film body. Those who first tested out the Leica M8 complained that it was much thicker to hold than the film bodies that they were traditionally used to carrying. Technology has improved, and with the advent of modern digital mirrorless bodies, we are beginning to see how compact a body housing a full frame sensor can be. While I continue to cherish the rangefinder experience, I’d like to see the next Leica M to handle more like a film body in both size and heft. Film bodies tend to be built like a tank, and the M240/246/262/MD bodies have taken this to heart, albeit weighing quite a few more grams than their analog counterparts. Thus, my first wish is for the next digital M to weigh and be sized more like a film body.

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2. Sensor. In my heart of hearts, I’d love to see Leica return to an updated CCD sensor, but for a number of reasons ranging from production cost to processing power, I doubt that Leica will ever return to this type of sensor. Thus, I am hopeful that Leica will update the next digital M’s sensor, focusing on accurate color reproduction, high resolution (excluding the Anti-aliasing filter, as always), higher dynamic range, and low light capability. I would hasten to say that most photographers do not need much more than 24 megapixels for their work. In fact, most of us could get along fine with a 10-megapixel sensor. The reality, however, is that most modern full frame digital sensors to be produced over the next few years will house sensors with high megapixel counts greater than 30 megapixels. I would hope, personally, for Leica to buck this trend, or at the very least, to focus on optimizing sensor properties other than pure megapixel count. Thus, my second wish is for Leica to include a reasonable (24-36 mp) sensor that is optimized for both dynamic range and low light performance. And, for once, how about 16-bit color depth? If Leica were to do this, the next M would be a long way toward kicking Sony/Canikon etc’s butt in IQ. If the next Leica can handle highlights well and see into the night, I’ll be a happy guy.

3. Get rid of the video: I honestly suspect that the hardware that it takes to allow the Leica M to take video adds greatly to the bulk of the camera and is a large part of why the M240 is a bulkier camera than the M9 before it. I would say that most Leica shooters could care little at all about video and would rather focus on optimum still image quality. Thus, I wish that Leica will get rid of video in the next digital M.

4. Optimize the rangefinder: I will say that Leica seems to be subtly tweaking the rangefinder to permit more focusing accuracy. The M240 and it’s siblings seem to focus more consistently and accurately than the M8 or M9. I’d love to see Leica continue to optimize the rangefinder for accuracy and to reduce the rangefinder’s tendency to become less accurate over time.

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5. Optimize the viewfinder. The modern mirrorless camera market is becoming ever more competitive, and Leica now has to pit it’s optical rangefinder against today’s improving electronic viewfinders, including the one in its own SL. To boot, most Leica shooters are not getting any younger, and with age, eyesight becomes more problematic. Can Leica come up with a way to allow shooters to achieve more accurate focus through the viewfinder? Many have proposed that Leica employ a hybrid viewfinder as Fuji employs, but that solution does not seem very elegant. This, I wish that Leica will include a digital focusing aid while preserving the optical rangefinder focusing experience. Second, I wish that Leica can improve the framing accuracy of the frame lines employed for its lenses. If Leica can meet these two wishes, many of us rangefinder enthusiasts would be quite happy.

7. In-body image stabilization. We all know that Leica keeps its manual focus lenses quite small, and we thank Leica greatly for this. The size of M mount lenses makes them quite appealing for many digital bodies, and in some ways, the M mount has become the “universal mount” for modern compact digital mirrorless bodies. All of that said, M mount lenses do not incorporate any image stabilization. The Leica Q, in fact, is the first Leica body (not counting compacts) to include in body image stabilization, but this camera has a fixed lens. Let’s port this technology to the Leica M, and allow for in body image stabilization that are offered by other non-rangefinder (i.e. Sony) bodies. This will allow rangefinder shooters to shoot the next M, with surely a high megapixel count, with more accuracy and more satisfaction that they will return home with sharp images. So please Leica, I wish that you’ll include in-body image stabilization

6. Dust reduction: Leica sensors are notorious for issues, including corrosion and accumulation of dust. Thankfully, Leica has done a great job of standing behind their products and supporting/replacing defective sensors. While defective sensors are not as much an issue, dust accumulation remains a major issue for Leica’s digital sensors. I am shocked that Leica has yet to incorporate a sensor clearing/shake mechanism to remove dust from its sensors, and now seems a great time to catch up to the rest of the market.

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7. Get rid of the baseplate: Okay, now let’s get more radical with camera design. I think it’s time to start simplifying the digital M. There’s absolutely now reason any more of a baseplate, so the baseplate has to go. Let’s employ a camera base more similar to the TL and SL bodies, with an easily swappable battery, and a side door for easy SD card access. Leica can continue to employ the same design aesthetics and haptics of present and former M bodies without having to deal with a baseplate. As my next wish, thus, I wish that Leica would part with the baseplate on its next M

8. LCD? Who needs an LCD? Well, actually, I do…I bet you were thinking that I would wish away the LCD, and in certain instances, I do feel this way. However, the LCD permits access to many features (image preview and chimping, setting lens choice, formatting, SD card, etc) that it should be kept around for the majority of us who would use the LCD. That being said, if somehow the most important features needed to control the camera can be brought into the viewfinder without adding clutter, then I’d say….get rid of that LCD. Leica, will you take that radical step? I doubt it…At the very least, it would be great to simplify both the button and menu structure to keep things very simple on the Next M. Focus on what photographers usually need access to and get rid of the rest. Both the Leica SL and S bodies have taken a minimalist approach with the button layout on the camera back, and I’d like to see this approach taken with the next M.

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9 .Film advance lever. Epson made a remarkable move keeping the film advance lever on its RD-1 digital rangefinder. Leica elected to get rid of the film advance lever. In its absence, many companies, such as Match Technical, have jumped in to provide “thumb” grips to permit better camera handling and haptic. Well, Leica, how about giving us back the advance lever on the next M. If designed properly, the advance lever could be employed as a thumb grip, as it has been on film bodies. It would also bring the rangefinder shooter a bit closer to a unique rangefinder experience. So Leica, I wish that you’d bring back the “film” advance lever on the next digital M

10. Bring back the numbering. I am not a fan of getting rid of the numbering on the M series camera. Whereas everyone know the M3, M2, M4, M5, M7, M7, M8, and M9 as cameras in a logical sequence, the most recent Leica M is known to most as the M”240” . What the heck?!? That’s not elegant at all. So Leica, please rename the next M; Let’s call it the M10 – after all, 2016 is the 10th anniversary of the digital M.

So there you have it: My Leica M wish list! To summarize:

1. Make it thinner and less hefty
2. Focus sensor efforts on low light and dynamic range performance. And let’s get 16-bit color depth!
3. Get rid of the video, please
4 &5. Improve the rangefinder experience in terms of focusing ease and accuracy
6. Let’s include dust reduction (finally)
7. Get rid of the baseplate. Zero value added, in my opinion.
8. LCD? Leica, can you find a way to get rid of it?
9. Bring back the film advance lever
10. Name it the Leica M10

Thanks for reading this. Let’s hope, most importantly, that Leica will soon release a new M body. It’s time to upgrade . Please comment below to share your own hopes and wishes for the next M.

65 Comments

  1. Being able to use the Set button and dial to scroll through a list of lenses you own – rather than having to choose from the whole list when changing a lens. Would really speed things up for when working in the field.

  2. Very nice wishes. I din’t see a mention of a most important feature of the sensor. Not just the size matters but, the size of the pixels. Most Leicas come in at 6µm. That is about the best you can get for “Normal” shooting. Note: The Nikon 700D had 7.4µm and the Sony 7IIs hits a high of 8.4µm.
    (µm: Newton Meters.) both have 12 Mp sensors (This info is off the top of my head.). Take a look at the Leica M-E at $1,000 less. I think it was after the M8 and before the M9, more or less. It has a CCD, for you, “Still lovers”. I would suggest a Leica M lens, 35 1.4 or 28 2. with an adapter on a new model APS-C Fuji X or Sony 7, which doesn’t have video and you can/should get the same results like a Leica and save a fortune, should come to $4,500, total, instead of $7,000+, not to mention the grip and battery costs. I guess I mentioned them.So, try it and see. Also to mention. It would/should be cheaper for Leica to make/keep a CCD model since the sensor would be cheaper for them after all these years. Their sensors are made in USA by Kodak. The first ones had a rust problem which is why the latest modeal are water resistant. I think photographers take Leicas into foreign lands and wars where is is very wet and humid.

    If the people who have followed my comments think I am too concerened with price. I think too many people think “Expensive is better”. I think the people who say, “Don’t buy price” are making money on the camera sales or make over $80,000 a year. If you know what you are doing and know which prodect is the best for your real needs then price is important. Saving $100 means, to me, a trip on a train to a city 2-3 hours away. Spend the day and back with some interesting photos and a possibility of a new friend or two. I do have to say that the dealer I use costs me
    a little more for my cameras but, I get a lot of info/help. He is not always busy and he is only
    30 minutes away, not in another city. I still think the best film camera was the Minolta CLE
    (Much more advanced than the CL and it takes Leica lenses. Maybe not the 21mm.
    I have one with a 35 1.4. The camera world has caught up with Leica with the new Sonys and Fujis and mirrorless cameras. Add to that the new Hasselblad HDX-150 and the Fuji XGF, mid frame against Leica’s S models at half the price. It is dangerous to stand still or move too slow, these days. Or?

  3. Coming from film M’s, then finally to an M9 and now the M262, I’m thrilled with the 262.

    1. Make it thinner and less hefty
    If possible,

    2. Focus sensor efforts on low light and dynamic range performance. And let’s get 16-bit color depth!

    Agree! When it comes to CCD vs CMOS output, those who claim to see a difference are seeing Jesus in a grilled cheese sandwich

    3. Get rid of the video, please

    Yes, please banish video.

    4 &5. Improve the rangefinder experience in terms of focusing ease and accuracy

    The RF unit in the 262 is the best of any Leica I own, including the M2-R and MP.

    6. Let’s include dust reduction (finally)

    Sure!

    7. Get rid of the baseplate. Zero value added, in my opinion.

    Eh, it’s something I don’t worry about. Taking off the baseplate ties me emotionally to my film M’s.

    8. LCD? Leica, can you find a way to get rid of it?

    Only if I can do auto ISO in manual mode without an LCD I may consider it. A lot of utility to having an LCD.

    9. Bring back the film advance lever

    Only for a special edition with body sans LCD screen for the purists…

    10. Name it the Leica M10

    They will just want to put than in white on the front…

  4. Well thought out abservations above.

    Don’t understand how one would do without an LCD. A fad omitting one.
    Do something different with the sensor because it’s tiresome to work with an obsolete sensor from the start. Doubt that it will be innovative. Too risky. But as Ashwin suggests, 16 bit color, maybe 25 or 50 ISO base, unparalleled high ISO and dynamic range, like something you might expect from a Hasselblad. Avoid the MP race altogether. But if consumer research leads you to a higher number (54 or higher), then in-body downsampling to result in breathtaking 18 or 24 MP files.

    • I have to say: Very low ISOs in digital may not be so important as it was with films. 50 may be good enough and I am not impressed with ISOs over 6400. Personally I never have used over 1600, with my Nikon D7100. Also, I have heard, at Photokina, in Sept. that the XGF Fuji is delayed because of the “problem” with storing such large files. I aslo have to say,
      I can’t affored it but the new Hasselblad is my dream camera. Of course I am spoiled by the market and know that in 2 years there will be an “improved” model with 60 Mps, at the same
      or better price. Still cheaper than a Leica S or SL. and much lighter and smaller. I played with it at P’kina. I almost ran away with it. I am from NYC.

  5. They really should make a call to Sigma and start developing a FF Foveon sensor, that tech should be a perfect match with Leica.

  6. The top plate should have a frame counter and battery meter, something like what the M8 had in 2006.

    1. Make it thinner and less hefty = ok
    2. Focus sensor efforts on low light and dynamic range performance. And let’s get 16-bit color depth! = ok
    3. Get rid of the video, please = no, video is nice to have
    4 &5. Improve the rangefinder experience in terms of focusing ease and accuracy = ok
    6. Let’s include dust reduction (finally) = yes definitely
    7. Get rid of the baseplate. Zero value added, in my opinion. = yes definitely
    8. LCD? Leica, can you find a way to get rid of it? = no, the LCD is a must
    9. Bring back the film advance lever = absolutely not, never
    10. Name it the Leica M10 = no

  7. Very interesting discussion. Too bad the new M did not make its appearance in September; our conversation would be much better. I was disappointed about the delay, but hey, not ready, not ready. And or, ready to cut into other sales. So, thinking the new M would not really be available until late 2017 or even 2018, I followed Steve’s advice and went to PopFlash and bought an almost new Leica M type 262. I have happily discovered that it meets most of my now old wish list for the M10. In fact, it really is the M10 we wanted, but late arriving. I think it also think it satisfies many of the items on the wish list that Ashwin asked for. I have a feeling that the next M will be an advance on the M type 246 with all the new bells and whistles. Improved sensor (not necessarily size) is always welcomed, but I expect that many of the “improvements” will take it further away from the digital M6 or M7 we’d like to have. That said, there is still the possibility that a year or two later, Leica will do the same thing they did for the type 246: offer a simpler version that actually does satisfy the wish lists that are mentioned here. The M11 we’d like to see.

    • I agree with you that the delay is disappointing. So I am using Aswin’s thread to voice my desires in public where there is a chance they will reach someone at Leica that has the influence to make it happen. It seems that Steve is followed by somebody at Leica.

      I also agree with your observations that Leica products are stratified and they won’t make a product that competes with, or may take sales from, a higher priced product. They are not like Hewlewt Packard which is not afraid of eating their own lunch. So, we will probably need to wait for an improved, or more capable, S body before we see a more capable M.

      PaulB

    • From what I was told by my favorite editor in Europe. The first Leica sensor, made by Kodak in USA, had “Rust Issues” that is the main reason for the weather proofs. Also, to push one thing that I do find annyoing. The SL and probably all of the Ms are not made in Germany. The sensors are made as said and processors and other parts are from Portugal/Austria
      and “Other countries” which is what a Leica marketing director said in an interview, and are, “…company secrets.” Leica has taken the book from Apple and want to sell their products first in their own stores. The top stock holder’s x- wife is the Director of Leica Gallery in Vienna and they have what is called, The Space Ship, not far from the factory in SOMS
      and all of this marketing concept came from Toyotas “Center” in Japan and The Sony Center in Berlin. The idea is to keep the price up (Which was a big problem for Sony) and make/keep the profits themselves. (No Middleman.) That is how Apple became what they are today and what got Gates really annoyed.

  8. I don’t think Leica would do half of what you guys’ asking. If it did, it wouldn’t be called M, may be Leica R or something, too much hassle, also it is against Leica tradition. If such an animal exists, many M9, 240, 260, 262 etc. will be flooded Ebay.

  9. I love my M9 and nothing so far has tempted me to “upgrade”, but as someone who shoots in aperture priority mode all the time I could use a dedicated exposure compensation knob, like the one on my Fuji.

  10. Well , or you can get one of film models and be happy. I don’t get why people wanna get rid of LCD. Maybe you don’t want to be disappointed at moment and be disappointed later at home looking at your images on your screen.
    Best move (from consumer point of view) would be to introduce two models. one with evf and one with rangefinder. One that looks like as usual like other Ms. One that looks like Q with an M mount. That would be nice. Pity they won’t do it…

  11. Forget the video. Improve the dynamic range. Make it same size as the M2-MA film cameras. Don’t even think about a film advance lever. People who want that can buy the M7, MP, or MA and use real film (and it is a beautiful experience to advance a frame on a Leica film camera)!

  12. One of the biggest shortfalls of the current M is the limitations with long exposures. The longest the camera can expose for is 60 secs and that’s at 200 ISO. At ISO400 max exposure time is only 30secs!!! This is crazy and severely limits the camera if you’re into night photography.

    • I’ve always been surprised by this. Leica makes incedible asph. lenses – and they have perfect hard stops for inf. focus. So…in theory if the sensor handles the noise well from the longer exposure they should be excellent astro-cameras. In my limited amount of knowledge.

    • There are two reasons for this that I can think of.

      First is to conserve battery power. Leica is very conservative in their thinking and they even limited the long exposure time in the M7 for this reason.

      Second, for the digital bodies, is heat dissipation. Holding the shutter open and having the sensor powered generates a lot of heat in the sensor and what ever is also processing in the background. The body is not big enough to absorb the heat and transfer it to the air surrounding the camera fast enough to prevent damage to the electronics.

      Both of these reasons combined is probably why the SL is so much larger. Bigger batteries and better heat transfer.

      PaulB

      • Paul…the M240 has more mass to it for heat dissipation then any camera I’ve ever owned. Seriously…if an 11 year old Canon 5D made of lightweight magnesium alloy can handle 5 minute bulb exposures then why can’t a $7000 M240 clad in brass and weighing in at 1.5lbs handle more then 60 secs??? Seems to me the answer is already there….the camera (could have been) one massive heat sink but obviously the design was poor if we are limited to a minute.

        • Clint

          The answer to your question will really depend on the alloys we are comparing, the amount (relative weights) of the material, and relative amount of surface area.

          Though generally speaking if we compare equal amounts of brass to aluminum, The aluminum alloy with the lowest rating of thermal conductivity conducts heat at about the same rate as brass with the lowest rating of thermal conductivity, and the alloy with the highest rating of thermal conductivity will conduct heat about 50% faster.

          Comparing brass to magnesium, the brass alloy with the lowest rating of thermal conductivity is very close to the comparable magnesium alloy but slightly lower. For brass alloys with higher thermal conductivity, it will conduct about 50% faster than magnesium.

          Which then brings us to how the metals in use are shaped and where they are located. As you are aware, Leica uses a lot of brass which is mostly in the the top plate and bottom of the M240; I believe the interior frame is aluminum. This will tend to hold heat more than aluminum will. The Canon 5D is a much different shape and the magnesium structure is probably thinner with more total area. So even if the magnesium alloy has a lower thermal conductivity than the brass Leica is using, less weight, a thinner structure, and more surface area will allow the Canon to reject heat faster than the M240 will.

          PaulB

  13. My prioritized wish list is:
    1. Reliable, no glitches; worth the £5000+. I am hopeful that Leica has learned something about digital after all these years. Even though it is evident that they still make mistakes; even at trivial situations in their website.
    2. Better image capture.
    3. More dynamic range.
    4. Better low light capability.
    5. Start from ISO 50 not 200.
    6. More megapixels.
    7. Better Rangefinder; no glare; focus vertically and horizontally.
    8. Dust reduction.
    9. Better frame rate; feel like a camera of 2016.

  14. Yes Leica, I’m in if you do half of these. But a smaller body and better image sensor are musts. In reality, these are what’s personally holding me back. I want a Leica digital M That I can keep that won’t be “dated” or is good enough for the long haul. A film advance lever is also something I desire. Make it to re-cock the shutter for true silent advance.

    Naming it the M19 would be icing on the cake too. There is pride in ownership and history there. M240, M262, etc.–nonsense! And getting rid of the base plate and using the same battery system as the S is brilliant.

    If any company can do this and still sell cameras, it’s you Leica.

  15. I support the wish for smaller size, preferably back to origonal size and proportion of the M3 to M6.

    I wonder whether getting rid of video, life view, LCD and cursor keys results in much less power consumption. Less components that consume power, less opportunity to “play” with controls. Perhaps to a point where a small, old fashioned, disposable lithium battery is good for many hundred or even thousand pictures. In the early days of AF and the late days they they were good enough to power film advance and integrated flash. No more bagfull of spares, chargers and travel adapters.

    Reintroduce self timer, frame selector and film advance levers, film rewind button and film counter. All could be used for settings, i.e. ISO, white balance, motor speed etc..

    I prefer the Leica M bottom plate over any mulitplicity of hinged doors or rubber plugs. A smartphone dock for the flash mount would be nice.

  16. What if some sort of really high-speed WiFi is built into the LCD-less body and users have the choices of using a present-day technology snap-on LCD, or future roll-out LCD, or simply view-on-the-monster-tablet when they feel they need an LCD? The viewfinder itself is too valuable to do ugly things to!

  17. I have a few additions.

    – get rid of banding at high ISO.
    – get rid of red/cyan drift on as many lenses as possible. Don’t worry about optimizing for R lenses, the SL is better equipped for that. Focus on optimizing short flange M lenses of as many generations as possible.
    – improve weather sealing further – get towards the S/SL levels of weather sealing. Perhaps start selling weather sealed m lenses (especially at the mount).
    – speed. Faster SD card write times, dont lock the camera up, faster startup no matter which SD card is used. Faster frames per second would be nice too but not critical.
    – electronic shutter option – silent vibration free shutter would be a huge plus.
    – better evf. Higher res and faster refresh.
    – dual SD card slots.
    – possibly have LED projected framelines, so that the framing would be optimized by focus distance. Could possibly customize framelines pairs too.
    – I would love to see a higher magnification and higher eyepoint at the same time. Say, a 0.72x with a larger exit pupil. More accurate abd be able to see the 28mm framelines with eyeglasses. (see the Zeiss ikon ZM)
    – I prefer the leica Q thumb grip to the M240 thumb grip.
    – wifi control. GPS would be nice too.
    – I would also love a tilting LCD but I doubt leica would ever do this.

  18. Nice list. And if Solms reduces the M’s size, weight, improves DR and introduces 16bit my wish list would include me being on top of the pre-order waiting list 😉

  19. Ashwin

    Thanks for posting your desires for the next Leica M. I am sure we could have a lively discussion of the merits of our desires over a pizza and a tall frosty adult beverage at Serious Pie. So without further ado here are my desires for the next M-body.

    Accurate, reliable, and robust focus. For me this is still about having and using a rangefinder, which I find faster to use than a DSLR OVF or an EVF. Though reliability and being able to stand up to robust use is a must. The rangefinders in the film bodies stand up to a lot of use and rough handling, but my M9 rangefinder needs to be sent in for adjustment after sliding off a chair onto a carpeted floor. The M240’s range finder may be better, through there is still room for improvement.

    A good EVF. Like most photographers, I am aging and my eyesight can use the help of a good EVF. This can be external in order to keep the rangefinder, unless Leica can develop a dual image electronic range finder mode for the EVF. Using the same EVF as used in the Leica SL is preferred, but it should not be any less capable than the EVF used in the Olympus Pen-F.

    More resolution. While I do get nice images with my M9 and my Sony A7II, 24 MP is not enough, 40+ MP is preferred and 30 is the absolute minimum. First, more pixels are necessary to provide us with the necessary data to drive a high resolution EVF when zoomed for focusing. The EVF in the SL is proof of this, as the image goes soft when zoomed. Second, more pixels will provide better color information, and provides smoother image quality and better clarity. Just like using a large format camera provides better image quality compared to smaller cameras. Third, Leica needs to push forward or they run the risk of falling into the trap of attempting to perfect the obsolete.

    Multiple programmable memory registers for different lenses that are easily selectable by the user no more than a single button push away. The 6-bit coding is great for the modern lenses, but we are out of luck when it comes to using legacy lenses. We either need to change the lens selected in legacy lens list every time we change lenses, or we need to use the null setting for no lens correction. The calculator industry has had multiple memory registers for 40+ years. Why can’t a simple camera.

    An Arca Swiss compatible tripod mount formed into the base of the camera. Ideally the mount groves would be parallel to the axis of lens, to counteract any vibration impulse from the shutter. At the very least give us an external battery grip with double battery capacity and the tripod mount formed into the base of this; not to mention the side rails for vertical orientation.

    Direct access to the battery from the bottom of the camera; the removable base needs to go.

    Memory card access from the side of the camera. Preferably using the newest highest capacity XQD card. Card compatibility in the future needs to be a non-issue.

    Selectable color profiles in both raw and JPEG formats. Personally I would like pleasing color rather than accurate color. Kodak pursued accurate color to the point that Fuji was able to take a large portion of their film business by having more pleasing color than Kodak had.

    PaulB

  20. Ashwin, that was a very thorough and practical list of features. Here are a few that I would add, FWIW:

    – A high frame rate, such as 9fps, with a large buffer

    – Dual card slots (not that I personally care but some people want this)

    – A viewfinder with a built-in magnifier, so you can zoom from 28mm to 50mm

    – Electronic shutter option

    – The ability to select individual frame lines (e.g. 75mm only, or 90mm only)

    BTW the Q has optical stabilization. The sensor is fixed. I still like your idea that the M should have stabilization. Hopefully it’s possible to do without increasing the size of the body.

    Here’s a wild suggestion: an M zoom lens. Basically a 24-50 Vario Elmar M. Or a 28-75. They’d be somewhat smaller than SLR lenses, but still larger than the average RF lens.

  21. Hi Ashwin
    Nice list of wishes
    As for myself I have three main wishes only :
    1. make the new M lighter, it is too heavy. carrying the 240/ 262/M9 all day long with its butteries and lenses is way too heavy. ( even with small lense)
    2. make it smaller . The 240 is too bulky ( film size camera could be nice).
    As for the viewfinder, I like it as is. I tried the electronic VF and it gave me a headache.
    3. Go back to CCD sensor. I don’t know if it is possible but it will sell many more cameras+ it will be different from all other cameras in the market today
    That is not too much asking , or is it?

    • Sorry I wrote it twice. It first showed it did not get through so I wrote it again.
      Steve you can delete one comment
      Thank you

    • Going back to the CCD sensor would result in far fewer sales, not more. Leica needs to find a way to get better results from CMOS technology than it has in the past. But CCDs are far too limited in terms of dynamic range and high ISO sensitivity to meet the demands of today’s photographers. They’re obsolete.

  22. 1. Fully agree.

    2. The advantage with sensors having a lot of MP is less moire.
    The disadvantage is the problems with steep ray angles get worse with small pixels at the edges. Could maybe be helped with new sensor technology, even better microprisms and a thin coverglass that is stronger than the one used in M9, which suffered from cracks.

    3. Not an expert, but is it not mostly a chip and a dedicated button? Not much to quibble about. The main problem is heat. But Leica cameras have plenty of metal that can be used for cooling.

    4. Can’t argue against that.

    5. Elegant or not I would not mind a hybrid finder solution or an EVF-only camera that could be made and sold cheaper.
    The question is how such digital focusing aids would be implemented? Like in DSLRs with arrows and a point?

    7a! There are two number 7 points!
    I would love to see IBIS inside a digital M camera. But I see the difficulty implementing it. The problem is the long flange distance compared to the Sony E-mount. Sony simply because of their shorter flange distance have more space inside and behind the sensor for IBIS and other things.
    A solution for a thinner body and more space for IBIS could be to allow a protruding mount rather than being flush with the body as it is now.

    6. This one of thos things where Leica remains in the stone age and one of the reasons I haven’t even considered buying a used digital Leica M.

    7b! This should have been done as soon as Leica M got digital! But Leica seem be afraid to do even small changes compared to the legendary film cameras. And dual SD card slot behind that door please!

    8. If the only way to make the camera as thin as a film M camera would be to skip the LCD then I’m for it. But if not I find it pointless.

    9. Please no! Just make a better thumb rest. Personally I wouldn’t mind if Leica put a front grip on the camera as well. But I imagine some Leica lovers would scream in horror.

    10. Or Leica simply restart the numbering calling it M-D1. Oops forgot the M-D name already has been taken by the M without Display!

  23. Hi Ashwin
    I like your list although I don’t need all the changes.
    As a long time Leica shooter all I wish is:
    1.a smaller size body
    2.a lighter body . The current ones M9 – 240,262. Are all too heavy ( atlist for me ).
    I love the current rangefinder. As a matter of fact all the digital/ electronic Viewfinders give me a headache and I have no problems focusing with the current RF.
    3.Yes a CCD could be nice and would sell alot of cameras more for Leica. Point is it might make the camera more expensive.
    So all I basically ask from leica is to reduce weight. Reduce size. And reduce price
    That is not too much IS IT ??????

  24. I like most of your wishlist. However, I would argue that it’s time for Leica to get rid of rangefinder focusing completely and go with a high quality OVF. The technology is there and it offers too many advantages to be ignored.

  25. Hi Ashwin!

    Nothing new or surprising in your list…like many other M-users I hope for years to get an state of the art sensor, high iso performance and especially a smaller body, but we never got it in all those years.
    🙁

  26. A smaller M would be nice, but I suspect a sensor board and LCD stack will always be thicker than a film pressure plate. Given that the flange distance is fixed, the only way to slim down the body would be to have the mount slightly protuding from the front of the camera.

    As for a cheaper M, seeing that other camera manufacturers are rather increasing the price of flagship models to counter the reduced sale volumes, I would not bet on it. But I sure would love it!

    • You know, M8/9 were the same thickness as the M6TTL if you take the internet’s word for it. M6 is 38 mm thick and M-E is 37mm thick.

      I have an M6 and haven’t had a chance to compare to M8/9, unfortunately.

      Nick

  27. I would miss the EVF and the LCD screen, cause then I can’t use my R-lenses on the M ! Smaller and slimmer: no! All these small cameras are harder to balance then the M. It’s the right size and I believe they can’t build it slimmer due to the focal length.
    If Leica should build the M like a Sony, Olympus etc., then it’s no Leica.
    The RF can be improved, but with a magnifying 1,25 x or 1,4 x eyepiece, you’ll get better focusing.
    Video or not ? I can live without the video, but some can’t and I doubt, it will make the M 1.000 USD cheaper.
    Use the M like it is –

  28. Everyone wants something different, so I say they just keep expanding the ala carte system. Choose your body material (brass, aluminum, etc.), color, grip color, rf magnification, video or no, back screen or no, color or monochrom sensor, etc.. Yay, everyone is happy.

    • That would be the best case indeed, a boutique camera, like they do with fancy cars.
      But first they need to make a new modular system, that would be groundbreaking.

  29. How about making it cheaper. By removing LCD and associated costs they could have made it cheaper and sold more units.. but alas leica does not want to expand it seems. I would suggest collaborating with Panasonic and produce more M’s with minimal but essential controls.

    Stabilization,fewer MPs would Definitely be great.

    • When Leica removes things they put the price up. Take away the LCD – the price goes up. Take away the Bayer filters for colour – the price goes up.

  30. In body image stabilization will result in a bigger camera. Which goes against the request for a smaller, lighter one. It’s why the current gen Sony A7 cameras are bigger than the previous ones.

    Get rid of video. Focus confirmation dot (like in the Nikon F6 and DSLRs that can be turned off) to assist optical RF focusing. Smaller size. Improved sensor but 24mp is fine.

    • I also believe that video is a distraction. The SL does video. Why should the M have this feature as well? I guess if it has world leading video capability, well, that would be a different thing.

      Focus confirmation is not as accurate as one might assume. It’s basically a primitive form of focus peaking. And we all know that DSLRs are not always accurate, just as we know that focus peaking, even when set to low, is not always going to give you sharp images.

  31. Ashwin: From your keyboard to the Leica gods ears! Well thought out, my only addition to your list would be a realistic $3999. price tag….D

  32. I will have to disagree on the film advance lever and the exclusion of video. An advance lever on a digital camera to me is a pain and completely pretentious. A grip yes, but and advance, not for me. I also do not believe that the video function adds any bulk to a camera with a CMOS sensor, which is already capable of live-view. And while I may never use it, at the price point of a Leica M, I do want the option of video.

  33. Hi Ashwin and thanks for your thoughts.
    I couldn’t agree more with your wish list except maybe for the winder as I’m not sure what purpose this would bring except for nostalgia although it would make a heck of a good grip.
    Having said that, I fear another ugly EVF add on protruding from the top. Feh.

    Bruce

  34. One thing i would love to see in the next Leica M is the Sony Loxia type of focusing, which means when you turn the focus dial, the viewfinder magnifies. In today’s technology world, this gotta be a easy task. This would make manual focus almost as fast as autofocus and also give Leica a chance to update all of their M lens to incorporate this feature. Although it will make M lenses with this feature more expensive, people who don’t want to upgrade can still use their old M lenses, a win-win situation.
    If the above feature is too big a leap for Leica, I would like to see a HUGE EVF, big enough for most people to use manual focus lenses without magnifying. It might be too expenisve for any other camera to put in such a big EVF, but I am sure it is not a problem for Leica given how expensive Leica cameras are.

      • RF can be digitally controlled, all the mechanical linkage does is tell the camera in a very analogue way what the focus positioning is. Lenses can do that with distance encoders (like what’s used on Loxia). Furthermore they could create compatibility for both by having a mechanical linkage that converts that signal into a digital one, so it could work fine with both M and ‘loxia-style’ glass.

        Not that I think Leica would do this, but seeing a Zeiss Ikon digital RF with an E-Mount that digitally controls the RF and has an M adapter for using M lenses in the same way would be amazing! I would buy that and every loxia in a heartbeat.

        My M-E continues to satisfy in the mean time.

      • I understand Leica’s legacy in RF, but I think technology has reached a point that EVF focus will be superior to RF and probably soon to be more cost effective. A high quality build-in EVF would make manual focus so enjoyable and reduce the need for RF adjustment, etc. I feel like Leica hanging on to RF would be like Canon and Nikon not willing to get rid of he mirror box, and it could be a mistake that will cost them a great opportunity to dominate the niche market of manual-focus digital cameras.

        • I agree but they will never go EVF in an M. That would make it like any other digital besides the shape. They have to have something different, unique and traditional for the Leica crowd to buy enough to make it worth their while. While they may incorporate some type of hybrid at some point, I feel the next M will indeed keep an RF design. I just do not see Leica going 100% EVF for the M, as much as it makes sense to many of us.

  35. 7 and 8 can be related to each other, they could easily give the consumer the option to get half-body with or without the LCD, it would look like the Leica CL method.

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