The NEW Leica $3995 Digital Rangefinder is AWESOME. The M-E 240.
By Steve Huff
Leica has just done something brilliant IMO.
Back in 2013 when they released the digital M that was the M 240, (the latest and greatest digital M for the time) Leica took the “old” M9 and renamed it the “M-E”. They offered this newly packaged M9 in the form of a starter camera for rangefinder enthusiasts or the rangefinder curious and at a lower price than the newest, latest and greatest.
This allowed many more to get into Leica for much less cash outlay than buying the newest camera. Getting a new stripped down M9, new, with warranty for less than an M240 was a good move on Leica’s part back then.
Me, I loved the M 240 so much, I had no interest in that old M-E. As much as I loved the M9 (in its time) the M9 had limited everything if we compare it to todays cameras. Limited dynamic range, limited low light use, horrible LCD, etc. The M 240, for me, was a revelation. It exceeded the M9 in every way but was also met with criticism from many for using a CMOS sensor over CCD. The M240 did have a different look from the old M9 images, even I agree with that, but the M 240 images were even better in my opinion.
Even with the M10 being the current M in 2019, I still have a soft spot for that M 240 (see my massive review for it here). For me it just had something about it.
SO THIS IS AWESOME
Leica has announced the new M-E model, and guess what? It is essentially the M240, renamed the M-E and comes in at $3995, which is MUCH less than a new M10! This is an amazing camera to think about if you want a Leica, a real Leica rangefinder. I would also recommend some Voigtlander glass to pair with it to make it hurt even less on the wallet. Something like THIS lens would be amazing.
I highly recommend the new M-E for anyone wanting to get into rangefinder territory or Leica territory. Yep, $4k for a new M 240 is still steep but this is a new model, it is a real Leica (and a GREAT one) and comes with a 2 year warranty. It also shoots HD video, just like the official $6000 M 240 ; ) Great move by Leica as many of us want a new Leica RF but can not spend $7k or more.
You can pre order the new M-E 240 at B&H Photo HERE
Three shots from the old M 240..
Steve, it now being mid-August for a camera that was supposed to be in stores in late July, have you been able to do a hands-on evaluation or seen such from anyone else?
No and I will not as it’s an M 240 (unless I buy one). I already reviewed it years ago (as the M240). Last I heard, last week it started shipping. Should see it in stock this week. Again, it is an M 240 in a new color.
After almost pre ordering the me 240 I finally ended buying the m10p. I was able to get a very good deal. I have invested on glass which I kept after I sold the M9. It is all worth it. Ny reaction was like. WOW I missed the M9 but this is so much better. 10 years of technology nothing did change but ergo speed LV Iso shutter sound was worth the difference and Ill keep this for a longer time than if I bought the ME.
I like what you are saying, thanks for the info!
Anyone want to weigh in on getting an M9 used or the M-E 240 new? Looking to join the club.
Avoid used M9’s IMO. Many of them need replacement sensors and if they have not had it done, it’s only a matter of time until they fail. Id buy a new ME 240 over a used M9 any day. M9 also is limited to ISO, around 320. 3200 will be great on the 240. (320 on M9, 3200 on ME 240). Repair costs on a used M9 would be huge and the ME240 comes with a warranty. The RF goes out of alignment on the older digital M’s often, another reason to go for an ME240.
I have a TL2 with two lenses – the Summicron TL-23 and the Summilux TL-35. Is this my moment to move to the M system and sell my TL2 kit? I’m not a pro so will I notice a vast improvement? I love the TL2 btw but haven’t had experience on M.
Good news. I’ve loved (and still love) my M240. Think I shot more than 100 weddings with it now. The M240 (and so the new M-E) is good enough spec wise for any assignment that I currently do. I’d say: get one if you want to get in RF shooting.
I am invested in XE-1 and 3 lenses . I want to move to full frame
option 1 : sell all I have and move to Leica SL
option 2 retain fuji lenses and upgrade to XT-3
option 3: retain XE-1 and lenses and invest in Leica Q2
looking for your support in deciding, many thanks in advance
Well, if I were you I would give the X-T3 a try. It’s fantastic and you already have lenses. Not full frame but IMO one of the best Fuji’s made. Maybe rent it?
What are your thoughts on this being a first range finder camera for a beginner with range finder cameras? Is there a steep learning curve coming from a Nikon DSLR?
This is a great 1st RF camera. The only way to get a real RF cheaper is to buy a used M6 or M7 or an older M8 or M9. But this is a great RF for the money, and coming from a DSLR means it will take a week or two for you to get used to the RF way of shooting as well as the way the M metering works. Very easy just different.
Was so hesitant with the M10P because of the price. I had to sell my black paint collections to save up. Now with the ME 240 it seems the right choice. 8000usd just doesnt make sense but will I regret it after buying the ME? HELP haha. Sold the M9 last year too for this opportunity.
Hello Steve! Is the M240-P better than the new upcoming M-E (240)? Thanks!
I would say no. The M-E seems to have the 2GB buffer, which the MP has. The MP 240 may look a bit nicer to some but this M-E 240 is the same camera.
Great, thank you! I wasn’t sure if the specs were the same… Thank you for your great reviews!
Could you advise which M you would buy if you has a 4K budget? The new ME or an older M10?
I’d go for a new ME personally. Warranty, new, and a great camera.
Steve, can you comment what would be your favorite lenses to pair with the camera?
All depends on budget. Leica, Voigtlander and Zeiss all have some amazing options for glass. The Zeiss 35 1.4 ZM is fantastic : )
Just bought aN M240 from a Leica for around 3K. I don’t feel stabbed: the camera s relatively new by Leica standards and $1000 is a lot of money for most of us.
Time is gold
If this move were one decade ago millions of fans wouldn’t have gone away
Don’t worry, they were replaced by millions of new fans.
G.A. Don’t you have a STurmNDrang forum for angry incel people to moderate?
I’m waiting for the SL-E.
Leica decided to put one feet on a regular piece of earth. Are they ready to breathe air like everyone, or will they asphyxiate sooner or later.
Or, perhaps as I think, it’s due the M days are really gone. And that just an oxygen balloon to keep it alive.
Digital Rangefinder with HD Vid : hard tech.
Watch out when Leica puts in 4K 10bit 4.2.2 gonna cream the movie video industry movie makers drooooool
(Once tech advances so that small Leica body can stay cool prolonged videoing 4k : reckon 2-4years).
Yea, the M240 has/had 1080 HD video, and this is an M 240 with a new color, so… still has the 1080 HD though I doubt anyone would ever use 1080 or 4k video much with an M.
Film makers won’t even consider using Leica. That small body is a negative, not a positive. I have a Blackmagic PCC..my Canon 6d MkII gets the lions share of my video work. Why? because the BM has to be built up in a rig to make it really capable.. Small cameras like the BMPCC and its mini version are generally used as the victims in crashes, explosions, etc etc. No one is gonna buy a Leica and do that.
Hey there, Steve, I know you’ve shot the M240 and the M10 so I’m sure you can give me a straight answer on this. The M-E 240 looks really interesting, but when the M10 came out I read that it had hugely improved rangefinder optics. The M10 is out of my price range while the M-E 240 isn’t (barely) but will I feel disappointed that I had to settle for the “old” rangefinder?
To be 100% honest, the RF in the M9, M240 and M10 are all fantastic. Never one issue with the RF in the 240 and I would not hesitate to go right back to it. This will be a hot seller for Leica I think.
I’ve owned the M8, M9, M-E, M-D 262, M 240 and M10.
The M10 viewfinder is overhyped, in many ways I actually think it is worse. The only possible advantage is being a bit better at fitting in the 28mm frame lines. I think focussing is actually worse (though it’s supposed to be better, maybe that’s for sloppy rangefinder shooters).
Also things like the LV are no better really (claimed they were, not what I found). So really then it comes down to a bit better high ISO and a thinner body (again I kind of got used to the fatter bodies and like the extra girth).
I’m of two minds about this announcement. On the one hand, Leica finally has an M mount camera with a price tag within reach of normal mortals. But in the same breath, I cant help but wonder how this will affect the used market for the original M240, M-P 240, and even the M262. This new M-E is essentially an M-P 240 internally, with a different exterior and (huge, ala M240) red Leica dot. So for $4000, you now get all the functionality of the MP upgrade for roughly $3000 less than what that model retailed at when new. Used prices for the M-P 240 seem to hover between 3-4k. So why would someone spend that on a used camera when they can get the same specs (sans the MP aesthetics) for a similar price? So I see current owners of the MP 240 (which i am one myself) being a bit screwed here. And in my mind, this leaves the position of the M262 on the used market in a flux as well. The M262 was supposed to be the entry level 240 style body option. Lighter, quieter shutter, stripped back features, and priced at $5000. As an owner of the M-P 240 and the M262, I can say that in use, there is little practical difference between the two. If I’m shooting my M-P 240 and dont want to use live view, then I dont. But I have it when I need it. As much as I love my M262, the M-P 240 offers that versatility when I need it, which is why they make an awesome pair. But I think it’s a hard sell for someone buying into their first Leica to go for a used M262 when you can get all the versatility of the M-P 240 for this sort of price point. Unless you really have no interest in live view/video and just want that all black color scheme, this new M-E is just the better buy. I’ve waffled on enough, but essentially, way to go Leica for bringing the M system within reach of more people. But sorry to those who were counting on selling their used bodies for a bit more scratch.
The M240 will drop to $2500 in the next year or two used IMO. The ME 240 is an M 240 with a new refreshed color and full warranty for $3995 (prob will be able to get for a little less from some dealers too). This will do well for Leica, just what they needed.
This new M-E (Typ 240) is more like the M-P (Typ 240) internally since it has the upgraded 2GB buffer. Externally it’s like the M (Typ 240), and in spirit like the M (Typ 262), stripped down to just the essentials. An interesting amalgamation of all the previous Typ 240 variants (sans M-D and Typ 246).
But it is essentially an M240, HD Video and all. Same sensor, RF, battery, body, menu, ISO range, etc.
Does it have the quieter shutter like the M262?
This is an M 240. Same camera. The shutter sound on the M240 was pretty smooth and quiet IMO.
Why buy this stuff when the Texas Leica style Fuji GFX-50 is ready to eat its lunch?
The GFX 50 is a 100% different kind of camera than any M. It’s much larger, feels nothing or works nothing like an M and the M has much much much smaller lenses. It also uses a real mechanical RF. Different cameras for different types of people.
You must think apples are weird tasting oranges…
That Fuji is fantastic, but a completely different kind of camera. I don’t think they really compete in the same category.
OH LEICA! You have stabbed me in the back with a NEW M-E! (jk) A few months ago I bought a very minty M-E w new sensor, 464 clicks and the REAL anthracite color (the beautiful blueish one -don’t know how that same named color could be so different). I got that original M-E for everything it doesn’t have (talking to you, video) and its sweet DNG/B&W renderings. I’m sure this camera is fantastic as well, but this new color is not my cup of tea.
How much did you paid for the old M-E?
2k usd with 2 new leica batts
I’ve used both the M9-P and M-P (Typ 240) and can wholeheartedly say the M9-P is the superior M camera. Sure it has its shortcomings in the tech department, but it makes up for it with that CCD sensor and what it produces which cannot be matched. The DR isn’t as bad as people make it out to be. The B&W JPEGs SOOC are gorgeous. Plus the ergonomics are so much better too. I’m sure many will agree, the Typ 240 (and its variants) is not a true M in my opinion, and should just be skipped in favor of the M10 of one really wants to “upgrade”.
I’m confused how they can offer this camera, which is the same thing as the current “M”, for $1800 less. They didn’t remove anything. So that means the current M is completely overpriced. Black paint shouldn’t cost $1800.
It’s not the same as the current M. The current M is the M10. This appears to be a re-release/update of the older M240 which had a different sensor, processor and viewfinder, and a thicker body.
Kick in the guts to the current m240 users…and shows the profit made by leica off them lol.
What do you think all the other manufacturers do?
Sony A7 when it was released was $1700. You can buy it new right now for $800. Its value NEW now is less than half of what it was when it was released!
How’s that for a kick in the guts?