The Leica M11 Non Review. It’s here and it’s NOT FOR ME!

The Leica M11 Is Here. Why it’s not for me. 

By Steve Huff

I will preface this by saying my all time favorite digital camera, even today, is the Leica SL2S (See my review HERE) (Video HERE). If I had to live with one camera for the next ten years, it would be the SL2S. Love it. It’s quality and the sensor is top notch. I feel it is Leica’s best implementation of what is said to be a Sony sensor.

Today the excitement is all about the new Leica M11 so I just wanted to share some thoughts about it and why it’s the first M I personally have zero interest in.

OH, and when I say Leica Sucks I do NOT mean what you think..see the video for my meaning to this!

See the video where I talk about the new M11 and how Leica Sucks…

I deleted the text here as I feel the video above does a better job portraying my thoughts. I was a little too harsh with my words here. ; )

Reviews of current model Leica Gear I LOVE

My SL2S Review

My SL2S Video Review (with Video Samples)

My Leica 24-70 Review 

Leica 24-70 Video Review

Leica 35 Summicron L Review

Leica 35 Summicron L Video Review 

54 Comments

  1. Hi Steve
    Just a big thank you. I follow you since the release of the M8, where I discovered the Leica universe, thanks to you. I’m probably still as bad in photos as when I started, but God I’m having fun with my M10-D. Thank you for your many articles and your independence from the photo industry. I loved the M240, after a quick stint at Sony I returned to my first love with the M10-D. I don’t know if I would change one day, we’ll see. very happy that you have found pleasure elsewhere in music. Me, as for the photo, I like beautiful objects but I choose the ease with my unique Bang & Olufsen Beosound level ^^ thank you again for the pleasure I had reading you and your great personality.
    Little message from a Frenchman who loves what you do. Carry on.

  2. Steve, cudos to u. I you for … well, half a life time. You helped me to understand cameras. And you inspired me to get my first Leica. Now, after many years of using Leica, I still love the thing (M8 and M240) and I love my glass (16-18-21, 35‘lux, 50‘lux, and a voigtlander 35 .-). And: I understand your move to audio. Let me just tell u one thing:: thanks for inspiring me for many years, thanks for your always honest reviews, thanks for all the passion, and thnks for even sharing very personal things with your audience (divorce). Stay positive. Best from Germany, Falk

  3. Dear Steve,

    Firstly, I’d like to acknowledge your contribution to the camera review space / insight over recent years. I’ve followed you closely for years, although, not said a word on-line..

    I’m slightly saddened that you’ve stepped out of the camera review space. But, I understand the rationale.

    Your reviews, over the years, have been inspirational. An honest appraisal of the state of play of the market, an invaluable purchasing guide, but, beyond all that, a users perspective.

    No bullshit, nor bias. I’ve followed up on many of those tips, and have been the better for it – mostly photography, but also, into the Hi-Fi space.

    I’ll give a brief outline: (I’ll try not to bang on..)

    Demographic: mid 50’s Australian, white boy. Leica fan boy, although I confess to a first (and somewhat enduring) love for Voightlander. Plus a bit of Zeiss on the side (an affair, if we must).

    Best photographic period: lomo (X-processed slide film; pushed 2 stops in exposure then pulled 2 back in processing) + voightlander RF with a 40mm 1.4. Wonderful combo. Which goes to show that gear is not the be all and end all. This has been discussed endlessly, but remains true.. B&W film is a wonder. I salute you all who persist with it (as I did). But, beyond nostalgia, it’s dead in the water.

    From then on: Leica M7. M246, M10 – variously coupled with Leica 50mm cron, 50 lux, 21mm 3.5, 35 lux, 28 lux (perhaps my favourite, with 246) plus the Zeiss 50 sonnar and the odd voightlander lens. So, without trying to be a wanker, I’ve given the M series a good shot. Loved being ‘the dude with a nice camera’..

    Still, I sold the M10 last year, along with a few lenses. Not without some remorse, because they remain the coolest, and most delightful system to use. Up to a point.. But, slow to focus and the ugly, top viewfinder attachments were sluggish and unsightly. Not totally, but enough to sow the seed of doubt. And so, like Steve, I doubted and sold the gear.

    Moved to the SL2-S. Using old M lenses with adaptor and the 24-70 (too big, in my opinion, but good) and now a 35mm APO summicron (new; still to early too tell, but: sublime, albeit a bit big). Moved to the ‘dude with a big, expensive looking camera’ (slight cringe). Still, we’ll see..

    Enjoying listening to my ATOM unity & Hersey 4 speakers – both at your recommendation.

    Anyway. I’ll sign off. Love your work man..

    Cheers,

    Brett Squires

    • Thank you for the lovely comment Brett. Moving away from cameras was tough for me but necessary at the same time. I was burned out, not many people were watching my review videos (it seems views surged AFTER I stopped though) and camera companies were getting very strange and trying to dictate the review outcome (and cut me off when I did my own thing). If they do not like what you say, they WILL cut you off 100% when it comes to review units. One company cut me off after years of bringing thousands of new users to their system. Why? Well, I wasn’t bringing in the big views on my videos anymore and they decided to send review units only to those who can bring them a large audience. They told me this directly in an email. Other companies did not appreciate the honesty in some of my later reviews and cut me off from future reviews. Sigma was still working with me, but with reviews, if you can not get the review units quickly after release, you are done for. When I looked at it all I was a bit disgusted that these companies, whose I have promoted for years (and sold thousands of cameras for them) cut me off due to these kind of reasons. It turned me off of the entire industry. To be a successful reviewer today you must sort of sell your soul a little, and that is not something I am willing to do. But thank you. Who knows, even with all of this said, I may have a new camera review this year as I just bought a new camera ; )

      • Thanks for the reply, Steve.

        Most of us (your audience) are probably not privy to the shenanigans of the camera industry. As described, it doesn’t sound pleasant, nor particularly ethical.

        Your situation sounds like it became:

        1) become a sycophant – positive reviews, and get the gear..
        2) critical (possibly negative) reviews – suffer the consequences.

        Whilst, I get this and understand the bitterness. I’ll still wait in hope for another camera review..

        No rush 😉

  4. Mr. Huff. I’ve been a fan of your website since the beginning. I still own Leica film cameras but I have been not been tempted to purchase a digital Leica because I cannot afford one. I enjoy your camera reviews because you have passion for what you do and you tell it like it is. I am not interested in home audio but perhaps I will continue to read your audio reviews and find a new passion. That you for all of the hard work you have put into your reviews over the years.

  5. Steve, been following your site since year dot. Seems like you have lost your spark when it comes to photography reviews on this site, I would have liked you to kept the audio and photography subjects separate as they are too much of a different topic. Cheers.

    • I lost the spark for photo reviews due to the industry, which I talked about for 25 minutes in a video not so long ago ; ) I also lost the spark as there is nothing out there today in new cameras that can do anything better than cameras of 3-4 years ago. It’s no longer about photography, but marketing. My audio review get more views, more reads and more likes than any of my photo reviews and it’s something I enjoy. If I do not enjoy something, I do not do it. But the photo industry has seriously lost its way. They are more focused on making products to sell rather than making products that actually do better than what’s come before. It’s about sales numbers above all else. The bottom line is there is nothing new that I would ever want for myself in the photo world, therefore I could not recommend anything new.

        • Not for me. I do not see me tiring of the SL2S even when an SL5 is out. The SL2S does all I need, and will for years to come. The only danger the SL2S is in is from my iPhone 13 Pro, which I use more than the SL2S. ; )

      • Well I’m a camera user and a not a reviewer. I don’t care about the industry. I just care about my photographs. I’m not looking for something “new”. I’m looking for a replacement for my two Leica M film cameras because this year, the cost of film finally became way to expensive. So I’ve finally decided to get a digital Leica M, and the M11 is the one. I trust my Leica lenses and I am more than happy to hand over my money to Leica for an M11. It takes all sorts of people to make the world Steve. All the best to you.

        • Good luck! Ive read many reports of RF’s being out of whack out of the box with the 11. One guy was quoted a 7 month repair time. No thanks. Not for me until Leica fixes both of these issues with the M. (RF drift and Repair Times). Enjoy!

      • I’m still using my Jurassic M9P with 50 lux ASPH and 75 lux. I am very with it and love the Kodak CCD sensor. It gets the job done.

  6. There is no perfect camera.
    As an old commercial photographer we had 8×10, 4×5, 21/4, 35mm each with its own set of lens. Depending on the shoot and it’s requirements you worked with the that was best for the job but the came with benefits and limitations with each format. The same is true with digital not one camera fits all needs.
    The cameras are so good today it’s amazing. The idea that you could by a 60 megapixel that doesn’t cost the price of a new car was unheard of not that long along. With the choice, price and quality it is amazing time to take pictures.

  7. I’m sorry to hear this. I follow you from the time of M9 and it’s your fault if I bought it and loved. I am partly agree with you but I was hoping to read your review on this machine especially on the 3 sensor modes and check the real advantages in low light. I hope you think back and do your review anyway, they are usually beautiful and sincere.

    • THat’s the problem. If I review the M11, I would tell you what I did here. That I did not like it nor would I buy it. I grew tired of the RF issues with fast glass a few years ago which is why I no longer enjoy the M’s. Having three MP modes is nothing more than taking the image in your editor and resizing it. I’d rather own an M240 over an M11, and that is the honest truth (for me). Thank you.

      • I agree 100% with you. I loved my M240 when I switched from Canon and I still love it 8 years later. I home my set of Leica camera and lenses will last me at least a life time after that it is somebody’s else problem.

  8. Wait a minute I thought the Hassy X1D was the second coming of JHC. Now it’s the Leica SL2S but this amazing M11 is not for you. Dude you have got some serious camera confusion issues. Separate your stereo reviews from your camera reviews, revisit the passion you once had for Sony and Olympus (add the Z9 and Canon R3) and you will have a comeback. You are in the mists of an identity crisis and it’s painfull to witness. :/ I really am a fan.

    • “Dude”. As I said. The SL2S is my favorite 35mm full frame camera of all time and it has been since its release. The 907X is my fave digital camera, ever, as I said a year ago when I reviewed it (and still say it today). That’s it. Nothing has changed, no confusion. I have spoken many times over the last 3 years about this, you just chose not to read it. I am done (and have been for a while) with playing the game, with the BS of the camera companies and the politics. I have ZERO desire for any Sony, Olympus, Nikon, Fuji, etc. I am here to be honest, and I have been. New cameras come out for one reason. Sales, profits. There is no camera made today that can take a better image than the cameras that were out 5 years ago. It’s the person using it, not the camera. You should know this. I will say it again so maybe you can understand… The SL2S is my fave 35mm digital camera EVER. The 907X is my fave digital camera EVER, period. Nothing has changed at all. As always I review only what I would buy myself, today. There is no current model Sony, Nikon, Fuji, Olympus, etc I would buy today. With Leica, I would not buy an M11. No interest. In 3 years I may have a new fave in an SL3S, who knows. ; ) I suggest when commenting here that you know the facts before you do.

      • I am really confused by the love for the 907x. I will admit it. Having tried to like that camera over a period, I’ve really come to dislike it more and more. I shoot environmental portraits mostly, architecture and landscape.

        The 907x “should” suit me but to me it is a show pony. Its pretty and classy and posh but it is not actually very good at taking pictures. Why? No IBIS and, above all, no weather sealing. None. None at all. This is an issue if you are travelling around and shooting on location.

        Sadly, Hasselblad have down the road of making lovely “things” in terms of industrial design and finish, but way behind on function and efficiency. If you have a job to do, if you find yourself driving up a mountain to shoot in sketchy weather, always, always, leave behind the 907 and, frankly, take a Fuji.

        • I disagree, and that is OK. Not everyone will like everything. What one person likes, another will hate. What one will hate, another may adore. I adore the 907x and haven’t found any other MF camera to match it, for me, my tastes. Everything about it, for me, is wonderful. The only negative for me is my own eyes. When I forget to bring my glasses it is hard for me to see the screen. That is because my eyes have degraded so much over the last few years. But the experience, the IQ, the feel, the vibe, the images, the process, the beauty, the feel, the system…I love all of it. Did the greats have IBIS? No, yet they created images we still look at end enjoy today. Most things implemented in cameras these days are gimmicks to get us to buy more and more. Some features are held back purposely so it can go into the next model, and get us to upgrade. I prefer simplicity above all else which is why I prefer cameras like the 907X and the SL2S. But I understand a camera like the 907x is not for everyone. Most want features to make it easier to take a photo. Many want the cameras to do all the work. That is ok, and it is why there are choices. Thank you.

  9. Yes. I agree with you. It is over-pricing. I stick with my M240 and my X1D-50C II. The price of M11 can almost buy these two cameras.

    • I wouldn’t have went anyway (just like when I turned down the SL2 invite/event in Germany). Leica doesn’t like that I speak of RF adjustments, Voigtlander M lenses and a couple of other things…or…The truth. All camera companies do this though. They want hype, positive reviews and positive discussion. They do not want someone speaking of the cons or the things that could go wrong (and do) ; ) But I no longer accept camera invites for trips as it’s really just a big schmoozing event where you get free food, alcohol, hotel rooms, free things, perks and travel in exchange for saying good things about a camera. I’ve retired from that after 13 years of it as I am done “playing the game” in the photo industry. ; )

  10. I agree about the resolution but I don’t know.. IBIS and EVF then it’s just any other camera. Why not keep the M for rangefinder photography and add a full frame CL or something? That would be a small form factor like some want and open up further options for AF. I think that would be a better product strategy than pigeonholing a product to make people zoom to focus which would get old. A premium small camera that can take M and L mount lenses would be ideal. Let M be what it is and stay linked to the past, keep a reason for rf coupled lens production.

  11. Wow, your video stirred a lot of comments! I wish you a happy, healthy new year, Steve, and all people posting here. For me personally, as a German, a Leica M series camera was an investment for the whole life, and after a while the patina of frequent use even added to its beauty. That’s why I never was attracted by digital M’s with its short-lived electronics. I always thought that Leica should design their digital M series a way its electronics could be completely updated, maybe as one exchangeable unit, but you can keep the old body with its optical viewfinder and mechanical parts. I know, that’s just a dream. If I go for the classic rangefinder experience with all its beautiful simplicity, I therefore prefer to grab one of my vintage film cameras, preferred a New Mamiya 6 system. But that’s my very personal approach to the rangefinder world. The nice thing about photography today is that you have so many choices.

  12. I’m still plenty in love with my Leica SL1 with my SIGMA 85 1.4 Attached to it. Although I would like to ad an M just not today

  13. I agree with you Steve, this M isn’t for me. What I want to see is an M style body with EVF, IBIS and M mount….that would be my perfect camera to compliment my SL.

  14. Agree with you Steve, they got close to a good idea but not at all one that is practical.
    USB-C underneath the camera – useless
    Tethering but only for file downloads – they should have gone further and allowed remote control of the camera
    I wonder if the special “Lightning-USBc” cable is available separately.

  15. Hi Steve, and others, 10 KE for a camera! Lot of money in particular if you compare it to the amazing Voigtlander or Zeiss glass that you can get for pretty good prices. And you can use these for ages not so with a digital camera body. I like the Sigma fp (possibly the fp L if one likes high res) apart from this strange viewfinder attachment which looks strange and seems to be not too well fixed to the body to feel safe walking around with. If they would integrate the viewfinder it would be a great camera. I am still amazed there is not a company who jumps on a full frame ‘rangefinder’ style camera possibly with EVF (instead of rangefinder OVF) for M mount or L mount (with adapter to M) glass, which is ‘affordable’. Why is this so difficult… It would be an immediate buy for me. I have an M8 I love but the display died and I need to do the ‘button dance’ to change settings now, not very convenient.. The Pixii is very interesting but is not full frame and doesn’t go wider than 40 mm equivalent (with the rangefinder); however its lack of an lcd is nice, I actually don’t miss the chimping on my old M8! It was a fun video by the way, I was laughing! Have a nice day.

  16. Another in agreement with you here. There’s no point having a bling Summilux for its 1. aperture if you cant reliably get focus.

    I too was hoping Leica would have created a clever hybrid viewfinder capability that had a zoom in of the rangefinder patch or some enhancement of it to ensure you got the two images overlapping properly for real (ie live view that the sensor sees). Still use the manual focusing that we love, but with digital accuracy assistance. Now that I would have bought.

  17. You talk a lot about the 60 MP sensor and the baseplate, while ignoring the
    . Improved battery life
    . Optional lower MP resolution down to 18
    . Improved dynamic range
    . New Maestro III processor
    . Tethering
    . Build improvement, optional brass or alloy top with different weights.
    . USB-C charging
    . 64 GB Internal Memory
    and so on.

    I’ve followed and enjoyed your reviews for many years, but this has to be one of the worst and most disappointing you’ve ever done, topped off by “Leica sucks…” (and yes, I see where you went with that, and yes, it is click bait). Maybe it’s because you’ve never actually used this camera?! And no commentary on image quality, which is surely what is at the heart of photography? Very disappointing and below your own standards.

  18. Steve,
    Like you, I love my SL2-S above and beyond an M, including focusing of M Lenses!! If you could have only one lens for your SL2-S, what would it be? And you might choose 2 lenses, one AF (L Mount: Sigma 35mm f/2?) and one MF (M Mount: Voigtlander 50mm APO-M?). I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

  19. Hi Steve,
    I have always been a fan your site and rewievs.
    Retrospective, what is best digital Leica M serie to buy in your opinion? From the M8 to M11?
    Best ragards
    Peter Skanstrom, Copenhagen, Denmark

    • Honest? My favorite M was and always has been the M240. I liked the battery (much better than M10), thicker body (the M10 and M11 to me is almost too thin and forces you to use a thumb grip for comfort). I also think the M10 is a fantastic M and is a better low light M vs the 240. There was sometime different about the 240 sensor that I enjoyed. Personal Pref.

    • Well, sure we can do that. But a Sony is nothing like a Leica. When we buy cameras, it is a very personal choice. Some buy for the design and ease of use, others buy for gimmicks, others buy for all out specs. A Sony feels like a toy compared to an SL2S, it really does. The M is a different camera altogether from any Sony, Nikon, Canon. Different style. approach, manual focus only, much smaller and slimmer, etc. If someone wants an M, a Sony would never be a replacement for one.

  20. Hi Steve. I’m almost always in complete agreement with your analysis, and really I feel every bit of your words here. Let me start by an immediate digression to my agreement with the SL2S analysis. Spot on. Period. It does everything a modern camera is supposed to do in the best possible way. No huge gloss – nothing over the top – except EVERYTHING. It is everything and more of what a modern mirrorless flagship “hybrid” should be. It just is. Are there other bells and whistles out there? Sure. But nothing is as pure and close to the single shot, and there never has been. Combined with the right M-glass, it is digital perfection. But to the M11… it needs to stay an “M” until Leica doesn’t make them. That means the RF true to form, the aloof indifference to an EVF. Bc that’s not M. Period. It can help as it does with an ugly lump. But rf shooters with even the most difficult and moody lenses will either learn how to shoot completely manually – or NOT. it’s not easy. It wasn’t meant to be. You are either an M-shooter or you aren’t. It takes practice and infinite patience as you know. Let it be. It can be an appreciation. It is a nod to our past. Yes. And yup, it’s goddam nostalgic if you want it to be. We’re all different and you are far more experienced and knowledgeable than I am. I defer to you here, just my humble input. I love my Ms for the manual knowledge it takes – yes and the courage to fail but learn along each shot. Nailing perfect focus and exposure is what the M will always be about. And loving every moment of that.

  21. Lol. They should make two versions. A classic version (M11S?). And a high mp stabilised EVF only model for (dare I say?) everyone else.

  22. I totally agree with your viewpoint Steve. I also sold my M10R and decided to use my M glass on an SL2 because it was more enjoyable due to the amazing EVF. I sold it as well and replaced it with an SL2-S which I think produces a much better picture. Both the Q2 and SL2 are very noisy and digital looking. I would have loved an M11 with a viewfinder similar to what the Fuji xpro has where you can toggle between optical and electronic viewfinder. Maybe the optical could have also been a rangefinder!

  23. Hi Steve, Thank for your frank article. You got the point and awake me, especially the rf focusing. To go digital EVF is the way to go. Analogue focusing can be out of calibration sometime. Lastly it comes a time to stop chasing for higher megapixel camera. Hence I am looking forward for Leica to come up with a M inbuilt EVF camera n continue with its superior M lenses. These are my thoughts n wishes.

  24. Seems Leica, like imaging overall, is at a crossroads. The question is how to stay relevant in a period of blistering change. Do you honor the legacy of the M-Series/rangefinder experience by keeping the U/X classically simple and limiting the number of megapixels so you don’t need IBIS or other bolt-ons to get sharp images? In other words, decide you are selling the experience, not the tech, to a limited market of solely brand loyal purists. Or do you jump headfirst into the most advanced technologies, knowing that the classic UX and form factor is going to have to change, radically in some cases, to accommodate the new capabilities? I haven’t seen the camera either, but with the M11, Leica seems to want it both ways. And based on your review, misses on both counts. Will be interesting to see how well it sells.

  25. Can’t agree more with you, exactly What I thought when It was announced.
    If only It can slow down the M10 prince 🙂

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