Here comes the Leica M10

Picture from official Leica website.
Picture from official Leica website.
Long story short, Leica announced their new flagship of rangefinder camera which effectively replacing the 4+ years old Leica M Typ 240 on 18 January 2017. There were already all sorts of hands-on and review all over the internet so I will not bother to talk about it. I’ll just share a couple of initial thoughts based on the available information, from my point of view as a current Leica M Typ 240 user:

What I like and looking forward from the M10:

  • 0.73x magnification optical viewfinder, this was something I complained about all the time on the old M. Hopefully it’s brighter and more comfortable for people wearing spectacles. I’m spoilt by my Zeiss Ikon’s finder.
  • 125s of maximum exposure time in Bulb mode, this is a deal breaker for me as when shooting with my old M I can’t go over 60s as the shutter is capped there (and that’s only limited to ISO 200!)
  • New baseline of ISO 100, looking forward to this as this will be good and useful for both landscape shoot and also to fully utilize the widest aperture of the lens.
  • One position on/off switch, yes this is big deal for me, I don’t use timer or continuous shooting for 99.99% of the time, so I’ll no longer need to worry that I’m stuck in a wrong shooting mode.
  • Leather strap, finally, no more cheapo plastic strap out of the box.
  • Return of the frameline selector, not sure about others, but I do use this occasionally.

Good to have but not a deal breaker from the M10:

  • ISO dial. I usually shoot with auto ISO unless under tricky lighting condition, hence the ISO dial is not a necessity for me.
  • Slimmer body, well I do felt that the old M was a tiny bit on the bulky side, but I can still live with it and totally fine with it.
  • Simplified controls and dials on the back, a welcomed change, but I do not have any issue with the existing model, other than the rather unintuitive way to change the ISO where you need to press and hold the ISO button while scrolling the thumb wheel.
  • 5fps continuous shooting, I only burst once in my whole life with my M while chasing over some flying birds. I swear I’ll never do it again.
  • Improved weather sealing, well, no big deal to me.
  • Favourite menu, a short cut page to your favourite settings, but I rarely dive into the menu so not a big deal for me.
  • Wifi built-in, good to have, but I can live my life without it.

Picture from official Leica website.
Picture from official Leica website.
What remains unknown for the M10:

  • High ISO performance, downloaded some sample raw files and will try to play around when I’m free. Generally I am “just” looking for usable ISO 6400 files, as I tend to find myself ended up there when shooting streets at night while stopping the lens down.
  • Any improvement in terms of focus peaking accuracy.
  • Any improvement on the shutter lag when using live view or electronic viewfinder.
  • How good is the Visoflex electronic viewfinder compared to the current one on the M.
  • Any improvement on the accuracy and ease of use of rangefinder patch.
  • The actual impact and improvement in operational speed of the camera. Not that the old M is anywhere slow, but it just hang by itself from time to time, which is pretty annoying.
  • New sensor with better dynamic range, but just how much better for my usage.
  • How well is the new spot metering system works.
  • Any improvement with the auto white balance setting of the camera.
  • Do I still require to send it back to Germany and wait for 3 months to get it serviced?

I guess that’s about it. I’m totally okay with 24 megapixel, I’m okay with the removal of video function, I’m okay with the new battery which seems to be rated lower than usual, and I’m totally okay with the “M10” naming. One last thing, Leica still forces you to take a black frame whenever it shoots a long exposure shot, hence doubling your exposure time for each shot (e.g. if you shoot a 60s exposure, it will follow by another 60s black frame for noise reduction purpose). Why can’t they just allow user to choose to disable this function? This will perhaps be the achilles heel of this camera for landscape photography… >.<

Well, I’m looking forward to get my hands on one to try it out myself. Then I’ll probably be able to answer the questions and doubts that I have. Will I buy one? At this moment, it’s a no. Will share more once I get a better hands on experience with it. Till then 🙂

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