Hands-on with the Leica M10

M10

I wasn’t really planned to test out the camera so soon, but I was happened to be somewhere around the Leica Store while getting some of my things done. So I walked in and there it was, the Leica M10, displaying itself proudly to the world. Here are some of my thoughts after a brief hands-on with the camera:

  • The optical viewfinder is vastly improved. I wear spectacles, and I was able to see even the 28mm frame line easily, which is something impossible with the M Typ 240.
  • The ISO dial is a little stiff, but once you get used to it, it’s quite easy to get the ISO changed. For those who prefer to change ISO frequently, you can leave the dial in the “pull up” position, but it will be “less elegant” as it will not sit flush with the top plate.
  • The simplified camera back and menu are quite easy to navigate through, not that I have any issue with the previous menu system. The new added “favourite menu” certainly speed things up a little.
  • I don’t feel much difference on the size and weight of M10 versus the M Typ 240.Very similar, certainly not something as exaggerated as what the internet suggests.
  • Tried the new Visoflex electronic viewfinder. Shutter lag is significantly reduced, but there are still some lag. Otherwise, the overall performance of it is incrementally better than the electronic viewfinder of the M Typ 240.
  • Tried to play with some RAW files. High ISO performance was indeed pretty good, even at ISO 6400.
  • Focus peaking is slightly better on the M10, but still not very reliable as compared to other brands.

M10 vs M Typ 240
M10 vs M Typ 240
There are still a couple of unanswered questions that I have on this camera, in which I might be able to find out the answers in the near future. Some will require some good use of the camera (such as improvement in operational speed of the camera, sensor performance for long exposure shots, dynamic range improvement, auto white balance improvement, rangefinder accuracy improvement), so I’ll see if I can get one to try out for longer period next time.

After this brief hands-on experience, I have to agree that Leica is heading in the right direction for their rangefinder lineup with the M10. Perhaps Leica was a bit too adventurous with the M Typ 240, hence a lot of die-hard rangefinder purist dislike that camera. But with this M10, I believe a lot of hearts will be won. It’s not just about the camera being as slim as the film counterpart, it’s the roots and philosophies behind the simplicity of this camera that catches the attention for most.

M10

So, here comes the million dollar question: “To buy or not to buy?” Well, if you are just starting and looking for a digital rangefinder, this is probably the camera to get… provided you have enough money to spare of course. Otherwise, go for the M Typ 262 for simplicity, or the M Typ 240 for more versatility. If you are on a budget, the M9 is still a pretty good choice to consider, but that will greatly depends on whether you can live with it’s limitation. If you are existing users coming from M9, this is a no brainer upgrading option, and again, provided you have the money to spare. If coming from M Typ 240 / Typ 262, it will greatly depends on your shooting style and requirement.

For myself:

  • I don’t shoot with 28mm lens, hence I can live with the smaller viewfinder on the M Typ 240. 
  • Whenever I use the electronic viewfinder, I will mostly be shooting landscape and hence the shutter lag is not a major issue to warrant an upgrade. 
  • I feel no difference in size and weight for the M10 as compared to my M Typ 240. 
  • I don’t need a dedicated ISO dial and I can live with the current method of changing ISO. 
  • I would love to have the high ISO performance, but for what I shoot now, I was unable to justify to spend the money to upgrade just for this as I don’t shoot high ISO that often. 
  • For landscaping work, the new ISO 100 baseline is tempting, and the increased 125 seconds shooting limit in bulb mode will certainly gives me more rooms to play with. However, at this moment this is not the most important aspect that makes me feel like I need to upgrade. Unless I will be using and needing this feature more in the future, otherwise the M Type 240 is already covering my needs.

This is my thinking process in weighing the M10 and my M Typ 240. After much consideration, I will not be getting the M10 for now. If any of these improvements are important to you, go ahead and make your purchase. At the end of the day, it’s important for you to go out and shoot with a camera that you truly love and enjoy using. That’s all for now, I’ll share more when I have additional thoughts about this camera. Till then.

2 thoughts on “Hands-on with the Leica M10

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