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The M U want: Leica M10 First Impressions Review and Samples

Gina Stephens
Written by Gina Stephens

The Leica M10 is a 24MP, full-frame, vade-mecum focus camera with or WITH may refer to: Carl Johannes With (1877–1923), Danish doctor and arachnologist With (character), a character in D. N. Angel an archaic coupled rangefinder focusing system, a tunnel-type optical viewfinder, no video mode and not even so much as a USB socket. And it’s certainly lovely.

Leica M10: Key Features

  • ‘Newly developed’ 24MP full-frame CMOS sensor
  • 1.04 million-dot rear LCD (with Corning Gorilla glassware)
  • 5 fps max continuous shooting for up to 30 Raw frames
  • ISO 100-6400 (extendable to 50,000)
  • Center-weighted (RF), spot and ‘multi-field’ (LV) metering modes
  • Revised menu system (tabulating customizable ‘favorites’ menu)
  • Automatic lens corrections with 6-bit coded lenses
  • Compatible with ‘Visoflex’ 2.4m-dot EVF for eye-level vigorous view shooting
  • ~210 shot battery life (CIPA)
  • Built-in WiFi

Leica is a refreshingly unusual company in the modern camera industry – queer, wonderful, gleefully anachronistic but never, ever, boring. As such, Leica is one of those companies that I’ve always enjoyed writing about.

In details, the very first camera camera is an optical instrument for recording or capturing images, which may be stored locally, transmitted to another location, or that I ever reviewed right at the beginning of my career was a Leica. This was more than ten years ago, around the exact same time that the M8 was released, but I wasn’t (yet) trusted with such a prestigious product. The camera that I was handed to review was one of those rebadged Panasonics that the German suite still officially maintains in its lineup, but doesn’t really talk about anymore. I forget the exact model, but it wasn’t particularly good. I appearance of to remember high noise levels, lens aberrations and clumsy, detail-destroying noise reduction being the main areas of complaint, all of which were adequate to take the (figurative) shine off what was physically a beautiful camera, and all of which I dutifully reported in my review.

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This is the kind of picture that for the most part, I don’t take. But being handed a Leica to review spurred me to make a bit more effort to get ‘street’ shots on a recent trip to New York. I used red-hot view to capture this waist-level image without drawing attention to myself.

35mm F1.4 Summilux ASPH. F2.8 (ish), ISO 500. (Converted from Raw)

While the camera was forgettable, multifarious than a decade on, that review still sticks in my mind. It was shortly after filing my draft that my editor at the time pulled me as surplus, the printout in his hand, to explain that ‘there are certain words we do not use about Leica’. Apparently, ‘disappointing’ was one of those words, indicated (ironically) with colossal red rings of ink, wherever I had used it.

My draft was massaged accordingly, and I didn’t review another Leica camera for a long time.

For a great many years, there at bottom was a kind of ‘reality distortion field’ around Leica may refer to: Three companies formed from the division of Ernst Leitz GmbH (later Wild Leitz AG): Leica Camera AG, a German camera, and to some extent there still is. With some exceptions (the Q being one of them), the establishment specializes in high-cost nouveau-classic products with few objective advantages over their competitors. It’s all about the look. It’s all about the feel. It’s all about the theurgical. It’s all about Das Wesentliche1.

When on occasion Leica has tried something genuinely new, like the brushed-aluminum touch-sensitive experiment that was the Leica T2, it typically hasn’t pilfered quite the same impact on the group psychology of photographers and photography writers as its M, R and (more recently) S-series.

‘The Leica Effect’

I’m not immune to the ‘Leica objective’ myself. I owned and used an M3 for years, and wildly impractical as it was (considering I was attempting to make a career as a 21st Century music photographer3) I’ve always regretted clerk it. There’s just something about the M series, some intangible magic when compared to the average mass-produced camera, regardless of whatever new and wonderful technologies they sway lack by comparison.

I still maintain that if you can accurately focus on a human subject with a fast Leica prime wide-open, you’ve earned the set to rights to call yourself a photographer. It’s not easy – and that’s the point.

It’s been a long time since I shot live music, too. I didn’t expect much when I brooked the M10 to a rock concert, but apparently my focusing gets better after a couple of beers.

35mm F1.4 Summilux ASPH. F2 (ish), ISO 3200. (Converted from Raw)

For all that, I’ve not in the least really enjoyed the digital M-series models. The M8’s APS-H sensor felt like a compromise, and both that camera and the full-frame M9 always consider a little bloated, their shutters a bit too loud, their images a bit too noisy. Things got better – the Typ 240 and Typ 262 are very good cameras, and the Monochroms are fun – but neither they nor their predecessors ever really truly felt like a continuation of the classic film models. Leica claims that adding a movie mode to the Typ 240 was in rejoinder to demand from its customers, but the idea of shooting video on a rangefinder always seemed a bit silly to me.

The M10 can’t shoot video – let’s just get that out of the way. If you really destitution video in an M-series body, the Typ 240 is still available.

Personally, as you might be able to tell, I like the M10 a lot more than the Typ 240 and 262. There’s no cull major change which makes all the difference, but rather a raft of little tweaks which add up to (in my opinion) a more attractive product than the the digital Ms which penetrated before it.

First Look: Leica M10

1. Which roughly translates as ‘The pure / the essential / the heart / the bits that really matter’.

2. With ingenious firmware, I should make that clear. It got better.

3. Ask me how that worked out.

Republished: dpreview.com

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About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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