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Leica M10 edges closer to the film experience

Create: 01/19/2017 - 22:27
Leica M10

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 24-MP full-frame CMOS sensor
  • No ability to shoot video
  • Dimensions are very close to the film M camera

As time goes on, Leica continues its effort to make its full-frame digital M rangefinder series more like its film cameras.

In annoucing its latest camera, the Leica M10 (Typ 3656), Leica spends time discussing how it is similar to its traditional film cameras.

For example, the body from back to front is 33.7mm – identical to a film M body. Leica says it’s the slimmest digital M to date.

Leica continues to favor the minimalist approach to design, althought it’s not as minimalist as the M-D, which had no LCD display to review photos or navigate menus, but it does keep with its own design philosophies to reduce the number of buttons and dials.

There is a “D” pad, but every blank space on the top deck and back isn’t festooned with buttons, dials and switches.

As can be seen in the photo, it’s very easy to tell what each button does, except for that black button on the front just below the viewfinder. That is used when focusing via the LCD screen.

SPECIFICATIONS

The M10 has a 24-MP full-frame CMOS sensor with an ISO sensitivity of 100-50,000. Images are recorded as either RAW or JPG.

The sensor lacks a low-pass filter, which should result in sharper recorded images. However, the sensor has a glass cover plate, which Leica says acts as an infrared cut-off filter.

The camera has a 2GB buffer and allows for 16 shots in a row. The M10 can shoot as quickly as five frames per second. Leica says the M10 is the fastes M camera that it has made.

Photos and video are recorded to a single SD card that sits in the battery chamber, which is accessed by removing the bottom plate of the camera in the same manner as a Leica M. Cards smaller than 1GB cannot be used, and those between 1 and 2 GB must be pre-formatted before it is inserted into the camera.

The Leica has a vertically traveling metal-bladed shutter with speeds running from eights seconds to 1/4,000. Flash synchronization is 1/180.

The metering system is rather primitive by today’s standards with a single cell that sits in the front of the shutter and measures the light that reflects off of the shutter. The camera does allow for white balance corrections.

The M10 has a traditional rangefinder for focusing in addition to Live View via the fixed 3.0-inch LCD monitor, which has a Gorilla ® cover. When using Live View, you can take advantage of focus peaking, which the M10 now has.

One thing that the M10 doesn’t have is the ability to record video. That’s something that Leica also removed from the M-D.

Images can be transferred wireless via the camera’s built-in WiFi.

LENS COMPATIBILITY

The Leica M10 can use nearly all Leica lenses, including uncoded lenses, except for these:

Hologon 15mm f/8,

Summicron 50mm f/2 with close-up attachment,

Elmar 90mm f/4 with retractable barrel (manufactured from 1954-1968)

Some versions of the Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 (not aspherical, manufactured from 1961-1995, Made in Canada) cannot be attached to the camera or will not focus to infinity. Leican can modify these lenses.

All collapsible lenses, except for the current f/4.0 90mm Macro-Elmar-M.

Attaching most lenses will bring up the correct frame lines, as long as those lenses are in the 28-135mm range.

When using the proper adapter, the M10 can also be fitted with lenses for the Leica R single-lens reflex camera system.

The M10 body is available, starting Jan. 19, 2017, in either black or silver for US$6,595.

About the Author

Mike Elek is a longtime journalist and was one of the original editors for The Wall Street Journal Online. He also has worked as a reporter and editor in Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; Vineland, N.J.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; New York City; and Hong Kong. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran. He shoots with film and digital cameras.