Leica M10 Review

The Leica M10 isn’t as a drastic of an upgrade to the M (Typ 240) as that camera was over the M9. But it gives rangefinder devotees a new flagship, with faster processing, higher ISO capacity, and a slightly slimmer design. It does take away one feature included in the Typ 240-video recording-which, regarding Leica, was not something that M shooters are particularly interested in. If you’re a photographer with a love for rangefinders, the M10 represents the best the market has to offer, and its high price reflects its niche appeal and German engineering. Our Editors’ Choice full-frame mirrorless camera is an economical crowd-pleaser, the Sony Alpha 7R II, but if you prefer to stand out from the group, the M10 is a solid choice.

Check Out: Best Lenses for Leica M10

Leica M10: Price

Leica M10: Design and Viewfinder

Leica needed M photographers to think of an M as an M, but owners of the M (Typ 240) ended up referring it to the M240 as shorthand. With afterward additions of the M-D (Typ 262) and Monochrom (Typ 246), the series became more alphabet soup than the camera. With the M10, the return to more straightforward naming is certainly a welcome one.

So, the M10 is just the M10. And it looks a lot like every other M that emerged before it, dating back to the M3, introduced way back in 1954. The latest digital version is a little slimmer than previous models, bringing its size (3.1 by 5.5 by 1.5 inches, HWD) in line with film bodies. The M10 feels very much like an M3 when you hold it in your hands.

Its chassis is normally magnesium alloy and top and bottom plates are produced from brass, so it’s a bit heavy for its size at 1.5 pounds. Like all other M cameras, the M10 omits a built-in flash. You can buy it in black chrome or silver chrome there’s no black paint option available at this time. There’s a reddish colored Leica logo on the front, but aside from that the camera is relatively free of adornment. The words “Leica M10” are engraved on the top in small text, as part of the hot shoe, and “Leica Camera Wetzlar / Made in Germany” is engraved on the rear, to the right of the eyepiece.

The camera’s viewfinder provides been refined compared with previous versions. The magnification is now rated at 0.73x-tighter than the 0.68x used on other digital M digital cameras. It’s practically identical to the 0.72x viewfinder you get with a film M with regards to magnification.

The eyepiece is also a bit different from previous versions, with a larger opening that makes it possible to see even more of the viewfinder. It’s a subtle difference, but I can better see the widest 28mm framework lines on the M10 than I could on my M (Typ 240) when wearing glasses. When using a 28mm with the M10 I’m able to start to see the top and bottom lines and only need to peek around the finder to check the left and right boundaries of the body. With the Typ 240, I have to peek in different areas to see any of the 28mm lines. One consequence of the larger opening is that, if you use a diopter with your M viewfinder, you’ll need to invest in a new one or obtain an adapter from Leica to use your current corrective eyepieces.

Leica M10: Controls and Menus

Front controls include a frame range preview selector and a multi-function button. On top you’ll find a shutter swiftness dial, shutter discharge, and power switch, as well as an ISO dial. The dial is usually all new to the M10. You should lift it up to turn it, pushing it back down to lock it into place. It has set positions for ISO 100 through 6400, and also M (manual) and A (automatic) settings. You can set the value of the M position in the menu to suit your taste, and will also set automatic parameters, including minimum and maximum configurations and minimum shutter speed to make use of when both ISO and shutter are arranged to A.

The third component of exposure, aperture, is controlled via the lens. M lenses don’t have A settings, so you’ll always need to established that manually. The three-dial system does make it easy to give as much or as little control overexposure to the camera as you’d like. For example, if you’re just concerned about eliminating motion blur, you can leave your shutter and ISO dials set to A and arranged the automatic ISO to constantly shoot at least 1/125- or 1/250-second. If you want total control you can dial in all three parameters manually, or you can go somewhere in between by placing aperture and shutter quickness and letting the camera worry about the proper ISO.

Exposure compensation can be offered. By default, you’ll press leading multi-function switch down while turning the trunk control dial in order to established the EV level. A reddish colored LED shows the adjustment value in the viewfinder. You can even set the wheel to adjust the ISO without having to hold down the key, which is my preference. Aside from the control wheel, there are only three buttons-LV (Live Look at), Play, and Menu-and a four-way controller on the rear.

Leica M10: LCD, EVF, and Wi-Fi

The rear LCD is a 3-inches panel with a 1,040k-dot display. It’s crisper compared to the 921k-dot LCD used by the Typ 240, and it’s protected by Gorilla Glass. It’s a fine choice for reviewing images to confirm focus, direct exposure, and framing. Gridlines are available as an optional framing aid when working in Live View.

Leica M10: Conclusions

The M10 isn’t as drastic of an update as the M (Typ 240) was over the M9. While the camera has a new image sensor with a much greater ISO range, it doesn’t offer an increase in overall resolution. The same is true for the trunk LCD and Live Watch capability-the M9 got a rear display that was outdated when it was introduced, but both the Typ 240 and M10 LCDs are of fine quality by today’s specifications. Wi-Fi is definitely a welcome addition.

It’s easy for photographers who don’t get rangefinder shooting to point out what the M10 and various other Leica M models don’t do-they don’t support autofocus, many omit video recording, and rangefinders don’t enjoy well with long lenses. And while mirrorless cameras are in many ways as good as modern SLRs, with the exception of the APS-C Fujifilm X-Pro2, no current versions offer an optical viewfinder.


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