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Leica M11 Review

Even though the first models of Leica’s M-series cameras were introduced in the 1950s, the Leica M11 is the company’s most up-to-date and feature-packed model. It maintains the superb build quality and simple appearance you would anticipate from a camera of this type (and price). Still, in addition to that, it incorporates a new 60-megapixel full-frame backside-illuminated sensor and other advancements such as 64GB of built-in storage.

This makes the Leica M11 the model with the best resolution of any camera in the M-series to date; in fact, it may have the same sensor as the Sony A7R IV, which we’ve seen in other cameras in the series. Compared to the 40-megapixel Leica M10-R, this is a significant improvement and makes it possible to create significantly larger prints. On the other hand, such a high resolution is extremely unforgiving of even the smallest focusing errors and lens flaws.

Therefore, the M11 is a specialized version of a camera that was already specialized. Still, it maintains many endearing qualities that have made the M-series a desirable choice. The housing of the black model is partially built of aluminum, in contrast to the more traditional brass and magnesium used in producing the silver model’s housing. It is offered in both silver and black iterations.

These stealthy rangefinders are recognized for the more conventional shooting experience they provide, which is maintained by the camera’s basic controls. This not only keeps “pure” photography at your fingertips, but it also preserves the experience.

Leica M11 Features

Even though it is a far more cost-effective option, this gives photographers an unparalleled shooting experience – not even Fujifilm’s X-Pro3 matches it. But even though it preserves this equilibrium between traditional and modern design, the M11 is undoubtedly the most technologically sophisticated camera in the M-series to date owing to several remarkable and practical features.

The M11 has the best resolution of any camera in the series to date thanks to its full-frame, backside-illuminated CMOS sensor that can record 60 megapixels. Because the sensor in the M11 is equipped with Triple Resolution Technology, it is possible to capture DNGs and JPEGs at resolutions of either 60 MP, 36 MP, or 18 MP. This gives you the flexibility to choose the resolution that is most suited to the shooting situation at hand. Since the sensor is now responsible for metering, there are now more metering options available compared to earlier models in the M-series. These new options include spot, center-weighted, and multi-field metering (evaluative).

Leica M11 Build Quality

The M11 is unmistakably geared for photographers who wish to maintain a conventional rangefinder shooting experience while benefiting from straightforward control options. Using the split-image rangefinder visible through the optical viewfinder is the sole method for manually focusing the camera. Focus peaking is accessible while using Live View and gives an option. It is simple to use, but not everyone prefers it; it is certainly not as quick and effective as autofocus; nonetheless, it is available and offers an alternative.

The top plate of the black version of the camera is made of aluminum, while the one that comes with the silver variant is made of classic brass. The camera may be purchased in either a black or silver finish. This results in the black M11 being 110g lighter than its brother, which is a big difference considering how light such a physically compact camera is at 530g (black) or 640g (silver). Despite this, the camera body measures just 139 by 38.5 by 80 millimeters and has a sturdy build quality and a stunningly simplistic appearance.

Leica M11 Image quality

When it comes to the M11’s image quality, its qualifications are rather great on paper. There is a 60-megapixel backside-illuminated sensor with a claimed 15-stops of dynamic range, a base/native ISO of 64 with a range that goes up to ISO 50,000, and 14-bit DNG raw file support. In addition, there is a UV cut filter as well as an IR (infrared) cut filter, both of which Leica asserts have the ability to correct oblique rays of incident light that strike the sensor.

These are all desirable qualities, but the situation is not as black and white as it seems. A sensor with a resolution of 60 megapixels may be too high-resolution for a camera of this kind because it is extremely unforgiving of focusing errors.

If your focus is even slightly off, the pictures that you take may not be usable after you process them. When sharp images are reviewed on the LCD screen, they appear to be razor-sharp; however, as soon as they are imported into Lightroom, it is immediately apparent that they are not quite as sharp as they initially appeared, making it more important than ever to get the focus just right.

Leica M11 Specs

Body typeLarge SLR
Body materialMagnesium alloy / brass
Sensor
Max resolution9528 x 6328
Other resolutions(M) 7413 x 4928, (S) 5272 x 3498
Image ratio w:h3:2
Effective pixels60 megapixels
Sensor sizeFull frame (36 x 24 mm)
Sensor typeBSI-CMOS
ProcessorMaestro III
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
ISOAuto, 64-50000
White balance presets8
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationNo
Uncompressed formatRAW
File formatJPEGDNG (14-bit)
Optics & Focus
Digital zoomNo
Manual focusYes
Lens mountLeica M
Focal length multiplier
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDFully articulated
Screen size3″
Screen dots2,332,800
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeOptical (rangefinder)
Viewfinder magnification0.73×
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed3600 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/4000 sec
Maximum shutter speed (electronic)1/16000 sec
Exposure modesAperture priorityManual
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (via hot shoe)
Flash X sync speed1/180 sec
Continuous drive4.5 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 12s)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpot
Exposure compensation±3 (at 1/3 EV steps)
Videography features
MicrophoneNone
SpeakerNone
Storage
Storage typesUHS II type SD
Storage included64GB
Connectivity
USBUSB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 GBit/sec)
USB chargingYes
Microphone portNo
Headphone portNo
WirelessBuilt-In
Wireless notes802.11b/g/n
Remote controlYes (cable release)
Physical
Environmentally sealedYes
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionBC-SCL7 lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)700
Weight (inc. batteries)640 g (1.41 lb / 22.58 oz)
Dimensions139 x 39 x 80 mm (5.47 x 1.54 x 3.15″)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
GPSOptional

Leica M11 Final verdict

The Leica M11 provides the distinctive shooting experience that is typical of these manual-focus rangefinders, while simultaneously embracing new technology such as a new 60MP full-frame BSI sensor and 64GB of internal storage space. The M11 exudes quality thanks to its excellent image quality, beautifully understated design, and outstanding construction quality.

When it comes to focusing errors, however, this camera’s resolution of 60 megapixels is very forgiving. Because of this, as well as the high price tag, the M11 is a very specialized camera that is only appropriate for photography enthusiasts.

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