Leica M10 Review
|Full model name:||Leica M10 (Typ 3656)|
(36.0mm x 24.0mm)
|Viewfinder:||Optical / LCD|
|Native ISO:||100 - 50,000|
|Extended ISO:||100 - 50,000|
|Shutter:||1/4000 - 125 sec|
5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in.
(139 x 80 x 39 mm)
|Full specs:||Leica M10 specifications|
Leica M10 Review -- First Impressions
by Jeremy Gray
Preview posted: 01/19/2017
Leica has been developing digital M rangefinder cameras for around 11 years now and the newly-announced Leica M10 is the slimmest one yet, harkening back to the analog M cameras. In addition to slimming the camera down, Leica has also introduced a new 24-megapixel sensor, Maestro-II image processor and put Wi-Fi into the all-metal body. This Leica M Typ 240 successor brings several other improvements to the table as well. Let's take a look at the new Leica M10.
- New 24-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor
- Slim camera body
- Maestro-II image processor
- 5 frames per second continuous shooting
- DNG RAW capture
- Live View mode but no video capture
- Built-in Wi-Fi
Leica M10 is the slimmest digital M camera ever
As mentioned, the Leica M10 is the slimmest digital M camera ever. Its dimensions are 5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 inches (139.0 x 80.0 x 38.5 millimeters) and the camera weighs 1.45 pounds (660 grams) with battery installed. The dimensions are not the only aspect of the camera to be pared down, as the back of the camera now has only three buttons to the left of the display: Review, Live View and Menu buttons. While the rear of the camera has fewer controls, the top plate of the camera has a new ISO dial. Thanks to the new dial, all essential shooting parameters can now be preselected using physical controls on the M10, including distance, aperture, exposure time and ISO, allowing photographers to prepare for their next shot without powering the camera on. The M10 is the first digital Leica M camera to provide this level of control.
Returning to the rear of the camera, it is dominated by a 3-inch TFT LCD monitor which has 1,036,800 dots and can display 16 million colors in addition to providing 100% frame coverage during live view. The display is covered by scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass. In addition to the durable display, the Leica M10 is designed to withstand bad weather and dust thanks to its rubber seals and full-metal body. The chassis is magnesium alloy and the top and bottom plates are brass. The camera has a synthetic leather covering as well.
Moving to the viewfinder, this is an area of extensive improvement for the Leica M10. The viewfinder's field of view has been increased by 30% and its eye-relief distance has been increased 50%, the latter improvement should make the camera easier to use for photographers who wear glasses. The magnification has been increased from 0.68x to to 0.73x as well. The rangefinder viewfinder has automatic parallax compensation and frame lines which are set to match the image sensor size when focused to 6.6 feet (2.0 meters). You can select the viewfinder frame manually on the front of the camera; the available options are: 35mm/135mm, 28mm/90mm and 50mm/75mm focal length pairs.
Leica M10 Shooting Features
The Leica M10 is designed to enhance the stills shooting experience and provide users a streamlined, intuitive experience. Part of achieving this goal involves the "Favorites" menu which allows users to customize a menu for quick access to their most-used settings. Additionally, to aid with fast focusing, the camera includes focus peaking when using Live View mode.
New 24-megapixel sensor offers higher sensitivity
In addition allowing faster image capture, Leica has introduced a new 24-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor to improve image quality. The higher-sensitivity sensor has an ISO range of 100 to 50,000, which outpaces Leica's previous 24-megapixel sensor which had an ISO range of 100 to 6400. While we don't have access to an M10 body to test, Leica claims improved color rendition and dynamic range from the new sensor. Time will tell, but it certainly appears better-suited for low-light situations than previous digital M cameras.
Faster Maestro-II image processor and 2GB buffer
Paired with the new sensor is a new Maestro-II image processor and 2GB of buffer memory. The faster processor and bigger buffer allows the Leica M10 to capture full-resolution images at up to 5 frames per second with a claimed buffer depth of about 30 RAW frames (14-bit lossless compressed DNG) or 100 JPEGs depending on the SD card in use. Comparing the Leica M10 to its predecessor, the M Typ 240, the continuous shooting speed is 2fps faster.
No video recording for the Leica M10
Unlike its predecessor, Leica has opted to not include video recording in the M10. This is said to be due to wanting to focus on stills photography, but it is a notable absence regardless of the motivation for it not being included.
Built-in Wi-Fi: A first for a Leica M camera
As one feature video recording is removed, another is added. The Leica M10 has a built-in WLAN module, the first Leica M camera to include built-in Wi-Fi. The IEEE 802.1 b/g/n module allows users to connect the camera to the Leica M-App iOS application. When connected, users can transfer images and remotely control the camera.
Power and Accessories
On the top of the camera there is a hot shoe with a flash sync speed of up to 1/180s. In addition to being able to attach flashes to the Leica M10, you can also attach a 2.4M-dot Visioflex electronic viewfinder thanks to its accessory connections.
Power is supplied via a 7.4V 1,300 mAh BP-SCL5 lithium-ion battery, which is 500 mAh less than the battery found in the Typ 240 digital rangefinder. It's unclear what the battery life will be as that information has not been published by Leica. Unlike the Typ 240, Leica's Multi-functional Handgrip M is not supported by the M10.
Leica M10 vs Leica M Typ 240: Improvements over its predecessor
- Slimmer camera body
- Larger optical viewfinder with greater magnification, field of view and eye-relief distance
- Streamlined controls
- New 24-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor
- Wider ISO range
- New Maestro-II image processor
- Faster continuous shooting
- Larger 2GB buffer
- Built-in Wi-Fi
Pricing and availability
The Leica M10 is available now in black and silver color options for a price of just under US$6,600. It's an expensive camera, but its price is in line with previous Leica cameras, even undercutting the launch price of the Leica M Typ 240 by several hundred dollars.
Buy the Leica M10
Also has viewfinder