Leica Announces M10: Surprise, It’s 2 Cameras!

Leica Announces M10: Surprise, It’s 2 Cameras!

Leica M Digital Rangefinder in Black Finish

Overview

— Leica Camera AG announced their latest digital rangefinders the day before Photokina, yesterday: the replacement for the M9 (and presumably the M9-P), simply called the M, and the M-E, a budget-priced lower priced M-camera. Suggested prices are $6,950 and $5,450 USD, respectively.

M Camera Features

Leica M Digital Rangefinder in Chrome Finish

Leica M digital rangefinder in chrome finish, available early 2013

  • Full-frame 24-megapixel CMOS sensor
  • Multi-pattern & spot metering
  • Larger 3″ LCD with Gorilla Glass screen protector; features up to 10× zoom & 920k-dot resolution
  • Live view
  • LED frame lines (note the lack of a frame line window)
  • Focus peaking, a.k.a. focus confirmation — highlights in-focus areas
  • 1080pHD video
  • Faster image processing
  • Improved battery life
  • Dust + moisture seals
  • Magnesium construction
  • Compatible with current Visoflex EVF for X2 viewfinder
  • Compatible with R lenses (with adapter)
  • Available multi-function handgrip w/ GPS
  • Available microphone (fits accessory port)
  • Revised ergonomics & controls, including thumb rest (built into rear control dial)
  • Black paint or silver chrome finish

The camera reportedly also features one of the most requested improvements: better high-ISO performance (up to ISO 6400).

The thumb rest is quite small; most users will still covet Tim Isaac’s accessory rests.

The new focusing aids (zoom and focus peaking), available through the optional hotshoe-mounted EVF2 viewfinder, are activated by a new button on the camera front.

I haven’t been able to determine the function of the mysterious “M” button on the top plate, to the right of the shutter release. If you know what this does, please leave a comment! According to Thorsten Overgaard, this is the video record button.

M-E: Entry Level Leica

Leica M-E Digital Rangefinder

Leica M-E digital rangefinder in anthracite grey finish, available early 2013

Apart from the much lower price, the M-E is essentially an M9 available in only 1 color scheme (anthracite grey). It lacks both a USB port and a frame line selector switch.

Worth the Upgrade?

With this dual release, Leica have addressed the most common complaints about the M9, albeit not in the same camera: price, poor high-ISO performance, slow image processing, no weather sealing, and lack of live view. Unknown from the initial reports is the IQ of the preview; until I get my hands on a review model or find the answer from other research, I can’t speak to that.

I had serious reservations about upgrading my camera before the announcement — the likelihood that the update wouldn’t address all my concerns, and that it would come at a higher price than the M9, had me convinced that I wouldn’t consider trading up. Instead, I think I’m going to have to start saving for a new camera.

As of this writing, Amazon, Adorama, and the other popular online retailers, with the exception of Dale Photo & Video, are not taking pre-orders on either camera. UPDATE: Adorama, B&H, Samy’s Camera and Dale Photo & Digital are all taking pre-orders on both cameras at this time.

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