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So, 6 Months in What's The Verdict on the M10-D?


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It was last December that my Leica dealer here in France called to say that they had the M10-D I ordered after less than a week of waiting. "One of the first in France" I was told, but I took that with a grain of salt, who knows?......... I took a 350km round trip to pick it up the next day and yes I am that far from a good Leica dealership but I dare say some of you have a damn sight further to go. Since then the D has been pretty much the camera I reach for when I want to go and take photographs for myself, it is not a camera I'd use on a paying gig that's for sure but it's one of my favourite Leica M's ever. It just feels right in the hand and to use, EXCEPT for these annoying exceptions:

First, the on/off switch that's now at the rear of the camera. What were they thinking? All of the digital M's have the on/off switch where it should be, at the base of the shutter release so that turning on the camera and pressing the shutter is accomplished smoothly with one finger and one's eye to the finder. Now not so. How did Leica come to this decision? Beats me, it seems that the designers / engineers hadn't spent too much time with the previous M cameras and hadn't the "muscle memory" of those that have used the cameras from the M7 onwards. Anyway personally I wish they kept the on/off switch around the shutter release. Now I leave the camera 'On" all the time with a 2 minute sleep selected. That works ok.

Still on the rear dial I wish too that they had found another way to select exposure compensation. It's not too bad there because it's something that in general one doesn't use frequently ( mine is taped down at one click under zero compensation ), but wouldn't it have been better to have been able to access that by other means like for instance via the thumb wheel that has pretty much nothing else to do other than set time, ( which is way easier done via Fotos ), and the function button. Press the Function button, scroll the wheel left or right to find the compensation setting you want as displayed in the finder and bingo, job done without having to take your eye from the eyepiece. Much more intuitive when you have eyes to the finder and your subject.

And then there's Fotos. Ok I am not a fan at all of having to use the screen on a mobile 'phone to make adjustments to the settings on a camera that was specifically designed to do away with that eye-magnet. Yes in general via Fotos and a smart 'phone you can just set the M10-D up with your choice of the few settings that there are for the M10-D and then it's good to go for as long as those settings are appropriate, but there's times as per' this afternoon when I wanted to change the camera from it's all B&W JPG setting to DNG+B&W JPG and couldn't. Being perhaps one of the few now that don't feel that they should carry a phone all the time I didn't have my iPhone with me I was stuck with the JPG B&W setting only. Annoying rather than a real problem as it was just for personal imaging but now lesson learnt I'll leave the camera on DNG+JPG B+W, but it's still aggravating. I never use Fotos for review, ( what's the point when you've bought a D? ), so that facility I happily ignore and save battery drain.......Same with the Visoflex 020 and it's GPS function, I never use it so that too can be ignored. One battery a day is good enough for me if I avoid Fotos and Visoflex.For wider lenses I use an OVF, generally Leica's 21-24-28 Finder, that works just fine.

But apart from those couple of issues the M10-D is easily my favourite camera, perhaps one of my all time favourite M's. Images are good, the camera in the hand feels perfect, I don't need more megapixels, battery life is good enough if one steers clear of things mentioned above and with some work-arounds one can leave the smart 'phone and Fotos at home and just enjoy concentrating on making images without any unnecessary diversions.....and oh yes, I didn't think I would but I really do like the "faux" film-wind lever, that works great. 

I'd be very interested to learn of other M10-D users, how's it going for you?

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I'm completely happy with mine. It's a perfect fit for my style of photography, and my contrarian/minimalist philosophy of technology.

I'd enjoyed an M3 and a Zeiss Ikon M-mount camera a few years ago, but it never seemed seemed to as good as my medium format gear (especially my beloved Bronica RF645). And while I've experimented with digital cameras since the late 90s, I've always absolutely hated the experience -- horrible UI, too many buttons, etc., etc. Frankly, I'd rather use my iPhone, and often have.

But the M10-D is a perfect fit for me. I don't miss a screen, because I've never had one! It feels incredibly comfortable in my hand. (I use a wrist strap, attached to the tripod mount.) I just shoot like I did with film: focus on what's important, think a bit about DoF and aperture, check the shutter (try to keep it above 1/60), and press the button. Then move onto the next moment in time...

I've been quite pleased with the image quality, and most image files only need a small amount of tweaking. 24MP seems sufficient. For a while I was concerned that Capture One wasn't picking up camera or lens profiles, but eventually I realized that the images looked fine -- really no need for much adjustment except for stylistic choices. I did discover that both Capture One and Lightroom applied far too much sharpening and noise reduction. I built myself a few presets that dialed down these settings a lot, and now even high-ISO images look mostly like film!

I used the Fotos app a bit when I first got the camera, but especially with the EVF, haven't found the app very useful. I experimented with various settings in the camera, but mostly use auto-aperture and auto-ISO, and since then have hardly touched Fotos. For the kind of photos I take, I don't run up against many cases where I need to make decisions about sensitivity or shutter. I think I set a max ISO of 1600.

I purchased mine with the new 28mm Summaron, which is a lovely pairing. I've also been fortunate enough to take on the caretaking of several Leica lenses from my father, including a 35mm Summicron, a 75mm Summilux, and a 90mm Tele-Elmar. The latter two have benefited greatly from the Typ 022 EVF I also purchased, but very often I'll just take the M10-D + 28mm out 'bare' and return with amazing shots.

I did buy a second battery, but really I've very rarely gotten below 25% before a day of shooting was finished.

Sorry, I wish I could be more critical! ;-)

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Definitely a favorite, had it out with the 50 APO today.  If you understand how to read light, focus, and compose, it will not disappoint.  I would be in a pinch if I had to choose just one digital M, the M10-D or an M10.  The screen is useful when it is needed, but its so seldom that the M10-D might just win out.

Eric

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14 hours ago, petermullett said:

What were they thinking?

I think they were thinking to leave it always ON and to wake it up from sleep position with the shutter button. One of the Leica guys who mostly presents new camera’s explicitly advised this for the SL too. At the SL it’s also on an impossible spot at the back which annoys me too, but I get accustomed to it, slowly. 

Edited by otto.f
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I'm using my M10-D in preference to an M10, taking both when I want to have two lenses available.  I use the VF20 for precise framing, having never found optical viewfinders very accurate for that.  It has been working well with my old M 24/2.8 asph in shooting family and department events.  I would use a 25mm optical finder if I wanted to work all day in close quarters with that lens, only raising the camera to my eye to shoot. I turn it off with the ring on the back when I don't see a shot coming up, but I think I'll try just leaving it in 2 min shutdown and see if there is any difference in power consumption.  After all, cold starts and full shutdowns might have an extra cost.  I've used Fotos to get the date and time correct and to set the AutoISO parameters to my liking, and once and a while as a remote.  It is certainly easier and more pleasant to hold without all the stuff on the back.  Noone that I bump into even remembers film cameras, so it attracts little or no attention, just looks a bit less "professional."

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The M10D is easily my favourite M to date (my M10 is gone). It is not my only camera, however when I use it, I never miss the instant feedback I get elsewhere. That is partly because my Ms tend to get used in spontaneous, not planned or minimally planned photography. If the scene is gone, it is gone. Partly it may be because I still happen to shoot film from time to time.

Compared to the MD 262, I liked the look of the back wheel better and the on/off switch still confuses me at times. I hardly ever use Fotos and the EVF, but in the rare case it is nice to know it is there. I would have loved to have the EVF equipped with a simple sync plug for the Flash M contact (nothing fancy, just that), but I realise this is never going to happen.

One note on the wireless thing:

The camera would have been perfect for a low power bluetooth implementation, like Nikon did it with the Z7. You can just keep on - it syncs GPS and clock. In addition, you can have it set up  to transfer every photograph (2MB) instantaneously. No noticeable power loss when not in use. Power usage compared to the Leica solution is like a Toyota Prius to a 1960 Mustang (sorry, I watched the CVF50c II video ...). Transferring full size imagines is always faster using a simple card reader, if needed. And 2MB on phone are sufficient for checking exposure and posting.

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Don’t you miss a menu with the possibilities to quickly change things like shutter mode,  formatting your Sd card or changing the date, especially with jetlags? This all goes via iPhone now, isn’t that cumbersome?

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4 minutes ago, otto.f said:

Don’t you miss a menu with the possibilities to quickly change things like shutter mode,  formatting your Sd card or changing the date, especially with jetlags? This all goes via iPhone now, isn’t that cumbersome?

Formatting the card works with Fotos now. Not the brightest solution - but hey - I don’t do that often. Usually only when I copy photos to the computer.

Shutter mode? Not sure what you mean.

 

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2 minutes ago, otto.f said:

Don’t you miss a menu with the possibilities to quickly change things like shutter mode,  formatting your Sd card or changing the date, especially with jetlags? This all goes via iPhone now, isn’t that cumbersome?

Honestly I do, especially when I’m inside the house just trying new settings.    Yes I know it’s about going out and taking pics but tbh this is where an onscreen lcd menu provides value for me.  When I feel something missing (not the lcd) i go back to my M9 and it’s a joy with all its quirkeyness.  Still the M10-D has creature comforts,  it’s a a good M and great RF experience.  I’m not sure if it’s just me but my hands cramp holding the M10-D.  I feel like I have to grip it a little tighter. 

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20 minutes ago, otto.f said:

Don’t you miss a menu with the possibilities to quickly change things like shutter mode,  formatting your Sd card or changing the date, especially with jetlags? This all goes via iPhone now, isn’t that cumbersome?

Not really. Fotos has some known wifi connection problems, which hopefully will be fixed in future firmware updates, but generally speaking I prefer changing settings in Fotos instead of some horrible menu on the camera. (You might be different, but I get extremely frustrated using technology with complicated user interfaces.) Like I said before, I found that once I found the best personal settings, I rarely change them.

The only downside to using Fotos is that the wifi connection uses a lot of battery. As @Photon42 said, low-energy Bluetooth would have been a better solution.

I don't think I've formatted my SD card once since I got it. After I bring the card back to my computer to process the images, I just throw the images in the trash and empty the trash. Works fine. I know that many earlier digital cameras tended to corrupt cards over time, and users developed habits like reformatting cards before the next use -- but this camera seems to be fine in that regard (crossing fingers).

As for setting the date -- honestly, the exact time isn't very important to me, so a few hours off isn't a problem. I care more about the date, and that's going to be correct unless I'm traveling over the international dateline. Also, if I attach the EVF, its GPS will set the date automatically within a few seconds.

I look at my M10-D not really as a digital camera, but as a film camera that happens to have a digital sensor. For me, it's what I've wanted for decades, and I'm very pleased to have it.

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I’m very pleased with the camera & hopeful the fotos app will improve over time. 

I’m an amateur who started photography with the birth of my first child & a M8. Replaced it with f1 & M8.2. Replaced M8.2 (sensor problem) with M10.

Recently replaced my stolen M10 & f1  with a D & f1 along with a 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R ASPH f/2.8 that I found for a bargain.  

Just returned from 2 weeks in Europe leaving the f1 at home (first time in 10 years) & lugging around the R which is indeed heavy & not ideal for a cruise but the results are outstanding in my opinion. I used a top peak hand strap grasping the camera/lens by the barrel facing backwards while walking around & it worked out quite well for 2-3 hour outings. 

Not sure how to share apple photos album but happy share pics if anyone is interested. 

 

 

 

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After 30 years of taking photos with a M4-P, two M6 cameras and a set of lenses between 15 and 90mm, I bought early 2019 a M10-D, because this digital camera for my understanding comes closest to a M film camera. I don't miss the display and its functions, via the fotos app only occasionally change some setting. This app never the less needs some improvement, in speed, connectivity and functionality. For formatting the SD cards I use on my Mac an app named SD formatter, works pretty well. I also don't have an EVF, maybe at a later stage I buy one.

I like this camera because it is just functional, nothing more, nothin less, I like the design, the haptic and the handling and as a side effect, occasionally I make photos I like. Presently, my favorite lens for the M10-D is the Elmarit 2,8/28 ASPH, but this may change fast....

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Sure its more cumbersome to use the iPhone than a rear LCD. But the shooting experience outweights that by far for me.

I never shot film (maybe when I was a child, with my fathers camera, but it was nothing special for me), so the M10-D doesn’t awake nostalgic feelings in me. I’m a real freak when it comes to everything regarding technology (smart-home, iPhones, Macs, iPads, AppleWatch, Siri, Alexa,...) and I have and use it a lot in everyday life.

The M10-D makes me calm down from that. And I love it for that reason. I normally never use the Fotos app for any setting changes, I have set it once and everything works for my likings.I do use it sometimes to watch pictures when on a longer trip, but it even would not be a problem if I doesn’t had this possibility. Its just as I always have a iPhone or iPad nearby. (Fotos is cumbersome to use on iPad as it isn’t optimized yet for the bigger screen or landscape mode...)

Formatting the SD is normally done wit SD-Formatter on my Mac when importing the pictures, a step that needs around 10 seconds, I was never in the situation that I thought I have to format it in camera, but that maybe is just me...

For me it’s the best camera I ever had (I’m sure there will be better ones in the future), and I don’t miss my M240 or my Q.

 

 

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23 hours ago, james.liam said:

You folks don’t find the need to use an iPhone App more cumbersome than a rear LCD screen?

Well. I guess if I would, I'd still have my plain Jane M10. It is a specialist tool for me for a certain type of photography. From this perspective, I think you are asking the wrong question. It is like missing the tire-bouchon of a Swiss Army Knife on a scalpel.

The thing is; I basically use the M10D reportage style. I do not do landscapes with it or any studio photography or other "planned" types of photography. If you wish, the M10D is configured for this job and in my eyes it excels there. I would probably only need the Fotos for formatting the card in camera (does not happen often) and to do the basic setup. I do not even look at the photographs through the app really, it happens only if someone insists to watch them.

 

Edited by Photon42
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On 6/22/2019 at 6:58 PM, aintchu9 said:

35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R ASPH f/2.8 that I found for a bargain.

Well done!  They are rare very now and Leica won't touch them because the expertise is no longer in the company.  A friend of mine has one and a fleck of paint dislodged and stuck itself at dead centre.  Eventually Stephan Daniel, Director of Photo Management, fixed it because he was the only one left who still knew how.

Pete.

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On 6/22/2019 at 10:00 AM, jslabovitz said:

Not really. Fotos has some known wifi connection problems, which hopefully will be fixed in future firmware updates, but generally speaking I prefer changing settings in Fotos instead of some horrible menu on the camera. (You might be different, but I get extremely frustrated using technology with complicated user interfaces.) Like I said before, I found that once I found the best personal settings, I rarely change them.

 

You think the M10 menu system is horrible and complicated? I think its super simple... isn't it only three screens or something? 

 

Edited by ChicagoMatthew
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