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Advice for those thinking of a M240 in 2021


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So I wanted to offer some advice to anyone considering buying a M240 in 2021. Having just parted with mine I can say that it is a lovely camera that has good image quality, but only good quality, I would compare the quality to a canon 5D Mark 2. I would say that if you are coming from an APSC crop sensor you will really notice and like the image this camera makes however if you are coming from a 5Dmk2/3/4 or any of the last 4 years Sony body's you will be disappointed and probably extremely disappointed with the ISO performance. 
 

So on the subject of ISO, 1600 is about max that you'd want to use after that the image deteriorates pretty quick. 
 

The camera does offer the Leica rangefinder experience but for me as someone who shoots an M4-P I found it was actually slower to make pictures and this is due to the rear screen that really makes judging the image exposure hard. 
The camera is also quite a bit wider than my Analog Leica. 
 

One huge positive is you can use your STUNNING Leica glass on it and that really helps the image quality. 

So in summary a beautiful camera that takes some great images but is very much lacking by today's technology standards as you can expect from a camera of this age, my personal opinion is that if you are looking for a digital Leica, you need to be using the current top range of cameras if you are coming from canon/Nikon or especially Sony which is king in image quality and low light performance especially when considering price. 
 

I hope this helps anyone deciding wether or not to pull the pin on one. 

Edited by UltraDan
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I am very happy with mine. I never use high ISOs, so haven't come across any issues with degradated quality, and, if truth be told, I suspect many users don't use them either. Mine rarely goes above 800. I don't see how it can be slower than a film M, if you know how to expose properly, but much depends upon whether a lot of chimping is done. Yes, it is thicker than a film M and the M10 that came after it, but it's not something that bothers me at all. If you are comparing it

Or take one shot where you know what you’re doing instead of letting a camera make a decision for you.

Nope. Time to face facts. You didn't know how to use the camera. Pity because it's a great camera. Hopefully the new owner will understand how to use it. Philip.

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I am very happy with mine.

I never use high ISOs, so haven't come across any issues with degradated quality, and, if truth be told, I suspect many users don't use them either. Mine rarely goes above 800.

I don't see how it can be slower than a film M, if you know how to expose properly, but much depends upon whether a lot of chimping is done.

Yes, it is thicker than a film M and the M10 that came after it, but it's not something that bothers me at all.

If you are comparing it with cameras from the last four years, then you are not comparing apples and apples. The M240 was released in 2012 - getting on for nine years ago.

I may be sounding a bit defensive here, but IMHO, there is nothing wrong with an M240

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10 hours ago, UltraDan said:

...for me as someone who shoots an M4-P I found it was actually slower to make pictures and this is due to the rear screen that really makes judging the image exposure hard....

Do you seriously want to have this comparative 'slowness' in your own, personal, shooting experience explained to you?

Philip.

Edited by pippy
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I used a minolta x-700 for 30 years and the centre weighted metering is more forgiving regarding back light situations than the leica M meter so it would have been a mistake for me to buy the M262-D two and a half years ago but now i reckon i would be fine with that camera.

I now set my exposures in aperture priority with exposure compensation based on the lighting without needing to worry about correct exposure,dislike the m10-D though so my options are reduced especially as i have 2 standard M262 bodies.

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21 hours ago, andybarton said:

I am very happy with mine.

I never use high ISOs, so haven't come across any issues with degradated quality, and, if truth be told, I suspect many users don't use them either. Mine rarely goes above 800.

I don't see how it can be slower than a film M, if you know how to expose properly, but much depends upon whether a lot of chimping is done.

Yes, it is thicker than a film M and the M10 that came after it, but it's not something that bothers me at all.

If you are comparing it with cameras from the last four years, then you are not comparing apples and apples. The M240 was released in 2012 - getting on for nine years ago.

I may be sounding a bit defensive here, but IMHO, there is nothing wrong with an M240

There is absolutely nothing wrong with it, that's not what I said, but you have to accept most digital shooters today will have used one of the camera systems I mentioned so I think it's a valid comparison- yes if you have only ever shot analog and the M240 was your first ever digital camera AND  you wanted a rangefinder then you'd be blown away by it but I think anyone coming from canon/Sony/Nikon will immediately see its shortcomings - I know I did immediately. And let's not forget these still go for over £2k, which is a huge amount for the performance, and that would easily buy you a 5Dmk4 or a Sony A7iii or even a Sony A7Riii. 
 

I was just trying to offer advice before people spend that type of cash on something that they may be unsatisfied with or even disappointed with. 

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12 hours ago, pippy said:

Do you seriously want to have this comparative 'slowness' in your own, personal, shooting experience explained to you?

Philip.

So for me with my M4-p I take a light reading set my settings and shoot, with the m240 if I set the same settings the images looked crap, if I left it on auto the pics also looked bad on the rear lcd which meant I'd take multiple shots of everything with the EV being changed in the hope one would come good in post. That is what I mean by being slower, with my analog I rarely if ever have a badly exposed frame come out I just set, point and shoot is what I was getting at. Hope this clears things up.

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5 minutes ago, UltraDan said:

So for me with my M4-p I take a light reading set my settings and shoot, with the m240 if I set the same settings the images looked crap, if I left it on auto the pics also looked bad on the rear lcd which meant I'd take multiple shots of everything with the EV being changed in the hope one would come good in post. That is what I mean by being slower, with my analog I rarely if ever have a badly exposed frame come out I just set, point and shoot is what I was getting at. Hope this clears things up.

This is just a question of practice and understanding the difference in how film and digital sensors respond to light. Yes, I had this problem when I started in digital, but now I have no problem getting my exposure right first time.

All cameras deteriorate in image quality as ISO increases and light decreases, and each of us has their own limits of acceptability, depending on what you photograph, and whether it's colour or B&W. For me the limit was 800-1600 for the M9 and 2400 for the M240. Now, with the SL2-S it is towards 12500.

Image quality comparisons? My M240 was certainly better than the 5dMkii. Cameras differ in so many different ways, so it may depend on what you use as your criteria - and separating influences of lens, sensor, colour science is virtually impossible. I certainly wouldn't have been disappointed in moving to the M240 from the 5dMkiii, which of the same period - so no surprises there. As cameras, of course, and how you use them, they were chalk and cheese, and have far more obvious differences than IQ.

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IMHO Leica Ms are seldom at the forefront technological advances and folks most likely buy one for the joy of rangefinding, and the colossal range of M mount glass available

and ALL the Ms (digital or otherwise) offer the joy of rangefinding, and the colossal range of M mount glass available

If I was asked (and I appreciate I wasn't), I think of all the Ms the 240 or 262 is current pick of the bunch.

Even secondhand the M10 range is still a significant chunk of change, and the perennial M9 might be a bit of liability these days if it develops any problems that Leica can't fix

Secondhand the 240 is comparatively cheap, has so far at least, not had many real reliability concerns and still has most (or more) features that the newer Ms have, just the tech (screen res, EVF etc) isn't as current 

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2 hours ago, Adam Bonn said:

IMHO Leica Ms are seldom at the forefront technological advances and folks most likely buy one for the joy of rangefinding, and the colossal range of M mount glass available

and ALL the Ms (digital or otherwise) offer the joy of rangefinding, and the colossal range of M mount glass available

If I was asked (and I appreciate I wasn't), I think of all the Ms the 240 or 262 is current pick of the bunch.

Even secondhand the M10 range is still a significant chunk of change, and the perennial M9 might be a bit of liability these days if it develops any problems that Leica can't fix

Secondhand the 240 is comparatively cheap, has so far at least, not had many real reliability concerns and still has most (or more) features that the newer Ms have, just the tech (screen res, EVF etc) isn't as current 

Yeah you're right, for Leica an M240 is "cheap" and it's also fair to say people buy Leica digital for their own personal shooting reasons - nothing wrong with that. For me having a 5Dmark 2 sat here that cost me £250 it didn't make sense to keep a camera that cost £2400 and delivered what I could perceive as literally no difference in image, but that's just what I saw with the images side by side. 
Also I found the 240 didn't deliver the same kind of shooting experience that my M4-P does so that was another consideration. For me the happy balance is Leica for analog and Sony for digital, the high iso and image quality of the A7iii is astoundingly good. 

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On 2/12/2021 at 3:57 PM, UltraDan said:

So I wanted to offer some advice to anyone considering buying a M240 in 2021. Having just parted with mine I can say that it is a lovely camera that has good image quality, but only good quality, I would compare the quality to a canon 5D Mark 2. I would say that if you are coming from an APSC crop sensor you will really notice and like the image this camera makes however if you are coming from a 5Dmk2/3/4 or any of the last 4 years Sony body's you will be disappointed and probably extremely disappointed with the ISO performance. 
 

So on the subject of ISO, 1600 is about max that you'd want to use after that the image deteriorates pretty quick. 
 

The camera does offer the Leica rangefinder experience but for me as someone who shoots an M4-P I found it was actually slower to make pictures and this is due to the rear screen that really makes judging the image exposure hard. 
The camera is also quite a bit wider than my Analog Leica. 
 

One huge positive is you can use your STUNNING Leica glass on it and that really helps the image quality. 

So in summary a beautiful camera that takes some great images but is very much lacking by today's technology standards as you can expect from a camera of this age, my personal opinion is that if you are looking for a digital Leica, you need to be using the current top range of cameras if you are coming from canon/Nikon or especially Sony which is king in image quality and low light performance especially when considering price. 
 

I hope this helps anyone deciding wether or not to pull the pin on one. 

No. It does not help at all (but a good try to stir things up for a great debate). Sorry! :D

Yes, I do agree that modern DSLR and mirrorless cameras have better sensors than in the M-E 240 I bought last year. But that is not why I bought the Leica. I already have several Nikons and Fujifilm cameras with great sensors.

Why I bought the Leica was to specifically get a manual focusing range finder digital camera. 

For me, it is not either a Leica M or a DSLR (or mirrorless camera). It is complement. Not a replacement.

For that I am extremely happy with my ME-240! :)

 

 

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1 hour ago, martinot said:

No. It does not help at all (but a good try to stir things up for a great debate). Sorry! :D

Yes, I do agree that modern DSLR and mirrorless cameras have better sensors than in the M-E 240 I bought last year. But that is not why I bought the Leica. I already have several Nikons and Fujifilm cameras with great sensors.

Why I bought the Leica was to specifically get a manual focusing range finder digital camera. 

For me, it is not either a Leica M or a DSLR (or mirrorless camera). It is complement. Not a replacement.

For that I am extremely happy with my ME-240! :)

 

 

Just to be clear Martin, "stirring things up" in your view is giving an honest opinion on a camera someone has owned and used? Without wanting to blow my own trumpet I have owned and shot all of the top digital cameras that have been available in the last 5 years so I feel that I have a right to pass an opinion on the M240. If I wanted to "stir things up" I'd have said something like : if you take the Leica badge off this camera you would be left with a camera that is extremely dated with image and iso performance that is massively behind where we are currently and since I posted the original piece as advice for anyone considering buying the camera TODAY, not 9 years ago, again I think my opinion is valid : by today's standards it's not a great way to spend £2.5k unless you are only interested in joining the majority of Leica owners who seem to want to walk around with a trophy round their neck that screams "look how f@cking rich I am" you know one thing that I noticed - searching 500px and Instagram there is a huge lack of decent pictures taken on this camera, that in itself speaks volumes. 
 

😀

Edited by UltraDan
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Am 12.2.2021 um 15:57 schrieb UltraDan:

So I wanted to offer some advice to anyone considering buying a M240 in 2021. Having just parted with mine I can say that it is a lovely camera that has good image quality, but only good quality, I would compare the quality to a canon 5D Mark 2. I would say that if you are coming from an APSC crop sensor you will really notice and like the image this camera makes however if you are coming from a 5Dmk2/3/4 or any of the last 4 years Sony body's you will be disappointed and probably extremely disappointed with the ISO performance. 
 

....

My point of view when comparing these Canon cameras with the M240:

I had the 5D Mk 1, 2 and 3. All these sensors have a limited dynamic range at low iso compared to the M240. Blown highlights in landscapes was easy with the Canon. When I compare 5d Mk3 and M240, the 240 is a step up in image quality at low iso and a step back in high iso.

I use it very often at ISO1600. Very usable but you can't push files in postprocessing so much, so you better nail exposure at that ISO level.

 

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Hmmm - what's that all about?

A several year old digital camera couldn't compete with todays standards. But who would be so foolish to assume anything else?

All digital Ms hardly was up to-date when there where new. You always got better specs for less money anywhere else.
So better warn the people about the M10 also. There they would loose even more money.

Unfortunately none of this "better" cameras offers me focussing with an optical rangefinder, and that's what I want.
So the M 240 fits my needs best, being aware that there is much fancier stuff out there.
And my M 240 is better than a 5D Mk 2 in high ISO. I did a comparison.

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Well, in 2021 I would be thinking M0-P or R for a rangefinder. I own and use an M9 and a M-P (240 with) and  with current 35, 50 'crons, macro-elmar, WATE, and even an old 135 Elmarit; M3, 3, an 6 bodies and older lenses sit on a shelf. I also own and use a Canon 5D2 with both Canon and VC lenses. They all have their uses, and all provide me with more than adequate files to process and print. 

And, the results shown on the prints are the only ones with assessing. The 18 mp files from the M9 to the 24 mp files from the M-P let me produce prints – exquisite in my humble opinion – as large as 20 by 30 inches ( 50 by 75 cm). Same applies to the 21 mp files from the Canon 5D2. Files from my first digital camera, a Canon 5D (12 mp)  can also produce fairly large prints, but I tend limit prints from these files to 12 by 18 prints (30 by 45 cm).

Properly exposing shots is not rocket science, but it is photographic science that needs to be learned. Blind reliance on auto exposure is just that: blind luck, no matter how fine the integrated exposure meter works. Taking a reading of your palm (caucasian) and adjusting by one stop ends up being pretty accurate, and so on. With b&w film,  you would have used a form of zone system and adjust both exposure and development to produce printable negative; with colour negs and transparencies, you would definitely take a reading from a handheld meter, set meter if possible. None of my film equipment, be it Leica, Mamiya 6x6, Hasselblad, Cambo, or Speed Graphic had built-in meters (except for the M6). Never missed that function, but greatly appreciate it in my digital equipment.

As for the dynamic ranges:
Your eye sees from here to------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------here 
The film or sensor sees from here to ----------------------------------------------------------------------------here
Your screen displays from here to -----------------------------------------------------------------here
Your printer prints from here to -------------------------------------------here

As for blown-out highlights: just learn how to avoid them, it is not difficult.

As for $ value. It s a choice. There are dozens of superlative cameras to choose from.


 

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, UltraDan said:

So for me with my M4-p I take a light reading set my settings and shoot, with the m240 if I set the same settings the images looked crap, if I left it on auto the pics also looked bad on the rear lcd which meant I'd take multiple shots of everything with the EV being changed in the hope one would come good in post.

So, to sum up, you are criticising a camera - and advising potential buyers to avoid buying this camera - because of your ineptitude as to how to use /  interpret this camera's TTL metering system. Correct?

It's pretty clear that you have / had no idea how to use this camera properly. For you to offer advice to others because of your failings is unhelpful to put it very mildly.

Philip.

Edited by pippy
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2 hours ago, UltraDan said:

....unless you are only interested in joining the majority of Leica owners who seem to want to walk around with a trophy round their neck that screams "look how f@cking rich I am"...
 

😀

I don’t claim to speak for the majority of Leica owners - just me - but when I walk around with my (two) ‘trophies’, I’m aware it screams “look how f@cking rich I could be”.

Hope this helps! 👍

Edited by Denys
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In three years only twice has someone commented on the Leica round my neck. Always the M9p with it's big white lettering on top, never the plain M240

In the modern world of A9IIs and GFXs etc a secondhand M240 is actually the poor man's option...

 

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The three really hurtful things about M240 for pro use in 2021 are neither the thickness, nor the resolution (the latter being the only thing quoted in all "upgrade to M10-R" posts) but poor shadow recovery and the green cast thereof, blown out highlights and 7-image buffer.

Edited by Al Brown
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