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15 years of digital Leica M - which model is your favorite and most hated?


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On September 14th in 2006, Leica introduced the first digital M camera, the Leica M8 featuring a 10.3 megapixel CCD image sensor.
After 15 years, a new is M11 coming for all eager M photographers in love with latest technology available from Wetzlar.
I would like to know which digital model from these fruitful 15 years has been your favorite and/or which digital M model (each had its quirks) you hated the most.

Edited by Al Brown
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  • Al Brown changed the title to 15 years of digital Leica M - which model is your favorite and most hated?
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I understand that different sensors have different characteristics, but I would assume that Leica takes seriously the way their cameras reproduce color and have influence in how their partners work to achieve those goals. Adobe does not make its profiles in a vacuum, Leica has said that they worked closely with their engineers for the S3 for example. It is there that I wish that what they came up with were more like the M9 and S006. I don't think I am alone, but I also think that color is very p

I used the M10M for years but it became so limiting so in hindsight probably the worse camera I’ve used. I skipped a few models and recently purchased  the M14 with the upgraded AI features which emulates every Leica lens ever made and simulates the subjects position through 360 degrees with its 42 lighting conditions. However looking forward to the M15 with its rumored ‘hover’ function. So the M14 along with the old iPhone 186 would be my favorites. 

I think the M10-D is the most beautiful digital M so far. But I ordered the ordinary M10 as soon as it was available and have never been able to afford another camera since. I have regretted a little that I didn't wait a bit, until the M10-D was launched. My only other M was the M9. I don't hate it and I even miss it from time to time. But I am glad the development continues.

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I think the M10-D is the most beautiful digital M so far. But I ordered the ordinary M10 as soon as it was available and have never been able to afford another camera since. I have regretted a little that I didn't wait a bit, until the M10-D was launched.

My only other M was the M9. I don't hate it and I even miss it from time to time. But I am glad the development continues.

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I love my M10. It does everything I need for 90% of my photography. My SL takes care of the rest. And I was fond of my M9 and MM even though both required new sensors. And my old M8 was fun. I appreciated it's IR B&W rendering with IR filters.

My only clunker was my S2. The IQ was wonderful but it was heavy and awkward in the field so it became a studio camera. But the biggest issue was the same CCD sensor corrosion. It took nearly 7 months to replace. Problem was it was a working camera and not a toy. I had to resort to shooting with my 4x5s and that slowed my capture work considerably. 

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I didn't "hate" any of them. ;) Whichever one I have at the time is my favorite.

I was mildly frustrated by the M8s' crop and IR problems. I like the wide-angles I paid for to be wide-angles, and I definitely noticed subjects who were - STARTLED - by the hot-pink reflections from the IR-blocking filters. Especially large ones (90mm f/2 E55) - I nearly brought a band concert to a screeching halt when the singer did a double-take. The hot-pink filters did look a little like a tactical IR rifle scope, head-on. ;)

Nevertheless the M8 produced a couple of my most memorable (and top-selling) photographs, and a C/V 15mm (effective "20mm") saved my bacon at the wide end. And the cropping was useful in the studio.

But I did switch to the 24x36 M9 the very first week it came out - pays to be good friends with your regional Leica rep. ;)  Finally - my 21mm f/2.8 was again a 21mm f/2.8. And the M9 did introduce me to the 75 focal lengths, whose close-focusing restored some of the M8's tight framing.

I skipped over the M(240) variants: not enough improvement over the M9 technically; too much red; too fat; and I still hoped the "3rd-window natural frameline illumination" might make a comeback. I calculated the M9 should hold up for at least a decade. Added a used M9M for the ISO 10000.

Then, of course, the sensor-corrosion problem came up. Fortunately, in my case, not until late 2015, and only a mild case (one hair-like track on the M9; the M9M already had a replacement sensor). A sad reflection on Leica and/or Kodak, but not a serious problem in my photography.

By late 2016, I was getting ready to send in the M9 for free sensor replacement - and then the M10 was pre-announced in Jan. 2017. I downloaded some of the sample pix from dpreview.com. Shazzam!

Thinner - a serious usable-ISO increase (1600 > 10000) - new Leica profile with close-to-M9 color/punch  - larger and more precise RF for my 135mm f/4 and 75 f/1.4. And - at the time - actually at a lower price than my M9 had been at introduction ($6500 vs. $6950). A no-brainer change. Kept the M9 as backup until the "last call" for free sensor replacements, got it fixed, traded it for a second M10.

I still miss the classic third-window on the front, a little. But I've persuaded myself that my silver 2-window M10 is simply a look-alike resurrection of my first serious rangefinder camera in the 1970s - a Canon P. ;)

Edited by adan
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6 minutes ago, adan said:

I didn't "hate" any of them. ;) Whichever one I have at the time is my favorite.

 

My sentiments exactly.  

M8.2 (two), M240, M10, M9 Monochrom (used), M10 Monochrom….in that order…still have latter 3.

Jeff

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I skipped the M8, as I mainly wanted a digital body to use with the M lenses I'd been using for 40 years, and wanted my 35 to behave like a 35. Got the M9 with my retirement bonus when one became available. As an old film shooter I was fully satisfied with the M9. After 7 years use, Leica replaced the slightly corroded sensor for free and went over the camera making it like new. I couldn't be more pleased with the company. Got the M10 as a second body, and it became my main body. No need for anything else.

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My last analog pit-stop was a black M6 TTL. I skipped M8 due to the IR issues and crop, skipped M9 due to CCD's not stellar high ISO performance and landed with a silver M240. Loved the camera in professional use for years - fat bodied M was the longest run digital Leica M (2012-2019) in all its alterations AFAIK - but grew frustrated with opened shadows' green hues, blown highlights and tiny buffer (7 images), three things most users probably never noticed. Loved the battery life and chubby dimensions of the M240 though. Finally treated myself to the M10R in black paint and boy oh boy is that a different camera on so many levels from my first digital "2013 technology" M, especially in day-to-day use. One of the awesome aspects of the upgrade is the ability to use the Mandler 75 lux without EVF (still not perfect, but much, much better) and to have it permanently memorized in camera as the one uncoded lens, automatically swapping to 6-bit with other two summiluxes I own. Some neat organic grain on higher ISO that looks good in classic press print and many other improved details - including the highlight recovery ability.

Edited by Al Brown
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First, I use my camera as a pure amateur. I have never sold any picture.

I started affording and using Ms at the beginning of 2000.

I got a M6TTL, and later M3, M4, M7. I still own the first 3 ones, and regret selling the M7.

I shot slides and B&W only for 15 years.

I didn’t go digital until 2014 when I bought the M(240). I was happy with the camera, though I wished it had better high iso, better color management (reds) and above all it lacked responsiveness. I’ve been shooting B&W film from time to time.

I traded the M(240) in for a M10M as soon as it was launched :)

I absolutely love it. I don’t think I need anything different for B&W : perfect ergonomics, responsiveness, super high iso. I would have bought a M10M-D if Leica had gone that route, as I almost don’t use the screen (I don’t check my pictures on the camera).

I use my digital CL and SL 15% of the time, and the M10M 85%
Maybe I will go for the M11 (but I am not in a hurry ;) )to get a color M to compliment the M10M.

 

Didier

 

 

 

 

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Currently in my Leica M kit I've a M10-P, a M10-M and a M10-D, ( the D is currently still at Wetzlar awaiting spares before undergoing a main circuit board transplant ). I also own a M9M but I've donated it on a " it's your's for as long as you need it" loan to a friend in South Africa who's B&W work deserved the uptick.

The M10-P was a Wetzlar upgrade from the regular M10, that for me was a good move and I like to recycle stuff it at all possible rather than trade in / up. 24 megapixels are enough for me as I easily get A2 size prints from the files, sometimes even larger when I farm out that print work. I was given a trial of the M10-R about a year or so ago and I saw no real advantages for me in it's sensor and one disadvantage, the well discussed here motion problem that necessitates use of higher shutter speed to counter. The M10-M is a wonderful beast, no need to elaborate on that fact, and I love the M10-D as one adores, despite the problems it brings to ownership, the adopted dog that isn't quite housetrained and keeps running away to it's original home.

I see little reason to upgrade from what I have in digital M's, I don't need more megapixels, I'm happy enough with the sensor, the M10 body is close to perfect and it's functionality leaves very little to desire. Anyway more megapixels would probably mean me having to upgrade my computing gear too, a hidden expense that I don't want to have to plumb for at this time.........Instead, in the past couple of years, I have invested in analogue cameras again with an M-A last year and a MP a month or so ago, they join my M7 that I had completely overhauled and it's VF upgraded at Wetzlar last year. The other "upgrade" is the building of a darkroom I've just finished here at home for film process only, ( I will continue to print with the two A2 size Epsons, one with regular full spectrum inks the other for monochrome only with the Jon Cone / Piezography Pro ink-set ). My personal work will now mainly be in film and then as a small bonus I can also bring back into play my trusty Pentax 67 and the various Nikon film Pro' cameras that I've never sold on even after their use died away when digital came on the scene.

That said it's good to see Leica continuing to develop the line of digital M cameras, that's very reassuring and even though no doubt there'll be temptations to "upgrade' when I learn of the newer model's specifications I am happy with knowing that what I presently own is plenty good enough for my use. Might have to look for a Leica M AA group to ensure I can successfully kick the upgrading habit and stay financially sober.

  

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Regarding digital M cameras, I have only had two - the M-P 240 Safari and the M10  Monochrom. 

IMHO the only real drawback to the 240 is its ISO performance; a top ISO of 6400 doesn't give you much to work with in low light if you are trying to avoid noise.  The M10M is a truly excellent camera - no shortcomings there at all IMHO.

I still have both and "hate" neither.

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I wasn't too crazy about the M9 and M9-P locking up in "discrete mode" but learned to live with and work around it.

Never had a problem with M240, M240P or M240 Monochrom cameras - true work horses.

Absolutely love my M10 P in silver chrome

Looking forward to M11

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Had a couple of fantastic digital M bodies:

  • M9
  • M240
  • M-P (240)
  • M10
  • M10-P
  • M246 Monochrom
  • M-D (262)
  • M10-D
  • M10-P Reporter (Current)

My favorite digital M body of all time has to be the M-D (Typ 262)

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By far my favorite Leica digital is the M10 Monochrome. Love it. 
 

least favorite and really only digital M I never bonded with after buying and selling at least 3-4 times was the M246. 
 

I do appreciate the M10R as well. 

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Not hate. I just skipped all M240 things.

  • M8 (still here)
  • M8.2 (sold for M9)
  • M9 (sold for M9-P)
  • Monochrom CCD (soon to be sold… probably)
  • M9-P (sold for M10-D)
  • M10 (recently upgrade to -P,  soon to be sold)
  • M10-D (will never be sold)
  • M10-M (currently my favorite M, love pure BW since the 1st MM – and I couldn't resist the 15% off)
  • M10-R BP (no, I won‘t do fake brassing)

I’m glad @Al Brown only asked about the digital Ms. 🤪

Edited by RF’sDelight
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The M8 was my first digital M, but several of my lenses did not mate properly with it. The fact that Leica regards a season of the year as the minimum unit of time meant that I didn't send it back to get this problem fixed.

The M9-P took me into the full-frame digital era. While I was visiting Leica London, they offered to check the sensor for corrosion, and the result was my camera making an unexpected trip to the Fatherland.

When I got the chance of buying a second-hand M-D, I snapped it up - goodbye to menus and settings, and back to the sort of experience I had with my M5 and M6.

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