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Forget the M11-D, we want the M-A-D!


Datsch
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The M10-D is pretty much perfect the way it is, if you ignore certain features like it's petulant WiFi and use of the Visoflex 020, ( which annoying turns on the truly useless GPS whether you want it or not and you can't turn the GPS off either, that's doubly annoying ). The "what the hell is it there for anyway" thumb wheel can likewise be ignored too.

The on/off switch situated on the back of the camera instead of where it should have been around the shutter release was, still is, a dumb idea too..........but thanks to someone who posted on the forum a long time back I totally ignore the switch now and leave the camera switched on at all times with a 2 minute sleep mode. Works great and even with the camera unused for a week the battery drain is negligible.

Didn't think I would like it at all, I lampooned it before buying my M10-D, but the faux winding lever was a genius move. I wish all M10's and future M's would have this.

The other annoying thing about the M10-D, well mine anyway, is that it's been homesick for Wetzlar too many times in it's short life and it's back there again now awaiting a main circuit board transplant......But hopefully it'll return someday soon and I'll be happy to have it back as it's still, along with the M10-M, the best digital Leica M so far............no question.

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6 hours ago, Datsch said:

My question to Jon is: With your toggle system, (which I love the sound of) what is the default shutter speed upon switching on the camera? Something in the middle like 1/250th? Then you go left or right from there? And would the speed be reset each time the camera is turned off? And how will you answer the people who like to see the speed setting before the camera is turned on or without having their eye to the finder?

It would need to resume at the last setting to avoid surprises when, say, waking it up or changing a battery. Perhaps a factory reset would have it read exposure as if in aperture priority on first half press, then set that shutter speed as if manually selected. Actually, that’d be a neat side effect of a rear toggle: since A is not on a dial (where moving away from A means selecting bulb or 1/4000),  toggling away from A could leave the exposure value where it was, perhaps until the next half press to adjust for either sensitivity selection. This would be like Pentax’s green button or EV-L elsewhere.

To folks who like reading the value off the camera body: I feel the same way. But what’s the alternative?

I’ll admit that my final reason was convenience: a toggle might be added to the existing top plate, but adding a window or display would likely be too different from the standard production model.

If we did add a window…

The CL has a compact display for such settings. That’d meet the requirements. It would also clash with the overall aesthetic of even a normal M, and moreso a minimal M.

Add a dial indicator, like a date window on a watch or the Fuji X-Pro2 ISO selector? The top plate is fairly thick, so the window would be rather deep, making it hard to illuminate and read. It would also add unnecessary mechanical complexity where there might not be room for it under the top plate.

Ok, how about this: a CL-like display, but located elsewhere, e.g. below the viewfinder. It could also show power, memory, and buffer status… perhaps even a settings QR code. It could be an e-ink display so it retains the last values even after being off for a week, and so a black background would visually merge into the black camera leather. I rather like the idea of a camera without any external lights, and e-ink would sustain that. It would mean that the panel is not visible at the same time as the lens settings, but I find the back of the camera easier to look at anyhow.

Yet a digital display would inevitably clash. I would be glad for an always-on status on a normal M, replacing the M10’s two status lights… but on an M-D? I just don’t see any design making that work; I admire Fuji for trying it on the X-Pro3, but I can’t call that a success.

Hm. If external lights are allowed, a shutter-speed-dial-like ring of values could be engraved on the top plate. On the outside of each value is a drilled hole with a transparent window through which a LED shines to indicate selection. Half stops would be nice, but that requires a larger size so that the holes don’t act like punch-out perforations. So, the ring spans most of the depth of the top plate; making it the same size as the actual dial would be confusing, and thete’s a lot of blank canvas up there to work with. Aperture priority mode is indicated by a blinking light at the current speed; exposure compensation adds another light, blinking at shooting speed but solid at the speed that would be selected but for exposure comp. Use an ambient light detector to change brightness. Ok, that might have enough function and a strong enough aesthetic to justify the external lights. The camera would have to be on to read the value, but a half-press awakening would be sufficient.

Or: do the same on the back, but mimic the large ISO dial instead of a shutter dial, and use non-backlit LCD or e-ink wells instead of lights. No pixels, just a matte glass window maybe 3mm in diameter next to each speed, which is transflective if active but otherwise darkened.

I’d want to see mock-ups before choosing, but I like those last two ideas.

I also like calling that kind of indicator the “speedhenge,” as it would resemble Stonehenge viewed from above with one of the pillars wearing a bright cap, but I’ve seen this type of indicator before so I’m sure it has a more pedestrian name already.

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Is it just me or are we getting 1,000,000 miles away from the ethos of the original M-D?

On the body; Shutter-speed, ISO dial, Shutter-release, On/Off/Self-timer switch. That's all.

In the body; LED showing battery status, frames remaining, TTL metering. That's all.

Nothing else is required.

Philip.

Edited by pippy
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43 minutes ago, pippy said:

Is it just me or are we getting 1,000,000 miles away from the ethos of the original M-D?

On the body; Shutter-speed, ISO dial, Shutter-release, On/Off/Self-timer switch. That's all.

In the body; LED showing battery status, frames remaining, TTL metering. That's all.

Nothing else is required.

Philip.

Not just you 😀

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I see this as a design exercise; not how to improve the D variant, but how minimalist an M can be made. I think the original name -- M-A-D -- is telling. 

A rough mockup of my dual-toggle interface with a speed-indicator ring and a 3/8" accessory well is below. I like the interface. It would work well with how I like to shoot. I think getting rid of ISO, making the accessory mount more robust by making it simpler, and moving the on/off switch to the battery/memory area are elegant, form-follows-function changes. The shutter speed dial also wants rethinking: it used to directly adjust the shutter mechanism but now there are several layers of electronic abstraction in there, so the dial itself is function-follows-form. The fundamental problem with using a toggle for shutter speed, though, is that it disconnects the interaction from the indicator in an unfamiliar way. Even if I rarely look at the speed dial while changing it, when I do look at it and want to reach a certain value, moving the dots by pushing the toggle would lack the tactile intuition of a dial. I think the dual-toggle interface would gain more widespread acceptance (hah!) without an external indicator, so there is one and only location for the shutter speed to appear: the finder.

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Funny I was just drawing a few minutes ago too! I've gone for + / - shutter speed using just one toggle on the front side of the shutter button. (On-Off to be dealt with elsewhere).

 

 

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Edited by Datsch
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6 hours ago, pippy said:

Is it just me or are we getting 1,000,000 miles away from the ethos of the original M-D?

On the body; Shutter-speed, ISO dial, Shutter-release, On/Off/Self-timer switch. That's all.

In the body; LED showing battery status, frames remaining, TTL metering. That's all.

Nothing else is required.

Philip.

It's not that far, just minus a few dials.

How would you trigger the battery status and frames remaining display? By keeping the function button?

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1 hour ago, Datsch said:

It's not that far, just minus a few dials.

How would you trigger the battery status and frames remaining display? By keeping the function button?

The Battery Status and Frames Remaining are displayed, in turn, automatically and instantaneously when the M-D Typ-262 is switched on (in the first instance) and every time a frame is snapped (in the second).

But surely you know that?

Philip.

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53 minutes ago, pippy said:

The Battery Status and Frames Remaining are displayed, in turn, automatically and instantaneously when the M-D Typ-262 is switched on (in the first instance) and every time a frame is snapped (in the second).

But surely you know that?

Philip.

Oh I see. Actually I try to ignore those automatic displays so I forgot about them ... when I actually want to know those things I press the function button to get them.

So no need for the function button then.

Mind you, I wouldn't miss those automatic displays at all. With a 32GB card I get 800-odd shots and that lasts a long time. If I get down to 'Sd' ie no room on card then I just put another one in. And as you know, the battery doesn't need checking very often ...

I'd have just the info upon switching on and not every shot.

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8 hours ago, Datsch said:

...So no need for the function button then...Mind you, I wouldn't miss those automatic displays at all...

I wouldn't miss that info either. As you say; I find battery-life is more than adequate for even a heavy day's shooting. As I recharge my battery every evening battery-life is, for me, a non-issue. If I was the sort of snapper who rattles-off 2,000 - 3,000 frames each day then I would carry spare batteries and swap as and when neccessary much as I do with my M Monochrom (and, indeed, with my M8.2 and M9-P in days of yore).

And yes; with a 32Gb card there is plenty of space for almost anything I could possibly imagine. If I was ever in a position where I thought I might be near the card's limit and I had to ensure I didn't miss something coming up I would simply replace the card immediately.

The function button does facilitate one essential feature and that is to allow for sensor-cleaning. For that purpose I can live with the button.

Philip.

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21 hours ago, JonPB said:

The CL has a compact display for such settings. That’d meet the requirements. It would also clash with the overall aesthetic of even a normal M, and moreso a minimal M.

Well the M8 had a little LCD display on the top plate of course. But I can't say it looked that great. I was wondering if OLED would look better and found someone suggested it back in 2009 for the M9, in colour no less:

 

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From: https://leicarumors.com/2009/01/31/leica-m9-concept-sketch.aspx/

I don't think it looks too bad.

But ultimately I agree it's not very M.

And while I like the speedhenge idea, I think if you're going to have numbers and indices on the top plate, you may as well stick with a dial ...?

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On 8/3/2021 at 11:08 PM, pippy said:

 

Funny you should say that. I almost did buy one a year or so ago. Came with original lens. No casket (or whatever) but the price reflected that. It was primarily the lack of strap-lugs which was the deal-breaker and I'm not kidding. I'm sure NigelG will have a workaround but for me? Nope. Sadly.

Philip.

I was just buying a ten quid hot shoe cover from Leica Stockholm when I noticed this little item for a mere one thousand times more and thought of you @pippy ... https://www.leicacenter.se/sv/articles/2.119.478/leica-m-240-edition-leica-60-set-med-summilux-m-35mm-f14-asph

Actually seems cheaper than I remember them? 11600kr = £9600

 

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40 minutes ago, Datsch said:

I was just buying a ten quid hot shoe cover from Leica Stockholm when I noticed this little item for a mere one thousand times more and thought of you @pippy ... https://www.leicacenter.se/sv/articles/2.119.478/leica-m-240-edition-leica-60-set-med-summilux-m-35mm-f14-asph

Actually seems cheaper than I remember them? 11600kr = £9600

Damn! If only it had strap-lugs!!!.....

:lol:

Thanks very much for the thought, Datsch! I've had a look down the back of the sofa and, unfortunately, I'm just £9598.50 short...

Yes; not a bad price all things considered. AFAICR when it was new it cost around £12,000. To put things into perspective the only M-D Typ-262 I've seen on the UK dealership market this year was £4,000 and it sold within a week. If we consider that the Edition 60 comes with its unique-to-the-camera 35mm Summilux then, although hardly 'Bargain-basement', it's not too ourtageous for such a rare item.

The Edition 60 which I (briefly) considered buying was 'only' £7,500 which is pretty much exactly the same as is asked for a regular M-D with a regular 35mm Summilux so it really was a great price for the thing. Unfortunately I had only just bought my M-D a couple of months earlier and the Monochrom only the previous week so, all things considered, couldn't possibly justify the purchase of the 60.

Perhaps Nigel fancies another one?...

:)

Philip.

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I had more thoughts on exactly how I see the Leica One exposure toggle that @JonPB came up with could work.

He proposed a finger toggle around the shutter release, a sprung lever with a centre detent. It's not unlike the zoom in and out control on many compact cameras, but Leica-solid and rich haptics of course.

The viewfinder display would show both shutter speed and the normal M meter indicator. For example,

        500    <
        1000   o
        2000   >

It's manual by default.

Push left one to go up one stop. Keep holding left to increase faster, letting go when you reach your desired speed.

Pull right to decrease shutter speed. So finger movement is like all previous Ms.

It remembers the shutter speed you left it at when you last switched off or sleep mode was activated.

I'd like to add a simple on-demand Aperture priority function, which is simply half pressing for one second. This sets the speed at the meter's best guess. It's to get you in the ballpark if you want some automatic assistance. Like the Pentax green button. A fumbled accidental half-press or slow full shutter press does not invoke this function. Sort of a 'reverse AEL'  or 'exposure unlock' ...

That's it. Simple yet fully functional.


I have a personal variant which is that I'd like to able able to see +/-3 or even 4 EV, rather than the +/- 2 of the < o > by using a digit instead:

       60     +4
      125     +3
      250     +2
      500     +1
      1000     0
      2000    -1

Or, you could keep the arrows to act as a reminder for the direction of finger movement needed:

       60     <4
      125     < 3
      250     <2
      500     <1
      1000     0
      2000    >1
      4000    >2
      8000    >3

Also, I like one stop increments, but that could be just me. When I set my old Nikon to one stop increments it was such a relief as you could get where you wanted quickly without the endless wheel spinning of third stop increments  ... modern sensors only need to be at the closest whole stop and still have everything you want recoverable ...?

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Without the rear toggle, how about going for a soft dial around the shutter release? That would make multi-increment adjustments more tactile. I’d stick with half stops because those clicks on camera and lens would be a hurdle to re-learn.

But I am feeling like my proposals were leaning too strongly on feature retention rather than shooting experience: your reduction to shutter release and speed being the only exterior controls feels right. Maybe that’s because it is summer and I haven’t touched sensitivity on my camera for a while…

Now there’s a lot of unused space. The existing fit with the hotshoe and aperture-estimator on one side and the speed dial on the other gives the standard model a function-over-form feel. I’m not thinking of anything feasible for that space that would continue the function-driven design. (Longer rangefinder base length? Fingers get in the way and doesn’t require more height. Larger rangefinder aperture for a brighter patch? Possible, but would require a redesign of that crucial part, which won’t happen for just one derivative model. Double hotshoes? Umm.. ISO dial? That’d be confusing. Leave the shutter dial and move ISO to the shutter release surround? Adds complexity, but maybe an off/low/high switch would be fitting. Yet I like having no more than speed and release controls.) I haven’t caught up with the thread, though, so I might be missing something.

But perhaps just treat it as negative space: extend the upper top plate out toward the shutter release; the engraving on the top plate has a single row of plain text: “Leica Camera”, the serial number, and “Made in Wetzlar Germany” (all caps is fine, but here that’d be yelling) with the letters filled with the same red paint as used for secondary markers on the black paint lenses, but the numbers are unfilled. (The Monochrom variant would infill with white paint, of course.) The single line of text then fills the horizontal space with a bare minimalism that represents the camera, yet the open spaces are filled so that they appear intentional.

Would I buy such a camera? No, but that’s a financial hurdle that isn’t universal. Would I want one? Undeniably.

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11 hours ago, JonPB said:

extend the upper top plate out toward the shutter release;

I know what you mean, I tried that already -- it doesn't look as good as I expected, to my eyes, just a big slab ... and the shutter button looks a bit exposed ...

 

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[EDIT] But I think you meant just bring the top plate over closer to the button, covering where the shutter speed dial had been, not all the way like I did in the photo above. Your way would probably look great. ...

 

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Edited by Datsch
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On 8/5/2021 at 10:57 PM, Datsch said:

Funny I was just drawing a few minutes ago too! I've gone for + / - shutter speed using just one toggle on the front side of the shutter button. (On-Off to be dealt with elsewhere).

 

 

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If all paraphernalia in the back is left away (buttons, dials etc) then the body can be some 2mm thinner at least  . .  That in itself would be worth the effort of design. keep a faux lever on the right though, for handling. Better, why not cock the shutter that way in an Epson R-D1 style? The battery can be very slim then too. 😏

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