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Core of the digital M


IkarusJohn
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Leica has started a survey for M11 owners.  I don’t expect them to ask the rest of us what we might want in future digital M cameras.  So, I thought I might pose the question here.

I seem to recall that only Andreas can set up a poll; besides, what options should be put on such a poll?

So, here’s my list.  I have tried to limit myself to what is Das Wesentliche, rather than what I’d like:

  • Coupled optical rangefinder (the M10 version is good)
  • EVF option (either external or an EVF variant)
  • The best sensor for 35mm format available in terms of dynamic range, M lens compatibility, colour response and ISO
  • DNG output only
  • Traditional shutter, with live view option
  • Internal meter, with centre-weighting off the shutter and other options with live view
  • Aperture priority
  • Direct physical controls as far as possible
  • Stable WiFi
  • Same size as the M10/11

I’m not bothered by extended ISO range or MP count - not pro, not opposed as they are not goals in themselves.  Similarly, I don’t care one way or the other about IBIS.

What I’d like is an LCD-less version, with the M11 base, and a slight change to the >.< in the viewfinder to show >>. or >>>. so I can measure exposure control for each exposure, rather than the single EV compensation I currently use.

What I don’t want is anything that I normally do in LightRoom - cropping, changing resolution, JPegs - and I don’t want an M camera without a mechanical shutter.

For me, the M camera should give direct control over the essentials for photography, giving a raw file which I then process how I want to.

I don’t suggest these are the only options, but I would really only be interested in a totally stripped down version of the digital M - if I wanted the camera to make decisions for me, I’d have a Canon or a Nikon (nothing would induce me to return to Sony).  A return to Hasselblad is a possibility …

Edited by IkarusJohn
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Agree with everything in the first thread, except that for me, IBIS would be a great addition if the current weight, size is kept.

Don't care about ISO 50,000 or even ISO 6,400. Give me the best performance possible at ISO 64 including an even better DR.

And I am keeping Hasselblad X1D no matter what. The colors are just too delicious and ergonomics unmatched.

Edited by ravinj
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Quote
  • Coupled optical rangefinder (the M10 version is good)
  • EVF option (either external or an EVF variant)
  • The best sensor for 35mm format available in terms of dynamic range, M lens compatibility, colour response and ISO
  • DNG output only
  • Traditional shutter, with live view option
  • Internal meter, with centre-weighting off the shutter and other options with live view
  • Aperture priority
  • Direct physical controls as far as possible
  • Stable WiFi
  • Same size as the M10/11

I would want the above features that are highlighted in red. 

 
I would also want the following -
DNG only would be fine, but not mandatory.
M10 series mechanical shutter.
Sensor resolution equal to the M10R or M11 or somewhere in between the two.
No IBIS.
Same battery & base as the M11.
Rear LCD screen (sorry, @IkarusJohn but I like to be able to verify my framing & exposure every now and then).
Edited by Herr Barnack
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2 hours ago, IkarusJohn said:

Leica has started a survey for M11 owners.  I don’t expect them to ask the rest of us what we might want in future digital M cameras.  So, I thought I might pose the question here.

I seem to recall that only Andreas can set up a poll; besides, what options should be put on such a poll?

So, here’s my list.  I have tried to limit myself to what is Das Wesentliche, rather than what I’d like:

  • Coupled optical rangefinder (the M10 version is good)
  • EVF option (either external or an EVF variant)
  • The best sensor for 35mm format available in terms of dynamic range, M lens compatibility, colour response and ISO
  • DNG output only
  • Traditional shutter, with live view option
  • Internal meter, with centre-weighting off the shutter and other options with live view
  • Aperture priority
  • Direct physical controls as far as possible
  • Stable WiFi
  • Same size as the M10/11

I’m not bothered by extended ISO range or MP count - not pro, not opposed as they are not goals in themselves.  Similarly, I don’t care one way or the other about IBIS.

What I’d like is an LCD-less version, with the M11 base, and a slight change to the >.< in the viewfinder to show >>. or >>>. so I can measure exposure control for each exposure, rather than the single EV compensation I currently use.

What I don’t want is anything that I normally do in LightRoom - cropping, changing resolution, JPegs - and I don’t want an M camera without a mechanical shutter.

For me, the M camera should give direct control over the essentials for photography, giving a raw file which I then process how I want to.

I don’t suggest these are the only options, but I would really only be interested in a totally stripped down version of the digital M - if I wanted the camera to make decisions for me, I’d have a Canon or a Nikon (nothing would induce me to return to Sony).  A return to Hasselblad is a possibility …

I want an M11 base with usb c, same compact size, baseplate wont hurt in my case since i could freely swap and in the case of knocks, easily replaced

strong battery like M11, adding a screenless feature is great too… M10r sensor would suffice… evf optional and i dont need ibis.. 

couldnt figure anything else

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10 hours ago, IkarusJohn said:

 

  • Coupled optical rangefinder (the M10 version is good)
  • EVF option (either external or an EVF variant)
  • The best sensor for 35mm format available in terms of dynamic range, M lens compatibility, colour response and ISO
  • DNG output only
  • Traditional shutter, with live view option
  • Internal meter, with centre-weighting off the shutter and other options with live view
  • Aperture priority
  • Direct physical controls as far as possible
  • Stable WiFi
  • Same size as the M10/11

 

Mine is very similar to yours.  

Although in order not to completely lose me, an EVF 'feature' would need to be either external or (if hybrid) completely invisible to OVF users when not 'activated' . As I'm sure it would be.  

But I'm being generous here because I really don't want an integrated EVF at all.  I think I'm just resigned to the fact that it may happen. 

The rest is the same as yours, with a screen-less variant in the range that would of course be without live view at all . .

And I really like baseplates 

It's sounding like an M10R-D for me :P

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by grahamc
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is it too late to ask for a flash sync option?

I could settle with an USB-C studio flash trigger. don't know if it is possible.
Of a thin box that has a port that can go in between the hotshoe and Visoflex so that we can make the use of a middle pin to trigger a flash in the studio.

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1 hour ago, grahamc said:

Mine is very similar to yours.  

Although in order not to completely lose me, an EVF 'feature' would need to be either external or (if hybrid) completely invisible to OVF users when not 'activated' . As I'm sure it would be.  

But I'm being generous here because I really don't want an integrated EVF at all.  I think I'm just resigned to the fact that it may happen. 

The rest is the same as yours, with a screen-less variant in the range that would of course be without live view at all . .

And I really like baseplates 

It's sounding like an M10R-D for me :P

 

 

 

 

 

Baseplate? Screenless? U would be lucky if they dont use aluminium top plate 😁

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Want*

  • OVF, non-TTL: together with small manual lenses this is the core of the M series IMO.
  • A shutter that sounds and feels like a proper mechanical shutter.
  • An optional, fast, silent electronic shutter.
  • Rear LCD screen. I have a M4 for when I want to feel traditional.
  • IBIS.
  • Video (internally recorded).
  • I'll stick with the mechanical RF until a better focusing mechanism for an OVF-based camera has been invented.
  • Metering off the shutter, or similar system suited to an OVF.
  • The best colour and least noise in low light than any other camera.
  • Instant start up from sleep.
  • Weatherproofing (as far as limitations of the mount and lenses permit) 
  • Arca-Swiss QR grip integrated into base.

Meh*

  • External EVF
  • Wifi, FOTOS
  • GPS tagging
  • LV metering. Should be optional only.
  • Resolution more than 60mp. I'm still happy with 24mp.

Don't want*

  • Baseplate
  • Full time LV
  • Faux release lever
  • Internal EVF. I want a small EVF i/c lens FF Leica. The M should not try to be it.

 

*Edit:

Want = this helps me take better photos, or allows me to shoot or record something I would otherwise miss.
Meh = has no impact on my photos.
Don't want = gets in the way, slows me up, limits camera performance, or directly distracts me.

Edited by LocalHero1953
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KISS

The core of any M camera whether film or digital is the rangefinder focusing mechanism and lenses. Period.

This thread is just more “This is what I want but I have no idea how to build it”.

If Leica produces a camera with what you want or need buy it. If they don’t then don’t buy it.

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6 hours ago, jaapv said:

Designing by committee always makes for surprising products😉

Ja - and to some extent the M11 is such a product. And for Leica, somewhat of a necessity, since they are too small to produce 3-5 different "core" Ms for all tastes at one time.

(OK, OK, there were the M10, M10-D, M10-P, M10-R, M10-M - but I would say the -P and -D changed very little at the "core" (not sensor, shutter, battery), the -R replaced the plain M10 and thus is really the "M10.5," and the -M is an outlier that no other company bothers with, as well as being the "M10.5-M.")

Examples:

- the M11 metering (and thus shutter operation). Killed two birds with one stone - a wider option of always-available metering modes, and opening up some space in the shutter chamber by removing the separate OTSC meter, to reduce internal camera reflections/flare (a complaint of mine regarding the M10). And probably opening even more space for the larger battery.

- The multi-resolution settings. I get that many want the 60-million pixels, but as a journalist/documentarian, *I* wanted cleaner high ISOs, including a smaller pixel-count, if that actually helps with the ISO. Leica tried to do both in one camera (IMO the jury is still out on how well they succeeded).

For the record, I remain in the fence regarding the M11 - not anti, but not ready to jump on the bandwagon immediately. Digital Leicas, like cars, are pretty affordable IF one can get 10 years of use out of them.

..................

The core that I would upgrade to "early" (at $9000 per):

Take plain-vanilla 24-Mpixel M10 exactly as was (or in my case, is):

- improve sensor efficiency (new sensor, obviously) to get another stop or two of no banding at the high ISOs (In my world, "high" ISO means >10000 - anything less is "low ISO." ;) )
- improve the highlight roll-off (a la M10-R).
- if necessary for those, reduce pixel count (larger pixels) to 18-20. The SL2-S says that probably is not necessary.
- Improve cramped shutter chamber with smaller (not deleted) "classic" OTSC meter electronics, and other smaller electronics (Moore's Law cuts both ways - more and/or smaller).
- (very optional) changing the meter cell lens to cover a somewhat wider metering area. That may not be compatable with "smaller," in which case it is expendable.
- (very optional) lighter weight via aluminum top plate.

Completely irrelevant:

- Anything to do with electronic viewing - unless Leica can come up with electronic split-image focusing, while avoiding the problems of PD pixels (occasional streaks).

Now, if Leica can figure out an M11-S or M11.2 or M12 that does those things, that's fine. I suspect that would be more difficult that some imagine, given the changes that Leica has already committed to in the M11 as is. Some major re-re-engineering required inside.

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To clarify:

- Larger pixels or lower resolutions do not help with high ISO noise.

- No camera currently in production has noticeable better high ISO DR/noise than M11 or M10 (P2P measurements, and DPR a7SIII vs. M10 @ 12800)

- Differences can occur with heavy shadow lifting at high ISOs, but again, that does not depend on pixel size.

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8 minutes ago, adan said:

That's OK - you earn money with the M's your way, and I'll earn it my way. ;)

This is sort of a funny and strange statement. I won't try to extrapolate what it's supposed to mean too much other than to say what is probably already clear - earning money with a camera has zero to do with one's ability to assess noise performance in a sensor (nor really any assessment at all).  

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