Today, Leica has released its long-awaited successor to the incredibly popular (and revolutionary in its own right) M (Typ 240) series of digital rangefinders: the Leica M10. Building on over 60 years of M rangefinder expertise and more than a decade of digital M experience, the M10 represents a huge step forward for their flagship line.
Perhaps most significantly, the M10 is Leica's slimmest-ever digital M, coming in at 38.5 millimeters, compared to 42mm for the M (Typ 240) cameras and, as a reference, 38mm for an M7. At 660 grams, it's also 20 grams lighter than its predecessor. The M10 incorporates a brand new 24 megapixel CMOS sensor with an ISO range of 100-50,000 and a Maestro II processor capable of 5 frames-per-second burst shooting with a 2GB buffer that can shoot a burst of up to 30 images.
Thanks to its slimmer profile and Leica's pursuit of rangefinder perfection, the M10's optical viewfinder has a magnification of 0.73x (compared to 0.68x on the M240), 30 percent more field of view than the M240 and a 50 percent increase in the eye-relief distance (a welcome feature for us bespectacled photographers). If that's not enough, the M10 is compatible with the Leica Visoflex (Typ 020) electronic viewfinder, which in addition to having 2.4 megapixels to allow for precise focus adjustment, also incorporates GPS for geotagging images.
The body of the M10 is designed to give the user a pure, unadulterated photographic experience. A mechanical ISO dial lives on the top of the camera for fast, discreet adjustment; even when the camera is powered off. The rear has only three buttons: Live View, Play and Menu and the power switch has only two positions: ON or OFF. There is no video functionality or USB port anywhere to be found.
Of course, to keep it in line with Leica's other current models, the M10 has Wi-Fi for controlling the camera from your smartphone or tablet and sharing images instantly. And finally, you are able to move around the zoomed-in live view image to focus exactly how you want, where you want with supreme precision. A “favorites” menu, something featured originally on the SL, allows you to keep all of your most commonly adjusted settings in one place.
Deliveries of the Leica M10, priced at $6,595, and its wide range of new accessories begin in late January. You can see detailed specifications, pricing and place your pre-order here: The Leica M10. Don't hesitate to reach out with any questions via phone at 305-921-4433 or send us an email.
Update: Our in-depth Leica M10 review is now online: Leica M10 Review: The Quintessential Digital M
The full press release, from Leica (scroll to the bottom of the release for a full gallery of images):
Wetzlar, 18 January 2017. An iconic camera system sets standards yet again: The perfect balance of long-established traditions and technical innovation in the Leica M10 embodies the essence of everything that is truly important for photography like no other camera before. Although all its functions have been adapted to meet the precise needs of contemporary photography, there has been no deviation from the essential principles of the legendary M-System. Every single component and every technical solution concentrates uncompromisingly on photography. With its more compact dimensions, improved performance and even more intuitive handling, the Leica M10 sets a new milestone in the ongoing history of Leica M photography.
The form factor: analogue dimensions enter the digital age
Many photographers who appreciate the dimensions of analogue M-Models due to their ideal ergonomics and perfect fit in the hands expressed their wishes for precisely this for digital M-Cameras. Leica has now realized these dream dimensions – with a top plate depth of only 33.75 millimeters, a whole four millimeters less than that of its close relative, the Leica M (Typ 240). The Leica M10 is now the slimmest digital M of all time.
The rangefinder: a precise window on the world
The rangefinder has always played an extremely important role in the glorious heritage of the Leica M-System. A number of important aspects of this legendary focusing technology have now been further optimized in the Leica M10: To improve the view of the subject, the field of view has been enlarged by 30 percent and the magnification factor has been increased to 0.73. Eye-relief – the optimum distance of the eye from the viewfinder eyepiece – has also been considerably increased. Thanks to a 50 percent increase in this distance, the viewfinder is much more comfortable to use, particularly for photographers who wear glasses.
The sensor: the digital canvas
The key component of the Leica M10 is the 24 MP, full-frame CMOS sensor developed especially for this camera. Its new technology leads to significant improvements in all parameters relevant to imaging performance: impressive dynamic range, excellent contrast rendition, exceptional sharpness and finest resolution of details. Its unique pixel and microlens architecture enables a particularly large aperture, i.e. even rays of light arriving at the sensor from oblique angles are precisely captured by its photodiodes – this has been further improved in comparison with the previous generation. The glass cover plate of the sensor acts as an infrared cut-off filter and thus also avoids undesirable refraction of incoming light by additional layers of glass. The omission of a low-pass filter also ensures that the Leica M10 delivers maximum sharpness. This leads to significantly better imaging results, especially in the case of wide-angles and very fast lenses.
Thanks to the new design of the sensor of the Leica M10, the ISO sensitivity range has been expanded. It now allows exposures at values between ISO 100 and 50,000 with considerably improved noise characteristics at higher ISO settings. The Leica M10 opens up entirely new areas of photography and delivers exceptional imaging performance even in difficult lighting conditions.
Image processing electronics: the next quality level
The latest-generation Maestro II image processor of the M10 reflects the state-of-the-art of advanced processor technology. In combination with the equally new 24 MP sensor, this ensures that all exposures captured impress with exceptionally brilliant image quality. Thanks to a 2 GB buffer memory and sequential shooting at up to five frames per second at full resolution, photographers will never again miss the decisive moment. The Leica M10 is the fastest M-Camera ever made.
In addition to this, the processor allows the loupe function to be freely positioned for even better assessment of sharpness. This new function can be used not only on the camera’s monitor screen, but also in conjunction with the Visoflex electronic viewfinder (EVF) with 2.4 MP resolution. The viewfinder features a swivel function for shooting from unusual angles and an integrated GPS module that can be switched in for geotagging image files.
The handling concept: intuitive and reduced to essentials
Since the beginning, Leica M-Cameras have stood for concentration on only the essential functions. This principle has been conscientiously pursued in the Leica M10, which sets new standards in terms of intuitive handling and rapid access to the settings relevant to photography: For instance, the controls on the back are limited to the joystick control and just three buttons for Play, Live View and Menu. The importance of particular settings varies according to personal preferences and photographic needs. In view of this, Leica M10 also offers a freely-configurable Favorites Menu for the definition of a profile of personally relevant functions.
One of the most distinctive features of the Leica M10 is the ISO setting dial on the top plate. For the first time in a digital Leica M, all essential shooting parameters such as focusing, aperture, shutter speed and ISO value can be selected manually without using the menu – or even switching on the camera. This allows even more direct control and greater discretion when shooting.
The WLAN module: memories are there to be shared and shown
The Leica M10 is the first M-Camera with integrated WLAN connectivity. This enables fast, wireless transfer of pictures to Apple mobile devices, where they can be edited and, for instance, posted and shared in social networks. The Leica M-App also enables the direct transfer of RAW data in DNG format to mobile devices for further processing with suitable apps from iOS Version 10.2. The Leica M10 can also be remotely controlled by WLAN from a smartphone or tablet. This makes it easy to shoot perfect pictures from unusual angles or avoid camera shake when shooting with longer shutter speeds.
Leica M10: A further step towards perfection
‘The Leica M is the heart, the backbone and the soul of Leica Camera. The Leica M10 unites state-of-the-art technology and exceptional optical performance with a conscious focus on the traditional advantages of the unique Leica M rangefinder system. In this, the innovative camera and its concentration on the functions essential to photography set new standards, while its exceptionally lean handling concept takes us a further step towards absolute perfection. Made in Germany and made by Leica – the Leica M10 stands as an outstanding brand statement for the finest arts of engineering, highest quality and craftsmanship’, explains Oliver Kaltner, CEO Leica Camera AG.
“The new M, the M10! Not a camera for everyone – but increasingly a camera for people who love a system that is built for the future while maintaining consistent compatibility with its past. The rangefinder system lets me frame and compose my pictures. The rangefinder system lets me tread in the footsteps of the world’s greatest photographers. The rangefinder system lets me create photographs with my own visual style. The new M10 and the wealth of present and past Leica M-Lenses – products that awaken and fulfill the desires of every photographer”, emphasizes Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, majority shareholder and chairman of the supervisory board of Leica Camera AG.
Good work Josh,
My review of all the reviews suggests this iteration of the M is getting universal acclaim.
My favorite part is that it is available now, not in 12 months. I like the ISO dial. All these little changes appear to really add to the appeal.
Thanks Josh, well written and succinct. Always exciting to hear of a new M.
Beautifully written and a very exciting advance…