Today, we received our first shipment of the new Leica M-E. When Leica announced the M-E, there were a lot of questions about how it fit into Leica’s lineup and what was different when compared to the M9 and M9-P. Now that the camera is here in our store, we put it on our shooting table to compare it against Leica’s current lineup of digital M cameras.
Here are the highlights:
- The finish on the Leica M-E differs greatly from the steel grey M9. It has slight blue color to it and looks very classy with either a silver or black lens.
- The leatherette covering on the M-E is identical to the M Monochrom. It’s softer to the touch than the M9 or M9-P. The pattern on the covering is slightly tighter than the M9-P’s leatherette.
- The accents are silver chrome – the hot shoe, shutter button and surrounding material, shutter speed dial, and release lever on the bottom plate. This allows the camera to coordinate well with silver chrome lenses. Also, I think a silver chrome Thumbs Up would look great on the M-E.
- The M-E does not have a model logo engraved on the front like the original M9; it is similar to the M9-P and M Monochrom in that regard.
- The two major physical differences from all of Leica’s other digital M cameras to date: the camera does not have a frame line preview lever on the front or a USB port on the side.
- The “Leica Camera Made in Germany” engraving on the back is in white, similar to a black M9.
- The hot shoe is engraved with “Leica M-E” in addition to the serial number (like the M9-P and M Monochrom).
Overall, I am very pleased with how the camera looks. It was difficult for me to assess the exact color of the finish using only Leica’s official press images as reference, but seeing it in person; I can see how it differs quite a lot from the steel grey M9. The new Leica M-E combines the well-loved, 18 megapixel CCD sensor of the M9/M9-P, but updates the camera’s look for 2012. The removal of the USB port and frame line selector allows Leica to offer the camera at a lower price point, and further improves the cameras ruggedness and reliability (less moving parts and switches equals more durability). The new finish, known as “anthracite grey” is unique and will match just about any accessory or lens you can mount on the camera. I can't wait to take this camera out shooting!