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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.

Top row: Leica M-E, M Monochrom. Bottom row: M9 Black Paint, M9-P Silver Chrome, and M9 Steel Grey. Notice the white Leica Camera Made in Germany writing on the back of the M-E, similar to the M9 Black Paint.

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).


From left to right: Leica M9 Black Paint, M Monochrom, M-E, M9 Steel Grey, and M9-P Silver Chrome. Here you can see the blue tint to the M-E's finish, and the lack of a USB port.

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!

From left to right: Leica M9 Black Paint, M Monochrom, M-E, M9 Steel Grey, and M9-P Silver Chrome. The removal of the USB port really cleans up the M-E's design.

Dale Photo & Digital currently has the Leica M-E in stock, call 1-800-327-1776 for more information.

10 Responses

  1. goatsby

    Hey Josh,

    You are right, the M-E is gorgeous! I was certainly more impressed with it in person than in photos. Thanks for letting me check it out earlier. The family CFO says it has to wait a little longer, but hopefully not too much longer….

    See you soon,


  2. Unregistered

    Ok so it’s pretty, but how does the shutter and winding mechanism sound compared to M9? Does it live up to Leica’s “extremely quiet” or is that just marketing BS?

  3. Josh Lehrer

    The interior mechanical components of the M-E are the same as the M9, so the shutter sound is identical. The M9 is one of the quietest cameras around.

  4. Unregistered

    Great write up Josh! Did you notice that the rear LCD seems to produce more accurate colors? and render the playback image a little faster than the M9? The one I have seems to be improved overall even though the internals are the same.

    -Sean R

  5. Josh Lehrer

    Sean, I compared review quality and speed of the M-E’s screen against an M9. They are identical. It’s possible that the firmware of the M9 in your test is a version or two old, or that the settings were slightly different. Both the M-E and the M9 use identical hardware and firmware.

  6. Unregistered

    Josh Lehrer;3447 wrote: The interior mechanical components of the M-E are the same as the M9, so the shutter sound is identical. The M9 is one of the quietest cameras around.

    Thanks for that, Josh. I’ve never heard an M9 live (Leica M’s are as rare as Ferrari’s around here.) I have an M8, which is distractingly loud, an M2, which is wonderfully quiet, and a Canon 40D, which is acceptably quiet (much quieter than the M8). I guess it’s too much to ask for M2 quietness in the new M models?

  7. Unregistered

    You guys shipped my M-E along with the 35 ‘cron last week and I’ve been having a blast with it since! 🙂

  8. Josh Lehrer

    Glad you are enjoying it! If you get the chance to post images here on Red Dot Forum we’d love to see them.

  9. Markie Linhart

    It’s 2024 and I’ve just bought a Leica M8 after borrowing one from a photographer friend (bye bye Lumix). It a silver chrome finished version and I’d like to add a hand grip. Thing is Silver is hard to find and I’m toying with adding a Steel Grey. Will this be a mismatch? Or should I got rad and choose a black one? Thanks in advance✌️🇦🇺


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