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The Leica M10-D Review. Less is more…Again. – Steve Huff Photo

The Leica M10-D Review. Less is more…Again. – Steve Huff Photo

The Leica M10-D Evaluate. NO LCD! Less is extra…Once more. 

By Steve Huff

Order the M10-D from Ken Hansen ([email protected]) or

Again in August of 2016 I reviewed the Leica MD (Typ 262), the primary digital rangefinder digital camera ever made and not using a rear LCD display. It took those that owned one and shot with it approach “back to the basics” and gave the expertise of an analog Leica M6 or M7. Virtually. A minimum of the digital equal and as shut as you can get to that have, which if I can say, is MUCH totally different from simply capturing a digital digital camera like a Sony A7III. I owned that M-D for some time, because of Ken Hansen. 

Ken is a Leica vendor and very long time website sponsor right here who helped me get this website off the bottom 11 years in the past! Nice man and Leica vendor. (Thanks Ken)

Earlier than I get began with my ideas on this new Leica,  the M10-D, I used to be simply re-reading an previous lens evaluate. I discovered a quote I made again then that sums up what I take into consideration this idea of the M-D. Within the evaluate for the distinctive Leica 28 Summaron lens, I used the M-D and had this to say concerning the expertise:

“Many think it is insane to buy or use a camera without any way to check your shots, but I have found it liberating and even many months after my review I still use this M, and I love it. In fact, I have not bonded with an M so tightly, ever. Not the M9, not the M 240. Somehow, when I take this camera out I truly feel as if I am shooting with my old M7 from back in the day. Lift up, look through the eyepiece/RF, focus, and shoot. No muss, no fuss. It only shoots RAW, so each shot has to be processed but I enjoy this process, much like I used to love developing my film in my Laundry room.”

CLICK IMAGES FOR LARGER AND MUCH NICER VERSIONS! All photographs right here shot with the Voigtlander 50 f/1.2 on the new M10-D

Capturing movie is the place I began with Leica. The M6 and M7 have been with me on a regular basis a few years in the past. These two cameras, and a Leica 50 Summicron have been all I wanted to create reminiscences, and even work on tasks like THIS ONE that have been close to and pricey to my coronary heart. When the M8, then M9 got here out I switched and went all in with digital M cameras. I even took the M9 on tour and shot it professionally with confidence and as horrible as that digital camera was in low mild it by no means stopped me from getting exceptional outcomes. As photographers, we are likely to get to know the gear we love probably the most, and all the time discover methods to make it work for what we’d like.  The M9 and a Noctilux delivered night time after night time for me and even landed me an album cowl. This was truly a aim I had since I used to be 16 and I envisioned it for years. Lastly again in 2011, Leica helped me accomplish it by permitting me to personal a digital camera that ignited the eagerness inside me. To see a photograph diary of these occasions, on video with narration check out this video I made some time again. 

That video is greater than only a photograph diary as I discuss Leica intimately in that video and what that M9 did for me throughout these occasions.

When the Leica M 240 got here out I used to be thrilled to demise with it whereas many trashed it. I nonetheless love the M240 however when Leica launched the MD model of the M240 and referred to as it the MD 262, I knew I needed to get one, and so I did. That MD with a 28 Summilux went with me right here and there, and once more I captured many reminiscences with it, principally private reminiscences with that one. Even capturing it with this small, tiny, unusual however unimaginable  lens. 

It introduced again these previous reminiscences of capturing the M7 and people have been some nice reminiscences as I used to be by no means capable of recreate that feeling of capturing an M7, till the MD. Sure, capturing with out an LCD display is unusual certainly, however when you get used to it, properly, it feels pure. It really feel proper.

Shot on the M10-D with the Voigtlander 50 1.2 at f1.2

This new M10-D is the newest M from Leica and I used to be excited to check it and shoot with it, to see if I nonetheless had that love of this minimalist digital camera. Positive, it is the identical digital camera internally as the usual M10 that I’ve owned earlier than nevertheless it’s additionally totally different. The M10 is $700 much less as nicely, and has an LCD. Similar sensor, similar IQ, similar physique type. So why on earth would Leica launch a physique that has LESS and cost MORE and WHO WOULD BUY ONE?!?!

To many studying this, I guess you can’t think about anybody shopping for a $8000 digital camera with out an LCD.

Click on for Bigger

Properly, many have requested for it and Leica did have some success with the unique MD. Those that purchased one LOVED it and understood what it was and purchased it as a result of it was an excellent minimalistic digital camera. It’s not a digital camera one buys if you need options, 4k video, picture stabilization and even two card slots. It has no video, is guide focus solely, and is about as old skool as you will get. This places it in a class that makes it fairly uncommon as not many will purchase this type of digital camera.

That simply appears to make it much more particular for many who personal one and luxuriate in it for what it is.

Voigtlander 50 f/1.2 broad open. What a lens when used on the M10. It was a bit lackluster on the Sony A7RIII in comparability however on the M10 collection of cameras, it has some mojo and magic. Inferior to a Leica 50 Summilux but when you’re on a finances after spending $8k for an M physique, this may be a good way to start out your M journey. 

The NEW M10-D Arrives

Leica despatched me this digital camera to evaluate with out me even understanding about it. I hopped on a Skype name with them in the future about 2 weeks in the past they usually stated “A package is arriving today for you to check out for 2 weeks”. They then went on to inform me what it was, and talk about with me all the particulars of this new Leica M10-D, in fact, after signing my life away in an NDA ; )

Click on picture for bigger and higher. EXIF information is embedded if you need it!

I used to be thrilled by the information and even recommended to them that they launch a Monochom model of this digital camera, which they replied (and they’re 100% right) that the M as is, is a Area of interest digital camera. The M10-D is a Area of interest inside a Area of interest and a Monochrom model can be a Area of interest inside a Area of interest inside a Area of interest! Which means, not a broad viewers for that in any respect! Positive, some hardcore Leica followers would eat it up however is that sufficient? In all probability not. Perhaps a restricted version of 25 will make it out in 2019..a Monochrome M-D. Hmmm.

One other vast open at f/1.2. Click on it for bigger.


In a world that is always pushing the tech envelope with cameras and corporations giving us greater than ever earlier than, what Leica is doing right here is pedaling backwards it appears. Daily I see individuals on the web moan and groan about cameras lacking IBIS or Twin Card Slots so right here comes Leica to inform them, YOU DO NOT NEED THOSE THINGS to take lovely photographs. Once more, you do NOT want them. It’s your decision them, however you do not want them.

I consider that the majority of those new options are put in cameras to make individuals really feel that the digital camera will do all of it for you. Have shaky arms? Digital camera will repair that with IBIS! Cant focus proper when taking portraits? We provides you with EYE AF to be foolproof. Need to be sloppy together with your metering expertise? That’s okay, we will provide you with 13 stops of dynamic vary so in the event you screw up, you’ll be able to repair it! I really like tech as a lot as the subsequent individual however typically it is simply an excessive amount of, and takes away from the expertise of taking a picture.

The Leica M10-D modifications all of that, in an enormous approach and that is why it was made.

I’ve been reviewing cameras for 11 years now and have had the chance to shoot with EVERYTHING underneath the solar. I began with Leica years in the past after which I let different extra function wealthy cameras sway me away from them. For years I then shot Olympus, Sony and now personal a few Canon cameras together with the brand new EOS-R (which I take pleasure in for video and stills as properly, although it is no Leica). After some time although, capturing a few of these different cameras sucked the inspiration and life from my photographic thoughts, physique and soul. I turned tired of having 100 options within the digital camera and having the digital camera do ALL OF THE WORK for me. Once I recollect again during the last 15-20 years of my life, my favourite photographs of all time and most essential work that I’m pleased with has all been shot with, you guessed it, a Leica. It’s not even shut both.

I feel I do know the rationale behind this. 

A Leica has all the time impressed me to make use of it. To rise up and go even when I didn’t really feel like getting up and going. Once I acquired to the place I used to be going, I used to be joyful I did rise up and go, each time.

A Leica, and as foolish as this sounds to some, has made me a greater photographer however actually solely WHEN I USE A LEICA. Once I use a Canon or an Olympus or different digital camera with 1001 options I are likely to get lazy, and let the digital camera do all of it. Then, the ensuing photographs are, properly, boring. There is certainly a sparkle, life and depth to a Leica file it doesn’t matter what anybody will inform you. Whereas this doesn’t make them value $8000 for a physique solely, it is the complete package deal that may make it value it to some. Leica will get numerous hate because of the pricing construction and elitist vibe of their cameras. I agree that the costs are ridiculous besides, whenever you personal a Leica you personal one thing particular. Even those that nonetheless shoot an M8 really feel it is a particular digital camera, a few years after its launch, and it is as there is nothing prefer it.

For me the Leica M10-D evokes. It has a singular high quality to pictures. It makes use of tiny quick prime lenses. It now does superb in low mild. However purchaser beware! It has no instruments that may help you in getting a shot, as that shall be all as much as YOU. The colour from the M10 is incredible. Utilizing the M10-D retains all distractions away, and that is not some speak to justify shopping for one, it is reality. It is constructed and designed like NO OTHER digital camera and it is skinny, mild and constructed like a tank on the similar time. There is one thing to German engineering!

Three Decisions

At present we’ve got three decisions within the M10 collection of digital camera. The M10, the M10-P and M10-D. They’re all sharp they usually additionally permit for some critical micro distinction with the correct lenses. Lovely depth and colour as nicely and nearly as good as my outcomes are right here with the Voigtlander lens, think about the 50 APO on this digital camera. One thing I’ve but to attempt truly however a dream setup can be one of many M10 cameras and a 50 APO. Costly however what a combo.

So the M10-D is right here, and obtainable to order now for $7,995. Sure, that is costly however Leica has all the time been costly. They’ve by no means been “cheap” so to those that complain about their pricing at the moment, unsure why as it is best to know by now that an actual German made Leica won’t ever ever be an affordable buy. With that stated, their earlier M-D was $6000, which is $2k lower than this one. Unsure why this is however $2k is fairly the worth improve over a 2 yr interval. $1000 per yr improve in worth. Doesn’t appear proper.

Many assume Leica cameras are just for wealthy dentists, docs and legal professionals or perhaps wealthy individuals who like to only personal a Leica for the identify. I’m positive this is true in some instances, as I’ve seen it, however there are additionally many passionate shooters who personal a Leica as a result of for them it provides them what they need, want and want in a digital camera. It evokes and delivers outcomes they like. It may be utilized in an intimate setting or in any setting you want because it is discreet and quiet and it doesn’t seem like the identical digital camera everybody else makes use of. It is distinctive and brings a recent motivation whenever you use it.

I do know of many who shoot Leica who’re removed from wealthy, hell, I’m considered one of them. I’ve no proper shopping for a Leica because it’s out of my worth vary however then once more, I stay in a small modest home, have one automotive, and don’t purchase boats, watches or loopy issues. I do work each day, morning till night time and love images and in addition love the gear. All the time have, all the time will.

Life is brief, in reality, I cannot consider I’m now 49 years previous (shall be in November). Time has flown by so quick and earlier than I do know it I might be on my dying mattress. I need to reside life with happiness, positivity, love and in addition take pleasure in issues I really like whereas I can. If it is inside my means or I could make it work, I achieve this any probability I get. So for me, proudly owning Leica is out of pure love of images and whereas I not often can afford it, I often discover a option to personal no less than one Leica digital camera, even when I’ve to accept the cheaper lenses ; )

The D is actually a P which is actually the 10

The Leica M10-D is an M10-P with out an LCD, which is an M10 with a softer shutter sound and some beauty modifications. Similar 24 MP sensor, similar efficiency. Precisely. What you achieve within the D is much less, and to me, much less is all the time extra. All the time. I assume Leica feels the identical as much less = extra $$ as properly.

Seeing that it is an M10, this implies the digital camera will generally tend to blow highlights a tad in case you are not cautious, and you’ll want to study you means round this which include apply and metering. It’s going to additionally give a picture rendering nearer to the M9 than M240, and lots of have applauded this because the M9 was a benchmark for Leica IQ for a lot of, even me. However IMO, the M10 surpasses the M9 for IQ, with out query. The colour is higher. The Low Mild and excessive ISO is  higher and general the information are simply higher.

However sure certainly I actually really feel that in terms of cameras, typically much less is extra. The M10-D is a digital camera that basically has nothing to carry you again (when you really know easy methods to shoot you do not want all the flamboyant tips in a digital camera), however on the similar time, nothing that will help you get the shot. For that, it requires your talent, your endurance and also you attending to know the digital camera. For me, that is a stupendous factor as once I nail a shot, I do know I made the picture, not the digital camera. Sadly, lately the individuals trying to purchase a brand new digital camera all the time really feel like they should have MORE MORE MORE. I’m right here to say what you might want is LESS LESS LESS.

The Leica M10-D is the right antidote to boring function wealthy cameras that provide flatter pictures, duller colour and a robotic “camera does it all” expertise. It actually is a singular expertise capturing this M10-D, much more so than capturing a traditional M. It’s additionally mild and small, and has a tremendous thumb grip within the very retro and classic movie cocking lever. As soon as you employ this grip you’ll not need to be with out it.

Leica, please put this in all future variations of the M ; )

Getting Excited…

If you shoot a digital camera just like the M10-D it additionally will get you excited to get house to see your photographs. Since you can’t see them on the digital camera whereas out capturing, it simply provides to the enjoyable of all of it. The anticipation, the enjoyable of it and each time I went to take a look at pictures from the previous MD or this new one, I used to be all the time proud of what I noticed on the display.

However one factor that is cool is that with the M10-D we will now see our photographs, within the area if we need to.

The Leica Fotos App. 

One thing BRAND NEW that launched the identical day because the M10-D (in the present day) is the Leica Fotos App. This is a should obtain when you purchase an M10-D as a result of it provides you a option to assessment your photographs on the spot when you so want. Since you haven’t any LCD on the again of the digital camera now you can simply activate the app after which activate the WiFi on the digital camera and see all your photographs, inside an immediate, in your telephone. It is going to present you the pictures, mechanically as you hearth the shutter. It will possibly additionally present you a reside view and assist you to change settings inside the M10-D itself. One thing you can’t do with simply the digital camera alone.

It’s additionally a fairly elegant app and interface. I discover this to be a terrific new a part of the MD expertise because it allowed to me to verify my publicity when capturing the band I’m displaying right here in these pictures (Ghetto Cowgirl). After checking the primary few photographs on website, I knew I used to be exposing appropriately after which turned off the app and my son and I shot with the M10-P with out fear, taking turns with it and the EOS-R which additionally did nicely however was a a lot totally different capturing expertise.

The Fotos app can be utilized with all Leica cameras, or almost all of them. The SL, the CL, the TL, the M10 collection, and so forth. I discover this a welcome addition to the Leica secure of instruments and it is simply as straightforward to get going because the digital camera is to make use of.

There it is once more, the fundamentals. The “Less is More” philosophy.

The Future

I’m not positive what the Future holds for Leica however I do know what the longer term might maintain for cameras generally, and IMO, it’s extra of the identical. Extra tech, extra options, extra of the cameras doing all the be just right for you and in essence, type of changing the talents of the photographer over time.

The Actuality…

The M10 collection doesn’t have auto focus. It doesn’t have Eye Detect AF, it doesn’t have in physique IBIS, it doesn’t have twin card slots, it doesn’t supply 10-20 FPS, it doesn’t have video modes, 1080 or 4K. It doesn’t have an EVF although one could be aded externally with the Visoflex EVF from Leica in the event you actually need to shoot in Reside View mode. It doesn’t have a battery that may final for days (although it does appear to last more with the M10-D over the M10 as there is no LCD to energy). It doesn’t supply pano modes, selfie modes, a swivel out LCD or within the case of the M10-D no LCD in any respect. With all of this, it is the costliest full body digital digital camera one can get coming in at $7995 with no lens. Because of this and all the causes I listed, this is not a digital camera for the plenty and even 95% of you studying this.

Even so, with all of this stuff lacking from the M, I really feel this is what makes the cameras so particular. Less is Extra. I get uninterested in new cameras making an attempt to offer us every little thing that IMO, makes me lazy as a photographer. Good photographs don’t come from the options in a digital camera, they arrive from the individual behind the digital camera.

I’ve been away from the M for some time and really feel these new function packed cameras have made ME lazy, and therefor my outcomes have suffered. My motivation has suffered. I wasn’t positive what it was earlier than and sure, I’ve cameras I really like just like the Leica SL and even X1D however this M kicked me within the behind and jogged my memory what is so particular about it, or the M collection typically.

It’s humorous as I used to be positive I used to be executed with the M as my eyesight is getting worse yearly and utilizing the RF was getting harder, or so I assumed.

Apparently sufficient with the M10-D  I nailed focus, even at f/1.2 with this M10-D each time. Hmmm. That wasn’t occurring for me my final go spherical with an M10.

Two extra pictures each shot at ISO 12,500, with none noise discount. Shot at f/1.2. Fairly spectacular. Sharp, has depth and the topic is separated from the background properly even at a far distance from the place I used to be sitting. 

Last Ideas

I’ve already stated all of it however if you wish to return to your Analog M6 or M7 glory days, this is as shut as you’ll get to it in digital type. No movie required, simply an SD card and a ardour to shoot. You need to use this digital camera with the Leica Fotos app or skip it for the complete “wait util you get home to see your photos” expertise.

I have no idea precisely WHY I really like this digital camera however one thing concerning the M-D simply retains pulling me again in. Regardless of how loopy it might sound, I actually love this model of the M10 probably the most simply as I did the earlier era M-D.

It’s expensive at almost eight grand, however for many who can swing it and really need this expertise, I doubt you’ll be disenchanted. If I might afford one, I might have purchased this one, and nonetheless might. Leica stated I should buy it if I would like. Hmmmm. If I do, I must promote my SL and unsure I can do this. So we’ll see.

The place To Purchase the M10-D

You should purchase the M10-d from my listing of advisable A+++ sellers under. I’ve been purchasing with these three sellers for over 11 years and they’re prime notch.

Ken Hansen – E mail him at [email protected]

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