Has Leica perfectly blended traditional charm with ultra-modern functionality in the Leica M10? We take Leica M10 for a test drive to find out.
Leica M10 has a long-standing reputation for producing cameras with a stripped-back design – carrying the mechanical, hands-on feel of the company’s film cameras into the digital age. This is one of the main reasons for the popularity of the M-series digital models – the marriage of nostalgic handling to the convenience of modern technology.
The German manufacturer has shown an uncanny determination to resist trends in modern camera design – notably the need to add a plethora of features with each new model – and to continue to generate seemingly sparse spec sheets. In order to stay current, however, the firm has obviously seen the need to move with the times in its recent M variants, with some surprising additions to their features lists.
The latest iteration, the Leica M10, has Wi-Fi capability built in, enabling the photographer to wirelessly transfer images to and from the camera, as well as wireless camera control, using an app on portable IOS devices.
This makes backing up images in the field convenient and tripod-mounted shooting more versatile. The introduction of a new-generation Maestro II image processor boosts the M10’s continuous shooting rate to five frames per second (up from 3fps on its predecessor, the Leica M Typ 240) and doubles the buffer capacity to 2GB, allowing bursts of up to 40 JPEG images, over the Typ 240’s 12. Although a rangefinder of this type is unlikely to be the first on a sports photographer’s wish list, the rapid image writing makes the increased shooting rate welcome for street photography and is genuinely useful in practice.
While the Leica M10 maintains the 24MP resolution of the Typ 240, the sensor design is new; offering the increased dynamic range of up to 12.9EV and improved low- light performance. We were impressed with the dynamic range under high- contrast conditions – the Leica M10 handles exposure of bright highlights well while maintaining a good level of shadow detail. With the new sensor, Leica has been confident enough to raise the maximum ISO sensitivity to 50,000 compared to 6400 on the Typ 240. Noise is virtually imperceptible up to around ISO 1600, even when shadows are lifted in post-processing. Beyond this noise increases incrementally, though doesn’t become problematic until the extreme end of the ISO scale; a very impressive result from the full-frame M10. Another useful feature is the Auto ISO, which allows the camera to select the sensitivity to maintain a shutter speed – we could happily leave the camera set to this without worrying about excessive noise creeping in at unexpected high sensitivities.
In use the Leica M10 is comfortable to hold, feeling solid without excessive weight. Another welcome addition to the camera body is a dedicated ISO dial on the top plate, with selectable settings from ISO 100 to 6400, plus automatic ‘A’ and user-selectable ‘M’ positions.
The M sensitivity can be customized from within the Leica’s menu, for rapid access to a pre-set ISO for specific conditions when a quick increase in sensitivity is required, after a change in lighting for example. The dial itself is a little stiff and fiddly to operate since it must first be pulled up to unlock it, but the feature itself speeds up camera work. The reined viewfinder offers a pleasantly unobstructed view, which makes judging focus quick and simple. For precise focusing, the Live View function is especially appealing, offering real-time exposure simulation and direct focus preview. Although screen resolution isn’t high compared to some cameras at this price (the Nikon D5 has a 3.2-inch LCD with almost double the resolution), the 1,036,800-dot, 3-inch LCD on the M10 is contrasty and detailed.
The Leica M10 has simplified design – the back features only three buttons – is sure to attract Leica devotees and when combined with the camera’s exceptional image quality, accurate metering, and fast processing, you’re left with a stunning blend of functionality and power. Find out more about Canon cameras and accessories.
Leica M10 Review: Features
The camera resolves a tremendous level of detail when viewing at 100%.
|* 24MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor.|
|* ISO 100 to 6400 (Ext. to 50,000)|
|* Rear LCD With Corning Gorilla Glass (1.04M Dot)|
|* The first M-Series Camera With Built-in Wi-Fi.|
|* The M10’s Viewfinder is Bright, Spacious and Comfortable in Use.|
|* Get a Quick Preview of the Scene Coverage of Lenses from 28mm to 135mm|
Leica M10 Review: Specification
|Model Name||Leica M10|
|Resolution||24 Megapixels (Full-Frame CMOS Sensor)|
|Sensor Size||(35.8 x 23.9 mm)|
|Kit Lens||Yes (Leica M)|
|Native ISO||100 - 6400|
|Extended ISO||100 - 50,000|
|Dimensions||5.47 x 1.54 x 3.15 inch (139 x 39 x 80 mm)|
|Weight||660 g (1.46 lb / 23.28 oz)|