When a new Leica M comes along it’s sure to raise eyebrows. As the German godfather of 35mm photography attempts to balance new features with traditionalism, Ian Farrell finds out if the M Typ 240 measures up as a serious photographic tool.
Leica M Typ 240 at a glance:
- 18-million-pixel, full-frame, CMOS sensor
- ISO 100-6400 (extended)
- 3in, 920,000-dot LCD screen
- Optional EVF
- DNG raw
- Street price around £5,100 (body only)
Leica M Typ 240 review – Introduction
Leica’s traditional approach to camera design means that its M-series of rangefinders are simple, basic machines that strip photography back to its fundamental principles, and Leica’s fans love them for that. Such cameras are as far from DSLRs as you can get, offering optical viewfinders and rangefinder focusing, which requires the user to match up a split image while turning the focus ring.
Because of their size, Leica M rangefinder cameras have traditionally been favoured by travel photographers and photojournalists, although these days many DSLRs, and virtually all compact system cameras, are just as portable, if not more so. Rangefinders are pretty discreet, though, making them ideal for street photography, and are built to exacting standards. Leica M-mount lenses also offer superb optical quality.
The newest Leica rangefinder is simply called the ‘M’, although if you turn over the camera you’ll see ‘Typ 240′ written on its base. It’s the fourth digital rangefinder from the company, although film-based versions have been around since the 1950s.
When the Leica M Typ 240’s predecessor, the M9, was launched in 2009, its specifications were impressive: a full-frame, 18-million-pixel, CCD sensor; compatibility with virtually every Leica lens ever made; and that all-important traditional Leica look and feel. Yet over the years the M9’s specification has dated somewhat, especially regarding its sensor and associated electronics.
The Leica M Typ 240 aims to update Leica’s traditional and much-loved recipe with a new sensor and extras you would usually find on a CSC, such as live view, an electronic viewfinder and even full HD video.