The Leica M10 refocuses on what really matters to stills photographers. Michael Topham tests the latest model in Leica's famous M-system to find out if it performs as well as its price suggests
Leica M10 review: Verdict
When we reviewed the M (Typ240) we made the comment that the manufacturer had slightly missed the point on what Leica users really wanted from the next model in the M-system. We felt the compromises that were made, combined with the technology it added, spoiled the experience of using a rangefinder. To get back to its core value of delivering a pure stills camera, Leica had to rethink the direction of its next model in its M-system. By stripping out what’s not deemed necessary by contemporary photographers, Leica has developed a camera that goes back to its roots and focus on the special bond that should be created between a stills photographer and their camera.
Though it won’t satisfy all photographers tastes and requirements, those who are familiar with Leica’s rangefinders will immediately fall in love with the M10. Manually focusing via the rangefinder does take time and finesse, but this immerses you in the moment and makes you analyse a scene or subject carefully before you capture it. The millimeters and grams it sheds from its dimensions make it less bulky and it feels much like a traditional analog M-series camera in the hand. Add its strong dynamic range, impressive detail and excellent noise response at high sensitivities to this and we’re presented with an image quality performance that Leica M-system users have deserved for a long time.
As well as the positives, there are a few negatives – the battery life has taken a hit, it still only accommodates one SD card slot and the optional EVF isn’t as robust as the body itself. These minor points aside, it’s an exceptional camera and very enjoyable one to carry over your shoulder and use for the purposes it is made. Unlike many of today’s releases, the Leica M10 is not an example of the direction cameras are heading in the future. What it is, is a celebration of the past – something Leica has executed magnificently.