Leica M-E review

November 3, 2012

Leica M-E



Price as Reviewed:


Released simultaneously with the Leica M, the M-E is pitched as Leica’s entry-level rangefinder, but at £3,900 it doesn’t come cheap. Richard Sibley sees how it fits into the range. Read the Leica M-E review...

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Leica M-E at a glance:

  • 18-million-pixel, full-frame CCD sensor
  • DNG raw files
  • 2.5in, 690,000-dot LCD screen
  • ISO 80-2500
  • 2fps frame rate
  • Street price around £3,900

Leica M-E review – Introduction

When it was launched in 2009, the Leica M9 was an advanced camera. Its 18-million-pixel, full-frame CCD sensor was, at the time, bettered only by a handful of professional DSLR or medium-format models. Aided by its lack of an anti-aliasing filter, the Leica M9 produces sharp images that even now, several years on, can hold their own against all but the latest cameras.

However, certain features of the M9 are now dated. Leica responded with the launch of the Leica M, a 24-million-pixel, full-frame model with a new LCD screen and optional EVF. All these changes are the result of switching from CCD to CMOS sensor technology in the new camera.

At the same time, Leica introduced the M-E. At around £600 cheaper than the M9, the £3,900 Leica M-E sits at the bottom of Leica’s range of M-series rangefinder cameras, below the M, M9 and M9-P, although much of its technology is virtually identical to the latter two cameras.

  • White Balance: Auto, 7 presets, plus custom
  • Built-in Flash: No
  • Memory Card: SecureDigital/MMC and SDHC
  • Shutter Type: Electronically controlled focal-plane shutter
  • Viewfinder Type: Optical, approximate 28mm field of view, with brightlines
  • Output Size: 5216 x 3472 pixels
  • AF Points: N/A
  • Field of View: Approximate, indicated with brightlines
  • LCD: 2.5in TFT with 230,000 pixels
  • Sensor: CCD with 18 million effective pixels
  • Max Flash Sync: 1/180sec
  • Focal Length Mag: 1x
  • Exposure Modes: Manual, aperture priority
  • Weight: 585g (without battery or card)
  • Power: Rechargeable Li-Ion battery
  • Drive Mode: Max 2fps for 8 frames
  • File Format: DNG (raw), JPEG, raw + JPEG simultaneously
  • Shutter Speeds: 30-1/4000sec in 1⁄3EV steps plus bulb
  • Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
  • Dimensions: 139 x 80 x 37mm
  • Metering System: Centreweighted using three reflective bars on shutter curtains
  • Connectivity / Interface: None – no HDMI or USB
  • Compression: 2-stage JPEG
  • Exposure Comp: ±3EV in 1⁄3EV steps
  • ISO: 160-2500 plus ISO 80 ‘pull’ setting
  • Lens Mount: Leica M
  • RRP: £3,900 (body only)
  • Focusing Modes: Manual focus only
  • DoF Preview: N/A

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