First Impressions with Leica M10

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by carbon_dragon, Oct 15, 2018.

  1. I have been using Leica cameras for a while, starting a couple of decades ago with a couple of Leica M2s. I was intrigued when the digital Leicas came out, but usually lagged behind, buying an M8 when the M9 appeared, and buying the M9 when the M240 appeared. This time, I decided to skip the 240 for a used M10. Clearly Leicas aren't bought from a price performance basis. They're great cameras with great lenses, but you can certainly do great work with far cheaper cameras.

    The M10 is a fair change from the M9, some bad but most good. First, it has a better, higher MP sensor with far superior low ISO performance. Second, it has a very understated shutter release compared to the M9. On the negative side, boy does it go through the battery. I started with a battery that wasn't at 100% but even so by lunch I was changing batteries. The M10 has live view (so I can get adapted lenses somewhat or use lenses which are not rangefinder coupled -- and I have some) and it has an EVF available which I intend to buy. The viewfinder has electronic lens frames rather than mechanical ones, and that's a slight downside since until the M10 wakes up from its autosleep, the frames are not there. It has focus aids (peaking, magnification) on the live view which I think I will end up using, though not in normal use. Menus are somewhat simplified but well organized with a favorites menu on top of a conventional menu.

    It's going to take some time to get used to the new camera, it's different enough to throw me off a little but I think I will like it better once I have. Here are a few frames from my walk around the Atlanta Botanical Garden. The last one is an HDR which is a sort of representation of the multibracketing capability. I did a 5 shot bracket, handheld of a really high contrast subject and the 5 shots fired quickly enough to actually do a reasonably good synchronization without a tripod. I kind of like the effect since the subject is a topiary version of the Phoenix.





    Phoenix 2.jpg
    allancobb and Moving On like this.
  2. I like your honesty about the camera. One questions, what lenses did you use for these pics?
  3. I seem to be getting variable levels of contrast on my monitor. Did you use the same lens for all your shots? Numbers 2,3 seem to have sharper contrast than 4,5. The Chihuly glass shot is especially nice.
  4. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    Leicas are great cameras, do like my M3 & D Lux a lot, but price value is way out of wack. Compared, buy a D5 and come back with $800 still in pocket. Buy a D850 AND D500 and have $2100 left over. And we're not even talking about lenses yet. The samples are good, but I don't see any exceptional difference. IMO nearly all of the Nikon, Canon, Leica etc. high quality lenses nowadays are pretty near equal in capability, if not in price. All a question of what it is worth to the user and the depth of his / her wallet.
  5. I do bring them into Apple Aperture and adjust contrast so you can’t go by contrast to detect the lens. The lenses I used on my shoot were the 35/2 ASPH (not sure if is the 1st or 2nd version, probably the first), the 50/2 Summicron (not the ASPH), and a really ancient 90/4 rigid Elmar. I’d have to check the EXIF for the lens for each shot but the fountain is the 90. Handheld, you obviously lose some quality. My ISO was all over the place from about 400 to 1600. Not sure I was able to detect the difference. Frankly this isn’t the sort of camera you do a lot of lens changes normally. I have a Voigtlander 25 (non rangefinder coupled), a Voigtlander 15, and an ancient 135/2.8 with “eyes” too. That is a pretty great lens but heavier than the camera by a margin. On the other hand, the “eyes” mean my focusing for 135s is as good as 90s (so much more accurate if you can take the weight). I’m tempted by the later 50s, but not sure I want the weight and the cost is stunning. The 90/4 macro elmar might be tempting though now that I can potentially focus through the lens.

    Rangefinders have some nice advantages in terms of ease of focus (when manually focusing), especially with the M8 or the M2s when taking infrared pictures — you can put an opaque filter on the front and focus normally! As I said above, you’re not going to buy a Leica for bang to the buck. The quality of the body (but not it’s weather resistance) is a perceptable thing and something Leica users like, even though you have to question the utility with digital cameras. But that quality means my 2 Leica M2s are still perfectly serviceable 60 years after being built (and I’m still using my M8 too). On the other hand, $1500 to $2000 isn’t even a lot of money for a decent modern camera anymore and even $5000 is not that uncommon. Typically I’d be spending $3500 for a used M240 about now and I splurged for the used M10 so I realize that the price is too high. Sure is a nice camera though.

    Better than my M9? Well for low ISO yes, by a country mile. Way way way better. And that non rangefinder coupled Voigtlander might be more usable and I have an adapter for Contax/Yashica lenses that never quite worked right, but I bet they do now. Course that’s an additional $500 or so for the EVF! And I need another battery.
  6. Oh one additional point. My M10 wasn’t particularly dusty, but there was some dust on the sensor. I only noticed it with a bunch of pictures. I got to use the dust sensing system. Basically, you select the dust sensing function, defocus the lens, and shoot against a blank wall. You get a map of the sensor with black spots representing dust. Still can’t REMOVE it, mind you, it just shows you what it can detect. I then selected clean sensor and turned it upside down. With the sensor exposed, I blew on it vigorously with a rocket blaster rubber blower. I then turned it off, causing the sensor to become covered again. I then did another dust detect and it came out clean (comparitively speaking). On the whole, interesting and a plus over the M9 (though having a system to actually CLEAN the sensor would be welcome).

    Also, I bought a black one this time (chrome M9 and M8) and I have mostly silver lenses, but it seems to look fine and this was the best deal I could find on price for a dealer I trusted.
  7. If the M10 takes the same EVF as the M240, for a fraction of the cost you can purchase the Olympus VF-2 EVF, which AFAIK is identical to the Leica EVF. These can be had from $130 to $140 on average on the Bay. It works exactly fine on my M240.

    Anyway congrats on your M10! Maybe someday I'll spring for one of those, but for now I really enjoy the M240 (and I still use the M8); as far as the price is concerned, for me it's all about the rangefinder vs. SLR experience, build quality, IR capability, and the ability to use any of my M or LTM lenses dating back to 1930.

    Nice pics by the way, interesting result with the HDR!
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2018
  8. For the M10 you need the Leica Visoflex (Typ 020)- not the same one used on a 240
    allancobb likes this.
  9. I recommend buying it hands on with time to think. I have the old version with goggled extension tube. AFAIK the lens itself wasn't changed but Leica offer a new extension tube now, that lets you shoot to infinity with the lens inside and not pulled out yet.
    I am perfectly happy with the Macro Elmar's performance and size but the focusing ring feels really borderline, i.e. almost too much throw for precision focusing for my taste, to me. - YMMV.
  10. That would be nice, but camera stores are extinct in Atlanta. I'd have to travel quite a ways to find one. The reason I have a pretty GOOD lens for 35 and 50 (1st gen 35/2 ASPH and pre-ASPH 50/2 Summicron) is that I use them all the time. 90 and 24 less so, and 135 even less. I find myself reluctant to spend thousands of dollars for one of them. The macro Elmar at least has the potential of close focus. I've also considered a 28 (widest in the viewfinder frames for the M10) but is it really that different from the 35? But you're right, I would like to actually try it first.

    With Live view, I could just buy close up lenses and screw them onto the front of the lens and use live view magnification and focus peaking, even without the EVF. But it seems a little like sacrilege. ;)
  11. Thanks for the honest assessment.
    I've used Leicas for nearly 70 years, and really hunger for a digital one, but I realize that even if they weren't so bank-breaking expensive that I'd not use it much.
    Where I'd once shoot at 1/2 second without fear, now even 1/100 is about 50% probability of showing some shake. If they ever get in-body IS I'll be first in line to inpoverish myself.
  12. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    I can't claim quite that many years with Leica, only since the late '50's learning with my Dad's M 3, which I still have & use. Several months ago, a friend gave me a D Lux 109. Still learning it while using it, but from the start, a very nice little camera that takes excellent photos.They can be had for well under $1000, some as low as $550 online. Might be the way to "scratch an itch" without impoverishment.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2018
  13. Well, the Leica M’s aren’t stabilized yet, but the Leica Q with its fixed lens is kind of like a mini M and at about $4K, that IS stabilized so that might be a possibility. That said, my newest M, the M10 has MUCH better low light ISO performance. ISO 6400 is pretty clean so far and at that iso you can handhold at higher speeds without much problem. You can even go higher though you start picking up some noise. Of course you can go black and white and use those higher speeds effectively.

    Even with the Ms, I’m a little tempted by used X1s or X2s which are lighter and which I could carry around in my coat pocket without worrying too much about damaging or losing them. Still bigger than a pocket camera but at least they are lighter.

    I’ve never used the D Lux 109 or any of the smaller Leica machines though. Just the Ms (well and a Leica CL — the old kind — which is in for light meter repair).
  14. Thank you for so much information on the M10. I would be worried by its extensive use of batteries.
  15. I think I will end up getting through the day with no more than 2 batteries. It’s just that the M10 is thinner so the battery is smaller than the 240 and thus doesn’t last as long. And live view is a harsh mistress. Turning live view off helps a bunch. If you shoot with live view or the EVF maybe you need 3 batteries, but then maybe you bought the wrong camera. M’s are all about the optical viewfinder.
  16. Just an addendum. I tried the M10 in "monochom" mode (RAW/JPEG, set to Monochrome) and had a look at the jpegs. At 6400 or less, they looked great. I couldn't improve on them much by using raw and converting them to monochrome (though I'm not great at that). The last picture is a ISO 6400 jpeg.

    In these first two pictures, I set it to Raw and then tried 25000 and 50000 ISO and converted to monochrome and they looked pretty noisy. They turn out pretty awful really, but converted to monochrome, maybe useable? First picture is 25000 and the second is 50000. Then the 6400 jpeg is at the end.



    Moving On likes this.
  17. I like the second one....

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