Leica Simplifies the M

(news & commentary)

bythom leica m 262 back

Leica today announced a new version of the M camera, this time the Typ 262. Two big differences define this new model from the previous M’s: (1) Leica has removed the Live View and video features, (2) the shutter is a new design that is quieter than the previous one, and nearly silent when used in single shot mode.

A few other changes can be found: the top plate isn’t brass, but aluminum, the Live View button now becomes a white balance button, and the price is a more reasonable US$5195. The camera is available immediately.

Overall, this may be the most back-to-basics Leica yet. As their press release notes, the new M basically represents a purer approach to basic still photography more like what we practiced in the film age. The removal of the video and Live View features means that the menu system is two pages. Instead of menu and control diving as on most modern cameras, the emphasis here is just on the basics. That said, the sensor and other attributes of the Typ 262 are essentially that of the previous model. Leica gave nothing up in terms of the still photography performance or features.

The removal of Live View means that this is purely a camera-to-the-eye shooter, though Leica purists I’m sure will bring up Henri-Carter Bresson’s shoot-from-the-hip street technique.

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