Leica Launches M10 Camera

Leica today officially announced the M10, it's fourth digital generation of the venerable rangefinder style camera it's most famous for. 

At first glance, the M10 is obviously a Leica rangefinder. Leica hasn't abandoned the large soap bar shape or viewfinder at edge-of-camera style that has distinguished the line for almost its entire decades-long history.

bythom leica m10 baclk

Most of the changes are subtle, but important. There's now an ISO dial at the top of the camera on the viewfinder side. The On/Off switch no longer contains an overloaded shooting method function. Up top, the centered flash hot shoe is now the type found in the TL, which means that the M10 can also use the TL's EVF. On the front, the Frame Selecter switch has returned.

The back is where the most obvious external changes show up, though (note how simple it looks in above photo). We now have a 3" LCD. Only three buttons sit next to the LCD instead of the previous six. The subtle thumbrest has been re-engineered and looks a bit more functional than the current model's hump (though there is still no front finger grip). 

Somehow in all the changes the camera has dropped a bit of depth (3.8mm thinner than the previous model, which means the lens mount sticks out a bit from the front now). In essence, the M10 is as slim and small as the old film-based M4. Weight is about a pound and a half (660g). Leica is making a big deal about the size of the new camera, but this doesn't come without penalty: the battery is lower capacity (a dismal 210 shots CIPA, though Leica claims most users will see over twice that in "normal" use), and the camera has no physical interface connectors of any kind.

Inside the camera we get a newly tweaked 24mp sensor and the latest Maestro II processing engine. The camera can shoot up to 5 fps. Strangely—for a traditional Leica camera—there's built-in Wi-Fi. But most people will note that Leica has moved away from video in this model: no video of any kind, and no external connectors for things like video, microphones, or earphones.

The rangefinder itself has some changes, with LED framelines now on a 0.72x magnification view (previously 0.68x) and the return of the line preview lever.

Traditional Leica enthusiasts should be happy with this new version of the camera. It tidies up a number of things from the previous model without messing up the Leica-ness that they expect. Other than the battery, there's no real surprise in this update, just a lot of careful and thoughtful refinement. 

One reader did point out something I hadn't considered while reviewing the introductory materials: Leica is pulling a bit of an Apple in terms of reductio ad absurdia. If you're a MacBook user you're really going to hate the combo of camera and laptop: there's no way to connect the two physically to get those images off the internal memory (even Wi-Fi is a bit of a problem, as there's no Leica app for macOS to perform the connection; there is for iOS, though). 

And in Leica style, you have to remove the baseplate of the camera to even get to the SD card, then you'll need a dongle on your MacBook to get the files. Not exactly user friendly.

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Corrections: earlier version of this article said third generation. Also added comment about Apple and image transfer.

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