Leica Goes Retro to the Future

bythom leica m10d

Leica today announced yet another M model, the M10-D, but it's a very interesting one, as that image of its back should show. 

Basically, this is an M10-P, but with the rear LCD removed and total emphasis put on detailed control of the camera and review of the images on the FOTOS app (Android, iOS) via Wi-Fi connection. You get the same 24mp CMOS sensor and quiet shutter of the M10-P. You just don't get a rear LCD.

On the shooting side the camera is pure retro in the sense you're virtually back in the film world, with only a few camera controls—there's a shutter speed dial and an exposure compensation dial, and apertures are controlled by the lens—and a rangefinder to look through to compose the scene. 

Internally, the camera has 2GB of dedicated RAM for storing images (it also has an SD card slot buried in the removable bottom). Plus it has a full Wi-Fi connection. That's where the FOTOS app comes in: it can control all aspects of the camera you used to control via menus, as well as grab images to work on or send. In other words, on the workflow side the camera is totally modern, relying upon your smartphone to do a lot of heavy lifting. 

It's an interesting dichotomy. And expensive at US$7995. 

How well does it work? I don't know, as I haven't had a chance to use one. But I believe Leica's on the right track here. No matter how its done, our cameras need to be able to talk to the outside modern world. The days of download-to-computer really need to come to an end (well, okay, we still want that to save and archive our images and perhaps throw more horsepower at processing them).

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