Leica has announced its latest digital M camera, and the slimmest to date. Despite offering ergonomics which are said to be closer to those of analog M cameras, the new Leica M10 is packed with modern features such as a 24-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, a first for an M camera.
While many photographers lust over Leica's digital M cameras such as the M, M-P, and M Monochrom, there are apparently others who complain the cameras are too bulky compared to their analog predecessors. Leica says it's addressing this with the launch of the M10 which has a top plate depth of 33.7 mm, the same as the Leica M4, and 4 mm slimmer than previous digital M cameras.
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However, despite a return to old school proportions, the M10 is very much a modern Leica. At its heart the M10 features a 24-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor which has been developed especially for the camera. This is paired with a Maestro II image processor that allows a thoroughly modern ISO range of 100 and 50,000.
A 2 GB buffer memory allows the M10 to offer continuous shooting at up to 5 fps (frames per second) for up to 30-40 shots, making it the fastest digital M yet. It's also the first M camera to feature built-in Wi-Fi connectivity for use with the Leica M-App for iOS (an Android version is in the works for release later this year), which can be used for quick sharing and remote shooting.
Leica says it has also improved the rangefinder viewfinder for the M10. It is about 30 percent larger than the unit in previous digital M cameras and offers a 0.73x magnification. Combined with a 50 percent increase in eye-relief distance (how far your eye should be away from the viewfinder eyepiece) this should make the camera more comfortable to use, particularly for those who wear glasses.
Unlike the quirky Leica M-D there's also a rear 3-inch LCD monitor with 1,036,800 pixels and covered with Gorilla Glass for added toughness. However, if you'd prefer an electronic viewfinder, there's an optional Visoflex EVF with a 2.4-megapixel resolution which can be angled and features an integrated GPS module for geo-tagging images.
While the M10 still looks undeniably-Leica, there are a few key design changes which could make all the difference to how the camera is used. These include a pop-up ISO setting dial on the top plate, which can also be used to adjust settings without using the menu, and even when the camera is switched off. The number of buttons on the rear of the camera has also been reduced.
The Leica M10 measures 139 x 38.5 x 80 mm (5.4 x 1.5 x 3.2 in) and weighs 660 g (23 oz) with a battery but no lens attached to its M-mount. It features a rugged build with a magnesium alloy chassis and components machined from solid brass, and weather sealing to help protect against the elements.
The Leica M10 is available in black or silver, priced at US$6,595 body-only.
Product page: Leica M10