Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Leica M with a touchscreen? Barnack turns in grave

Leica M with a touchscreen? Barnack turns in grave

  Shortly after the launch of the last M-P, Leica
Shortly after the launch of the last M-P, Leica’s Robin Sinha was conducting a group of rangefinder newbies. Their red dots stand out alamingly, while this shot was taken with the new, stealthy M-P.

Leica M10-P

The arrival of a -P (for professional) version of any digital M camera is a foregone conclusion. It is normally a cosmetic upgrade designed to attract those owners of the “standard” model who must have the latest. The engraved top plate is an obvious attraction — why don’t they just put this on the camera from the beginning? But, of course, I know the answer to that. There’s usually a sapphire glass screen for greater scratch resistance and the occasional internal tweak. The last M-P, based on the M240, arrived in 2014 and included an increased buffer size which many found to be a good enough reason to upgrade.

  Stealthily incognito, at least from the front, the M-P boasted an engraved top plate, a tougher screen and a larger buffer. Enough to encourage many M240 owners to upgrade (as was intended)
Stealthily incognito, at least from the front, the M-P boasted an engraved top plate, a tougher screen and a larger buffer. Enough to encourage many M240 owners to upgrade (as was intended)

One of the most distinctive “improvements” on the M-P, however, was the suppression of the red dot. Many preferred the stealthy approach and flocked to buy the new M-P instead of using a piece of black tape to cover the logo. While this worked reasonably well on black bodies, it was unsightly on the silver-chrome finish. So better change that camera.

This time around, however, there are rumours of something revolutionary — at least for an M camera. According to Leica Rumors, the forthcoming M10-P could have a touchscreen in addition to the usual cosmetic changes. There is also talk of a new colour and a revised shutter, with luck increasing the speed from 1/4000s.

  The M-P, as ever, makes a good street camera — here out in London
The M-P, as ever, makes a good street camera — here out in London’s Brick Lane

I expect the M10-P, with or without a touchscreen, to arrive around Photokina time, that is in September. It will be interesting to see if this does turn out to be a really worthwhile upgrade and not just a magnet for those who must have the latest.

And while we are indulging in a bit of rumour mongering, there is another camera that I am pretty sure will be announced in the next few months. It will be a screenless M10-D, following on from the successful-but-now-discontinued M-D. Now that’s a rangefinder I will be really interested in, perhaps even more than in the M10-P.



  1. I must say that first picture with all those red dots is a snatch-and-run felon’s delight!
    Can you expand on your last sentence, Mike?

    • Yes, agreed. As for the M10-D, I always liked the M-D and sold it only because I had to try the M10. I don’t regret that because the M10 is a superb camera, not just because of the way it performs but the way it feels. An M-D version, being exactly the same size as an M7 and little bigger than an M3, would be a rangefinder delight. I will be sorely tempted when it does arrive. At least we can be sure it won’t have a touchscreen!

      • Thank you, Mike. I was thinking not so much of size as "screenless" and how you like that, or even find it specially good.

  2. I don’t know what all this red dot business is about. I painted black my M9 red dot, and then, whenever it’s been back to Solms, as was, or Wetzlar, I always ask them to put a black M8.2 dot on it if they’ve adjust the focusing. (I also bought a pack of black M8.2 "red dots" on eBay for about a fiver, so have plenty "in stock".)

    I always paint out (..with black felt-tip pen..) all of those shrieking white Nikon, Canon, Sony, etc, identification brand names. I bought the camera. If they want me to advertise the brand, then they have to pay me.

      • Paint out the red dot? No, it doesn’t have one. It has four Audi interlocking silver rings ..but then many other cars on the road do, too, so mine’s fairly unremarkable (..except that it’s an old Allroad). And it doesn’t have any shrieking white brand name. But if it did, I would.

        • Come to think of it, Audi used to offer – I don’t know if they still do – an ‘unrecognisable’ boot option: no name on the boot (trunk) at the rear. My brother-in-law’s A8 had no identification on the boot ..he liked to keep it "low profile", so to speak.

          • I’ve also remembered – "sacrilege" William? – that I painted vertical black felt-tip stripes at the edges of my M9 shutter panels, as it’s so prone to responding too much to sunlight in the sky when it’s held vertically.

            Now it’s unresponsive to light at the shutter edges – especially when in ‘portrait’ mode – and gives far better results!

          • Thanks David. You must not have one of those ‘special edition red dot Audis’! I had to check my own Audi to see if it had Audi written on it anywhere. I am completely disinterested in brands and brand image. At 69 years of age I have no interest in such matters (never had anyway) and I am not a bit self or image conscious about any products that I own or use. It would never occur to me that I was advertising a product because it had a manufacturer’s name on it. I certainly would not buy any product myself because I saw someone with one.

            As for the black tape business, my view is that if I was so terrified to own and use a product because some felon might identify it and attempt to steal it, I would not buy the product at all. Thankfully, I am not terrified in that way and so the idea of disguising the camera that I am using does not occur to me at all. I take the usual sensible security precautions with my cameras and other possessions, of course.

            We are only talking about possessions here which can, of course, be insured.There are no ‘sacrileges’ here at all. Once you own something you can do what you want with it. There are more important things in life than possessions such as cameras and cars, of course.


          • Oh, I didn’t paint out the red dot because I was scared that someone would think it ‘valuable’ and steal it from me!

            I painted it out, or had it replaced, because it don’t like its conspicuousness – I don’t want to attract attention to myself when or if I’m taking a photo.

            I similarly paint out the white lettering on the fronts of lenses – with a felt-tip pen – because I don’t want to catch people’s attention, or to have them look at the lettering instead of down the barrel of the lens when I DO want them to look into the camera!

          • Most normal people who ‘have a life’ and have no interest in cameras or camera brands do not spend their time looking at camera badges and names. I occasionally get asked ‘is that a Leica?’ by older people when I am using something like an M3 or an LTM Leica with no red dot or name in sight. Never happens when I have a model with red dot or the name on the front.

            If I am talking somebody’s photo I say "Look at the lens, because if you cannot see the lens, it cannot see you". It usually works.


          • "Model delete" is an option for many higher-end cars —Mercedes, BMW, Audi and, of course, Porsche. You can even have your model name in black to stealthily blend into your black car. But there’s always the suspicion that it’s a bog-standard model and the owner hopes you’ll think it’s the turbo lux version.

  3. The advantages of a touch screen remain to be seen. I presume that it will enable some menu items or a quick menu to be changed rapidly. The rest of this is purely cosmetic. I think that I said before that people who tape up red dots need to see a psychiatrist or get another camera. Most of my Leicas dating back to 1926 do not have a red dot, but it never ever occurs to me when I pick up a camera with a red dot that ‘this is a camera with a red dot, I must be extra careful’. Most of my Leicas also have lovely engraving, particularly the very early ones. I note also that the piece in Leica Rumors about a possible M10-P also refers to a forthcoming item to be called an ELPRO and they are speculating on whether it is a close up lens or a filter. My money would be on the latter. Leica had a range of close up filters for the 50mm f 3.5 Elmar going back to the 1920s. The first of these was called the ELPRO. I have a few of those filters and I showed an example of how they were used in an article on 1930s Leicas on Macfilos.


  4. A new shutter with faster speed would be a real and welcome improvement. Much more useful than a battery eating, heat generating touch-screen. It’s just yet another electronic gadget to break down… and probably quite pricey.

    With the M10, we now have direct tactile (buttons/knobs/switches) access to each and every feature needed for photography. Aperture, focus, shutter speed, ISO, release button… all the other features don’t require megafast access. So a touchscreen would bring all it’s negative features and nothing positive.

    If they must add a touchscreen it should:
    – be the best UI ever, something that will blow people away it’s so good.
    – not consume any more power than a standard screen
    – not generate any heat
    – not add any weight
    – not add any depth to the body
    – bring more added value than just Leica following other manufacturers.

  5. A higher maximum shutter speed would be about the only improvement that would interest me, and even then not enough to upgrade.

    As for an M10-D, that is much more interesting, but also an unlikely upgrade for me. I owned the original M-D (262) for just over a year, then upgraded to the M10. I liked the M10, but absolutely LOVED the M-D, so last week I sold my one-year-old M10 and bought a like-new M-D and feel like I’ve come home.

    A new M10-D might be tempting if it had a 1/8000th second shutter speed (I often shoot fast lenses in bright light), but even that won’t likely be enough as using ND filters really isn’t that much of an inconvenience. I also would not be interested if they kept the ISO selector on the top plate as it is on the current M10 instead of the thumb dial on the M-D, which is simply a delight.

    Looking back at older reviews for the M-D including the ones on this site, I see a lot of mention of how the M-D was essentially future-proof due to its good-enough sensor and lack of features. I agree with that assessment.

  6. Mike, How did you process the top photo (outside the Leica shop)? On my (apple) screen, it has the ‘pinky’ tones that I often have with Ricoh, Fuji, & Sony. (I must confess to the accidental indiscretion of bringing a Fuji to a Leica shop, too.)

    • The short answer is that I don’t know. This photo came up recently when Robin Sinha asked for a copy for something they were working on. I didn’t like the colours either so looked for the DNG batch — but completely absent. I can’t account for this, but only the JPGs were there. It could do with some work, I agree, but any problems are down to me rather than the camera.


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