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Leica M-D: Long-term review of the screenless digital

 Pure inspiration and aspiration?: The Leica M-D is a triumph of function over frippery (Leica M-D and 50mm Apo Summicron-M)
Pure inspiration and aspiration?: The Leica M-D is a triumph of function over frippery (Leica M-D and 50mm Apo Summicron-M)

Why a make a digital camera with no screen? Why indeed? On the face of things it is nonsense, retro for retro’s sake. I loved the original Leica M-D and, with rumours of a replacement arriving next week, it’s a good time to review the results of our long-term test of this unusual but compelling rangefinder.

This article was published originally on July 19, 2016.

Three months ago I was at Leica’s UK headquarters in Mayfair when the first two M-Ds arrived in the country. One was for display, the other had my name on it. I had anticipated its arrival and placed my order before anyone else caught a whiff of the cordite. To be honest, I bought it blind. Having tried the screen-free M60 edition at the end of 2014, I was ready for the M-D and I had a fairly shrewd idea that I would like it.

 Fluffy clouds, vivid colours (not for everyone, but don't blame the camera) and an ever-changing skyline. With the 50mm non-apo Summicron. In the foreground is the abandoned causeway of the ancient Chiswick ferry which once connected the Middlesex and Surrey sides of the Thames. Modern Hammersmith is in the distance, old Chiswick Mall to the far left, Chiswick Eyot (or island, pronounced Ate) centre left.
Fluffy clouds, vivid colours (not for everyone, but don’t blame the camera) and an ever-changing skyline. With the 50mm non-apo Summicron. In the foreground is the abandoned causeway of the ancient Chiswick ferry which once connected the Middlesex and Surrey sides of the Thames. Modern Hammersmith is in the distance, old Chiswick Mall to the far left, Chiswick Eyot (or island, pronounced Ate) centre left.

The concept of a device with a digital sensor but the simplicity of a film camera is somehow alluring. For several years, the forums have been full of requests for a digital camera that looks and feels like an M3 (or M2/M4/M6, take your pick). The M-D may not feel exactly like the M3, but it does do a good job of emulating the experience, the added frippery of electronic metering notwithstanding. So far, I have not been disappointed. On the contrary, this is the best Leica M digital I have ever owned.

Since digital cameras began to make inroads into the film market in the early years of the century, there has been a race to ever more features, ever more complication. We have had to accustom ourselves to computerised cameras with endless complications and options that, in my very modest opinion, actually detract from the experience of photography. At first, the opportunity of checking your shots on a screen made compelling sense. It was a new idea. And the ability to turn your camera into a mini darkroom, spewing out ready-to-go masterpieces without human intervention, was entertaining. At first.

 A slimmish George IV, formerly the corpulant Prince Regent, surveys Admiral Lord Nelson and his column in London's Trafalgar Square. With the 50mm Summicron.
A slimmish George IV, formerly the corpulant Prince Regent, surveys Admiral Lord Nelson and his column in London’s Trafalgar Square. With the 50mm Summicron.

Along the way, menus blossomed like the buds of May, buttons bred like flies and learning your way around a new camera became a daunting task. Some, such as Leica, tried to stay true to the shibboleth of simplicity. Fortunately, Leica menus, to this day, are a relatively simple affair. Other contenders expanded their menu offerings with more sections, sub-sections and a wide swathe of often conflicting terms. Recently, I turned to Olympus and, at least initially, found the menus mighty confusing, both to navigate and understand. They do grow on you, but slowly slowly. It takes time to create an ideal environment and, even then, there is always the possibility of upsetting things by pressing the wrong button.

Behind all this complication, though, lies a simple truth. You do not really need all these adjustments, options, buttons, dials, to make a good photograph. Nor did the masters of photography in the past. They didn’t juggle white balance, aspect ratio, sharpness, saturation, and a dozen and one other functions: They simply slapped in a film of a known sensitivity and took pictures using just three controls—aperture, shutter speed and focus. Everything else was done in the darkroom later—or, as we call it these days, the Lightroom.

 Fish & Chips and Full English Breakfast at ISO 800 and the 50mm Summicron
Fish & Chips and Full English Breakfast at ISO 800 and the 50mm Summicron

Where the M-D fits in

This is where the M-D steps in. To my mind the M-D is the apotheosis of the rangefinder tradition. It is not trying to be all things to all men (as are so many modern cameras, including the other M digitals, even its stripped-down M262 sibling). It is focused on simplicity, on producing pictures with the same lack of fuss as any film camera since the dawn of the Barnack Leica.

I wrote my initial impressions of the M-D just three days after getting my grubby hands on the new arrival. It is now my only digital M. Gone are the M240 and M246, surplus to requirements. Reader Stephen Jenner is now enjoying my old M-P. The M-D is the most sublime and satisfying option and I feel that it is the digital M I will be happy to use for years. Despite a few extra grams and millimetres, this is the true descendant of all film Leica Ms over the years. It has the makings of a digital classic if such is a possibility. After all, there isn’t much to change apart from, perhaps, adding a few more megapixels (unnecessary in my view) or a faster processor (again, not a big wish). Wouldn’t it be wonderful, though, if such upgrades could be made to the original camera?

As such, the M-D has a strong appeal to those photographers who like the experience of shooting film—and the camera form that goes with it—but who are discouraged by the inconvenience and cost of processing.

 Fatboy tyres: Leica 50mm Summicron M, 1250 ISO
Fatboy tyres: Leica 50mm Summicron M, 1250 ISO


From a styling point of view, the M-D adopts the clothing of the M-P, with the traditional white engraving on the top plate, the absence of a red dot to cover the rangefinder adjustment screw, the frameline adjustment lever (missing on the basic M240) and the matte black visage. Currently the M-D is available in black only, although Leica will almost certainly add a silver version sooner rather than later. It’s what they do.

In one respect it differs from other Ms. To the far end of the top plate, where the M240 and M-P mount the microphone, the M-D has a down step which is reminiscent of the M9. This in itself is a very subtle styling cue which makes the camera appear less bulky.

 Photos above and below: Leica Press Office
Photos above and below: Leica Press Office

Internally, the M-D is pure M240. It has the same 24 MP sensor, the same processor and will produce exactly the same results. You have only my word that the pictures in this article have been taken with the M-D. I could have cheated and slipped in some tasty shots from the old M-P or, even, the Monochrom 246. Trust me, though.

However, unlike the M-P which has a 2GB memory, the M-D shares the 1GB buffer of the M240 and M262. Fewer shots can be written to disk before the buffer fills. Nonetheless, the M-D is a slow, purposeful device and hardly needs a bigger buffer.

All things considered, the M-D is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship, entirely traditional and full of purpose. I think it is the most handsome Leica digital ever made.

 On the buses with the 50mm Summicron-M
On the buses with the 50mm Summicron-M
 Tickets please, 50mm Leica Summincron-M
Tickets please, 50mm Leica Summincron-M


I’m tempted to be flippant. Controls? What controls?

With the M-D in my hands, I feel completely focused on the taking of pictures. There is no danger that I’ve pressed the wrong button, perhaps by selecting +3 EV compensation by mistake; no chance of initiating video ’cause there ain’t any, silly.

No, I have a lens (any lens) with an aperture ring, a shutter speed dial that is most times set to A for auto, and a shutter button. That’s it, in the main. The only other option, apart from ISO, is the wheel to the right of the thumb rest. This is used to select exposure compensation (while simultaneously pressing the single function button). This works reliably and compensation is displayed in the viewfinder as you twiddle the dial. As an added safety precaution and as a reminder, the set compensation value briefly pops up in the viewfinder every time the shutter button is half pressed. You just need to keep your wits about you. 

 Simple controls: Power switch, shutter release, speed dial and (right) the single function button
Simple controls: Power switch, shutter release, speed dial and (right) the single function button

The final regular adjustment option on the camera is sensitivity. The ISO dial sits in the centre of the vulcanite back, just as the M gods ordained from time immemorial. Yet it is a welcome improvement on film Ms in that you can select a sensitivity for every single shot, not just for the next 36 frames in the film cassette. But that dial does bring a few teething problems for the new user. It is all too easy to crank ISO up to 1600 or even 6400 for an indoor shot and then forget to return it to 200 when emerging into daylight. Fortunately, the camera warns of over exposure by flashing the maximum speed, 4000, in the viewfinder. Sometimes, however, a vital shot has been lost while fiddling with the dial. After three months, fortunately, I have accustomed myself to checking this setting. Of course, there is no auto ISO option as you can have on other M digitals.

The circular dial itself is fairly stiff and there is absolutely no chance of it moving of its own volition. Instead, you must exert firm finger pressure in the required direction of travel. Although many might consider this throwback dial a case of retro form over function, it actually works very well. It represents a simple analogue display which requires no electronic assistance. The dial is calibrated in one-third stops from ISO 200 to 6400 which is just about right for my type of use. 

The M-D has exactly the same on/off switch, concentric with the shutter release, as all other Ms. It has four positions: off, single-shot, continuous and timer. The front of the switch has a ridged tab that makes it easy to operate with the tip of the index finger. The shutter release is threaded for a mechanical remote or to accommodate a soft-release button such as the Matchtechnical bug which I have succeeded in losing. Last time I lost one, a bright red bug, it was missing for some weeks. Then, one day, I walked out of my home and spied it between two paving stones. I doubt I will find the black one in the same way. I think I’ll stick to the naked button.

Metering and focus

The M-D follows later film cameras in offering just one metering option—centre weighted. Again, nothing to choose, nothing to adjust. Just accept it and get on with it. I have always preferred centre-weighted exposure on Leicas, even on the M, so I have no problems with this approach. Similarly, I am perfectly happy with focus and recompose. It’s a method I try to adopt on all my cameras, even the Olympus PEN-F and the Leica SL. I have no use for floating focus points and it is just the way I like to work. Others may disagree. But, then, if you are in the market for the M-D you know all this.

 Setting the exposure in fully manual mode
Setting the exposure in fully manual mode

The rangefinder focus method needs no introduction and, of course, operates in the same way as it has always done. I’ve always preferred manual focus, even though I use other cameras with extremely fast and very accurate autofocus.

Manual focus is just so much involving; the deliberate lining up of the split image in the central focus patch, the knowledge that you are focusing on the precise face or point on the scene. And, once focus is achieved, it is then easy to recompose the shot without losing the setting. Modern cameras offer focus peaking, simulated split-image and other aids, yet none are as quick, or as satisfying, as the 85-year-old mechanical linkage system used on Leica’s cameras.

The bright viewfinder is more involving than even the best electronic views, and the framelines (which come in three pairs to suit 28, 35, 50, 75, 90 and 135mm lenses) make for quick and accurate framing. In common with the M240 series, the framelines are electronic—brighter than optical lines on earlier cameras but extinguished when the camera is switched off. Because of the lack of menus, the factory chose white framelines rather than offering the choice of white or red. Sensible decision.

 1) Brightline frames for 50mm and 75mm (example). 2) Focus patch. 3) LED display—in the case of the M-D this is the sole menu interface
1) Brightline frames for 50mm and 75mm (example). 2) Focus patch. 3) LED display—in the case of the M-D this is the sole menu interface

As a bonus for the rangefinder concept, when using 50mm and longer lenses, there is a significant border to the image which enables the photographer to see outside the box and be more aware of what is happening around. This is all standard M stuff and I mention it only for the benefit of any readers who are new to the M concept.

Since the camera came my way I have been using it mainly with 50mm glass—the needle-sharp APO Summicron ASPH and the silver Summicron I picked up at the Bièvres camera fair. As a result I dusted off the Leica 1.25x magnifier and screwed it into the viewfinder thread. It has two advantages. First, it magnifies the view so the 50mm frame is slightly larger; second it sits 9mm proud of the viewfinder and, with its rubber surround, is more comfortable for glasses wearers. It also helps when the camera is inside a leather half-case.

That missing screen

Apart from the paucity of controls, the most outstanding non feature of the M-D—and the one that gains most traction in tests and reviews—is the absence of a screen. This omission is often regarded as heresy. I don’t miss the screen, though. One advantage is that there is no temptation to chimp, but this is a minor consideration. The M-D operates as does a film camera. Yet even when I am using a fully featured camera such as the Leica SL or Olympus PEN-F, I seldom chimp. In fact, with the Olympus, I have the screen turned round so all I see (and, more important, feel) is an expanse of M-like faux vulcanite.

With the PEN-F, as with other modern cameras, this affectation of switching off or hiding the screen is a deliberate choice. The M-D, on the other hand, offers no such choice. The lack of a screen means no menus. Everything has to be done by means of juggling one button (the one that on the M240 starts and stops the much-disliked video function) and squinting at red digits in the rangefinder window. It sounds daunting, bordering on the fussy, but all options have been distilled to the absolutely essential. This is indeed a Spartan camera. Since the M-D produces only RAW files there is no need for all those jpeg-related settings. There are just three things you can do with that options button. During shooting, it is used to toggle between battery level (shown as a percentage digit in the viewfinder) and remaining shots on the SD card. Battery level flashes every time you switch on the camera so, essentially, I seldom need to touch the option button.

 Look, Ma, no screen: This is a pure, supremely tactile camera. The sculpted aluminium ISO dial is a joy to use; the thumbwheel to the top right is used for exposure compensation and, initially, for date setting.
Look, Ma, no screen: This is a pure, supremely tactile camera. The sculpted aluminium ISO dial is a joy to use; the thumbwheel to the top right is used for exposure compensation and, initially, for date setting.

On very infrequent occasions, however, with a firm press or a simultaneous switch of the on/off button to the timer setting, the option button can serve to initiate firmware upgrades or to enable the date to be set (the digits of the date are selected by means of the thumb wheel). While all this is unwieldy to explain, it is simplicity itself once you’ve spent ten minutes familiarising yourself with the camera.

Not everyone is convinced. How can I possibly rely on this camera without being able to see the results on the screen? What if there’s something wrong with the settings and all my day’s work is ruined? As with a film camera, there is always the possibility of something unexpected, but a complete burnout is about as likely as erasing your SD card in error or mistakenly leaving the exposure compensation on +3. In the real world these things don’t happen often; and there are actually more opportunities to mess things up with a fully-featured camera than there are with the M-D. This is especially so with in-camera jpegs if you are relying on a dozen settings to be in harmony and which can be knocked out of kilter by all those pesky little buttons, dials and D pads.

The M-D is so simple that nothing is likely to happen by mistake. Even if you forget to put in an SD card the camera will tell you (“Sd” in red letters in the viewfinder). There’s nothing else you can get disastrously wrong except forgetting to set the ISO and that’s something that you remember to check frequently after a few weeks.

 50mm Apo-Summicron-M, an Oxford courtyard
50mm Apo-Summicron-M, an Oxford courtyard


The M-D is actually a very simple camera to review. Some 80 percent of the tick boxes that clutter a normal camera test are completely redundant. There is little difference between reviewing the M-D and the latest M7 film camera. It just works and there are no variables to consider.

The M-D feels very solid and compact in the hands. While it has the same dimensions and weight as the M240, it is subjectively slightly smaller and lighter. I can’t really account for this, although the absence of a screen and surrounding buttons offers a more tactile cruising ground for the right thumb and makes the body more graspable. The camera feels more M7 than M-P; and this is a good thing.

Over the past couple of weeks I have had my M-D snug inside a £165 black leather Classic Case, hand crafted by Paul Glendell in his Bovey Tracey hideaway. I worked with Paul on the detail of this case and I have to say that it perfectly complements the M-D. I had promised that I would not use half cases in future, resolving not to mollycoddle my cameras. But I have to admit that the Classic Case looks the part and helps improve the grip on the camera. I suspect a light or dark brown leather would look even more attractive.

As a further aid to firm grip I mounted the Matchtechnical Thumbs Up designed for all M240-series cameras. It is a relict of my M-P and M246 and is now nicely brassed. The grip helps in keeping the camera steady during shooting. It also provides a comfortable thumb hook for use when carrying the camera on a wrist strap.

If you can use an M7 you are due no surprises when picking up the M-D. It is essentially an M7 without the film. Swap the darkroom for the Lightroom and you have the full story. As with the M7, the M-D has the option to set automatic shutter speed which works in conjunction with the other two manual settings on the camera—aperture and ISO sensitivity. In this case the auto speed selected by the camera will appear as red digits in the viewfinder, something you need to keep an eye on to avoid an over-slow speed and the danger of camera shake. Alternatively, both speed and aperture can be set manually. In this case, you will see the same opposing triangles and central red spot as on the M7 (or the M6 TTL and MP for that matter). Simply adjust the speed or the aperture until the red dot is illuminated

 50mm Apo-Summicron-M
50mm Apo-Summicron-M

Some useful features have gone by the board. For instance, without a menu you cannot input metadata details such as user or copyright information. All that has to be done in post processing if required.

With no menu to twiddle there’s no way you can format your SD card in the M-D. However, this can be done using the popular SDFormatter software on your computer. It works well and solves another little problem. In any case, there is no need for frequent formatting. Simply delete the old shots from the card before removing it from the computer. 

Yet another missing feature is the option to select a lens profile. The M-D recognises all six-bit-coded modern glass, but uncoded lenses are shown as “not specified” and, without a menu, there is no way of telling the camera what’s what. Again, if you often use uncoded lenses it’s a good plan to add keywords in post processing. 

Despite these caveats, I don’t really miss all the complications. I am happy to revel in the simplicity of the M-D

 50mm Apo-Summicron-M
50mm Apo-Summicron-M

Battery life

Arranging for maximum battery life, though, has proved problematic. Initially, Leica delivered the M-D with automative power-off disabled. According to my informants, this was done in response to feedback from some users of the M60 Edition, the forerunner of the M-D. This camera would switch off after a few minutes and users complained that they would prefer a longer period of consciousness. The question was, just now long. Ten minutes? One hour? Since there is no way to perform this adjustment, neither on the M60 nor on the M-D, the gut reaction at the factory was simply to disable the power-off function altogether.

This proved to be a mistake. As an inveterate forgetter-to-switch-offer, I soon realised that the battery could flatten itself in a trice. Clearly Leica expected owners to switch off before periods of inactivity, something that I could not get used to.

Fortunately for all of us, the solution was easy. The recent firmware update permits the camera to shut down after 30 minutes. I have now been using the new firmware for around six weeks and can report absolutely no problems. In fact, the wake time is so quick, perhaps not even one second, that it is hardly noticeable. In any case, the M-D is possibly the quickest digital camera to be ready for action after being switched on. 

Where battery life was a constant worry before the firmware upgrade, it is now something that I don’t think much about. The enormous battery, inherited from the M240 with its video and live-view capabilities, is a true bottomless pit when slotted into the newly firmwared M-D. Over the past two weeks I have been using the camera off and on, including one full half-day of shooting, and the battery level is still at 80%. I carry a spare, especially after the scary first few weeks with the M-D, but it probably isn’t necessary in normal circumstances. 

 50mm Apo-Summicron-M
50mm Apo-Summicron-M


The M-D is not for everyone. I don’t see it as a starter camera, nor as an only option. Anyone bred on the typical modern digital will be flummoxed. And then some. It is being bought by people who have already owned M digitals and seek a fresh approach. Most of them have other cameras, maybe a Monochrom, perhaps an SL. Or, even, a Fuji, Sony or Olympus mirrorless camera. They can get their computer-game fix from these cameras, but not from the M-D.

My attraction to the M-D definitely lies in its stripped-down simplicity and purity of focus. I can fully understand the reasoning of photographers who still prefer the more fully featured M cameras. They are clearly more versatile and, as many will argue, you can turn off the screen, disable jpegs and set up a simple “holy trinity” metering regime. But it isn’t quite the same.

The M-D appeals to the purist. It is the distillation of the digital camera; a fine cognac that never fails to tickle the taste buds at every sip.

Did I say I like the Leica M-D?

 With the 50mm Apo-Summicron
With the 50mm Apo-Summicron


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  1. "..You do not really need all these adjustments, options, buttons, dials, to make a good photograph. Nor did the masters of photography in the past. They didn’t juggle white balance, aspect ratio, sharpness, saturation, and a dozen and one other functions.."

    You’re forgetting filters, Michael: red or yellow for a darker sky, or more noticeable clouds, on black-&-white film; a green filter for faces; polarising filter to remove reflections; a haze filter for more distant shots; coloured filters to use outdoor 5200K film indoors – and vice versa. Close-up attachments, or adaptors, to shoot closer than the lens would normally allow.

    Lens movements? ..Rise and fall to keep verticals vertical, shift and tilt to increase or decrease depth of field, a rotating back to change aspect ratio from portrait to landscape, or vice versa.

    There was plenty of fiddling which "..the masters of photography.." used in the past. It wasn’t only choose aperture, choose shutter speed, point, focus, squeeze.

    • David B.
  2. "The M-D is not for everyone": very true; and, quite apart from remortgaging the house, I’m thinking I can get a lot of film-processing done for the price of an M-D! I hadn’t seen this article in 2016, Mike, and have enjoyed it very much. Really pleasing photos. I noticed that you consistently used a 50mm prime, and I think that might suit me better than 35 or 28. Does this come up as metadata on the computer together with ISO, aperture and shutter speed? They are my learning-points when I review my images before processing.
    Of course, I suppose the ultimate is an M-D monochrome (unless, of course, an M-D invisible pictures is in the pipeline.
    The camera looks beautiful and calls "hands on" not "hands off"!
    John Nicholson.

    • I expect the lens name would only be included in the exif (metadata) if it is coded, as there is no way to manually tell the camera which lens it is if uncoded.

    • I can’t now remember why it was I spent so much time with the 50mm focal length during the M-D test. I seem to remember I was using the Apo-Summicron in order to get material for that review. I also remember distinctly using the Tri-Elmar MATE during a productive day out in Oxford.

  3. My favorite color digital. I bought the original M-D a few months after release based in part on the glowing reviews here at Macfilos, and then upgraded to the M10 about a year later. After using the M10 for a year, I was eager to downgrade back to the M-D, which today joins my CCD M Monochrom and analog M5.

    I won’t bother with the new M10-D as I prefer the control layout on the original. The massive ISO dial on the back is just sublime, while I didn’t particularly care for the M10’s ISO dial on the top left. I found the control with its push-to-loc and lift-to-unlock action a bit fiddly, and nowhere near as fast and fluid as that of the M-D. I’m sure that I am in the minority with regards to ISO dials.

    The added EVF compatibility, wifi and slimmer body are fine, nice to have but hardly required. The smaller battery, combined with new EVF and wifi capabilities likely will put battery life somewhat better than M10 (unless you turn off the screen as I did when I had it) and considerably worse than M-D. I hope the start-up and wake times are faster than M10, but are probably the same. M-D is lightning-fast by comparison, though of course it’s M240 processor has very few lines of code to read.

    Not sure about the advance lever. It looks cool and in fact makes the camera look essentially the same as the M7 with a la cart changes to M3 style wind and rewind, which is a good thing. I use a Thumbs Up on my M-D, but the lever looks better.

    Where I know the new M10-D will be better is in the sensor, which is to be expected. However as you guys wrote in your initial M-D review, the sensor in the M-D was already far better than "good enough", and looking at my M10 and M-D image files I see no real advantage either way except for high ISO (above 3200), which is about two stops better on the M10. Up to 3200 though the difference is minimal at the sizes I print (up to 11X14") and I find it just as easy to get the look I want from either file in post.

    Finally there is the shutter. M10 had a nice quiet shutter, and my guess for M10-D is that it will have the quieter shutter of the M10P, combined with manual recocking through the lever, which might save enough battery life to bring the camera up to M-D level, and which will make it quieter still. I’ve not tried the M10P so cannot comment on the shutter. The original M10 shutter was of similar sound level to the M-D, though I prefer the M-D’s sound over the M10’s.

    Now an M10-D Monochrom, THAT would be interesting, but again, I’ll probably stick with my original CCD Monochrom which I cannot imaging any newer model giving better image quality. Better high-ISO performance or dynamic range? Absolutely, but ultimate image quality was already at such an incredible level with the original M Monochrom that I can’t imagine anything short of a medium format monochrome sensor being an improvement.

    Thanks for the memories; I enjoyed reading this again. I’m enrolled in a workshop next weekend at an old navy yard and was planning on bringing a full kit, but this puts me in the mood to shoot with just the M-D and either a 35mm or 50mm lens and watch everyone else fiddle with tripods and lens changes.

    • I’m with you on this. While I think the M10-D will represent a significant improvement on the original, I stand by my remarks that the M-D is a camera that will be around for a long time. Some people, including you, will prefer it and, of course, it will be a cheaper entry for anyone wanting to suck it and see.

      the big question in my mind (at time of writing) is whether we will get the M10-P’s quiet shutter. I hope so, and I am interested in the timing of the M10-D launch — it has been on the stocks for some time and I heard rumours that it would be launched at the time of Photokina. The delay could have something to do with them wanting to get the M10-P out of the box first. If the -D does have the new shutter, the launch would have to have been delayed for that reason.

  4. Being an advocate of shift lenses for architectural photography, and with a mission to avoid ‘unwanted’ converging and diverging verticals, I need a camera with ‘live view’ … and thus welcome the rumoured M10-D … which by allegedly offering an ‘add-on’ EVF, will offer not only minimalist traditional rangefinder photography … but also a means of ‘live perspective control’ … and maybe also image playback for those who need it. I’m very curious about the rumoured add-on EVF … likely an improvement on the Viso EVF-2 which is showing its age having originally been offered with the Leica T over 3 years ago.

    • Unfortunately, Dunk, the EVF will the Visoflex which, as you say, arrived with the T in 2015 and has since migrated to the M10. It is showing its age (although the old VF-2 is still plodding on with the M240) and it is about time for an upgrade.

      The interesting thing is that I suspect an upgrade will be possible because of the hot-shoe contacts. The VF2 and its cameras (X2, X, X-Vario, M240) needed a custom socket at the back of the camera, thus making it unlikely that an upgrade finder would be introduced. With the Visoflex upgrade, however, all they need is to ensure the contact template is identical. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that there are plans afoot, although this is pure conjecture on my part.

  5. There is a freedom to walking around and not checking what you have captured. I walk around with my Hasselblad X1d and only use the LCD to change settings as it eliminated buttons to adjust the essential settings on the LCD – I am starting to like that. However, I do not generally check screen unless it is to see waterfall blur in long exposures-a rare percentage of my photography. Similarly, with my Panasonic G9, I do not look at images on LCD and love that the LCD can be rotated so it is protected and no temptation to look. There is freedom and purity of just being in the moment and experiencing your visual surroundings. I am from the film days and do not see examining your images as a plus. The tiny size and dynamic range and the fact that the image is a jpeg processed image makes it impossible to truly evaluate an image. If in doubt, take another image as the digital film is cheap. On the other hand do not do the machine gun approach and annoy the hell out of me at the local camera club trying to impress me as you scroll through endless sewage looking to be congratulated on your images😂. The time to “chimp” is at home and study what went well and what did not and pay for education to grow instead of buying the latest camera body release that has almost no practical improvement over the previous and so on. The problem with all the excessive computer automation is it removes the need to learn the basics which are essential to true creative growth and mastery. I used to be program chair of a camera club but I have never had patience for fools and it almost caused me to start disliking people. I joined a painters group where you have to take education and apply it and they almost never discuss their gear. They discuss why the artist did the art and what it says to them. The automation has set a low barrier to capturing images but there always be the 5-10 percent that are artists striving to create real art and learn and progress. Some will work with modest gear and some will be blessed to have or afford Leica or Hasselblad that are a joy to even just look at but give you the siren call to go out in any weather to capture that elusive magical image where everything comes together and you were prepared because the camera was a mere tool that you knew without lookin how to adjust before you raised it to your eye and captured that fleeting decisive moment. The Leica is the best tool I have ever used where they just get the haptics right. Even my Hasselblad X1D is a distant second to Hasselblad-no aperture ring on lens do I can blame and adjust, what we’re they thinking? I suppose too used to studio mentality but it is a wonderful carry around device.Anyway, the Leica without an LCD baffles most of the camera websites that are mostly incompetent but competent enthusiasts will not hesitate to appreciate a digital Leica that focuses on the purity of a camera that just becomes a tool that due to its simplicity it just gets out of the way and becomes an enabler to the real joy of photography which is creating visual art and not sweating the number of hairs in your brush. That is why Leica X series cameras are still bringing joy to their owners.

  6. By the way, my Panasonic computer G9 with Pana – Leica glass can and is configued closer to a Leica than I can do with the X1D. The pana Leica glass has aperture on lens – what an amazing concept. The haptics of glancing at your camera and knowing what it is set at cannot be exaggerated. The X1d is not anywhere as natural to use. But it produces natural colours and so on so is great for more considered images where speed is not of the essence. The G9 paired with the X1d are MY perfect solution for my needs so do not pee on me as I actually go out and take photos and if you for some bizarre reason need a DSLR for anything besides sports I am happy for you. But you may want to sell your DSLR glass while it still can be sold and has value🙂. By the way, I am commenting on my iPhone while enjoying a barley sandwich break in my local pub and just noticed some auto text corrections in the previous post that make some stuff off but the sophisticated will probably figure out or ask me. Any, this is the site I check, when I I getting a break. As a complement, the Ming Thein site used to be my first choice but you have moved to first choice as you have a better balance of practical, interesting, and competent content. That should be praise indeed and hopefully encourage you to persevere forward. I used to love the Dear Susan site but for at least the past year, they have drifted into mostly “intellectual” navel gazing and fermenting the half empty glass on things like processing tools. Can you imagine Ansel Adams, trekking up a mountain, with less than a dozen hand coated glass plates, complaining about our tools. It is rediculous. I developed negatives and pictures under a raised bed in university- a possible reason for my asthma. Nothing excited me more than seeing an image start to appear in the developer tray. I shot with Kodachrome 25 (iso 25) and iso 100 B&H film all hand held and tripod when necessary. Now people, complain that they need ISO 50000 and need countless sensor resolution, image stabilzation, and so on. How about just getting out and being content with what you have and push yourself – you will never be better than the tools we currently have. I liked Dear Susan when they showed interesting images coupled with showing the artistic rendering of a lens as that is hard to find out before you buy. Now they navel gaze on the future of camera brands and equipment and excessively complain about processing. It now turns me off going out and getting creative with their current direction so have dumped them. So in summary, this site encourages me to be a better me and get out taking pictures and satisfying my creative needs. If all you want to do is talk about gear, why not just buy a classic car as all you really are is a “shadow artist” which is an artist wannabe but without the talent and or self discipline to persevere to be one. I should get off here as I have to solve this Guinness that is feeling neglected.

    • Hi Bryan, thank you for all this informative stuff in both your comments. Sorry I’m late in responding but there has been an email glitch this week which resulted in my getting no notifications of comments, so I missed all this. Your kind words on the blog are appreciated. Basically, I just write what interests me, with a few side trips down non-photographic subjects that get me going. It seems to work and there is no doubt the readership is growing.

      Fortunately — so far at least — everything has remained on a civilised level, unlike many similar blogs. I suspect a big chunk of the reason is that Macfilos tends to appeal to the older reader. Birds of a feather….


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