Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Leica M10-D announced: Quiet shutter, folding “thumb-rest”

Leica M10-D announced: Quiet shutter, folding “thumb-rest”


Leica appears to have announced the M10-D in New York although we are still waiting for the official press release. We will have more on this shortly. But the important thing is that the new camera does have the quiet shutter of the M10-P — something that will please potential buyers. The second fascinating fact is that, as I reported last week, the “advance lever” is simply a pull-out dummy which acts as a thumb rest. So much for back-to-basics cocking the shutter after every shot!

The M10-D is essentially an M10-P without the screen — down to the top-plate engraving and the absence of the Leica red dot. It also has a real leather covering.

I need to get my hands on the manual to see what functions are allotted to the thumb wheel which, on the original M-D was used to adjust exposure compensation. As with the M-D, basic functions can be made by using a sequence of button presses (using the button to the right of the shutter release. More advanced settings, presumably including the parameters for auto ISO and, possibly, for non-coded lens recognition, should be possible via the new Leica Fotos application.

The bad news, although expected, is that the M10-D, without a screen, will cost the same £6,500 as the M10-P. It’s a case of less for more, but this is hardly likely to deter buyers.

From the Leica website

Leica M10-D: Digital heart, analogue soul.

  Less is more: The film-camera back of the M10-D — including the dummy “advance lever” os calculated to attract the faithful. The clearly marked on-off switch, while in an unorthodox position, is easier to memorise than the red-dot symbol on the switch of other M10 models. The compensation dial, a first for a digital M, will be welcomed by users who prefer to see everything at a glance.
Less is more: The film-camera back of the M10-D — including the dummy “advance lever” os calculated to attract the faithful. The clearly marked on-off switch, while in an unorthodox position, is easier to memorise than the red-dot symbol on the switch of other M10 models. The compensation dial, a first for a digital M, will be welcomed by users who prefer to see everything at a glance.

Wetzlar, 24 October 2018. With the Leica M10-D, Leica Camera AG transports the analogue experience into the world of digital photography. In place of the monitor screen, it offers a mechanical dial for exposure compensation and an integrated swing-out thumb rest for additional stability – and thus perfects the association with the analogue models of the Leica M. Photography with the Leica M10-D is an experience focused sharply on essential aspects that concentrate on the elementary parameters for image creation, such as composition, aperture, shutter speed and the ISO sensitivity value. The latest M model does not, however, limit itself solely to the analogue facets of its character. In combination with the equally new Leica FOTOS app, it provides many of the features and functions offered by a modern, high-performance digital camera.
All settings on the Leica M10-D are made with mechanical control elements. Instead of a monitor screen, the back of the camera has a mechanical dial for exposure compensation that is reminiscent of the film sensitivity setting dial familiar from analogue M-Cameras. The analogue look of the camera is further highlighted by a swing-out thumb rest that is strongly reminiscent of the combined film winding and shutter cocking lever of the analogue M models and makes a decisive contribution to the handling of the camera – especially when shooting one-handed.
It is up to the photographer to decide on the proportion of digital technology to be used in the workflow when shooting with the Leica M10-D. For instance, the WLAN function can be activated directly with the setting wheel on the back of the camera to quickly and easily connect the camera with iOS and Android devices. In essence, the monitor screen is detached from the camera body and no longer distracts the photographer from the process of composing and making the picture.
Numerous functions of a modern digital camera are also made available by the new Leica FOTOS app. In addition to enabling assessment of pictures, it also offers remote control of the camera in Live View. Many exposure-relevant settings can be made, and the camera’s shutter release can then be activated by wireless remote control. Depending on the photographer’s needs, parameters such as the image file format – DNG and/or JPG – or white balance can also be set from the app. As all settings made from the app are saved and stored in the camera, this enables photographers to configure the Leica M10-D to meet their specific needs whenever required. Finally, the Leica FOTOS app can also be used to transfer pictures to iOS and Android devices for sharing in social media channels and saving to a personal photostream. Thanks to the use of DNG format, even RAW image files can be seamlessly transferred by the app to suitable image processing apps installed on iOS or Android devices.
For greater flexibility and control, the optional Visoflex electronic viewfinder can also be used with the Leica M10-D. This is particularly useful, for example, when shooting with wide-angle or telephoto lenses, or when capturing complex subjects or scenes in which precise positioning of the plane of focus is essential. In addition to this, it has a tilt function that enables photography from various angles, displays the most recent exposure for up to five seconds and has an integrated, satellite-controlled GPS module for geotagging image files.     
The Leica M10-D will be on sale from 24 October 2018. The Leica FOTOS App will also be available as a free download from the Google Play Store™ and the Apple App Store™ at the same date.


    • Hank, that’s an interesting point and I’d be interested to have more information. Presumably, you are concerned about the ISO dial and the change to the rear dial — and possibly the "advance lever" which, I admit, is a bit odd. Perhaps you can elaborate and we can start a discussion……


      • Mike, the “advance lever” is a feature looking for an excuse to be. Why didn’t they just re-design the top plate to make he existing thumb rest bigger? Or, do you even need a thumb rest on a camera with no screen or buttons on the back?
        Should it not DO something functional, like, say, cock the shutter? Better to leave it off entirely.

        I like the rear dial, and the ISO dial is ok, too. I find the ability to set up the camera via an iPhone app to be practical.
        I’m not so sold on the Visoflex capabilities. I could see that some people would want and use it, but does it belong on a camera that is supposedly pared down to the “essentials”? There are other models (2 of them now) of which to take advantage of the Viso.

        But that useless advance lever/thumb rest! One could think that they’ve got boxes of those things laying around the factory, now that there’s no more MPs (and probably M-As) being made). What could we use these for…? Hmmmm….


        • I think you are right about the lever. I don’t like things that are there for styling purposes and are not functional. Today I got out my M7 and I’ve been dangling it on the advance lever to see what effect it has on handling. I suppose it does help, but you are probably right that a built-in thumb grip would have been better. But, then, not everyone likes thumb grips, so Leica is on a hiding to nothing. Most of the M10-D is good from my point of view, including the Visoflex capability, but I will have to try one to be sure. Thanks for the additional information.

        • Why do you say there are no more MP’s being made? I am not aware that Leica has discontinued this camera. New stock is still going to various stores; true this could be new old stock, but I have not seen anything that would indicate this. I have seen interviews with Leica in the last year or two indicating that production of analog/film cameras has even been increasing.

  1. Unsurprisingly, this camera is finding it difficult to get love on the Leica Forum. While one must admire the ability of Leica’s marketing people to diversify the same basic design many times over, this one tries too hard to be ‘all things ‘ etc. There are examples of binary or dichotomous thinking here that are hard to fathom. Can you imagine the outcry if Audi or Mercedes removed the dashboard instruments from a car and then provided a phone app that would give the same information to the driver? Then there is the ‘Grand Old Duke of York’ element whereby owners are marched to the top of ‘No LCD Hill’ and then marched down again with an EVF, and not a very good one at that.

    One must assume that Leica has done considerable market research on this one. The faux wind on lever which functions as a ‘thumb thingy’ has caused the greatest controversy, but it is, perhaps, the least confusing part of the new camera, because, apparently, a lot of photographers like to use a ‘thumb thingy’. An actual positive development is the use of the dial at the back for exposure compensation. I would like to see Leica go a step further to put such a dial on the top plate of all future M cameras. I don’t like dialling in exposure compensation with the camera to my eye. I prefer to do it as soon as I see a photographic subject and before I raise the camera to my eye. The dial at the back is, therefore, a step in the right decoration.

    Apart from the above, the use by the Leica marketing people of the term ‘analog’ (instead of film) and that chap running around a sloping roof (I suffer from vertigo issues – Menieres Disease) with a Leica are both ‘turn offs’ for me.

    I wish Leica well with this camera, But I believe that it will attract a small market response, which might explain why you pay ‘ the same for less’ as it involves cutting into larger production runs for the M10.

    I said before that this looked like a ‘curate’s egg’ camera. Today’s announcement has not changed that view.


    • The whole point about the -D is that it is not for everyone. You and many forum members have decided you don’t like it. But that doesn’t mean there is no one out there wanting to buy it. Quite the contrary, and I am waiting for mine. I will sell my M10. No one is forced to buy the M10-D so I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Leica is providing a choice and that is always a good thing.

      The problem with many denizens of these forums is that they have a fixed view, based entirely on their personal choice. Their mission in life is to persuade everyone that their choice is the only logical option. Anyone who doesn’t agree with them is considered an idiot.

        • Sorry, William. I wasn’t having a go at you. I had in mind some of the more opinionated and sometimes obnoxious forumites. As you say, it is a matter of personal choice and it is good that Leica continues to provide choices.

          • Well , that’s what happens when you folks look at forums. Do what I do -never look at them.
            As Mike says forums are full of people with totally polarised opinions and I would add -time on their hands.
            For what it’s worth I just don’t get the Leica M10-D at all but if people want to buy it be my guest. Anyway I’m bored with it now so please can we move on to some good photography and Leica no more Parisien cat burglars in your press releases thank you.

          • I was dashing out to go on a 15km hike yesterday to capture some autumn foliage yesterday and I note that I committed a, so called, Freudian slip when I said that the new exposure compensation dial was a ‘step in the right decoration’ as opposed to a ‘step in the right direction’. I agree 100% about the Parisian cat burglar, but this is probably aimed at a younger demographic as is the use of the term ‘analog’. The photos from Jono are superb as always, but they could equally have been taken with a plain vanilla M10. This thing is all about user experience, of course. I cannot get my iPhone with the latest software to read that QR Code for the FOTOS app. Has anyone had a similar experience? Now the Leica M app won’t work as well, but, then, I have never used it apart from a trial. This is like taking the longest route to find the shortest way home.


  2. I am afraid that to me that fake film winder looks as tacky as any of their M series “special editions” and it reminds me more of that much derided Yashica Kickstarter project than a film camera. While I am sure that it is useful, it is hardly an example of the original “form follows function” design paradigm.

    Instead of dumb fake film winder levers I would far rather that Leica worked towards an M body with a competitive sensor and improved battery life.

    • The M10-D is aimed at a specific market and I am sure that Leica is currently working on the M improvements you mention. It’s just that the -D is for the people who like it, and there will be enough of them to make it worthwhile.

      • I definitely agree that there is a grip issue with digital M cameras, but if I bought one of these home my M7 would send me away in shame 😉 I really hope that the fake film winder does not become a standard feature of future M cameras.

        FWIW, I struggle a bit with the concept of a digital camera without an LCD. I always have have image review disabled, and only use the LCD when necessary. But perhaps that is because I also shoot a huge amount of film these days.

        Talking of which, I see that an M-D costs the same as a new Leica film body and $4000 of film and processing – enough to last many people years. And you would get a film winder that actually winds film!

    • The "advance lever" is definitely the least convincing aspect of the M10-D and I tend to agree with Jonathan Slack’s son (see today’s article


      However, I’m willing to give it a chance and see how it works for me. I am a confirmed thumb grip addict and one of the irritations with the M10 was having to remove the grip in order to attach the EVF. As a result, I probably used the EVF less than I should have done. Having a separate grip which doesn’t block the hot-shoe has some logic, but I will have to see if it works or is simply a styling cue.

  3. This is all in a stratosphere way above my head! And I’m sure there is room for internal Leica differences as well as all the external arguments of Leica contra mundum. I’d just like to use the occasion to ask: Will there never be an APS-C monochrome from Leica? Unbelievable thought: Leica CL-M (with existing screen and viewfinder!).
    John N.

    • Who knows? I think we’ve learned to expect anything from Leica. The M Monochrom was a big surprise back in 2012 when it was announced in Berlin. Few, I think, would have credited it with much success. But Leica proved they could sell it in great numbers and I am sure we will soon see an M10 Monochrom.

      But I’m not sure that an APS-C Monochrom would succeed as well as the M Monochrom. We can’t rule it out (or, for that matter, an SL Monochrom) but my view is that it is unlikely. The M Monochrom is all mixed up with the rangefinder mythos and it succeeds because of this. I doubt a CL or SL Monochrom would have same allure..


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