Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Worst Digital Camera: It’s all a matter of opinion

Worst Digital Camera: It’s all a matter of opinion


We are all used to the clickbait “ten best” or “ten worst” products/ideas/holidays/restaurants. You name it, someone will have produced a list. In most cases, one person’s opinions should often be taken with a pinch of salt. They make good reading, though, and can serve as a discussion point among those in the know. But today, I read a list identifying the twelve worst digital cameras ever released. And on this list are two cameras with which we Macfilos readers might take issue.

The list in question appears in today’s issue of the respected and ancient British magazine, Amateur Photographer: The Worst Digital Cameras Ever Released. It produces a few “yes, I agree” moments, but there’s food for thought and discussion on a couple of these cameras.


So what are the worst digital cameras in the opinion of Amateur Photographer? Here they are in order as published in the magazine:

  1. Lytro “Light Field” Camera
  2. Lytro Illum 2
  3. Pentax K-O1
  4. Yashica digiFilm Camera Y35
  5. Ricoh GXR
  6. Samsung Galaxy NX
  7. Polaroid Socialmatic
  8. OMGLife Autographer
  9. Sigma SD1 / Merrill
  10. Leica M10-D
  11. Zeiss ZX1
  12. Casio TRYX TR100 (and variations)

I’ve highlighted the two cameras in the above list with which I take issue: The Ricoh GXR and the Leica M10-D, and I would be interested in what you, dear readers, have to say on the subject.

The Leica M10-D offered so much when it was launched four years ago. But does it deserve to be on the list of the twelve worst digital cameras? It was a brave concept; after all, it produced identical work to the M10 but with a minimal interface. Surely it deserves better than this? (Image Leica Camera AG)

Not so bad

While I never used the GXR, I’ve always hankered to try the unique system with its combined interchangeable lens/sensor units. I was particularly keen to try the Leica M-Mount module, and I regret that I didn’t jump on the bandwagon then. I might have had more to say on the unfairness of including this novel system camera in the list.

The second camera is the M10-D, which I still respect greatly. Sure, it was an oddball take on the M system, offering a screenless body that in many respects emulated an M7 film camera but offered the convenience of digital reproduction. It didn’t sell well, which is almost certainly why Leica lost its nerve and discontinued the line, but many owners love it.

As for the rest of the bunch, I don’t argue with the Amateur Photographer journalist. The Lytros and the Zeiss were all excessively hyped in the press, but I never saw one in the wild. I suspect not many Zeiss ZX1s were sold, and I didn’t even manage to lay my hands on an example.

But what do you think? Are there any other cameras on this list that you think deserved better? Cameras that could have succeeded if only?

What are your views on the Ricoh GXR and Leica M10-D? Surely neither deserves to be on such a “worst” list.

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  1. I thoroughly enjoyed owning an M10-D. I was getting into Sunny-16 at the time with my film cameras. Combining that with really learning how to meter a scene with the camera I’ve no doubt it sharpened my skills. I also enjoyed the better battery life than my M10-P that I paired it with. What started out as my backup or second camera became my prime camera.

    Wandering around with a Leica M, I often get asked if I’m shooting film. The M10-D would make a convincing film camera to the untrained eye and I kind of liked that too. I was also a big fan of that highly contentious thumb rest. The top engraving and metal hot shoe cover just added a quality touch too.

    I guess I like quirky things, the -D is just that.

    I wonder if there might be an M11-D variant. I’d have to consider one, as the M10-D helped fund my transition to the M11.

    • I also wondered that. But I’m inclined to think we’ve seen the last of this variety because it was discontinued prematurely and there were strong indications that it hadn’t sold in sufficient numbers to warrant the complications in the production line. I agree, it’s a great pity because this was anything but one of the worst digital cameras.

  2. The M10-D rekindled my love of photography, or should I say my love of taking pictures. As a kid I saved up a deposit for the newly released Olympus OM1 (much to the annoyance of my fiancé) and loved the time spent going out and taking pictures and eagerly awaiting the return of the developed film. It taught me to think about composition and settings and seeking out worthwhile subjects. My M10-D took me right back to that time, and my photography has benefited as a result. True, I can check on my iPad during shoots but I find I rarely do. Whether I take better pictures is subjective but boy do I enjoy the act of taking pictures so much more, and rarely use my M9 or Sony Alpha unless the subject (eg sports) dictates.

  3. I have not seen the article so maybe should not comment but I did think the Leica M10-D was a daft idea at the time (Only Leica could think they could get away with charging more for less) So I wonder if the reason it made the ‘Worst’ list was based on it’s exorbitant price rather than it’s performance or ease of use?

    • Probably it is based entirely on the lack of a screen. Otherwise, the M10-D is identical to the M10, which does not remotely come into the “worst”
      category. Unlike many of the other cameras in this list, the -D was an option, a model variant, which no one was forced to buy. I know many people who liked the concept — as did I — and I think it had its place. It’s a pity Leica didn’t stick to its guns on this one.

  4. Pity I bought 2 GXR. The screen and EVF are terrible but the rest is top-notch. Like you Mike I wish I had bought the M Module when it went out though it would be pretty unusable nowadays as the back screens of the 2 bodies are of no use anymore. Ricoh does a nice 28mm OVF (same one as the GR. I bought a used Pentax OVF for the 50mm. The 28 and 50mm modules are stunning despite slow AF. I hardly make any difference between my X2 and the 28mm in terms of image quality. I’ve even tried to plug the X2 EVF into the Ricoh but unfortnately that doesn’t work.
    Have a look at Julien Drach’s work. He’s a French professional photographer who sells his prints through Sotheby’s. He uses 2 brands os cameras Leica RF (his favourite is the M240 over the M10-R) and the Ricoh GXR

  5. Unfortunately, the writer of the article probably trashed the camera because it did not have an LCD to chimp on. I do not think that is a valid reason to place it on the list. Also the inclusion of the GRX is absurd. So that tells me not to bother even reading the article.

    However, I would move the Zeiss Zx1 up to the top of the list-especially for the price point.

    Also, I do not believe the Sigma SD1 should be on the list. It was a specialty camera with a pioneering sensor. Sigma just announced that their full frame fovean sensor will be available later this year. They readily admit it will not be suitable for low light. I plan to preorder any l mount camera they make with it. It will be specialty but I like something different from the crowd. We need choices in rendering and haptics. Unfortunately. the majority of camera manufacturers pursue being able to claim the most megapixels, frames per second (spray and pray?), video specs, jack of all specs, best autofocus on a mosquitos eye, and so on rather than on a competent photographer wanting an intuitive tool that is able to capture their creative vision. That is why I buy Leica as they are closest to simplicity and photography purity but they are not perfect – wandering focus…

    So unfortunately, most of the online reviews are appealing to the masses that do not get competent on basic camera skills and want a camera that does everything for them. Also, they do not want to offend the manufacturers who would dump them from their free test camera. Extremely incestuous!

    Hence, in general, professional photographers are undervalued as the general market has low standards. It does not help that competent amateurs give their photos away on stock photography sites keen to be appreciated but killing professionals. We are in the weird world of digital photography where unfortunately the computer reigns instead of the person. The computer in the camera and for processing poor images.

    I am going to get back into drawing and watercolour painting as photography is losing more and more respect as an art form due to the automation removing competence in photography. It is sad. However, I will still pursue photography with my Leica cameras for personal gratification.

    So, I do not care what Amateur Photography thinks as they are pandering to the incompetent masses and the manufacturers that give them free equipment to test.

    • I forgot to mention that I am stunned that the high end cameras arrive preset to P ( affectionately called professional mode by the pretentious incompetent) and jpeg and rgb colour space. Seriously, I have to set up my professional camera for professional mode. Scotty, beam me up, there are no signs of intelligence or competence here.

    • Funny enough the main menu of the GXR is hardly more developed than my Leica X2. Both cameras are a pleasure to handle and shoot with. I’ll add a M typ 240 when I can fund it with a 35mm Nokton. I’ve had the opportunity to try it and loved the rendering of the combo

  6. Jean Perenet and his GXR RULES AND from what I have seen M10d are superb photos.I think this writer of drinking his bath water!


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