Leica’s latest M digital, the M11, has been on the market for less than a year. Yet there is growing evidence that a monochrome version, the M11-M, could be with us much sooner than previous schedules would suggest.
M11 Monochrom schedule
In November, I reviewed the list of possible new Leicas for 2023 and 2024. I pointed out that if the M10 model schedule were to act as a blueprint, we would not see an M11 Monochrom until as late as 2025. The M10-M arrived three years after the M10. However, as I said then, it is now likely that the M11 Monochrom will come sooner rather than later.
According to the same story, the M11-M development under the codename Rene is well advanced. I would not be surprised to see it launched in the first quarter of 2023, well ahead of the M11-P, which is usually the first major update to the basic model line.
Most users will welcome the early arrival of the monochrome variant since it will run in parallel with the M11 for a much longer time than has been the case in the past. The monochrome version’s continuance long after the base model’s discontinuation has always seemed illogical.
While an early M11-M is welcome, one variant of the M11 would really spark my enthusiasm, a possible resurrection of the stripped-down digital — an M11-D.
Previously I thought that the M10-D had been discontinued prematurely in August 2020 because of a lack of demand. However, I now believe the loss of the -D could have been purely a result of production logistics. The M10 ceased production at the same time, thus supporting this argument.
This hypothesis is supported by continuing demand for used examples of the M10-D. They are snapped up as soon as they appear on the market.
In the past month, I have been approached by four readers, including two very well-known photographers, asking if I could point them toward a used M10-D. One of these photographers managed to secure a good example from an Australian enthusiast, while the others are still searching.
I was always a great supporter of the M-D and M10-D. The concept of screenless digital appeals to many who want the simplicity of film shooting parameters without the restrictions of film — such as the 36-frame limit and the cost and hassle of processing. There is a definite niche market here among photographers who want minimal options and the ability to concentrate on taking pictures without distraction.
I hope that the M10-D was discontinued for logistical reasons and that the boffins at Wetzlar are even now working on an M11-D. Fingers crossed.
What do you think? Would you welcome the return of the -D screenless digital?
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