Why I am upgrading to the Leica M10-R
Today Leica has announced the next line in the M series bodies, the M10-R. This new M10-R utilizes the new 41mp sensor introduced in the M10 Monochrom a few months back. A few new features include a touch screen, improved ISO performance, 16 minute long exposures, and the level gauge. If you are a street photographer, the silent shutter design of the M10-P has also been incorporated into the design making it the quietest M system ever produced. While this new body does not technically replace the 24mp M10, for all intents and purposes the new features and improved quality might make many users look to upgrade soon.
My M Experience
Let me first say that the Leica M has been my travel camera for a long time. I am an old school guy who enjoys the craft of image making at a pace I control. Secondly, I prefer a simple manual shooting process unencumbered with numerous tiny buttons and an intensive internal menu. There are many cameras out today that I have wanted to “like”. I have picked them up over and over again. Read the long manuals. But I just truly dislike the shooting experience. And this absolutely matters to me.
How does it feel in your hand? Is it balanced with the lens? Is it all plastic from front to back?
My individual shooting experience matters and I didn’t understand to what degree until much later in my life. I want to feel like I am holding a real camera and not a toy. I want it to be rugged and take the abuse from my traveling the world. I want the ability to use the fastest sharpest lenses available on any camera system. I want a simple user interface. And I want to create the image myself and not rely on the camera as a crutch to do it for me. Am I crazy or do any of these statements resonate with you?
I hear “but a camera is just a tool” from end users and that might be OK for them. But for me, shooting images is for enjoyment. I enjoy the front end process and want great back end results. I don’t understand why that doesn’t matter for everyone, even the professional. When the camera becomes a part of you and your comfort, then what you are left with is the best part, the creation of the image. So shouldn’t your “experience” with the camera matter?
Here is why I love my M:
- A long history of the same, yet improved design
- 70 years of M mount lenses to choose from
- Old school simple dials combined with the simple 3 button user interface
- The choice of a completely manual system combined with new technology advances
- A balance and weight that works for me
What is different
So since this is not a marketing piece by a manufacturer, let’s talk real here. I have not always been completely happy with the quality of my M images. For many years, I would need to underexposure a half stop so that I could control the highlights when I imported them into my computer. While the dynamic range was not bad, it did not yield the same results of what I was achieving with the other high end cameras on my shelf and this was personally frustrating. Getting “that shot” in the field and then having to live with blown out highlights on the computer took away from the “experience”.
It wasn’t until the arrival of the M10 and M10 Monochrom that I have been truly happy with the DR results. I no longer need to add exposure compensation on the body and lose sensitivity. Thank you Leica. But I have always wanted and will always want more resolution with any camera. Once you have more resolution with other cameras you want it everywhere. Now with the M10-R, I can get my larger files, improved DR and ISO performance, and usable long exposure times. Here are the other advantages over the M10:
- 24mp to 40.89mp = 70% more resolution
- 5976 x 3992 Pixels = 24mp, 7824 x 5200 Pixels – 40.89mp
- M10 = 4 minute exposures, M10-R = 16 minute exposures
- Silent Shutter
- Touch Screen Controls
- Level Gauge
- Improved DR and ISO performance (ready to test personally)
Now is the right time for M
Since I am an avid M user, there is no way that I will not be moving up to this body. I am excited about the extra resolution and I am ready to see how the new sensor renders high ISO images. If you have never moved to an M system before I wholly recommend renting one and trying it out for yourself. See if you enjoy the same user experience that makes it the right system for me. Maybe the features of the new M10-R or M10 Monochrom makes it the right time to jump in to the system. However, if budget is a concern, a pre-owned M10 body with the improved ISO and DR might fit you perfectly. With enthusiasts making the choice to upgrade there will a large supply of very slightly used M10 bodies at great prices. In fact, I know where you can find one today…. 🙂
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