Ming Thein and Jonathan Slack review the Leica M type 240

Leica-M-silver_front

Ming Thein published his review of the Leica M type 240 rangefinder which includes many sample images - definitely worth reading/seeing if you are considering purchasing the camera. A quote from the review:

"In that respect, the M 240 delivers on a level that’s at least one, if not two, complete generations ahead of the M9; it finally feels like the M system has come of maturity into the digital age. Unlike the earlier digital Ms, the camera no longer feels like the limiting factor– barring startup delays – it really does feel like the time when Nikon went full frame all over again.
...
I am as impressed with the image quality as I am with how much difference all of the little changes make towards overall usability. Yes, there are still things to be improved – ergonomics (that damn right strap lug!), microphone placement, EVF behaviour, colour – but for the most part, the M 240 shows Leica are firmly back in the game."

Update - Jonathan Slack also published his review of the Leica M:

"I think it’s a total success. The M8 and M9 were excellent cameras - with much to love and excellent Image Quality. The new M is a joy - the ergonomics are subtly improved, the general responsiveness and speed is a real revelation. Of course, it isn’t perfect, (which camera is?), but if you want to catch decisive moments with lovely lenses  and a delightful camera then, for me,  for now, this is it."

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  • Artem

    WOW!!! Lets hope all tho is not just an emotions! Can`t wait to see my M delivery.

  • Artem

    WOW!!! Lets hope all tho is not just an emotions! Can`t wait to see my M delivery.

  • ark

    Did he say colour? Oh-O!

  • Bryan Campbell

    I’m sure a lot of people will be pleased with this review. Nearly on par, or better than the D800e

  • Bryan Campbell

    I’m sure a lot of people will be pleased with this review. Nearly on par, or better than the D800e

  • Nobody Special

    Yes, it’s finally nice to see reviews that actually tell you about the camera – in use. Still with R glass – a primary interest for me – I’m not sure it’s worth the cost, as the R glass generally, at least in the wide range which I use, can be replaced with M glass but not w/close focusing. As to using the heavier zooms and telephotos, it probably will need to be on a tripod to get the results the sensor is capable of producing. So, I’m kind of indifferent to it; as an M it’s arguably the best digital they’ve produced. But I still can’t close focus the M glass. I can with R glass. So….

    I suppose it will take some time to see results with a DSLR like the D800, etc., using R glass or others next to the M to make a proper decision. In the meantime if I decide to go with the latest and greatest M, it would have to be with the satisfaction of using M glass to maintain or enjoy what the M is – an M. Even with the EVF, which over time will be improved, that may not be enough.

    • Jonathan Slack

      HI There Nobody Special – of course, there is now scope for making M lenses that do focus close – there just aren’t any yet. . . . .

      • Nobody Special

        Hey there, indeed, now it is possible for them to develope small(?) zooms if they want, maybe the Tri-Elmar 16-21 which could be used to it’s full advantage. I would be interested in new glass that can focus close, or at least, the wides may be able to as well. This is all assuming the combination of manual focus and the EVF up close would work well. Too, it remains to be seen about focusing with a stopped down lens up close.

        The ‘old-days’ of using the bellows was actually fun, really close – but quite cumbersome in the field. The 100 Apo macro is nice, though the long throw did present difficulties now and again….but hey, the M is a positive step forward and as was stated in Ming’s review, it brings the M ‘up to date’ as a digital camera.

      • Nobody Special

        Hey there, indeed, now it is possible for them to develope small(?) zooms if they want, maybe the Tri-Elmar 16-21 which could be used to it’s full advantage. I would be interested in new glass that can focus close, or at least, the wides may be able to as well. This is all assuming the combination of manual focus and the EVF up close would work well. Too, it remains to be seen about focusing with a stopped down lens up close.

        The ‘old-days’ of using the bellows was actually fun, really close – but quite cumbersome in the field. The 100 Apo macro is nice, though the long throw did present difficulties now and again….but hey, the M is a positive step forward and as was stated in Ming’s review, it brings the M ‘up to date’ as a digital camera.

        • Jonathan Slack

          Hi There.
          I’ve been having a lot of fun playing with an old Leica Oufro and a 28 summicron – you can focus down to about 2inches.

          • Nobody Special

            I’ve found that I need a longer working distance for more ‘mobile’ or active subjects as in forest floor leaf litter or flying insects, etc…. But it’s good to know that set-up brings results for you, and is certainly worth keeping in mind, Thanks.

          • Nobody Special

            I’ve found that I need a longer working distance for more ‘mobile’ or active subjects as in forest floor leaf litter or flying insects, etc…. But it’s good to know that set-up brings results for you, and is certainly worth keeping in mind, Thanks.

  • http://byazrov.com/ Vladimir Byazrov Photographer

    Shouldn’t Leica be pissed because so many people add ugly “type 240″ to the title that had to be an iconic or something? I would be )

    • Nobody Special

      At the release of the M ‘party’, Leica said that each new M will have a numbered meaning, as they said something like Porsche and their machines… or something to that effect. It seems a bit pretentious, but that’s Leica now-a-days.

      • http://byazrov.com/ Vladimir Byazrov Photographer

        Ew, I don’t like it. The whole name sounds like a cheap Samsung washing machine

        • Nobody Special

          Kaufmann has friends high up in/at Audi, and I’m guessing he’s been around them more than he’s been around photographers in his life. It’s probably a safe bet that’s where the idea came from as he had Walter D’Silva (Audi lead designer) work on the M9T shown back at photokina 2008.

      • http://byazrov.com/ Vladimir Byazrov Photographer

        Ew, I don’t like it. The whole name sounds like a cheap Samsung washing machine

        • Nobody Special

          Kaufmann has friends high up in/at Audi, and I’m guessing he’s been around them more than he’s been around photographers in his life. It’s probably a safe bet that’s where the idea came from as he had Walter D’Silva (Audi lead designer) work on the M9T shown back at photokina 2008.

          • http://byazrov.com/ Vladimir Byazrov Photographer

            thanks for interesting fact. I really don’t know about Audi, but Mercedes has this type of weird system of naming their products. One must be very smart to understand their line of cars, engines and chassis bodies…

  • J Shin

    Ming Thein’s photos are always so beautiful, they make you want to go buy whatever he reviews. Even the ones he finds lacking. I had to focus hard to remind myself that it’s not the equipment–not entirely, anyway–that makes the photo.

  • Carlos

    just another nice camera lover promotion article. Those pictures tell us nothing. photoshoped, jpeg, small size. It could be any other good camera.

    • Carlos

      wow, and the comparison picture is even worse, it proves that this camera is only usefull for BW high iso, as it starts noisy at iso800, still ok, but by iso6400 I’d have switched to BW, where it’s a nice feature to have noise-grain.
      Am I a Leica-hater? No, I’m just disappointed with the pretty average improvements, or big, depends on how you validate the M9.
      I stick with my FF-DSLR and X100 for the time being.
      I hope it’s just because of early firmware. Can someone make a honest comparison with a X100s, a D7100 and a D600e with 35/1.4?

      • Nobody Special

        After going ‘eye-buggee’ looking over the images at the full magnification (yes, I’d rather see clean, raw prints of the same size) I have to say, that the ‘sharpness’ is almost ‘harshness’.
        That’s true of D800 images as well. I’m not sure, if the harshness is reality, that I like the ‘look’. Too, it could just be the new glass is so sharp from Nikon, Zeiss and Leica in FF that that’s the new way. But perhaps the true test would be with some of my ‘older’ R glass. But no, or minimal, post processing.

      • Nobody Special

        After going ‘eye-buggee’ looking over the images at the full magnification (yes, I’d rather see clean, raw prints of the same size) I have to say, that the ‘sharpness’ is almost ‘harshness’.
        That’s true of D800 images as well. I’m not sure, if the harshness is reality, that I like the ‘look’. Too, it could just be the new glass is so sharp from Nikon, Zeiss and Leica in FF that that’s the new way. But perhaps the true test would be with some of my ‘older’ R glass. But no, or minimal, post processing.

      • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

        “depends on how you validate the M9″

        Love it :D

      • scott

        I recommend that you read Sean Reid’s review of it. He always does very rigorous testing, to the point of being repetitive for each camera. I call it boring at times, but there are times when you come to appreciate his methodical approach. Go and read his high-ISO shots. No I won’t spill you the conclusion as that is his worth which he deserves credits for.

        FYI: the NIkon D4 only has usable iSO up to 6400. Anything beyond that is a risky venture.

      • scott

        I recommend that you read Sean Reid’s review of it. He always does very rigorous testing, to the point of being repetitive for each camera. I call it boring at times, but there are times when you come to appreciate his methodical approach. Go and read his high-ISO shots. No I won’t spill you the conclusion as that is his worth which he deserves credits for.

        FYI: the NIkon D4 only has usable iSO up to 6400. Anything beyond that is a risky venture.

  • Pan

    Can’t help it, but Mr. Thein’s perfect photos look lifeless.

  • Pan

    Can’t help it, but Mr. Thein’s perfect photos look lifeless.

  • Sum1

    Ming Thein: “I won’t be posting full size images as is my standard
    policy; there is just too little respect for intellectual property
    online and poor images are rather meaningless”.

    Really? He couldn’t spare some banal shots in full size as performance proofs? (esp that those he posted are nothing to write home about.) Without seeing the full size, how can we possibly judge the IQ in detail?

    His images are overly sharp to the point that it’s uncomfortable to view them. I hope that’s merely a reflection of Thein’s (not great) processing, not the lens/camera itself.

    And as others have said, this reads as a promo.

  • Sum1

    Ming Thein: “I won’t be posting full size images as is my standard
    policy; there is just too little respect for intellectual property
    online and poor images are rather meaningless”.

    Really? He couldn’t spare some banal shots in full size as performance proofs? (esp that those he posted are nothing to write home about.) Without seeing the full size, how can we possibly judge the IQ in detail?

    His images are overly sharp to the point that it’s uncomfortable to view them. I hope that’s merely a reflection of Thein’s (not great) processing, not the lens/camera itself.

    And as others have said, this reads as a promo.

  • David

    In a very ironic way, I am hoping the M will be good enough to solve my D800E problem. Despite having tried four different samples and sending one back to Nikon four times, I still have the focus issues (especially with the 24mm f/1.4 and 85mm G f/1.4); I regret having sold my D3x which focused wonderfully with these lens, but I cannot deny that the D800E as a landscape camera was a better choice than the D3x only because it was lighter, and offered a higher IQ than the M9 (at least for high dynamic range situations and high ISO situation) (and since for landscape I am typically shooting wide infinity at f/8.0, focus is not an issue).

    With the new M, I am hoping to it will be my new landscape camera, and for all my studio and people shoots, I will go back to the D3x.

  • David

    In a very ironic way, I am hoping the M will be good enough to solve my D800E problem. Despite having tried four different samples and sending one back to Nikon four times, I still have the focus issues (especially with the 24mm f/1.4 and 85mm G f/1.4); I regret having sold my D3x which focused wonderfully with these lens, but I cannot deny that the D800E as a landscape camera was a better choice than the D3x only because it was lighter, and offered a higher IQ than the M9 (at least for high dynamic range situations and high ISO situation) (and since for landscape I am typically shooting wide infinity at f/8.0, focus is not an issue).

    With the new M, I am hoping to it will be my new landscape camera, and for all my studio and people shoots, I will go back to the D3x.

    • Nobody Special

      In reading various reviews, it seems that the only, or best way to get past all that is to focus manually – I still need the close focusing capability of wide DSLR lenses for what I like to do – so the M, in all the years I’ve been using it, has been for shots where that wasn’t needed.
      Almost too limiting in use, and too exspensive to invest in. But, there is the R lens option – oh well, the more options there are, the more I want to keep everything simple.

    • 2 cents

      If your D800E has focus problem with 24mm 1.4G and 85mm 1.4G, it may not be D800E’s fault; both of the lenses have focus shift issue when stopping down (residual spherical aberration) (see http://www.photozone.de/Reviews/nikon_ff for detail). With the high resolution of D800E, the foucs shift is magnified and looks like serious front/back focus problem.

      For example, my 85mm 1.4G has been working fine with D300 and D700, but it shows some front focus at f1.4 with D800E when viewing at full size. With a little in-camera focus fine tune, it focus perfectly from f1.4 to f2.8, but some back-focus at f4.0. That is caused by focus shift in the lens. The only way to solve this problem is to manually override foucs slightly before click.

      At least for my D800E, I don’t think it has any auto-focus issue, but its hugh resultion just shows/magnifies all lenses’ imperfections, which could be seen with D300/D700/D3x.

      • David

        Hi 2 Cents, I don’t disagree with what you say EXCEPT — my focus problem with both lenses is asymmetrical — meaning the center may be front focusing, but the left focal point may be bak focusing. And, if I were to use live view, there is no focus issue whatsoever. This tells me the problem is not with the lens or the sensor’s resolution, but the optical focusing system.

        • 2 cents

          David, as I remember, the 24mm 1.4G has serious focus issue when it was released couple years ago (http://diglloyd.com/articles/LensesNikon/Nikon-24f1_4G.html).

          Using a such complex wide-angle fast1.4 lens at 1.4 and at close range to test far left focus point is really a push on any auto-focus system, if I could get 50% accuray under such condition I would say the system works fine. Usually, under such condition, I would use manual override or live view. However, such test should not be a problem for a mid-tele 1.4 lens, my 85mm 1.4G never had any left focus problem with my D800E.

          The live view uses Contrast-detection autofocu, so the lens’ focus shift issue won’t be a problem. I tested and confirmed this with my 85mm 1.4G.

  • Doofus

    Well, Ming Thein’s photos look decent but the other guy Jono Slack …. Mmmm, for the sake of being polite, gentle advise, next time your buddy from Leica offers a prototype for testing, accept the camera but please do not post them. Just have them for your personal collection.

  • Mice

    No camera is perfect.
    That’s why you have to pay $7000 to show yours isn’t.

  • Razeus

    Why do all of Ming Thein’s photos look the same no matter what camera he uses. What’s his processing style? Not that I would copy it, because his photos have no soul with that processing.

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