Leica M sets the standard of shutter noise in many US courtrooms

The Leica M rangefinder camera still sets the standard of acceptable shutter noise in many US courtrooms today. Here is a quote from Minnesota court’s General Rules of Practice document:


And another quote from Vermont court’s “tiquette for Media document:

Not more than one still photographer, utilizing not more than two still cameras with not more than two lenses for each camera and related equipment for print purposes shall be permitted in any court proceeding. Such cameras shall produce no greater sound than a 35mm Leica “M” Series rangefinder camera.

Similar rules exists also in other states.

Via Petapixel

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  • TryingToHelp

    FYI, there’s a little typo in the first sentence (you have one too many apostrophes).

  • Nix

    The rule says: “Such cameras shall produce no greater sound than a 35mm Leica “M” Series rangefinder camera.”

    So I don’t think Leica M is the only camera allowed. E.g. Nikon V1 can take pictures with no noise with its electric shutter.

    • Renato S.

      And so can the Panasonic GH3, for instance

    • Nix

      Admin, thx for your quick correcting of your wording saying “Leica M is the only camera allowed” from your original post. That’s really misleading people.

  • 103David

    I always love this one…it’s been on the books for decades, at least since the late 60’s. Even way back then the commentary from the legal community, the press corps and the general public ran along the line that the courts were requiring better behavior from the photo equipment than from the photographers carrying it.
    At least flash powder in the courtroom had gone out of style by then.

  • Roel

    I’m working in courtrooms at the moment. The only usable digital Leica is the new M 240. The M9 is too loud, and so is of course the M8. Apart from that the 8 and 9 are insufficient in their ISO capabilities. Therefore it has to be: a Leica M 240 series.

    • XNON

      No it doesn’t.

      My Fuji X-Pro 1 is hands down quieter than the Leica M 240, and has better high ISO, too.

  • MB

    So this means no DSLR in a courtroom …
    Sorry Canon and Nikon 😉

    • derp

      You must have never heard of a blimp.

      Besides, any DSLR in live view mode is about as quiet as an M4, Leica’s really aren’t that quiet, it’s the same ole’ focal plane shutter.

      • MB

        You never heard a Leica.
        It is not just the shutter but the mirror movement that makes the sound, and live view makes even more sounds (two mirror cycles).

        • Dick Benigna

          You are so clearly an enthusiast who has no clue about the use of cameras in the real world. Not the “huff real world” but the actual real world.

          You should go to court during a high-profile case and see the Nikon or canon in a blimp doing the coverage.

          • MB

            Yeah right, i am you sure you use your DSLR in a blimp all the time and probably your head too so you must be a pro 😉
            This post is a joke you are aware of that right?

  • Dick Benigna

    You donkey. Clearly, you know nothing about shooting in a courtroom nor about actually working as a photographer.

    All of that kind of work is done with Canons and Nikons in blimp enclosures. No one has used a Leica in decades.

    You’re citing a document which is old as dirt.

  • Court Jester

    This statute was originally drafted in 1983. As fun as it sounds, it has nothing to do with a digital Leica.

  • The moment the word Leica appears anywhere, the Leica haters lose whatever reading comprehension they might have had. Nobody said you can only use Leicas, it says that camera equipment cannot be noisier than a Leica M.

  • jmb2560

    You cares about Minnesota to begin with?

  • Doug

    The M8, the M9 and the new M all sound much louder than my M6.
    It’s a good reason not to buy the M8, the M9 and the new M.

  • zoetmb

    Ridiculous to be naming a camera in such a regulation. They should be stating a specific sound level (SPL), not a model of camera. Another demonstration that our lawmakers and regulation definers are idiots.

  • It is pretty obvious that these older regulations are referring to cloth focal plane shutters with no mirror as the maximum sound standard. The question that I have is how much louder are the digital M cameras compared to the old film M’s?
    OTH, while the M7 is very quiet, my D-lux4 and old leaf shutter RF are nearly silent, even with the camera against my eye.

  • CK Dexter Haven

    When some Leica shooter boasts about the quietness of his camera, you should suggest that he further his own cause by shutting the hell up.

    Besides the ridiculousness of the edict, different models of Leica M make different sounds… so, you know…..

  • 103David

    Whew! Just stopped back to read the commentary on the Leica- courtroom- noise level thing.
    Not a lot of lawyers in this crowd I can tell you.

  • Camaman

    Now they are going to require certification from the manufacturer to be able to enter a courtroom.
    Say hello to more bureaucracy and expenses…

  • XavierParis

    My GH3 is pratically silent when the Electronic shutter is use, way more quiet than Leica !

  • michelle

    sure they don’t mean a M3 film camera, it was the standard for years in courtrooms.

  • Kirk Merritt

    I’m trying to understand this post. If you don’t want noise in the courtroom, there are several excellent cameras that allow you to turn all sound off. Is that so hard?

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