First rumors about the next Leica M camera: dedicated ISO wheel and bigger LCD screen

Leica-M-Photokina
I still believe Leica will announce a new M digital rangefinder camera at the Photokina show in Germany next month (September 20-25) - this has been the case during the past few years. The new M is already being tested in the field and is rumored to have a dedicated ISO-wheel/dial and a slightly bigger LCD screen. This is all the information I have received so far. If you have any other details about the new M, you can contact me anonymously here.

Picture credit: Photokina

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  • sperdynamite

    Do they usually offer a trade up program for existing M users? I can’t remember in previous years…

    • Leica officially doesn’t but many stores do.

      • sperdynamite

        Do you happen to remember how generous they were? 🙂

        • I have not done it personally, but I know that many Leica stores do it – just call the closest Leica dealer and ask them. If you get more than what you can sell it on eBay for, go for it.

          • Adam

            Not worth it. You’ll always get a better price if you sell first. Wait a bit, and then buy again from HK when prices drop. And boy do prices REALLY drop after the first 2-3 months.

          • sperdynamite

            Do you mean sell the M before the new one comes out and then find one for sale from a HK seller a few months after the new M is released? Much much could the prices differ from the USA prices?

          • Adam

            Yes, for maximum profit you would be without an M. But you could easily have a cheap T or Fuji in the meantime or whatever you wanted. Though if you don’t do that, then I still advise you to buy in HK. It’s thousands cheap most of the time. And sell your M locally one the new M is in your hands.

          • sperdynamite

            Do you wanna point me in the direction of one of these HK stores? I can’t find anything online that seems like a screaming deal… Sorry but I’m new to HK shopping.

          • Harry Hexie

            So you can’t really go to an official Leica Store for deals… It doesn’t work that way. Fascinating thing about HK is that there’re numerous independent dealers who run their business in a bleak, condensed, no-bigger-than-your-office-cubicle-sized shop, which is btw quintessentially Hong Kong. Granted it doesn’t sound good, (I probably did a bad job describing it, sorry mate lol), but that’s the place you should be looking at and browsing, and I’m speaking from experience.

            To make it easier for you, you can go to App Store to download an App called ‘Price’, its logo has a white dollar sign in a yellow comma on a acid-bluish green background. It’s the best place for you to compare prices in Hong Kong for not just Leica but all sorts of electronics. And you can contact the dealer via whatsapp for most of the cases.

            Have fun shopping.

          • Les

            I couldn’t spend months without a camera, even if it saves a few bucks!

  • Ric Ricard

    Next M really only needs 3 improvements. 1) Better high ISO performance. Let’s get to Nikon D3s performance from 7 years ago. 2) Better buffer. Let’s be like a professional Nikon where you can shoot whenever you like, and never ever worry about hitting the buffer. 3) Slimmer body. I’ve never used the M film cameras, but the few times I’ve picked one up, I realize that that is how slim a digital M body should be.

    Those are the only real improvements I’d like to see. ISO dedicated dial and a larger screen won’t make much difference to me. Both of those areas are done properly on the M240 already.

    • jcespite

      Agreed..

    • There could be more improvements/changes – the two I reported in this post are based on a tip from somebody who spotted a test camera out in the wild.

  • jcespite

    I thought the next M would still be 24 Mpix probably the SL sensor or more tweeted with a smaller and lighter body?

  • DouglasGottlieb

    I don’t care about the LCD. The current size and Rez is more than I need. I’d like it to be completely scratch, shatter and waterproof, not bigger.

    I’d like:

    * Thinner body: M3 size
    * More dynamic range
    * Better high ISO
    * 24 megapixels is plenty

    A new, CL sized model too.

    • TomV

      ISO dial would be welcome as would a thinner body. I always thought no LCD, but being able to add a screen via HDMI makes the most sense, so it could be a little 3″ on-camera unit or a big production monitor on a stand for critical preview.

      • DouglasGottlieb

        ISO dial +1

    • Ric Ricard

      Can you link to an image or give some information as to why you need increased dynamic range?

      • Simon Goldsworthy

        The current M is prone to highlight clipping and is outperformed in thing regard by more modern cameras. If shooting landscapes in brighter light it puts me off taking the M. Now you might say this is down to metering, but the D810 has so much DR that in similar situations it’s easy to recover highlights.

        • Ric Ricard

          Not trying to be offensive, but to me this always just sounds like lazy shooting. Instead of shooting in the right light or in the right season, people want to shoot in “bad” light and just recover highlights or shadows in post processing. And the fact that a D810 has better DR than a M, doesn’t mean the M DR isn’t good enough. I’d love to see some real world examples of shots you’ve taken that would have benefitted from increased DR. Looking at DR measurements from DXO texting is pointless in my world.

          • Unforuntially, with landscape/travel, there is not much choice available with light. Even in good light, more DR is never bad thing to have ^_^

          • Ajit Menon

            I agree though this problem is mostly crucial in 2 areas :
            – night/ astro-photography where DR is crucial
            – long exposure noise – is pretty bad in the Leicas inclusing the SL with LENR unfortunately.

            In general photography, the color/ contrast of Leica lenses reduces the amount of post-processing necessary.

          • CHD

            Stop being an apologist. The M240 is a $7000 camera, why should we be happy with ‘good enough’ DR instead of say, ‘class leading’ DR???
            For the record I own an M240 and I’m happy with it but I would take better sensor performance any day of the week. We paid top dollar for these cameras we should expect nothing less.

          • Ric Ricard

            My real name is John Ricard. (I use Ric Ricard on FB and log in through my FB account when I post here). Under my real name, I have posted literally dozens of videos (usually on my Camera Work podcast) talking about all the things I dislike about my Leica M240 and M9. I have a true love/hate relationship with these cameras. I am far from a Leica apologist.

            My point about DR is that I feel if you put in a little work -using lighting, or shooting at the right time of day, every modern DSLR and mirrorless has excellent DR. Sometimes it seems that the people who “need” better DR just want to be able to shoot a landscape at say, Noon, and go home and recover the shadow detail. Although I don’t shoot landscapes, I wouldn’t have a problem shooting the landscape at the “right” time of day to minimize those shadows. I also personally find it annoying that people will say they “need” more DR, but they never give concrete examples of photos where the need they increased DR.

            I talk constantly about how I feel the M240 needs a better buffer. On my podcast, I’m quick to give specific examples of situations where i am shooting, and the buffer prevents me from nailing a shot. I also give specific examples of situations where I don’t use the M240 or M9 just because I know the buffer is indequate for the way I’d like to shoot that subject.

          • Brennan McKissick

            I’d like to be able to shoot a digital M all day at a wedding with available light until you get to the reception. Being able to recover shadow detail in interiors would be nice. There is a need for DR.

          • Ric Ricard

            Do you have a website or IG account where we might see some of these images that the M is ill suited for, or is this just speculation? I’m asking a real question. Not trolling. Also, what camera do you feel does a better job in these situations in terms of DR? (My IG is @johnricard. Website: http://www.johnricard.com).

          • Ric Ricard

            Googled you. Found your IG. Great stuff there, but with so much black and white on your IG, I’m not seeing where you need more DR. What am I not understanding here? The M seems perfectly suited to what you’re posting there, at least.

          • Brennan McKissick

            Thanks! I don’t really post any wedding work in there. My IG is just for personal work mostly with a few exceptions. For some reason couples love dimly lit reception halls and/or churches and it would be nice to be able to recover a bit more shadow detail than I can now to give me more room in post.

      • DouglasGottlieb

        At this point, everything is a want and not a need. Most modern digital cameras could probably just stop innovating and they’d be more than good enough. But they won’t. 🙂

        Id like more DR than Rez if we’re adding things and less width if we’re subtracting.

    • El Aura

      Digital cameras will likely be always a bit thicker than film cameras. The sensor including it read-out electronics and the back display are always going to add a bit more thickness then a film pressure plate did. Pick any digital camera with an indicator of the sensor position and compare that to any film-based camera.

      • DouglasGottlieb

        Maybe an M3 width isn’t possible (yet). Someday however. For now, just thinner. 🙂

      • VMGore

        Why didn’t anyone tell Sony that?!

        • El Aura

          Somebody must have told them because they selected a flange distance for the E-mount taking this extra thickness requirement into account and chose a value only 18 mm instead of about 28 mm for the Leica M-mount. This allows them to have a camera thickness from mount to back display (ignoring hand grips and viewfinders) that is 10 mm thinner than a Leica M could be (assuming similar sensor, electronics, and back display thickness).

          Leica rectified that Leica M problem of a flange distance that is too long for a thin digital body by releasing a new mount for their digital-only SL and T camera lines, the now labelled ‘L-mount’ with a flange distance of 19 mm, almost the same of the Sony E-mount.

          Look at how far away from the back of the camera the sensor plane indicator is on this Sony A7: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d28fbfe05934f83e5ff50ca73395dd661aff823c3ac0c1caf9e1851a3d7e4184.png

        • Csaba Farkas

          Yepp, Sony is not in the know, they keep making slim FFs.
          My only wish for a new M is a slimmer body, M6 size is perfect. Dedicated ISO dial is a plus but can live without it. Bigger LCD would make the body clumsy IMHO and encourage chimping. Keep it simple.

  • chris

    I wish they’d buy their sensors from Sony. I disagree that 24mp is plenty. I’d consider this camera if it had the sensor from the A7Rii under the hood and could actually go toe-to-toe with top tier full frame cameras from other manufacturers. If you’re going to charge WAYYYYY more than everyone else, at least make sure your product is actually the best.

    • Ric Ricard

      What are you shooting that 24mp isn’t suffice t? Also, the rangefinder focusing is very old technology and its limitations will be very obvious on a 36mp image.

      • chris

        the additional mp would allow for large scale printing. i prefer to print as large as possible, and at 24 you’re pretty limited. also with higher mp you can crop more easily without loss of quality, and since there really aren’t may longer lenses for these cameras, cropping to get closer is often necessary. i don’t expect to see this, i’m just saying it would be preferable to to see them actually match their competitors specs if they’re going to charge such a premium.

        • Ric Ricard

          Even 12mp enlarges really well. So many people TALK about large prints but I wonder how often they are actually MAKING large prints. If you get a chance, take a look at this video where I talk about a large print from a 12mp Nikon. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7K92T1AyJpM

        • Ric Ricard

          Can you give a specific size for these “large as possible” prints you are making? Do you have any Instagram or blog photos of these prints you’re regularly making at large sizes?

      • Boris but No Johnson

        Perhaps more details for landscape shot at F5,6 – F8, and extra room for generous cropping?

        • Ric Ricard

          You’re saying “perhaps”. I’m asking a real world question. For people who need to crop excessively in post production, what are you shooting that you can hair use the right lens and crop in camera? I’ve asked this question like 4 times in this discussion and I don’t think a single person has answered it.

          • Boris but No Johnson

            The very reason why I said “perhaps” is because there is no definite answer to that.

            Just keep in mind that not only is rangefinder intrinsically inaccurate in focusing, it is also fairly limited in framing accurately. Wearing spectacles and having slanting Asian eyes don’t help at all, unfortunately these are the people who can afford the full kit. Joking aside there’s better chance to salvage sloppily framed photos of “the decisive moment”.

            The street photography, shoot from the hip people will also benefit from the extra cropping ability. Some call us creepy low-life perverts who can afford fancy cameras, we call ourselves street photographers – and there are a lot of us out there.

            Accurate framing is an important aspect in photography, but Leica is a profit-making company that has to cater for different audience. Business is business.

          • Ric Ricard

            Let’s talk strictly real world. I doubt there are 5 guys on the planet who are actually making a living doing street photography. These guys don’t have actual “needs”. They don’t have clients demanding cropped images that maintain a high pixel count. They aren’t selling supersize prints that need to maintain a high pixel count. 24mp is more than enough for their so called, “needs”.

            For me personally, it’s frustrating to read discussions about what the next M “needs”, when the discussion is based on hypotheticals or comparisons against other cameras. It’s seldom discussions from people who are actually USING M cameras or people selling actual files or prints from the cameras. It’s mostly people who are aware that Nikon and Canon make higher res cameras, and therefore they feel the M needs higher res. Or its people who are NOT printing large prints, but claiming they NEED the ability to do so.

          • Boris but No Johnson

            Strictly speaking, no one “needs” a Leica camera, just like no one “needs” more pixels – but that doesn’t stop people from “wanting” more pixels, just like “wanting” a Leica camera.

            Judging whether someone “needs” those pixels simply based on whether they earn a living from their photos is pure snobbery. You may not like street photography, but it’s hard to deny it’s becoming a popular discipline these days.

            If there are people that want that extra resolution, and they can afford to spend on that extra resolution, why not give them that extra resolution?

          • Ric Ricard

            Not snobbery at all. The topic is what improvements the M needs. As someone who uses the M240 and M9 for a ton of my professional work, I’ll tell you a couple of things that the M truly needs. 1) more consistent auto white balance. If you shoot a scene in AWB, you might have each frame with totally different colors as the camera reads the (unchanging) light different with each passing second. 2) better buffer. The number 1 reason I DON’T use the camera most of the time is that I know I’ll hit the buffer. Whether I’m shooting a speaker on a podium, or a couple of people talking, or even a model in the studio, I often hit the buffer and I’m unable to take an image when I want to.

            These are areas where the M cameras are inferior to any random amateur point and shoot camera. Where the M is NOT lacking is resolution and DR. So as an actual user of the M cameras, I is really annoying when the discussion about improving the M cameras devolves into “fixing” things that are not broken. My fear is that Leica will listen to “the internet” and make “improvements” geared towards people who are not using M cameras, or people who are just comparing the M to say, the D810, and deciding the M is lacking in some way.

            The M does have some serious areas that need improvement. I pray Leica improves THOSE areas and not the areas that people on the internet keep harping on. Also, if you care to see some of my Leica work, my IG is @johnricard. I have a ton of Leica images there.

            Thank you for the reasonable debate here.

          • El Aura

            Have you considered a Leica SL? My guess would be that it has a larger buffer (and/or faster card writing). Possibly also a better AWB. It also has a newer and better sensor.

          • Ric Ricard

            I own a Nikon D810, D3s and D3. These cameras take care of all of my technical “needs”. I use my Leicas for much of my professional work because I really enjoy using them. When I need a “better” tool, I grab a Nikon. The SL is an interesting concept, but if no real interest to me personally.

          • Boris but No Johnson

            Nice work there, John! I’ve also checked your page and I enjoy your photos!

            Honestly, I don’t think 1GB of buffer on M240 is inadequate – may I ask you what card you’ve got in your camera? From my experience a slow SD card may even freeze the camera.

            What I miss the most from the digital M is the film advance/re-cock lever though – I don’t think they’ll ever make a M-A/MP with a digital back, but I still have to say, no matter it’s manual winding, double stroke or single stroke, that mechanism is the most satisfying thing about the original Leica.

          • Ric Ricard

            I’m going to have to make a video about why the buffer of the M is a problem for me. Trust me, I’ve tried dozens of cards. I’ve tried other copies of the M. I’ve even brought the issue to Leica at various Leica stores and at Leica presentations. Amazingly, the Leica people aren’t even aware that the buffer is even slower when you go above ISO 1,000. I’ve NEVER even seen a single reviewer point out that the ISO you shoot at has a tremendous impact on your ability to actually take photos with the M. I’m often shooting at ISO 800 simply because I need the buffer to clear quickly.

            I’m convinced that most people who complain or praise the M240 don’t actually use the camera like I do, and have no idea of the real life limitations of the camera.

          • Ric Ricard

            One more thing. You are aware of Getty Images, right? They are the largest seller of images in the world. A ton of magazine images of celebs and sports figures that you see every day are sold through Getty images. When you upload to their site as a photographer, all images are resized to 3,000 pixels on the long edge. That is 12mp. If 12mp is enough for the largest seller of images in the world, how is it that street photographers WHO HAVE NO CLIENTS AT ALL, have a NEED for more than 24mp? And, I might add, the Nikon flagship D5 is only 20mp, and that will be used by professionals. If these professionals don’t need even 24mp, how is it that street photographers with no clients NEED more than 24mp?

    • Simon Goldsworthy

      Chris, the thing is, the way the A7Rii handles colour isn’t really as good as the D810. In fact in many cases I think it doesn’t match the current M. The thing I would most like from the A7rii isn’t high resolution, but high ISO DR

      • Old Doc

        Just remember how the color rendition changed from M9 to M 240 !

        Many photographers would prefer to get a new CCD camera with better DR and high ISO …

  • Yushi Ye

    Better LCD is welcomed. I even want new M to have an external EVF as good as SL. Focusing with lens like 90AA is rather painful for rangefinder.

  • Paul

    I have a feeling this next M will be the one that really nails it. Better start saving 🙁

    • Pablo

      Yeah, same here. But for me it was already nailed with the MD

  • Simon Goldsworthy

    I’m going to confess here that I don’t care about size if it can use the same battery as the existing M. I would want better metering, particularly in live view, wifi, high ISO dynamic range more competitive with something like a D750 (if it could get competitive with the D4/Df sensor I would buy it in a heartbeat). Personally I would prefer better base ISO DR, but it doesn’t need to exceed the performance of a D810: mostly I would like better retention of highlight detail for raw processing. I would want to retain the excellent treatment of colours from the M240 while taming the red and magenta channels somewhat. An integrated sensor shaker would be brilliant if it could be integrated with the thin cover glass Leica uses. Not needing to take the base off the camera to change the battery would be brilliant too. If the EVF isn’t integrated, I hope it prioritises refresh rate over pure resolution.

  • pask

    Iso dial would take place nicely close to the viewfinder, where was the film rewinder, same shape :). Next M will have of course better DR sensor no doubts. Thinner body and we get the perfect digital rangefinder ever.

  • Michael Schramm

    who needs that —– just nonsence

  • Boris but No Johnson

    If they can make it thinner and lighter if not more affordable? Remember M9 is much lighter than M240 and unlike the new M262, still manage to have brass top and bottom plate?

  • ZMWT

    Adding ISO dial / wheel / whatever on M body is a stroke of genius. That is most used camera feature for more advanced users but always hidden inside software-based menu. And if it has deeper buffer, this will be perfect M.

    • CHD

      I disagree…I would rather have a dedicated Exposure Compensation dial and change ISO with the thumb dial on the back.

      • ZMWT

        Well, if you wish ISO wheel a la film cameras, where to put an LCD then?

  • martin

    pls launch the next gen M Typ-262 too!

  • Brennan McKissick

    The size isn’t something we are going to get away from anytime soon (damn you physics) and it doesn’t really bother me anyways. I just think the biggest thing the next M really needs is a little better DR. Aside from that I don’t think it really could use anything else but that ISO dial sounds interesting for sure. More megapixels would be next to useless for this camera for many reasons. I really wish they’d adopt a Sony sensor and Leica can tweak it however they want for their color but actually get more DR.

  • Camaman

    Hopefully and finally a 5mm thiner body will be it biggest upgrade!

  • CHD

    In my opinion the biggest flaw with the M240 is the limit of a 1 min exposure…and that’s if you’re shooting at ISO200. Switch to ISO400 and you’re limited to 30 seconds. For anyone (like myself) that is interested in low light photography this is a major letdown…and seems so unnecessary. You would think a simple FW update would fix this. I’m assuming Leica did this to control noise… I can deal with it in post I don’t need the feature disabled altogether.

  • Brennan McKissick

    I feel like the D750 pretty much kills everything in low light and the A7S (I and II). Normally for wedding work I’ll use a D750 though. For receptions I’ll use flash most of the time but sometimes you just can’t because of the situation.

  • TwoStrayCats

    I just wish Leitz had picked a modeling shot with someone who looked like they had a clue about what they’re doing with the camera.

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