Leica M11 camera first impressions

My name is Andrew (@andrew.pictures), and I am very excited to share some images with you from the new Leica M11. When the phone rang just after 9am from my friend Sawyer at Leica Store Boston I grabbed the call on the first ring. The M11 had just been announced, and he was calling to say they had a camera for me! Even better – I was already in the car, on my way to Bar Harbor, Maine USA to meet up with friends for a landscape photo workshop in Acadia National Park. I had the camera shipped to me on location, and was opening the box 24 hours later. These are my first impressions, along with my favorite images from the trip.

Right out of the box – a few things caught my attention. Aesthetically, the matte black finish is gorgeous and feels immediately familiar in my hand (having owned an M10, M10 Monochrom, and many M film bodies). But what surprised me is the weight, It is noticeably lighter. Second, the lack of a bottom plate. Didn’t miss it at all, even though it’s been on every M camera since the M3 launched in 1954. The new style is much easier to access (especially with gloves in cold weather), and incorporates design elements seen on the Q and SL2 bodies. The battery is physically bigger, and charged up very quickly. But most importantly it delivered. My first morning out with the camera we were shooting on a rocky coastline at dawn in zero degree Farenheit weather and 30 mph winds. The battery life delivered – no problem. I would guess I shot 1000 frames, and had at least 50% battery power remaining – even with Live View on the whole time. The camera never locked up even with such cold weather (although my SL2 body did have issues communicating with the auto focus lens in the same conditions). I was very glad to know the body is weather sealed, because the conditions were pretty extreme.

I spent the next several hours shooting along Ocean Drive in the park, and the camera kept up every step of the way. The images looked fantastic on the LCD, and I was also using the new Visoflex which I found very intuitive and amazing resolution. When using the Visoflex, it felt like I was looking through the viewfinder of my SL2 body – similar brightness, resolution, and image data. I was glad to have it, and will probably use it all the time on the camera.

I spent the next few days shooting at various locations around Acadia National Park.

Getting back to my computer, and seeing the images in Lightroom was the real test. WOW! Two things stuck out as noticeable improvements, First, the dynamic range is better than any previous Leica camera – including both the M10 and the SL2. I was able to get an incredible amount of highlight and shadow detail in every image. The second thing is the color rendering. The range of color is beyond what I have seen in prior cameras, and the colors look vibrant and saturated but true to life at the same time. I was shooting at ISO 64 and ISO 200 most of the time, using a 28mm Elmarit f2.8 and 16-18-21 Tri Elmar f/4. All of the images were handheld at shutter speeds down to 1/24s or 1/30s with no problem at all. Images are processed DNG files converted to JPG in Adobe Lightroom. I hope you enjoy them, and please follow me on Instagram @andrew.pictures if you would like to see more of my work.

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