Leica Society International sent out a survey about the long-rumored Leica M camera with a built-in EVF

Leica M camera with a built-in EVF mockup

Leica M camera with a built-in EVF mockup

Leica Society International sent out a survey to its members about the long-rumored Leica M camera with a built-in EVF:


  1. What is the question? At the LSI annual meeting in Dublin in October, there was a discussion about a possible EVF M camera. Leica made it clear that they would not consider a hybrid camera with both an optical and electronic viewfinder as, in their view, too many important and performance-affecting compromises would be needed. Hence, what we are discussing here is a camera based on a current M digital body but incorporating an EVF with characteristics like the current external Visoflex 2 instead of the optical viewfinder. This would mean that it would have the same resolution as the current Visoflex 2, the same frame rate and blackout time. It would also have the same eyepoint for spectacle wearers and the same viewing angle. Battery life would be equivalent to the current M11 with the Visoflex 2 attached.
  2. Why ask the question? While optical rangefinders have been central to the concept of an M camera (“M” stands for “Messucher”), the M concept also includes size, precision, and simplicity, whether analog or digital. Optical rangefinders allow for viewing a scene outside the framelines (for some focal lengths), and the Leica rangefinder is extremely precise. However, optical rangefinders can also be difficult to use with lenses with extremely shallow depth of field and by some people (like some of us who are older) with vision issues. Optical rangefinders also are harder to use with lenses with long focal lengths because the frame lines become very small; lenses wider than 28mm require a separate viewfinder. An EVF M camera would allow the use of almost any lens that has or could be adapted to an M mount, would permit focusing with aids the same or similar to those currently available in digital M cameras (such as focus peaking), and could show real-time exposure. EVFs, on the other hand, are harder to use in very bright sunlight, are hard to use with polarized sunglasses, can be slower to use in dim light, and sometimes “lag” during viewing.
  3. Let’s Not Debate: The purpose of the survey is not to debate the merits or demerits of the optical rangefinder and EVF. As noted above, they both have their strengths and weaknesses, and each photographer would have to decide for themselves what kind of camera makes sense. We are not talking about replacing the classic M rangefinder with an electronic version. We are talking about adding an alternative to the rangefinder within the M line.
  4. Why the Survey? Simply put, LSI and its members can provide valuable information to Leica, which they can consider as they determine whether to produce an EVF M camera. With some idea of the demand from dedicated Leica users like yourself, Leica could decide whether it makes commercial sense to proceed. They are quite obviously not going to make a camera whose sales would be insufficient to make a profit. The responses in the aggregate will be shared with Leica. No personal information will be disclosed.
  5. Completing the Survey. Even if you are not currently or have no plans to be an M photographer, your participation is important in helping us to give Leica an accurate snapshot of the appetite for this type of camera.

Here are some o the question asked in the survey:

  • Would you be willing to purchase, at a price similar to an M11, a Leica “M-type” camera, that followed the form of an M camera, with a M mount, but with an EVF instead of an optical rangefinder?
  • Which camera system is your primary system now?
  • What is your secondary camera system?
  • For your use, do you see an EVF M camera as a substitute for a rangefinder M or a complement to one?
  • What is your age range?
  • What region do you live in?

Here is the history of the Leica M with EVF rumor:

Leica M camera with built-in EVF rumored again (Leica RM?)

“Stefan surprised the audience by saying that if there were sufficient demand, Leica would consider producing an M with EVF. Asked how many they would need to sell in order to make such a decision, he estimated a couple of thousand”. Update – the quote was later clarified as “several thousand”. (source)

Is this a Leica S mirrorless medium format camera mock-up?

“Jesko, the product manager for the M suggested that, of course, the electronic viewfinder is a nice addition for the M camera, however, they always see the rangefinder as the number one focusing system for the M. They mentioned Leica did build a prototype hybrid built in EVF M, but they put priority on the camera body design, as it made it too thick.

However, Stefan Daniel added to this, emphasizing there will always be a rangefinder version. However, they are looking at opportunities to have a second model with a built in EVF. They will never swap the rangefinder to EVF, but a second version alongside the rangefinder is very possible in the future.” (source)

Very interesting hints about future Leica products


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