Leica’s Newest M Goes Undercover, Drops The Dot
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I’m a fan of the Leica M10. Just about everyone is a fan of the Leica M10. They took the very good M240, added some cool stuff like a physical ISO dial, took away a lot of extraneous stuff, and made it way thinner (it’s got similar dimensions to Leica film rangefinders of old). It felt like the ultimate version of a digital Leica rangefinder. Then, today, Leica released the M10-P ($7,995), which is juuuust a little bit better — thanks to three tweaks.
You can see one of the three changes immediately: they dropped the dot. Just like all the “P” designated M rangefinders before, the M10-P is a stealthier take on the base camera and that means gone is the iconic red logo and in its place is a big screw that adjusts the rangefinder (it’s actually way more subtle and flush than the last M-P, probably because people whined about how big the screw was). But don’t be fooled into thinking people won’t know who makes the camera — the old school Leica script logo is rather tastefully engraved in the top plate.
The second tweak is that the rear LCD is now a touch screen. You can do touch-screeny things with it. It’s nice, but you’re not required to use it, and there are dials for everything, too. I found myself using it mostly for controlling playback and checking focus.
The least-obvious but most-exciting tweak comes when you take a photo: Leica completely revised the shutter on the M10-P and the result is what they claim is the quietest mechanical shutter ever fitted to an M — analog or digital. I’m inclined to believe them. Were it not for the little mechanical tap you get when you push the shutter button, it’d be tough to know when you actually took a photo. If you’re on the street or people are talking, you’ll go unnoticed. It’s a really cool feature, and definitely Leica’s justification for the $700 premium over the normal M10. Honestly, I’m not 100-percent sure that’s enough to justify the extra cost but that’s the deciding factor here. If you want that sweet sweet silence, pay up.
The M10-P is an objectively excellent camera if you’re looking for a Leica rangefinder. It’s also objectively better than the standard M10. It’s also objectively $700 more. Subjectively, I think the standard M10 is the better looking of the two if you’re getting it in black (not the case for silver though, something about the M10-P in silver is so. damn. striking). Whichever you pick though, there are no bad eggs coming out of Wetzlar right now.
Sensor: 24-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor
Image Processor: Leica Maestro II
Viewfinder: 0.73x magnification viewfinder
Display: 3.0-inch touchscreen LCD
Continuous Shooting: up to 5 fps
Connectivity: built-in wi-fi
Body: redesigned shutter, no red dot, brass and magnesium construction