The Leica M housed in Camera Protector M (Cognac)

The Leica M housed in Camera Protector M (Cognac)

If you have already owned a Leica M9, the Leica M is the obvious upgrade. I totally agree with what Erwin Puts says, “The new M is unquestionable a better camera than the predecessor, the M9.”

The build quality of the M body is second to none. That said, choosing to use a Leica M camera is a personal preference. As a Leica user, if you take a bad picture, you only can blame yourself. So, keep on taking pictures, learning to see the world from the camera eye. Or better carry it every day to everywhere.  Practice makes perfect.

In the Leica M, pictures taken in high ISO is more usable than the M9.  First set up the maximum ISO then when you use Aperture-priority mode, the Auto ISO will work. I set the maximum to ISO 1600 and this works for me most of the time, such as taking snap shots in the mall or when doing street photography.  Don’t forget the Leica M also allows me to take some decent HD video clips. Making use of the R-Adapter M, you can use your R series lenses.

Leica makes no secret that their rebranded accessories are almost double the price.  This is truly a dilemma when you think of purchasing some of the accessories.  As they are not designed by Leica, the huge price difference between the original and Leica is a business secret. For the electronic viewfinder, the Leica EVF2 (item number 18753)  is a rebranded Olympus VF-2.  The Microphone adapter set (item number 14634) is also a rebranded Olympus SEMA-1. Would I buy one?  I am not sure at the moment because I have no intention of using either of them. I am totally satisfied with the rangefinder focusing. For video capturing, I may try to see how “poor” the sound quality is from the clips with sound recorded by the built-in mono microphone. Normally I consider music is an integral part of the video. I would like to add some music to the videos I am going to make instead of using the sound captured.

The Leica M housed in Camera Protector M (Cognac) back view

The Leica M housed in Camera Protector M (Cognac) back view

The only thing in need urgently I think may make sense is to buy a case if you carry the Leica M around all the time. I would recommend the Camera Protector M (Black, item number 14880 or Cognac, item number 14881).  it is a half case and not as bulky as the other third party ones. As a result, the Leica M can still remain a small camera in form and weight is not increased a lot. There is a small grip helping you to hold the body firmly. Don’t overprotect a camera otherwise it will only be an art collection in your gallery.

Purchasing a spare battery will also relieve your worry of running out of power towards the end of the day.

I still think there are some areas Leica needs to improve. One of the negative sides is that the Max sensor, like its CCD counterpart in the M9, is similarly prone to dust. In using the Leica M for around 2 weeks, I have already noticed some black spots when enlarging the pictures. There is no automatic dust removal system on the Leica M but you are pleased to find a dust detection system assisting to locate the spots. If you want to make an attempt, here are the steps:

  • Make sure your battery power has at least 60% capacity
  • Press the MENU button and scroll to Sensor Cleaning
  • Press SET button
  • Press Dust Detection
Inside the Sensor Cleaning menu

Inside the Sensor Cleaning menu. Read the message on the screen carefully

  • Set the aperture to f/16 or 22 of your lens and take a shot on a homogeneous surface (such as a white wall) out of focus

    Alert message

    Alert message

  • The screen displays the location of the dust by the black pixels

    Sensor dust details picture

    Sensor dust details picture

  • Follow the next step to open the shutter and use a blower (never use your mouth!) to blow away the dust, in a dust-free environment (hard to find I guess)
  • Turn off the camera to complete the process

If the dusts cannot be cleaned then probably leave it to the Leica technical professionals.  My M9 has many tiny dust spots but I have skillfully been using Adobe Lightroom to erase these black pixels on the images.  Not difficult at all.

My wish list on the next generation of the Leica M is: an automatic dust removal system.  But my second thought is:  is it not a design flaw?  Could it be a uniqueness of the Leica M? Everything is back to the basic: the manual focusing , the manual exposure (if you stick to the basic and not use the aperture-priority mode) settings, and the dust removal with your own hands?  If you like the basics, then there is no reason why you don’t own a Leica M.

Featured image: The gate of heaven.  The Leica M with Summicron-M 50 mm, ISO200, f/3.4, 1/2000sec
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