Leica M10 Review in 2020 | Not perfect but worthy of your love.

With all the worries and problems we are facing worldwide during this Coronavirus outbreak, may I wish everyone good health, time with our loved ones and most of all, meaning in all we do. 

Let us start. 

The first time I laid my hands on the Leica M10 was in 2017, back when it was launched and thanks to Leica Singapore’s generosity, I had a loan set for a review shared here.

Screenshot 2020-03-27 at 4.09.50 PM
The review set I had in Nov 2017 –  A Leica M10 and a 35mm Summilux FLE. 

It took me almost two and a half years to make the decision and finally with the help of one of the ablest staff from Leica Singapore Raffles Hotel boutique, I decided to do the jump. 


M10 with the 35mm Summicron (Ver III) 

Obviously, if you have been around the last 2 years, I would have come across as a very strong advocate for Fujifilm. And in this sense, maybe one way to put it if asked about the two brands will be:

“Fujifilm without doubts provides some of the most beautiful JPEGs, while Leica provides some of the most true-to-life images.”


My personal set of the M10 with a 35mm Summicron (Version III) 

Over the last few years, Leica A.G has worked in many functional improvements through firmware updates and now in September 2019, with firmware revision version 2.4.5.0 alone offering user interface improvements, doubling the maximum long exposure time to 4 minutes, a new continuous drive mode amongst other tweaks. In fact, the M10 seems a much more mature camera now, sitting alongside its variants the M10-P and the M10-D. 

Why not a M10-P? It would have been lovely, and the more silent shutter mechanism on the M10-P is sexy but my pockets aren’t that deep. Simple as that.

The M10-D is beautiful and its design harks back to the era of Leica’s film cameras but I personally find it difficult to plonk down USD7995 (SGD12,000 locally) for a camera that doesn’t come with a playback function. 

M10 with the 50mm Summicron (Ver IV)

What is beautifully simple about the M10 stays as beautiful, and what was possibly controversial like the pull-out design of the ISO dial has stayed the same. However, functional wise, the menu system has been overhauled, to be even more relevant and simple.

I do not like digging into menus, and in this sense, the M10 menu system has evolved till a point where I can simply have all I need set within the first layer and that’s a huge plus. Spend a moment and think of all the time you may have spent digging through say, a multi-layered or tiered menu and you probably will understand. 


M10 with the 50mm Summicron (Ver IV) 


M10 with the 50mm Summicron (Ver IV) 


M10 with the 50mm Summicron (Ver IV) 


100% crop. 

M10 with the 50mm Summicron (Ver IV) 

One part where the user loves or finds it worrying about using a Leica M camera is actually due to what makes the M system unique. A Leica M camera is a true rangefinder camera which means one needs to work with manual focusing using a focusing patch in the OVF.  Fujifilm’s manual focusing aids have options designed to look like a rangefinder patch come close but they are still different end of the day. 

The M10’s huge improvement over the Typ-240 (M240) is that Live View has become really usable and of course, magnification and focus-peaking aids are readily available to bridge the modern user over. In short, on the M10, I do not have to frame a shot only using the OVF but also now, the LCD. 


M10 with the 50mm Summicron (Ver IV) 

Maybe, of course, that is why I see some M camera users sticking to photographing static facades or scenes, there’s obviously nothing wrong with that but my point will be that though a Leica M camera will never be able to perform auto-focusing, a Leica M camera in the right hands will be able to capture most of the scenes one needs to. 


Zone focusing is really nifty, and for the 50mm Summicron, setting it at f2.8 means one can easily do a 3 to 5 meters zone in focus – great for the typical street photography shot.

And I love to remind, zone focusing really works great, and it is one skill one should learn. On the Summicrons, one can easily set to f2.8 and zone focus with a 2-3 or 5-6 meters variance or if one is really lazy, setting it to f8 works most if not all of the time. 


M10 with the 50mm Summicron (Ver IV) 

Do you need a 20 FPS camera or 100 shots of the exact same scene over 5 seconds to pick 1 photo from? If so, then the M is not for you, get a Fujifilm, Nikon or a Sony instead. The M can be a camera you bring everywhere, provided one is willing to really spend the moment focusing on the scene and the camera, enjoying the process of photography. 

Using a Leica M as an everyday camera is possible, and this really depends on how much the user wants it to. 

For me, the answer is simple. I still have my Fujifilm system should I need to photograph events where nailing every shot is a necessity, and now with the Leica M system, I have a system where I am able to immerse myself more in the moment of photography.

Thank you for reading. 

 

Keith Wee

Keith: Father, Teacher and Life Photographer. Writer for Fujifilm Asia Pacific, Fujilove and FujiXPassion and seeks to photograph Life & his 2 toddlers Kei & Lynn.

2 thoughts on “Leica M10 Review in 2020 | Not perfect but worthy of your love.

  1. I will never be able to afford a Leica but it was still very interesting to read about the character of the camera as compared to Fuji. It – and you – do take nice pictures. (I only have an X100F and an X-T4 in the post at this very moment between the shop and me.) I like the idea of being forced to think more for shots, but then I’m lucky to even know what that means — my first real camera some decades ago was a Russian Zenith with 50mm Helios, hand-held lightmeter, and one even had to close the aperture ring by hand to complete the shot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi David, just 2 years ago I had also told myself I’ll never own a Leica but life can be unpredictable. The X100F is an excellent camera for starters but to me the X-T4 is a weird proposition being sold as a ‘new’ camera but the same sensor/processor as the X-T3, X-T30, X100V and X-Pro3. But my key point is, I’ve learnt that any brand of cameras has the potential to produce an extraordinary shot, and I like that you mentioned that u r spending more thought in your shots 🙂

      Like

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