Leica M (240) Review - Introduction

Leica M (240)

Leica M (240)

It is a shame that so few people are going to experience the Leica M (240). This is one great camera. I plan on doing a multi-part review on various aspects of this wonderful camera. All the articles will eventually be combined into one post so that it will be a long read. 

The M(240) was released in September 2012 to a lot of excitement. It was in  short supply until the latter half of 2013. When I purchased mine from the Leica store in West Hollywood I had to wait two weeks because I wanted a black model. When shooting film I owned both a black and a chrome M6, I was aware of less people noticing me with the black model. The black model was always loaded with black and white and the chrome of course carried chrome ( Kodachrome 64 ). Since both were always with me I was able to judge peoples reactions to both cameras. Even before everyone became a photographer with the advent of digital, Leica's were less noticeable and not taken as serious as people with larger SLR's.

The M(240) has features that stand out to me that make it a worthy step up from the M9. The sound of the shutter is a feature that is often downplayed. I don't mean that I like it because it sounds cooler, it is because of the quieter and softer sound. Most of my shooting is in close in quiet environments and the earlier digital shutters were just too loud. Many a time I was being discreet and people would look up at the click and whir of the shutter winding. The new shutter is just so much softer. The LED frame lines auto sensing to the light value from the scene is one of those small things that I have wanted for so many years. Having already changed the color of the frame lines so that they were easier to see, I am so thankful for the feature. Battery life is much improved. I can't get the number of shots that I can from my Nikon D3s but considering how much smaller the battery is I am fine with the duration. Since I own a Noctilux the focus peaking feature is a welcome addition. Being raised as an old school type of photographer I am not comfortable shooting with a camera at arms length, but focus peaking does increase the number of keepers with the Noctilux. The 3" LCD is nice and I just don't see it getting much larger on a rangefinder camera. The S2 style menus are easier to look at and to navigate. The power switch seems to have a more positive feel. This is one feature that so many companies that produce smaller body cameras have trouble with. The switch on the Fuji X-Pro 1 is terrible. Still getting used to the thumb wheel and grip. I like the functions they provide, it's just after almost 30 years of Leica use the muscle memory is expecting a different feel under my thumb. People newer to the Leica experience will probably appreciate the feel more that I do. Weather sealed is always a good thing. Oh, the tripod mount is now part of the body not the baseplate.

So far I only have a few nit picks. The body is slightly larger and heavier than previous models. What can I say, I want a digital M6. For me the silver pad on the back is just a little too close to the LCD screen. I would still like a mechanism that cleans the sensor like the high end DSLR's. It's not a negative but I don't care about video capabilities. I have other cameras for that ability. Being able to add an electronic viewfinder will make many happy, I just wish it was a smaller accessory. 

Next time I will delve deeper into the actual functions of the camera and will follow with some shooting.

Full Leica M (240) review