On this page, I collect some questions regarding the Leica M (Typ 240). Please note that while existing Leica users may laugh at some of the questions, new owners coming from "ordinary" digicams may have their issues with handling a Leica M, which is different in many ways... For the convenience of the readers, some questions may be redundant with items listed on my experience and characteristics pages.
There are also FAQ lists provided by Leica and the l-camera forum. Please consult these as well, if you have any questions regarding the Leica M (Typ 240).
Please note that only a subset of the questions (and answers) in the resources above relate to the Leica M (Typ 240).
I am not sure whether I should answer this question... Should the answer be, "because I have too much money"? In part, this may be correct, but other people spend a lot of money on their hobbies as well. So let me try a fairly short and hopefully believable answer.
After I had switched to the Ricoh GXR, I bought all the camera modules that became available over time, including the M-mount expansion unit, which, of course, needed M-mount lenses before it could be used. So I bought nine M-mount lenses over the years, which was quite an investment. But after the first enthusiasm was over, I used the module and the lenses less and less. I also was a little bit set back by the fact that the lenses could not be used at their original focal lengths, only with a crop factor of 1.5. So the fine Zeiss Sonnar normal lens was little used, because it became a 75 mm lens at the GXR... I also bought the A16 camera unit for the GXR, which had a useful focal length range and more Megapixels, and later the Leica X Vario, when the GXR was no longer supported by Ricoh. So these fine lenses were eventually sleeping on the shelve... How could I put them to use again? Obviously, with a full-frame camera, but which one should I buy? In the end, there were two or three major alternatives for me, the Leica M9 or M (Typ 240), and the Sony A7 in its many variants. And there was also the Konost rangefinder camera announced, but nobody knows whether it will ever materialize (Konost said "yes" in January 2016).
The Leica M (Typ 240) seemed ideal for me, because it was the first rangefinder camera with live view, but it was way beyond what I was willing to spend. The Leica M9 seemed for affordable for me, but I always had to remind me that it was not the camera that I wanted or needed - I did not want a "pure" rangefinder camera. This also applies to the Konost, so "good bye" to this camera... In the end, I was close to buying a Sony A7, but all the reports that I read revealed that theA7 cameras struggle with rangefinder lenses, particularly with wide angle lenses. Thus, in the end, the only camera left for me, was the Leica M (Typ 240), although I have learned in the meantime, that it also struggles with certain wide angles lenses. But at least, the corners are sharp. As Sean Reid puts it: The best cameras for rangefinder lenses are still the Leica Ms. And that's why I bought a used one as soon as I found it not tooooo expensive...
"In practice" can mean a lot of things, of course. In my case, the Leica M (Typ 240) is equipped with a battery, an SD card, the EVF 2, the half case, the Peak Design shoulder strap, and a lens when I walk around with it. Lets take my "normal lens", a Zeiss Sonnar 50mm f/1.5. Our kitchen scale measures 1060 g for all this (1067 g with lens cap).
For comparison, the Leica X Vario equipped with a battery, an SD card, the EVF 2, half case, and lens hood without cap weighs 760 g with the Leica shoulder strap, and 772 g with the Peak Design shoulder strap (including two anchors).
You cannot find one, simply because there is none. There is one, however, in the handgrip (called Multifunctional Handgrip-M), provided you bought one...).
See the links to the FAQs above.
Leica states in the manual:
In the forums, the typical answer is: The faster the better. Concrete recommendations were given for the 64 GB version of the SanDisk Extreme Pro card (95 MB/s). I bought a SanDisk Extreme Plus card (64 GB, 90 MB/s), which works well. The high speed is primarily needed for recording HD videos (1020p).
Leica released several firmware updates for the M (Typ 240). The most important one included quite a few improvements, was released during Photokina 2014 (September 15, 2014), and has version number 22.214.171.124. The latest firmware update seems to have version number 126.96.36.199. (July 8, 2015). See page Firmware for more information on firmware updates.
Go to this page on the Leica Website (US version): us.leica-camera.com/Photography/Leica-M/Leica-M/Downloads (German version: de.leica-camera.com/Fotografie/Leica-M/Leica-M/Downloads)
This question was asked in forums, but it looks as if there were no ways of finding this out (contrary to other Leica models....). If this number still exists, it seems to be coded and nobody has decoded it up to now. Some posters also argued that live view, video, and advanced metering mode would make such information more or less useless because these also open the shutter. All in all, the simple answer to this question seems to be "No."
The simple answer to this question is: The aperture value is
indeed not transferred to the camera - the camera estimates it based on
measurements from a second sensor. It measures exposure independent of
the sensor in order to control the brightness of the aperture display in
the viewfinder. This allows the camera to compare the brightness measured
by this sensor and through the lens and then estimate the set aperture value.
For a number of reasons, this estimate is not very precise (it can be an
f-stop off), as has been confirmed through investigations (bretteville.com/m8metadata.html).
(From www.berndmargotte.com/technical/objektivcodierung_de.html, adapted)
(Color) shading (also known as "lens cast") is a more general form of standard lens vignetting: with (color) shading, the light falloff can be asymmetric and can have a color cast (e.g., green on the left side of the image, and magenta on the right side). It is most often seen with mirrorless camera systems. Examples include medium format digital backs on technical cameras, and Micro Four-Thirds, or Sony NEX cameras with third-party, non-retrofocus lenses. In the Leica M world, it appeared with the M8 ("cyan corners" when wide angle lenses are used with IR filters), continued with the M9 ("Italian flag" syndrome), and is also found on the M (Typ 240) for lenses of a focal length of 35 mm and shorter. (From Adobe, adapted and extended)
There are two free tools available that address this issue using a calibration image, the Adobe ® DNG Flat Field plug-in for Lightroom, and Sandy McGuffog tool CornerFix. For details, see page Using Lenses without Lens Codes (and the references on the page).
No, you need not consult tables if your lens does have DOF markers - simple distance markers do not suffice. You can determine the hyperfocal distance (HFD) in two (equivalent) ways. You can either...
Which approach is the easier one, depends probably on your personal taste...
*) If you do not believe me that the first approach works, just check both methods out and compare the results! Theory tells us that this works. But you can also take a look at the photos below:
Set the distance to infinity and read the near distance or hyperfocal distance from the "near" mark - here f/16
Move the infinity mark to the "far" marker for the chosen f-number - here f/16 - to set the hyperfocal distance
Set the distance to infinity and read the near distance or hyperfocal distance from the "near" mark - here f/8
Move the infinity mark to the "far" marker for the chosen f-number - here f/8 - to set the hyperfocal distance
Photos: When distance is set to infinity, the "near limit" is just the hyperfocal distance, as the photos in the right column prove...
The Leica M's (Typ 240) sensor, also called Max sensor, is a full-frame CMOS sensor with 24 Megapixels, a size of , and is manufactured by the Belgium company CMOSIS according to specifications from Leica. Thus, for the first time, Leica uses a CMOS sensor in its M camera series. This, of course, stimulated a lively debate, particularly with respect to the quality of the colors. At least, it can be said that the colors are different from the M9's colors. Some professionals maintain that they are better, some do not like them, and some say that they will become a "classic" standard of their own... All in all, this is probably most important for users who switched from the M9 to the M (Typ 240).
The Max CMOS sensor enabled Leica to implement video and live view in the M (Typ 240), both of which are also discussed controversially in the Leica user community. In addition, this sensor offers better high ISO performance than the M9's CCD sensor (the degree of this improvement is discussed controversially, though...).
Yes, DxOMark did a test, which can be found here:
The Leica M240 received an overall score of 84. For more information, please consult the respective pages listed above and page Sensor.
Regrettably, the answer is: No.
"Zoom" means on the Leica X Vario: The whole image is shown for a short while and then a magnified section (center) is shown fullscreen for a about a second.
The simple answer is: No. Therefore, you cannot find it. The camera has a flash hotshoe, which can also take the electronic viewfinder. So if you need both, you have to look for other solutions...
This feature is called "Focus Aid" in the manual, and I usually refer to it as "screen magnification. There are two methods of how you can invoke screen magnification. You select them in SETUP menu item "Focus Aid":
For details, see page Manual Focusing (EVF).
Yes it does. You can select from three peaking colors (red, blue, green; since firmware update 188.8.131.52). You can activate this function with SETUP menu item "Focus Peaking" (options: Off, Red, Blue, Green).
For details, see page Manual Focusing (EVF).
For short focal lengths, it may be difficult to focus exactly using the EVF or LCD screen. In this case, it might be a good idea to use the range finder for focusing and the EVF/LCD screen for framing (no focus aids needed). But I have no experience with this so far.
Sadly, you cannot. Probably, this feature will never be added in a firmware update.
There are indeed no PSAM (or Tv, Ta, etc.) labels on the top dial of the Leica M (Typ 240) - it is a shutter speed dial with half steps and an "A" item, meaning:
There are Leica experts who state the opinion that exposure compensation is nonsense on a Leica, so why worry? Nonetheless, the Leica M (Typ 240) offers exposure compensation, but initially it was awkward to handle: You had to press the focus button at the front of the camera while turning the thumb wheel at its back. I found this more or less impossible to do. Luckily, since firmware update 184.108.40.206 you can activate "Direct Adjustement" in the "Set" menu item "Exposure Compensation." I you do so, it suffices to turn the thumb wheel to set the compensation value, which is easy and comfortable.
The longest shutter speed in B(ulb) mode depends on the ISO setting. This
explains why it can be shorter than 60 seconds.
The manual simply states: "up to a maximum of 60s; depending on the ISO setting." This is not very informative, but some users investigated this and found out: ISO 200: 60 s; ISO 400: 32 sec???; ISO 800: 16 s???; ISO 1600 to ISO PUSH 6400: 8 s.
I had this phenomenon myself, and do not know if somebody else had it as well. The camera simply under- and overexposes images after exposing correctly first, and there does not seem to exist a rule that is follows. Often it sticks to its exposure values (that is, shutter speed...) for some time and returns to normal after some time or action by me (changing shutter speed, ISO or aperture, for example). When I switched from A to M mode, I also found that the camera did not display the correct shutter speeds that I had set with the dial. It was 1 to 2 f-stops off. It even displayed shutter speeds, like 16 s that are not found on the dial. I also found that the red LED did not turn off when I switched the camera off - I had to remove the battery.
Removing the battery, exchanging lenses, switching the camera off and on again, all this did not help. Finally, I reset the camera (Menu "Setup", menu item "Reset"), and this worked, but I did not really know why...
I therefore asked in the l-camera-forum whether someone else had the same phenomenon (postings in German). After quite some time, two posters had the correct idea (12/02/2015; two other posters offered proposals that did not present the solution). I had inadvertently set the camera to manual exposure bracketing, meaning that the camera took shots at different exposures one after the other. That is, each time I took a shot the camera changed "relative" exposure. Usually, exposure bracketing works like the "automatic" exposure bracketing works on the Leica M: The shots with different exposures are taken immediately one after the other after you press the shutter release button. Therefore, I was not at all aware of the fact that exposure bracketing was the reason for my issues.
Admittedly, I saw the bracketing symbol in the viewfinder when I changed the display mode. Usually, however, I use a display mode where it is not shown. I did not know what the symbol means and also forgot to consult the manual. I had the slight suspicion that the symbol might indicate bracketing, but since I knew only automatic exposure bracketing, which did not happen, I did not care any further at first...
How was I able to confirm that the proposal of the two posters was correct? I simply looked into the Exif data of the respective photos. In English, I found "Auto bracket" there for tag "Exposure Mode," although the camera was set to "manual" exposure bracketing. Obviously, the Exif data do not seem to distinguish between both bracketing modes (I confirmed this using test shots).
Finally, it looks as if Exif tag "Panasonic Leica 6 0x0350" contains the exposure change for the bracketing (I found values of -1, 0, and 1 when I set "Number of Frames" to 3 and "Aperture Stops" to 1).
The manual states this (slightly adapted): The setting for "Automatic" is marked as ready for editing. Select the desired setting, "On" to start bracketing automatically when the shutter is released once, "Off" to release the shutter individually for each picture.
The answer is "yes" because both viewfinders seem the be identical. However, from time to time X Vario users of the Olympus EVF2 report issues such ar green bars or a green screen. I bought the Olympus viewfinder myself, because it is half the price of the Leica version, and experienced such problems myself on the X Vario from time to time. At the moment, I do not have any experiences with this viewfinder regarding the Leica M (Typ 240), except for that in a very few cases the viewfinder did not work at all...
The viewfinder EVF4 cannot be used at the M (Typ 240) - and probably never will. Since Leica uses different viewfinders in its newer cameras, it is very improbable that it will ever adopt the Olympus EVF4 to update its older models. Moreover, the camera's processing power is insufficient for this - as was remarked by some experts.
Since the M (Typ 240) uses manual lenses (all M-mount lenses are manual!) you always have a preview of the depth of field. Under certain circumstances, it may be useful to open aperture to its max for focusing and framing, but currently I do not have the experience to state when this would be necessary (probably in low-light conditions).
Originally, you got an exposure preview if you half-pressed the shutter release button. Since firmware update 220.127.116.11, there is a menu item "Exposure Simulation" where you can select between the options "Permanent" and "Release button half pressed." The latter corresponds to the previous state, while "Permanent" means that you no longer need to half-press the shutter release button for getting an exposure preview. Note, however, that you still have to half-press the shutter release button for an exposure preview whenever you use exposure compensation.