Leica M (Typ 240) - First Impressions

First Comments from Others | Some First Comments by Me | It's all there! | Some of My Settings | Weight and Size | Lenses | What Is Missing or Could Be Improved (in My Opinion)? | Conclusions

On this page, I would like to give away my first impressions of using the Leica M (Typ 240). I will also briefly refer to my rangefinder lenses that I took over from the Ricoh GXR, but, for details on the lenses, see the respective lens pages (overview).

 

First Comments from Others

When I showed the Leica M (Typ 240) to my friend and his son, both are photo enthusiasts and the son wants to become a professional photographer, I got quite a few comments on my camera. One comment was that I am now a "retro" photographer, doing without all the modern achievements like blazingly fast autofocus, 5-axis image stabilization, 4k video, and more of the like. Another one was on the camera's weight. The camera may not be huge compared with full-frame DSLRs, but it is indeed very heavy. I will come back to this further below. And then the son asked me, whether I am not anxious of being robbed or of dropping such an expensive camera. Yes, I am. But I will try to be cautious - that's all I can do now. Well, I could indeed do more and replace the red dot with a black one (yes, you can buy this...) or just glue black tape over the red dot.

 

Photos: My Leica M 240 from eBay after unboxing

Admittedly, I haven't told most people yet that I own a Leica M (Typ 240). They would either scold me, because I spent so much money on a camera, or they would laugh at me, because other cameras are much better for a lot of less money. And when people detect the Leica hanging on my shoulder, they often like to make some funny comments, typically more of the second type (because they are knowledgeable photographers). You obviously have to stand this as a Leica owner.

 

Some First Comments by Me

So what can I say about the Leica M (Typ 240) after about three months of use? First, you have to get used to it. Second, here are some first observations:

Photo: My Leica M 240 fully equipped with normal lens (Zeiss Sonnar 50mm f/1.5) - about 1060 g heavy...

 

It's all there!

When using the Leica M (Typ 240), I have to say that "it's all there" what I need:

Much more I (usually) do not need...

   

Photos: Views of Leica M (Typ 240) with Zeiss 50mm f/1.5 lens from front and rear

 

Some of My Settings

Favorite camera settings vary from photographer to photographer and also depend on the situation at hand. Therefore, it is difficult to recommend camera settings to other people. Nevertheless, I list some settings that I typically use - maybe, they offer one or the other inspiration for others:

Photo: Top view of Leica M (Typ 240) with Zeiss 50mm f/1.5 lens

 

Weight and Size

The Leica M (Typ 240) is indeed heavy (body: 680 g, with Zeiss "normal" lens and "fully equipped": 1060 g). The M-mount lenses aren't light-weight either, because they are made of metal, not plastic. All this adds up to more than I am usually willing to carry around with me (see my introduction to the Ricoh GXR and why I bought it...). The camera with a lens hanging over my shoulder plus a bag with two or three lenses is too heavy for me after an hour or so. Usually, I carry only the camera with a lens over my shoulder, and sometimes another lens or two in my pockets.

All in all, weight-wise, the Leica M (Typ 240) is not my "ideal" camera. Now, I appreciate how "light" the Leica X Vario is (which is still heavy enough for me).

The Leica M (Typ) is not a pocketable camera, neither is the Leica X Vario (which, although officially announced as a "Mini-M" is not much smaller...).That's why I bought the Ricoh GR, although it has only a fixed 28 mm (equiv.) lens and lacks a viewfinder. But nobody would expect a Leica to be a pocket camera, I assume...

Size and weight comparisons can be found here.

 

Lenses

Ken Rockwell states in his test of the Leica M (Typ 240) that you should not spoil your expensive Leica with cheap Voigtländer (and other) lenses. Well, this is just what I do (my Zeiss lenses may be an exception...). As far as I see it, my lenses are still "good enough" for me, but experience will show where the quality differences between the lenses lie.

And, to my dismay, I also had to realize that all the wide angle lenses (lenses below a focal length of 50 mm) that I own show more or less color shading, thus, need more or less image correction. This can be done, for example using an application like CornerFix, but it requires me to use the DNG format, whereas I am a "pure" JPG shooter normally. At the end of 2016, I decided to part from my three lenses with the shortest focal lengths (15 mm, 21 mm, 25 mm) and replace these with lenses that produce no or only little color shading.

I have also read in the forums that the Leica M (Typ 240) JPGs are quite OK (some posters even complained that they were not able to reproduce the look of their JPG files in RAW).

More information about my M-mount lenses can be found on the respective pages for the lenses.

 

What Is Missing or Could Be Improved (in My Opinion)?

I am well aware of the fact that Leica is more or less "deaf" when I make suggestions for improvement - at least, this was the case for the Leica X Vario. I am also aware of the fact that there were two major firmware updates, in which Leica definitely improved the M, and now, reaching the end of its "life cycle" as a "current" product, it is highly improbable that Leica will release a further firmware update with some more improvements. Nonetheless, I list a few things below that could be improved on the Leica M (Typ 240).

Taken from the Leica X Vario:

Taken from the Ricoh GXR:

My own proposals:

 

Conclusions

These are just a few preliminary ideas, comment, habits, opinions, and so on. This page will therefore change and perhaps also grow a little over time...

 

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22.01.2017