105 of 110 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2013
If you've shot Leica before then the short summary of this review is: The Leica M typ 240 is the better camera.
The Leica M9 had lots of character, that special quality that's hard to describe but oh so easy to see in your photos - but the M9 also had a lot of limitations and sometimes frustrating shortcomings, the look was second to none, but trying to shoot a few frames in quick succession and the camera could freeze and require you to take out and re-insert the battery. The LCD screen was good for reading menu text, but really viewing photos on it was more of a theoretical thing since the color cast and detail was horrible and zooming in to see if you nailed the focus would take seconds to render - I could go on and on, but as far as the system around the amazing imaging went, it was a barely working camera.
The typ 240 changes all of that and more - the rangefinder focusing is more accurate and it'll nail more shots then ever before, the sensor is higher quality, the colors are more accurate, no more green cast and blown out reds. The LCD screen is beautiful and zooming in to photos is instant, files are now usable upto 3200 ISO - and it even has live view which can be quite useful when it's too dark to RF focus or when you're shooting at f0.95. Just everything about it is a huge step forward and makes for a much better camera.
If you haven't shot Leica before, then this short review won't be enough to tell you everything you need to know - but there's countless resources available online to help you out there. But I will say this, the quality of the photos from the M typ 240 are far better than any Canon or Nikon DSLR can produce, the contrast, saturation, colors and sharpness the M combined with Leica lenses can deliver is out of this world - and when you do nail that shot, the Leica will make it look better.
The rangefinder system is much harder to use, manual focus, a very poor exposure system, very few bells and whistles compared to most modern camera's - but that's not what the Leica system is about - the Leica is all about slowing down, taking photos full of intent and art. So it'll help you take beautiful photos if you're willing to take on the challenge, but if you're looking for features and something that can shoot 11fps, auto-focus, do subject tracking in sports of birding, or even has real lenses beyond 135mm or zoom lenses for that matter - get a D800 or a 5D Mark III instead - they'll give you 90% of the image quality for 30% of the price and give you a much wider choice of lenses. If however you want that special range finger experience with that look that nothing else can product, than this system is for you - and the 240 is the best Leica made to date, by far.
75 of 88 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2014
UPDATE - camera has been back to Leica twice for service. First time they paid, second time they sent me a bill for $1200 to re-repair a loose sensor and misalignment of the rangefinder. I fear Leica has jumped the shark. I have owned a lot of their glass over the years. I'm probably never buying another (new, at least) camera from leica. For the money I would buy a used phase one with a digital back and get 10x the camera and quality.
I often try to talk myself into liking something that I got ripped off on buying in order to justify getting ripped off. I feel a little bit that way with this camera. Before you say, "Oh you are a poor person; you aren't the right consumer for a Leica; go buy a Panasonic," let me interject that the M240 is my third Leica and I'm absolutely not afraid to spend money. I'm not going to return this camera or unload it onto craigslist or the like but I don't feel good about how much it cost; it feels like a bad value. I would have been happy to pay $2-3k for this but for $7k+ I could have bought a Sony full frame and a bunch of new glass for it. The only reason I'm keeping this is because the images are breathtaking and I can use the $30k worth of Leica glass I already own and know how to use/like and not have to buy more lenses.
* Great colors
* Full frame resolution - picture quality is breathtaking
* Rapid Frames Per Second Capability - (More frames per second than my Monochrom)
* Live View on the screen - I can do Macro photos with a stack of spacers; can't do that on any other Leicas except with a single spacer and goggles
* Focus Peaking - (very helpful with a Noctilux or other hard-to-focus lens or doing macro)
* Screen - screen tells me what my shutter speed setting is (helpful in the dark when I'm changing from 1/60 to 1s to B or whatever)
* Tripod mount is more solid than the Monochrom - instead of connecting to the baseplate the mount connects to the camera body itself. This is really helpful and noticeable.
* Accessories - I can use the Leica extended grip with finger loop on the M240. The extended grip on the MM does *not* have a fingerloop option and is noticeably flexible and less solid that the M24. I usually switch base plates on the MM back to the "stock" base plate instead of the "large grip" base plate because the large grip base plate is so flexible. The large grip baseplate on the M240 is solid as a rock.
* Bulb setting maxes out at 60 seconds (or worse, at only 30 seconds at ISO >200). For some reason this really bothers me. I take lots of pictures with long exposures and now I will have to "stack" them if I want 3-4 minutes and I don't know how to do "stacking" in photoshop and I don't want to learn; I just want to take pictures. The monochrom maxes out at 240 seconds and that sort of bothers me but I have yet to need longer than 240 seconds for any shots and so I still love the monochrom.
* Dirty sensor from the factory - I don't know if I just got unlucky on QC but the sensor had dust spots all over it and I had to clean the sensor 5 times in the first week I owned it because dust somehow kept getting on the sensor even though I didn't remove the lens from the camera between cleanings. It is almost like something was dirty inside the camera body and migrating out into the sensor area and causing problems. I've never had such a problem with any other camera, whether from Leica, Fuji, Canon, Sony, Panasonic or anyone else
* System lockup - In the week I've owned it the camera has locked up on me where it wouldn't respond to inputs from any button and I had to remove the battery to reset it. I've heard complaints about this on other Leicas; it has never happened to me on my Monochrom.
* Shutter button feel - unlike the shutter on my Monochrom, which feels like a camera shutter, the shutter on the M240 feels like the button on my iphone. I hate it.
* Menu System - the menu system is complicated and gives me a headache. The reason I use a Leica instead of a Sony, Nikon or Cannon is that I don't need to read a 300 page manual to know how to use it; shutter speed, aperture and focus is all I need to know. Other than White Balance, nothing in the menu structure is helpful for me and it is just screen after screen of headache. If I wanted to tolerate menu systems and little buttons I could have saved $5k and bought the Sony.
All in, it takes great pictures and when I combine that with my level of laziness I will end up keeping it. But I wish I'd bought the Sony instead. Or just stayed with my crappy, cheap Fuji cameras for color because they work fine for 1/10th of the price. The M240 isn't 10x better than my Fujis, it is just 10x as expensive.
EDIT: after spending another month with the camera it has grown on me appreciably. The three features that I didn't fully appreciate are:
* Ability to Use "R-lenses" - I have started using a ton of lenses I never had access to--Telyt 350mm APO, Telyt 500mm APO and Telyt 180 APO are all excellent lenses and relatively inexpensive. There are numerous R Leica lenses that are excellent including Vario lenses that give one the flexibility to have a zoom lens if traveling with space constraints or the like.
* Live View - see above re R lenses--the reason I can't use the Telyt 180, 350, 400, 500 or 560 lenses or any of the Vario lenses with my Mononchrom is because none of them will permit using the rangefinder focus method. All of them focus perfectly with the live view feature on the M240 and I use the EVF2 electric viewfinder to assist and it works fantastically.
I'm very impressed with the sharpness and quality of the APO lenses and the pre-APO Telyt 400 lens. I'm able to get shots of surface of the moon that show craters and valleys and the like--shots that I previously thought were only available with a telescope. I've started to get into astrophotography and use a Polarie timer to match the rotation of the earth for long exposure shots. The 60-second bulb exposure time has been proven to be more than adequate.
* COLOR - wow the quality of the colors are unbelievable. I shoot in the raw DNG format and only need light processing in Lightroom. The colors are unlike my Fuji or Canon or Nikon cameras and I don't know how best to describe them except to state they capture the tone and tenor of colors better than any other camera I own.
In short, I was so miffed about the price of the camera that I *wanted* to hate it. Despite trying my best to hate this thing enough to return it I wouldn't give it up. I don't need to use or deal with the digital menu system now that I have it initially setup--I use the 240 much like I use my Monochrom or my M6 for that matter. Do I wish it was less expensive? Certainly but if I had an undo button and could sell it for every dollar I paid for it I wouldn't undo it. If the 240 were lost or (heaven forbid) stolen I would buy another 240 to replace it.
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on April 16, 2014
You either get a Leica or you get a Leica ... there is just no comparison.
Leica's rich photographic history, gorgeous, clean construction, German engineering, compact body, beautifully illuminated Rangefinder patch, no DSLR-like Shutter lag, being able to come close to the subject and being part of the scene, Leica's superior range of beautifully constructed, small yet fast aperture lenses with manual focus; that sweet, discreet, orgasmic shutter sound and the sheer joy and purist simplicity of using a Leica ...
I never regret selling all my CanoNikon gear. Sold those plastic junks, saved up for couple of years and bought myself a beautiful Leica and I am loving every bit of it. People say it is expensive, yes it is, but instead of buying CanoNikon gear every 5 years, you buy a Leica and it is likely to outlast you. A Leica is for life. You save money in the process, because you are not going for the latest gimmick every few years. You already have a Leica and it has a special place in your photography practice, at least that's how my Leica makes me feel.
By the way, you can get a used Leica M3, M6 (film), or even a used Leica M8 (digital) and you don't have to sell a kidney to get your hand on one of those beauties.
Finally, (and this is important), it's not about specs. If specs is the most important thing for you, then forget Leica, move on, there is nothing to see here. There is no end to this spec-race, there will always be new cameras with 'better' specs, but that's not why you buy a Leica. Those who keep arguing about specs are missing the whole point of owning a Leica. You don't buy Leica after looking at a Spec-Sheet. You buy Leica with your heart.
To those who love shooting with a Leica, it's more about the 'experience' of using a Leica Rangefinder and not just about the end-product, although some of the most well-known photographers of 20th century used a Leica, mainly because of their unobtrusive, minimalist design, the durability and the range of extraordinary Leica lenses.
The 'Leica Experience' is unique in that regard, a Leica doesn't necessarily take better photos (although they have a distinct 'Leica Look'), but it can help you to become a better photographer, because in this world of automation, Leica slows you down - and that's what I LOVE about it. It makes you to 'think' before you press that shutter, it brings you closer to your subject, you take less photos, but sometimes less is more, and you keep getting better at it - and all of these are as important, or probably more important in photography than the Spec-Sheet.
The great man himself said it best -
"Shooting with a Leica is like a long tender kiss, like firing an automatic pistol, like an hour on the analyst's couch." - Henri Cartier-Bresson
22 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2013
I've been a semi-pro photographer for 4 years. I'm the type of photographer that will travel the ends of the earth for the right picture. I have been shooting with Nikon for about 15 years and went through the transition of film to digital. Today I have a Nikon D800E and a D4... And then some time ago, I decided to explore the world of black and white. So I dove in and purchased a Leica M Monochrom. My world has never been the same since.
Composition and perception are just not the same. You can't look for color when you shoot monochrome but I find myself looking at textures and subject substantially more. I've always preferred prime lenses (except for weddings and sporting events) and Leica can do primes better than anyone else. The optics are just the most amazing you will ever see.
This camera represents the best of both worlds. By leveraging the best optics end incredible 24MP resolution the results are phenomenal.
You will not be disappointed in this purchase should you be able to put your hands on one of them.
They are simply amazing.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2014
I don't know where to begin with a review of this camera. It is so much better than my M9… besides the singular fact that the images are better… more micro-contrast in the shaded areas, crisper detail, more evenly balanced tonal range… the most important improvement is that some of the more difficult Leica lenses are now infinitely more useable due to the addition of focus peaking. Let me explain…
On my M9, with my Noctilux when shot wide-open, I'd only hit focus maybe 50% of the time. With focus peaking and 10x magnification, I'm able to hit focus 95% of the time or better. This is an amazing improvement (and considering the cost of the Noctilux, very welcome). Ditto for using my 90mm Summicron and 135mm Apo-Telyt. This fact alone makes the costly upgrade to the M240 well worth the money.
There are some down-sides to the M240. It is noticeably heavier than the M9. It is also a bit thicker. A mandatory accessory is the new M Handle. While way overpriced for what one gets, if you've already spent this kind of money for the M240, you can probably afford the M Handle.
White balance is only so-so. The frequently mentioned magenta cast is always present. While eliminating this in Photoshop is not an issue, I'd expect the firmware of this camera to take care of the problem. Leica should get on the ball and really fix this (I've got the latest firmware that was supposed to remedy this issue).
If they came to me during design, I'd have advised them to make some of the button and setting placement more consistent. A small complaint.
Last complaint… while my M9 mostly played nice with my Voigtlander 35mm Nocton, the new M240 plays much less nice with my Voigtlander. Even manually setting lens recognition to the equivalent Leica Summilux lens, I still get a vertical band of shading along the left edge when shot into a sunny sky. I'll probably just keep the Voigtlander lens glued to my old M9.
Overall, this is a very worthy upgrade from the M9 and one I highly recommend.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2014
I read the other 3-star review and thought he raised some good points. My sensor glass is also dirty with scattered dust even though it came straight from the factory, through an authorized dealer. My camera also froze a couple times during the first month of use that required me to remove the battery to reset.
However, the camera should only be judged by the quality of the images it produces, not the inconveniences it may create. On this front, the Leica M is a winner! It is just not fair to compare the Leica M to any Sony or Fuji camera (or Canon or Nikon for that matter, which I have owned over the years because Leica was slow on moving into the digital realm). Those machines don't even come close! The other brands produce fine photos, but Leica is in a league of its own. Coupled with a high-end Leica lens, you will see the difference, you can't miss it!
I wish I could have given this camera 4-1/2 stars for it is definitely NOT perfect! But it is a major improvement over the M9, which I hated. The quality of the photos coming out of Leica M is simply impeccable. (Amazon should build in a feature to allow sample photos be uploaded)
14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2014
Let me first tell you this is absolutely gorgeous camera with awesome capability of taking stunning pictures. I owned 2 SLRs for last 12 years and found I am carrying my camera (the M) more frequently and more comfortably than ever; that explains a lot. If you have a great camera but if it is difficult to carry around - the whole meaning is gone. Also these days walking with a big camera is sort of sight pollution; every Tom, Dick and Harry has an SLR and the meaningless clicking at everything and everyone made carrying around a large camera looking cheap. Leica is in rescue - giving an absolute capable lightweight small camera without getting noticed much or better only get noticed by knowledgeable folks and of course it does not pollute the sight as much the consumer SLRs do.
I bought Summilux 50mm/1.4 ASPH newest lens which is an absolutely gorgeous piece of glass. I would recommend this to anybody who wants to do street photography as well as some portraits. I never used a 50mm before but I am using this all the time as a general purpose lens which is extremely capable. Specially it sees almost in the same way our naked eyes see around which is really great. My new love for 50 mm is probably due to Leica for its great smallish Summilux as well as gorgeous small camera which allows me to carry it around easily compare to bulky SLRs. I taste in photography has changed too. My photography was more object oriented before and now more subject oriented. I used to find an object to capture and use all the technique to amplify it; now I see the whole subject that goes beyond an object and try to capture that with its context around and with that I inclined more towards the street photography style. I believe thats a good transition for me and thank Leica M to facilitate that.
Lets get to the Leica M features that matter to me. Can't talk much about its design and ergonomics as it is a legend in that department which is known to the world. The features I noticed first and liked them are:
1) Focus peaking - thats awesome addition to a rangefinder and focusing a range finder is not easy all the time - when done right it is dead on but there are time when it is not very easy to do. The people like me coming from long SLR background may find it difficult to focus using 2 overlapping images; though I'm comfortable doing it most of the times but not always. Eye strain is another factor in focusing any camera and specially rangefinder in low light situation. Focus peaking on live view is really the saver in this.
2) The classic look - can't say enough about it :)
3) The black-chrome finish when couple with chrome colored lens - its just something absolutely beautiful
4) The easy navigation. Specially the ISO change, even though I desire a dedicated button for ISO change but what it is today is great too. Keep the ISO button depressed the push up/down arrow button.
5) Ease of taking along - most important feature is this to me. I am carrying this camera virtually everywhere unlike my SLRs. It easy to carry around due to its size and shape including the lens size and also it has that love factor - I love to carry it around.
6) The dead accurate range-finder focusing - I am not comfortable using it in every light situation but when it can used - its is dead accurate.
The things I didn't like:
1) Length of Camera strap; and hey I am just 5'6". When I put the camera in my messenger bag with open flap it does not go fully in the bag due to the short length of the strap even when fully extended. Too bad.
2) The base plate - quick access of the SD card is pain in the butt. So the battery.
3) Recycle time - I missed few shots due to that. Sometimes the click just doesn't work even after 1 minute or 2. Is that only me?
4) Magnification while reviewing the pictures through "play" button. It responds slow at times- very annoying.
5) Battery life - not very long sorry can't agree with people claiming it has long enough battery life
6) Battery charger - the fact that it requires a long ugly cable does not look like "leica" design. A compact interchangeable socket connector would be much portable solution. Very disappointing un-leica design
1) I know Leica purist may not like it but I think a dedicated ISO knob would be useful, placement of that could be challenging but hey thats why the expensive design engineers are for right!
2) The battery is quite large compare to the camera and it takes between 1/3rd to 1/4th of them camera body. Leica could be made slimmer with the battery in a projected enclosure acting as embedded grip. Width wise battery could be half inside and half project (enclosed).
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2014
Upgraded from the M9-P, took it to Cuba. I used a minimum of ISO 640 and often higher due to the dark streets, etc. Results were oustanding: low noise (easily controllable in Lightroom) even up to ISO 1600. Sharpness, great with the Leica lenses. Worked flawlessly.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2015
The Leica M isn't like other cameras in that it's really a constant reminder to think before taking the shot. The optics, even older Leica lenses, are optically brilliant, and the ergonomics feel like what you expect to feel when you make images. I love my Leica M 240. The only downside is that this ISO range should be better. I still shoot with my Canon 5d3 a lot and the only reason really is low light performance of the Leica isn't good enough to replace my Canon for a lot of work.
15 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2013
It is everything it is advertised to be. Very pricey but worth every penny. Probably not for everyone but for the very serious amateur or professional, it's worth the cost