The Best M by Far
Having had the M6-TTL and now the new M, I can say without a doubt that this is an amazing camera, and the first digital M (in my view) to be worthy of the Leica name.
(The M8 and M9 had too many issues to be worthy of the price and reputation that preceded them.)
I also shoot with a Nikon D800E and Fuji X-Pro 1 (and had the X100).
I tried very hard to use the D800E and X-Pro as a replacement for the Leica, trying to justify that the price of the Leica just wasn't "worth it"...
Well, I can honestly say that it IS worth it. It's hard to describe without actually shooting with an M, but I will try:
- Focus - you may think that no AF is a bad thing. Not really. Other than shooting sports or fast moving objects, Leica's manual AF is faster and more accurate than fiddling with the AF on the D800 or X-Pro. As "smart" as the D800 is, it often focusses on the wrong thing. By the time you decide which AF mode you want, select the AF area, or try to manually focus, the moment is probably gone. Much easier and faster with the new M, esp with live view and focus peaking. Also, try precise focusing with the Nikon lens and no focus peaking, forget it.
- Size - this is obvious and frequently commented
- Image Quality - most reviews put the D800E and new M about on par, with the Leica slightly better. Low light may be better on the D800 though.
- Build Quality - I think the new M wins here. My brand new D800E fell from about 4' and landed on the lens cover.. it was not a full force drop as I caught the shoulder strap… very minor drop. Still, the shutter sticks in some cases. Certainly not worthy of a "professional" label, this is not a camera to take to a war zone. I have not yet dropped the new M, but it feels more solid than the D800.
- Simplicity - there's a real simplicity to the Leica that is hard to beat. You put it to your eye, focus and shoot. You don't dig through pages and pages of settings to make sure you have the best setting. HDR on or off? AF dynamic? Shutter priority? What is my aperture set to?
I'm here to say the price of the M is worth it, no question.