A Leica M10 Review

Started 4 months ago | User reviews
TransientEye Forum Member • Posts: 70
A Leica M10 Review
8

After more than a year of use of the M10, I finally got around to writing a lengthy user-review (which you can read here).

In summary, it is clearly the best digital Leica ever, and probably the first to really feel like using a film M (I have worked with an M7 for more than five years). But the sensor is definitely lagging and Leica really need to be more honest with their ISO definitions. Despite the claimed viewfinder improvements I really struggle to see the 28mm frame-lines when wearing glasses, but the live-view and EVF make up for this in many situations.

The detailed scoring fields provided by DPReview oddly omit the main applications that I use the M7 and M10 for - namely documentary, street and travel photography. In these categories the M is still one of the best tools for the job.

These are a some of the review images - a deliberately varied selection:

The photographs were made using a mix of the 28mm Summicron, 35mm Summilux and 50mm Summilux lenses. All files were shot in RAW format and processed in Capture One 12.

Leica M10
24 megapixels • 3 screen • Full frame sensor
Announced: Jan 18, 2017
TransientEye's score
4.0
Average community score
4.5
bad for good for
Kids / pets
acceptable
Action / sports
acceptable
Landscapes / scenery
good
Portraits
great
Low light (without flash)
mediocre
Flash photography (social)
weak
Studio / still life
acceptable
= community average
Leica M10
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
janlu
janlu Veteran Member • Posts: 7,270
Re: A Leica M10 Review
3

TransientEye wrote:

After more than a year of use of the M10, I finally got around to writing a lengthy user-review (which you can read here).

I think one of the more honest review of the M10 ....  thanks .

I also enjoyed some of your pics , my favorites below :

Regards , G

fPrime
fPrime Senior Member • Posts: 2,950
Re: A Leica M10 Review
3

Nice compositions but too much contrast and too high a black point IMHO.

fPrime

-- hide signature --

Half of my heart is a shotgun wedding to a bride with a paper ring,
And half of my heart is the part of a man who's never truly loved anything.

 fPrime's gear list:fPrime's gear list
Nikon D700 Nikon D200 Canon EOS 5D Nikon D1X Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro
David Kieltyka
David Kieltyka Veteran Member • Posts: 5,477
Re: A Leica M10 Review
3

In actual use I don't notice any difference in dynamic range characteristics between my M10 and Sony A7iii at "same" ISO settings. I treat ISO 200 as the M10's base ISO. The sensor has never been a limiting factor for me with either camera.

-Dave-

 David Kieltyka's gear list:David Kieltyka's gear list
Leica M9-P Leica M8.2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Leica M10 Sony a7 III +8 more
bosjohn21
bosjohn21 Forum Pro • Posts: 22,113
Re: A Leica M10 Review
1

great camera but even greater set of images beautiful

-- hide signature --

John aka bosjohn21

OP TransientEye Forum Member • Posts: 70
Re: A Leica M10 Review

Yes, these use quite a high black point (and several were shot with polarising filters to increase saturation and contrast). One of the nice things with raw is that you can edit to taste.

OP TransientEye Forum Member • Posts: 70
Re: A Leica M10 Review
1

Yes, pretty much all modern digital cameras have plenty of dynamic range at lower ISOs now - way more than can be displayed on most screens or in print.

However, the M10’s metering when using the rangefinder can be unpredictable in high contrast scenes, especially with wide angle lenses and a subject that combines a bright sky with clouds and a lot of foreground shadow. I tend to switch to live-view in such cases, but more dynamic range would help avoid the need to do this.

Incidentally, the biggest issue I have with blown highlights is the colour shift when pulling down in LR or Capture One (yellow tints). But DXO now has profiles for the M10 and it allows good highlight recovery without colour problems. I am not sure I want to switch completely to DXO, but it is occasionally very useful both for burned highlights and also high ISO noise reduction.

designdog
designdog Senior Member • Posts: 1,162
Re: A Leica M10 Review

Most reviews of digital cameras today get hung up with ISO, dynamic range, and resolution (as based upon pixel count.) Other important factors like color fidelity, tonal representation, and acuity are discounted or forgotten.

I realize that some of the above is lens related, but with Leica M, that is the point: you are not buying a body, you are buying a system, in which the body, lens, and picture taking process are integral. Leica M sensors are designed for Leica M lenses, and vice versa.

A Leica M is not a Leica M when you do not use the rangefinder. Or a Leica lens. The alternatives, with the Leica body, are still very good, just not as good.

Here is a test. Take a photo of a lighted subject surrounded by very dark objects. Use, for example, a 35mm Summicron. Try not to go crazy with shadow recovery, etc. Just look at the result. You should see a picture that no other camera/system can accomplish.

Sure, you could take the photo with a D850, work the heck out of it in Lightroom, and get a thoroughly excellent, modern looking image. But not the same.

Likewise, I get better results with my M9, a much denigrated sensor, than with any camera I have owned.

-- hide signature --

David
www.copperpennycourt.com
www.lucentpixels.com

 designdog's gear list:designdog's gear list
Leica M10 Leica M9 Leica APO-Summicron-M 75mm f/2 ASPH Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH Leica Elmarit-M 24mm f/2.8 ASPH +3 more
Aquarius2014 Regular Member • Posts: 268
Re: A Leica M10 Review
  • David Kieltyka wrote:

In actual use I don't notice any difference in dynamic range characteristics between my M10 and Sony A7iii at "same" ISO settings. I treat ISO 200 as the M10's base ISO. The sensor has never been a limiting factor for me with either camera.

-Dave-

+1. And I have like 140 pairs of side by side RAW files of which I can post download links M10, α7R III, and Z7 with the same lens and I totally agree. I’d say the M10 is better than the other two in terms of DR range at ISO 200 to 640. The Sony starts to pull ahead above this in terms of color depth, DR, and noise but not materially until one gets to ISO 6400. At ISO 12800 it’s no contest. Also, it’s a myth that Leica is dishonest with the ISO. The EV difference to the Sony with the same lens is only about -0.2. See post #121 of one Sony reviewer who finally admits it here:

https://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/288283-high-iso-m10-vs-q/page/7/#comments

OP TransientEye Forum Member • Posts: 70
Re: A Leica M10 Review

Aquarius2014 wrote:

Also, it’s a myth that Leica is dishonest with the ISO.

I would not draw that conclusion relative to other makes of camera, but what I will point out is that my M10 in 'auto' chooses a shutter speed that is about 2/3 stop slower than either either an M 262 or my M7 when set to the same ISO, aperture and with the camera pointed at an evenly illuminated wall.

FWIW, I checked this fairly carefully, also checking relative to a Sekonic meter and a number of other cameras (I was actually testing the M7, which has just come back from Wetzlar after having its metering overhauled).

ISO is a fairly loosely defined property, so Leica can choose to calibrate its ISO dial values pretty much however it likes. But there is no photographic benefit to changing its ISO definition here, so I can only assume that it is a marketing choice.

Lastly, having shot a lot with both the M10 and M 262, up to ISO 1600 I really do not see any difference between the image quality of the cameras. At higher ISOs, the M10 is better in dynamic range - but not so much that I am happy to shoot at ISO 6400 or higher.

Reza Maziat Contributing Member • Posts: 684
Re: A Leica M10 Review

TransientEye wrote:

After more than a year of use of the M10, I finally got around to writing a lengthy user-review (which you can read here).

In summary, it is clearly the best digital Leica ever, and probably the first to really feel like using a film M (I have worked with an M7 for more than five years). But the sensor is definitely lagging and Leica really need to be more honest with their ISO definitions. Despite the claimed viewfinder improvements I really struggle to see the 28mm frame-lines when wearing glasses, but the live-view and EVF make up for this in many situations.

The detailed scoring fields provided by DPReview oddly omit the main applications that I use the M7 and M10 for - namely documentary, street and travel photography. In these categories the M is still one of the best tools for the job.

These are a some of the review images - a deliberately varied selection:

The photographs were made using a mix of the 28mm Summicron, 35mm Summilux and 50mm Summilux lenses. All files were shot in RAW format and processed in Capture One 12.

I didn’t realise the M10 had an EVF

 Reza Maziat's gear list:Reza Maziat's gear list
Leica Q Leica SL (Typ 601) Leica SL 24-90mm F2.8-4
David Kieltyka
David Kieltyka Veteran Member • Posts: 5,477
Re: A Leica M10 Review

Reza Maziat wrote:

I didn’t realise the M10 had an EVF

The "Visoflex," named after the original rangefinder-to-SLR gizmo of the 1950s–mid '80s. It fits into the hotshoe.

-Dave-

 David Kieltyka's gear list:David Kieltyka's gear list
Leica M9-P Leica M8.2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Leica M10 Sony a7 III +8 more
Reza Maziat Contributing Member • Posts: 684
Re: A Leica M10 Review

David Kieltyka wrote:

Reza Maziat wrote:

WI didn’t realise the M10 had an EVF

The "Visoflex," named after the original rangefinder-to-SLR gizmo of the 1950s–mid '80s. It fits into the hotshoe.

-Dave-

Ah yes but post was implying that the EVF was built-in.  Thanks for the clarification

 Reza Maziat's gear list:Reza Maziat's gear list
Leica Q Leica SL (Typ 601) Leica SL 24-90mm F2.8-4
Irakly Shanidze
Irakly Shanidze Veteran Member • Posts: 6,472
Re: A Leica M10 Review

You lost me on your sensor assessment. I use this camera professionally and rarely go below ISO3200 precisely because I want the noise in the picture. Otherwise it looks plastic. When assessing the image quality, the noise level is not the only thing  that should be taken into consideration. M10 DNG files beat Sony a7RIII in dynamic range and color fidelity and any ISO. Not to mention, Leica lenses do not work well on Sony bodies, especially anything wider than 50. To be fair, Zeiss Loxia lenses are excellent, yet they are not fast enough.

Most your remarks about this camera are correct, however, there was no point of stating the obvious after almost two years of this camera being out. What you did not mention is that the shutter starts acting up at above 32C, especially when the humidity is high. This is a real bummer, because it renders the camera less than useful for travel assignments in countries with hot climate.

-- hide signature --

Irakly Shanidze
www.shanidze.com/en
www.artphotoacademy.com

 Irakly Shanidze's gear list:Irakly Shanidze's gear list
Leica M9 Leica M10 Leica S2 Leica SL (Typ 601) Panasonic S1 +17 more
nixon2020 Regular Member • Posts: 127
Re: A Leica M10 Review

Irakly Shanidze wrote:

You lost me on your sensor assessment. I use this camera professionally and rarely go below ISO3200 precisely because I want the noise in the picture. Otherwise it looks plastic. When assessing the image quality, the noise level is not the only thing that should be taken into consideration. M10 DNG files beat Sony a7RIII in dynamic range and color fidelity and any ISO. Not to mention, Leica lenses do not work well on Sony bodies, especially anything wider than 50. To be fair, Zeiss Loxia lenses are excellent, yet they are not fast enough.

Most your remarks about this camera are correct, however, there was no point of stating the obvious after almost two years of this camera being out. What you did not mention is that the shutter starts acting up at above 32C, especially when the humidity is high. This is a real bummer, because it renders the camera less than useful for travel assignments in countries with hot climate.

Do other Leica M have the shutter problem above 32C or this is uniquely M10 problem?

Aquarius2014 Regular Member • Posts: 268
Re: A Leica M10 Review

TransientEye wrote:

Aquarius2014 wrote:

Also, it’s a myth that Leica is dishonest with the ISO.

I would not draw that conclusion relative to other makes of camera, but what I will point out is that my M10 in 'auto' chooses a shutter speed that is about 2/3 stop slower than either either an M 262 or my M7 when set to the same ISO, aperture and with the camera pointed at an evenly illuminated wall.

FWIW, I checked this fairly carefully, also checking relative to a Sekonic meter and a number of other cameras (I was actually testing the M7, which has just come back from Wetzlar after having its metering overhauled).

ISO is a fairly loosely defined property, so Leica can choose to calibrate its ISO dial values pretty much however it likes. But there is no photographic benefit to changing its ISO definition here, so I can only assume that it is a marketing choice.

Lastly, having shot a lot with both the M10 and M 262, up to ISO 1600 I really do not see any difference between the image quality of the cameras. At higher ISOs, the M10 is better in dynamic range - but not so much that I am happy to shoot at ISO 6400 or higher.

You obviously meant to write then “more consistent with their ISO definitions” rather than “more honest with their ISO definitions.”

Irakly Shanidze
Irakly Shanidze Veteran Member • Posts: 6,472
Re: A Leica M10 Review

I just taught a workshop in Georgia. It wad on average 32-35 degrees every day. One of my students had an M9, and it acted the same way as my M10. Another student had an old M10 with a 1/8000 shutter, and it worked fine.

-- hide signature --

Irakly Shanidze
www.shanidze.com/en
www.artphotoacademy.com

 Irakly Shanidze's gear list:Irakly Shanidze's gear list
Leica M9 Leica M10 Leica S2 Leica SL (Typ 601) Panasonic S1 +17 more
nixon2020 Regular Member • Posts: 127
Re: A Leica M10 Review

Irakly Shanidze wrote:

I just taught a workshop in Georgia. It wad on average 32-35 degrees every day. One of my students had an M9, and it acted the same way as my M10. Another student had an old M10 with a 1/8000 shutter, and it worked fine.

would you please describe what was the shutter problem in 32C temperature? Thank you!

Irakly Shanidze
Irakly Shanidze Veteran Member • Posts: 6,472
Re: A Leica M10 Review

You press the button, and camera waits an unpredictable number of seconds before the shutter gets released. Could be five, could be twenty.

-- hide signature --

Irakly Shanidze
www.shanidze.com/en
www.artphotoacademy.com

 Irakly Shanidze's gear list:Irakly Shanidze's gear list
Leica M9 Leica M10 Leica S2 Leica SL (Typ 601) Panasonic S1 +17 more
Khun_K
Khun_K Senior Member • Posts: 1,329
Re: A Leica M10 Review
1

nixon2020 wrote:

Irakly Shanidze wrote:

You lost me on your sensor assessment. I use this camera professionally and rarely go below ISO3200 precisely because I want the noise in the picture. Otherwise it looks plastic. When assessing the image quality, the noise level is not the only thing that should be taken into consideration. M10 DNG files beat Sony a7RIII in dynamic range and color fidelity and any ISO. Not to mention, Leica lenses do not work well on Sony bodies, especially anything wider than 50. To be fair, Zeiss Loxia lenses are excellent, yet they are not fast enough.

Most your remarks about this camera are correct, however, there was no point of stating the obvious after almost two years of this camera being out. What you did not mention is that the shutter starts acting up at above 32C, especially when the humidity is high. This is a real bummer, because it renders the camera less than useful for travel assignments in countries with hot climate.

Do other Leica M have the shutter problem above 32C or this is uniquely M10 problem?

I use my M10 and M10-D in central north Russia when I travel there in December and in January, and I live in Thailand that during mid-summer it often goes above 40C and I shoot often in outdoor in sequential (100+ images in a short time) which can potentially heat up the camera added to ambient heat and humid. I never encounter problems with the shutter of M10 or M10-D in cold weather or hot and humid condition or in snow or rain.

My only problem with my M10 was it sometimes hangs up and refuse to firing that the only solution is to remove the battery and the camera resumed to normal - even though it went thru multiple of firmware update.  My M10-D is free of problem and is my most used Leica.

 Khun_K's gear list:Khun_K's gear list
Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) Sony RX1R II Leica Q Leica Q2 Sony DSC-RX0 II +140 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads