Leica M10 — stripping away the superfluous.
Staying true to the roots
First of all, I am very impressed with Leica— dedication to the craft of stripping the superfluous.
The M10 is as thin as the film Leica MP. Aesthetically it looks more beautiful, it fits better in the hand, and they simplified it. Only 3 buttons in the back. They added the new ISO dial — an homage to the film rewinder of the film Leica M3-series.
I think the ISO DIAL looks cool, but in reality, it is hard to use. I had a difficult time pulling it up— had to resort to my finger nails. Whereas the film Leica MP film rewinder knob comes out easily like smooth butter— the ISO DIAL on the M10 is too stiff, too hard to pull out.
And when you pull it out, it comes out awkwardly ‘half-way’ (compared to film Leica M3/MP). And it is unnecessary that it has a red ring around it — all black would have been cooler.
I hope the next version the ISO dial will come all the way up, and will be smoother and easier to pull out.
The M10 is blazing fast. No lag or delay. Perfect for street photography.
Menu is simplified which is good. But the ‘favorites’ menu doesn’t make much sense to me. But overall, the menu is quite simple, and easy to navigate.
The dial to turn the camera on and off is perfect. Stiff enough, yet smooth enough to turn. Lovely tactile feedback.
Also no more continuous mode or self-timer in the on/off switch. Great design idea.
The M10 is the most beautiful digital camera that exists on the market.
However it still has too much branding. It would be a lot cooler if there was no ‘LEICA M10’ written on the hotshoe. We know it is an M10 because it has that new ISO DIAL.
The back of the camera, the buttons (instead of being square— round would fit the design of the camera better).
Also, the camera doesn’t need a white dot/red dot for the on/off switch.
For me, I would rather buy a used film Leica MP instead of a new digital Leica M10. The film Leica MP is still cooler— better classic design, will last your lifetime (whereas the M10 will be outdated by the M11 in 3-4 years). And digital cameras hold no value. If you want a film Leica MP, hit up my buddy Bellamy Hunt at japancamerahunter.com.
Or right now is a good time to buy a used Leica M9, or for black and white— a used Leica M8 or Leica M8.2.
I would save your $6500 on the Leica M10 and use that to travel, buy photo books, attend workshops, and to buy lots of espresso.
For lenses, I recommend the Voightlander 35mm f/2.5 lens, or for Leica I like the Leica Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH — or the Leica 35mm f/2.4 is a better value.
How to shoot a Leica?
If you have a film or digital Leica, download the ebook: “LEICA MANUAL.”
Essentially— don’t shoot wide-open. Shoot at f/8, ISO 1600, and use ‘zone focusing’ (at least for street photography). Shoot wide-open if you like pretty bokeh photos of cappuccino cups.
Leica NOCTILUX 0.95 50mm
f/1.4 is for chumps— 0.95 or nothing.
The 50mm Noctilux .95 is very big and heavy, and blocks the viewfinder. Wearing the M10 and Noctilux on my neck for a day caused back pain. I wouldn’t recommend it.
The image quality at .95 is superb. Very sharp, and the craftsmanship of the lens is perfect. Solid and satisfying clicks with the aperture, and the smooth metal of the lens body is sensual to your fingers.
Owning a .95 Noctilux is essentially signaling your wealth and prestige. Kind of like wearing a Rolex Watch, or wearing a Hermes hand bag.
Realistically if you shoot with a Leica and want nice portraits, I would recommend the Leica 50mm f/2 Summicron lens. The f/1.4 Summilux is too heavy. If you have a lot of money, get the Leica 50mm f/2 APO lens — f/2 is ideal for portraits (you want more than just one eye in focus).
Better yet, if you shoot street, just get the 28mm f/2.8 Lens— probably the best value lens for street photography. Light, sharp, and ‘affordable’ by Leica standards.
If you buy the new Leica M10, you will never want another camera. All your life’s problems will be solved. You will be inspired every single day, for the rest of your life. You will not desire that new Leica M11. You won’t desire that new Leica M12. You will not desire that new Leica M13.
You will be glad you took out that loan and went $10,000 in debt to buy that new camera and lens. You won’t regret it. You won’t regret it when the value of your camera drops by 30% in two years.
Your life is short— just buy all the gear you want, and you will be happy satisfying your Leica lust.
And remember, if your photos aren’t good enough, your camera isn’t expensive enough.
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