Leica M10-D Journal
Updated: 4 days ago
In Leica's short description - the Leica M10-D is
As of April 2019 the Leica M10-D is the latest member of the longest living camera line still in production - the legendary Leica M ("Meßsucher") - M bayonet lens mount and combined the rangefinder and viewfinder into one large, bright viewfinder with a brighter double image in the center - started with M3 in 1954. The Leica M camera has not changed much physically some three-quarter-century later.
The original Leica M3 measures 138 X 33.5 X 77mm weights 580g compares to the latest M10-D measures 139 X 38 X 80mm weights 660g ( includes BP-SCL5 lithium-ion battery 63.8g) - a rather candid comparison tells how close the two cameras are in size and weight. It is not an easy engineering achievement and enormous determination and know-how to make the company's commitment possible - a commitment to precision and excellence and stay true to its original root, mechanical character, looks and feels. As a result, the M10-D is so different from M3 yet behaves so similarly.
My first M camera is M6 which I bought back in 1991, and I have not to stop shooting with M cameras since. And since then I have shot with all the M models released including those models prior M3 except the M5 which I acquired later, played with it, but never take any pictures with it. Leica M system was not the only camera system I use in silver halide era, I owned and shot with many different systems which include Leica R, Contax RTS (ME & MM) systems and later added the Contax N System, Nikon F cameras and Canon EOS for 135 films. For medium and large format I use Hasselblad 500 Series and 200 Series systems, Contax 645 AF, Rolleiflex 6008, Alpa 12 system, Mamiya 7, Linhof 612 PCII and 617, Linhof Master Technika 4X5 and so on... I am an industrial designer, and I am fascinated with fine mechanism and instruments, and I am a photographer!
Into digital is rather smooth for me because it allows more efficient image management, especially in travel and controls from shoot to print. The flexibility to shoot raw images and switching ISO setting to handle varies lighting situation and does not need to reload film every 4-36 exposure ( 4 exposures on 120 film on Linhof 617, 8 on 120 film on Super-Rolex Rollfilm Back for my Alpa 12 SWA, 12 for A12 Magazine for Hasselblad and 36 exposures for 135 film cameras ) that is a great relief for portraitures and landscapes that requires bracketing. And of course, the flexibility to stack exposures and focuses completely opens up a new genre of photography not possible with silver halide.
Leica's implementation to digital M camera was much later than the main steam competitors with the 1.33 crop factor M8 released in 2006. I bought the Leica M8 immediately after its availability when I was already fully converted to digital by adapting my Nikon system with D1 since 1999. In 2002 I also received my long-awaited full-frame Contax N Digital, which turned out to be my most disappointing camera. The battery life on N Digital is terrible, although you can get away from it with multiple extra sets of cells. The biggest disappointment was the RAW converter for N Digital was awful and not supported by Adobe until years later which makes shooting with N Digital torture, particularly sad as I am a considerable Contax user and lover and N system was promising until that point of time. Contax engineered the 645 AF line brilliantly with the electronic mount the most modern of its time and digital-ready! All the 645 lenses work in full performance on N1 and N Digital through NAM-1 - the pioneer of smart-adapter and exploit the full potential of the all-electronic lens mount.
In late 2002 also came the mighty Canon 1Ds which I bought and the Canon 1Ds line of cameras would become my primary digital camera system until the introduction of Nikon D8XX series cameras a decade later.
In 2004 I also bought the Phase One P25 for my Contax 645AF and Alpa 12 (with mounting plate) which later upgraded to P45, then P45+, then P65+ to switch from Contax 645 system to Hasselblad H system, then IQ180, and ultimately add the Phase One XF100 system.
So when I got my M8 in late 2006, I knew that the M8 would not surpass the quality of the cameras I was already using which includes Canon 1Ds II and Phase One P45 on Contax 645 AF. But I missed shooting with M cameras, and I was wondering what could be coming in the future of Leica M camera. The highly anticipated M8 to many was not a success, but to me, I have not expected it to deliver a superior image to what I was already using. Instead, I see the Leica M8 as an old friend, and I did enjoy using it. Not that the best image quality is not essential, but I got what I was expected from M8, knowing it is not the best in term of measurable quality. And that is the mentality on how I am looking at and shooting with M cameras until these days.
As my M8 upgraded to M8.2 and finally to the full-frame M9 in 2009 - it was the Leica M digital camera capable getting as close as possible in term of image resolution and quality against its competitor of its release, beautifully crafted without a doubt yet still lag behind most Japanese camera in speed, efficiency, and consistency.
With the M Typ 240 in 2012 Leica finally implemented CMOS sensor to its M digital which allows Leica to get close to the competition in term of noise control in poor light situation shooting as well as more efficient power consumption and ability to read high refreshing rate of live-view directly off the sensor. The move to CMOS opened three additional features to Leica M camera: 1. Live-view; 2. Electronic viewfinder; 3. video capture. The video capability did not find much approval from contemporary Leica users, and Leica eventually remove it from the successive models, and the Typ 240 family (except Edition 60 but including the MM246) are the only digital Leica M digital with video capability to this day.
After M Typ 240 Leica introduced a new line of camera, T Typ 701, and later SL Typ 601 - a concept pioneered by SONY E-mount cameras which inspired a new generation of the mirrorless cameras to come, but that is a different topic. With the new T/SL/TL and CM line of L-mount cameras which will be the technology-feature-driven vehicle for Leica.
Leica went on release the Leica M10 aiming to connect to its nostalgic heritage in 2017 with mostly refinements over its predecessor and with size and features remind of its past. I bought the M10, and it became one of the more used M cameras in recent years. M10 is finally a modern M camera that is more responsive, efficient with competitive image quality except it is still purely mechanical focusing and lack of sensor-based image stabilizer - which in later part of this journal I will cover more by sharing my thought base on a photographer's perspective as well as an industrial designer.
Between Leica M8 to M10, the company made many adjustments through learning from one model to next while the photography industrial also experienced volatile and power shift, most notably the booming of smartphones. The reflex camera once pushed Leica's rangefinder (mirror-less) camera system out of mainstream has peaked and been phased aside with the electronic-viewfinder-based with short flange distant becoming the new dominant power. Photographically also see the change not only from silver halide to solid-state capture but also most of the mechanical parts replaced by modular electronic components. Computational photography is the topic today with machine learning and AI built into the processing chips.
Leica's lack of reflex camera presence, as it turned out, makes their company appears more relevant today!
Enough for background history, now on the topic Leica M10-D. I finally got my long-awaited M10-D in January 2019 ( refer to The way backward ) and started to shoot it alongside my M10. This screenless M10-D is a special camera and became my favorite digital Leica M camera, so I decided to run this image and gear talk journal dedicated to Leica M10-D.
From my first shoot of M10-D, with the beautiful Brazilian girl Malu Carvalho at my favorite location - the Bangkok Railway Station.
M10-D has the quietest shutter of all Leica digital M cameras so far, same as Leica M10-P, it is not the kind of inaudible of the electronic shutter from for example SONY A7RIII or A9 which I also use, but it is soft and has the type of soft mechanical and rhythmic sound that signals a lot of quality! It gives the minimum amount of sound that is not distracting and the person in front of the camera aware of what is going on to react accordingly.
I was right at home with my first shoot with M10-D because of my previous experience with film Leica, but also I use my M Edition 60 frequently. M Edition 60 was one of my most favorite Leica M cameras but missed the fast exposure compensation dial, and it is now on M10-D to allow me to shoot Malu with the only highlight on her face with -1.3 stop on multi-pattern metering on M10-D which I configured the M10-D for the shoot.
Leica M10-D by way of Leica FOTOS App allows user for some camera setting such as Drive Mode (I was using Single-Advance for this shot), Metering Pattern, Auto-ISO range, Maximum Exposure Time, Self-timer and format memory card. The FOTOS App was clumsy since its launch last year, and still is as of this writing.
During my first two days in Moscow, Russia, I was shooting with Leica M10 and M10-D side by side to avoid having to change lens often. But more often than not that I found myself using M10-D far more often than using M10. Here I have M10 mounted with Summilux-M 35/1.4 ASPH FLE ( from my Edition 60 set) and M10-D mounted with Summilux-M 28/1.4 ASPH, the lenses I was using for the day.
This shot I was using the Leica Visoflex Typ 020 to make sure my framing is precise and set my camera's drive mode to Continous Slow which till this day I leave the setting as is to make sure I have a small set of exposures to allow myself to have enough variations covered.
The Visoflex Typ 020 is essential when the exact composition or precise focus is critical, but the resolution and screen quality is very primitive compares to what is available in the market currently. The biggest problem is that the Visoflex Typ 020 automatically show the image just captured, which delays the live-view and compromise the sequential shooting - even the auto review is turned off on the camera.
As I am getting used to shooting with mirrorless cameras with the electronic viewfinder which allows me to see the capture in real time (exact composition and exposure) so I turned off the automatic review on my camera or most often I simply disabled the rear screen and relied on just the EVF for quick setting adjustments and playback.
M10-D does not allow the image playback, which is a design decision by Leica that I disagree. It is an on-going trend that people shoot by using the rear screen as the viewfinder similar to one uses a smartphone, but I rarely do that. As an industrial designer, I prefer the camera without a rear screen, and as a photographer, I can live without it.
Reference: The Q2 Factor
Taking out my M10-D to do my first shoot with Leica Q2 side by side is an intriguing idea. Leica M camera is, regarded as the Crown Jewel of Leica, and the Q2 an entry camera for FF digital Leica while having the latest sensor, best electronic viewfinder and a set of features and capabilities atop of every camera in Leica portfolio as of March 2019.
The uniqueness of rangefinder shooting experience is hardly challenged, but the quality of the image from Q2 is nothing less than sensation and nothing less than what M10/M10-P/M10-D capable of producing.
One can argue that the fun of photography is not only measured from the final print; he got his case right here. And I am in total agreement.
I do not see Leica Q2 a competitor to M camera; instead, the Q2 works as a 28mm fixed lens 2nd camera to my M system mounted with other focal lengths.
The swimsuit shoot of the lovely Thai lady, Yaowalak Rhitsomchit, at Hua Hin beach is a harsh test on M10-D. It was 37-38 degree Celsius during the shoot in mid-afternoon. My M10-D was set to continues L, and I shot a couple of hundred images in several sessions without any failure. The M10-D heated up considerably from the sequential shooting, in additional the scorching ambient heat, but not to the point that I feel the camera may need a break. The M10-D is one of the most robust digital M cameras to date! A true workhorse! A beautiful stallion!
Leica M10-D is, IMHO, the current digital camera from Leica that best represent the company. It is the latest Leica M camera as of May 2019 and nothing different from M10-P as far as image quality is concerned. The camera itself is somewhat limited in operation not that it cannot do all things a Leica M10-P capable of doing, but it relies on the Leica FOTOS App for specific camera settings that some may find it inconvenient. Once the camera is set to go, it goes smoothly and works wonderfully. However, to connect the Leica FOTOS App to the M10-D is still in a very primitive stage, it takes time, and multiple tries before the device can finally communicate with each other and some rather basic features start to work while many still left to be desired.
In comparison, the Leica FOTOS works a little more smoothly with Leica Q2, which allows establishing the connection faster and focusing point selectable by tapping directly on the remote viewer in the app.
The Leica FOTOS App, IMHO, is the right direction to go, albeit Leica is not quite there yet!
The power management - I have between my Leica M10 and M10-D total 4 BP-SCL5 (7.4V, 1,300mAh) battery packs which I label each one with a serial number 1-2-3-4 as I did with all my battery for different cameras, to avoid overusing any particular ones. I can usually get 600-700 shots from a single fully-charged BP-SCL5 if I did not forget to switch off from connecting to Fotos, which I did have a few occasions that the battery completely drained and have to replace with another one. I wish Leica would incorporate a firmware update to automatically switch off the camera when it sensed the app connection of off after a preset time.
Leica M camera adhere to the original bottom plate making the change of battery or SD card a hassle that I am not a big fan even as a user of Leica M cameras for over 20 years! The Q2 adapted the SL601 to use a much efficient way for its BP-SCL4 (8.4V, 1,860mAh) battery pack with built-in weather seal gasket is a better solution to me. I wish sometime in the future Leica would consolidate their use of battery (M, Q, and SL) so it is easier to manage the battery, especially when traveling.
Nowadays I no longer travel with the original BC-SCL5 battery Charger that comes with the camera not because it is not good, but the optional Nitecore ULM10 Pro can charge dual cells at the same time, and able to charge through USB ports by a power bank makes traveling a lot easier. Nitecore charger appears well made with an industrial look and finish that is not precisely Leica quality, but acceptable, by its price.
The latest Panasonic Lumix S1R use a charger system that accepts an AC Adapter and provides USB-C cable that can be used in conjunction with 9V USB power packs mobile charging is a much better solution.
About to make a road trip to south Thailand to focus on using the three wide angle Summilux lens - the Summilux-M 21/1.4 ASPH (mounted on Leica M10-D), Summilux-M 24/1.4 ASPH FLE and Summilux-M 28/1.4 ASPH.
On board Train #32 from Hatyai on my way back to Bangkok with my Q2 and M10-D mounted with Carl Zeiss C-Sonnar 50/1.5 ZM and three wide Summilux-M lenses : Summilux-M 21/1.4 ASPH, Summilux-M 24/1.4 ASPH FLE and Summilux-M 28/1.4 ASPH.
Wat Tri Thotsathep Worawihan - restoration in progress.
Leica M10-D is a friend, so I don't usually leave it when I am taking a field trip for photography, even though the primary camera of the shoot may not be a Leica. , for example, the shooting of restoration in progress at Wat Tri Thotsathep Worawihan. I was testing my new Fujifilm GFX100, a camera fitted with a 102MP sensor with IBIS mechanism with two Canon TS-E lenses, the TS-E 17/4L, and TS-E 24/3.5L II, both are stellar lenses.
M10-D in comparison has a relatively modest sensor resolution slightly less than 1/4 of the one on Fujifilm GFX100 - 24MP vs. 102MP so obviously the DNG from Leica is no match to the RAF file from GFX100, and it is the case. I don't compare camera on the resolution alone, and I pick the camera to use to meet a requirement for the commercial assignment or the need for large size fine art print. I love my Leica, it is a friend, and that does not change when I have the GFX100.
In reality, the file that Leica M10-D can produce an amazingly detailed and vibrant file that is very impressive and good enough for most applications. The two Summilux lenses I took with me, the Summilux-M 21/1.4 ASPH and Summilux-M 24/1.4 ASPH FLE are both fantastic and joyful to use. The experience of pressing the shutter and a rhymic reaction from the Leica M camera is forever emotionally connected to the photographer, that cannot be taken away by a more advanced photography tool such as the Fujifilm GFX100 even it is capable of delivering richness and higher resolution files.
Wat Borom Niwat - my small project to documenting some unusual mural painting in Thai temples continues. The mastermind behind the mural painting in Wat Borom Niwat, Khrua In Khong https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khrua_In_Khong?fbclid=IwAR2avxyeWpLXp5RkyAy1enspv3iP-EiErq98J8tPUFtFo06JyKjdG3iLtM8 carried out a masterpiece in this temple, under King Rama IV's (Mongkut) desire, to modernize Thailand to survive the Western colonialist aspiration. The result presented is not entirely Buddhism but also a historical record of political events and social conditions during the reign of King Tama III.
The interior shot exhibits the usefulness of a perfective lens can do, such as the primary camera I was using to do the documentation work for the mural paintings project - the new Fujifilm GFX100 and two Canon TS-E 17 & 24 lenses. The M10-D paired with Summilux-M 24/1.4 ASPH FLE can still produce quality file enough for large print probably up to 40" with careful interpolation, but it is still not a match to the 102MP sensor can create in the Fujifilm GFX100. The most significant limitation, IMHO, is the ability to fully adapt technical lenses with movements, for example, the Canon TS-E lenses. It is technically possible to mount the technical lenses on a digital Leica M camera with live-view, but it is not an optimized solution. Reference of the shot made with Fujifilm GFX100 with Canon Tilt-shift lenses - https://www.kaisernchen.com/post/fujifilm-gfx100.
However, the Leica M system exhibits here why the camera has been a universal love of documentation photographers and journalists - the ability to work in tight spaces without intimidating the subject.
Making sense out of nonsense?
The electronic adaptation enables the Leica M cameras to continue to thrive into the digital edge while carrying its original mirrorless camera heritage! The Leica R system has long conceded to competition; first failed to adapt to autofocus, albeit Leica was among the very first camera manufacturer to present the AF reflex camera concept. Leica pushed as hard as to release the R9 with a digital back option, which I use briefly, and eventually moved on using other systems. However, those beautiful R lenses are first class then, and decades later, most R lenses are still highly competitive, optically., for example, my Apo-Telyt-R 400mm F2.8 which I bought back in last millennium.
With Leica M system moved on using CMOS sensor and enables live view and the use of electronic EVF, my R lenses resurrected.
But the M system has its issue! As sensor resolution continue to move up and the reliability and practicability of an optical/mechanical rangefinder system raises some doubt going into the future. The emotional connection between a Leica rangefinder camera and the photographer is not under threat, it may even grow stronger, but a camera is still first and foremost a photography instrument!
The M mount has proved its resiliency into the digital age and on the same sensor resolution, Leica M10 or M10-D which I use, as an example, produce a very high-quality result nothing less than any camera with the sensor of the same size and resolution - 24MP. M10-D is at the moment my go-to M camera, which produces the best images of all Leica M digital cameras, past and current, except the Monochrom models that are the discussion of another day. However, the SL is more versatile and can handle more shooting situations than M cameras and most importantly - not struggled with blurred image thanks to its image stabilizer, and always tack-sharp thanks to its autofocus. The experience of using classic rangefinder is one thing, but it is not more important than getting the shot, as a photographer!
Not the same case against Leica Q2 which I have been shooting since March 2019, refer to my blog - The Q2 Factor. Leica Q2 is at the moment, IMHO, capable of producing the best image quality of any Leica 24x36mm digital cameras! Quite simply by implementing the latest AF engine and the most recent sensor. The only limitation is that Leica Q2 is a fixed-lens camera - however, it is also a strength at the same time to use it intelligently.
Leica Q2 is in similar size as Leica M10-D mounted with Summilux-M 28/1.4 ASPH., which suggests that, if Leica decided, to give M mount a new series of autofocus lenses with an opening aperture of f/1.7-f/2.0 with M mount added with electronic contacts. The classical M lenses can achieve focus using EFV, at higher accuracy! Leica does not need to discontinue the manual focus M lenses as they will work the same with M mount fitted with electronic contact. The live view is more potent than the classic rangefinder viewfinder because the photographer can see actions happen much beyond the picture area. The additional AF lenses and EVF-based M camera are not to replace the existing M system but a complementing part of it and further bridged with the growing L mount system.
As the 47MP Q2 is running strong and 47MP SL due to release Q4 2019, it is just a matter of time the same sensor goes into M system - just changing the sensor may not be enough for M system to continue to claim crown jewel of Leica. After all, we are entering into the age of AI and computational photography.
The landscape of photography has been continuously reshaped over time and won't stop changing. I love my M10-D and enjoy shooting with it, and the M10-D is on the one hand against much common sense while on the other hand, to be as modern as possible. It is certainly not a perfect camera, but it is, IMHO, the best digital Leica M camera, ever. Perhaps a Monochrom model base on M10-D can be even better! And I would undoubtedly embrace a new M camera with autofocus and electronics to better integrate with the L system - never say never.
July 14, 2019 On filing set at Lhong 1919 Bangkok, Thailand
July 17, 2019 Bangkok Railway Station
The quiet shutter of M10-P/M10-D is very much useful here which allowed me to fire away a few shots without disturbing the passenger.
July 20 Bangkok Railway Station
The train station is to me a microscope peeping into the culture and social behaviors of a country, notably so at the Bangkok Railway Station. It is charming with little change since open in 1916.
The train schedule is running erratically, the wait is unpredictable for the people on the train and those wait for it, however, it is in a rhythmic order out of chaos, just like Bangkok, or Thailand as a whole.
July 24 - The Okura Prestige Bangkok
This shot of Central Embassy & Park Hyatt Building situated at the intersection of Wireless Road and Ploenchit using Leica M10-D and Summilux-M 21/1.4 ASPH exemplified the usefulness of Visoflex electronic viewfinder.
The development of the original Leica rangefinder system was not by accident! Instead, it was out of necessity for properly framing and more precise focusing, although limited by the mechanical capability of the time of introduction. Leica later introduced the Visoflex - a reflex housing to add ground-glass focusing to rangefinder cameras (M System), an update of the original PLOOT reflex housing back in the 1930s. The Visoflex was not a replacement of the rangefinder-coupled focusing mechanism but to mitigate its limitations. Generations later, many M cameras users take that the mechanical rangefinder is the only way they can accept as of a Leica M camera! Some even declared that it cannot be improved, and cannot be removed. Really?
Most of the digital cameras by 2019 have adapted to use CMOS sensor, which provides fast reading of signals, live-view and videography, and efficient in power management. We have also seen the mainstream development of reflex cameras moves towards eliminating the reflex mirror for total reliance on high-quality EVF. There is the simple logic - the electronics are more efficient, accurate, near maintenance-free and cost less than most mechanical components that perform less.
Some could argue that Leica could keep the digital M camera as is, for the love of traditional mechanical rangefinder, because it accepts EVF already since Leica switched to use CMOS sensor (M Typ 240). Well, it is not wrong! But Leica has not been successful in implementing any external EVF to its system camera while Leica has proven success with built-in EVF with their SL and Q/QP/Q2 cameras, as of July 2019.
So what's next? A new Leica M with EVF? Never say never. Leica's future is base on future users, not the users of past decades, myself included.
July 27, 2019 - at Central Embassy Building
Wat Tri Thotsathep Worawihan - restoration in progress.
I have been using Leica M10 since March 2017 and added M10-D early 2019, which becomes my most used Leica M camera presently. The Leica M10 and M10-D are wonderfully manufactured instrument most photographers will appreciate. But by August 2019, after I have been shooting Leica Q2 alongside M10/M10-D, I am more convinced than ever that Leica Q2 is pointing a direction perhaps next M camera should consider.
Leica Q2 is almost of a fault-free camera, focus acquisition instantly and accurately, image stabilization works marvelously down to 1/4-1/2s (based on my own experience) and shoot silent if needed. The new 47MP sensor in Q2 is capable of producing superior image quality to all digital M cameras, except of course the M Monochrom models. However, the higher resolution sensor in Q2 is less prone to aliasing than the older 24MP sensor; therefore, produce less pattern noise and as a result, the DNG file from Q2 can convert to monochrome files of higher clarity with advantage of, subjective opinion, applying color filters for tonal contrast, maybe still not as good as Monochrom Typ 246 at times, but better than previous M/Q/SL cameras. Leica Q2's limitation is that it is a fixed-lens camera, which is also its strength in many ways. Leica M as a system camera and the crown jewel position of Leica will not be replaced by Q2, but it still needs the ability to produce the best possible image quality of all Leica digital FF cameras.
By market expectation and gossips from popular rumor mills, the SL Typ 601 is about to see its successor coming in Q4 2019 with the same 47MP sensor and improvements across the board, as Q2 over Q/Q-P. By then, the M10/M10-D will be the digital Leica FF cameras touted as the pure still image cameras with no video capture option, yet with the lowest resolution. I love my M10/M10-D, but I will welcome the next M camera with a newer sensor (likely the same 47MP sensor) and other improvements. So what improvements?
I am also shooting with SONY mirrorless cameras since the original APS-C NEX-7, then the FF SONY A7, A7R, A7R II, A7 S II and in May 2017 added the A9, November 2017 added the A7 R III.
The SONY A9 is still arguably the flagship camera of SONY since its introduction with stacked Exmor RS CMOS sensor and 693-point focal-plane phase-detection AF that to this writing is still undisputedly best. I joyed shooting with A9 for portraiture thanks to its amazingly efficient eye-focus AF and continuous EVF viewing. As of August 2019, A9 is also rumored to get a higher resolution update.
My Leica M10-D and SONY A9 are both 24MP FF mirrorless camera of two opposite development philosophy. M10-D is a continuous refinement on a well-established classic rangefinder camera, as beautiful and well-made as a camera can be, but it is not a camera in any stretch of the imagination. SONY A9 is, on the other hand, a groundbreaking camera which SONY put the entire mirrorless digital camera into the next generation. With the support of Carl Zeiss and SONY's own lens works, SONY A9 is capable of delivering the most competitive image quality as any 24MP FF camera, if not better. A9 is a powerful and dependable tool; it just works. But it is not a Leica.
My wishlist for next M camera: 47MP sensor with stabilization, Hybrid or just pure EVF to free up the hot-shoe, instant connection to Fotos App (therefore to eliminate rear screen) and the same M bayonet mount with electronic contacts for possible working with a few AF Summicron-M lenses. One of my favorite M cameras is the Edition 60, and I don't mind it is the chassis of the next M for having extra body thickness for sensor stabilization.
August 17, with Anastasia Maslova the Bangkok Railway Station
August 25 - 28 Xiapu, Ningde, Fujian, China
Leica M10-D has been my travel companion since day one and no exception for my China trip between August 25 - September 5, 2019, to Xiapu, Fu'An, Hui'An, Nanjing County and Fuzhou City of Fujian Province, China. It was an enjoyable trip traveling with my wife and an excellent friend, the great Steve McCurry, and friendly folks from Italy, Eolo Perfido and Marco Casino, both Leica Ambassador. Refer to my image journal Xiapu, Ningde and around Putian - Fuzhou
Some shots from M10-D as follows.
Beautiful sunset reminds people of the glorious moment only lasts briefly, but one can live to see the next and the next.
September 28, 2019 with Anastasiia Burdak at the Bangkok Railway Station
October 22, 2019 with Alisa Ratushniak at the Bangkok Railway Station
November 6, 2019 What's next for M camera?
Leica SL2 officially introduced! With the 47.3 MP sensor, a modified version of the sensor on Leica Q2 which I have been using since April and convinced by its superior quality - https://www.kaisernchen.com/post/the-q2-factor
The Leica Q2 is capable of delivering the highest image quality of all Leica FF cameras until the arrival of Leica SL2. I have the privilege of traveling with Steve McCurry in Fujian, China, back in August and September and witnessed the prototype camera in the field and the image quality, per Steve McCurry, amazing and unparalleled. The story https://www.kaisernchen.com/post/xiapu-the-costal-charm.
So what's next to Leica M camera? The classic rangefinder camera system is a pleasure to shoot with, but as the crown jewel system of Leica camera, it also needs to deliver the best image quality! It must! I am a user of Leica SL 601, Leica Q2 and some Leica M camera, including M10 and M10-D, I believe I know how these cameras faired each other, although it is subjective, and I could be wrong.
The Leica M camera must go on, and the only question is in which way. Increase its sensor resolution is the most direct path to offer potentially higher image quality understand that the higher image quality does not warrant a better picture. A better picture is a creation of the mind and eyes of the photographer. Better image quality allows better prints of a fine picture, and a high-quality print of a poor image creates a joke corresponding to the size of print.
Next will be the focus acquisition, or the high resolution sensor is more a curse than a fortune! EVF is the most natural solution, and the most challenging to Leica is to convince many Leica M users that EVF is the way to go. Unfortunately, most Leica users are not professional photographers, they don't have to. But Leica needs to produce camera to satisfy demanding photographers, particularly the professional photographers.
Third, and an option, make the existing M Bayonet hybrid, so it has electronic contacts to allow autofocus. Leica can and should continue to offer the classic MF M lenses while adding a few AF-Summicron-M will be enough to bridge the M system to the next phase.
November 10, 2019
Return to the Bangkok Railway Station with Julia Shylo
November 21, 2019 with Sabrina Baycroft at B Loft 115, Puchao, Samut Prakan, Thailand
November 24, 2019 Wat Mahathat, Ayutthaya, Thailand
Perhaps the Buddha head in tree roots is one of the most recognizable images in Thailand that I have photographed many times in the past and always take a new one each time I return!
Tranquility amidst chaos - there is always something to shoot at the Bangkok Railway Station
November 25, 2019 About Sigma fp
The Sigma fp introduced no surprise when considered the same camera company also brought to us the DP Quattro line of cameras as well as the SD Quattro H camera, which I also owned and photographed with from time to time.
Sigma fp with 24.6 million pixels Bayer sensor weighs only 370g is probably an excellent backup camera for the Leica M system, particularly for those who are interested in cinematic works with Leica M lenses with M-Adapter L which weighs 70g.
November 29 - December 10 Russia
The Ferapontov convent (Russian: Ферапонтов монастырь), in the Vologda region of Russia, is considered one of the purest examples of Russian medieval art, a reason given by UNESCO for its inscription on the World Heritage List since year 2000.
January 10, 2020 - The Ubon Ratchathani warrior on the street of Bangkok
January 11, 2020 Katarina Gartell - surfaced, at the Emporio Place, Bangkok
January 15, 2020 Melting ice, Bangkok, Thailand
January 16, 2020 Katarina Gartell - surfaced, at the Emporio Place, Bangkok
Working on further refinement of my "Surfaced" project with Katarina Gartell. I made some shots five days ago using the Summilux-M 50/1.4 ASPH to find that some shots would be more balanced using the 35mm, which I used this time and preferred the results.
The use of 35mm allows me to get closer to the subject while keeping the frame with a reasonable stretch that works well for my shoot.
January 17, 2020 - The liberation of limitation
Not much a surprise but still deserve some applause - Leica officially introduced the Leica M10 Monochrom.
With the newly developed 40.89 MP (7,864 X 5,200 pixel ) B/M CMOS 24X36 mm chip, the M10 Monochrom will be the modern Leica capable of delivering the images of the highest resolution, the cleanest, the sharpest, if shot appropriately! The higher resolution sensor will put more pressure on the rangefinder accuracies.
I love my MM246 but shot less and less with it because I have depended more on my regular M cameras and Q2 for most of the color images I made with Leica, and some of them converted to monochrome using Capture One Pro. Not for the purest and best monochromic images but an acceptable compromise, IMHO.
Aesthetically the matte paint finish M10 Monochrom (Leica called it "black chrome") is very stealthy and probably can be even more attractive if Leica goes further to black-chrome the bayonet mount. Should get my hands on the M10 Monochrom, soon!
January 23, 2020 Movement of Colors No. 200123_1862 Bangkok, Thailand
January 24, 2020 After a year with Leica M10-D
It is doubtful that there is ever a perfect camera, the Leica M10-D certainly is not, like all things in life. However, the Leica M10-D is a very likable camera, and after a year, it is very loveable.
The M10-D demands more attention to details in shooting and more nerves in focus. It has not surprised me that I have, in general much higher percentage of shots misfocused that I don't have with all other modern cameras I am also using. Visoflex Typ 020 is a solution with lots of compromises, poor quality, awkward on the M10/M10-P/M10-D, but to get the precise composition and accurate sharpness on where it is most critical, it is indispensable. Still, it is something Leica should consider a replacement, something much more delightful to use.
Blurred images are also an issue that bugged me when using Leica M10-D, particularly with focal length north of 50mm, even though I usually set the auto ISO with shutter speed at least 2 X 1/f of a second. The image stabilizer from other cameras does not spoil me, I simply prefer the flexibility the image stabilizer provides.
The camera setting needs to rely on Leica Fotos through smart device is something better than nothing, certainly not something Leica would feel proud, I suppose. I did not change my setting on both of my Leica M10-D since June 2019 (7 months ago) as other manual adjustments are easily accessible as the shooting goes to counter different shooting scenarios. Still, I would appreciate it if the advance mode is independent of the electronic menu.
It is most true that a photograph requires nothing more than just the combination of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO setting, and by that, the Leica M10-D is nothing less than any other camera.
Leica is operating on its methodological philosophy, perhaps partly limited by the mechanical limitation of the M system, continue to convince the users, and themselves, that it is the way it should be, as it was decades ago. Well, the new M10 Monochrom with 40.89 MP B/M CMOS 24X36 mm chip and the coming 47,3 MP M10-R are not making the situation any easier. Q2 and SL2 are the proofs of Leica know what is going on in the photography industry and Leica is capable of delivering competitve solution.
I did get most of the shots I want, but I also missed a lot, and at times I regret that I did not shoot with an alternative camera, such as my SONY A7R III or SONY A7R IV, but Leica is a friend, and I enjoy shooting with it for my personal projects. For paid assignments, I let my conscience took over for decision making.
I made many mistakes in pictures with Leica M cameras that, of course, include M10-D, and I only publish the images free from misfocus, blur, or poorly framed, common for most photographers. Using M10-D is sometimes like meditation but shall not forget the ultimate goal is still the excellence in image-making and the print. M10-D can deliver, but it demands your attention in doing that.
It is the photographer's responsibility to get the image the best he could, not by using this and that best camera or lens, which is subjective. I have my preference of what the future M cameras should be like millions of other users each has theirs; no one is wrong.
What do I look for my next M camera?
1. Get rid of the mechanical rangefinder and migrate to the electronic viewfinder and allows shorter focusing distance and to liberate the hot shoe for flash trigger. The live view from CMOS sensor can take care the manual focusing confirmation, only with higher precision and sees better in dark;
2. Retain the M bayonet but adds electronic connections that will enable communications between lens and camera and perhaps AF lenses which Leica only needs a couple of them while keeping the legacy M lenses continue to be relevant;
3. Unify the battery between Q-M-SL, time to let go the camera bottom plate that was necessary before but not in 2020 and going forward;
4. Sensor-base image stabilization
Never say never.
Until then, I shall continue to enjoy my M10-D.
The LFI ( LEICA FOTOGRAFIE INTERNATIONAL ) selections of my images.
January 29, 2020 Samut Songkhram salt farm, Thailand
Very few activities since mid-March as the CCP virus (yes, I agreed it is CCP virus as it was originated) pandemic situations worsened. As a safety measurement, I have my camera and lenses to go through my UV disinfection chamber every time I use them.
May 2020 More than five weeks went by without really shooting any picture because of the Wuhan Virus Pandemic; it is time to do some warm-up! The microphotographic has been one of the weak points of the M system, but thanks to digital technology to allow magnified focusing aide makes the M system a feasible choice.
Leica MP, shown here my A La Carte Edition, introduced back in 2003, technically and arguably the last film Leica and is still available 17 years later. Leica did introduce M-A (Typ 127) back in 2014, more or less a modern MP without the internal exposure meter and components, or, more or less, the Leica MP with its battery removed. Leica called the MP "Mechanical Perfection. Nothing Else." still stands today. Except someone wants the solid-state capture camera. And in 2018 came the right answer, the Leica M10-D - shown here is my well-traveled M10-D with tens of thousand exposures. It is true the Leica MP and M10-D are very different cameras, yet they look so close and works so similarly. The MP was my most used Leica M camera after its introduction, and the M10-D is my currently most often use Leica camera. Leica M10-D is not a perfect camera, but it is a much-improved one over the earlier M Edition 60 (my favorite M camera in terms of industrial design) and the M-D Typ 262 that paved the way for it.
The Wuhan virus pandemic gives all camera companies a break, and with its impact likely to last for many more months to take a toll on the global economic setback, Leica's plan for the next M camera can be tricky. The M10 Monochrom has hinted that the next color CMOS sensor will be high-resolution, not a wrong decision, but will put more pressure on the classic rangefinder focusing. The next screen-less M is not on top-priority if it comes at all, although I wish it is not the case.
As technology advances, the move towards high-resolution output is inevitable. The classic rangefinder focusing has seen its best day. It is a matter of "when" we will see a Leica M camera solely rely on the electronic viewfinder, or maybe Leica can simultaneously run different models of M cameras and let users choose mechanical or electrical viewfinder. Finally, the M bayonet with electronic contacts opened up the gate to the next M camera era. Classic can remain classic.
July 16, 2020 The intorduction of Leica M10-R
The introduction of Leica M10-R reveals more confusion than a clear message. A newer sensor with higher resolution is pure logic. It is no surprise, except it is a debatable decision that Leica opted to use a new 40.89-megapixel sensor than the 47.3-megapixel sensor found on Leica Q2 and SL2, which proved to be competitive and allows Leica better inventory and maintenance management. Leica will not use a poor sensor that I am sure, but it is doubtful this new sensor is superior to the one already on Q2 and SL2. Ultimately, as it is now, the Leica M is sitting on the lower end of achievable and measurable image quality in Leica full-frame camera portfolio, M10-R improved the M status, however, did not invalidate that argument. M10 Monochrom is in a category by itself; it only compares with its predecessors, on one else.
The people at Wetzlar seemed satisfied with the current M camera chassis and continue to run iterations of models with no change other than sensor unit and cosmetic finishes. M10-D is my most use M camera currently, the best M that shots color digital picture, IMHO, is the better example among the M10 models. The buffer remains low, it was a bit low when the M10 introduced, and it is an embarrassment with M10-R in 2020, which reduced to 10 DNG files, albeit at 40 MP. The sequential shooting also reduced from 5 fps to 4.5 fps on M10-R, but let's call it equal. The 3" TFT LCD 1,036,800 dots touch screen is not any camera manufacturers feel proud to announce, not something I care actually, but a camera is asking for USD 8,295 should give a little better. The suggested retail is the same as the earlier M10 Monochrom, interestingly USD 500 less than M10-P still listed, which will not be such a case in reality, and is USD 1,300 higher than the SL2.
What looked like to me is that the management at Wtzlar is buying time while trying to make sense of what the next M camera should be. The sensor resolution will go higher, thus push more pressure on the accuracy of traditional rangefinder focus. The 6-bit lens coding system is totally out of date. It has no meaningful implementation, not to such extend as the state of the art system integration as the SL2 and all other Japanese manufacturers, essential when computational photography is a heated discussion. And the implementation of a sensor-based image stabilizer? Leica officially stated that the camera is not about just megapixel race, well, most people disagree, and Leica understands it with the introduction of Q2 and SL2. One can argue that the Leica M system is different, and it is, but it still needs to make the best image possible!
The Leica M cameras carried such a historical weight from the past and successfully evolved into the modern age is no simple feat and an outstanding job by Leica! Only Leica! The M10-R still left something to be desired, but it is now the best Leica M camera capable of making the highest image quality within the digital M family, I will get one for myself.
The modern classic
When the digital camera development inches towards more electronic integration and processing power, we have seen an older model superseded by the newer one, usually better and often not more expensive. That is typically the case for consumer electronics; most digital cameras included. Leica is slightly different!
Leica has been through the history of developing a modular camera system as other German automobile makers do with their cars. Serial models will share a standard chassis before moving to next. Sometimes there are edition models with added elements or built material for premium buyers or specifically the collectors. For example, the Leica M9 Titanium and the M Edition 60 were among my preferred Leica edition models and lucky enough to possessed, per picture here. Coincidently, both co-developed with automobile designers that deliver a sense of extra rigidness and fluidity in use.
The recently introduced Leica M10 Monochrom and Leica M10-R is undoubtedly the state of the art M camera capable of best image quality than every model before them. That does not necessarily mean the earlier models are obsolete; they were perfectly useful before and after newer models replaced them. Photography is always more than the sum of all parts, or pixels. The Leica M9 Titanium and Edition 60 are like those classic supercars, never get outdated.
July 24-27 Sangkhlaburi, Kanjanaburi, Thailand
July 24 Rainbow Learning Center, Sangkhlaburi
It was 5:53 am, this little Mon girl already at her station ready to offer service for applying facial Thanakha powder for visitors who comes to this famous Mon Bridge, recognized as the world's second-longest wooden bridge. The little Mon girl had to get up early, dressed, and make-up, before a long day work to earn gratitude tips to help her parents, as she is taught and believed.
Faces in the Mon Village
Mon People are the earliest known inhabitants of lower Burma. They founded an empire, and introduced both writing and Buddhism into Burma.
In the year 573, two Mon brothers, Prince Samala and Prince Wimala, founded the Mon kingdom Hongsavatoi at the present site of modern Pegu. This kingdom flourished in peace and prosperity for several centuries until it was occupied by the Burman dynasty.
In 1757, the Burma ruler U Aungzeya invaded and devastated the Mon kingdom, killing tens of thousands of Mon, including learned Mon priests, pregnant women, and children. Over 3,000 priests were massacred by the victorious Burmans in the capital city alone. Thousands more priests were killed in the countryside.
The surviving priests fled to Thailand, and Burman priests took over the monasteries. Most of the Mon literature, written on palm leaves, was destroyed by the Burmans. Use of the Mon language was forbidden, and Burman became the medium of instruction.
Mon people were persecuted, oppressed, and enslaved, and countless people were burned in holocausts, like the Jews before the Nazis. Mon properties and possessions were looted and burned throughout Burma. Mons fled further south into Burma's Tenasserim Division and east into Thailand. U
Unfortunately, the oppression of the Mon people has persisted to the present day. Refernece "The Mon Information Home Page"
The local beauty
It is almost a rural culture in developing countries for kids to grow up in the cargo bay of the pickup truck which their parents are farmers selling their crops or merchants doing their trade. It is the daycare center, their early classroom, and the window to introduce them to the world.
Leica Fotos can be useful sometimes, but it is still sluggish most of the time! I will not use it if I am shooting with a Leica with a rear screen, unless of course, I am asked to send the capture right away for the one in front of the camera to sharing it instantly!
My Leica M10-D welcomes a new sibling - the Leica M10 Monochrom Leitz Wetzlar Edition
One of the significant differences between the regular Leica M10X cameras and the Monochrom version is the quick access ISO dial. On M10 Monochrom the setting can quickly set to 12.5K, a full stop advance from the regular M10 models. There are optional approaches to set the ISO beyond the range. Still, the manual ISO dial difference indicates the Monochrom model handles higher ISO situations more comfortably, and indeed it is.
The Monochrom model with the digital sensor requires no Bayer filter to reconstruct color information from an R-G-B-G array, eliminating the inherited pattern and color noise and retaining much better corner resolution, leaving only luminosity noise that appears more organic when visible. The lack of color filter also gives the monochrom sensor more light than the sensor with it making the monochrom camera performs visibly superior towards situations require higher ISO. And by these factors, the Monochrom Leica can produce amazingly good JPEG files that many serious photographers often avoid and stay with raw capture to retain more control over the final image quality. However, I still prefer to shoot DNG with my MM246, and now with this M10M, I am mostly curious about what future processing software can offer!
Of course, regular digital color cameras have more flexibility. They can take color images and convert the color image to a much more comprehensive monochrome output range using digital color filters. The color image is reconstructed with a Bayer filter in front of the sensor using a demosaicing algorithm on monochrome data. Convert color images to monochrome is merely reducing the image's saturation; it does not mitigate pattern and color noises. It is the most popular way to create monochrome images, and many fantastic monochrome images are initially color captures! No monochrome camera can change that! Not Phase One Achromatic or Leica Monochrom cameras!
Bruce Bayer's 1976 filter patent was a genius invention and still does wonders to this day! But if a photographer is after the highest quality monochrom image with the purest approach, the dedicated Monochrom camera is the tool! For photographers whose works are primarily in colors, keep doing what you are doing.
My M10-D stays!