• Kaisern Chen

The way backward

Updated: Dec 29, 2019


Leica M-D Typ 262 & M10-D & M Edition 60

Leica is the master at the art of subtraction, doing so while commanding a premium.

One of my favorite Leica in my collection is M Edition 60 which Leica describes "The essence of photography" to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the legendary Leica M system. The Audi designed M60 is a handsome camera to look at, the only Leica M camera made from milling off a solid stainless steel billet, pleasant to shoot with, which I enjoy a lot.


M Edition 60 is the first digital system camera without a rear screen, so the photographer has to concentrate on the fundamental of photography - shutter speed, aperture value, and ISO setting - digital negative only! It is one of my more often use M cameras for personal projects. M Edition 60 remains, IMHO, the most beautiful digital M camera in term of design and build in modern time probably matched only by the M9 Titanium. It works exactly like the old M7 cameras without needing to advance the shutter and change film cassette every 36 exposures. And of course missing the familiar celluloid film smell.


M9 Titanium & M Edition 60

Leica must have got encouraged by the overwhelmed praise of the screen-less digital camera and public demand so almost two years later, in late 2016, released the Leica M-D Typ 262, a serial production version of screen-less M digital camera.


Without a rear screen and not able to connect to an electronic viewfinder nullify the video function which IMHO no hurt to have it, I did use a couple of times, but I could not care less. And that paved the way to the release of M10 without the video function.


Disable the video function is a philosophical decision. The M10 continues to use the same CMOS sensor from M-P 240 which support modest video function which M10 is fully capable of inheriting, but Leica decided otherwise. Added to that, Leica further simplified the layout on the back of the camera, trim the camera, so it goes back to the familiar M camera size of the past established from M3 through M-P, except M5. In an attempt to bring back the nostalgic look, Leica reintroduced the M3 and M2 type of film rewind knob and made it into a selector for ISO setting.


And the sales of M10 proves Leica is not wrong. The argument per Leica, except than bringing the charm of the nostalgic look back to the glorious day of its past, is a refocusing on ‘Das Wesentliche’ is immediately recognizable in the design of the camera.


All is true except as a user I still miss the type of exposure compensation implemented on the Leica M7 which is essential for autoexposure in rapid light-changing situations and particularly solid-state capture that over-exposed highlight can be challenging to handle. An option to accept an electronic viewfinder would be welcome for situations that require precise framing and object separation.


The release of Leica M10-D answered the call, which Leica describes it "Digital Body. Analog Soul." by incorporating a film advance lever from its past to use as additional camera support - similar to a Thumbs-Up which I hate to use because it takes away the hot shoe function that I use often. My Leica M Edition 60 is my only Leica I have ever put on a Thumbs-Up because what it is and without a strap to secure the camera in shooting.


Leica M-D Typ 262 & M Edition 60 & M10-D

Along the announcement of Leica M10-D is a new application - Leica Fotos - still somewhat sluggish, requires several attempts in each successful connection to the Wi-Fi-abled M10-D (and the other Leica digital cameras with Wi-Fi) but it does allow elementary custom settings on M10-D and convenience to share images on the go.


No more chimping, that's for sure. The M10-D although accepts electronic viewfinder but it does not allow image review on demand.


Place it against my a-la-carte black paint MP - the Leica M10-D has almost completed the backward resemblance of what the old-fashioned perceived what Leica once was, the loyal wish it is.


Leica MP à la carte black paint & Leica M10-D

Now, it is interesting to see what influence this would be for the successive models and the rest of industries. Refer to my Leica M10-D Journal.

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