... blog post:


Blending the classical with the modern, the perfect synthesis of the old and the new, with the traditional stills photog in mind. In modern parlance, a mash up, though to the highest engineering standards.

Image courtesy of Leica
Image courtesy of Leica

The modern digital rangefinder camera; what goes into an M10 series body. Hand assembled it may be, but it is chock full of modern electronic components as you would expect which is both its strength and weakness.The old mechanical film M Leica's can still be serviced and repaired for ever, the digital M's with their life-out electronics however?


Not-with-standing this, the M-10 series remain the first of the digital versions of the Leica M that really work without some of the quirks or foibles of their predecessors. They are best the M cameras ever made, produce technically super images and can be used to create fabulous photographs. They are the classic rangefinder cameras of photographers' dreams.


Now, which of the M10's to choose? If you a B&W specialist the choice is simple, the M10 Monochrome. If you want colour then you have the current production M10-P and the very latest M10-R and in the pre-owned market the original M10 and many M10-P's as well.


The M10-P is an intermediate upgrade of the original M10 with a touch screen and near silent shutter but the same 24mp sensor and the same processor. The latest M10-R is a bigger upgrade encapsulating the changes from the 'P' model but adding a new 40mp sensor, improved low noise performance and better dynamic range.


So, the colour M10 choice for me would been of Two. Either the original M10 from the used market. Many of these can be had in truly mint 'unused' condition, if you look around, at really good prices. Alternatively there is the M10-R as this is the really significant upgrade to the M10. The M10-P is a bit now't nor something. Too little different from the M10 to be worth the extra premium, even in the used market, and definitely too close to the price of an M10-R in the brand new market to be worth bothering with.


Thus for B&W go for the M10 Monochrome and for colour get either an original M10 or the latest M10-R. If you do both color and B&W you can still get great B&W images out of the M10 and M10-R, it's simply they are not cameras designed for the B&W specialist as the M10 monochrome is and it shows. Now if I had to pick just one model out of all of them? First a digression.


A word about for the megapixel wars. For a long time, there was the widely held view that 8 megapixels with its ability to produce high quality 300 ppi prints at A4, so called full page magazine size quality photographs, would be the limit of what any one would ever sensibly require. Indeed for those of us who mostly publish to the web and produce the occasional medium size print, something around 6mp would be more than adequate.


But pressure from the bloggers and vloggers on the web plus the pixel peeping techno braggarts on the various photo forums always demanding more of everything, including ever more megapixels, continues to be grist to the mill of the unceasingly competitive camera makers to produce, well... more, regardless of its real world value.


Hence we got sensors in the 12 to 16mp range, then in the 20 to 24mp range, then in the 33 to 40mp range and more recently the 50 to 100mp range. The M Digital series cameras have not been immune to this. The M8 provided 10mp, the M9 18mp, the M10 24mp and finally the recent M10-R 40mp. With the up coming M11? Well, we shall see.


I suspect the M10-R was only devised by the marketing department to try to boost sales, please their acolyte brand snobs and the influencers who feed their delusions, and keep up with the competition in the mp race. The problem is there is a consensus in the industry that the sweet spot for the number of megapixels has already been reached and that number is 24, but that does't sell cameras in a rapidly declining market where competitors are already offering machines with 40 to 50mp at a similar price point to your own.


The photographic industry is now in a massive year on year downward spiral. With fewer than 15 million interchangeable lens cameras still being sold compared to more than 120 million units at the market's peak in 2007. As the makers sell less, so their prices go up; £7,000+ for a camera body is not unusual for a 40-50mp flagship model these days which is firmly in Leica's territory, hence their feeling they need to compete on megapixels, silly from a stills photography viewpoint though this may be.


Anyway, back on subject, if you want the best all round camera out of the M10 series you can't go far wrong with original M10; 24mp is optimal, the price of a mint one in the used market will save you a shed load of money, it will do you both super colour and excellent B&W, and it will give you the full digital rangefinder experience. That's my recommendation and I put my money where my mouth is, as the saw goes, and bought one recently.