The Digital Leica M has come a long way in the past decade and a half since its introduction with the Leica M8 in 2006. With each rendition of the digital Leica M, there comes a new level of improvement. The Leica M9 brought a new full-frame sensor, upgrading from the crop sensor found on the M8. The Leica M240 ushered in the era of CMOS sensors, replacing the CCD sensors on M9 cameras and opening the digital M to low light photography and live view for the first time. But, the Leica M10 brought it all together in one package, and the true soul of the Leica M was, for the first time, realized in a digital camera. So, what's the proposition? The proposition is that a pre-owned Leica M10 is, dollar for dollar the best digital M camera you can purchase on the market today.
The Leica M10 is the first camera to embody the new digital M exterior. This form factor is the same as it's analog siblings like the Leica MP, M-A, and predecessors dating back to the Leica M3. Name another camera on the market with a form factor that has remained true for the past 60+ years? None! Nikon and Canon SLRs became bulkier with DSLRs; while you could argue that the Nikon F3 HP and a Nikon Z7 II are similar in size, the form is different. The Leica M10 achieves the simplicity of a Leica M3 with modern tech. The Leica M10 doesn't feature video, and the menu is simple, the body is slim, and it feels like a Leica MP in hand.
The Leica M10 also improved on previous M's with an all-new finder which continues even to the most recent iteration of the digital M, the M11. The viewfinder features better relief than ever before, making faster and longer focal length lenses easier to focus. With the addition of the Visoflex 2 for the Leica M11, Leica has updated the firmware for the Leica M10 to accept this new viewfinder which features better refresh rates, more resolution, and ultimately, a better viewing experience.
The M10 embodies all of the reasons why we Love the Leica M. The experience is simple and straightforward, the menus are nothing complicated, the buttons are easy to use and minimal, and the M10 uses some catchy ergonomics like the ISO dial on the top where the film rewind would typically be on its analog counterpart.
→ The Leica M10 is a pure-bread rangefinder for photos only
→ The Leica M10 looks and feels like Leica M cameras of the past
→ The Leica M10 features are balanced, and it lacks "digital noise" such as complicated menus, video, etc.
→ The Leica M10 is, as they say, "Everything you need and nothing you don't."
So how does the Leica M10 hold up to everything else?
→ Leica M10 vs. M8: the Leica M10 features a CMOS full-frame sensor. This not only takes full advantage of your Leica M lenses but it allows for higher ISOs than the Leica M8. In addition, the Leica M8 is now over 15 years old, making repairing them difficult at times. The support, in the long run, is not there. While the Leica M8 creates some beautiful images and will always hold a special place in the lineage of the Leica M, if this is your first foray into the digital M, we would recommend looking at a Leica M10.
→ Leica M10 vs. M9: The Leica M9, similarly to the Leica M8, features a CCD sensor. While this sensor is incredible, we've found the Leica M10 rendering nearly on par with the images we came to fall in love with on the Leica M9. The M9 is also a decade-old digital M camera, and the sensors are no longer available if you need a replacement.
→ Leica M10 vs. Leica M 240 (and 262): The Leica M 240 and M 262 were the first digital M cameras to feature CMOS sensors which accomplish two things. First, CMOS sensors give the M 240 & 262 cameras live view and a massive improvement at higher ISO sensitivities. The downside with the M 240 and 262 cameras is that the form factor isn't nearly as neat as the Leica M10. These cameras are larger than the M10 cameras, and they have features such as video, which might be ok for some. Still, we've found it just to be another feature that makes the M camera more complicated… the Leica SL2 is a far better camera for video and a much more pleasurable experience to use in a motion picture setting.
→ The Leica M10 vs. the M11: We argue here for a value proposition. The Leica M11 is undoubtedly the most technically advanced, most intricate, and sophisticated digital M ever produced. If you can… get it, but if you're looking to upgrade from an older digital M or even get your first digital M camera and looking for a camera that packs the same form factor as the Leica M11, a sensor that still produces stunning results with the simplicity the Leica M is known for then the Leica M10 is your answer.
Ok, we got this far and haven't talked about the different versions of the Leica M10 that exist and which might be the best for you. We'll talk briefly below about each version, excluding the plethora of special editions out there!
→ Leica M10: The first iteration of the Leica M10, you will find these are the best value if you're on a budget. The Leica M10 will not have the new shutter found in later M10 cameras. It will have the Leica Red dot but won't have the Leica script on the top. You also don't get any touch screen function in the Leica M10.
→ Leica M10-P: The Leica M10-P has an upgraded shutter over the Leica M10. The M10-P shutter is quieter and a lot more stealthy, which we have found convenient in street photography settings. The Leica M10-P, in keeping with "P" versions of M's past, featured a Leica script engraving on the top plate and removed the red Leica dot from the front of the camera. The Leica M10-P also features a touch screen that works while reviewing images to double-tap to zoom.
→ Leica M10-R: Need more image quality? The Leica M10-R features a 41mp sensor. This bump in resolution gives you more pixels, but we've found it provides more dynamic range and overall IQ. The Leica M10-R and M10-M will be towards the top of the M10 pricing. The M10-R packs a lot of horsepower for the price.
→ Leica M10-M: The Leica M10-M (Monochrom) is a black and white only sensor. We love the M10-M, and if Black and White Photography is your forte, then look no further than the Leica M10-M. The M10-M is the current version of the Monochrom at this post and features the most advanced Monochrom sensor in a Leica M to date.
→ Leica M10-D: The Leica M10-D is a unique beast. Leica produced the M10-D as an "anti-digital" digital camera. Sounds weird, right? The M10-D does not have a conventional screen on the back as any other digital camera would. Instead, the settings on the camera are limited to the ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture on the lens with the different menu options available via the Leica FOTOS app when you connect it to your smartphone. Leica went all in on this and even designed a Film advance thumb rest. These are rather desirable now, and we don't see them crop up often.
We are huge fans of the digital M, and in our time serving the photographic community, we have been through each iteration of the Digital M (and some of the analog ones as well!). The Leica M10 comes in at an incredible value, and you get a camera that has many of the modern touches Leica has kept in the Leica M11. If you're looking to upgrade to the Leica M10, we would love to discuss the possibilities. Maybe you're interested in diving into the Leica Digital M for the first time. The Leica M10 provides an accessible option. We usually have a handful of pre-owned Leica M10 cameras that have been tested and guaranteed through our pre-owned warranty. Check out the always up-to-date listing of our Leica M10 cameras.
And if you're new to the Leica M system, you should probably check our incredible selection of pre-owned Leica M lenses.
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