First of all thanks to Leica, who loaned me the brand new M10 with a 35mm Summilux, while my Q was in Wetzlar for sensor issues.
I am using the Leica M10 for about 2 weeks now and lots of photographer friends asked me what I think about it. So here are my thoughts about the M10:
First of all - the new Leica M10 is a real beauty! The camera feels solid and great in your hands. A bit slimmer and lighter than the M240/262, but honestly I can’t notice a huge difference. The ISO Dial looks fantastic. In the beginning I had a few problems to lift the dial, but after using it for a while, everything went smoothly.
There is not much to say about the specs. There are many reviews on the web that get more into details from the technical site. For me personally I want to find out, if the M10 is worth it to upgrade from an older Leica M or a Q.
Imagequality & Usage
My first impression about the M10 is that Leica did a very good job. It took me a while again to shoot with the M. The last few months I was hardly using my Leica Q. I absolutely like the image quality of the Q, but sometimes I have the feeling that I am more "consuming" photography. It feels like doing lots of snapshots - everything works quick and easy - and in the last few months I noticed that my interest in photography starts to die... Shooting with the M started to make me feel different again! The whole workflow process slows down and I am finally more concentrating on the composition. Now I can't cheat anymore - I need to work to get good results!
As I said, I really like the imagequality of my Q, but the M10 tops it. The images look more detailed and crisp - the colors are great and the ISO is 2 steps better than from the Q. The M10 don’t produce any noise till ISO 1600 - the files are clean and crisp! I usually don’t shoot over ISO 3200 - but I took some test shots at ISO 6400 and was surprised about the result. There is so little noise and it is no problem to get rid of it in the post processing. Converting the files into B&W looked a bit like film grain - which looks really nice.
I’ve also been very surprised about the continues shooting rate. Not that I usually shoot sport activities. But when I took some pictures from the Eisbach surfers I got very good results. The camera reacts fast and the burst rate is absolutely enough to get some good shots.
The battery life is ok so far - not as good as the M240/262 - and I didn’t run out of battery while shooting a whole day. But, I would suggest to buy a second battery - just to be sure.
Final thoughts about the M10.
If you are a street photographer, photojournalist, portrait, landscape or architectural photographer - The M10 seems like a perfect match for any situations!
Now comes the difficult part of my review. Is the M10 worth upgrading?
The M10 produces brilliant, clean images and it is a a lot of fun to shoot with. As much I am thrilled about the M10 I try to see it from a rational side. First of all a camera is a tool, which helps you to express your vision - but it is also a tool you want to use with joy!
But, be honest the M10 costs a lot of money. For those who might think about to upgrade - start first asking yourself, what needs do you have for your camera - then choose wisely - maybe it is more clever to invest in new lenses than in a new camera body. If you have the money - don’t think about it - get it! You’ll get a fantastic camera.
For myself I enjoyed shooting with the M10 a lot - it gave me back the joy I was missing the last few months working with a camera. There is just one thing I was missing at the new M10 - the soul. I know, that it takes a while to bond with a new camera to work on a special look of your files and 2 weeks are definitely not enough time...
After all Leica managed to produce a modern M without loosing focus on their craft-ship and tradition to focus on „ Das Wesentliche“.
If you want to get into the Leica M world and don’t want to spent to much money, I highly recommend getting a used Leica M. The „older“ M’s are still great cameras and there are currently really good deals for a used Leica M.
I also could highly recommend getting a new Leica M262 - which has the same sensor of the Leica Q. This camera has soul, the ISO range is not as perfect as the one of the M10 and doesn‘t come with live view or video - but it focuses on the essential of a rangefinder and produces wonderful pictures. This camera has character! Currently Leica offers a Starter Set to the M262 with a Summarit lens, Flash and a Bag. Read here my user review about the M262.
What about the Q users - worth upgrading to the M10?
The Q and the Leica M are totally different camera systems and it is hard to compare them. Yes, the Leica M10 has the better image quality, but it also costs more than twice as much as the Q. The Q is the much modern camera when it comes to usage - you have an AF, Macro Mode, Video and much more… If you don’t have any problems shooting with an EVF and like to shoot with AF - stick with the Q. You will be more than happy and produce excellent pictures!
Shooting with the M is work - it takes time to get used to the workflow - but once you mastered it it is hardly to get back to another camera...
I hope I could give you a first impression of the new Leica M10. If you have further questions - don't hesitate to contact me. I am happy to help! Best, nicole