Back to basics - the new Leica M-D

Some people might think buying a digital camera body without a screen for 5.950 € is insane… OR, maybe not?

Last weekend I had the chance to test the new Leica M-D. My Leica Dealer from Munich was so kind to lend me the camera for 2 days. My set up for the weekend was the M-D with the beautiful 50mm Summilux.

So far, everything felt familiar shooting with a M - except the missing display and the menus.

In the beginning the missing display felt a bit strange. I caught myself looking at the back of the camera after taking a frame. But after a few shots I got used to it and felt kind a „relieved“. My whole process slowed down, I started to concentrate more on my next frame and the composition of the shot. The curiosity raised while I was shooting, by asking myself, if I got the shot right and in focus.

Olympiastadion, Munich

I felt a little bit like in old days, when I took pictures during the holidays with a film camera and couldn’t wait to hold the final prints in my hands.

In these digital days, this feeling gets more and more lost. With digital cameras, smartphones etc. you immediately see the results - you can take hundreds of shots without thinking on costs or time! Nowadays it feels more like consuming pictures - not „making“ pictures. It is much more like point and shoot, point and shoot…

This process can feel pretty boring after a while and some start loosing fun in taking pictures. A friend of mine once said to me „There are so many great pictures… I am asking myself why should I stick with photography? Nobody needs to see my pictures, cause everything has been photographed?“

He is right - nearly everything has been photographed! But it hasn’t been captured the way you see it! We all are born with a unique view! This is why we should still take pictures. We should just concentrate more on our vision & composition, than on the amount of pictures we take…

BMW World, Munich

BMW World, Munich

With the Leica M-D you’ll get this feeling! It is exciting and fun to shoot with the camera and wait till you get home and see the results on your computer.
The image quality is superb! The color shots look great and editing the files into B&W wasn’t a big deal either.The camera shoots just DNGs - which I love - most of the shots you can use right away! I just did some tiny tweaking in the shadows - but this also could be about my settings.

Some shots with the Leica M-D of the Munich Mash Sports 2016:

Are there any things I didn’t like about the M-D?

Well, yes there are 2 things.
The beautiful ISO Wheel at the back of the camera is easy to use during daylight, but if you are shooting in the dark you can’t see the ISO range on the wheel. I am sure you get used to it after a while. You can put the light of your phone to light up the back of the camera, but honestly this crashes the workflow…

The other thing I didn’t like is I couldn’t find any information about formatting the SD-Card in the camera. I am sure this problem could be resolved in a software update. I resolved this problem formatting the SD Card in my Leica Q - which worked fine.

Would I get a Leica M-D?
Well, if I would have an extra 5.950 € - I might… But I would always have a second camera body as a back up where I have a display, which is important for me when working on assignments.

The M-D camera is for people who like the „film-feeling“ - the excitement in the workflow - without having the costs of buying and developing film. If you want this feeling the camera is absolutely right for you!

If you are curious about the M-D after reading this review, then don’t hesitate to go to your Leica Dealer and ask for testing the Leica M-D. It is a real fun experience!