Last August I was testing the Leica M240 for a week. As a Leica M user I felt "home" after a few shots... The M is actually not meant to be for sport photography - but I was curious what I can get out of the camera shooting the Eisbach Surfer in Munich.
The M shoots 3 frames a second - not much compared with other cameras. But my goal wasn't to get as many shots out of the camera - my goal was to find out if I could shoot action and freeze a certain moment. Would the camera respond quickly and would it be able to get the shot I want.
As I mentioned in my earlier review - the M240 is a joy to use! Everything feels just right, at the right position and it is easy to control the camera. There are just 3 simple ways to control light, ISO, aperture and time. The M is not having an autofocus, a menu for sport shooting, face detection or anything else. The M is simple and focusing on the essential.
With manual focusing I am in total control of the shot. It takes some practice to get used to it. For most of my shots I pre-focus the scenery using the zone-focusing method. I highly recommend Thorsten Overgaards blog post where he writes about using the Leica M with giving lots of information and tips how to focus right.
For my shooting I had the M240 with a 35mm Summarit 2.5. The weather was good and I was shooting all day long with ISO 200. I used aperture mode (f8) , pre-focued and was just focused on the action. The M240 was very responsive and so I could freeze great moments.
I wished I would have had more time to test the M240 - to experiment more in different settings, like how does the M240 behave while setting the camera to f8, 1/1000 and bump up the ISO or shoot wide open with 1/800 sec. and an auto ISO - and how could I freeze moments with a faster lens... I am sure I would have get much better results - but for the short time and was pretty happy with the result I got.
What showed me that day was, that the M240 is a great partner on your side for almost any situations. For me the Leica Rangefinder is my most favorite tool to use. It feels just right as an extension to my eye which I can use and trust blindly.
Here are my final thoughts about the Leica M240 after testing the camera for nearly a week. First of all I wanna thank the Leica Store in Munich for letting me test the M240 for a whole week.
I am a Leica user for a couple of years now and always liked Leica for their craft-ship and tradition, the love for design & simplicity. It is always a joy to work with Leica cameras and so it was with the M240.
The M240 brings it to the point. Leica has improved a lot the M which helps to make your workflow easier and faster. Everything feels right - at the right position - the new discreet shutter sound is fantastic. I loved the new manual shutter speed dial for the exposure settings. The new Live View modus felt a bit weird in the beginning with manual focusing. But it was helpful in certain situations and with a little bit of practice I was able to focus very well with it.
The image quality.
The image quality is superb! The images are clear, sharp and detailed. For me personally they looked a tiny bit too clear, too perfect. Someone on the web compared the DNG files of the M240 and the M9 - it seems that the M240 lost a bit of sharpness compared to the M9.
The ISO - fantastic! The B&W conversation and filters - excellent! The color files are coming out a bit different with the M240 - but they are still looking good.
The images of the M240 feel just right - there is not much editing needed. This camera is a blast!
...mmh, this is the only thing I didn't like. The results were to shaky. I guess for good results the usage of a tripod is necessary. Video is always nice to have - but honestly the quality on the M240 isn't good. My iphone will get a better result - but hey, this camera is for shooting pictures and not for filming the new Scorsese movie.
The M240 feels just right! The camera was overall a joy to use. A workhorse and nearly perfect for every situation.
Would I buy a M240?
Paying 6.200 € for a camera body is not peanuts. You have to feel right to make such a big investment. I for myself can tell - I am looking for a camera which helps me to transform my vision. I want to express something with my images and the camera is the tool which helps me to bring my vision alive. I absolutely would buy the M240. This camera is versatile! Fantastic for clean files for commissioned or personal work and awesome for artistic and experimental work.
The test drive of the M240 is still going till 31. October 2014. I highly recommend to get in touch with the M experience.
Here are a few shots I took last week with the M240.