Leica Builds An Even Purer Digital M
The Leica M Typ 262 was already designed to appeal to purists by eliminating both live view and video recording, but now there’s a new version of this digital rangefinder camera which takes things even further. The new M-D – still, a bit confusingly, designated Typ 262 – now goes without the monitor screen itself, thereby also eliminating in-camera image review and a menu system. Leica says its M-D “…intentionally omits all but the most essential technical features” and is “…radically reduced to the most important parameters required for photography”.
The new camera’s back panel now just has a selector dial for sensitivity settings as all the controls associated with image playback and menu navigation are also eliminated. There’s no provision for any in-camera adjustments and images are captured exclusively as Adobe DNG format RAW files. Focusing is, of course, performed manually as is exposure control. The optical viewfinder has a magnification of 0.68x and incorporates a split-image rangefinder plus brightline frame pairs for 35mm/135mm, 28mm/90mm and 50mm/75mm with automatic switching and parallax correction.
The new M-D uses the same full-35mm format CMOS sensor as its monitor-equipped sibling, and which has an effective resolution of 24 megapixels and sensitivity range equivalent to ISO 200 to 6400. Image files are stored on an SD format memory card, and the camera supports SDHC and SDXC types. The sensor is matched with Leica’s ‘Maestro’ processor and there’s a 1.0 GB buffer memory to accommodate continuous shooting at up to 3.0 fps. The camera’s all-metal bodyshell has the traditional heavy-duty brass top and bottom plates with a black lacquered finish and real leather inserts. Also omitted is the Leica ‘red dot’ badge, according to the company in order to maintain an “unobtrusive appearance”.
The new M-D is priced at $8900 body only and brings the current range of digital Leica M models to five (M, M Typ 262, M-P and M Monochrom). Leica has tried the monitor-less design before with its special M Edition 60 which, in 2014, which celebrated 60 years of the M System. This camera’s production run was limited to just 600 units, but the new M-D is a standard model and is available locally now.