#1165. More Leica M11. Why it hits the nail on the head for me, and the head on the nail for others.

By pascaljappy | Opinion

Jan 19

It ticks all the rational boxes, then slaps on a healthy layer of dream sauce. But not for everyone.

Inside the cave
 

How you feel about the new Leica M11 seems to depend on two factors.

One – predictably – is what type of photographer you are, why and how you photograph. Let’s consider that first.

But, just as interesting is your past relationship with Leica, something I wasn’t expecting. So that will be our second port of call.

Complex assembly
 

3 types of togs

If humans were rational beings, it would be possible to map a direct camera – photographer correspondance based on actual needs. As it happens, we’re far more interesting and emotion-driven than that. All marketers know we buy on emotional impulse and intensely seek rational justification for our purchases, not the other way around 😉 And I think three main resulting pillars of our photography buying psyche are below.

Before this, let’s get the “it’s too expensive” crowd out of the way. The M11 isn’t too expensive. “Too expensive” says more about you than it does about the camera. Maybe you can’t afford it, which is very different. I sure can’t afford it, but I still think the M11 is worth every single penny, and will explain why at the bottom of this page.

The M11 certainly is for a passionate crowd. Noone else will find it worth the asking price, I’ll give you that. But even inside this population of photographers which don’t discard cameras based on price, there are still families which I think hinge on whether their members are gear oriented, goal oriented or process oriented.

Dynamic range matters
 

Gear oriented photographers enjoy cameras and gear above photography itself. And that’s fine. The same can be said of car enthusiasts, for example. They own cars far beyond their needs. An Über driver or Amazon delivery person would scratch their heads, but it’s thanks to car enthusiasts that we still can see superb vintage vehicles in mint condition on the street (not hidden in vaults). It’s because there aren’t enough of these people about these days that today’s car lineup (at least in France) is duller than a broken sandwich.

Gear oriented photographers still make photographs and can be excellent at it. They just place the joy of ownership at the center of their purchasing process. The photography market would be dead and we’d all be using smartphones, if not for these people.

Goal oriented photographers have a specific requirement set in mind for an actual or perceived job. Professionals are mostly goal oriented and, for decades, amateurs were inspired by the tools and results of professionals that were far out of reach of amateur oriented cameras. Paparazzis (boooh) need long lenses and fast AF and high FPS. Resolution is secondary. Ditto sports photographers. Wedding photographers will be somewhat similar, as getting the shot at the right moment is vital to get paid, rather than skewered with left-over apetizers (death by a thousand toothpics), while adding more than a hint of personal look to their production (enter Fuji).

But amateurs can be goal oriented too. Any astrophotographer will have a clear idea of which is suitable or not, for example, in ways that manufacturer specifications totally fail to convey. And even photographing a child’s birthday party follows the same logic of “getting the shot” and the resulting set of acceptable operational parameters, with it.

To sit or not to sit?
 

Process oriented photographers are nutjobs like me who enjoy the experience of crafting photographs (the shoot and the post processing) as much as they value the result. There’s an almost spiritual quest associated with making images out of what surrounds us and we value flow above frames per second, intangibles over facts.

Of course, that is quite closely linked to being gear oriented, but ergonomic design will be more important here than outright luxury, collector desirability or great build quality.

Now, pros aside, we could all make do with more standard gear than we purchase. Pros have to pay for the gear and make more money from it than it costs them. We crazy amateurs sink the leftovers of our pro-life profits on gear that’s totally over-specced and pointless, but it gives us great pleasure. The direction we over-spend toward is entirely based on where we imagine our needs to lie, and depends on our specific blend of the above three pillars.

Adventure travel
 

Now, in my mind, I’m the Indiana Jones of photography. My reality, as illustrated above, is Disneyland Paris 😉 Who cares? My dream camera has superb file quality, fosters Zen-like flow and is even more dependable than death and, harder still, French taxes. It can be slow, it can be flawed, so long as the subtlety of tones in that epic b&w rendering of Mickey’s ears, is top notch. FPS??? I won’t take 2 photographs if one will do. 30 in a second? Please, let’s remain civil … AF speed? Anything will do so long as that tree doesn’t grow faster than the lens can focus. I’d rate myself as 50% process oriented (I love the Pixii’s fantastic sense of flow), 35% gear oriented (large sensors, smooth tonal range, good build quality) and 15% goal oriented (AF matters to me).

That’s where the M11’s USP begins to sound like music to my ears.

What I wasn’t expecting to witness this early into the camera’s life is another segmentation of photographers, this time relative to their prior ownership of Leica cameras.

Frost
 

The prior-ownership divide

Granted, my sample population is limited to DS readers. But, in this narrow slice of the world, it’s fair to say that those lusting for the M11 have largely never owned a Leica camera before. Those who have don’t seem anywhere near as interested …

What’s that about?

The leaked promotional videos did mention capturing the attention of new photographers. So, the guys at product management and product marketing have done a remarkable job. But why the recoil of current owners, and what is it about a camera that outwardly looks so identical to all M-cameras before it, that is proving so divisive???

Identical, yet different. Better or worse?
 

Here are some of the objections voiced by those who actually know the brand from prior ownership and use (names have been modified to ensure the security of those witnesses).

  • It’s not a real M camera.
  • Who needs 60Mp in a full-frame camera? File quality can only suffer.
  • Leica innovation leads to bugs and flaws. Wait for the next one, it will be mature.
  • I’ve moved to X brand and am not looking back.

Interestingly, people I know who are really interested in the M11 are all using other brands today, and using them very happily. All of them (which is not a lot, in pure numbers 😉 ) want the M11 not because of any limitation of their current system, but because the M11 appears to extend (or at least match) the best qualities of their current gear will adding that magic Leica sauce on top. While the incremental updates that make the M11 step out of line, for current owners, are more of a deterrent than anything else.

The boat build
 

Considering the fact that Leica M owners probably don’t change their cameras very often, creating a new body that seduces togs from outside the fold seems quite clever. One of my main motivations for buying the M11 is getting the last body I’ll ever need (which I said 3 years ago about the X1D … 😉 ) We all know that kind of purchase only lasts until a new definitive body comes along. So bringing in new cash, from people who will eventually renew their vows with the brand, feels like a great way of making up for the naturally slow renewal process in the Leica community.

Of course, for this to be true, those ambitious promises need to be kept. A few rave reviews on YouTube can’t outweigh the reality of a tepid adoption by actual owners of M-bodies.

I will keep digging to evaluate how serious those objections might be for me, and will try to get hold of a sample review, after all.

“Pas de salades” (which in French, loosely translates to “don’t tell lies”)
 

Here’s what I think stands out (as in outstanding) from the reviews, that I would dearly love to check for myself.

  • The subjective look of the photographs in at least some of the review videos (not all of them) is superb.
  • Colours seem spot on and natural, and carry the lens’ signature.
  • Battery life is fantastic. Up to 3 big days, for some reviewers.
  • The rangefinder experience, pleasing in some conditions but not all, is complemented by an external EVF.
  • The 60mp resolution is high enough to avoid future fomo, by now we all agree that more is pointless.
  • That resolution doesn’t come at the expense of file quality …
  • … although in tough situations you can lower it to gain high ISO and DR capability.
  • Phone tethering brings with it many desirable capabilities not accessible to many other cameras.
  • A hybrid shutter, like auto-ISO is typically the sort of flow-inducing feature that I crave.
  • Build quality is very good.
  • Resale value is better than most.
  • Lenses are small and gorgeous.

That’s a lot. And it is evidence of someone at Leica thinking of shooting scenarios, not just specification numbers. If this is borne out in real life, this could be my camera for the next 20 years. Which actually makes it quite cheap.

Dip your toes?
 

A personal conclusion

How do you top a Hasselblad X1D system? The bigger brothers from the Hassy stable, older CCD Hassies, or the taunting Alpa/Phase/Rodenstock route all provide alternatives with even higher image quality potential and seem like natural answers to the question.

Would you take any of these on a long hike in the mountains, though?

Those pricier systems also better suit more sedate photographers. Where the X1D is the spiritual child of the adventurous Mamiya 7, the other two feel closer to the Fuji GX680 or Linhof folding dream machines. Studio and indoor species. What Leica may have done with the M11 is out Mamiya 7 the X1D by making it lighter, less electricity-thirsty and more versatile. Mind. Suitably. Boggled.

I found a range
 

I’ve previously compared the M11 to a Porsche 911. Both started life with what is now considered by most a ‘design flaw’ (rangefinder and rear-mounted engine) and have evolved around this to become exceptionally good at what they do.

But that’s selling the M11 short. For all its beauty and pose, the 911 is only really suited to tarmac. Show it some dirt and its suspension will soon feel as out of place as a toe on your nose. The M11 of my dreams, however, would climb mountains, light weight (as a system), and light on batteries as it is. Whether it can handle the weather and bruises like my X1D remains to be seen. If the X1D is the last of the old Defenders, could the M11 be the Ineos Grenadier? Powerful enough to ditch a regular car at the lights, capable enough to chase goats up a cliff, and simple enough to survive the fall?

Probably not, but that’s what’s got me dreaming. And that’s what I’d love to find out if Leica sends me one. If any of you knows anyone at Leica and wants to read that goat-chasing review, please whisper in their ear 😉

 

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  • Dallas says:

    Pascal, you sound like a kid in a toy shop. Can I come and play also. Yes the M11 sounds like an excellent addition to any camera bag. I just can’t work out how to break it to Anne, that I need one not just want, but need!

    • pascaljappy says:

      Hi, Dallas. Tell her your back aches and you nneed a lighter system. Tell her the luggage will also be lighter when the two of you go on cruises !
      Now please find me an excuse for Lise 😉 😉

      Cheers

      • Dave says:

        Hi Pascal
        The M11 seems to be quite a camera. I have been using film M’s for a long time and M9’s from 20012. Once one finds the gestalt of these cameras they are pretty special and just get out of one’s way when photographing. Good luck I hope Leica loans one to you so we can all learn more about the camera.
        Best
        Dave

      • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

        I remember when Dallas bought the D850. But I couldn’t week his nose over it because I ended up buying one too!

        I don’t know if this would help. I’ve been ogling at Nikon’s new Z-mount f 2.8 400/ 560 lately. My wife, on the other side of the dining table, started telling how she would like to go on a cruise in our north-west, on a new luxury yacht. When she asked if I’d mind if she went by herself – and told me the price – I said no – go for it. By the way, there’s this new lens . . .

        Caught like a deer in the headlights! – she said OK, as long as you trade in some of the others. That’s do-able!

    • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

      You’re both incorrigible and both as bad as each other!

    • PaulB says:

      Dallas

      Just say its an investment. Or say that it followed you home.

  • Vlad. says:

    It is some couple of years ago or so in one of the Leica reviews one comment was “it’s too expensive” answer to that was “stop being poor” a bit nasty perhaps, but funny at least to me.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Hi Vlad 😉 It’s only nasty if the author meant it nastily. It’s a reality that most photographers will never be able to afford that camera. It is very expensive. But saying it’s “too expensive” is a judgment of its value, not its price. And if the camera is as good as the launch promises and lasts its owner 20 years, then it is actually very good value 🙂

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    While I have to soften the blow by starting on this note – Pascal, thanks for this post, it’s one of the most intelligent articles on photography that I’ve read in quite some time! – I do have to continue by tweaking your nose. Hopefully you’ve put that toe back in the shoe, where it belongs!

    You appear to be “circling” – lusting after something you don’t have – trying to muster support for a spend that you admit would bust the budget – testing the water, to see if there’s some way to borrow one – or asking us to encourage you in the pursuit of this new passion.

    I can’t even find fault with the idea, after all the cameras I’ve had. Including a pre-World War 1 roll film folding camera that took 6 postcard size negatives – made in Germany, and rebadged to pretend it was made by a camera shop in Victoria (AUS). And next month I take delivery of my Christmas present – the Nikon repro Z FC. And I’ve been lusting after SIGMA’s Foveon sensors for some years now, waiting patiently to see if they ever deliver their much-promised FF Foveon SIGMA!

    Can you hire an M11, if you don’t have a friend who’ll lend you one? Pros do that sort of thing all the time. And your Hassy is such a fantastic camera, I really don’t think you should consider “change” without a serious test run.

    I had to giggle at one point – you will remember me saying I had a Linhof once – fantastic camera, loved it to bits – but yes you’re quite correct, it wasn’t much use to me outside “studio” type photography, and I never did much of that in those days. Even now – because my “studio” type stuff is mostly macro, and other gear is way more suitable.

    • pascaljappy says:

      You’re not wrong, Pete 😉 My Hassy is fabulous. It’s the utter lack of communication from DJI/Hassy about the future of the range that worries me. Don’t want to be stuck with a big investment in a dead system.

      Yes my Master Technika 4×5 was an absolute delight to play with. Which is why I … never did 😉 Too slow, too cumbersome. It was sold for a Mamiya 7 and 3 lenses and I never looked back. A bit less resolution, but so much more usable.

      If Leica send me one, I’ll review the M11 as objectively and thoroughly as possible. And possibly buy it. If not, too bad. Fuji is the obvious solution to my problem. But I’m not overly excited by Fuji colours in the shadows. We’ll see 😉

      • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

        You won’t get those Fuji colours with the Hassy either.

        But with a Leica, you will miss out on the dynamic range that the Hassy has brought to your photos in recent years.

        I do appreciate your nervousness. But the underlying reason for that seems to extend to most camera manufacturers, these days. My insurance with my Nikons is having more than one of them – good luck with that idea at Leica prices! – maybe one day ill bump into you and Paul in Montmartre and YOU two will be the ones with eight different Leicas hanging round your necks!

        • pascaljappy says:

          Ha ha. No, I’ve always been a single camera man. Life’s too short to have weight dangling round my neck. Except girls of course.

          • Ian Varkevisser says:

            I will definitely second that 🙂

            • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

              Yes well – once upon a time that was just about the only thing I ever took seriously. But it came to an abrupt end when I fell in love with one of them and married her. Ever since then, I’ve had to adjust to a different life style. It was kind of liking driving into a concrete wall at over 200 Kph!

      • Ian Varkevisser says:

        From a technical standpoint and the fact I am invested in Fuji I am interested as to what it is about the Fuji shadows that is troublesome.

        • pascaljappy says:

          I couldn’t tell Ian. Some photographs made by a GFX 100s have been sent to me that look wonderful. But most of what I see online seems to have a slight mustard overlay and a dullness in the shadows. I’m guessing that’s an emulation and not the natural character of the camera, though. Cheers

      • PaulB says:

        Pascal

        I would not worry too much about what Hassy is doing. Their survival as a brand, more than any other company, is dependent on being a viable alternative to Leica. And being quiet about what they are working on is a necessity to not being left behind before they start.

        Now that Leica has matched the high resolution numbers of full frame and mini-medium format pixel density, we will probably start to hear rumors of a response from them (and Fuji).

        PaulB

        • pascaljappy says:

          Paul, you give me hope 🙂 Maybe an X2D with better battery life and fewer bugs? And the larger sensor? Now *that* would be wonderful news. The old 100Mp larger sensor, with no IBIS in a body like the X1D. I’d sign up for that !!! And since Fuji are talking about a 170Mp version of the GFX, it would make sense for Hassy to go bigger, rather than higher res. Here’s to dreaming. Cheers.

          • jean Pierre (pete) guaron says:

            Overnight I had another thought. Years ago a great mob of us to go out, blazing away. One – the son of a Wall St lawyer – always shot with a tripod, and only ever used a Graflex monster press camera.
            Of course we were all shooting hundreds of photos, using 35mm roll film. While he would just get a handful, on 4×5 sheet film.

            The most obvious difference wasn’t grain or contrast or detail in the shadows – it was the fact he put far more effort into taking perfect shots.
            And you seem to be the same with your Hassy

            • pascaljappy says:

              Well, that’s been my point for the longest time. Some cameras “do it for you”, others inspire you to do it. And my preference, in a creative hobby is towards the latter. That being saig, the optics (MF or AF, for a start) probably play an even larger role than the bodies. Philippe, for instance, owns an a7R4, one of the more “do it for you” cameras out there, but mainly uses it with manual focus lenses and certainly doesn’t let the camera do the work for him. Compared to his work, mine is positively diletante 😉

              • jean Pierre (pete) guaron says:

                LOL – then you would think it is perfectly normal for me to set up my D850 on a tripod, with my manual focus Otus 55mm, take my readings with my Sekonic meter, set shutter & aperture & ISO manually, and trigger it all with a remote release.

              • pascaljappy says:

                Sharp, certainly 😉 Normal … weeeell, define normal 😉

              • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

                I must confess the vast majority of my stuff is travel, street, night or pets. Most of which doesn’t lend itself to tripods, manual focus, etc
                I need to find an excuse to post a photo that does. Maybe when I get home I can look for one for you.

      • jean Pierre (pete) guaron says:

        Looking at your story again, that’s funny. Your Technika turned into a Mamiya, mine turned into a Zenza Bronica.

  • PaulB says:

    Pascal

    It seems that you have taken s big gulp of the Leica Cool Aide. But the look who is talking . . . err . . . I mean typing.

    Good luck getting a review body and lens. I’m sure the experience will be fun and enlightening. The West Coast Leica Rep was in Seattle today showing off his demo camera. Unfortunately I was not able to go see it. Which I may actually be thankful for. Considering the increased sensor density over my M9 and SL2.

    PaulB

  • Haven’t been able to conjure any emotional attachment to a camera since I quit shooting film. My digital cameras far surpass the functionality of my old film cameras and I really appreciate the work I have been able to turn out with them. Work that I would never have been able to do with film.
    But, having an attachment to one of them would be like having an attachment to an X-ray machine.
    There is only one camera that still makes my palms sweaty when I see a picture of it, and it shoots film. I don’t even want one anymore but I still think it is lovely piece of workmanship. I can just imagine the days of pleasure being afield with it, holding it in my hands and shooting one majestic image after another. Just thinking of it still makes my palms sweaty.
    So, I suppose I can empathize with your lust for the Leica M1, Pascal, if you can empathize with my yearning for a Horseman VH-R w/three lenses and two backs.

    • pascaljappy says:

      I sure do, Cliff. As a student with not much money, I fell in love with a Linhof Master Technika 4×5.

      I bought it, ate pasta for the next few months, and barely ever used it. It was sooo expensive to use (film and processing where crazy). But, at the same time, the craftsmanship, the movements, the endless possibilities … they kept me up at night and I remember scanning negatives on a light table with a loupe for hours while the rest of my family watched TV or read. Of course, enlargers were too big and expensive and prints were mostly out of my reach. So it was basically a loupe and contact prints. Such a lovely camera!

      As you say, it’s much harder to fall in love with a camera today. But, still, my X1D is right up there. It is a very lovable camera. If only we had reassuring news of the future from Hasselblad.

      • I got the Linhof Color, a monorail field 4×5. I loved it and still have it. And, a Sears Tower 4×5 press camera w/some swing, tilt, rise and fall of the front element and a revolving back. It’s a nice piece of work, too.

        • pascaljappy says:

          Never used the Sears, Cliff. But Linhof made lovely cameras.
          It’s very amusing that reviewers today worry about 100g more or less in a camera body but, back in the film days, a Linhof Colour was considered a field camera! We’ve lost sight of quality, in some ways 😉

  • Spell check changed the M11 to M1. Sorry.

  • Adam Bonn says:

    Hi Pascal,

    The M11 seems to have enjoyed a reasonable uptake on the Leica forum.

    Many cameras now are very expensive, and if someone wants to argue “oh but this camera has more of this or that” then that’s fine, those cameras represent a better value proposition for that person, but a €1 is a €1 is €1 – it’s not ‘more ok’ to spend several thousand on one model but not another. Well IMHO anyway.

    The trick with Leica is not to buy new, wait a year (or longer) and get a mint used one. It’s also a myth that they have better resale… they have a better percentage of value retention, but haemorrhaging 90% of the purchase price on a €1300 Sony or Fuji is far less painful than haemorrhaging 50% of the purchase price on a similarly aged €6000 Leica 😉

    I’m an existing Leica shooter, and I’m not super hyped about the M11.

    Now I’m sure I’ll get one one day… But not until I want/need a new body and the price has come down a lot and it’ll be used.

    I would say that I won’t get one because it’s too much money for me… but that’s not true really… I have an M9p and an M10, flipping the pair would probably get me in the ballpark for an M11.

    I’m not considering to do this. Honest. And I know I would if I wanted – I flipped everything I could to get the M10

    So why am I not excited enough?

    Well for my tuppence ha’penny, the headline features just aren’t headline enough!

    I care not a jot about the loss of the baseplate, it’s probably better without it, but it’s not a huge bother with it

    I have the EVF for my M10 and hardly use it, and when I do it’s more for the 21mm (or the 90) which aren’t great in the OVF – so a nicer EVF (which apparently will have some degree of backwards compatibility to the M10 line anyway) isn’t a reason enough to upgrade for me

    The improved battery is tempting… the M240 had a huge battery and when I swapped to the M10 this was a concern of mine… but I still manage 500-700 images per charge and that’s a long time for me (as well as my aforementioned ambivalence to the EVF, I don’t use the phone app either which eats the battery)

    Internal storage, well nice to have I guess… I don’t think I’ve ever had a camera with it before…

    USB-C (plus powerbank) charging… if I can get 700 shots out of a M10 battery then I imagine that’s 1500 from an M11 one… so I file that under theoretically of value 😀

    No more classic off the shutter metering – well that basically just means it works like all the other mirrorless cameras, I mean no bad thing there, it’s not always fun pointing the camera at the ground or a wall or something to meter for the scene and not the sky..

    But I’ll concede it’s a major plus here, matrix metering usually works well and until now M shooters have had to live without it…

    (actually the M240 had the same feature, but with an approx 1sec shutter lag when using live view with the rear LCD off -which is all this new mode on the M11 is- it was about as popular as a rattlesnake in a lucky dip)

    But I sold cameras that already had this feature in order to fund the Ms I’ve had, and I’ve never once deeply missed it (because with the LCD turned on the M10 works like that anyway for when I need it)

    I’m not going to argue the toss about an extra Fn button (something the market seems to blow hot and cold with anyway, from ‘I want 50 unlabelled buttons that I can program to what I please’ to ‘its so lame that OEMs can’t just make a camera that just has the necessary buttons without the need to program everything’), nor do I see any menu changes etc as anything good or bad, just different

    So that just leaves the biggie really I think…

    Image quality.

    I think we can split IQ into two super broad parameters… the measurable (variable) type, how much DR, how much ISO, how little noise, how much acuity etc and the attribute type; natural, organic, pleasing, kodachrome-y, filmic, etc

    And I see plenty of the first set and enough of the second… in a more or less sort of way…

    ISO64 is massive in it’s diminutive (!!) statue, the DPR ISO 50000 test shot looked reasonable enough to me, colours are nice, so far that rather depends a lot on the tog showcasing the image I think… the official DNG samples from Leica have by and large been shot with ‘adobe landscape’… which without boring the reader silly, (wait what do you mean too late already?) isn’t a colour profile designed for the Leica, but a one size fits all cameras type deal*

    But that’s not a criticism, from what I’ve seen (ie downloaded sample DNGs and played with them) of the images they have nice open shadows and tend to be on cool side, both things I (and I believe you) are very fond off..

    …But I’m not seeing a reinvention or revolution of the colour spectrum here 😉 “based on the M9 colours**” or not, the M10 is clearly a digital camera (at full res mode), and as nice as the colours are (and they are), the output seems modern to me, I don’t mean that in a bad way, but not less digital than my M10 either.

    But overall I say kudos to Leica, they’ve brought the M into modern times, not sacrificed the M-ness of it but have made it work in far wider shooting environments.

    I look forward to picking one up on the secondhand market in 3 or so years!

    *The adobe colour/landscape/portrait/etc profiles are basically 3D-LUT tables that adobe use for every camera they support. The traditional ‘adobe standard’ profile is their camera specific variety. The newer profile types get kinda ‘pasted’ (that’ll make anyone who knows the nuts and bolts of that process wince) over the top of the adobe standard one

    **Folks love the M9 colours, they’re great (sometimes) but the M9 is a 8-9 stop DR camera, this does things with the native look of the RAW files (makes them look bright and sparkly) that you’ll struggle to see in a 14-15 stop DR camera. Saturation, pop and sparkle are inextricably linked to contrast and the native tonality of the M9’s chip isn’t something we see in a modern high DR sensor, which will tend to produce quite flat looking files straight off the card. If one wants an M9 look, buy an M9 – if needed you’ll be able to flip it for what you paid for it, unlike an M11.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Thanks for this input Adam. I have to say, 6 people have written to me to tell me not to buy the M11. All of them Leica owners. That’s very interesting.

      It look like, when you’re a Leica user, all that the M11 brings to the table is incremental (albeit a large increment, when it comes to resolution). And none of it, taken in isolation, seems to justify the outlay. Whereas, most outsiders that were interested in some of the Leica values but disliked the stone-age approach of recent years, suddenly find themselves with a modern camera to look forward to. Not just modern, but groundbreaking, in some respects (such as the internal memory, the easy tethering). And that suddenly opens a door that was once closed.

      What attracts me the most is the frugal nature of the beast. It’s almost like a canadian prepper walked into a Hermes shop. You get the very long battery life, and the luxury. None of it is very rational, but – then again – when was the last time I enjoyed a rational purchase? 😉

      That said, your advice about waiting a couple of years, so that niggles get ironed out and prices drop a bit, make a lot of sense. Point duly noted!

      Cheers

      • Adam Bonn says:

        The parts of the m11 that got really modern do offer a big uplift in operational versatility.

        (Most of them existed already on the M240, but that’s a camera that feels quite old now, but without the charms of the M9, which still feels like a film-digital hybrid in many respects. The 240 just feels like a 10 year old digital design)

        I’m sure I’m mansplaining here but download as many sample DNGs from it as you can, be wary that many of the ‘press’ samples will be shot with über expensive glass (I have a hunch you’d be happier with a secondhand €1400 50 cron than a brand new €7500 cron APO anyway)

        Review the DNGs with your workflow, and against the Hassy files that you love so much, after all it’s literally big sensor/big pixels vs small(er) sensor/tiny pixels

        And if the pictures sing to you, if it’s not a purchase for the features but for the images, then you’ll be very happy

        And yeah, I’d at least get the first firmware update and first production run models out of the way before I’d buy one…

        But most of all, it’s a rangefinder before any other consideration, if that appeals then you’ll be very happy with it (or any Leica M really), if you find yourself manually focusing through the EVF the whole time then there’s so many better options out there, even from Leica let alone Sony/etc

    • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

      Thank you for your comment, Adam – before I start, my apologies if my first comment causes offence to anyone. But your comment is far and away the most comprehensive and sensible one I’be seen on this topic so far.
      I had rangefinder cams for years when I started and they never worried me. Close up, you had to compensate for a difference between where the rangefinder and the lens were pointing. But at the time I couldn’t afford anything different so I had nothing to complain about.
      Decades later I’ve often avoided the first release of a new camera. One, because I was NOT unhappy with what I already had. Two, to avoid any “teething probs” at the start of production. Three, to do my research properly – which is quite impossible before heaps of other people have been using it. And four, because within a few months you can often save hundreds – maybe even thousands! -during sales!

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