Today, it is the digital Leica M-E that embodies the philosophy of the M-System in its purest form. – Leica Camera AG
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From the get go I should point out that this is as much a love story as it is a review of a piece of photographic equipment.
Yes, I love the Leica M-E. But this is the love of someone who owned a Leica M9 for over a year and who put 24k shutter clicks on that first full-frame Leica digital rangefinder. I did not like my M9. I don’t like YOUR M9. (I’m kidding, I don’t know your M9)
Almost from the moment I first held my M9 something seemed to be not quite right. I’d been shooting an unused silver M7 for about four months, a camera that Ken Rockwell likens to a gun. I know exactly what he meant by that. The camera feels like a .45 caliber military side arm. Heavier than you would expect and more solid than you’d think possible for something made to simply take pictures.
The M9 did not have that feel. Mine didn’t anyway. The material used to cover the camera felt rough and uncomfortable to my hand. The camera had smear marks which showed constantly on the black metal top and bottom plates. From the start I was disappointed in the build quality of the camera.
Now I know these are just impressions. But those were my impressions of the camera. It never really felt comfortable in my hand or solid and impervious to anything other than gentle treatment.
I also had issues with the color and working with the files out of the camera. Overall, my experience with the M9 was a downer and I sold mine a little over a year after buying it.
Then I shot film for almost two years. I shot my M7 and then also added a black M6. I shot and scanned probably a hundred or more rolls of color film. I learned a lot about shooting Leica by shooting within the limitations of a chosen film speed for the entire roll. I also learned a lot of discipline given the fact that 24 or 36 frames is all you get per roll and also given that you can not see what the result is of the frame you just shot.
But you might be thinking, if you didn’t like the M9 and you have two film Ms to shoot, why did you jump back into an M-E which is merely, in the opinions of so many, just a ‘cheaper’ version of an M9?
There are a couple of reasons. One I grew very tired of the process of having to drive somewhere, the dropping off for developing, then waiting, and then scanning the negatives. Having to do all of that just to see what kind of images I’d shot. I also got very tired of not being able to experiment freely with my great Leica lenses as one can only truly do with a digital camera.
But I also recalled some types of things that the M9 did really well photographically. Black & white, for one, and if I only used this camera for shooting black & white, and I loved my results, well, uh, jeez, aren’t there people out there who have made that exact choice by purchasing and shooting the Leica Monocrom?
There were more reasons. I thought that another M9, but this time much less expensive, but new and with a new warranty, wasn’t a bad thing to have as a second camera to go with the truly new M that I and so many others have on order.
So I took the leap. Very nervously and apprehensively. Unsure of myself or my purchase. It’s still a very expensive camera. I’d heard the M-E was ugly, made of cheaper materials, gutted of at least a couple of rarely used features in order to save production costs. I heard that it was also viewed as the entry level Leica M.
And then, I really didn’t hear much else. No one that I’ve seen has even taken the time to write a review on this camera. Why bother? It’s just an M9 stripped and cheapened for ‘entry level’ users anxious to make their move into shooting Leica digital rangefinders.
At BelAir Camera, where I buy my gear if I’m not buying online, the guys were talking about what a great camera the M-E is. Our relationship isn’t one wherein they are inclined to try to hard sell me on anything and they all knew how much I really didn’t care for my M9. My buddy Rika would go on about the anthracite finish. I wasn’t expecting, however, that I’d have any different sort of impression or experience in buying and owning and shooting an M-E than I’d had in buying and owning and shooting an M9.
Well, my goodness, was I surprised. From the moment I took the M-E out of the box and mounted my 50 1.4 Summilux on it, and held the camera in my hands, I began to immediately bond to this mechanical object. The fit and the finish are unlike anything that I’ve ever owned. Ever. It is the most flawless and solid piece of digital equipment I’ve ever seen or held in my hand. That alone was a huge surprise for me.
Where do I even begin? How about the anthracite-paint finish. I have to confess that I’m notoriously bad about wiping down my gear when I’m done using it. It just doesn’t happen unless I’m doing a job and my hands have been sweating, both of which are rare things these days. While my M9 showed everything, the M-E shows absolutely nothing, even after weeks and weeks of use. It’s as if this paint has properties that resist the accumulation of the oils from your hand.
But one of most important changes that improves the M-E over the M9 is that the body covering is now *LEATHER. Soft luxurious LEATHER. The camera is a pleasure to hold and to grip with one hand. It is never hard feeling on your fingers. The camera feels incredible compared to the much rougher feel of the M9.
(*correction. the body covering on the M-E is synthetic leather. it feels soft and fantastic, but oops on me, it’s not real leather. maybe there’s a language mishap to blame, but Leica shouldn’t refer to the body of the M-E as having a leather covering as they do “its leather trim offers superior grip” on their product description page. It’s only when you read the specs page where they mention that the leather is synthetic. Not so good on them.)
The application of the leather on the body of the camera is so perfectly accomplished that looking at the camera itself makes you wonder how it isn’t selling for MORE than the M9, as opposed to much less.
I said on dpreview in a thread on the Leica forum a few weeks ago to someone that they should buy an M-E, that it was a better camera than the M9. That statement was met with just a little bit of questioning of how such a thing could be. How could it be better than the M9 when it is essentially an M9 with some slight changes in the finish and covering and two rarely used features removed?
My question is how could it NOT be better? Just think about what I’m saying. It is an M9, right? The camera that so many people are crazy about. But it’s missing two holes from the body that give moisture two places to enter into the camera. Those two missing features are things that you can feel with your hand as you hold the M9 and believe me, they are things that your hand enjoys NOT feeling on the body of the M-E.
Leica says on their product page for the M-E.
The top and base plates are discreetly and unobtrusively finished in anthracite-grey paint. The design of its body expresses clarity, and its leather trim offers superior grip. The mechanical yet almost inaudible sound signature of its shutter release remains as a reminder that this M too is a masterpiece of unparalleled craftsmanship.
Look, if you’re someone inclined to dismiss this as just some corporate marketing bullshit, then we’re both probably wasting our time in this review. But this will be your mistake. And you won’t be able to say that you weren’t warned or at the very least that no one came forward with a user review to give their impressions or feelings about the Leica M-E.
But the truth is that Leica did not strip some expensive features off of their flagship M9 in order to produce an entry level M made up of either less or lesser body components. That’s snobbery talking and it’s not at all a reflection of what Leica could or would do. The M-E is a refined M9. That is the news I’m delivering to you now in this reveiw. It IS a masterpiece of unparalleled craftsmanship and it WILL be classic camera for years to come.
I have bonded with this camera and love it more than any thing I’ve ever owned. I can not express to you how different those feelings are for me than how I felt about the M9 that I ultimately could not wait to get rid of. I am sure that over the years of manufacturing that camera some refinements were made in the quality control or subtle changes that maybe account for how happy people have been with a camera that so displeased me.
Maybe that is what is reflected in the M-E that enables me to agree with the Leica product blurb that calls the camera a masterpiece of unparalleled craftsmanship. I honestly don’t know the answer to what my issues were in comparison to the satisfaction of others. But this camera is, by all accounts, simply an M9 that’s missing two unsealed openings in the body that make the earlier camera that much more vulnerable to moisture or the elements, and the M-E’s anthracite paint and sublime leather grip make it an unparalleled pleasure to hold and shoot with.
So much so that I now find myself dreaming of a second M-E far more than I’m dreaming of the new ‘M’ that I have on order.
That’s about all I have to say. Except I’ll add this for anyone who thinks I might be just another Leica fan-boy or merely sucking up to Leica.
I’ve been on record in the past as being very critical of the Leica M9 and especially the color issues that were ultimately something I just couldn’t live with any more. And I mean, I have been brutal. I despised not only the color I got from the M9 but also the color most everyone else was getting. A visit to the M9 Master Shots on LFI is still like a trip to the dark side of a year of bad memories for me. Sorry, Leica.
I still and always will hate the look of the M9 images as produced by a majority of M9 shooters. I don’t like what people are doing with their images, but I believe I’ve come to understand that it’s not the camera’s fault entirely and the hint that I might be right about that comes from something that Monocrom users often say about the files that camera produces. You have to REALLY work with them to get good results.
That applies, I contend, equally so to the DNG color files that come out of an M9 or an M-E. Anyway, I’ll have a lot more to say about all that in the coming weeks and months.
And that brings me to what will be the next part of the discussion about the M-E and that is what I’ve done to make myself as happy with the camera’s images and color as I am with the body itself. And I AM happy with the color I’m achieving at the end of my processes. I don’t know that I can replicate a process, however, or that I plan on outlining exactly what I do because that would be impossible. It varies so much for every lighting condition.
Anyway, thanks for reading. If you are a person who frequented this blog in the past, thank you for coming back and for your patience and for, I hope, excusing my long absence. If you read the blog from the early days you know that last year was a very difficult one for me. It’s taken a long time to feel like posting about photography and Leica equipment again.
Bottom line, thank you, Leica, and bravo. You’ve outdone yourself with the M-E. Unfortunately very few people in the Leica community seem to have any idea of how true that is. I sincerely hope that this review begins the process of changing that fact and awakening the deserved recognition for this amazing camera.
Interesting “review”… I own a M9 and I like it very much indeed. The other day I held a M-E in my hand at my local store and I must say I was surprised. It felt lighter than my M9. I just don’t like to colour. Period.
Well, the lens itself makes a huge difference in the weight. The cameras basically weigh the same. I thought my M9 felt light. Then I picked up an M9 two years later and thought it was heavier than I remembered mine to be. Thanks for your comment!
Hey Donald, a passionate write-up that highlights the under-appreciated M-E.
Glad you’re back in the digital Leica fold, and… you know, using a proper CCD-based Leica ;).
Thank you, Peter! I thought you might feel that way. I’m making the CCD look work for me. And with a 50 Summilux, who needs high ISO? Seriously on that point. I’m actually not happy if I’m not taking hand held shots at a quarter of a second. 😉
Glad to be back and thank you again.
The German WW2 naval paintwork makes the M-E look like a “Diana”.
With pitifully low actuation M9s going for 3k, and even mint M8s at 1.3k, the M-E has no appeal for me. I would have preferred to buy a new body, for longevity, but unless the M-E
is presented in an acceptable colour, I can’t see me buying one. I bought a chrome M9 with less than 2000 exposures on the clock and with mint bodywork. Just could’t see myself wanting to look at that grey paint, everyday. I saved myself a few hundred pounds with my choice, too.
Enjoy your camera. I’m over the color. I’ve got a red Artisan and Artists half case on it anyway.
Thanks for the comment.
Donald, I agree with your view. I bought the ME recently and love it. I am now busily selling all my Nikon gear. Happy days.
Did the same! Canon gear is all gone. M-E is a lovely camera and I’m happy to have purchased it rather than waiting on the new M with the CMOS sensor. I just can’t imagine shooting an M that carries the sensor all other cameras have at this moment. The CCD produces a different type of image and thus far the new M has yet to impress me with its images.
There are a lot of great tricks and tips to getting good color and great images from the M9 or M-E and a lot of folks were probably busy figuring that out during the almost two years time that I didn’t own either of these cameras.
So my feelings about the CCD are evolving. I’m very happy with my results now. And I can see that other photographers are now taking their images and postprocessing them in ways that do not look like the bulk of M9 images that we saw for the first three years of the camera’s existence.
So I’m very happy to have this camera right now. But for me it would be fantastic to have in an M camera the kind of pro capabilities in terms of high ISO performance and a more reliably pleasing pro-standard look that all the photographers doing everything from weddings to photojournalism rely upon.
This camera is great fun, and can be used certainly in many professional situations, including photojournalism and weddings. But not as the only base system. You’re going to be many situations where you need to stop a lens down to 2.8 or 4.0 in order to get in dim light enough depth of field to get all the dancers etc. or whatever else might be going on in an image, and with a reasonable stop action shutter speed. The only way to do that is to be able to jack the ISO up to 2500 and get beautiful noise free images. Just like the Canon and Nikon guys.
So I’m really glad Leica stepped into that realm as well. This is a fine camera, but I think that M is going to be a very useful camera and versatile camera might allow some lucky photographers to buy three new Ms, a Noctilux, a 24mm Elmar, and maybe a 90 Summacron, and be able to do a fantastic job shooting weddings with only Leica gear. I don’t believe anything like that is happening now. And I think it’s a missed opportunity that Leica has not, as yet, been able to enter into that working job realm of photography with their digital Ms.
Anyway, thank you for the comments.
Tip: try to work with the files in Capture One Pro 7 for even greater quality and color. I’m amazed at how this program makes all the know problem areas of the DNGs vanish. C1 is slow to work with though but there is a 2 month trial.
Thank you, I’m going to check Capture One Pro 7 out!
I’m happy to finally find a good overview of this camera. It’s difficult to find anywhere, due to its similarity to the M9. I’ve been using an M3 for some time now and really love it, though I am always tempted to purchase a digital Leica. Cheers.
Thank you, Mike. I do love this camera and the price point now I think puts a digital M in the hands of shooters, like you, and to some extent, me, who are used to Leica but also limited in how much we can actually shoot by the issue of shooting film. With a digital M you can walk around experimenting to your heart’s content. Thanks for looking!
I am an old “newbie” and recently bought an M-E and 35mm Summilux lens after reading M9 reviews about putting the “thought” back into photography. I’ve used a Nikon SLR with film and a mini point and shoot digital for years to take pictures on deadline for other people (as an editor of several newsletters & websites).
Then I remembered back in 1963 the sheer joy of shooting, developing and printing images from a totally manual SLR. One day I traded cameras (for the day) with a friend who had an ancient Leica (IIIc I think). I only shot one roll of film–but I STILL remember how that camera felt in my hands!
So now I am reliving that same feeling with the M-E and slowly learning Camera Raw with Photoshop (which I have used for years as a video producer). I think I can forgo the smell of developer–and I’m printing images that make me smile on my mid-range Epson photo printer. I like the nearly instant gratification.
Anyway, I’m glad SOMEONE has realized the M-E is a great camera in its own right. I can’t imagine needing an add-on grip or thumb hold. The camera just fits my hands perfectly, the viewfinder is clear and bright even through my trifocals, and the images I am producing are stunning, considering I have so much to learn. And I LIKE the color of the case!
Thanks for the great review.
I read this comment last night right after you posted it, David. It’s probably my favorite comment I’ve ever gotten here. Thank you.
Great lens that 35 ‘Lux. I had one for about six months. The problem with all these Leica lenses is that they’re different, different character and personalities and capabilities, so no matter which ones you DON’T currently have, you miss not having them. The 35’Lux wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. But wow would I love to have mine back for some reason. Anyway, enjoy yours.
You know, I’m sure, that your M-E comes with a free copy of the latest version of Lightroom. That’s a real good place to start in terms of having a database and great editing and exporting tools for your Leica digital images. Plus there are amazing add-on filter packages. I suggest one I don’t currently own but have owned versions of it in the past and will pony up the $200 for the latest version very soon and that’s Alien Skin Exposure. http://www.alienskin.com/exposure/index.aspx
Lot of great videos on their site showing what this product can do. It’s just damned good stuff.
Thank you again for the great feedback. Enjoy your Leica gear!
I ended up with an M-E because it was the only Leica body for sale new at the time–but I really love it. I’m guessing you are right about the M-E having a more comfortable grip material than the M9s based upon how it feels in my hands. I chose the 35mm lens because back in the day when I only had a 50mm lens I was always backing up–I’m a big picture type I guess. In 35 years of teaching video production, my consistent “soapbox lecture” was “find the STORY.” From looking at your samples I think you understand that sentiment. I’ve always liked fast glass, so the ‘Lux was an obvious, if expensive choice. I’m in the enviable position of doing this for the love of the process–no clients, no one to please but me.
The first thing I did after unpacking the camera was download LR 4.3. I tried using it after reading a couple of quickie overviews and found it was consistently fighting me. Each article about it begins with “LR is primarily a database.” I have organized photos and video clips into folders in my own fashion for decades, and I don’t need Adobe to tell me how to do it. A friend who is a professional photographer encouraged me to use CR for conversion and stick with Photoshop for editing.
The camera is SO simple to use for someone who learned photography without even a light meter (and it doesn’t hurt that I’ve shot with manual focus broadcast camcorders for years) that LR proved a major frustration. I won’t give up on it, but for now I’m a lot happier with the images I can produce right now with PS/CS6. But thanks for the tip on filters. I will keep that in mind. For fun I took a few snapshots using JPEG and DNG. The ability to suck image out of the shadows on the DNGs is blowing my mind. If the new M really has a greater dynamic range, I can see where that would be nice in some situations, but right now I’m just enjoying the ability to craft the image on my computer screen. Compared to video, you can do almost ANYTHING with a good DNG file in post (whether it’s from a CCD or CMOS chip).
I love your site. Thanks for sharing both information and emotion about what photography can be!
First paragraph: Thank you. I’m a 50 guy but you really have to do two things with photojournalistic images. Capture intimate tight shots and then be able to shoot both the environmental portrait and the big picture shots. Both a 35 and a 50 can do all that, but it’s much more natural to use a 35. I always have to remind myself this. If I’m shooting something for me, use my 50’Lux. If I’m shooting something for any sort of photojournalistic reasons, have the 35 on or ready. 5 years ago, it was a Nikon with the 24-70 2.8 monster Nikkor and the 70-200 even bigger monster Nikkor. You had it all. But Leica is different and it’s so much more fun. And again, thank you for the kind words.
As far as Lightroom. I always tell people, it’s a database first and foremost. Oh that that could ever sink into my own thick skull. 😉
Thank you for the comments about my site and about the emotion and passion. I hope this is only the beginning for 50’Lux. Thank you for your words of support, David. Very much appreciated.
My wife and I have lived with Great Pyrenees dogs for 40 years and I maintain 2 Pyr-related web sites. Back when I also did a paper newsletter I needed sharp images for scanning and bought a mid-range Nikon back and 2 of the best lenses I could afford–a 28-70mm for social events, and a 70-210mm for isolating a single dog and handler in a large ring. Having a big Nikon around my neck made me the default “official” photographer and people kept insisting on my taking and printing posed group shots (YUK).
One day at a social event with puppies I realized that every time they did something cute the Nikon was on the coffee table across the room. I bought a shirt-pocket digital point-and-shoot and the Nikon hasn’t been out of the bag since. For a quick JPEG for a web site I’m still going to use a $150 camera that fits in my pocket. But the Leica with the moderately heavy Lux fits comfortably against my side and I can see myself getting some beautiful candid moments of owners and their dogs. We’ll see. I also love landscapes and want to try some street shots in my little country town. So I think I have realistic expectations of what the Leica can do well and I’m having fun with a camera for the first time in many years!
I really enjoyed reading your review. Thank you for taking the time to write it. I was looking for a “real” review covering the differences between the M9 and M-E and you delivered.
Wonderful article – thank you.
I want a digital Leica even more now! I’m not sure I’m ever be able to afford one though plus I don’t have any of wonderful Leica lenses. I need to do a lot of saving. Until then, my Leica M4-P and 40mm Summicron-C (the unloved lens) will have to do me.
Happy new year – it’ll be great to see your photos.
thank you for visiting and commenting. shooting digital Leica is so nice because you can do as much as you want to. film is wonderful and gratifying but you just don’t get to play nearly (just a fraction) as much. I shot film for two years until I just about was out of my mind and then, really out of desperation, bought an M-E. I’ve been incredibly happy with it. thank you again!
And Happy New Year to you as well!
Hello and thanks for the review. I never shot a Leica, can’t stand the elitist crap that the brand is dragging around forums, but I do love mechanical cameras (Spotmatics and Hasselblads), and it seems the M-E has some of this in its DNA. That’s still an awful lot of money, and almost a social statement (paying an extra $1500 just to not have the red dot is even worse), but it looks like the most sensible choice for a nice manual focus small digital camera. Very helpful insights, thanks again for sharing.
Thank you. They are an addicting substance. Shooting with them is but it’s also frustrating, too. I just don’t know how I’m ever going to go back to Nikon gear or to some camera system where you hold an LCD out in front of you to compose and shoot. I have two film Ms, an M7 and an M6 TTL. I think I might be looking to sell them at some point. I want more stuff. 😉 Good luck and thanks for visiting.
Thanks for the review. Any idea if the M-E rangefinder patch flares? For background see
I own an MP that is the most flare-resistant M body I’ve ever used. The few times I looked at M9’s they suffered from rangefinder patch flare.
I don’t know if it’s more than usual. But it’s certainly no picnic. I’ll test it against my M7 an M6. Thanks for visiting.
A great write up and you make two very important points: 1. the additional sealing that the M-E has compared to the M9 and 2. the fact that you get a new warranty. A second hand M9 goes for about £3,000 on average, sometimes a bit more and almost always has no warranty left. It is well documented that the M9 had some issues with the sensor and getting one with no fall back and no real knowledge of the history of the camera is quite a risk, a risk significantly reduced by the M-E for only a few hundred pounds more.
Also, I am in favour of the new grip. Reminds me of the Monochrom. Might even be the same and everyone talks about the mono as the holy grail. I like the Mono but am in love with colour just as much and don’t want to carry around two bodies.
Loved your black and white work by the way.
Thanks for this review. First one I have seen that addresses the M-E directly as a camera in its own right rather than the usual ‘refer to the M9 review’ which is not fair and actually may understate the value of the M-E.
Thank you, Stephen! My M-E certainly is not the same camera as my M9. When I think of the fact that I sold my M9 for $1000 more than I paid for my M–E, I kind of feel bad. But then, not really. Do I sometimes wish the camera had a slick black finish like my M9, or the classic silver chrome and black look of my M7, which is available with the M9-P? Actually, not very often. At this point, I wouldn’t care if this thing were skinned corner to corner with a Budweiser detail, like some kind of sponsored speed boat or racing car. I kind of think that would be cool. 😉 Anyway, thank you for visiting and for your comments.
What a wonderful and refreshing review of the Leica M-E. It was almost impossible to find one that didnt just link you to thw M9.
Im about 3 months from owning one and this review has sent my decision off the edge. I WILL get the M-E. Not because its cheaper than a new M9 but because its a redesigned M9. I read that the camera has better sealing and better algorithms than the previous M9 and its probably why when I held both the images seem to jave more civrance than the.
Aside from my obvious subjective analysis. I think this review pointed out one thing Leica I failing to do: showing the M-E as a unique and new camera, and its definitely not making it easy for amature hobbyists like myself who make a tiny amount of money from their hobby to afford one. Or even consider the M-E. It took a lot of soul searching to give myself the $9900 (Australian) budget for an M9 and 50mm summarit because none of the reviews or information on the M-E made a non professional want one. Until this one. So now my budget is $8000. Its not much. But the $9900 could only get me the body and lens and thats it. With the $8000 budget I can get the M-E the lens a card, spare battery, a small billingham bag and a filter and hood. Personally, thats amazing. Thankyou for an amazing review.
I meant to say that the m-e images seem to have more vibrance. But thats all subjective
Thank you, very much. You should look for a Canadian 50 ‘Cron. They’re about 15-20 years old with the EXACT same glass array (optical formula) and coatings as the brand new $2300 ones. Different lens barrel, that’s it.
I wouldn’t pay too much for the 50 ‘Rit when you can pick up a used Cron for probably less.
Color, contrast, bokeh, 50 ‘Cron legendary magic… I paid $475 for mine. I’ve had two of them brand new that cost me full price. Same lens. Fantastic, only the Canadian ‘Cron is much lighter and has a focus tab. I can’t imagine 50mm or wider Leica photography without a focus tab.
Anyway. Thanks for visiting. You can’t go wrong with the M-E. It’s sneakily maybe the best digital 35mm camera in the world.
Reblogged this on 50'Lux.
Great review Donald. And great shoots daily. Thanks for your effort
Thank you, Mikhail!
I recall this was the review that made me want the ME even more. As before, great review – definitely one of the best on the web.
I agree with your sentiments of the ME. I love its simplicity and yes, the color. I would consider buying one if it weren’t for the fact that I also love my M9, which got me hooked on Leica.
Thanks for the review.
You’re welcome and thanks for visiting. Honestly, I’d really love to have a second M-E. I’m to the point now where I don’t even think of it as a digital camera. It’s just a camera. I don’t judge it by its sensor. For me now, like film, this CCD sensor just is. It has my unconditional love and respect and appreciation. I only want to do filmlike things with it, in terms of output, and it does all of the filmlike things I want it to do. The issue is resolved for me.
So now the only thing left to judge about the camera is to consider it as a camera. And the fact is, it is a iconic camera. Going back 50 or 60 years. Rangefinder focusing. Shutter speed dial you use to adjust your exposure. Aperture ring on the lens to set your aperture. That’s it. It’s a Leica.
Anyway, thanks for visiting and commenting.
Hi Donald, I have been reading your ME review view much interest. Great that you took the time and posted this. I recently found your blog and i like it very much.
I shoot Leica M6TTL and M8.2 but my M8.2 is to be exchanged be a new Leica M and I am considering what to do. The ME sounds like THE alternative since I really liked the output of my M8.2.
So how much of the so called M9 problems (like lock ups, cardreading etc) did you encounter with the ME in all this time you have the camera? Do you think the ME is exactly the same as the M9 in this respect or is is the ME somehow more developed to counter these hick ups?
Wow. First, Roel, thank you for your kind comments regarding 50Lux. I have to say… I haven’t had any lock-up problems to speak of with the M-E. So maybe once or twice in over a year of shooting. That’s almost nothing. I do recall more of those issues with the M9. But I can’t say that I never had them with any of my Nikon cameras either. I think it comes with the territory like film loading that every once in a blue moon doesn’t advance on the first try. So you turn off the camera and pull the battery out and then put it back in and the problem is solved. I don’t consider this to be a part of the experience of owning the M-E.
No card reading errors or problems at all. Not even once. Again, yes, I do remember that you had to use a certain card or cards for the M9… I think the cards I’m using are just more inline with the technology of the cameras and vice versa now.
The only complaint I would have about the M-E is that you can only fire off so many shots before the thing has to write to the card and that can slow you down. But the thing is, in between my M9 and M-E, I shot only film in my M7 and then (also) with an M6 TTL… for TWO YEARS. Two very long years. Hundreds of rolls of film. So the M-E is like a high-tech futuristic dream compared to shooting film in a Leica rangefinder. The LCD isn’t the best? Well, at least you have one! etc. I’ve been very happy with the camera. I wish it wasn’t a fugly battleship grey but I keep a Artisan and Artist half-case on it so …
I’m fascinated by the idea of the M (240)… but that is kind of overshadowed by my own VERY DEEP satisfaction with my kit right now. I’d like more M-Es and more lenses. But I have no problems at all with the camera itself and still HIGHLY RECOMMEND the Leica M-E to anyone who would listen.
Good luck and thanks for visiting.
Thank you for the quick reply Donald!
Regarding the ME and M240.. I’m still not sure what my route should be. I love the M9/ME look. Can be a Happy Camper with those images.
But I am not sure if that look cannot be achieved with a M240. What is your idea on that one?
Also I shoot more B&W at the moment so the conversion possibilities to B&W are also on my agenda. Seems that the M240 (like the M8.2) has a slight edge there in comparison to M9/ME. (And the extra lowlight possibilities are nice of course. My 35/50 Summicrons and 24 Elmarit will benefit from that.)
About the M, the thing is, I’ve finally worked out all of my color issues with the M9. The images and the color that I get now suit me so well, and are the result of a lot of painstaking work and results that I somehow was not able to achieve three or four years ago when I owned my first M9. I’m a little concerned about having to do all of that again and the question of what if I’m not able to make myself happy. Because from my limited number of shots that I’ve taken with the 240, I can see that applying the filters that I use now are completely off when applied to the newer camera. It’s just not the same by a mile. So that’s the concern I have over that camera. Little better and ISO performance would be great. Plus all of the upgrades in the machine itself. That’s all great. But in the end, if the images and the color aren’t exactly what you want, well, that’s a lot of money to spend to be less than thrilled With the result. Good luck to you. These are nice problems to kick around.
my english is not so fluent and I understand …nothing abt yr arumentations 😦
Thank you for visiting!
How has no one asked you to do a leica m-e video review!? Please please!
Lol. Good question. I have another follow up in the works. Well, in the thought process. 😉 Thank you for visiting. I don’t know about video though. I have to lose some more weight before I put out a video… TV, as you know, adds 10 lbs.
Donald: Thanks for the review as well as for the really useful comments and responses. For some time I used a high end Nikon dslr and traveled with an extra and heavy suitcase for it all. Then, I started using a Fujifilm x100s, and discovered that I took it just about everywhere and left the big stuff home. The Fujifilm looked and acted much like my first camera decades ago, though my first was a film rangefinder. I did and do like it. The thrill returned. Lately, however, I have been thinking of migrating to the Leica M-E. Small, lightweight, digital, rangefinder with the advantage that I could have a 35mm lens, PLUS others, all in a package that, like the Fujifilm, would actually travel with me without needing a porter. (I am not interested in video.) I have been waiting for the Photokina show this month because there were rumors that there might be an upgrade to the M-E (new sensor?), or a new model that might be more attractive. Alas, I see nothing from Photokina that entices me. Do you? The M-E is now a couple of years old and one can usually expect some changes in that period of time in the digital camera market, so I am wondering – would you still opt for the M-E right now, today? Would you wait a bit to see what happens? (Assuming you are not desperate and your existing camera is good.) Or did you see something new released by Leica at Photokina that is attractive in the ways that you describe the M-E to be? Thanks again for your review and the site.
First, thank you.
But wow, what timing! I would opt for the M-E right now and I think I would opt for it 15 years from now. It’s so funny that you would comment on this at this time because I happened to glance over at STEVE HUFF photo and I now can confirm that there is a huge difference between the way my mind works about cameras and the way everyone else is still thinking and obsessing about equipment.
This camera coupled with the 50 Summilux has completely taken my mind off of all that; the latest gear, watching for what is coming next, any of that. I don’t even think about it anymore. This M-E will be fine for me for as long as it lasts. More later in a dedicated post on the subject.
Thanks for commenting.
Thanks, Donald. I look forward to reading your next dedicated post on this.
Thanks for the review. I’m on the verge of buying one to replace my old M8 (The sensor is going crappy and leica does not repair them anymore) I just love the ccd sensor (so different from a cmos). . You have just convinced me to go for it. Just one or two questions?Does the ME use the same battery as the M8 or M9? What do the jpegslook like on the ME? (It may not be the best way to use the camera but some OOC jpegs were gorgeous on the M8 when you needed to have a result quickly).
Thanks again for the review
Thank you so much! I’m sorry I missed this message for so long but it never came up until today. Thank you again!