Gear Review: The Leica M | American Photo Mag

Camera reviews are rarely occasions for existential reflection. We expect to read about what the camera can do. But the Leica M (also known as the Typ 240) elicits deeper questions: How versatile should a camera try to be? How far from the mainstream dare it stray? What sort of pictures do we want to take with it? How much should it cost? Soon we are in really deep water: What sort of people are we? Why would we (or anyone) buy an M? The M raises such questions for at least three reasons. First, it’s nearly $7,000. That’s before you add the EVF-2 electronic viewfinder ($500+) or put a lens on the front. Second, it’s the latest in a lineage of (non-reflex) cameras that goes back to April 1925, when the Leica was introduced. The M still closely resembles the M3, of 1954. It also accepts almost all Leica lenses ever made, right back to 1931, when the Leica flange/film register was standardized. Third, although rangefinder cameras ruled the small-camera roost until the 1960s, the introduction of the Nikon F in 1959 marked the beginning of the ascendancy of the SLR and later, of course, the DSLR. So, is the M just an expensive piece of history? No. It is about as far from outmoded as it is possible to get. It is arguably as big a leap from the M9 (Leica’s previous flagship model) as the M3 was from the IIIf 60 years ago. It is unique, really: It has no real competitors. If you can get over the price, you may well find the M to be one of the most versatile cameras ever made…….


Leica M Type 240

Do you love my work and want to support me? If you’re planning on buying camera gear, you can check out above-noted links. Prices remain the same for you, but a small percentage of your purchase value is valued back to me. Thank you!