Leica’s M Camera Is a $5,200 ‘Entry-Level’ Rangefinder
It’s hard to think of a $5,195 price tag on a camera as “cheap.” But in the realm of Leica products, that cost places the new Leica M (Typ 262) at the entry-level end of the company’s pricing spectrum. Leica made this new model for people with bank who just want a damn good, relatively easy-to-use rangefinder camera with a full-frame sensor. Forget all the other frills.
What’s been left out of the new Leica M? It doesn’t shoot video, for one. There’s also no live view feed on the camera’s 3-inch monitor. And as is the case with all rangefinders, Leica or otherwise, there’s no autofocus system; you manually adjust your focus for every shot with the ring around the lens while peering through an optical peephole.
The camera’s features have been pared down on purpose, and not just to make it (relatively) more affordable. Anyone who has shot with a Leica rangefinder knows that the experience is unique; it’s slower and a lot more manual of a process to get the exposure and focus precisely the way you want. But when you get that perfect shot, it looks distinctly incredible—the famed “Leica look”—and makes you want to shoot more and more. With this new M model, Leica strips the shooting experience down to its bare essentials.
Amidst all the subtractions, there is one new addition to this camera’s feature set: Leica says it has a quieter shutter mechanism than previous M cameras. Beyond all that, it’s largely the same camera as the Typ 240, with a 24-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, a shutter speed dial up top, an ISO range of 100-6400, and of course the Leica M lens mount.
A little over five grand is a lot of money by any measure, but it’s still the entry fee you’ll have to pay to become hopelessly addicted to Leica rangefinder cameras. Oh, and don’t forget to budget another $10,000 or so to start building your collection of the company’s amazing lenses.
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