Leica M10-P

Cameras are not complicated, at least they do not have to be. They are tools to freeze time visually. I own (too) many camera systems, Sony, Olympus/Panasonic, Hasselblad, Nikon, and Canon. All of which are more ‘advanced’ technologically then Leica. However, a Leica remains a Leica.

You pay more to get less. By removing the ‘red dot’ (with a quieter shutter and a touch screen that I hardly use),  Leica manages to charge more for the M10-P over the M10. This is obviously not a new marketing strategy as they did the same with the M and M-P  (Typ 240) and the M9/M9-P. The ‘P’ is meant to make the camera even more subtle and unobtrusive. Truth be told, it is completely superficial.

The most soulful aspect with Leica is not the camera but the lenses. Sure, the M10-P is an excellent camera that is at least up to ‘modern standards.’ It is very simple to operate, with the most uncluttered physical layout one could hope for. But at the heart of Leica, it is the M lenses that make Leica special. No matter which Leica M lens you end up with, it will not disappoint. Each lens is hand-built and inspires confidence (assuming you manage to manual focus).

The only thing that is crucially missing compare to modern cameras, is autofocus. But by giving up on autofocus, you end up with much smaller lenses. For some people, that should be a tradeoff worth considering. Like a convertible, you should drive one before you go bald. For a Leica, one should use it before your eyesight does not allow you to focus manually.

So why do I still have Sony, Olympus, and Hasselblad?

As of the time of this blog entry, Sony remains the most technologically advanced camera out there (Canon EOS R, Nikon Z all announced). Sony Eye-AF is a game changer. Olympus makes some fine glasses and the m43 format allows primes with AF to be roughly the same size of a Leica M lens (despite the DOF is not nearly as shallow). Olympus also has some killer features.. the Dual Stabilization allows one to handhold for 4 seconds… Live Time feature is also unique and very functional. Hasselblad X1D 4116 is one of the most handsome cameras on the market, and one of the most comfortable to hold. And it does deliver the most stunning image quality.

But, a Leica remains a Leica.

Leica M10-P with the APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH.
Leica M10-P with the APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH. (Photo was taken with iPhone X, edited with iOS Photo App)

2 thoughts on “Leica M10-P

  1. Respectfully, you’ve missed what makes a Leica M (film or digital) different than anything else: viewing and composing through the rangefinder window.

    Famed National Geographic photographer William Albert Allard said it best in his book “The Photographic Essay.”

    “With an SLR, you are looking at your subject through the optic; you are literally seeing what the picture is going to look like. You have a device that will show you your depth of field, the area that will or will not be in critical focus. This is particularly true for me, because I’m often shooting at the maximum aperture of the lens, the aperture you actually view through. This helps you see how areas of color are affected. It can tell you if that blue has a hard edge, or if it’s somewhat soft and blended into something else.”

    “When you look through a rangefinder, though, everything is sharp. The rangefinder window is by and large a focusing and framing device that lets you pick a part of the subject you want to be in critical focus. The only real way you can tell how the rest of the picture is going to look is by experience, or maybe a quick look at the depth-of-field scale on the lens itself. I think the rangefinder frees you up in a certain way. You are probably going to work a little looser in a structural sense, because everything is clean, clear and sharp. When I look through an SLR, I think I’m a little bit more aware of compositional elements, of the structure of the image. With a rangefinder camera, I’m seeing certain spatial relationships.”

    1. Thank you for your comment. You are absolutely right. But I didn’t ‘miss’ mentioning it. I actually started writing about the RF experience but decided to delete the paragraph.

      Despite the parallax inherent with RF, somehow, you feel more connected. And when you look at the actual results, whether what you imagined turned out to be the way you anticipated or if the photo turned out to be a ‘surprise’, the experience is still indeed unique. But I find it very difficult to describe the RF experience and do not believe I could put it in words.

      Thank you for quoting for Allard wrote.

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