The classic rangefinder hits the digital autobahn at 10.3MP. We take a test
The bottom line? Leica built this camera to last and to perform up to the mechanical standards of its famous M series. In that respect it passes with flying colors. Its Extremely High JPEG image quality (and potentially Excellent RAW DNG image quality), stellar low-light performance, low distortion lens selections, and software bundle also make it a top-notch camera worthy of respect.
Will Leica's solution to the M8's higher IR sensitivity and resulting image quality issue be acceptable to potential buyers? Perhaps. Adding a filter isn't a favorable solution to most Leica lovers, who abhor putting filters in front of their expensive lenses, and it raises a serious question about an otherwise excellent camera. At nearly $5,000 for just the M8 body, that question shouldn't have to be asked.
Imaging: 10.3MP (effective) CCD sensor captures 3916x2634-pixel images at 3:2 aspect ratio with 16 bits/color in RAW DNG mode.
Storage: SD cards up to 4GB. Stores JPEG, DNG, or JPEG + DNG.
Burst rate: Up to 10 Fine-quality JPEGs or DNG files at 2 fps.
Focus system: Manual only.
Shutter speeds: 32 sec to 1/8000 sec in aperture-priority, 4 sec to 1/8000 sec plus bulb in manual.
Metering: TTL center-biased metering with preset working aperture. 1/3-stop exposure increments. Aperture-priority or full manual. EV 0 to EV 20 at ISO 160.
ISO range: 160-2500 in 1-EV increments.
Flash: M-TTL for Metz SCA 3502 and Leica SF24D flash units. Flash sync at 1/250 sec, and adjustable in 1/3 EV stages.
Viewfinder: Bright-line frame type with automatic parallax compensation. Indicators simulate FOV for 24/35mm, 28/90mm, and 50/75mm lenses.
LCD: 2.5-inch TFT with 230,000 pixels. Up to 4X (100%) zoom magnification or up to 9 thumbnails in playback.
Output: USB 2.0.
Software: Includes Leica Digital Capture and Capture One LE RAW converter.
Batteries: Proprietary Li-ion rechargeable, includes charger and car adapter. CIPA battery life rating, 550 shots per charge.
Size/weight: 5.46x3.16x1.45 in; 1.2 lb, body only. 1.7 lb with 28mm lens, battery, and card.
Street price: $4,800, body only.
For info: 201-995-0051; www.leicacamerausa.com.
Magnification: 0.68X (Below Normal)