Leica announces first new M in four years

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Leica has announced it's newest flagship rangefinder, the M10, the first fully new M series camera to be released in four years.

The M10 has a slightly more streamlined design and fewer overall features than its predecessor, the M240. On the upgrades list are an all-new image sensor, processor, and wireless connectivity, bringing it closer to Leica's other cameras.

Interestingly, Leica have listened to the critics and reduced the size of the M10, and it now has the same compact dimensions as its film cameras. From looking at the specs, it is not as deep or chunky as the M240, and is very similar in size and appearance to the M7 film camera. But despite the smaller size, it's still about the same weight due to leica maintaining the 'classic' brass and magnesium construction. Aesthetically, there's a new more matte style finish on the body. And fanboy's can rejoice - although the M10 lacks the "M" badge on the front, the classic red Leica dot is exactly where it should be. Nobody will mistake this for anything but a Leica.

There's a few other external tweaks worth noting. The rear button layout has been simplified to just three buttons on the left of the display and a four-way controller to the right. The M10 has ditched any video features and as such Leica has removed the button formerly used for video recording. But in a first, it has added a dedicated ISO dial on the left side, which provides access to ISO 100-6400, auto ISO, and a custom ISO mode - a welcome addition.

You also get a new 24-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and Leica’s Maestro II image processor inside. The new chip can shoot ISOs from 100 to 50,000 — a big improvement— and also has improved dynamic range. Overall, Leica says the image quality is now comparable to the quality of the Leica Q. With the new processor comes a better burst rate - five frames per second of up to 30 DNG RAW files or 100 JPEG images at full resolution. The camera’s battery is also smaller than the M240’s, but should still have a similar capacity.

Leica says the new camera’s viewfinder offers a 30 percent larger field of view, with greater magnification and 50 percent improved eye relief for photographers that wear glasses. The company is also selling a first-party thumb grip for the first time, in addition to the usual suite of lux accessories, such as cases, holsters, and hand grips.

Further bringing the M10 up to speed with the rest of the photography world is its new built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. Paired with Leica’s app for iOS (an Android version is planned for later release), the M10 can be remotely controlled by a tablet or smartphone. Images captured by the M10 can be transferred to the mobile device, as well. It’s the first M-series camera with such connectivity on board, and is very similar to the Q in this respect.

The Leica M10 is available in Australia from today with an RRP of $9700.

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