Leica launches 60MP M11

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Leica has announced the M11, the company's latest digital rangefinder.

Visually at least, the new camera shares much in common with the other M-series cameras, which feature a largely unchanged design that dates back to 1954.

Image: Leica
Image: Leica

The M11's standout feature is a 60MP BSI CMOS sensor, a considerable jump from the 24MP of the M10 and the 40MP of the M10-R.

The sensor allows for Raw image files in DNG format and JPEGs to be recorded at 60, 36 or 18 megapixels, using the full sensor area. According to Leica, the reduced file sizes are created having initially sampled all the sensor's pixels, giving a noise benefit and reduced risk of moire.

Image: Leica
Image: Leica

The M11 also uses its 60MP resolution to offer two cropped modes: a 39MP mode that gives a 1.3x crop and an 18MP mode that provides a 1.8x crop. These work differently than the downsized sensor modes and apply to both Raw and JPEG. As far as we can tell, they work a little like cropping in post, as they're simply a tag on the image metadata that can be overridden if you decide you don't want the crop.

The M11 has a sensitivity range of ISO 64 to 50,000; it records a 14-bit colour depth and has a dynamic range of up to 15 stops.

New to the M11 is a stabilised live view magnified mode, which makes it easier to fine-focus close-up subjects. This is purely digital, and works by showing a window of the sensor's view and then moving it to correct for any camera motion. It's also the first M to offer 'multi-field' (matrix) scene metering - it does all metering off the image sensor, rather than using a secondary light meter. 

Image: Leica

In a first for the series, the M11 comes with 64GB of internal storage, which makes it the first M model to save image files simultaneously onto two different storage media.

Image: Leica
Image: Leica

In addition, the M11 has an 1800mAh battery, which Leica says stores 64% more energy than before. Combined with the camera’s more efficient operation, this will allow for considerably longer shooting sessions with a single charge.

On the rear, you'll find a new 2.3 million pixel, high-resolution touchscreen, up from 1.04M dots on the M10 models. The menu structure of the M11 remains consistent with that of the Leica SL2 and Q2, unifying the interface across the board for a more user-friendly experience. 

The black-finish variant of the Leica M11 features a top plate made of aluminium with a scratch-resistant coating, resulting in a body that is approximately 20% (100 grams) lighter than its silver-chrome counterpart. By comparison, the silver-chrome M11 features a classic brass top plate and weighs in at 640 grams. 

The M11 also adopts the directly accessible battery design from the Leica Q and SL models. There's no battery door: instead a base plate on the battery forms part of the camera's outer surface. However, the addition of a USB-C connector on the base of the camera means you probably won't need to remove it very often anyway, with this connector capable of managing charging, file transfer and data transfer functions.

The Leica M11 Body (available in Silver and Black) will set you back (gulp) $13,500 inc. GST, and is available now from usual Leica dealers.

You can also watch a presentation on the new camera below.

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