#41 My thoughts of the Leica M240

My M240

I bought my Leica M240  back in 2017, as my M9 was in Germany for a sensor change. I had an idea that I could use my Fujifilm X-Pro2 as the M9 was on its journey to Wetzlar – but wow was I wrong. I got Leica abstinence after two long weeks and began thinking about buying a M240. There would probably not be a better time for selling my M9, as it would have a complete new sensor when it came back from Leica.

My M9, when it came back from Germany

After another week or two, I found a M240 for the right price at a Leica dealer in Lund (in the south of Sweden). I took a train to Lund and checked out the camera before I bought it. The camera was in perfect condition and suddenly I owned a M240. The M9 came back a month later, and I sold it for the same price as I payed when I bought it. Nice.

Visby, shot with my M240

When I bought the M240 I had owned three silver Leicas (M6, M8 and M9 – well the M9 was gunmetal, but it was almost silver…). The M240 that I bought was black paint. I do actually think that the silver version is nicer – but I believe the black version is more ”stealthy”. The black version can be really nice as well, as the paint wears off here and there, and the brass start to shine through.

Glass window in Linköping Cathedral. Another M240 pic…

My first impressions of the M240 was that it was a [slightly] faster camera than the M9. The shutter sound was nicer – without the winding kind of sound that both the M8 and the M9 has. The startup time was shorter – but that doesn’t mean that it is short. It takes about 1-2 seconds before I can take a shot with the camera after I turn it on. I have missed out many snapshots beacuse of this slow startup time. I actually think this is the most negative thing with the M240. I think it is better to keep the camera ON and let it go in to powersaving mode. I feel that the startup is a liiittle faster then. I also learned that a fast memory card can shorten the startup time.

Traveling with the M240 – a shot from Vienna

The rangefinder on the M240 has a magnification of 0.82, which I think is perfect for 35 and 50mm focal length. I use glasses as I shoot and this make it hard to see the frame lines for a 28mm lens. I had a 28mm Zeiss, but I never used it. It felt like I didn’t have control of the picture, when I could not see the whole picture in the finder. I have never owned a longer lens than 50mm for my Leicas, so I have no experience of that. 

The Voigtländer Nokton 50/1.1 – a fun lens

An important feature is of course the picture quality of the camera, and it is great. I often shoot jpg to save space and time. I use raw on special occasions or in difficult lighting situations. I think the jpgs out of the M240 is really good, both in color and in b&w. It reminds me about film. Something I suppose you like, if you were a film shooter from the start – as I was. 

A ND-filter on the lens, mounted on my old M9

As I have written before on this blog, I use Zeiss lenses on my Leicas. I shoot them wide open 90% of the time, and in combination with the great picture quality from the camera, the result is great. The M9 and the M240 can shoot up to 1/4000th of a second, which means that I often have to use a ND-filter to be able to shoot wide open (the M8 could shoot up to 1/8000…).

The M240 was the first M that could do video and Live View. I never use the video function, and almost never the live view. If I need any of that, I use another camera. The M is all about still photography and rangefinder. You don’t buy a M to do video…

The M240 with my two Zeiss lenses

Another good thing about all the digital M:s I have owned (M8, M9 and M240) is the battery life. It last for ever if you compare it to my Fuji X cameras. The M240 did get an even bigger battery, compared to the M8 and M9 – probably because of the video and live view mode. 

The heavy combination M240 and Voigtländer Nokton 50/1.1

The M 240 is a small full frame camera – but it is rather heavy. I did own a Voigtländer Nokton 50/1.1 – a fun lens – but I felt the camera got to heavy to carry around a whole day. I like the small size of the camera (compared to other full frame cameras) and I want the lenses to match that small size. This – besides the price – is why I most likely never will get a Leica Noctilus lens. Had I been a pro, I might have considered it – but not as an amateur.

The M240 in concert

Is it worth buying the M240 in 2019? I should say – absolutely. If you are like me and love photography and want to be challenged – not just press the button and let the camera do all the job. I would say that even the M9 is still worth buying. Paired with a Voigtländer or Zeiss lens they can be found at decent prices. They preserve their value better than other digital cameras – but not as good as the film-Leicas. So if you don’t like it, you will not loose that much money…but I think it is more likely that you will sell it to buy another Leica…