It is almost two months since I bought my Leica M-D, and I felt that it was time for a short text about my thought of it so far. If you don’t know what’s so special with a Leica M-D 262 here is a short summary:
• A full frame, digital rangefinder camera with a 24 MP sensor
• Interchangeable lenses
• No rear LCD screen
• No functions – what so ever
• Only RAW-files
In short – not a camera for everyone.
I bought the M-D to come as close as possible to film photography – without the process of developing and scanning film. Another thing I hoped to achieve was to become less stressed about what settings I should use. I just wanted to be able to grab my camera and not think about AF settings, noise reduction or film simulations.
Ok – my thoughts then – two months in. The M-D feels much like a M-240 without a screen. Maybe a little thinner – because of the lack of a LCD screen. I must say that I have loved the fact that I wont have to worry about settings and menus. That part of my expectations were fulfilled. The only thing I have to think about is what ISO to use. The ISO is set on the wheel on the back of the camera – where the screen normally is. The wheel works fine and is much easier than using the button and LCD on the M240. The battery life is just as good as the M240. I can use the camera for days without charging the battery. Well…there is not much more to say. There are no functions.
Does the camera give me better pictures from a technical point of view? No – it doesn’t. It is just as good as any other camera out there, these days. The M-D is all about the feeling of using a camera as close to an analogue one as possible. I personally think that Leica pictures have something special – but that’s me.
I must say that I haven’t decided if I like the fact that the MD lacks a LCD-screen from another point of view. I have never used the LCD-screen for ”chimping” after every picture – but not being able to see the pictures to check the exposure and focus or maybe deleting bad pictures already in the camera are things I miss more than I thought. Then again – this was what I wanted. To have a camera that is almost like a film camera. I knew that it would be like this. The question is if I have let my hunt for a slow and film-like experience, go one step too far?
I have found that the M-D is forcing me to spend more time in front of my computer. The selection of pictures must be made on the computer instead of making the first selection in camera. This is not what I want. I want to minimize the time spent in front of the screen. The result has been that I am not as trigger happy with the M-D, compared to the M-240. I am not sure that is a good thing – it is important to practice if one wants to become a better photographer. Just buying a cool, very special camera doesn’t help that at all.
Was it the right thing to do, to change from an M-240 to an M-D? Well – I have to use it for a couple of months more before I can say it for sure. I am not completely sold yet. Yes it fulfills much of my initial thoughts – but at the same time it has come with some things I did’t fully expect. I have changed my Lightroom workflow a little bit, to handle the fact that I can’t select the pictures in the camera. This can be important. If it works in the long run, the camera stand a better chance to stay on my shoulder…