The Leica M10: built-in Wi-Fi and faster performance

For Leica, a camera is defined by its details, and nowhere is this more evident than in how the company talks about its newest flagship rangefinder, the M10. Leica proudly boasts it is “a full four millimeters” thinner than its predecessor, a fact that longtime Leica fans will appreciate as it brings the camera in line with the dimensions of analog M cameras (although we mere mortals may not have noticed the difference). But the true improvements of the M10 lie beneath its magnesium and brass exterior.

At the heart of the camera lives a brand new sensor. At 24 megapixels, it is the same resolution as the unit on the M Typ 240, but Leica says a redesigned microlens architecture and removal of the optical low pass filter offer significant improvements in sharpness.

It is paired with the latest version of Leica’s Maestro II image processor, leading to a maximum continuous burst rate of 5 frames per second and an expansive ISO range of 100 to 50,000. While not typically known for speed, Leica claims the M10’s generous two-gigabyte image buffer will let photographers shoot longer bursts and ensure they don’t miss the moment.

This is also the first Leica M camera to feature built-in Wi-Fi. For now, connectivity is limited to iOS devices, but Android support is on the way. One particularly interesting aspect of this is that iOS 10.2 users will be able to save and edit RAW files from the M10 in Lightroom Mobile and other apps, as Leica uses the Adobe DNG RAW format.

If you’d like a side of GPS with your Wi-Fi, the optional Visoflex electronic viewfinder will provide it — along with a 2.4 million dot display.

Interestingly, Leica chose to remove video functionality from the M10, apparently to return the M series to its purist roots.

In addition to all the technical upgrades, the M10 has received an exterior refresh that goes beyond shaving off a few millimeters. A new ISO dial on the top left means photographers now have full control of all aspects of exposure without going into the menu, even when the camera is turned off. Leica M cameras are loved for their simplicity, never including more dials and buttons than necessary, but this is one addition that M shooters will likely be very happy with.

The rangefinder itself has also been updated with improved magnification to 0.73x, a 30-percent increase in field of view, and a 50-percent increase in “eye-relief” distance, improving comfort and ease of use, especially for users with glasses.

The camera, which is handmade in Germany, will be available from select retailers starting January 19 for a price of $6,495.

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