Leica M: Firmware 126.96.36.199 available for download
The latest firmware update for the Leica M (Type 240) is now available for download here. The feature I have been most looking forward to is the extended auto ISO option. This allows an appropriate sensitivity to be calculated automatically if a specific speed is required in addition to the manual aperture setting. This is something I have become used to in other cameras and it is particularly useful for street work. It is similar to the Ricoh Pentax Tav mode where the shutter speed and aperture are locked in to make the sensitivity the variable.
A further improvement is to the maximum exposure time setting. Instead of 1x focal length in the old firmware, the M can now be set to 1x, 2x or 4x focal length. Alternatively, manual maximum exposure times of 1/125s, 1/250s or 1/500s can be dialled in. Although I haven't had the chance to play with the new settings, this is bound to be a vast improvement and will make the M much more flexible in a variety of situations. It will play well with the new ISO options.
The firmware also brings a new menu item, Exposure Simulation. This permits live view accurately to show image brightness according to the shutter speed and aperture set in manual exposure, provided the speed is faster than 1/30s. Exposure simulation can be turned on permanently or set to show only when the release button is half pressed. For the moment this is the option I will go with.
Other tweaks include:
- Improved description of the lens type in Exif data.
- Live view now possible with every lens, including older screw models, using "manual lens detection".
- A video off button. This will be welcomed by those photographers who never or seldom use video (possibly a majority of M users).
- A spirit-level is visible in live view (using a new Horizon menu option). This is a new option on the INFO button.
- New crop marks in live view for 3:4, 6:7, 1:1 and 16:9 accessed by pressing the up/down keys.
- Korean language added which will delight my friend Sejun Kim at Arte di Mano.
- Exposure bracketing settings are now saved when the camera is switched off.
- New EV correction menu option enabling direct adjustment via the thumbwheel without having to press additional buttons.
- New light-metering mode, Classic/LV Disabled. In this mode only classic light metering is possible and live view is disabled to avoid accidental activation.
- New focus-peaking colours of green or blue in addition to red.
- Better display of GPS location data within Adobe Lightroom.
- Three bugfixes in live view at high temperatures (which will not be of much use to British fans); light metering in live view; and correcting the sensor-cleaning function.
This is a very solid update to the M and contains more useful stuff than the majority of firmware updates. I know it has been long in the testing among a band of super users and I have high hopes that the M will now be an even better camera.