Leica introduces new stripped-down M for still shooters
Leica's new stripped-down M Typ 262 is aimed clearly at the experienced still photographer who likes to keep things simple. Almost the same weight as an M3, though a little portlier, the camera as an M9-style stepped top-plate. In comparison with the standard M (Typ 240), the 262 loses live view (and the ability to mount an EVF) and video capability. Thanks to an aluminium top plate it manages to strip 100g off the weight of the standard M and Leica says that it is "even more ergonomic" than the standard model.
Many die-hard M users will raise a cheer on that missing video button. I have never met anyone (other than Robin Sinha of the Leica Akademie) who has ever pressed it for its intended purposes, although many have pressed it in anger. Because of the fewer features, Leica has compressed the menu into two pages to concentrate on the essentials of still photography.
The specification of the 262 follows the 240 with its relatively small 1GB buffer memory and lack of a fram-eline lever. Only the M-P features the fram-eline lever and has a much more realistic 2GB buffer. The new camera features the same 24MP CMOS sensor and Maestro processor as the standard M.
One of the most welcome features is a new, quieter shutter which should make the 262 a camera of choice for street photographers.
The M (Typ 262) will be in the stores later this month and carries an attractive (for Leica) price tag of only £4,050—£1,050 less than that of the M240. In real terms, though, because of cashback and dealer discounts, the M240 is currently selling for around £4,300 which will make the new camera appear less of a bargain. Red Dot Cameras is currently listing the new M262 at £3,950.
Leica M (Typ 262) Press Release:
Focusing on the essentials of M rangefinder photography
19 November 2015
Leica Camera has introduced the Leica M (Typ 262) into its digital rangefinder camera range, joining the Leica M and M-P (Typ 240) and the Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246), now giving photographers the choice of four models.
Incorporating rangefinder technology perfected over many decades, the new M (Typ 262) represents Leica M photography in its purest form, concentrating on the most essential features, combined with intuitive handling and discreet styling. This allows users to focus on the fascination of M photography and, ultimately, on capturing the decisive moment.
As with the other digital M cameras, the Leica M (Typ 262) features a high-resolution CMOS full-frame sensor, designed exclusively for rangefinder photography, but excludes video recording and Live View. The 24-megapixel sensor delivers exceptional image quality and extreme sensitivity, and makes the Leica M (Typ 262) the ideal camera for photography in available light situations. At the same time, the camera’s Maestro processor guarantees fast processing of captured images, ensuring that it is immediately ready to shoot.
The clear and practical outer design of the Leica M (Typ 262) also focuses on the essentials. The top plate is made from durable aluminium, making the camera around 100g lighter, and even more ergonomic than its sister models. The words ’Made in Germany’ are engraved on the back of the camera. Further differences include a smaller Leica logo and a ‘step’ at the end of the top plate, which are both features reminiscent of the design of the Leica M9.
For maximum discretion when shooting, the Leica M (Typ 262) shutter is barely audible – an invaluable advantage in situations where the photographer needs to remain unobtrusive. As an aid to this, the camera features a shutter cocking system that is considerably quieter in single exposure mode than that of the M (Typ 240), and enables a shutter release frequency of up to two frames per second. In continuous mode, the M (Typ 262) has the same sequential shooting speed as its sister model and shoots up to three frames per second.
The handling of the Leica M (Typ 262) fulfils everything a discerning photographer expects from a Leica M. This includes the rapid manual focusing process with the coupled rangefinder and the focusing ring of the lens, as well as the option of selecting automatically determined or manually set shutter speeds. Furthermore, as this model does not include Live View or video recording, the menu is extremely straightforward and consists of only two pages. This ensures that all settings are rapidly accessible at all times. White balance is selected by a dedicated button on the back of the camera.
Pricing and availability
The Leica M (Typ 262) is scheduled to be available from Leica stores and authorised Leica dealers in the UK in November 2015, at a suggested retail price of £4,050 including VAT.
Additional information can be found at uk.leica-camera.com.