Leica M10: New accessories to complement the slim super model
Amid all the M10 ballyhoo the new accessories have been overlooked. Today I had a chance to inspect the goodies during Leica’s UK press conference in London. I was impressed, particularly with the new half cases and the thumb grip.
For the first time Leica has produced a brass thumb grip which has a unique appearance, quite different from the grips we are used to. The plate that slots into the hot shoe is squared at the back and perfectly complements the lines of the camera. It fits closely, with no discernible space between grip and body and the grip end is indented to fit closely against the camera’s small in-built thumb grip. It is finished identically to the M10's top plate, either black chrome or silver, and is a novel take on the established genre. That said, the new thumb grip is expensive at £160 — £40 more than the well-regarded MatchTechnical grip for the current M240 range.
I also tried the handgrip which looks identical to the M240 accessory but is obviously smaller and neater. Again, it makes a big difference to the handling, especially with heavier or longer lenses. Incidentally, there is unlikely to be a multi-function grip for the M10. This, and video, are two of the USPs of the M240 which will ensure its survival for a time.
A surprising fact is that older diopter and magnification lenses will not fit the M10. There is a converter ring kit but also new magnifiers built for the new camera.
The new range of half cases shows great ingenuity by incorporating a removable back flap. When fitted it presents a smooth back surface and will be appreciated by non-chimpers and M-D fans alike. It can be pulled down for access to the screen and buttons. The craftsmanship is impressive and I can see one of these high on my wish list. The case comes in black, brown and bold red.
I am not quite so enthusiastic about the new over-the-shoulder holster. My colleagues at the press conference were unanimous that it would not suit Macfilos. It may, however, tickle your fancy.
The Visoflex electronic viewfinder with 2.4 megapixels is the same device we have seen on the TL for the past three years. While it is not as good as the larger finders on the Q and, especially the SL, it is better than many built-in viewfinders on the market. It is certainly a vast improvement on the geriatric VF-2 from the M240.
It incorporates GPS so you need to leave it attached if you need this information. Wifi, however, is built into the camera. Unlike the old VF-2, which depended on a socket on the rear of the top-plate, the Visoflex has surface contents inside the hotshot and this helps with weather proofing or the camera.
A pretty obvious observation is that you cannot use the Visoflex and the thumb grip at the same time. The excellent thumb grip is for rangefinder use only. It's sad because the thumb grip is most useful with longer lenses, including the R zooms, when the Visoflex is a essential accessory.
Similarly, the half cases cannot be used with the grip. They do have a small integral leather grip but this is more style than substance. Arte di Mano make a a half case (for the M240) that fits over the camera and grip but it does add considerably to overall bulk.
I think the sweet spot is to use the thumb grip, either with or without the case. Keep the handgrip in reserve for heavier glass. Of course, adding all these accessories begins to edge the M10 up into SL territory. The SL comes with both grip and magnificent EVF all built into the camera. Can't have everything.
For rangefinder aficionados, though, the M10 and its accessories strike entirely the right note. It is a continuation of the M line — almost as if the M8, M9 and (certainly) the M240 had never existed. If you own an M6 or M7 (or even an M4 for that matter), the M10 is a pea from the same pod.
All images: Leica Camera AG.