Leica M Type 240
I suspect like many Leica M9 owners I have just been reading up on the newer ‘more advanced’ Leica M Type 240 (“Typ 240”). To give non-Leica users some background the Leica M9 was released in 2009 and uses a Kodak 18.5mp CCD sensor). The Leica ‘M’ (Type 240) was released in 2012 and uses a more standard CMOS sensor (24mp) as found in many DSLRs.
As a Leica wedding photographer and portrait / fashion photographer I now use the Leica M9 for almost all my work regardless of whether on location or in the studio. My very capable Nikon D800 DSLR has become my backup camera. The only time I might feel I need to pull out the Nikon D800 during my regular work is in the evening during very dimly lit wedding ceremonies. If I am trying to freeze action using available light only the ISO 3200 of the D800 can save me. I find the Leica M9 is useable up to ISO 800 for people shots in dark conditions and even at ISO 2500 on occasion but I would not like to make it a regular occurrence.
So, onto the new Leica M Type 240
Much has already been written about the Leica M so I am just going to summarise the key points that stood out for me for my given situation from the research I have done.
Advantages of the Leica M Type 240 vs. Leica M9
- High ISO capability* (I could shoot at ISO 3200 and have useable photos)
- Larger 3” LCD Display* (with 4x more resolution to the M9)
- Quiet shutter release* (good for documentary style wedding photography)
- Weather sealed (always handy for when needs must)
- EVF Electronic Viewfinder (so can use any lens on the M’ and focus similar to a SLR, through the lens)
- Larger battery (longer battery life)
- Increased dynamic range and resolution (in theory good but read more below)
- Video and Live View option (with focus peaking if you like that)
(* Very attractive to me for the work I do)
Advantages for me to have a 2 Leica camera setup rather than Leica + DSLR
- I would only need to carry 1 set of lenses (not Leica gear + Nikon gear)
- Leica lenses and bodies are smaller reducing my overall camera bag size
- I can benefit from using the high quality Leica M mount lenses in any given situation, day or night
Disadvantages for me selling my DSLR
I think regardless of how good a manual rangefinder camera is, such as the Leica M9 and Leica M, there will always be a potential need for a DSLR camera. Examples include fast action photography, wildlife photography, macro photography, creative photography using special effect lenses such as a Lensbaby. The fact that the latest Leica M camera is starting to include features found in DLSR and mirrorless cameras such as the CMOS sensor and EVF shows the market need for these features.
Can the Leica M Type 240 replace the Leica M9?
Not in a million years!! The M9 is special and the Kodak CCD sensor produces unique photos that the new M CMOS sensor cannot match. The M photos are nice and are comparable to using a Nikon D800 or perhaps a Canon 5D Mk III. The photos have got that sharp generic characterless look. The Leica M9 is special for me as I enjoy film photography and the black and white images possible from the M9 CCD sensor to me are near indistinguishable from 35mm film. With the rising costs of film to me this is the best of both worlds.
Example – Leica M9 & Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50mm f1.5. London
So, would I replace my M9? No. I am not willing to give up the famous ‘Leica look’ that is due to the CCD sensor more so than the lenses.
Would I consider buying a Leica M Type 240 in the future?
Possibly, to use as a second body and for low light photography depending on my situation and work needs at that time. It is not a cheap camera! I think I rather wait and hope than Leica see sense and create some super Leica hybrid CCD-CMOS sensor!
Other options on the market?
If I want to stay with my beloved CCD sensor the next step would get very expensive. I could give up the small size of the Leica M gear and invest in a medium format Leica S2!
MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk – Leica Wedding Photographer