Leica M240 – Should you buy a 10 year old digital camera?
September 2022 is the 10 year anniversary of the Leica M240 camera. Released in September 2012, should you buy a 10 year old digital camera? This article follows my journey so far with the Leica M Typ 240 camera. Comparisons to the Leica CL, Leica SL and Leica Q plus details of the Leica M10. Read to the end to see some of my favourite Leica M240 model portraits from past years.
2012 – Happy 10 year anniversary Leica M240!
Time goes so fast doesn’t it. 10 years ago (September 2012) Leica released their new full frame digital Leica Typ M240 rangefinder camera. At the time I was enjoying my Leica M8 and Leica M9 cameras and couldn’t afford the latest and greatest from Leica.
2015 – Part exchanging my corroded Leica M9 for a Leica M240
Roll forward 3 years and life was still good with my Leica M9 camera. I popped into the Leica Mayfair store when visiting London for photoshoots and to say hello. After having a free sensor clean while enjoying a complementary coffee (those were the days!) I was informed that my M9 had a corroded sensor. I’d never really noticed as shooting the lenses wide open you don’t really see it.
Leica offered me a great deal on my M9 so to cut the story short I upgraded to the Leica M240. (Read the disappointment that followed in some of my other Leica M240 blog posts). I eventually learnt to love it but it took a long time.
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2018 – Upgrading to the new Leica CL mirrorless camera
After 3 years of using the Leica M240 camera I wanted to buy a smaller cheaper Leica as a backup camera for all my overseas model photography trips. The Leica CL offers the viewfinder that is lacking on the Leica TL and TL2 so that was my top pick. I could never have predicted what was coming next!
Comparing the Leica CL vs Leica M240
My expectations of the digital Leica CL were moderate at best. The camera isn’t even full frame so it’s not for serious photographers, right? Well not quite. I instantly fell in love with this little Pany-Leica type Leica! It completely took over my photography as my main camera and the poor Leica M240 suddenly took the back seat.
3 reasons a Leica CL is better than a Leica M240
- Smaller, lighter and cheaper
- No more rangefinder calibration issues (EVF = always in focus)
- Autofocus option with TL lenses and accepts M lenses via dapter
See all the reasons I prefer the Leica CL in this detailed article –
2021 – I got that urge to upgrade back to full frame!
3 years on and I was still using the Leica CL as my main camera but I was starting to miss full frame image quality. Those nice shallow DOF bokeh shots and see the edge detail with all the vintage lenses I use. I wanted to stay with mirrorless cameras but couldn’t really afford another Leica camera.
Losing my way.. I bought a Lumix camera! (The Panasonic Lumix S5)
During a period brain issues (I think I was brain washed by too much YouTube) I bought a Lumix camera. Jokes aside. I bought the Panasonic Lumix S5 to tick multiple boxes. It would replace my Micro Four Thirds Lumix GH5 camera that I used to record my YouTube videos (in hope it would make for more watchable videos). It also offers a cheap alternative the full frame mirrorless Leica SL camera.
See this article for many Lumix S5 Leica look portraits and I’m sure you’ll be impressed with the image quality –
Panasonic Lumix S5 vs Leica M – 3 reasons the Lumix is better
I appreciate there is probably limited interest comparing a Lumix S5 to a Leica M camera but for completeness:
- Image stabilization and the option of autofocus lenses
- Tilt-flip screen for high/low work and great for tripod photography
- No more rangefinder calibration issues (EVF = always in focus)
2021 – Coming to my senses, I upgraded to Leica! The Leica SL
It took me only a few months to realise my mistake. This guy that calls himself MrLeica using a Lumix! What? Exactly. I couldn’t really show up to my Leica workshops with a Lumix camera! It would be a joke. To be fair to the Lumix S5 it can take fantastic images when paired with Leica lenses. I just shoot all my cameras in RAW and apply MrLeica Lightroom presets.
Leica cameras just feel better don’t they
To my eyes there was no drop in image quality when using the Lumix S5 camera compared to Leica. That said, it felt like a big step down going from holding a Leica to now a Lumix. I’m sure nobody cared but I did. This pushed me to buying a used Leica SL camera. The used prices are fantastic for this full frame Leica camera and it is one of the best cameras i’ve every bought/ used.
You literally cannot miss! (Leica M240 vs Leica SL)
Have you ever been frustrated with your Leica M camera? Did you mis focus your shot, yet again! Soo annoying isn’t it. Perhaps failing eyesight, maybe the camera rangefinder calibration or it might be the lens to camera calibration. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to never mis focus again? Welcome to the Leica SL! A joy to use and the big bright viewfinder beats all other non-SL series Leica camera viewfinders including the latest Leica M11 EVF accessory.
3 reasons to buy a Leica SL vs Leica M240
- Never miss a photo again with the big bright magnified SL viewfinder
- Built like a tank (the most solid digital camera i’ve used)
- Enjoy any lens – Nikon F, Soviet, Leica LTM, Leica M, Leica R
See more comparison info and sample photos in the Leica SL article –
2022 – The Leica Q catches me off guard! (A lightweight autofocus Leica M!)
OK, so I didn’t see this one coming! I had tried the Leica Q in the past and managed to survive the experience without buying one. Second time around I wasn’t so lucky! I ordered one within hours of testing one for Leica wedding photography booking. (The client brought his Q for me to try at their wedding pre-shoot and I loved it).
Best Leica camera for wedding photography? Leica Q or Leica M240
For me, the Leica Q is the ultimate Leica camera for wedding photography. The fixed fast autofocus 28mm Summilux f1.7 lens is a dream to use for event photography. The perfect size, weight, speed and looks. It ticks all the boxes where the Leica M cameras fall short.
3 reasons to buy a Leica Q vs Leica M240
- Affordable 28mm f1.7 Leica Summilux lens
- Great autofocus for moving subjects shot at fast apertures
- Macro mode for the close up and detail shots
I cover more features of the Leica Q in this article when shooting it against the Leica CL –
Ultimate Leica camera combo?
This will depend on the task. Some photographers probably love rocking a pair of compact Leica M cameras with 2 lenses for street photography. For my Leica weddings my camera setup is now the Leica Q + Leica SL. They replaced the Leica CL + Leica SL pairing. Before that I used the Leica M240 + Leica CL. Pre-Leica CL I used the Leica M240 and Leica M8 and the M240 replaced my original Leica M9. I wonder what will be next!
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2023 – Worth upgrading? Leica M240 vs Leica M10/ M10-P?
What will be the next camera? Now that the Leica M11 camera has been released the price of used Leica M10 cameras has reduced as M11 users sell their M10 bodies. Is now the time to upgrade to a Leica M10? I considered this in the past detailed all the features and major differences. The facts have not changed but the used prices have. Maybe it will soon be time to upgrade my Leica M240 for a Leica M10 or M10-P. Time to re-spark my rangefinder camera love!
The Leica M240 is still a great camera
Despite sounding like I am bashing the Leica M240 camera it can still take great photos. If you follow me on YouTube you’ll know I just returned from a trip to Poland where I had the Leica M240 and Leica M3 with me. I do love rangefinder cameras but for portraiture the Leica SL brings many advantages. That said, lets enjoy some Leica M240 photos from past years.
Leica M240 Portraits
Click any photo to see the lens used and to view full res.