Leica M240 Review
(Leica M9 Part Exchanged for a new Leica M 240!)
After buying a used Leica M9 camera two years ago today I bid it farewell when I part exchanged the M9 for a brand new Leica M Typ 240. Below is my Leica M240 review so far-
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Leica M240 – Why the sudden purchase!?
How did this come about you may ask considering I liked the Leica M9 and my heart is in film photography not digital photography? I noticed my M9 camera rangefinder needed slight adjustment to get sharp focus at apertures wider than say f4. This is why I took the Nikon D800 to Poland and Ukraine as the M9 was not useable. A Flickr follower, Wolfgang then advised my that Leica Germany had a good part exchange deal. I contacted my friend Jimmy at the Leica Mayfair London store and he said they to had a similar part exchange offer on for the Leica M9. https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/20207868168
New camera offer details – Leica M240
Leica currently has a fixed price offer for a M9 suffering from a delaminated CCD sensor coating – Pay £2250 and exchange your M9 for a new Leica M Typ 240. The price of a new Leica Typ 240 camera is £4650 in Jessops (to put things in perspective!) (link below). Considering how well used my M9 camera was (high shutter count and strong signs of use including a chipped/ cracked screen), the fact that the M9 CCD sensor had been diagnosed as suffering from delamiantion and needed replacing and the rangefinder needed recalibrating it really was too good an offer to refuse! I find film cameras (Leica film cameras but also medium format and large format cameras) far more rewarding and enjoyable to use compared to modern digital cameras so some people might think I’m crazy to spend a lot of money on a camera that doesn’t really interest me. You would be correct if it was for personal use only but when shooting with model agencies or offering Leica wedding photography I need high quality digital images in addition to film. I already have a 36MP Nikon D800 but I can operate a Leica rangefinder camera more accurately and quicker and the Leica M mount lenses tend to offer superior optics (across the board)(I recently bought macro lenses for the Nikon to achieve a level of sharpness I was acustom to with Leica). As I have written before, I can achieve sharp focus at f1.0 (using the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2 lens) with relative ease on a calibrated Leica body yet I misfocus f2.8-f4 with manual focus lenses on the Nikon (especially at greater distances). It is for that reason why I am 100% tied in to the Leica M rangefinder camera system.
Leica M240 – Interest and expection was low
Considering the high cost and me being, in theory a “Leica Fanboy”, I wasnt really that excited by the thoughts of the new Leica M Typ 240 camera purchase. I was far more excited when I fixed the focus issue on my Mamiya 645 Super medium format film camera on Friday! The Leica M purchase was more a job that needed doing ahead of my next wedding (so asap!). I arranged the purchase with the Leica Mayfair store a week in advance and during that time I read up on reviews such as ‘Leica M9 vs Leica M 240’ and asked questions on camera forums like ‘Did anyone buy a Leica M 240 and regret it’. I then came up with the idea of buying the Leica M 240 then selling it wth zero accuations and buying another used M9. I contacted a shop that sold used Leica cameras and once we did the maths and took VAT into consideration it didn’t really make sense so I decided for now (at least) to keep the new M. I guess it is a bit like driving a taxi for a living. You have you existing car that you know and love. You know it’s strengths and weaknesses and have learnt to love it’s little quirks. The car has been reliable since purchase despite the now high mileage but it suddenly fails it’s MOT. The garage offers you a brand new car replacement on a new government scrappage scheme for half it’s list price. It has the same german build quality and same excellent customer service yet has no miles on the clock and benefits fromt the latest technology. Would you say no!?
Leica M 240 – First Impressions
I said farewell to the M9 and hello to the M 240. I decided to buy a silver (“chrome”) Leica M rather than black to match my Leica M3s /M2 film cameras. (I still have the black M8 also). I didn’t need the manual and soon found my way around the settings from using a Leica M9. I’ve read many Leica M 240 reviews and people normally always find something to moan about when comparing to an M9. From a handling perspective I quite liked the new thumb roller dial and bulge in body to act as a thumb rest. I used the “Thumbie” accessory on the M9 body and didn’t notice a real difference. I love the quieter shutter sound of the M 240. It will be perfect for church weddings yet is still audible. The near silent shutter of my Fuji GF670 is just unnerving! The 3 inch LCD screen is amazingly sharp and much welcomed. The slight increase in size and weight wasn’t noticed and the larger battery capacity will be great for location shoots and weddings. The optical viewfinder works as well as the M9 and I fitted my 1.4x Leica viewfinder magnifier to it straight away. The lack of framelines in the viewfinder with the camera switched off is not a problem as I only use the camera when it is switched on. So far so good it seems!
CMOS vs CCD – Leica M240 vs Leica M9
The Leica M 240 24MP CMOS sensor certainly produces nice sharp images but the CCD vs CMOS sensor is a debate for anothe blog post once I have used the camera more.
Leica M240 Sample Images
(3 different lenses used – Noctilux, Noctilux, Summarit 50/1.5, Voigtlander 15mm)
Leica CL vs Leica M240
Leica M 240 – Related Links
(If you have the time and interest read them in order listed as you will see my opinion change (as date of writing, oldest first). Second link has much more spec detail*).