In my household the M10-D has caused more controversy than any other camera that I’ve tested for Leica, and on the internet forums the leaked images and descriptions of the camera seem to have caused almost as much disagreement.
WHAT IS IT? AND WHAT IT WAS.
The M10-D is a digital rangefinder camera without an LCD screen and with what looks like a wind-on lever. To be fair, it’s this ‘wind-on lever’ which seems to have caused most of the controversy (certainly around here). I’ll leave that to later.
The original Leica M-D came out as a special limited edition, but there was so much interest that Leica brought out a series version; the M-D (TYP 262) in April 2016. Personally I wasn’t very sure that I needed chimping relief, and the idea of having full-time auto white balance was a real discourage- ment, so I never even played with one.
Others on the other hand quickly fell in love with it, and for many photographers it was a real hit. Limiting their options left them free to concentrate on taking pictures, and having to wait until you got home before you could look at the images was a throwback to the excitement of film days.
Superficially, the new M10-D is the same thing, updated with the new M10 sensor, an exposure compensation dial and the lovely quiet shutter from the M10-P.
But the M10-D is also much more than that. If you are nervous about shooting with the rangefinder, you can plug in an electronic viewfinder. If you feel the need to look at the images when you’re out and about, you can just switch on the WiFi and connect with your phone or tablet (iOS or Android). More than that, you can edit some of the settings in the new Leica Fotos app (currently metering mode, file format, white balance, but there will be more). And then there is the wind on lever (more about that later).
The only thing obviously missing is the Lens Selection option for uncoded lenses (later perhaps).
If you use the EVF, the zoom/focus mode is set to ON, so that if you turn the focus ring on an M lens, it will zoom in at the centre of the frame. It would be nice if there was a way to switch this off (and on) – hopefully there will be later on.
Leica is serious about the limitations, so you cannot review images in the EVF, or turn on the menus.
The Leica M10-D has the same sensor as the M10 and is fundamentally identical with respect to the image processing and firmware. The body itself, from the front, is just like the M10-P with the Leica logo on the top and the screw replacing the red dot. The back has two rotating dials, the inner one is for exposure compensation and the outer one is for Off / On / WiFi.