The Leica M11 is a surprisingly innovative rangefinder with 64GB internal storage

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The long-running Leica M11 is finally official – and the 60MP full-frame rangefinder packs some surprisingly innovative features into its classic, retro body.

The M-series dates back to the 1950s and its cameras have generally been old school in both their design and operation. But the Leica M11 does inherit some modern features from its forward-thinking siblings, like the TL-series, which includes 64GB of internal storage.

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This is the first time an M-series camera has included internal storage, a strangely rare feature on modern mirrorless cameras. The advantage is that you can store images on both the SD card and the M11’s internal storage simultaneously – a real bonus for a camera with only one card slot.

Internal storage isn’t the only modern convenience beneath the M11’s vintage shell. Its new 60MP full-frame BSI sensor, a big step up from the 40MP Leica M10-R, lets you shoot raw DNG and JPEG at 60MP, 36MP or 18MP resolution using the full sensor area.

This gives you the option to capture maximum detail in 60MP mode, or choose between smaller file size and better burst performance. Leica says the low-resolution modes are achieved by pixel-binning from the 60MP sensor (while maintaining 14-bit color depth), and that a new color filter array creates even more natural color reproduction.

While the design of the Leica M11 may look similar to its predecessors, there are a few changes that could prove controversial among hardcore fans. First, the series’ traditional baseplate – which dates back to the Leica M3 in 1954 and had to be removed to access its battery or SD card – has now been replaced with a more convenient design that intelligently lets you access both. Provides direct access. Those things.

Leica has also changed the M11’s rear buttons and touchscreen menus to match those of the Leica SL2 and Leica Q2, while its battery has now been increased to 1,800mAh capacity from the 1,100mAh cells seen in its predecessors.

Because it’s a rangefinder camera, the M11 has an optical viewfinder and a focusing system that involves manually shooting two images into the center of the frame. But if you want to spoil its looks with a modern electronic viewfinder, the new Visoflex 2 will be available as an optional extra and will offer a resolution of 3.7MP.

With a sprinkling of other modern upgrades, including multi-field metering in rangefinder mode (previously only available in Live View), USB-C charging and the promise of better connectivity features via a firmware upgrade in the second half of 2022, the Leica M11 replaces traditional cameras. Definitely a strong step forward. Unfortunately, its price tag is too high in classic Leica territory, with the M11 now available for $8,995 / £7,500 (about AU$14,180).


Analysis: A smart, but niche, mix of old and new

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Leica M-series cameras have always been an acquired taste – you’ll either love their rangefinder focusing and classic designs, or see them as a chronically indulgent indulgence with an attractive price tag. But the Leica M11 looks like a smart attempt to attract a new crowd, while maintaining the series’ distinctive charm.

Some M-series diehards may moan over the ditch of the base plate or the adoption of the controls seen on the M11’s Leica SL2 or Q2. But those fans probably already have an M-series camera, so it makes sense for Leica to add new features like a new 60MP full-frame sensor, and notably 64GB of internal storage.

On the other hand, the M11 still lacks some modern features like in-body image stabilization and you have to make sure that you are happy with the focus rangefinder before spending such money on the camera. For those with a more specific budget, options like the Fujifilm X-Pro3 offer features like a hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder for a much smaller investment.

But like the Porsche 911, it’s fair to say that the Leica M11 lives on in a world of its own — and if the build quality and shooting experience live up to its predecessors, it stands a good chance of being another popular installment in a series. . Goes back almost 70 years.

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