10 Best Leica M Cameras for Photography in 2019

best overall rating
  • 24 MP full-frame CMOS sensor
  • Up to 5 fps shooting
  • Durable Gorilla Glass screen
premium choice rating
  • Natural leather covering
  • Limited edition
  • Slick black design
great value rating
  • 24 MP full-frame CMOS sensor
  • Durable Gorilla Glass LCD screen
  • 3 FPS shooting

Leica M cameras are a great brand of high powered and user-friendly cameras, but there are so many different Leica M cameras out there that it can be challenging to work out which of the many options is the best Leica M camera for photography. There are many different models of Leica M camera, and all of them have distinct advantages and disadvantages for use in photography, which can make it challenging to determine precisely which of these many choices is best suited to your particular needs and preferences in the field of photography. However, everyone’s photography needs are subtly different and unique, so below, you will find a list of 8 of the best choices for most users in search of the best Leica M Camera for photography.

We have exhaustively researched Leica M Cameras, and below you will find the results of our studies in our list of best Leica M camera reviews, where we will break down the most important features of each of our favorite models. There is also a buyers guide, where we will run you through some of the most significant factors you should consider when you are looking to buy a new Leica M camera for photography.

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1. Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera

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It might not look particularly flashy, but the Leica M 10 Digital Rangefinder Camera offers a high level of performance in a classic style, user-friendly design that should be familiar to anyone with any experience with older models of camera. Pleasingly chunky, yet surprisingly compact, this Leica M camera for photography feels great in your hands and promises to stay operating for a long time.

This is a durable and survivable model of digital camera, and the 3 inch LCD screen is built with Gorilla Glass for added strength and durability. Overall, the build quality of the Leica M 10 Digital Rangefinder Camera is impressive, and it should be an excellent purchase for almost any user.

The Leica M 10 Digital Rangefinder Camera is a compact and easy to use classic style digital camera that offers great performance for photography in a wide range of different situations, both indoors and outdoors.

Why We Like It
  • 24 MP full-frame CMOS sensor
  • Up to 5 fps shooting
  • Durable Gorilla Glass screen
  • Leica Maestro II Image Processor
  • Compact design
Megapixel
24 MP
Optical Zoom
0.1 X
Weight
2 Lb
premium choice rating

2. Leica M 246 Limited Edition Camera Kit

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Limited to only 80 units, the Leica M 246 Limited Edition Camera Kit might not be the easiest model of Leica M camera to get hold of, or the most affordable, but it is a high quality and attractive object that more than deserves its desirable premium status.

The body of the camera is a high-quality Leica Monochrom camera with 355 mm f 2.0 Summicron Asph II lens for impressive performance, and this is all wrapped up in an attractive black painted brass case for durability and a great appearance. The whole thing is coated in a natural leather covering, adding to the visual flair and style of this high-quality Leica M camera for photography.

With a slick and great looking body protecting a high-quality camera mechanism, the Leica M 246 Limited Edition Camera Kit is one of the best and flashiest Leica M cameras for photography out there. It might not be the easiest to get hold of or the cheapest, but it is worth it.

Why We Like It
  • Natural leather covering
  • Limited edition
  • Slick black design
  • 35 mm f 2.0 Summicrom Asph II lens
  • Black painted brass body
Megapixel
Unspecified
Optical Zoom
Unspecified
Weight
2 Lb
great value rating

3. Leica M 262 Digital Rangefinder Camera

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The Leica M 262 Digital Rangefinder Camera is one of the more lightweight models of digital camera for photography from Leica. This smaller model of camera features a 24 MP Leica MAX full-frame CMOS sensor with Maestro image processor and can shoot at up to 3 frames per second with unusually quiet shutter mechanism operation.

The body of the camera is compact and durable, and the 3 inch LCD screen features a Gorilla Glass cover for protection and added strength and durability. Overall, this is a well built and high-quality Leica M camera for photography, cramming a high level of power and functionality into a smaller body than most other models of Leica M camera.

Offering excellent performance in a relatively compact body, the Leica M 262 Digital Rangefinder Camera is one of the smaller and more lightweight models of Leica M camera for photography available. This is an excellent choice for anyone who would prefer to avoid carrying large and heavy cameras with them at all times.

Why We Like It
  • 24 MP full-frame CMOS sensor
  • Durable Gorilla Glass LCD screen
  • 3 FPS shooting
  • Quiet shutter mechanism
  • Compatible with M Mount lenses
Megapixel
24 MP
Optical Zoom
0.68 X
Weight
1.5 Lb

4. Leica 10759 M-E 18 MP Digital Rangefinder Camera

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While many Leica M camera for photography options are quite large and bulky, the Leica 10758 M E 18 MP Digital Rangefinder Camera is focused on remaining tight and compact, offering great performance in an unusually small and lightweight body.

Despite its small size and light weight, this Leica M camera for photography packs a respectable 18 MP CCD sensor in a full 35 mm format for high-quality image capture. It is also notably simple and intuitive to use and can boost the photography performance of even the least confident and most hesitant of photographers, allowing anyone to achieve great end results.

The Leica 10759 M E 18 MP Digital Rangefinder Camera claims to be the smallest interchangeable lens full-frame camera in the world, and it's undoubtedly one of the most compact and lightweight models we've ever seen. This is a great portable camera that promises not to get in your way at all.

Why We Like It
  • Compact design
  • Lightweight build
  • Macro lens
  • 18 MP CCD sensor
  • Classic Leica M design
Megapixel
18 MP
Optical Zoom
Unspecified
Weight
1.29 Lb

5. Leica 10773 M-P Type 240 Camera

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Most models of Leica M Camera offer a high level of functionality in a durable, attractive shell, but the Leica 10773 M P Type 240 Camera takes this to the next level, with more functionality and more advanced features in an even more durable case for added survivability and strength. The internal specifications of this Leica M camera for photography include a MAX 24 MP CMOS sensor and Maestro image processor for perfect color capture and smooth, natural looking results in all situations. The 3 inch 920k dot LCD screen mounted on the back is protected by a sapphire glass display cover, keeping every aspect of this camera as well protected and durable as possible at all times.

The Leica 10773 M P Type 240 Camera offers even more advanced and impressive performance than the majority of other Leica M camera for photography models, helping it to stand out from the crowd as one of the best models of Leica M camera for photography for more advanced users who want a little more from their camera.

Why We Like It
  • Scratch-resistant sapphire glass display cover
  • 2 GB double-sized image buffer
  • Logo free design
  • Manual viewfinder frame selection
  • MAX 24 MP CMOS sensor with Maestro image processor
Megapixel
24 MP
Optical Zoom
0.68 X
Weight
5 Lb

6. Leica 10771 M 24MP Range Finder Camera

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The Leica 10771 M 24 MP Range Finder Camera is one of the most versatile and innovative M Camera models available as part of the Leica M Camera system. This design combines decades of rangefinder technological experience with more modern and advanced digital elements for higher photography performance. It also adds 1080p full HD video capabilities, bringing the high-quality capture of the Leica Max 24 MP sensor to video recording as well as still image capture.

The body of this camera is durable and well designed, combining a splash-proof case for water resistance with a durable Gorilla Glass screen over the high quality 3 inch LCD display mounted on the back of the camera.

Adding high quality 1080p full HD video capabilities to the standard specifications of higher-end Leica M cameras, the Leica 10771 M 24 MP Range Finder Camera offers excellent performance for both photography and video capture.

Why We Like It
  • 1080p full HD video capacity
  • Leica Max 24 MP sensor
  • Durable Gorilla Glass LCD screen
  • Splash-proof body
  • Compatible with both Leica M and Leica R lenses
Megapixel
24 MP
Optical Zoom
Unspecified
Weight
1.5 Lb

7. Leica M10-P Digital Rangefinder Camera

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The Leica M 10 P Digital Rangefinder Camera is one of the more advanced models of Leica M camera for photography currently available on the market. This model of camera takes the Leica M 10 design to a slightly more subtle and understated design place, bringing a sleek level of evolution to this simple and attractive camera system.

Combining high-quality internal specifications with an exceptionally quiet shutter and a range of valuable added features, the Leica M 10 P Digital Rangefinder Camera stands out as one of the most advanced models of Leica M 10 digital camera ever made.

With excellent performance for both picture and video capture, the Leica M 10 P Digital Rangefinder Camera is a remarkably powerful and versatile model of Leica M camera for photography and videography for such a compact design.

Why We Like It
  • Compact body
  • 2K DCI 1080p full HD video capabilities
  • 24 MP full-frame CMOS sensor
  • Touchscreen LCD display
  • Leica Maestro II image processor
Megapixel
24 MP
Optical Zoom
0.73 X
Weight
1.46 Lb

8. Leica 10772 M-P SLR Camera

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Larger and more substantial than most of the other models of Leica M camera for photography available on the market, the Leica 10772 M P SLR Camera packs more functionality and more advanced elements into the instantly recognizable durable and high quality premium camera shell familiar from most Leica M camera for photography options, all without any logos on the front of the camera for a slicker and more stylish look.

The 3 inch HD LCD display on the back of the camera is protected with a scratch-resistant sapphire glass cover for added strength and durability, while the rest of the outer shell of the camera promises a high level of protection for the advanced internal mechanisms packed inside.

The Leica 10772 M P SLR Camera packs even more advanced functionality and extra features into a durable shell than most other models of Leica M camera for photography, making it an excellent choice for anyone in need of slightly more advanced functionality from their digital SLR camera.

Why We Like It
  • Scratch-resistant sapphire glass display cover
  • 2 GB double-sized image buffer
  • Clean, logo-free design
  • Manual viewfinder frame selection
  • 24 MP CMOS sensor
Megapixel
24 MP
Optical Zoom
1 X
Weight
5 lb

leica M Photography Camera Buyer’s Guide

Battery

It is important to consider the battery type and life of your chosen camera before you buy. If you are planning on taking images regularly for an extended period of time or recording an extensive video, then you are going to need a longer-lasting battery. If your battery doesn’t have the capacity you need, then it will run out of charge during operation and leave you unable to take any pictures at all.

Several different factors affect the battery life of your camera. If you are using the camera a lot in any single session, then the battery will drain faster than if you are only using it for occasional brief bursts. If your camera is connected to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi while it is switched on, then this will also drain the battery faster than it will if you turn these options off.

Types of sensor

Most models of Leica M camera for photography include high-quality sensors, but this is still a very important aspect of your camera to consider when you are looking to buy a new camera for photography or any other purpose. The sensor is the element of the camera that transforms light into electrical signals in order to create a picture. In general, larger sensors give higher quality images. The largest sensor that can be incorporated into DSLR cameras is the full-frame sensor, which is the type found in most Leica M cameras.

How to use a Leica M Rangefinder

Using a Leica M Rangefinder can take a little while to get your head around properly if you have never used one before, as this type of camera has a number of somewhat unusual design features that can be quite confusing.

The rangefinder style of camera comes with a set of defined lines visible in the viewfinder window of your camera. Different viewfinders will show different focal lines, and these will also change as you mount different lenses onto your Leica M camera for photography.

This means that the viewfinder does not actually change as you fit a new lens, which can be confusing if you are used to using SLR style cameras. When you use a rangefinder camera, the frame visible through the viewfinder remains the same, and the image that will be captured is that which is visible between the focal lines of the viewer. This means that shooting with longer lenses will mean that you have to line your image up within a small box in the center of the viewfinder, rather than having a viewer that zooms to fit the image frame. This can take a while to get used to and can make it quite difficult to focus properly when using a longer lens.

Metered vs. non metered Leica M cameras

Some people like to use meters in their cameras for photography, but others prefer not to. This will affect which model of Leica M camera for photography you want to buy, as some models include meters but others do not. If you need a meter, then that narrows your choices down to four models: the M5, M6, M7, and MP. If you are not after a meter, however, then pretty much any other model of Leica M camera will fit your needs better.

Lens Quality

The quality of the lens on your Leica M camera for photography will affect the quality of your photos. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to buy a wide range of additional optional lenses for the majority of Leica M cameras, but you should keep an eye on which styles of lens are compatible with your chosen camera. Most models of Leica M camera for photography are compatible with the full range of Leica M lenses, but some can also be fitted with Leica R lenses instead if you are in need of certain focal lengths and functionalities that are not available from the standard Leica M lens range.

A good quality lens will allow you to take clear, sharp pictures in a wide range of different conditions. This means that ensuring your lens is suited for your purposes is an important part of choosing cameras and lenses for photography. What you should keep an eye out for is the most adjustable option possible, with a range of alternate lenses to add versatility, unless you plan to use your Leica M camera only for one specific type of photography in limited situations.

It is worth noting, however, that some of the longer lenses for Leica M cameras for photography can be very heavy, adding significantly to the weight of your camera and potentially unbalancing some of the smaller and lighter weight models of Leica M camera for photography relatively significantly. This can be a major problem, so you should also bear in mind the weight of your lenses!

Camera weight

Leica M camera models range in weight from 1.29 lb to 5 lb, which is a significant range of potential weights. In addition to this, any large extra lenses that you are attaching to the front of your camera will add to the weight of the whole arrangement, making the heavier models weigh a significant amount. Longer lenses will add more to the weight, and this can all add up relatively quickly, making your compact and lightweight camera substantially heavier and more awkward to use.

It is important to consider the weight of your camera when you are choosing a Leica M camera for photography. If you are only planning to use it occasionally in short bursts, or on keeping it mounted on a tripod most of the time, then a heavier model might be a good option, but if you are planning on holding it in your hands while you shoot for long periods of time, then going for a lighter weight option should be a priority.

Heavier cameras put additional stress on your hands and arms, increasing the shake of your camera while you’re using it. In addition to this, the added weight can cause your arms and hands to grow tired far faster than a lighter model would, making any instabilities worse over time and preventing you from using your camera for particularly long periods of time.

Heavier lenses mounted onto lighter cameras come with their own set of problems, primarily focused on the balance of your camera. If you have a long, heavy lens but a light and compact camera, then the majority of the weight of your setup will be sticking out in front of the camera. This makes it naturally tilt forwards and downwards, and the hand strength required to hold it steady and prevent your camera from tilting and messing up your shots is significant. Keeping your camera balanced is perhaps even more important than ensuring that it is an overall lightweight model, as an unbalanced camera can ruin your shots even more.

Leica M camera for photography prices

There is no way around it: Leica M cameras are expensive tools for photography. These are advanced pieces of equipment that come with a premium price tag and for good reason. If you think you can find one for a low price, then good luck with that; chances are it’s either ancient, broken or both. As a general rule, the body of your Leica camera setup is going to cost you at least $1000, and frequently significantly more, and then you’ll have to buy additional lenses in addition to this.

While you don’t necessarily need to buy additional lenses for your Leica M camera for photography, the limited nature of the default lenses is such that if you want to use your Leica M camera in more than one situation, you’re going to need to buy additional lenses in order to make your camera work in different situations. That adds to the expense of a Leica camera, and you should bear that additional cost in mind when you’re looking to buy yourself a new Leica M camera for photography.

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Expert Tip

Leica M cameras come in a wide range of different styles and designs. Make sure you know exactly what the specifications of your chosen model is before you buy, as there is a surprisingly wide variance between models!

Did you know?

The Leica M Rangefinder system can take a bit of getting used to, so make sure you try out any models of Rangefinder camera before you commit to buying one!