Leica has announced the latest variant of its M10 rangefinder, the M10-R. The M10-R is visually similar to the prior M10 and M10-P models, with the same overall design and handling. What’s different is under the hood, specifically the new 40.89-megapixel CMOS sensor. Similar to the 40-megapixel black-and-white sensor found in the M10 Monochrom, the new chip has a significant jump in resolution over the 24-megapixel sensor in the M10 and M10-P. The M10-R will be available in July in black or silver for $8,295.
As it is still an M10 at its core, the M10-R has the same body, same touchscreen, same interface, same battery, same processor, and same quiet shutter as the M10-P. Its new sensor has an ISO range of 100 to 50,000, and Leica claims that it has one to two stops better dynamic range than the 24-megapixel sensor. Like the other M10 models, the R lacks any sort of video recording function, though it does have built-in Wi-Fi and works with Leica’s FOTOS smartphone app.
I had an opportunity to use the M10-R ahead of today’s announcement, and as expected, it shoots just like any other M10 model. Leica’s rangefinders are regarded not for their technical capabilities, but rather for the experience they provide when capturing images. For many, including myself, that experience can be quite frustrating at first, as the M10-R lacks modern conveniences such as autofocus and advanced auto-exposure options. Once you’ve become accustomed to the rangefinder style of shooting and focusing, the M10-R can reward with beautiful images with a specific look to them.
Despite the M10-R’s much higher resolution, the camera operates just as fast as other M10 models, and there was no appreciable lag when reviewing or zooming in on photos on the LCD screen. Those images will make a bigger dent in your storage, however, as a typical JPEG image is about 12 megabytes and a DNG RAW file is well over 40 megabytes.
The M10-R is now the fifth variant of the M10 line (the M10, M10-P, M10-D, and M10 Monochrom are all still available) launched since 2017, and the company refers to it as the “pinnacle” of the lineup. Whether that means the M10-R is the last M10 we’ll see before Leica does a more thorough design revamp remains to be seen. But for now, it represents the ultimate digital rangefinder experience.
Photography by Dan Seifert / The Verge