Leica M10 Review

March 30, 2017 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The Leica M10 is a 24 megapixel digital M-system rangefinder camera with a 35mm full-frame (24 x 36mm) CMOS sensor with no optical low pass filter. Other key features of the Leica M10 include an improved viewfinder with a magnification factor of 0.73 and a 50% higher eye-point, an expanded sensitivity range of ISO 100-50,000, the latest-generation Maestro II image processor, a new top-mounted ISO setting dial, a sequential shooting speed of 5fps, integrated wi-fi connectivity and a customisable Favourites Menu. The recommended retail price of the Leica M10 is £5,600 / €6,500 / $6,595 and it's available in silver or black.

Ease of Use

The new Leica M10 has a stealthy all-black colour-way, with the front half of it and part of the rear featuring a diamond leatherette pattern to aid grip, along with a raised thumb-shaped rest on the rear. There is nothing resembling a traditional handgrip provided with the camera at all, but having said that, the solidity and weight of the M10's build - 660g with the battery fitted - means that it didn't feel like the camera would suddenly slip from our grasp at any point.

The top and base plates of the M10 are milled from solid blocks of brass, ground and polished by hand in a painstaking 40-minute process, and combined with a full-metal, magnesium alloy chassis, resulting in a very solid feeling camera that goes along way to justifying the price-tag. Special rubber seals provide some protection against light showers and dust, although Leica stop short of saying that the M10 is fully weatherproof. The dimensions of the M10 are now identical to those of analogue M-cameras, measuring 33.7mm in width, making it the slimmest digital M camera of all time.

The Leica M10 has a brand new 24 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor developed especially for the camera. In conjunction with the Maestro II image processor, this allows the M10 to provide an extensive IOS range of 100-50,000 and for it to be able to shoot at 5fps, making it the fastest ever Leica M camera.

Leica M10
Front of the Leica M10

The front of the Leica M10 is adorned with the famous red Leica badge and logo directly above the lens. Top-left of the lens, if viewing the camera front-on, is a rectangular porthole containing the traditional AF assist/self timer lamp, underneath which is a black button that a display a magnified view on the screen or EVF to aid with precise focusing adjustment. A silver lens release button is on the left-hand side of the lens mount, and over on the right is the very traditional frame-line selection lever, which allows you to see the field of view of various lenses without actually having to mount them on the camera (in the dual combinations of28+90mm, 35+135mm, 50+75mm).

The M10 has a dedicated top-plate dial via which manual adjustments can be made to the shutter speed, ranging from 8 seconds to 1/4000th of a sec, with Bulb and Auto options too. Naturally there is a vacant hotshoe for an accessory flash on top of the camera, which also accepts the optional Leica Visoflex 2.4 MP electronic accessory viewfinder if you prefer to compose with an EVF. The shutter release button is threaded for a traditional screw-in quick release cable, and is encircled by the On/Off switch, with the camera taking a couple of seconds to ready itself for shooting.

Squeeze the shutter release button in single shot mode to take a maximum resolution image and the screen instantly displays the resultant image. Take a top quality JPEG and Leica's 'DNG' file version of Raw and the camera isn't any noticeably slower however, plus the advantage of the DNG format is that it can be opened directly by Photoshop without any specialist conversion software required. Even better, thanks to a generous 2GB buffer memory, the M10 is capable of sequential shooting at up to five frames per second at full resolution for up to 30 Raw files and 100 JPEGs.

Leica M10
Rear of the Leica M10

New to the M-series is the top-mounted ISO setting dial over on the left of the camera, which is the same place that you'd find the film rewind lever on cameras like the Leica M7. You have to lift it up to unlock it, which is a little awkward given its diminutive size, but does prevent it from being accidentally moved. While this interrupts the classic rounded styling of the Leica M10's design, it does mean that for the first time, all of the core shooting parameters can be set via external controls, with no need to actually turn the camera on and use its menu system, which makes for a very pleasant shooting experience. Due to the small size of the ISO dial, you can't access all of the ISO settings from it - instead you can choose directly from 100-6400, or select the M option which can be configured to any one of the ISO settings. There's also an A option for Auto ISO.

The size of the back plate LCD screen is 3-inches and the resolution is a respectable 1,036,800 pixels pixels, bringing the M10 right up to date with the latest digital cameras. With the 3-inch LCD screen taking up about two thirds of the back plate, this has left room for a column of 3 function buttons ranged down the left hand side of the screen, whilst over at the right hand side sits a familiar cross key/command pad style arrangement. The buttons at the left of the LCD are both clearly marked and instantly comprehended. From the top we have an LV button for accessing the Live View mode, a Play button for reviewing previously captured images, and a Menu button for opening the customisable Favorites menu and and the Main Menu system.

Above the LCD screen is the new improved viewfinder. The field of view has been enlarged by 30%, it now has a magnification factor of 0.73x, and there's a 50% higher eye-point for easier use by glasses-wearers. The widest focal length that it covers is 28mm, so you'll have to use the LCD screen or EVF for wider-angle lenses.

Leica M10
Top of the Leica M10

The Leica M10 features a thumb-operated command dial over at the top right which sets the exposure compensation, with adjustable settings ranging from a standard -3EV to + 3EV.

Three different focusing aids are provided on the Leica M10 - auto magnification (x3 or x6), focus peaking and auto magnification plus focus peaking. With the bigger screen scale and higher resolution we found it easier to accurately determine pin sharpness than on previous Leica digital cameras. The set of un-marked cross keys on the right of the LCD screen moves the magnification loupe freely around the frame for even better assessment of sharpness, either on the LCD or the Visoflex electronic viewfinder.

The Leica M10 features built-in IEEE 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity for wirelessly connecting to other devices such as a smartphone, tablet or computer. You can easily transfer your images and also control the camera remotely via the free Leica M app (iOS only), which, amongst other functions, allows remote setting of the shutter speed and aperture. The app also allows you to send your images to social networks or email them.

Leica M10
The Leica M10 In-hand

In the centre of these three buttons we find an un-marked button which acts like a standard 'display' button. A press of this in capture mode removes icons for the shooting mode in play, number of shots remaining, battery life, focus and metering mode from the screen to provide a clear view of the subject.

The left and right hand flanks of the M10 are devoid of any features save for metal lugs for attaching the strap. The base of the Leica M10 has a screw thread that's perfectly inline with the centre of the lens mount, with the catch protected base plate housing both the supplied 1300mAh lithium-ion battery, good for around 600 shots, and the SD card slot alongside it.

The Leica M10 comes with a two-year warranty as opposed to the usual one, a year's accidental damage cover, and a download option for Adobe Lightroom, with the code provided once the product has been registered.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 24 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 9Mb.

The Leica M10 produced images of excellent quality during the review period. This camera produces noise-free images at ISO 100 up to ISO 1600, with some noise appearing at ISO 3200. The faster settings of ISO 6400 and 12,800 are still usable, although we'd suggest avoiding ISO 25,600 and especially 50,000 if possible. The night photograph was very good, with the maximum shutter speed of 30 seconds allowing you to capture enough light in most situations.


There are 10 ISO settings available on the Leica M10. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting:


ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso100raw.jpg

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso200raw.jpg

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso400raw.jpg

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso800raw.jpg

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso1600raw.jpg

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso3200.jpg iso3200raw.jpg

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

iso6400.jpg iso6400raw.jpg

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

iso12800.jpg iso12800raw.jpg

ISO 25000 (100% Crop)

ISO 25000 (100% Crop)

iso25000.jpg iso25000raw.jpg

ISO 50000 (100% Crop)

ISO 50000 (100% Crop)

iso50000.jpg iso50000raw.jpg


The Leica M10's maximum shutter speed is 30 seconds in the Manual mode, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 30 seconds at ISO 100.



Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Leica M10 camera, which were all taken using the 24 megapixel Superfine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample RAW Images

The Leica M10 enables users to capture RAW and JPEG format files. We've provided some Leica RAW (DNG) samples for you to download (thumbnail images shown below are not 100% representative).

Product Images

Leica M10

Front of the Leica M10

Leica M10

Front of the Leica M10

Leica M10

Front of the Leica M10

Leica M10

Front of the Leica M10

Leica M10

Front of the Leica M10

Leica M10

Rear of the Leica M10

Leica M10

Rear of the Leica M10 / Image Displayed

Leica M10

Rear of the Leica M10 / Turned On

Leica M10

Rear of the Leica M10 / Favorites Menu


Leica M10

Rear of the Leica M10 / Main Menu

Leica M10
Top of the Leica M10
Leica M10
Bottom of the Leica M10
Leica M10
Side of the Leica M10
Leica M10
Side of the Leica M10
Leica M10
Front of the Leica M10
Leica M10
Front of the Leica M10
Leica M10
Memory Card Slot
Leica M10
Battery Compartment


The new Leica M10 is the most analog digital M-series camera ever, marrying the classic look and feel of past M film cameras with a select number of modern, digital features. Taking a slower, more considered approach to image composition and lacking any form of video recording, the M10 will remain a niche camera, something that Leica themselves freely admits, but the addition of wi-fi connectivity, faster continuous shooting, a better viewfinder and a dedicated ISO dial also make the M10 the best digital M-series camera ever.

Image quality from the new 24 megapixel sensor and the latest image processor is excellent, with lovely colour rendition, bags of detail thanks to the full-frame sensor and no optical low-pass filter, and good noise performance from ISO100-3200, with the faster ISO settings proving usable too if you don't mind a bit of film-like grain (and who doesn't?).

So while the Leica Q has taken all the recent plaudits, and sales too, the new M10 shouldn't be overlooked if you favour a hands-on, manual approach to your photography, with an added dash of speed, improved handling and connectivity. While it probably won't win over too many new converts to the M-system way of thinking, the new Leica M10 should surely please all of the current Leica M disciples...

4.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 4
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 4.5
Value for money 4

Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Leica M10.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

The long-awaited Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR has now arrived, improving on its predecessor, the incredibly popular 5D Mark III, in almost every way. Does the new 5D Mark IV offer enough to justify the £3629 / $3499 asking price? Read our Canon EOS 5D Mark IV review to find out...

Fujifilm X-Pro2

The new Fujifilm X-Pro2 is an exciting flagship premium compact system camera. The weather-proof X-Pro2 offers a brand new 24 megapixel sensor that's claimed to rival full-frame DSLRs, an improved hybrid viewfinder, faster processor and AF system, and a host of other improvements. Read our Fujifilm X-Pro2 review to find out if it can live up to its early promise...

Leica Q (Typ 116)

The Leica Q (Typ 116) is a new serious compact camera, offering a 24 megapixel full-frame sensor, 1080 60/30p HD video recording, fast f/1.7 28mm lens, 10fps burst shooting, EVF and a 3-inch touchscreen. Read our in-depth Leica Q (Typ 116) review now...

Leica SL (Typ 601)

The Leica SL (Typ 601) is a new compact system camera for professionals, offering a 24 megapixel full-frame sensor, 4K video recording, 11fps burst shooting, a class-leading EVF, fast auto-focusing and a 3-inch touchscreen. Read our in-depth Leica SL (Typ 601) review now...

Nikon D810

The Nikon D810 is a brand new 36 megapixel full-frame sensor DSLR camera with no optical low pass filter. The D810 also offers 1080/60p HD video, a 3.2-inch LCD screen, an optical viewfinder with 100% coverage and 5fps burst shooting. Read our in-depth Nikon D810 review to find out if it can emulate the success of the previous D800/E cameras...

Olympus PEN-F

The new Olympus PEN-F is a new premium compact system camera boasting a gorgeous retro design and some pro-level features, including a new 20 megapixel sensor, 5-axis image stabilisation, 10fps burst shooting, vari-angle 3-inch LCD touchscreen, 4K time-lapse movies, an electronic shutter and built-in wi-fi. Priced at £999 / $1199 body-only, is the PEN-F all style and no substance? Read our in-depth Olympus PEN-F review to find out...

Pentax K-1

The new K-1 is the long-awaited full-frame DSLR camera from Pentax, based around a 36.4 megapixel CMOS sensor. Is this the best ever Pentax DSLR? Read our in-depth Pentax K-1 review to find out...

Sony A7R II

The Sony A7R II is a hotly-anticipated full-frame compact system camera that promises to outclass the DSLR competition. Is this the best full-frame camera on the market? Read our Sony A7R II review to find out...

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Leica M10 from around the web.

amateurphotographer.co.uk »

The Leica M10 refocuses on what really matters to stills photographers. Michael Topham tests the latest model in Leica's famous M-system to find out if it performs as well as its price suggests.
Read the full review »

thephoblographer.com »

The Leica M10 has to be one of the worst kept secrets from Leica in a while. Perhaps it’s because it generated a whole lot of excitement, and indeed it’s worth the hype. For the purist photographer, this is bound to be a tool that they’ll closely look at. With a 24MP CMOS full frame sensor, this camera is the company’s smallest M digital camera and this was done by creating a camera that more or less is super densely packed. It’s around the same size as the company’s film M cameras.
Read the full review »


Camera type compact digital view and range finder system camera
Lens attachment Leica M bayonet with additional sensor for 6-bit coding
Lens system Leica M lenses, Leica R lenses with an optional adapter (available accessory)
Sensor CMOS sensor, active surface area approx. 24 x 36mm
Resolution DNG™: 5976 x 3992 pixels (24MP),
JPEG: 5952 x 3968 pixels (24MP), 4256 x 2832 pixels (12MP), 2976 x 1984 pixels (6MP)
Data formats DNG™ (raw data, compressed loss-free), JPEG
File size DNG™: 20-30 MB, JPEG: Depending on resolution and picture content
Buffer memory 2GB / 16 pictures in series
White balance Automatic, manual, 8 presets, colour temperature input
Storage media SD cards up to 2GB/SDHC cards up to 32GB/SDXC cards up to 2TB
Menu languages German, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Russian, Korean
Exposure metering Exposure metering through the lens (TTL), with working aperture
Metering method Light reflected by the blades of the 1 shutter curtain onto measuring cell.
Metering range At room temperature and normal humidity at ISO 100, at aperture 1.0 EV-1 to EV20 at aperture 32. Flashing of the left triangular
LED in the viewfinder indicates values below the metering range
Sensitivity range ISO 100 to ISO 50000, adjustable in 1/3 ISO increments from ISO 200, choice of automatic control or manual setting
Exposure modes Choice of automatic shutter speed control with manual aperture preselection - aperture priority A, or manual shutter speed and
aperture setting
Flash exposure control
Flash unit attachment Via accessory shoe with central and control contacts
Synchronisation Optionally triggered at the 1st or 2nd shutter curtain
Flash sync time = 1
/180 s; slower shutter speeds can be used, if working below sync speed: Automatic changeover to TTL linear flash mode
with HSS-compatible Leica system flash units
Flash exposure metering Using centre-weighted TTL pre-flash metering with Leica flash units (SF40, SF64, SF26), or flash units compatible with the
system with SCA3502 M5 adapter
Flash measurement cell 2 silicon photo diodes with collection lens on the camera base
Flash exposure compensation
±3EV in1⁄3EV increments
Displays in flash mode
(in viewfinder only)
Using flash symbol LED
Construction principle Large, bright line frame viewfinder with automatic parallax compensation
Eye piece Calibrated to -0.5 dpt.; corrective lenses from -3 to +3 diopter available
Image field limiter By activating two bright lines each: For 35 and 135mm, or for 28 and 90mm, or for 50 and 75mm; automatic switching when
lens is attached.
Parallax compensation The horizontal and vertical difference between the viewfinder and the lens is automatically compensated according to the relevant
distance setting, i.e. the viewfinder bright-line automatically aligns with the subject detail recorded by the lens.
Matching viewfinder and
actual image
At a range setting of 2m, the bright-line frame size corresponds exactly to the sensor size of approx. 23.9 x 35.8mm; at infinity
setting, depending on the focal length, approx. 7.3% (28mm) to 18% (135mm) more is recorded by the sensor than indicated by
the corresponding bright line frame and slightly less for shorter distance settings than 2m
Magnification (For all lenses) 0.73 x
Split or superimposed image range finder shown as a bright field in the centre of the viewfinder image
metering base
50.6mm (mechanical measurement basis 69.31mm x viewfinder magnification 0.73x)
In the viewfinder Four-digit digital display with exposure alerts above and below
On back 3" colour TFT LCD monitor with 16 million colours and 1,036,800 pixels, approx. 100 % image field, glass cover of extremely
hard, scratch-resistant Gorilla® glass, colour space: sRGB, for Live-View and review mode, displays
Shutter and
shutter release
Shutter Metal blade focal plane shutter with vertical movement
Shutter speeds For aperture priority: (A) continuous from 125s to 1⁄4000s.,
for manual adjustment: 8s to 1⁄4000s in half steps, from 8s to 125s in whole steps, B: For long exposures up to maximum 125s (in
conjunction with self-timer T function, i.e. 1st release = shutter opens, 2nd release = shutter closes),
(1⁄180s): Fastest shutter speed for flash synchronization, HSS linear flash mode possible with all shutter speeds faster than
1⁄180s (with HSS-compatible Leica system flash units)
Picture series Approx. 5 pictures/s, 30-40 pictures in series
Shutter release button Two-stage, 1st step: Activation of the camera electronics including exposure metering and exposure lock (in aperture priority
mode), 2nd step: Shutter release; standard thread for cable release integrated.
Self-timer Delay optionally 2s (aperture priority and manual exposure setting) or 12s, set in menu, indicated by flashing LED on front of
camera and corresponding display in monitor.
Turning the camera
Using main switch on top of camera; optional automatic shutdown of camera electronics after approx. 2/5/10 minutes;
reactivated by tapping the shutter release
Power supply 1 Lithium-ion rechargeable battery, nominal voltage 7.4V, capacity 1300mAh.; maximum charging current/voltage: DC 1000mA, 7.4V;
Model No.: BP-SCL5; Manufacturer: PT. VARTA Microbattery, Made in Indonesia, Operating conditions (in camera): 0°C - + 40°C
Charger Inputs: 100-240V AC, 50/60Hz, 300mA, automatic switching, or 12V DC, 1.3A; Output: DC 7.4V, 1000mA/max. 8.25V,
1100mA; Model No.: BC-SCL5; Manufacturer: Guangdong PISEN Electronics Co., Ltd., Made in China, Operating conditions: 0°C
- + 35°C
GPS (only with Leica Visoflex
viewfinder attached,
available as an accessory)
Optional (not available everywhere due to country-specific legislation, i.e. enforced automatic shutdown in those countries), data
are written to EXIF header in picture files.
Wi-Fi Complies with IEEE 802.11b/g/n standard (standard Wifi protocol), channel 1-11, encryption method: Wifi-compatible WPA™/
WPA2™ encryption, access method: Infrastructure mode
Camera body
Material All-metal die cast magnesium body, synthetic leather covering. Brass top panel and base, black or silver chrome plated finish
Image field selector Allows the bright-line pairs to be manually activated at any time (e.g. to compare detail)
Tripod thread A ¼ (¼") DIN stainless steel in bottom
Operating conditions 0–40 °C
Interfaces ISO accessory shoe with additional contacts for Leica Visoflex viewfinder (available as an accessory)
Dimensions (width x depth x height) approx. 139x38.5x80mm
Weight approx. 660g (with battery)
Scope of Delivery Charger 100-240V with 2 mains cables (Euro, USA, varies in some export markets) and 1 car charging cable, lithium ion battery,
carrying strap, body bayonet cover, cover for accessory shoe

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