|Leica M-D with 35mm f/1.4 Summilux. 1/250th sec f/4 @ ISO 400
When shooting with the Leica M-D, you only have to worry about 4 essential elements to capture an image: focus, aperture, shutter speed and ISO. There's nothing else to adjust. Don't like the picture you just took? Too bad, there's no delete button. This camera only shoots RAW, negating the need for white balance, film simulation modes, image size or aspect ratio. You turn the camera on, focus, adjust expose, shoot and repeat. Yes, if you come from film, especially from a manual focus rangefinder camera, this shooting workflow will feel familiar. However, for the majority of us who use a regular digital camera with all its benefits, this seems backwards. Even the viewfinder isn't 'accurate' since you aren't looking through the actual lens, but through a small viewfinder window just left of the lens and use a split-image rangefinder manual focus system. Let's face it, for most of us who shoot digital, a camera without autofocus, through-the-lens view, image preview, an LCD screen with a menu system, or no I/O (input/output) capability is not a digital camera. In fact, this is the most non-digital digital camera currently available. Is the term 'simplicity' or 'essential' just a cool way of describing antiquated functionality?
|Leica M-D with 35mm f/1.4 Summilux. 1/350th sec f/9 @ ISO400
|Leica M-D with 35mm f/1.4 Summilux. 1/1500th sec f/2.8 at ISO 250
|Leica M-D with 35mm f/1.4 Summilux. 1/350th f/6.8 @ ISO 400
After I finished shooting and began my agonizing drive back home, I still had to pull out the memory card, turn on my computer and start working. Since the images are DNG (Digital Negative) files, the images need to be ingested, edited and post processed. However, instead of this step being a chore, my Lightroom experience was fun, looking at my images for the first time. My shot-to-shot average was very high while using the Leica M-D. In fact I didn't have a single image that was exposed incorrectly. My composition was also stronger, as I made sure that only the necessary elements were included. Yes I took less images, but I didn't have a single throw-away. I remembered each shot like how I'd remember if I was at the beginning or end of a film roll.
|Leica M-D with 35mm f/1.4 Summilux. 1/1000th f/9.5 @ ISO 400
|Leica M-D with 35mm f/1.4 Summilux. 1/180th sec f/9.5 @ ISO 400
|Leica M-D with 35mm f/1.4 Summilux. 1/500th f/5.6 @ ISO 400
|Leica M-D with 35mm f/1.4 Summilux. 1/750th sec f/2.8 @ ISO 400
Leica has conceptually hit a home run with the new M-D Typ 262. Many of my peers had a chance to handle the new M-D and they really liked the concept. There is definitely a future for screen-less digital cameras, and the Leica M is the perfect system to promote the 'Das Wesentliche' approach to photography. After shooting with the M-D, I've decided to shoot more film again, which is probably the opposite effect a camera like this is suppose to have. The joy of not seeing the image immediately is too strong an attraction for me to ignore. I think I'll re-review the Leica M-A in the near future. For now, check out my controversial YouTube video on the Leica M-D Typ 262. Thanks for reading and happy shooting!