Always wanted to own a Leica rangefinder camera, but struggled to justify their car-sized price tags? Well, now you might just about be able to grab one without selling the family saloon, thanks to the ‘entry-level’ Leica M-E (Typ 240).
We put ‘entry level’ in quote marks because the phrase has a slightly different meaning in Leica world. The M-E (Typ 240) will be going on sale for £3,500 (body only) when it goes on sale on July 25 2019 in Leica stores. So maybe you will have to organise a ‘summer transfer’ for the family dog after all.
Still, what you’ll get in return is a full-frame rangefinder with the heritage and build quality of a system that dates back to the original Leica M3 from 1954. That rangefinder style means that, unlike standard cameras, the viewfinder lets you see what’s outside of your frame, so you can press the shutter at the exact moment that something enters the scene. Which is all very handy for street photography, in particular.
The M-E (Typ 240) also improves on the M-E (Typ 220) from 2012 in a few small ways too. There’s a new 24-megapixel CMOS sensor, a Leica Maestro processor and similar 3fps burst shooting performance to the M (Typ 240) thanks to a 2GB buffer.
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It’s not exactly a tech trailblazer elsewhere, though, with sensitivity limited to ISO 6400 and video recording restricted to Full HD. But like most Leicas, this is very much built for stills shooting and is compatible with “nearly every M series lens ever produced”. Just bear in mind that new ones, like the £2,700 Summicron-M 35mm f/2 pictured, cost about the same as the body itself.
If you have a little more cash to burn, Leica did also recently announce the Leica M Monochrom Drifter, co-designed by Lenny Kravitz and limited to 125 sets worldwide, which is available now for £20,500. We’ll probably start with the M-E (Typ 240) and work our way up, mind.