Leica M240 Review
Having owned the Leica M240 for over seven months now, and having just returned from a three week vacation in Thailand I feel like I have had enough experience with camera to share my views on it. I purchased the Leica M240 in May 2018 when I was making the transition from shooting Nikon to Leica. I managed to find a used M240 for a good price so decided to purchase my first ever digital Leica. To say I was nervous was an understatement as I was trading a new Nikon full frame DSLR with a range of lenses for a single Leica body, which was released five years ago. Now seven months after making the purchase I can confirm that it was one of the best decisions I have made and one that I dont regret at all. In this overview I will go over my first impressions, usability, image quality and my verdict on the camera.
When purchasing the camera I was going through a stage in my life where I wanted to simplify my workflow and equipment. Prior to this I had amassed a number of Nikon lenses as well as a few film bodies and a Nikon D750. Though this had been my workhorse camera up until this point I wanted a smaller and more portable set of equipment and having already been a Leica film shooter and falling in love with the system t felt only right to make the switch to a Leica digital rangefinder. I chose the Leica M240 because it had a better and more responsive menu system than the M9 as well as a sensor which was not prone to corrosion, which put me off M9’s regardless of the price. My other option was the Leica M10 but this was out of my price range as I wanted to part exchange my previous equipment. When I received my M240 in the post and finally had it in my hands I knew it was going to be perfect. Though the menu system is five years old I found it responsive and easy to use. Some people are put off from the M240 as it is wider than all other Leica M cameras, but I can say it feels very well balanced in the hands and this should not put you off the M240.
As stated above the camera is very well balanced and I have been using it with a Voigtlander 50mm F/1.5 and 35mm F/2.5 and both lenses are a joy to use on this camera. compared to film Leica’s there is a weight difference but this is mainly due to the battery which is to be expected and I was easily getting a days use from one charge but would recommend having a second battery just in case. While on vacation in Thailand this camera was with me at all times and allowed me to capture some fantastic images in certain situations where a DSLR would have been to big and intruding. The added feature of a dial on the thumb grip is very useful for changing ISO without having to go into the menu, this makes changing exposure very easy. That being said this camera does not fair very well in low light. The maximum ISO is 6400 but I would only recommend going up to ISO 3200. For a camera from 2013 this isnt too bad but considering here in 2018 even cameras for under £1000 can out perform the M240 in low light it is best to use a flash or a fast lens.
Before my vacation to Thailand I only shot with the M240 on a few occasions for work and recreational use. I was amazed with how this camera performs considering it is five years old. This is due to the 24 megapixel full frame sensor as well as the high quality M mount lenses. But it was in Thailand were I really put this camera to the test shooting under different lighting conditions as well as in some challenging locations which would put any camera to the test. The images are rich in contrast and tonality with a very good dynamic range meaning both shadows and highlights can be recovered when editing the DNG files. I mainly shoot black and white but I was amazed with the colour that the sensor in the M240 gives and the files from the M240 are some of the best out of camera files I have ever seen.
Overall I am very happy with this camera and feel that though the Leica M10 is a newer system at the moment the difference in price is hard to justify. Because of its size and form factor I found myself shooting much more than I would have been with a DSLR which is why I made the switch in the first place. That being said though the Leica M240 is a fantastic camera I dont feel any connection to it like I do with my M3. This is because I know at some point in the future I know the camera will be useless due to electrical issues. But for now this is my new daily camera and will be for years to come until the Leica M10 comes down in price or Leica release a new M body that I might be persuaded to purchase on release date.