“Leica should drop the optical viewfinder for an EVF [on the M camera]”.


For all of you who wish this, I truly hope Leica never listens to you.

(no offense)



43 thoughts on ““Leica should drop the optical viewfinder for an EVF [on the M camera]”.

  1. You scared me there for a second Peter. My breathing is back to normal and I can continue my weekend without worry.

    • LOL Duane! That’s why I placed the title in quotation marks.

      I keep reading this request (for an EVF) and it just makes me shake my head.

      • IMO, the M10 was a way for Leica to get back to the original M concept. Granted, it doesn’t have our preferred CCD sensor but they have elimated some of the “bloat” of the M240.

        Those that wish for an EVF can have that from Leica with the SL and still use their M lenses. I think Leica has created a great lineup of camera options for the Leica enthusiast.

        What is there to complain about? Leica has fixed the CCD sensor issue for us that don’t want a CMOS Leica and provided new bodies for those that want the newer tech.

        Heck, I just stuck my ancient 35 lux pre-ASPH on my M-E for a “different” look for a while.

  2. jkjod says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I see so many people say this, but to me it’s THE reason to shoot Leica. If Leica doesn’t have the rangefinder (and substitutes it for and EVF) they are just like everyone else. And to be honest, everyone else is cheaper. I’ve shot with Fuji and Sony cameras, still no where as enjoyable as a rangefinder.

    I hope the M never changes in that regard.

    • I’ve shot with Fuji and Sony cameras, still no where as enjoyable as a rangefinder.


      For those who want an EVF, that’s what the SL and Q are for…

      My guess is that those who want an EVF on the M in actuality want an interchangeable lens Q… which makes sense, even if that is not on my wish list. But to get rid of the optical rangefinder on the M would be to lose the best part of it.

  3. Lucerne says:

    My worst nightmare. After moving to Leica 4 years ago I originally ignored the background chatter regarding Leica’s need to adapt its new machines to use newer technology. Leave me out of that – I thought. However, as the chatter intensified, Leica began to weaken and the Q was born. I got sucked in and regret it. Now I’ve added an M240 which has a mix but definitely retains the features I enjoy. Why do some photographers choose a brand that clearly doesn’t follow trends and then try to change it. I’m sure it will end in tears. No OVF or rangefinder in an M is a move too far.

  4. andygemmell says:

    100% agree! One idea I had though I’m sure is “over thinking” things was:

    Optical finder to eye….
    As soon as half press of shutter EVF appears for exposure purposes only….
    Release once exposure correct and back to optical finder and then press shutter fully…

    But lol….let’s facing it that just wouldn’t be that enjoyable 😉!

  5. An SLR finder can be (mostly) replaced with an EVF, and in many cases it would be superior. But a rangefinder cannot be.

  6. mikeyjive says:

    Our finder is a window to the world. An EVF sucks me into the camera… like being at a live event but still watching it on TV. Seeing what the sensor sees… exposure, white balance, histogram, picture-in-picture… Creatively fatiguing. Yet the simple viewfinder window let’s me continue seeing real life through the camera.

  7. mewanchuk says:

    Something like the hybrid system on the X-Pro2 (although not a true and pure “M…”) would certainly be a little more reassuring. The ability to occasionally flip into EVF “mode” while in mission-critical settings would be a welcome addition.

    • Certainly not for me. See mikeyjive’s response above, especially his last sentence.

      • Oh yes, I’m disappointed in you!

        • mewanchuk says:

          Be disappointed all you like–The X-Pro2 is an ingenious system. If Leica could implement a similar user-selectable pop-up option through the same viewfinder, it would be absolutely killer. Checking critical focus, rangefinder alignment, etc…would all be a breeze. In effect, it would do away with the Achilles heel of the whole M system, while retaining its most desireable characteristics. The question is not “should it be done?” but instead “is it even possible??”

          • The “Achilles heel” of the M system is the photographer who doesn’t appreciate the gift that it is.

            • andygemmell says:

              He he …..loving the banter and enthusiasm between you two….😀!
              I think what Fuji has done is very clever……but I wouldn’t want the M to have it. It’s another electronic layer in the process. The one feature of EVFs I do like is how they show live exposure outcomes.

              • mikeyjive says:

                The EVF is very good at what it does but just introduces so many other distractions into the process. Despite the sublime bodies – to me – the electronics of the Fuji cameras are just additional layers of distractions. We’ve got the eye sensor clicking the little EVF on and off; the brightness of the viewfinder (auto or manual); real-time white balance and exposure; multiple overlays such as histogram, shooting mode, etc… And we shut the camera off between shots to keep the bright little EVF from draining the battery… Probably very much welcomed by a lot of people, but very distracting to me. And though it does make it “easier” to get a predictable final result, I am continually pestered by the electronics all the way.

                With regard to the optical viewfinder in the Fuji (X-Pro/X100), I’ve found that it’s ironically not a good choice for manual focus lenses. Inaccurate and slow even after Fuji adds layers of electronic manual focus aids on top of the OVF… to the point where you’re once again completely distracted. Their “electronic rangefinder” is just a little EVF overlay in the bottom corner of the OVF and also maddeningly distracting. Now you’re looking around the camera data displays again rather than through the viewfinder at the scene. I’ve found the Fuji OVF works best with autofocus lenses yet it’s still not as accurate as the EVF or even an SLR… So the OVF is abandoned in favor of the EVF… and we’re left with a nice looking camera with a glass window that serves no purpose.

            • Olivier says:

              I fully agree that eliminating the OVF and the rangefinder patch would completely kill the appeal and spirit of the M system. But to be honest, I wouldn’t mind a focusing system that wouldn’t go out of calibration so frequently and I can see possible implementations that don’t require abandoning the key characteristics that make rangefinders great (OVF, MF, RF patch, simplicity, purity).
              Just curious: how do you personally deal with the rangefinder (and lens) calibration problem? You acquired enough rangefinders and lenses over time and you use them so extensively that you surely must encounter the problem regularly.

              • The rangefinder drift is what annoys me most about the M system, for sure. In the past, I’ve sold my M bodies in frustration over this. I’ve gone on record (on this blog) that having a quick fix for when this happens would be an “upgrade feature” I would welcome on a future M body. But I guess that it’s not possible or it would/should have been implemented by now.

                These days, if I notice that the rangefinder focus is off, I use a 2mm Hex key to adjust it.

                In the end, I’ve learned through trial and error (by using many other types of cameras) that the rangefinder focus is the quickest and most accurate way to focus lenses wide open… so I live within its limits.

                • jh says:

                  hi Peter, any chance posting a vid/pics of you showing how to adjust yr m9 fangefinder focus, as mines a little off. cheers if u can.

                • mewanchuk says:

                  Like I said…”Achilles heel”.


                • “Achilles heel” is a part of your anatomy.

                  “Achilles’ heel” is what I think Mark is trying to say (there you go Mark, I taught you something else).

                • jh, adjusting the rangefinder focus is via trial and error. Just do an online search to get an idea of how it’s done… that’s what I did.

                • Olivier says:

                  Thanks. I also figured out how to adjust the rangefinder to work perfectly with a particular lens, but not with several lenses at once. It seems that lenses themselves can also be or become off and do need adjustment. I heard of people adding or removing shims in the lenses. That can be easy for some lenses and extremely daunting for others, for example lenses with FLEs. And to begin with it’s never easy to say if it’s the rangefinder or the lens that is off. Well, I guess this issue is the price to pay for the rangefinder focus. And not a small one.

                • mewanchuk says:

                  Damn that apostrophe!!

                • jh says:

                  Hi Peter, just to clarify, you use a 2mm hex and that can adjust the RF mech under the red dot? (was looking and you need to buy a special tool) Cheers again

                • I’m referring to infinity adjustment, which is done by using the Hex Allen key on “B” in this diagram (lens removed):

                  The mechanism you are referring to (under the red dot) is the vertical alignement cam. I’ve never tried to access/adjust this.

                • jh says:

                  umm ok. So my M9 and my 50 & 28 are back focusing by about 1 inch. My infinity focus seems fine, so it’s the ‘vertical focus’ adjustment it seems I need? (1 special tool needed) Cheers for your replies 🙂

                • No, you can also adjust the “A” screw (for near focus adjustment). The B adjustment will then need to be re-done. Then you repeat, repeat until you’re happy with the results.

                  I haven’t ever needed to adjust “A”, by the way. I adjust “B” for back- or front-focus issues, even for near objects (i.e. not infinity). It seems to do the trick.

                  The vertical alignment adjustment has nothing to do with your issue, so I wouldn’t mess with it.

                • JH says:

                  Wow, Peter that is really helpful. I very much appriciate your help! Thanks 🙂

                • mewanchuk says:


                  I have adjusted a few bodies myself, and I must advise: do not touch screw “A”. Touching screw “A” opens up a world of hurt, as the prism will actually spin internally.

                  You can use a hex and adjust roller “B” (SMALL ADJUSTMENTS!!) if infinity is out (and I mean -really- infinity…like at least a few miles away) but I would not go farther than that. If near focus is out, sadly, your body has to go into Leica. Also be aware that roller “B” is on a ovoid cam, and if you go too far, you will actually be back past where you started. Be certain to ensure that the arm does not turn or move when you adjust the hex, and do not put too much downward pressure on the rangefinder arm (where the yellow arrow is) or you can bend it. I know it sounds complicated, but it is possible if you are slow and careful.

                  Vertical adjustment is also possible (behind the dot on certain bodies) but you do need a special tool–and those adjustments are even more fine. As Peter says: if back-focussing is your problem, vertical RF alignment is not your issue.

                  Good luck!


                • jh says:

                  Hi Mark, thanks for the note. I’ve been reading up on it a bit more and yup will only attempt ‘B’ adjustment. Both my 50 & 28 back focus by about 1-2 inches at close range 1-3 meters, so I think it’s worth trying. I’m using the cam for family pics (Like peter) so it’s important to focus at this range. At 1-2 inch back focus, I’m gona turn in the Green arrow direction & only by 1mm or so to start with. Sound ok?

                • mewanchuk says:


                  I definitely wouldn’t adjust infinity, unless you can demonstrate that infinity is actually off. Tinkering with it may fix your specific problem, but it will throw the rest of the range completely off. (Are you definitely sure infinity is fine?)

  8. greg g49 says:

    Sometimes “progress” isn’t.

  9. Peter, I think you and Mark should do a podcast. 🙂

  10. I got curious and found this article by Dante Stella. I don’t know if he’s being too cautious but it seems that there are nuances that we have to understand first:


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