My advice to Leica from 10 years ago.

2023, Inspiration, Q&A, Teaching point

Back in 2013, I wrote an Open Letter to Leica.

The letter was primarily aimed at trying to get them to keep a CCD sensor in M cameras.  However, Leica had already introduced the CMOS-based M240, which was larger in girth and features (hello video?).  In retrospect, it’s clear they were never going to go back to an M9-type camera.

And now in 2023, even I have to concede that I’m using a CMOS-sensor camera (though I’m no longer shooting with a Leica).

Despite the dominance of CMOS, all these years later the M9 commands a premium on the used market.  The M240, not so much.

And as I consider the current M11, and the QA troubles it seems to be facing, and — perhaps more importantly — the hints it provides with respect to where Leica is going with future M cameras, I feel compelled to repeat some of what I wrote 10 years ago (with some commentary):


“We place an emphasis on high quality still image photography, and therefore have little interest in video.”

They seem to have learned this.

We value the intuitive, quick, and precise rangefinder focusing mechanism, and therefore have little interest in Live View.”

This is the interesting part (about where the M line may be going).  Not sure that the M12 will have a mechanical rangefinder and OVF, for example.

“…would welcome…improvements in processor speed, shutter quietness, LCD quality…”

Always welcomed.

“Whatever Leica does with the next M, I would humbly suggest that they focus on… superior image quality and reliability…”

IQ has been improved with the (presumed) adoption of a Sony sensor.  The reliability part seems to be currently lacking however.  Leica is charging exceptional prices for a premium product that appears to be experiencing more than its fair share of issues.

“Leica has always done things a little differently, by placing simplicity and quality above all other considerations.  As a consequence, Leica has traditionally wisely avoided making decisions based on a “focus group” philosophy.

We are requesting for this fierce independence in thinking and product differentiation to continue.”

I still stand by those words.


2 thoughts on “My advice to Leica from 10 years ago.

  1. Good day Peter, looks like the M11 interest has brought you back to the CCD story again. Don’t blame you. I still haven’t given up on mine and I’ve tried several times but just can’t do it. The latest model, the M11, is just the latest in the CCD/CMOS Leica saga. I’m a member of the newly named Leica Society International ( and they recently posted a survey to find out if the members would prefer a full EVF Leica M in the next iteration or keep the rangefinder function. Holy Toledo. I thought they learned their lesson when they removed the video function with the M10 by trying to keep it simple, but no. If you need the EVF, buy the SL series camera. The M has had a long tradition and once the rangefinder is removed, well, that will be the end of an era. BTW, I’ve tried to talk myself into a new M11 but when I saw the complex menu options along with the issues with using the electronic shutter I knew it’s not me. I’ve had my eye out for a used M10P but I’m still happy with my “outdated” over 10 year old ME. (18 mp has been satisfactory for all my needs.)

    1. Greetings Duane! I’m so impressed that you have managed to hold on to your M-E all these years. I think I would have spared myself a lot of heartache if I had just done the same. Re: the survey, “Holy Toledo” is right! That is so disappointing to hear. Hey Leica (to paraphrase James Carville): “It’s the Messsucher, stupid”. Between these crazy musings where they are openly entertaining letting go of their one “killer app” and their questionable QA, it’s like they are willfully steering themselves toward irrelevance.

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