Leica has just debuted the much-anticipated and much-rumored Leica M-D (Typ 262). It’s the first production M-Series Leica that leaves out the LCD screen—a camera for photographers with a love of simplicity, a dislike of chimping, and a desire to live in the past and future of photography simultaneously.
This camera is all about simplicity. The fifth M-Generation camera, it “embodies the entire range of technical advantages perfected over decades in the Leica rangefinder system,” while intentionally leaving out “all but the most essential technical features.”
Only the most important controls are included: shutter speed, aperture, and ISO sensitivity. This, says Leica, will “promote its users’ concentration on what is essential: the picture.”
Technically speaking, the M-D is basically a Leica M (Typ 262) without the LCD. A Leica Maestro image processor runs a 24MP full-frame CMOS sensor that is, “dedicated exclusively to rangefinder photography.” That means no video capability and, obviously, no live view either.
Like the limited edition, LCD-free M Edition 60, all the images you capture are saved automatically as RAW DNG files. This is a camera that is focused on ‘Das Wesentliche’, the essentials—even the iconic Red Dot logo has been left off.
The Leica M-D expresses purely functional, formal clarity and features design characteristics such as a top plate in brass with a step at the end citing the design of the Leica M9. The Leica red dot logo has been omitted from the front of the camera in favour of its unobtrusive appearance.
Those “inconspicuous” looks are extended to other inconspicuous features; namely, a very quiet shutter. “The hardly audible shutter of the Leica M-D also guarantees maximum inconspicuousness when shooting,” writes Leica. “As an aid to this, the camera features a shutter cocking system that is particularly quiet in single exposure and enables a shutter release frequency of up to two frames per second.”
When you shift it into continuous mode, the M-D can fire off at the same 3fps as the M (Typ 262).
Photographers Nicholas La, Daniel Arnold, and Rui Palha got to take this chimping-free camera out for a spin in Porto, Portugal ahead of release. Watch them put the M-D through its paces below: