Leica has announced the M11, its latest rangefinder that offers what it claims as a new benchmark in digital photography as the most flexible M-system camera in the company’s history.
60-Megapixel Sensor with “Triple Resolution Technology”
Leica touts the M11 as built around a full-frame backside-illuminated (BSI) “triple resolution” sensor with an expanded ISO range. The triple resolution refers to the ability for the camera to record DNG and JPEG formats at 60, 36, or 18-megapixels while still always using the full sensor area. Leica says that the full 60-megapixels is ideal for delivering the best image quality from a Leica rangefinder and if a photographer wants to see the full optical potential of Leica M-series optics, but the lower resolution options enable faster camera performance, extended burst lengths, and, of course, smaller files.
Regardless of the resolution selected, Leica says it implemented a special infrared and ultraviolet cut filter that is comprised of two thin, cemented layers of glass and is able to achieve “especially effective” correction of even the most oblique rays of incident light. In short, the color filter array will supposedly offer an improved, more natural reproduction of colors.
The Leica M11 has an ISO sensitivity range of 64 through 50,000 and can record at a 14-bit color depth with a dynamic range of up to 15 stops. The camera it powered by Leica’s Maestro III processor which the company says will provide a fluid and responsive operating experience, even when shooting at the camera’s highest resolution and image quality settings.
The optical electronic shutter features a shutter speed of up to 1/16,000 of a second, which the company says will allow photographers to shoot in extremely bright environments without a neutral density filter. Additionally, the M11 marks the first-time multi-field metering in rangefinder mode will be available.
An Updated Physical Design
Leica says that the traditional baseplate that is absent on the M11 has been deliberately omitted in order to give photographers faster and more direct access to the battery and SD card slot. Speaking of the SD card, while the camera can use such removable storage, it also comes with an internal storage capacity of 64-gigabytes, meaning the M11 is the first M model to offer the ability to save image files on two different storage media simultaneously. So while it’s not a second card slot, this solution could effectively operate identically.
The company says that it maintained the look of the traditional Leica M on the M11 but carefully optimized the design to focus on efficiency and ergonomics. The controls have been arranged in a “unique layout” next to the 2.3 million pixels high-resolution rear touchscreen. The menu structure of the M11 remains consistent with the Leica SL2 and Q2, which the company says unifies the interface for a more user-friendly experience.
The black-finish variant of the Leica M11 features a top plate made of high-quality aluminum with a scratch-resistant coating. As a result, the body is approximately 20% (100 grams) lighter than its silver-chrome counterpart. By comparison, the silver-chrome M11 features a classic brass top plate and weighs 640 grams.
Better Battery and More Features to Come
Leica says that the M11 features a 1800mAh battery that stores 64% more power than previous generations and, combined with the camera’s more efficient operation, allows for “considerably longer” shooting sessions with a single charge. Leica did not supply exactly how long a session is expected to last, however. The company does say that the newly added universal USB-C port also serves to charge the camera’s battery and is compatible with most USB-C chargers.
Upgraded connectivity features for the Leica M11 will be available through a new firmware version in the second half of 2022. The company says users can expect the ability to use the new M11’s advanced connectivity capabilities which will elevate users’ mobile workflows and enhance the Leica FOTOS app with the possibility to embed location data, access images via Bluetooth connection, and allow increased transfer rates. The M11 is compatible with Apple products and accessories and offers unique abilities with the included Leica FOTOS cable.
There Are, Of Course Extras
The Leica M11 isn’t launching alone, but with a pair of accessories that Leica says will enhance the experience. First is a new Visoflex 2 electronic viewfinder that features a 3.7-megapixel resolution display to provide what Leica calls “outstanding image control” in Live View mode and is encased in the metal exterior. Full-frame viewing and the precise focusing of Leica lenses is supported by the Visoflex 2’s large diopter adjustment range of -4 to +3- and 90-degree tilt function.
Leica further carried the emphasis on improved ergonomics without obstructing access to the battery and SD card through an optional handgrip. It doubles as a tripod mount, where the Leica M11 can be attached to Arca-Swiss-standard tripod heads without the need for any additional equipment.
Pricing and Availability
The Leica M11 is available to order today for $8,995.