A Beauty on the Outside and a Beast on the Inside
A camera that doesn’t really fit in a category but in almost every bag. The Leica M11 gives you the best sense of what photography was like 50 years ago, but with state-of-the-art digital specs.
The camera which requires the most craftsmanship and some spare money in your pocket. The Leica M11 is gorgeous on the outside and a beast on the inside.
But let me thank the partners who helped me test the M11 first: Foto Kücher and Leica Austria for the M11 body and Leica Galerie Salzburg for lending me the 2 lenses.
I had the chance to test the new Leica M11 for about a week and here is my review slash vlog about it.
After taking the M11 on a couple of shoots. I can say that I get the craze about the M-Line of Leica, and especially now, with the bigger Sensor the M11 made it to the 21st century.
The outside is wonderful. Even if it doesn‘t have a flip-out screen, and that Leica will never do one. The body is beautiful. As my friend Nuriel pointed out, the black version is 20% lighter due to different body material and i would like a lighter camera.
Secondly, the M lenses are crazy good and so tiny. This is my top feature of the m-line, that all lenses are tiny which makes you pack a full equipment in a small to-go bag. And I would sooo love this for my day-to-day camera being tiny and still deliver full-frame goodness.
This is only possible because the M11 doesn‘t have autofocus, which makes it so different to shoot than my other cameras. Not in a bad way, you have to work for a good photo longer and with that, you are being more considerate which pictures you take – And this is what I love most about the M11. It makes you slow down in photography. Not shooting pictures, but crafting them in a certain way. A wonderful experience.
Coming to the inside of the camera. The new sensor delivers amazing quality and yes, the Leica colors straight out of camera look great, especially the blacks are different. Focusing the M11 takes a great deal of skill and training, real professionals know, how far an object is away from the camera and use zone focusing. The M11 also gives you focus peaking, which i find hard to distinguish on the LCD, but it is better than nothing, and , for a newb like me, the actual only way to get something in focus. Otherwise, I not only struggled with the focusing, but also with the framing when I shot through the range finder. The M11 has a 64GB internal storage – which seems tiny, but it is there. Why no other camera has that?
One thing, I would love the M11 to have is the option to record video. It is something that I want in a day-to-day camera. Leica, please put this in the M12. And while we are at it. Leica, please make a Q3 with your 35mm f1.4 lens, I would straight up buy that camera like ice cream on a hot day.
The Leica M-System and lenses come with a hefty price tag. The body is 8750€ and good lenses are between two and four and a half thousand euros. So with a solid 2 lens setup, it gets you over 10.000€, still, Leica always was a premium brand with a very passionate buyer‘s clientele. Even if there are other lens manufacturers that produce m-mount lenses, you somehow want the full Leica experience.
With a camera like this, you cannot say if it is worth buying it, as the usage is different to any other camera system. So even if the M11 way of shooting seems outdated in 2022, it definitely makes a valid case to look at photography in a different way and even because she is so different, it is the perfect camera for 2022.
All in all, Leica did it again. They again made a product that I don’t need, but want. So I guess I am putting up a jar to save some money for a Leica one day.