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Leica M11 (Typ 2416) Camera Review

A beautifully made camera, the M11 will suit rangefinder photographers very nicely but what's the image quality like? Let's find out with John Riley's help.

| Leica M11 in Mirrorless Cameras

Leica M11 (Typ 2416) Camera Review: Leica M11 With 35mm F1,4 Flat Front View | 0.3 sec | f/16.0 | 40.0 mm | ISO 100

Quick Verdict

Rangefinder-style meets digital technology with the Leica M11 body. There are photographers to whom the rangefinder is where they are most comfortable, camera and photographer melding into an utterly smooth working method. This is the stuff of street photography, landscapes, architecture and subject matter that does not rely on lenses longer than about 135mm. Up to 135mm the focusing accuracy of the rangefinder scores over the DSLR. Of course, this will not suit all photographers, but for those who gel with the principles of classic Leica photography, this camera will be like coming home.

+ Pros

  • Excellent to outstanding sharpness
  • Superb colour rendition
  • Options of 60MP, 36MP or 18MP full-frame images
  • High-class manufacturing quality
  • Accurate rangefinder focusing
  • iPhone and iPad connectivity and control
  • Optional Visoflex 2 Electronic Viewfinder
  • Leica heritage

- Cons

  • Rangefinder focusing can be tricky
  • Very high price
  • Limited close focusing
  • Lenses are expensive


Leica. Here is a name that creates expectations of the highest quality, and one where the products are constantly evolving as the world and its photographers explore new directions and new technology. The Leica M11 is a digital full-frame camera body taking the classic M series lenses. In terms of style and size, it is almost identical to the dimensions of the first M series camera, the Leica M3 of 1954. The M3 set new standards of excellence in 1954 and clearly, the M11 has aspirations to achieve the same in 2022.

Coupling the M11 up with the recently reviewed Leica Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH lens, let's see if that aspiration is fulfilled and indeed what the camera and lens combination can do.



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Leica M11 (Typ 2416) Features

Leica M11 (Typ 2416) Camera Review: Leica M11 With 35mm F1,4 Diagonal Above View | 1/4 sec | f/16.0 | 68.0 mm | ISO 100

We are quite used to seeing compact mirrorless camera bodies being coupled up with bulky and heavy lenses, but here we have the opposite. The Summilux-M lens is tiny, rangefinder-style, and the sheer weight of the M11 body is by contrast an initial surprise. The black version used here weighs in at 537g (actual) including the battery and card. The silver version weighs 640g (Leica supplied figure) as the top plate is brass instead of aluminium. However, the construction of the body is impeccable and it gives us the confidence that it will be as durable as the M3 was in its day.

Looking at the front of the camera, there is a small flattened lens release lever and what appears to be a self-timer lever but which actually is a selector for various viewfinder bright lines for different focal lengths. The Summilux-M automatically sets the correct bright lines when it is fitted. The viewfinder is optical but the bright lines are only activated when the camera is switched on. The lines approximately define the picture area and are parallax corrected so they move inwards and downwards as we focus closer. Viewfinder magnification is 0.73x. Additional small windows along the top rim are the rangefinder window and the light sensor. That small red Leica dot is centre stage, just above the lens.

The top plate is simple and uncluttered and has the ISO dial (lift and then rotate) offering values from ISO 64 to ISO 6400, auto setting and an M setting where we set a wider range of values in the camera menu. The shutter speed dial offers A, 8s to 1/4000s and B, so there is aperture priority available as well as manual setting. The shutter release button is light and predictable and is surrounded by the on/off switch, probably the best place ergonomically. Finally on the top plate is a small function button. Press to access the function, press and hold to choose to allocate a different function. Various items are available, such as exposure compensation, ISO settings, Live View and file format.

Leica M11 (Typ 2416) Camera Review: Leica M11 With 35mm F1,4 No Hood | 0.3 sec | f/16.0 | 68.0 mm | ISO 100

The back of the camera is dominated by the 2.95 inch TFT LCD, which has a resolution of 2,332,800 dots. There are buttons for Play, FN and Menu and a four-way controller. There is also a small control wheel top right. Functions can be customised as required. The viewfinder window top left has no dioptre correction built-in.

The CMOS sensor offers a full resolution of 60MP. Alternative resolutions maintain the full frame but reduce the pixel counts via downsizing to 36MP or 18MP. This could be useful for situations where full resolution is not needed and storage space is at a premium.

The baseplate contains the release lever for the battery and this has a failsafe that prevents the battery from just falling straight out. The switch is operated and then the battery given a light push to release it fully. It is necessary to remove the battery to gain access to the single SD card slot. The battery can be slotted straight into the top of the charger, which is simple and efficient. Up to 700 shots per charge could be expected, according to CIPA standards.

There is an internal memory of 64GB that can be used in various ways and also connectivity to iPad and iPhone via the Leica FOTOS cable. There is a USB-C socket in the baseplate for cable connection. The FOTOS App is available in the App store and enables control of the camera and updates. There is also WiFi and Bluetooth connection.

The Visoflex 2 electronic viewfinder is an optional extra that fits into the accessory shoe on top of the camera. This could be very useful for those who are not happy with the rangefinder focusing and optical viewfinder.


Key Features

  • 60MP full-frame CMOS sensor
  • Options of downsampled 36MP and 18MP resolutions
  • Shutter speeds 1/4000s to 8s (mechanical)
  • Shutter speeds 1/16000s to 60min (electronic)
  • ISO range 64-50000
  • Metering spot, centre weighted, multi-field
  • SD Memory Cards: UHS-II, UHS-I, SD/SDHC/SDXC up to 2TB
  • Built-in memory 64GB
  • DNG and JPEG formats
  • Rangefinder focusing
  • Live View
  • WiFi 2.4 and 5GHZ
  • Bluetooth
  • USB-C connection for Leica FOTOS cable
  • FOTOS App for connectivity and camera control by iPhone and iPad
  • Updates via FOTOS App


Leica M11 (Typ 2416) Handling

Leica M11 (Typ 2416) Camera Review: Leica M11 With 35mm F1,4 With Hood | 0.4 sec | f/16.0 | 68.0 mm | ISO 100

Handling for those who are dedicated to rangefinder focusing and general Leica handling will be delighted to find this digital, stripped back camera that gets straight to the photography without any features getting in the way. The obvious targets are the street/documentary and the travel/landscape photographers.

There are numerous niggles, largely stemming from the basic design that will also be exactly what others like. The rangefinder is not the easiest of focusing methods to use quickly and using Live View could be the better option for many. It is a matter of practice and familiarity up to a point, but there are those who simply prefer the eye level viewfinder, be it an optical pentaprism or an EVF. The latter can be satisfied by adding the optional Visolux 2.

The base plate is an improvement in that it does not all need to be removed to get at the battery, but the battery still needs removing to access the SD card. It is also not possible to remove the battery with the camera on a tripod.

DSLR and mirrorless users will also find that the lenses just do not focus close enough. Modern zoom lenses focus down maybe to 1:3 or 1:4 magnification with ease. The Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4, for example, only manages 1:17.4

However, and it is a big however, when the picture is shot and it is spot on, the quality can be totally stunning, with outstanding sharpness and superb colour rendering. We end up with beautiful images that could be top class Kodachrome or Velvia transparencies, so the effort to master the camera and its foibles could well be totally worthwhile.


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1 Feb 2022 2:52PM
For my daily work I use other cameras more suited to the job, but whenever I go out to shoot personal work I love my M7 and M10. For novice rangefinder enthusiasts it takes a little getting used to, but once you're more experienced, focusing actually is quite easy unless you use really wide or long lenses.

Apart from the great images, the process of making images with a Leica M is also a great part of the fun. It makes you very aware of all the deliberate choices you have to make. I dare to say that some of my street portrait images were only possible when using an M. If I'd picked up a regular camera for that, the subject would have surely refused to pose. Instead, the M often sparks interest and a nice conversation followed by taking the time to pose. On the other hand, an M can also be stealthy and allows you to get up close. In my view, no other camera can do that. I'm afraid my M10 needs to make way for it's successor...
pablophotographer 11 2.1k 442
11 Feb 2022 1:44PM
It has a red dot, it is Leica, it tells the time, takes no pictures and the asking price is £10,000. It is the analogue faced, fully mechanical, automatic wrist watch L1. Yes, I'd buy the camera instead. It tells the time and the date in the metadata and it takes pictures. It's a no brainer.

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