Leica Reimagines Digital Rangefinder with the Stripped-Down M-D

April 28, 2016

By Greg Scoblete

It’s a convention among journalists (including yours truly) to list out all the features that arrive with the introduction of a new camera. For the new Leica M, it’s easier and more appropriate to make a list of everything the camera won’t have, including:

* a display

* support for saving images as JPEGs

* video recording

* live view

* scene modes, art filters, color profiles

Yes, the newest Leica rangefinder, the M-D (Typ 262) is a stripped-to-the-bone digital camera—a “pure experience” in Leica’s words. And a pricey one. The M-D will cost $5,995 when it arrives in May.

In place of the rear LCD monitor is an ISO dial. The spartan M-D only provides control over shutter speed, aperture, focus and ISO sensitivity. It only saves images in a RAW format (DNG)—not JPEG. The camera has a native ISO range of 200-6400 adjustable in 1/3 steps.

The M-D uses the same 24-megapixel full frame CMOS sensor found in the Leica M. It can shoot at up to 3 fps and has a quiet shutter. Shutter speeds top out at 1/4000 sec.

Leica initially debuted a limited edition of this camera at Photokina in 2014. Evidently the idea of display-free photography touched a nerve.