Unveiled: Leica M-P Digital Rangefinder Camera


Leica has announced a gorgeous new camera, which is an update to the Leica M (Typ 240) Digital Rangefinder. In reality, the new Leica M-P Digital Rangefinder Camera is more alternative than upgrade. The M-P carries over the same 24MP full-frame CMOS sensor, Leica Maestro image processor, 200-6400 ISO range, 1080p video capabilities and 3.0" 920k-dot LCD of the M, but it does offer a significant performance improvement and a few construction and cosmetic enhancements. The concept behind the new M-P Digital recalls the Leica MP film camera, which was introduced as an all-metal, purely mechanical option characterized by its unassuming appearance and omission of the famed Leica red dot.

As with the MP film rangefinder update, the M-P digital rangefinder provides attributes that benefit the serious shooter who wants a fast, durable camera for use in demanding scenarios and with expectations of excellence. First, the M-P has incorporated 2GB of RAM for buffer memory that will enable shooting more images in rapid succession. The M features 1GB of buffer memory and Leica claims the M-P is “twice as fast” in terms of sequential capture, enabling the recording of up to 24 consecutive frames at a rate of 3 fps. Clearly, this is a great advantage to working in a professional capacity where the expectation is to capture the moment, regardless in which instant the moment occurs. And if a camera with the recognized image quality of a Leica rangefinder can keep pace with (or even come close to) a high-end DSLR, it is a clear boon to shooters who want that Leica look without sacrificing speed.

Second, the M-P incorporates a sapphire crystal glass cover for a scratch-resistant, virtually unbreakable LCD monitor. An anti-reflective coating on both sides of this glass also improves image viewing. As an obviously vulnerable spot on any camera, an LCD monitor with this level of protection is a valuable benefit for those who use their cameras in demanding situations. And, needless to say, the generational longevity is part and parcel of a Leica purchase and anything that will increase its lifespan and help retain its value is an important draw. 

Also, the M-P adds a frame-selection lever to provide bright, projected focal-length frame lines into the viewfinder. Pairs of focal length frames―28mm and 90mm, 35mm and 135mm or 50mm and 75mm― simulate the angle of view of various lenses for faster and better assessment of compositional needs; again, a seemingly minor but effective upgrade that offers advantages to photographers who need to shoot quickly.

Finally, the look of the M-P, which has the same weight and dimensions as the M, is more discreet, eschewing the white model name and recognizable logo on the camera’s front face for an engraved, scripted Leica name on the top plate. This will appeal to those who appreciate the unobtrusive, stealth-like shooting style that a Leica can afford. Removing that red logo, the thought goes, reduces the risk of theft and of unwanted attention. 

Other than the above-mentioned improvements, the M-P shares the same specs, features, and compatible accessories as the M and that makes it a masterfully designed modern gem with enough variation to appeal specifically to shooters who want a splendid blend of low profile and high performance. The new M-P is available in Black or Silver Chrome bodies.

Lens Mount Leica M bayonet with additional sensor for 6-bit coding
Image Sensor Full-Frame (23.9 x 35.8mm) CMOS
Effective Pixels 24MP
Total Pixels 24MP
Maximum Resolution DNG RAW:
24 MP: 5976 x 3992
24MP: 5952 x 3968
Aspect Ratio 3:2
Still Image File Format DNG RAW (uncompressed or compressed (lossless)), 2x JPEG levels
Image Processing Engine Leica Maestro
Storage Media SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards
Viewfinder Type Optical with digital info display and automatic parallax compensation
Magnification: 0.68x
Eyepiece Diopter: -0.5
Corrective lenses with diopter values from -3 to +3 

Optional electronic viewfinder EVF 2

Shutter Type Metal blade focal plane shutter with vertical movement
Shutter Speed Aperture priority (A): 32 - 1/4000 sec.
Manual: 8-1/4000 sec. in half-step increments
Long Exposures: Up to 60 sec.
Flash Sync Speed 1/180 sec. or slower
Top Continuous Shooting Rate 3.0 fps for up to 24 frames (2GB image buffer) 
Self-Timer 2.0 sec., 12 sec.
Interval Recording Not specified by manufacturer
Exposure Metering  TTL with variable aperture, center-weighted TTL (with with system-compliant SCA-3000/2 standard flash units), spot, multi-field

Metering Range:
Corresponds to ISO 200 at aperture f/1.0
EV 0 to EV 20 at aperture f/32

Exposure Modes Aperture priority A, Manual, Exposure lock
Exposure Compensation From -3.0 to +3.0 EV in 1/3 EV steps
Exposure Bracketing 0.5, 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 EV
3 or 5 pictures
ISO Sensitivity Auto, manual, 200-6400, adjustable in 1/3 increments. Expandable to ISO 100
Autofocus System None
Focus Modes Manual
Built-In Flash No
Flash Modes Auto, 2nd-curtain sync, manual, linear (high-speed sync)

Flash Metering: Center-weighted TTL pre-flash with SCA-3502-M5 adapter or SCA-3000 standard flash unit, e.g., Leica SF 26/Leica SF 58

Flash Compensation From -3.3 to + 3.3 in 1/3 EV steps
Leica SF 58: -3.0 to +3.0 EV in 1/3 EV steps
Flash Bracketing  
External Flash Interface ISO accessory shoe with center and control contacts
SCA adapter set
White Balance Modes Automatic, manual, 7 presets, color temperature
Movie Recording HD 1080p, 720p
VGA 640 x 480
File Format Motion JPEG/Quicktime
Audio Recording Mono or stereo using microphone adapter
Choice of auto or manual modulation during recording or fixed
"Concert" setting
Audio File Format Not specified by manufacturer
External Microphone Input Accessory shoe
Headphone Jack No
Maximum Recording Time Not specified by manufacturer
Monitor 3.0" color TFT LCD (921,600 pixels)
Frame Coverage: 100%
Viewing Angle: 170°
Scratch-resistant sapphire glass cover
Interface Flash shoe, accessory socket, contact strip for Multi-Function
Hand Grip M
Wi-Fi No
Remote Control Not specified by manufacturer
Power Source Supplied BP-SCL2 lithium-ion battery (7.4 V, 1800 mAh)
Supplied BC-SCL2 charger with 100-240 VAC, 50/60 Hz or 12 VDC, 1.3 A input; 7.4 VDC, 1000 mA output
Software Includes Adobe Photoshop Lightroom license
Operating Environment 32 to 104°F / 0 to 40°C
Material of Construction All-metal die cast magnesium body
Synthetic leather covering
Brass top panel and base
Dimensions Approx. 5.5 x 1.7 x 3.1" / 138.6 x 42 x 80mm
Weight Approx. 1.5 lb / 680 g with battery