At the same time, you can pull extra detail out of shadows and highlights with the 14-bit RAW DNG files. And considering the higher resolution (and smaller pixels), the M10-R wasn’t bad in low light, letting me capture relatively noise-free shots at up to ISO 3200. There’s some noise beyond that, but I found I could get usable images at up to ISO 12,800.
Despite the lack of AF, video and other features, I had — surprisingly — a lot of fun shooting with the M10-R. For one thing, it’s a precision objet d’art with a satisfying mechanical feel. Plus, it got me involved in the photographic process — I had to nail the focus myself, which in turn made me think more about the shot as a whole.
If you look at what it has and what it lacks, though, it’s impossible to justify the $8,295 price for the body alone (in black chrome and silver chrome finishes), let alone the $4,395 price for the Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 lens (yes, just one lens). For a Leica camera, though, it’s a decent value as it delivers more resolution than the previous model for less money.
Anyway, none of that matters to the rich folks who would consider buying one. Like Patek Philippe watches, Leica rangefinders are the ultimate status symbols in photography — and the M10-R is the new king of that category.
Update 7/16/2020 11:33 AM ET: The story has been updated to indicate that the Leica has an “extra silent,” but not fully silent electronic shutter. Thanks, Jon!