Leica M-D (Typ 262) Digital Rangefinder Camera

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A Step Back to the Future

Leica M-D (Typ 262) Digital Rangefinder Camera Incorporating the most basic form of Leica's philosophies, the M-D (Typ 262) digital rangefinder, strongly emphasizes manual control and the ability to concentrate totally on the scene at hand. By excluding virtually all automatic features along with a rear LCD screen, the simplicity of the M-D simplicity is its main attribute, and allows unencumbered access to the four elemental elements of photography: aperture, shutter speed, focus and ISO. This simplicity is carried over to the operational functions of the camera, including its manual rangefinder focusing device, clear optical viewfinder with 0.68x magnification, with only stills recording using uncompressed DNG raw file format. Looking past handling and design, the M-D is, naturally, also symbolized by notable imaging performance assisted by the full-frame MAX 24MP CMOS sensor along with Maestro image processor which delivers a top end sensitivity of ISO 6400 and up to 3 frames per second continuous photography. Engineered as a camera for the professional photographer, the M-D maintains Leica's devotion to their heritage in building simple yet highly functional tools along with a reverence for the basic elements of photography itself.

M-D (Typ 262) Clearly inspired by its sister model, the M (Typ 262), this M-D version is an even further pared-down rangefinder characterized by its minimalist design and simple interface. Featuring an all-black color scheme, the sleek camera body is also physically distinct by its omission of the Leica red dot as well as a classic brass top plate with historically inspired Leica engraving.

In regard to operation, the M-D is equally minimal due to its lack of a rear LCD screen, which has been replaced with a manual ISO selection wheel, as well as the omission of video recording and virtually all automated functions.


MAX 24MP CMOS Sensor and Maestro Image Processor

Benefitting the simple and clean design is a high-resolution full-frame 24MP Leica MAX CMOS sensor and Maestro image processor, which combine to deliver vivid image quality with minimal noise, smooth color and tonal gradations, and exceptional clarity. The combination of both these technologies also avails a continuous shooting rate of 3 fps, or 2 fps in single exposure mode, which works in conjunction with a 1GB buffer for sustained shooting up to 8 consecutive frames.

Utilizing the analog dials on the back and top of the camera, sensitivity can be adjusted, in 1/3 EV steps, from ISO 200 to 6400, and shutter speeds from 1/4000 to 8 seconds plus bulb for up to 1 minute, can be controlled. Aperture control is available on any attached M-mount lens, and an aperture priority setting can be utilized along with the in-camera heavily center-weighted exposure meter.

Optical Viewfinder and Rangefinder

The optical viewfinder is a large, bright-line 0.68x-magnification rangefinder with automatic parallax compensation and frame lines, which are set to match the image sensor size at a focusing distance of 6.6'. The automatic image field limiter recalls pairs of bright lines depending on the lens attached: 35mm and 135mm; 28mm and 90mm; or 50mm and 75mm.

The rangefinder mechanism displays split or superimposed bright field images within the center of the viewfinder to benefit accurate manual focusing control. The effective rangefinder metering basis is 47.1mm (mechanical metering basis 69.25mm x viewfinder magnification of 0.68x).

Body Design

Brass top plate maintains a classic feel and is complemented by an all-black lacquered finish for a svelte appearance. The camera body is constructed from magnesium and aluminum alloys and finished with a black synthetic leather covering. Quiet shutter mechanism benefits discreet, inconspicuous shooting methods. Eschewing a rear LCD screen and video recording capabilities, this stills-only camera features few physical controls for exposure adjustment, including a rear ISO dial, top shutter speed dial, and a drive mode selector.

Other Camera Features

Leica M mount is compatible with a wide range of both current and legacy rangefinder lenses, ranging in focal length from 16mm to 135mm. Images are exclusively recorded in the DNG format. A top hot shoe permits working with an external flash and the top sync speed is 1/180 sec.


Specifications
Price
MSRP $5195/4050
Body type
Body type Rangefinder-style mirrorless
Sensor
Max resolution 5952 x 3976
Other resolutions 4256 x 2832, 2976 x 1984, 1600 x 1072
Image ratio w:h 3:2
Effective pixels 24 megapixels
Sensor size Full frame (35.8 x 23.9 mm)
Sensor type CMOS
Processor Maestro
Image
ISO Auto, 200-6400, expandable to 100-6400
Boosted ISO (minimum) 100
White balance presets 7
Custom white balance Yes
Image stabilization No
Uncompressed format RAW
JPEG quality levels Fine, Standard
Optics & Focus
Digital zoom No
Manual focus Yes (only)
Lens mount Leica M
Focal length multiplier 1
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCD Fixed
Screen size 3
Screen dots 921,000
Touch screen No
Screen type TFT LCD
Live view No
Viewfinder type Optical (rangefinder)
Viewfinder magnification 0.68
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed 60 sec
Maximum shutter speed 1/4000 sec
Aperture priority Yes
Shutter priority No
Manual exposure mode Yes
Subject / scene modes No
Built-in flash No
External flash Yes (via hot shoe)
Continuous drive 3.0 fps
Self-timer Yes (2 or 12 sec)
Metering modes
  • Center-weighted
Exposure compensation 3 (at 1/3 EV steps)
AE Bracketing 6 (3, 5 frames at 1/2 EV, 1 EV, 2 EV steps)
Videography features
Microphone None
Speaker None
Storage
Storage types SD/SDHC/SDXC
Connectivity
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMI No
Microphone port No
Headphone port No
Remote control Yes (Cable release)
Physical
Battery Battery Pack
Battery description BP-SCL2 lithium-Ion rechargeable battery & charger
Weight (inc. batteries) 680 g (1.50 lb / 23.99 oz)
Dimensions 139 x 80 x 42 mm (5.47 x 3.15 x 1.65)
Other features
Orientation sensor Yes
Timelapse recording No
GPS Optional

Accessories

Video

Leica M-D (Typ 262) Digital Rangefinder Camera

Images

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    Leica M-D (Typ 262) Digital Rangefinder Camera Reviewed by Gene Wright on . Rating: 5