11 May 2016

There really should be a definitive list of digital Leica M cameras, and I’m happy to turn this blog post into a link to that list. Until then, I hope this helps someone.

I don’t know why Leica make it so hard on us to buy their cameras. I can barely keep track of which camera I want, short of knowing that I want a digital Leica M. I have a film M7 that is a freakish combination of sculptural art work, exquisite functionality, and a tool that makes photography enjoyable to the point of giggles and produces results so good that they don’t make sense when compared to the simplicity of the process. That said, I still want the digital version because film really is a pain in the neck. If only I could remember which digital version I wanted.

The film versions are pretty simple. The M7 has a meter and thus modern1 conveniences like automatic shutter speed. Other Leica M film cameras don’t have meters. Or some may. Whatever, I’ve already got one and, as Monty Python’s French Soldier said, Oh yes, it's very nice!2 and Ferris was right: It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up. 3

But I don’t have a digital one. And as part of the long (yet almost certainly inevitable) process of getting one, I needed some notes on what the options are. If someone else has made this list, I couldn’t find it, and I’m sorry for (a) not just linking it to your information and (b) for spending the time I did making my own list when you already had one.

So, here’s my table of digital Leica M-system cameras. If I’ve made some mistake, let me know @acaird 4.

Name Price 5 MP Year Comments Top plate
M8 ebay 10 2006 not full-frame, while all the rest are brass
M8.2 ebay 10 2008 M8 that is quieter, nicer LCD glass, more discreet brass
M9 $3,800 18 2009 Ken says it's the best camera ever made  
M9-P $5,400 18 2011 M9 with sapphire covered LCD and nicer cosmetics  
M9 mono $5,000 18 2012 b/w only; precursor to the typ 246  
M-E (typ 220) $4,500 18 2012 basically a less expensive M9 with no losses over the M9  
M (typ 240) $6,400 24 2012 video brass
M-P (typ 240) $7,000 24 2014 video, more black and a bigger buffer than the M (typ 240) brass
M-Mono (typ 246) $7,500 24 2015 black-and-white only  
M (typ 262) $5,200 24 2015 no video aluminum
M-D (typ 262) $6,000 24 2016 A digital camera with no screen  

It seems to me that the M Typ 262 is the best option of that list, at least for me. The M-E is probably just as effective and fun, but since the savings of $700 would barely buy a suitable lens, it might not be worth it6, plus everyone knows that megapixels are what define good photos. I think it was Cartier-Bresson who said “Megapixels plus Aperature Priority equal Art”, or something like that—it was in French and I can’t be sure of the translation. As for video, I have an iPhone for video, and it probably does a better job than either of the typ 240 do in my hands.



Modernity here defined as sometime after the 1940s. As if your megapixels are really that cool… because Ken Rockwell asserts they aren’t, and he’s got enough self-confidence for himself, you, me, and a goodly fraction of the Internet, so there’s that.


This page could change at any time; if you are really concerned about the history of it, you’ll have to follow the changes via git at github.


Prices change over time. Plus, eBay. So these are basically meaningless. Sorry. Google some stuff, you’re a grown-up looking at multi-thousand-dollar cameras for goodness sake.


However, I’m open to advice.