The last part of our headline should not come as a surprise. We all know that Leica cameras come with a premium price. However, the first part is a refreshing change. Not much has changed with the M series over the last few iterations, but the Leica M11 is different.
Announced this morning (Jan. 13, 2022), the Leica M11 is the latest mirrorless rangefinder from the legendary camera maker. For years, Leica’s have been considered the gold standard for creators thanks to their meticulously designed and crafted cameras and their jaw-droppingly gorgeous lenses.
Leica hasn’t exactly had a smooth transition into the mirrorless world, but they have been edging closer to perfection with each release. The M10-R is a camera that I had the pleasure of using for a while last year and to say I was blown away by it would be an understatement. So, it’s no surprise that expectations are high for the Leica M11.
What’s so innovative about the Leica M11?
The new Leica M11 hasn’t changed much from the M10 when it comes to looks and ergonomics. This is a great thing as the M10 handled like a dream. There are two finishes for the M11. The black-finish variant of the Leica M11 features a top plate made of high-quality aluminum with a scratch-resistant coating. As a result, the body is approximately 20% (100 grams) lighter than its silver-chrome counterpart.
By comparison, the silver-chrome M11 features a classic brass top plate and weighs 640 grams. In real-world use, it will likely be hard to tell any real difference. Leica fans may have mixed feelings about the removable bottom plate being nixed. In its place is a fixed plate that offers easier access to the battery and SD card compartments.
Under the hood, you’re going to find a new BSI (backside illuminated) sensor with triple-resolution technology. According to Leica, RAW image files in DNG and JPEG format can be recorded at 60, 36 or 18 megapixels, always using the full sensor area. The 60-megapixel option will, of course, deliver high-resolution images and will make the most of Leica’s APO lenses. The lower resolutions should enable faster camera performance, extended burst lengths, and smaller files, which is always a plus if you want to transfer images to your phone. The ISO range of the M11 is from ISO 64 up to ISO 50,000.
But wait, there’s more
Leica has also opted to use a special IR + UV cut filter comprised of two extremely thin, cemented layers of glass. According to Leica, this filter achieves an especially effective correction of even the most oblique rays of incident light. Basically, the colors that the new Leica M11 will look more natural. If there’s is one thing I can say about Leica, it’s that their color science is already top-notch.
There’s also a new battery as well, which is a relief as the battery used in previous Leica M series cameras has left a lot to be desired. The 1800mAh battery stores 64% more power than before, and combined with the camera’s more efficient operation, allows for considerably longer shooting sessions with a single charge. There’s also a new high-resolution 2.3 million dot touchscreen LCD, 64GB of built-in storage space, UHS-II card support and USB-C charging. Overall, the Leica M11 sounds like quite the package.
Leica also unveiled a new Visoflex EVF. The new Visoflex 2 electronic viewfinder features a 3.7-megapixel resolution display and is encased in a metal exterior. The Visoflex 2 features a large diopter adjustment range of -4 to +3- and a 90-degree tilt function. To improve ergonomics without obstructing access to the battery and SD card, photographers will have the option to complement their M11 with a newly designed handgrip. The new handgrip doubles as a tripod mount, where the Leica M11 can be attached to Arca-Swiss-standard tripod heads without the need for any additional equipment.
It costs how much!?
We told you, the new Leica M11 is not cheap. The Leica M11 will have a retail price of $8,995. The Visoflex 2 costs $740, and the new grip will set you back $430. All of the items are available for pre-order now. Will you be buying the new Leica M11? Let us know in the comment section below.