The Leica M11 is a digital rangefinder camera that utilizes a 60-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor as its primary imaging component. It is the most recent model in the ‘M’ series of rangefinders that Leica has produced since the M3 was released in 1954. It should come as no surprise that the M11 retains many of the aesthetic characteristics of its ancestors given the unparalleled depth of legacy upon which it is built.
The most recent model, although maintaining some of its predecessor’s outward appearance, has undergone a number of significant revisions, including an improved body design as well as entirely different components on the inside. The M11 will be offered in two distinct variations: a traditional silver model with a black leatherette band around the middle and a brass top-plate, as well as a black model that employs aluminum in place of brass and is around one hundred grams lighter as a result. The combined suggested retail price for both hues is $8995 per unit.
Leica M11 Price in USA
The heart of the M11 is a BSI CMOS sensor with a resolution of 60 megapixels. The M10 has 24 megapixels, whereas the M10-R has 40 megapixels, thus this is a significant improvement. Importantly, though, it is also a transition to a pixel structure that is lighted from the rear.
With BSI sensors, the portion of the pixel that is sensitive to light is moved closer to the chip’s surface. In small chips, this has a noise benefit because it moves the wiring out of the way and makes a larger proportion of each pixel light-sensitive. On the other hand, in sensors with relatively large pixels, the greater benefit stems more from the fact that the light-sensitive region is at the very front surface of the chip, rather than being set down into the pixel a little bit. This is especially critical for pixels that are located close to the edges and corners of the sensor, since this is where light is most likely to approach from progressively shallow angles, making it more difficult to direct the light down into the pixel.
This quality is especially useful for camera mounts such as the M mount, which has a very short flange-back distance. This means that lenses mount very close to the sensor, and the mount offers compatibility with lenses that were designed for film, where this wasn’t as much of a concern. This property is especially valuable for camera mounts such as the M mount.
Again because of the need to accept light coming in at very shallow angles, the M11’s sensor has a very thin, bonded two-layer filter in front of it rather than the traditional IR filter and protective glass. This was done to accommodate the sensor’s ability to take in light from very shallow angles.
If the cover glass is very thick, there is a greater chance that light rays with a shallow angle of incidence will be reflected, rather than reaching the sensor via penetrating the glass. In addition, the precision of the IR filtering is decreased when the light is coming from a shallow angle, which causes part of the visible light to be wasted.
Leica has bonded a very thin layer of UV filtering to a very thin layer of IR filtering for the M11. The IR filtering is quite specialized. It is stated that the thinness ensures that more light reaches the right pixels, improving corner sharpness, and that the corner pixels experience very precise IR and UV cut-offs, allowing for the use of R, G, and B filter dyes that capture the full spectrum of visible light, thereby delivering greater color accuracy. Additionally, it is stated that this allows for improved corner sharpness.
Instead of having a separate light meter that measures light bouncing off the shutter blades, the M11 does all of its exposure metering using its primary image sensor. Because of this, it is the first camera in the M-series to provide a “multi-field” (matrix) scene metering option.
You have the option of shooting in Raw or JPEG format with the M11, and you can choose between three different resolutions: 60MP (L), 36MP (M), and 18MP (S). When compared to line-skipping or sub-sampling the sensor in some manner, these reduced file sizes are the result of initially sampling all of the sensor’s pixels. This provides them with a noise benefit and lowers the risk of moire, which is a problem that can occur when line-skipping or sub-sampling the sensor.
As a result of the reduction in noise that is brought about by downscaling, Leica estimates that the dynamic range of the M and S files is one stop greater than the 14-stop value that it provides for the 60MP option (the highest of any M to date, the company says). Users have the ability to pick JPEG resolutions and Raw resolutions independently of one another. We have been informed that the sensor does not utilize the Quad Bayer or any other arrangement that is especially suited for pixel binning.
The M11 takes advantage of its resolution of 60 megapixels to also feature two cropped modes: one with 39 megapixels and a crop factor of 1.3 times, and another with 18 megapixels and a crop factor of 1.8 times. These crops, in contrast to the reduced full-sensor modes, are applied to both the Raw and the JPEG versions of the image. Having said that, the crop is merely a metadata tag in the Raw file, which means that it may be overwritten as you edit: the complete sensor data is always available.
A stable live view magnified mode is one of the new features of the M11, and it makes it much simpler to fine-focus on things that are up close. The stabilization is completely digital, and it works by displaying a window of the view that the sensor sees and then adjusting that window to compensate for any motion that the camera may experience. Because of the requirement to utilize a region that has been cropped in, this region is only used for the preview; no adjustment is performed to the final picture.
Leica M11 Specifications
|Body type||Large SLR|
|Body material||Magnesium alloy / brass|
|Max resolution||9528 x 6328|
|Other resolutions||(M) 7413 x 4928, (S) 5272 x 3498|
|Image ratio w:h||3:2|
|Effective pixels||60 megapixels|
|Sensor size||Full frame (36 x 24 mm)|
|Color filter array||Primary color filter|
|White balance presets||8|
|Custom white balance||Yes|
|File format||JPEGDNG (14-bit)|
|Optics & Focus|
|Lens mount||Leica M|
|Focal length multiplier||1×|
|Screen / viewfinder|
|Articulated LCD||Fully articulated|
|Screen type||TFT LCD|
|Viewfinder type||Optical (rangefinder)|
|Minimum shutter speed||3600 sec|
|Maximum shutter speed||1/4000 sec|
|Maximum shutter speed (electronic)||1/16000 sec|
|Exposure modes||Aperture priorityManual|
|External flash||Yes (via hot shoe)|
|Flash X sync speed||1/180 sec|
|Continuous drive||4.5 fps|
|Self-timer||Yes (2 or 12s)|
|Exposure compensation||±3 (at 1/3 EV steps)|
|Storage types||UHS II type SD|
|USB||USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 GBit/sec)|
|Remote control||Yes (cable release)|
|Battery description||BC-SCL7 lithium-ion battery & charger|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||700|
|Weight (inc. batteries)||640 g (1.41 lb / 22.58 oz)|
|Dimensions||139 x 39 x 80 mm (5.47 x 1.54 x 3.15″)|
It might appear almost exactly the same as every previous digital M-series model that has been launched, but you can be confident that the new M11 is the greatest Leica M digital rangefinder that has ever been produced because of all of the advancements that have been made within.
Having said that, this is a very specialized product that is not likely to win over a significant number of new followers. A manual-focus only, non-video shooting, 4.5fps rangefinder camera with no image stabilization sounds like marketing madness at a time when other manufacturers are rushing to create all-in-one mirrorless hybrids that can shoot high-resolution stills at 30fps utilizing cutting-edge AF algorithms and record 8K video too. However, the M11 has more than enough chops and charm of its own to not only survive, but positively prosper in a market that is constantly shifting and evolving
- File transfers may be performed using either Wi-Fi or USB-C.
- A sharp and clear optical viewfinder
- Vast M lens compatibility
- Viso flex EVF available
- Discreetly operated mechanical shutter
- Iconic industrial design
- 64 gigabytes of storage space onboard
- 60MP full-frame sensor
- Specialty appeal
- Omits video support
- The cost of luxury