Leica M262 Review (Leica M Typ 262) with sample images

Leica M 262 Body

In-depth review: Leica M262 vs M9 vs M240.

On November 19 Leica introduced the M Typ 262, the successor to the Leica M-E, which was really an M9 minus the frame line preview lever and USB port. The M262, however, is based on the M240 but shares the body shape and weight of the M9 series.

My first Leica was an M2, purchased used in 1982 with a new 35mm Summicron. The M2 changed how I saw photographically. The Leica M has been my camera of choice since.

Related article: Why I use a rangefinder camera.

The M-E was my first digital M. For a new Leica that camera was a bargain. I made more “keeper” images with that M-E in the 2 years I used it than I had with my DSLR in previous years.

I was hoping for a refresh of a classic digital M. With Leica’s introduction of the Q and SL, and strangely enough, the collector’s item M60, I thought this was a good sign for the return of a “classic” digital M focused only on still images. The Q and SL are better video platforms and gives Leica the space to produce a purely still image M body.

The M60 signaled Leica’s understanding of minimalism, but taken too far for the non collector. The M60’s downfall as a user camera is the lack of auto ISO. I contest manual mode with auto ISO and the ability to use exposure compensation is the ultimate shooting mode. You can’t shoot that way with an M60.

Thankfully, Leica understands they need a camera like the M262 for rangefinder traditionalists. A camera that does only one thing and does it like every M still camera before it. I don’t want a mass-produced M60. Sorry, an LCD screen comes with today’s territory.

Leica has a hit on their hands with the M262. After a few weeks using the M262 I’m declaring it the best, pure digital rangefinder Leica has made to date. I was so taken with the M262 after renting it for a week I sent my M-E to off for sale and purchased the M262.

This is the camera rangefinder enthusiasts like myself were hoping Leica would release. I will be surprised if it doesn’t start outselling the M240. If that is the case I hope Leica rethinks their strategy of releasing a stills-only traditional M body near the end of the product cycle. When the 240 is finally updated, give us one body like the M262, sans video and live view, and another body with live view and video for those who want or need those features.

How the M262 differs from the M9 and M240

  • There is no Live View or provision to use an electronic view finder.
  • The live view button at the top-left back of the M240 body is now a white balance button on the M262.
  • Center-weighted metering only, no spot or multi-metering options.
  • The top plate is made from durable aluminum instead of brass, making it 100 grams lighter than the M240. The M262 is essentially the same weight as the M9.
  • Body styling the same as the M9 with stepped top plate.
  • New quieter, more refined sounding shutter.
  • No silent or discreet modes like in the M9
  • LED illuminated frame lines like in the M240, but no red frame line option. White only.
  • Frame lines optimized for 2 meters like the M240, instead of 1 meter like the M9.
  • Simplified menus. Only three pages (2 menu pages and 1 settings page).
  • No film mode options found on the M240.
  • Dust detection feature included like on the M240.
  • The Multifunction Hand Grip M (14495) does not work on the M262. The interface at the bottom of the camera is for diagnostics only.

Look, feel and heft

The M9, compared to a classic film M, added significant depth to the body. In a short amount of time you adjust and only notice the difference when picking up a film M body again. I only used an M240 for a short period at a trade show, and found it noticeably heavier.

I added a “Thumbie” device to my M-E. When I weighed the M262 and the M-E (with Thumbie attached) on a scale, the M262 only weighed about 6 grams more. Even though the 262 is 5mm deeper than the M9 series, because of the weight difference of the 262, I did not notice any difference in size or weight from the M-E when using them side by side.

Officially the M262 weighs 600 grams, the M9/M-E 585 grams and the M240 weighs in at 680 grams.

I like the look of the stepped top plate from the the M9 series and glad Leica went back to it in the M262. Without video we also lose the body holes for audio on the top and back of the M240.

The M262’s covering is somewhat soft and grippy. The pebbled surface of the fake leatherette is reminiscent of the classic M2 and M4 . The M-E actually had a wonderful feeling camera cover but was a little more bland in appearance.

The M262’s finish is deep black and fairly flat. I might call it close to a matte finish. The M262 does not collect and hold finger prints. They wipe off easily and cleanly. Leica describes the M262 as an “all-metal die cast magnesium body, synthetic leather covering, aluminum top panel, black anodized finish.” For the brassing enthusiast the M262 won’t be your cup of tea. There won’t be any Lenny Kravitz Correspondent versions of the M262

In person this camera looks and feels great. It feels solid. Leica left the script off the top and reduced the red dot to the size used on the M6. If you’re apt to cover the red dot with black tape the M262 becomes a total black beauty. Will Leica eventually introduce a chrome version of the M262?

A little point, but I liked the button actions better too than on the M9.

Leica M 262 with Leica M6

Rear Screen

Coming from a Leica M9’s 230,000 dot pitch screen you will find the 921,600 dpi screen actually useable to check focus. The Maestro Image Processor in the M262 makes the camera feel much faster if you’re coming from an M9. The The M262 screen uses Gorilla Glass. I would still slap on a screen protecter just to be safe and worry free. I’m using the Pavoscreen screen protector, distributed by SopiGuard in the U.S.

A look at the three main menu pages, simplified due to the lack of video and live view:

Menu page 1
Leica M 262 Menu

Menu page 2
Leica M 262 Menu

Set page menu
Leica M 262 Menu

Setting dial and shutter speed selector

The setting dial on the M262 is the same used on the M240, located on the top right of the camera’s back. To the left of the setting dial Leica incorporated a thumb rest. I find the setting dial used on the M262 and M240 series better ergonomically. I found the setting dial on the M9 too easily turned by accident while shooting with EV activated, often being surprised by an EV setting. It’s also easier to reach the dial on the M262. The M9 wheel was awkward to reach with the camera to your eye.

The “Auto” A setting on the shutter speed wheel takes more force to move it off when set, which should help protect it from being accidentally bumped to speed settings. The shutter dial allows half stop settings between marked speeds.

Weather sealing

I could not anything on this, so I contacted Leica. Their official word:

The camera construction on the M (Typ 262) is the same as the M (Typ 240) with the same main weather seals in place. However, as it has no LVF port on the back of the camera, it is more weatherproof (the Typ 240 is fully weather-sealed if the original hotshoe cover is in place, but not if being used with an external accessory on the hotshoe).

Battery

The big, beefy battery from the M240 series is also used in the M262. Even though I carried two batteries with my M-E, I never needed the second battery. I’m pretty selective when I shoot, a carry over from my film days.

I would get a second battery for the M262 if I were taking an extended trip where I might not have access to charging on a daily basis and didn’t want to risk the camera becoming a paper weight. I can’t imagine running out of battery life even on a full day of shooting.

Custom Greycard white balance

With the removal of live view on the M262 Leica replaced the live view button on the top left back of the M240 with a white balance button on the M262. Being a RAW shooter I’ve never spent time messing with white balance on my cameras. Now that it’s so fast to set a custom white balance I may find myself doing it more to speed post processing.

Compared to the M-E the auto white balance on the M262 is more accurate.

Below are the steps to set custom white balance:

  1.  Press the WB Button
  2.  Press the up direction pad button twice or turn the setting dial two clicks left to reach the “Greycard” setting
  3. Click the SET or INFO button. (Notice appears on LCD to take photo).
  4. Take photo
  5.  Photo appears on LCD along with small crosshairs in the middle. If your neutral area is already in the middle with the crosshairs, press the INFO button to measure it, then the SET button to save it. Or, use the direction pad buttons to find an area that is neutral and press the INFO button to measure again, then the SET button to save the measurement. The screen confirms the setting then clears automatically and you are ready to shoot.

The next time you press the white balance button it returns you to the greycard setting.

Tip:  To immediately take a new white balance photo after initially setting it, you can bypass a step by first holding the right direction pad button THEN pressing the white balance button. This makes subsequent custom white balance setting fast and easy.

New Shutter with reduced sound

Leica introduced a new shutter that is quieter then the M9 and M240.  The M9 shutter sounded “whiny” on recocking to my ear. There is no discreet or soft shutter release modes on the M262 like on the M9. The shutter release on the M262 is smoother and more pleasing to use than on the M9. The shutter release on the M9 always felt notchy to me in standard release mode.

The M262’s shutter sound is one of my favorite improvements over the M9 series. Listen in the video below:

M262 Shutter

The M262 shutter should go unnoticed out on the streets. If you want a truly silent camera get a Fuji X100 series camera with its leaf shutter. It’s a camera I also own and use in conjunction with my Leica.

The shutter blades on the M240 and M262 are oriented in a different direction compared to the M9/M-E shutter. In the images below note the rivet for the latter M’s is located on the bottom right where it’s on the top left in the M9/M-E. Not sure what this means, just pointing it out.

How durable is an M shutter?

An acquaintance has an M8.2 he purchased new in 2008. As of January 2016 his M8.2 was still in action with 103,708 shutter activations.

M262 Shutter (click images for larger versions)
Leica-M-Typ-262-Shutter

M240 Shutter
M240-shutter

M9 Shutter
Leica-M9-shutter

Metering

The 262 only offers classic heavily center-weighted metering, no spot or multi-metering like the 240. This is due to the lack of live view in the M262.

Frame lines and viewfinder

Coming from an M-E, the frame lines and viewfinder changes are some of my favorite upgrades.

The frame lines in the M262 are illuminated by LEDs. The frame lines dim as light levels drop. I never found them too bright in any situation. There isn’t an option to turn the frame lines red like in the M240 series. It’s classic white for the M262.

With the M240 series Leica returned to frame lines optimized for 2 meters. This is another favorite enhancement coming from the M9. For middle to far distances the frame lines in the 262 are more accurate than those in the M9 series. Except for a brief appearance in the Leica M8.2, Leica standardized on 1 meter optimized frame lines, starting with the M4-P film camera, to better squeeze in 28mm frames. This came at the expense of getting much more in your image than indicated by the projected frame lines. I always appreciated the more accurate frame lines in the classic M2 and M4’s. I could never mentally adjust to shooting a 50mm lens with my M6 as the frames were so inaccurate. It’s great to see the more accurate frame lines return in the M262 (and M240).

Below are images taken through the M262 and M-E viewfinder with a 50mm lens from 10 feet along with the resulting image. Click the images for larger versions.

Leica M-E/M9 frame lines as seen through the camera viewfinder

M-E-50mm-frames

What the M-E/M9 actually captured

L1004100

Leica M262 50mm frame lines as seen through the camera viewfinder

262-50mm-frames

What the M262 actually captured

L1000586

On the M262 what is just on the outside of the frame lines is what is being captured in the image. On the M-E about three times the frame lines thickness appears on the final image. At the distance I often find myself photographing, the M262 frame lines are pretty accurate to what appears in the image.

Below is what the M9/M-E and M262 manuals claim will appear at different distances. They appear a tad conservative. Click the image for a larger version.

framelines-in-manual

Dear Leica, please offer the service to blank out frame lines. When using a 50mm lens not having to see the paired 75mm frame lines would clean up the viewfinder considerably. Having just the 35, 50 and 90mm frame lines would turn the M262 into the digital M2, which was the greatest film M series ever produced (IMHO…).

ISO and EV values in viewfinder

Leica made a wonderful user-friendly improvement in the viewfinder information display on startup compared to the M9. I assume this comes from then M240 series. On startup the M262 will first display the set ISO. A tap on the shutter release will display any non-zero EV settings for a brief moment, then display the shutter speed or manual settings, depending on the mode you’re in. These are great visual reminders to keep you informed of crucial settings.

Startup time

The fastest startup time I was able to achieve, from turning the camera on to being able to make an image, was 1.6 seconds. That was with a Panasonic Gold 8GB card.

Time of other cards I tested:

  • 16GB Sandisk Extreme Pro (95MB/s): 1.8 seconds
  • 16GB Panasonic Gold: 1.9 seconds
  • 16GB Samsung Pro (white card): 1.75 seconds

In order to measure the time, as I turned on the camera while holding down the shutter button, I recorded this on video. Using Audacity I was able to “see” the sound of the “on” switch and ended with the sound of the shutter opening, allowing for a precise measurement.

Formatting the SD Card as exFat seems to be the key. I also tried SD Card Formatter alone and in conjunction with formatting in the camera. That didn’t seem to make any difference. Once I formatted the cards as exFat I recorded my fastest start-to-shoot times. The 16GB Panasonic start-to-shoot time when the card was formatted only in the camera at the card’s default MSDOS FAT format was 5.2 seconds. Formatting the card first in my computer as exFAT, then formatting the card in the camera reduced the startup time on this card to 1.9 seconds.

Image buffering

The M262 has a 1GB RAM buffer, the same as the M240. The M-P240 has a 2GB RAM buffer.

The Sandisk 16GB 95MB/s card, allowed me to capture about 65 photos in a minute. The Samsung and Panasonic cards could only capture about 45 images in one minute. This is still much better than the M9. I don’t think the addition of a 2GB buffer like in the M-P240 would make any difference to the way I shoot. There was only one instance I can remember when shooting with the M-E where the smaller buffer and slow write time caused me an inability to make an image. I’m a marksman, not a machine gunner.

My takeaway is the fastest, smallest card may give the ultimate in performance considering startup, buffer speeds and computer transfer times. The 16GB Sandisk Extreme Pro is my winning SD card for the M262 considering its price and test results.  Samsung also makes a 32GB Pro card with 90MB/s read and 90MB/s write speeds that could also be a card worth considering for the M262.

Image quality

1600 on the M262 is cleaner than 1600 on the M9, but not by breathtaking margins. The M9 series was not as bad at 1600 as pixel peeping lore suggests. Where the M262 trumps the M9 series is the ability to shoot without restriction at 3200. 6400 showed banding. I would restrict my use of 6400 to times I absolutely had to have another stop to get my photo. At higher ISOs on the 262 I take care to expose to the right (ETTR) when possible or necessary for maximum image quality.

Once you are south of ISO 1600, in terms of image quality, the M9 is as good as the M262, which I find stunning.

I made test images with the M-E and M262 of the same subjects during several photo walks. I used the same aperture, shutter speed and ISO. I could not see the special magic others see in the M9/M-E CCD images over those produced by the M262’s CMOS sensor. Download some of the RAW files from these photo walks and decide for yourself.

Conclusion

The M-E was my favorite digital camera until the M262 came along and simply made everything better. Below are my reasons for upgrading, improvements over the M9 or items I appreciate on the M262:

  • 2 meter optimized frame lines.
  • LED illuminated frame lines.
  • better high ISO.
  • New shutter. The sound of the shutter is sweet.
  • Smoother shutter release.
  • Larger 1GB RAM buffer gives more headroom than M9.
  • Ability to see ISO and EV values in the the viewfinder on startup.
  • Better ergonomics of the setting dial compared to the M9.
  • More accurate auto white balance means less time tweaking images in Lightroom.
  • Fast setting of manual white balance due to direct WB button.
  • Battery that seems to last forever.
  • No live view or video mode. Less is more.
  • No unnecessary USB port on side of camera akin the M-E.
  • Body weight practically same as M9 series.
  • Dust sensor feature.

If you’ve ever wanted a digital Leica M body there’s never been a better time to buy. Leica is standing behind any sensor corrosion issues on the M9 series of cameras, even if you are not the original owner. This may cause M9 prices to rebound a bit, but you can find M9/M-E bodies in excellent condition from reputable dealers. The M9 is still an awesome camera regardless of its age.

If you are already an M240 owner there is little reason to move to the M262, outside of the lighter weight and potentially quieter shutter.

There are sensors on the market capable of 6,400 and beyond. You can make the argument the sensor used in the M262 and M240 is now a generation behind those offered by Sony, Nikon and Canon.

But…

Those are not rangefinder cameras and Leica is the only game in town. With the M262 we have reached a point where the image quality is “good enough” and the technology in the M262 doesn’t hamstring the camera. I can see being happy with an M262 for many years. The M262 is a zen digital camera that’s simply fun to use and keeps out of your way. It strips away things I don’t need or want from the M240, makes the camera more simple and leaner by improving the buffer, shutter, tactile feel, LCD and high ISO from the M9.

Videos

61 thoughts on “Leica M262 Review (Leica M Typ 262) with sample images

  1. Hello
    thank you for your review

    I’m happy to know that now the LCD screen is finally gorilla Glas from the beginning

    I’m a litle bit surprised to see the two picture (taken from the same place) in such a different way. Is there a time different or what can it be that they look like this

    Kind regards

    Nic

  2. To take the photos showing the frame lines I put my iPhone up to the eyepiece. I had the camera sitting on a small table. Then without allowing the camera to move I took a photo so I could show what you would have seen through the camera versus what appeared in the image.

    The first time I posted them to the review I did’t try to match them tonally. I replaced the images with ones where I adjusted the brightness level to match more closely and used the mouse’s head as a white balance point.

    Jim

    1. Hi Bob, sorry I was not more clear. “Paint” in the Leica world has special meaning and I was not using it as such. I updated the review. The M262 manual states: “All-metal die cast magnesium body, synthetic leather covering, aluminum top panel, black anodized finish.” I am guessing the 262 is going to wear like my black M6.

      1. Thanks Jim! Appreciate the review – just so you know, I wasn’t nitpicking, I was genuinely curious. It looks like a nice finish. Maybe a little darker than the M8 anodized finish.

  3. Bob, I did not take it that way at all. In fact, your query made curious exactly how they anodize aluminum so I did a little research and found a cool YouTube video. If that was covered in chemistry class I was out that day. I know some people love the idea of their cameras brassing over time but I’ll take a finish like my M6.

    The 262 finish isn’t the same as used on the M6. I still had a copy of the July 1985 Popular Photography report on the M6. They said this about the M6 top:

    “The M6 uses a zinc-alloy casting instead of the (more expensive) chromed brass stamping for its top cover. Leitz claims the zinc will give better impact protection (of the RF unit).

    The new casting is first copper-plated then given the widely admired Leitz black-chrome finish. It’s a relatively thick-walled casting, and much heavier than the older stamped part.”

    I will be curious to see how the 262 wears over a long period of time.

  4. Just curious, but why not get a mint used M240 and save $1K? You would get more useful features as well. You wouldn’t have to use them except when you needed them, like LV for wide lenses or for calibration. From reading your review it is obvious that the look of the camera is very important to you, but when I see pictures of these two cameras they look pretty darn close to me. So, why not save a grand and get the better one?

    1. Hi Dave,

      Thanks for checking out the review.

      Your $1K price difference isn’t accurate. A search of all the reputable Leica sites for current pricing of used 240’s shows B&H has a mint black 240 for $5k. Tamarkin Leica has a black 240 in Ex+ condition for $4,500. Photo Village is asking $5,795 for certified pre-owned mint 240. My deal on the 262 amazed and surprised me. I *highly* recommend Tony Rose at Popflash.

      Even with the lowest 240 price I cited above, my new 262, for not a whole lot more money, comes with a full warranty. I liked the camera being the same size and weight as the M-E. The shutter sound is really nice. Whether it’s better than the 240’s I can’t say for sure. Only used a 240 once and my memory is that is was quieter than the M9 too, but the 262 is supposedly even more refined sounding. I rented a 262 for a week before buying. That’s what sold me on the 262.

      You are right the look is important to me. The 262 is minimalist. The 240 without the stepped top plate like on the M6/262 makes that camera look chunky. The chrome setting pad and wheel on the 240 in silver chrome on a black body looks out of place. I have no need or desire for live view or a movie mode and the buttons and holes that come with it on the 240 body.

      I would also rather have a more durable finish like on the 262 over the brassing 240. I have an M6 I purchased in the early 90’s and it still looks great.

      Hey, I won’t refute that once you get into Leicas you’ve gone down a rabbit hole. I’ve been making pictures now for more than 30 years. Leica M’s are the cameras I enjoy using the most. The 262 fits my eye aesthetically without losing anything I care about over the 240.

  5. Sounds like you know what you like and make no apologies. I like that.

    I wouldn’t buy the 262 I like the 240, though. The one thing I do like about the 262 is that it reassures me that Leica understands what the essence of the M is.

    I also like the SL, because it shows me Leica has a distinct product line that is independent of the M.

    I think the new M is going to surprise a lot of people and be more like the 262. I don’t think it will be a 262, but I don’t think it will have even more technology creep in the direction of the M240.

    Enjoy

    1. Hey Dave,

      Stepping back a bit, in 2004 Leica was in dire financial straits. The M8 was an inauspicious start for the digital M in 2006. Here we are 9 years later with two nice options in the M240 and M262, satisfying a wide spectrum of M users. How does a camera like the M262 even make it into production? I have to think the vision and influence of Andreas Kaufmann played a major role.

      I agree with you about the SL. I’m for anything that makes Leica money: the Q, SL or even special edition M60’s or the Lenny Kravitz brassed M240. I don’t expect any changes to the 240’s replacement outside of a new sensor and improvements to video and live view.

    1. Hi Rikard.

      That’s a amazing deal you can’t pass up. At this price you could use it for a few years and sell is for what you paid. Even if you look a bit less consider it rental money. Enjoy the M-E. Thanks for commenting.

    1. I am not sure. I did a bit of Googling and it seems this lens has to be modified to work on digital M’s. I would call Youxin Ye and see what he says. Alterations probably would not be cost prohibitive.

  6. Thanks Jim … a very nice presentation of your ideas, and the operational details of the new M262 … I really appreciate your insight.
    I am a VERY contented owner of an M9, and I will probably never sell it, regardless of what comes down the pipe. I have yet to have a client state … “oh, that image wont’ work, it is only 18 megapixels” … LOL! Having said that, the M9 does have some real world usage limitations, and the new M262 address all of them, for me. So it is likely to be finding it’s way into my Leica kit soon, especially based on what you reported on. (I almost bought the M240, but couldn’t quite convince myself that I needed it, other than for it’s cmos chip, and what that entails as far as image characteristics go.)
    It’s nice to read (and listen to a nice voice over of well executed video dialogue …) about the details that matter, as opposed to the “Ken Rockwell” style of “Leica Love-fest” gushing … “but, I did have to sell it in the end” irrelevance in reporting … what was really relevant to your report was your statement, “With the M262 we have reached a point where the image quality is “good enough” and the technology in the M262 doesn’t hamstring the camera. I can see being happy with an M262 for many years.” …
    Thanks again. Bruce

    1. Hi Bruce,

      Thanks for your kind words and taking the time to leave a comment.

      When I purchased my M-E I thought it might be one of the last ones I would be able to find new. A good warranty (again, go with Tony at Popflash…) was the reason I didn’t go with a used M9. At the time I hedged my bet this was the last “classic” digital M Leica would produce. With Leica standing behind the sensor issue if I were in the market for an M9 I would have no issue buying used.

      If you ever do upgrade drop me a line!

      Cheers,
      Jim

  7. Hi Jim,
    Thanks for the excellent review, pics and videos! I’m curious, do you think there would be any issues or problems with a pre-ASPH 35mm f2.0 Summicron on the 262? Thanks again, Jason

    1. Jason, thanks for the shout out. Glad you liked the review.

      You should not have any issues using this lens. I have an early 1960’s 35/2.8 Summaron I use on my 262.

      Below is from the 262 manual listing lenses that cannot be used.

      HTH!
      Jim

      Important:

      • The following cannot be used:
      – Hologon 15mm f/8

      – Summicron 50mm f/2 with close up.

      – Elmar 90mm f/4 with retractable tube (manufactured from
      1954-1968)

      – Some versions of the Summilux-M 1.4/35mm (not aspherical,
      manufactured from 1961-1995, Made in Canada) cannot be
      fitted to the camera or will not focus to infinity. The Leica
      Customer Care department can modify these lenses so that
      they can be used on the camera.

      • The following can be used, but risks damaging the camera or
      lens: Lenses with retractable tube can only be used with the
      tube extended, i.e. their tube must never be retracted into the
      camera. This is not the case with the current Macro-Elmar-M
      1:4/90mm, as its tube does not protrude into the camera body
      even when retracted. It can therefore be used without any
      restrictions.

  8. Here’s a question. It’s almost a general question. Almost.
    Have you tested the type 262 with flash – as in the small Leica units? I found with the M6ttl that the small Leica flash of that era worked GREAT. I could shoot 1/4 @ f1.4, set the strobe on ttl & -1.7 stops and I’d just get a wink to ever so slightly fill in a shadow or two. In the old days we actually called them “wink” lights even though that originated with Polaroid.
    The M8.2 was a disaster with flash. Over exposed – not even close. That was with the Leica flash of that era. Useless. Useless I say.
    Although I’ve borrowed M9’s and M-E’s I’ve never tried flash again. Doesn’t matter much anyway but I am wondering if the types 240 & 262 have any improved flash metering? This is more curiosity – not a deal breaker at all.
    John Fulton
    Spring Lake, Mich.

      1. Thanks, Jim.
        Pretty well convinced on the 262. It will take some doing for me to get one. I’m terribly dissatisfied shooting the 1.33x framing. I’d like my 35mm Summilux asph to be a 35mm again, not a 50. I have 50’s if I need them. But, whatever. The M8.2 is a great little camera and whatever lens that’s on it I deal with just fine. I grumbled about my 35mm Summilux classic for about 20 years before upgrading. It’s always something.
        –John Fulton
        Spring Lake, Mich.

          1. 103,708 shutter activations as of this morning. I bought from first batch in November, 2008. It took me a day or two to realize the M8.2 was not recording the lens focal length. After consulting with Leica I got a replacement camera from PhotoVillage. Only issue was the clock got wonky. It would sporadically loose 8 hours. I finally sent it in about a year ago and they replaced the entire sensor/IC and it works great now. Took about two months. That was when I got a chance to try out the M-E – a wonderful camera. I like the files from the M8.2 – most of which get converted to B&W. OTH, B&W conversions from M9, M-E, Canon and Nikon all work great. The smallish compressed DNG files of the M8.2 are great though. They let me shoot a lot and not worry so much about storage issues.

    1. You are correct. The 262 is as deep as the 240 (42mm vs the M9 at 37mm).

      The 262 shares the body shape of the M9 series with the stepped top plate and weighs basically the same as the M9 with “Thumbie” attached. When I weighed the M262 and the M-E (with Thumbie attached) on a scale, the M262 only weighed about 6 grams more. Even though the 262 is 5mm deeper than the M9 series, because of the weight reductions on the 262 I did not notice any difference in size or weight from the M-E when using them side by side.

      Dimensions from the Leica manuals:

      240
      (Width x Depth x Height)
      Approx. 138.6 x 42 x 80mm

      262
      (Width x Depth x Height)
      Approx. 138.6 x 42 x 80mm

      M9/M-E
      (Width x Depth x Height)
      approx. 139 x 37 x 80mm

      Thanks for commenting!

      Jim

  9. Hi. Isn’t the difference in depth just the “thumby” with dial built into the M 240 and 262? In other words, isn’t the actual thickness of the body itself identical?

    1. Hi Alexander,

      If you look at this image of the M9 and 240 the M9 looks thicker than the 240 body. The 240 body is on the left in the image. It may be due to how the M9 is not laying flat. But the official Leica dimensions lists the 240/262 as 5mm thicker. I didn’t notice the 262 feeling any thicker or heavier than my M-E. I would not get hung up on the thickness issue. It’s the reduced weight of the 262 over the M240 that is the biggest factor.

  10. Some great info, if Leica only had kept the option for an EVF on this camera which in today’s world I think is a photographic tool.

    I took the effort to download the samples and take a closer look at it. After a while I got puzzled noticing in the 262 files the lens use. According to your text file you had used a CZ 35 / 2.8 Biogon but according to the EXIF data the lens used is an Elmarit 28 / 2.8

    Thanks for the write-up, very informative.

    1. Hi Jan,

      In the photo notes for the downloads I noted the 28 Elmarit M lens profile worked better on the M-E than any of the 35mm profiles. Because of that I used the profile as well on the M262. Also seeing the last 3 digits are non-zero numbers indicates it’s from the 262.

      These are questions I should ask Leica about the sensor itself. Is the sensor in the 262 even capable of live view? I’m thinking of the differences between the sensor in the original 5D versus the 5DMKII. Would it even be possible to hack an original 5D to offer live view? I’m out of my depth. The shutter would also need to stay up on demand, which may be mechanical or firmware. Did not having to allow for live view make for the ability to design a quieter shutter? Or is removing LV/Video simply a way to differentiate the 262 from the 240? Again, good questions for Leica.

  11. Thanks for the review Jim.

    The whole problem for me here is that Leica have got this the wrong way round. I have both a M240 and an MP240. I travel extensively and need two bodies. What I do not need is live-view or any of the associated features and I believe I am in the majority here with other M users. What I really needed was the M262 which wasn’t available before I brought my 240’s, so Leica gave me no choice than to spend over £1500 more than I needed to and on features I didn’t want.

    They then followed this up with (in the UK) a ‘special offer’ where the price of both the M240 and MP240 were each reduced ‘for one month’ by £500 each. Not what I wanted to hear just after my full price purchase. The special offer price has now become the new and regular price of the M240’s. The M262, which I really would have preferred had it been available, is now only £300 less than the M240 and £750 less than the MP240.

    So I now have two bodies with features and weight etc, that I don’t want and a massively reduced secondhand value because a) the actual camera has come down in price and b) there is a more attractive new camera available for the regular Leica user at an even lower price.

    Given this, I’m not sure who Leica are aiming the M262 at. I suspect that most M8 and M9 users have already made the leap to the M240 upgrade and now feel aggrieved much like I do. New Leica users may be encouraged by the M262 but, given the increased features of the M240 and not to big a price difference, may think they are better off with the M240.

    Given this, it would seem that the M262 is aimed to encourage absolutely new Leica users and I don’t see a big market there, particularly when given the cost of lenses. And, as much as I would like the M262 over my M240’s I’m not about to trade down and don’t see the M262 being the success that Leica do.

    As an aside, I love my 75mm lens and don’t need the 50mm frame lines getting in the way, the reverse of your wish Jim. In truth, given that the frame lines are ‘electrically’ produced there is absolutely no need to crowd the viewfinder with anything other than what the mounted lens requires. It is beyond me that Leica hasn’t worked this out for themselves.

    1. Ray,

      My guess is the timing of video and live video on the 240 was due to perceived market pressures. If Leica produced the Q and SL first I doubt they would have felt the pressure to put these into the 240. I view the Leica M as a niche product, the vast majority who are enthusiasts like you and me who want what they had with their film M. I’m more than happy to use my iPod and iPhone for a video “snapshot.” I can’t imagine a 240 would be my first choice to shoot a video project.

      I get the sense a lot of 240 owners make a rationalization for live view, more so than video. It helps for “precise framing” or checking RF calibration they say. If I need something wider than my 35 and need precise framing, and want to look at an LCD screen, I’ll pull out my Ricoh GR. I tend to only shoot with a 35 and 50.

      When I got the M-E the price difference between it (mine was a QC2 model with full warranty $800 below the full price) and the 240 made it impossible to rationalize the 240. Today I can’t see the reason to buy a new 240 over the 262. I can see the 262 outselling the 240 going forward. Here in the States, even with the current 12% off deal, the 262 is still $1,185 less. I think you have to put all this out of your mind and just use the hell out of your 240’s, which, after looking at the fine images on your site, you already are!

      I first thought the frame lines might be controllable but they are not. The LEDs simply replace the light that used to come from the window. They still shine through a mask that would have to be blanked out.

  12. Ray & Jim–
    Leica is trying to appeal to me – a guy still using an M8.2. Sensor size of M8 makes me nuts but I just plug along. I missed the M9 by about three or four months buying the late M8 – the M8.2. I’ve never purchased an odd numbered Leica (M2 (2), M4, M6, M6ttl and M8) so M9 probably wasn’t going to do it for me anyway. 🙂

    I am wrestling with the new offerings. The M-P is about as close to what I want as to what’s out there. Since I usually just carry one camera the video option would be nice. The live-view might come in handy. I like the black paint. My M8 is first black paint Leica I’ve owned. My M4, and M6’s are black chrome. The M-P has the 2-gig buffer which is good.

    What I’m looking at right now is getting an al a carte Leica. IF you get no additional options you can get the black paint AND the 2-gig buffer for US$6350.

    Ray – do you notice a difference between the M and the M-P as to the enlarged buffer? I mostly shoot short bursts or single frame it. But, there are times – especially if I’m doing a commission for someone – where the increased “fire-power” would be nice.

    ALL of that said, Jim has me pretty well sold on the 262, too.

    –John Fulton, Spring Lake, Mich.

  13. John,

    Thanks for your interest and response.

    My style of photography is that for 99.9% of the time I am a single shot person. I grew up with film (I’m 60 now) and had to balance exposures against cost and so developed the habit of waiting for what I thought was the right moment. It is a habit that I have taken with me into the digit age and my shutter dial remains on ‘S’. Just once in a blue moon I might take a short burst of 3-5 shots. I have never used the live view, which is permanently off or the video, again off, but occasionally have used the matrix metering (I don’t rate it) and the spot metering (useful). Both can be used without live view once you figure out how but, in all honesty, I could live with just the (very) centre weight metering. Given this style and usage I can say that I never, ever notice the extra 1 gig buffer of the MP. That said, I brought the MP first and thinking I would need the bigger buffer. The sapphire crystal screen appealed because of the travel I do and knocks my cameras have to take. I brought the M as a second body and having realised that I didn’t need this extra buffer or tougher glass. Also I personally find that the sapphire glass screen holds smudges, skin/nose grease and finger prints far more than the Gorilla glass of the M and I seem to be forever cleaning it. I don’t have to do this with the M Gorilla glass which, I believe, the M262 has. Given that I don’t need the fame leaver either the M240 more than meets my needs. Had this been my first purchase, rather than the MP, I would have gone for a second M. Had the M262 be available at the same time I would most definitely gone for the 262 because the 240’s have features I do not use or need.

    As for your choice, if the M262 appeals, and it would be a considerable step up from the M8.2, then go for it. If you really feel the ‘nice to have pull’ of the live view and video (which I’m reading as not essential) then I think the M240 should really suit your needs rather than the MP with the extra buffer. To me, the M240 would also make more sense than an al a carte buffered up M262. Equally, although not familiar with USA prices, I feel sure that the M240 would come in under an al a carte M262. One last point. The M262 is not brass based so will not brass up like a black 240 would. If brassed is a look you like the 262 won’t do it. My MP is black and brassed, the M is silver. The black looks battered the silver still new. Your like for like replacement option though for the M8.2 still reads to me like the M262 straight of the shelf. For your nice to haves I don’t feel you need to go as far as an MP240 (bigger buffer, live view, video) or al a carte M262 (only bigger buffer) given what the M240 has to offer in features and cost.

    1. I have a tendency to not explain very well. The a la carte starts life as an M240 with the 2-gig buffer. So – what’s extra – for instance is NOT to get live view and video. Standard like your 240 is the gorilla glass. My M8.2 comes with the sapphire – which I like btw. This is all a bit theoretical since I have no money at this point. BTW, I’ve been using Leicas continuously since 1966 when, as a teenager, I bought my first M2 with money earned freelancing for the Indianapolis Star. So I know single shooting. My first M2 had a Leicavit rapid winder so that was good for about 2 pics a second if I worked it right.

  14. Hi
    I liked your review. I ownd the 240P and it was too heavy plus i did not like the video which i never used. For some time i thought i’d buy the M9\M-E as i loved the colours of those cameras. You said you did not notice any difference but the red is’nt the same. The M9 colours are more pleasent to my eyes, and yet there is a problem with the M9 sensor . I think i’ll get the 262 although i love the M9
    Thank you
    Danny

    1. I do wear glasses. No way can you see the 28 frames with glasses. I can almost see all the 35 frames with my glasses. A lot also depends on your face shape and the glasses themselves.

  15. Thanks for the review Jim !
    I only wish the same lens was used on both cameras to really see the color differences ..
    Looking at the images, I’m not sure if the color rendering differences I’m seeing are related to the lens or the sensor ..

  16. Hi Jim,

    First let me express my thanks for your thorough review. I am in the situation, that after having bought a Q, I have fallen in love with the M camera, so in inner conflict with myself whether I should choose a second-hand M9-P/M-E or if I need to sell a kidney, and buy a M 262. Immediately the wise choice would be a 262, but the money that goes to the House would be taken from the glass budget.

    It is a tough world.

    Regards Henrik

  17. Thank you for the unbiased review Jim.
    Its a pity that in the step of the top plate Leica didn’t placed an ISO dial.
    It would be the perfect enhancement of this Camera.
    The newer version without display its a tougt thing.
    Yes, less is more – simplicity is the genius – but for me is not infinite…

    1. Hi Valdo,

      Thanks for your comments.

      Aesthetically I have to think an ISO dial would look clunky up there. ISO isn’t a real issue with me. With a direct ISO button on the back it already gives pretty quick access. Personally I find myself using Auto ISO when I am in lighting that doesn’t push into the upper limits. That way I can set the shutter speed and aperture I want or need and let the camera chose the ISO and use the wheel to set exposure compensation as needed. When I get into bright light I set the ISO to base and go into aperture priority mode since shutter speed is not a factor.

      I too am not convinced an LCD-less version of the 262 is for me. I understand the appeal it carries for some people due to its restrictions. A pity it was not cheaper than the 262. As a backup, 2nd body or entry into the M system that would have been cool to see.

  18. I read your post and review of the M262. I am a long time film user and my first Leica was an m3 ss. Loved it. I needed to shoot copy so I traded for Nikon this was about 30 years ago. I have had several film leica cameras and have settled into the M4 chrome and variety of chrome lenses. Love the zen of M4.
    Struggling to go Leica digital. I can afford the body M262 or M240 body but want a light chrome body because was want to use my set or 6 chrome lenses. Thinking about M262 for best compactness, economy and art (but no chrome?). The M240 looks daunting in size and features not to mention cost. Please advise. I also shoot with Nikon df for general design work use. Sorry for long message. Please advise?

  19. Thanks for your review Jim.
    Jim You haven’t mentioned anything at all that I came across at least regarding the rangefinder itself. I’m told the 240’s rangefinder is somehow much easier to nail spot on and remains more accurate without adjustment for a longer period. There must have been a re-engineering of the rangefinder for the 240. What i want to know Jim is whether or not the 262 comes with new rangefinder engineering.

    1. Hi Simon, same RF as the 240 series. The 262 is the best Leica RF I’ve ever used when it comes to focusing. It’s better than any film M I own, including the M2 and film MP.

  20. Great review, thank you. I agree totally with your comment that there should be a way to turn off non-used frame bars. For example, if you are using a 90mm lens, then that should be the only frame that appear in the finder. But I disagree with your opinion about live view. Having live view lets you use all sorts of odd lenses with appropriate adapters, such as the Leica R lenses. Many of us have miscellaneous lenses from the old days in the closet, and it would be nice to use them, even if only occasionally. Cheers from Mississippi.

  21. I’m wondering what differences you’ve seen in color rendering, especially reds and blue sky in the 262 compared to the 240. To my eye, there is more contrast in the 262 and the reds are a lot deeper than in the 240, but again, to me, too oversaturated. I’m not sure I’m in love with the blue skies I’ve shot compared to the 240. Best so far is my Fuji XT1.The shutter, while quieter, seems to be less responsive than my 240. Any thoughts? I’ve played around in lightroom with boosting exposure to get more accurate tones but those skies still bug me. Decisions, decisions, I can’t afford to keep both.
    Thanks for your review and your thoughts.
    Warren

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