Is Canon heralding a bid for dominance of the mirrorless system camera market?
If there is one thing that emerged from the recent CP+ photography trade show in Japan it was confirmation that mirrorless cameras will finally take over from DSLRs. Canon bosses are reportedly targeting domination of the mirrorless system camera sector after years of fairly innocuous involvement at the fringes. An interview by the DPReview mega site with Sony’s camera division General Manager, Kenji Tanaka, appeared to confirm Canon’s intentions and more.
Sony, Fujifilm, Olympus and Panasonic Lumix, currently own the mirrorless system camera market. Nikon and Canon have, instead, tinkered with mirrorless cameras, carefully avoiding unnecessary competition with their established domination of the DSLR sphere.
Tough times for all system cameras
However, system camera sales across the board, including mirrorless, but especially DSLRs, are facing tough competition from the ubiquity and improving quality and usability of cameras in smartphones. But it seems mirrorless is now recognised as the more profitable and sustainable avenue for the future of system cameras.
Sony’s Tanaka not only expects Canon to invest heavily in mirrorless, especially full frame, but Nikon, too. While they can technically claim to have been a reasonably early participant in the mirrorless revolution, Nikon went for a small 1 inch sensor format for its Nikon 1 system. Sales never really took off and there hasn’t been much in the way of new Nikon 1 releases for some time. Canon has been very conservative with its EOS-M mirrorless system, though its more recent models like the EOS-M5 and M50 show a rapid expansion in Canon’s ambitions, albeit still only in the consumer sector.
Professionals will be key
Despite the arrival of some increasingly impressive professional specification mirrorless cameras, DSLRs are still the mainstay of most high visibility press, sports and wildlife photographers. Nikon and Canon DSLR shooters value not only the excellence of their gear but also the extensive and vital professional support provided by the two big marques.
But there is no getting away from the facts. DSLRs and their lenses are relatively big, heavy, and now no longer as dominant in image quality and performance in other technical areas like autofocus and shooting speed. DSLRs are also mechanically more delicate and complicated to manufacture. A lot of specialist professionals have switched away from Nikon in order to lighten their camera bags.
Meanwhile, features like video, image stabilisation and new trick functionalities are giving mirrorless cameras key advantages and genuine appeal for professionals. Nikon and Canon are going to be duty-bound to provide professional grade mirrorless cameras for their legions of professional photographers. This will finally endow the mirrorless sector with the professional legitimacy it has sought to achieve for so long.
Panasonic Lumix invented the modern mirrorless phenomenon ten years ago when it launched the Micro Four Thirds system via the Lumix G1. It’s taken a long time, much longer than mirrorless fans predicted, but there are now clear signs that the dominance of the SLR era really is about to end.
Introducing the Leica M10: slimmest ever digital M delivers enhanced performance, intuitive handling and direct control
18 January 2017
Leica Camera has today announced the M10: the latest milestone in the Leica M rangefinder portfolio. This iconic camera system has once again set new standards with a perfect balance of long- established tradition and technical innovation, while embodying the true essence of photography like no other camera.
Although its features have been adapted to meet the precise needs of contemporary photographers, the essential principles of the renowned M-System have been meticulously retained. Every single component and technical detail is focused uncompromisingly on photography. With its compact dimensions, improved performance and intuitive handling, the Leica M10 has established a new landmark in the ongoing history of the legendary Leica M.
The form factor: analogue dimensions enter the digital age
Many photographers working with analogue Leica M cameras have expressed their interest in a digital M with the same ergonomic features and size that fits perfectly in the hands. With the Leica M10, this wish has become a reality, with a top plate depth of just 33.75mm – four millimetres less than its closest relative, the Leica M (Typ 240). The Leica M10 is now the slimmest digital M of all time.
The rangefinder: a precise window on the world
The rangefinder has always played a significant role in the heritage of the Leica M-System. Several key aspects of this legendary focusing technology have been further optimised in the Leica M10. To improve the view of the subject being captured, the field of view has been enlarged by 30 per cent and the magnification factor has been increased to 0.73. For eye-relief, the optimum distance of the eye from the viewfinder eyepiece has also been lengthened considerably. Thanks to a 50 per cent increase in this distance, the viewfinder is much more comfortable to use, particularly for photographers who wear glasses.
The sensor: the digital canvas
The key component of the Leica M10 is the 24 MP, full-frame CMOS sensor developed specifically for this camera, offering significant improvements in all image performance parameters: impressive dynamic range, excellent contrast rendition, exceptional sharpness and fine detail resolution. Its unique pixel and micro-lens architecture enables a particularly large aperture, ensuring rays of light hitting the sensor even from the most oblique angles are precisely captured by its photodiodes – this has been further improved compared to its predecessor. The glass cover plate of the sensor acts as an infrared cut-off filter, therefore avoiding undesirable refraction of incoming light with additional layers of glass. The omission of a low-pass filter also ensures the Leica M10 delivers maximum sharpness, leading to significantly enhanced imaging results, especially in the case of wide-angle and very fast lenses.
Thanks to the new design of the Leica M10 sensor, the ISO sensitivity range has been expanded, allowing exposures at values between ISO 100 and 50,000, with considerably improved noise characteristics at higher ISO settings. The Leica M10 opens up entirely new genres of photography and delivers exceptional imaging performance even in challenging lighting conditions.
Image processing electronics: the next quality level
The latest-generation Maestro II image processor incorporated in the Leica M10 represents state-of- the-art, advanced processor technology. Combined with the new 24 MP sensor, it ensures that all exposures are captured with exceptionally brilliant image quality. Thanks to its 2GB buffer memory and continuous shooting at up to five frames per second at full resolution, photographers will never again miss the decisive moment. The Leica M10 is the fastest M-Camera ever made.
Furthermore, the processor allows the loupe function to be freely positioned for even better sharpness assessment. This new function can be used both on the camera’s monitor screen, and in conjunction with the Visoflex electronic viewfinder (EVF) with 2.4 MP resolution. The viewfinder features a swivel function, enabling shooting from unusual angles, and an integrated GPS module for the geotagging of image files.
Intuitive handling – focused on the essentials
Since the beginning, Leica M-Cameras have always focused on the essentials of photography. This principle has been conscientiously pursued in the Leica M10, setting new standards in intuitive handling and rapid access to the most relevant settings: for example, the controls on the back are limited to a single joystick control and just three buttons for Play, Live View and Menu. Particular settings can be selected according to personal preferences and photographic needs via a freely- configurable Favourites Menu.
One of the most distinctive features of the Leica M10 is the ISO setting dial on the top plate. For the first time in a digital Leica M, all essential shooting parameters such as focusing, aperture, shutter speed and ISO value can be selected manually without using the menu – or even switching on the camera – ensuring even more direct control and greater discretion when shooting.
WLAN module for wireless transfer and sharing
The Leica M10 is the first M-Camera with integrated WLAN connectivity. This enables the fast, wireless transfer of pictures to Apple mobile devices, where they can be edited, posted and shared on social networks, for example. The Leica M-App also allows the direct transfer of RAW data in DNG format to mobile devices for further processing with suitable apps from iOS Version 10.2. The Leica M10 can also be remotely controlled by WLAN from a smartphone or tablet, making it easy to capture pictures from unusual angles or avoid camera shake when shooting with longer shutter speeds.
Leica M10: A further step towards perfection
Oliver Kaltner, CEO Leica Camera AG, explains, “The Leica M is the heart, the backbone and the soul of Leica Camera. The Leica M10 unites state-of-the-art technology and exceptional optical performance with a conscious focus on the traditional advantages of the unique Leica M rangefinder system. In this, the innovative camera and its concentration on the functions essential to photography set new standards, while its exceptionally lean handling concept takes us a further step towards absolute perfection. Made in Germany and made by Leica – the Leica M10 stands as an outstanding brand statement for the finest arts of engineering, highest quality and craftsmanship.”
Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, majority shareholder and chairman of the supervisory board of Leica Camera AG, emphasised, “The new M, the M10! Not a camera for everyone – but increasingly a camera for people who love a system that is built for the future while maintaining consistent compatibility with its past. The rangefinder system lets me frame and compose my pictures. The rangefinder system lets me tread in the footsteps of the world’s greatest photographers. The rangefinder system lets me create photographs with my own visual style. The new M10 and the wealth of present and past Leica M-Lenses – products that awaken and fulfil the desires of every photographer.”
Pricing and availability
The Leica M10 is scheduled to be available from 19 January 2017, at a suggested retail price of
£5,600 including VAT.
About Leica Camera AG
Leica Camera AG is an international manufacturer of premium cameras and sport optics products. The company is headquartered in Wetzlar, Germany, with a second production site in Vila Nova de Famalicão, Portugal. Leica Camera AG operates branch offices in the UK, France, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, South Korea, Italy, Australia and the USA. New and innovative products have been the driving force behind the company’s positive development in recent years.
Leica M10 – technical specifications
Compact digital viewfinder/rangefinder system camera
Leica M bayonet with additional sensor for 6-bit coding
Leica M lenses
Leica R lenses – using adapter, available separately
CMOS sensor, active surface approx. 24 x 36mm
DNG™: 5976 x 3992 pixels (24MP), JPEG: 5952 x 3968 pixels (24MP),
4256 x 2832 pixels (12MP), 2976 x 1984 pixels (6MP)
DNG™ (raw data, compressed loss-free), JPEG
DNG™: 20-30 MB, JPEG: size dependent on resolution and image content
2GB / 16 pictures in series
Automatic, manual, 8 presets, colour temperature input
SD cards up to 2GB/SDHC cards up to 32GB/SDXC cards up to 2TB
German, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Russian, Korean
Exposure metering through the lens (TTL), with working aperture
For metering the light reflected by light blades of the 1st shutter curtain onto a measuring cell: strong centre-weighted;
For metering on the sensor: spot, centre-weighted, multi-field metering
At room temperature and normal humidity at ISO 100, at aperture 1.0 EV-1 to EV20 at aperture 32. Flashing of the left triangular LED in the viewfinder indicates values below the metering range
ISO 100 to ISO 50,000, adjustable in 1/3 ISO increments from ISO 200, choice of automatic control or manual setting
Choice of automatic shutter speed control with manual aperture preselection – aperture priority A, or manual shutter speed and aperture setting
Flash exposure control
Flash unit attachment
Via accessory shoe with central and control contacts
Optionally triggered at the 1st or 2nd shutter curtain
Flash sync time
1/180 s ; slower shutter speeds can be used, if working below sync speed: Automatic changeover to TTL linear flash mode with HSS-compatible Leica system flash units
Flash exposure metering
Using centre-weighted TTL pre-flash metering with Leica flash units (SF40, SF64, SF26), or flash units compatible with the system with SCA3502 M5 adapter
Flash measurement cell
2 silicon photodiodes with collection lens on the camera base
Flash exposure compensation
±3EV in1⁄3EV increments
Displays in flash mode
In viewfinder only: using flash symbol LED
Large, bright line frame viewfinder with automatic parallax compensation
Calibrated to -0.5 dpt.; corrective lenses from -3 to +3 diopter available
Image field limiter
By activating two bright lines each: for 35 and 135mm, or 28 and 90mm, or 50 and 75mm; automatic switching when lens is attached
The horizontal and vertical difference between the viewfinder and the lens is automatically compensated according to the relevant distance setting, i.e. the viewfinder bright-line automatically aligns with the subject detail recorded by the lens
Matching viewfinder and actual image
At a range setting of 2m, the bright-line frame size corresponds exactly to the sensor size of approx. 23.9 x 35.8mm; at infinity setting, depending on the focal length, approx. 7.3% (28mm) to 18% (135mm) more is recorded by the sensor than indicated by the corresponding bright line frame and slightly less for shorter distance settings than 2m
(For all lenses): 0.73 x
Split or superimposed image rangefinder shown as a bright field in the centre of the viewfinder image
Effective metering basis
50.6mm (mechanical measurement basis 69.31mm x viewfinder magnification 0.73x)
In the viewfinder
Four-digit digital display with dots above and below
LCD monitor (back)
3” colour -TFT LCD monitor with 16 million colours and 1,036,800 pixels, approx. 100% image field
Tough, scratch-resistant Gorilla® glass cover
Colour space: sRGB, for Live-View and review mode, displays
Metal blade focal plane shutter with vertical movement
For aperture priority: (A) continuous from 125s to 1⁄4000s, for manual adjustment: 8s to 1⁄4000s in half steps, from 8s to 125s in whole steps,
B: for long exposures up to maximum 125s (in conjunction with self-timer T function, i.e. 1st release = shutter opens, 2nd release = shutter closes), (1⁄180s): Fastest shutter speed for flash synchronisation, HSS linear flash mode possible with all shutter speeds faster than 1⁄180s (with HSS-compatible Leica system flash units)
Approx. 5 pictures/s, 30-40 pictures in series
Shutter release button
Two-stage, 1st step: Activation of the camera electronics including exposure metering and exposure lock (in aperture priority mode), 2nd step: Shutter release; standard thread for cable release integrated
2s (aperture priority and manual exposure setting) or 12s delay, set in menu, indicated by flashing LED on front of camera and corresponding display in monitor
Turning the camera on/off
Using main switch on top of camera; optional automatic shutdown of camera electronics after approx. 2/5/10 minutes; reactivated by tapping the shutter release
1 Lithium-ion rechargeable battery, nominal voltage 7.4V, capacity 1300mAh.; maximum charging current/voltage: DC 1000mA, 7.4V; Model No.: BP-SCL5; Manufacturer: PT. VARTA Microbattery, Made in Indonesia, Operating conditions (in camera): 0°C – + 40°C
Inputs: 100-240V AC, 50/60Hz, 300mA, automatic switching, or 12V DC, 1.3A; Output: DC 7.4V, 1000mA/max. 8.25V, 1100mA; Model No.: BC-SCL5;
Manufacturer: Guangdong PISEN Electronics Co., Ltd., Made in China, Operating conditions: 0°C – + 35°C
Only with Leica Visoflex viewfinder, available as an accessory
Not available everywhere due to country-specific legislation, i.e. enforced automatic shutdown in those countries
Data are written to EXIF header in picture files
Complies with IEEE 802.11b/g/n standard (standard WiFi protocol), channel 1- 11, encryption method: WiFi-compatible WPA™/WPA2™ encryption, access method: Infrastructure mode
All-metal die cast magnesium body, synthetic leather finish. Brass top panel and base, black or silver chrome plated finish
Image field selector
Allows the bright-line pairs to be manually activated at any time (e.g. to compare detail)
A ¼ (¼”) DIN stainless steel in bottom
0 – 40°C
ISO accessory shoe with additional contacts for Leica Visoflex viewfinder (optional accessory)
Dimensions W x D x H
Approx. 139 x 38.5 x 80mm
Approx. 660g (with battery)
Included with camera
Charger 100-240V with 2 mains cables (Euro, USA, varies in some markets) and 1 car charging cable, Lithium-ion battery, carrying strap, body bayonet cover, cover for accessory shoe
E&OE. Subject to changes in design, production and availability.
Leica Camera has today announced the Leica TL. Building on the Leica T camera system, which has been continually enhanced in terms of speed, handling and flexibility since its launch in 2014, the new generation Leica TL now offers further innovative features, improved functionality, and a series of exciting new design elements.