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Thread: User experience - Leica M-P (Typ 240)

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    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default User experience - Leica M-P (Typ 240)

    Leicarticle on the M-P (Typ 240)

    For a long time, I opined that rangefinders are hardly appropriate for architectural photography. Wide angle lenses need to be coupled with external optical viewfinders for framing and what you see might not be what you get. At times, this can be disconcerting as you have to constantly compensate for this “short coming”. Focussing with a rangefinder isn’t something I am comfortable or confident with, especially in low light.

    Announced in 2012, the Leica M Typ 240 (I’ll call it the M from now on) changed that. Not only you get live view, an optional electronic view finder can be coupled with the new M! Leica drew flak from the purists for this move but for me, this instantly made their cameras much more useable with wide angle lenses. The inclusion of focus peaking was a plus too because that would make focusing easier for the uninitiated like myself. There you go, two wonderful reasons to justify an M system, besides the great lenses. The only thing which stood in the way was it’s price tag. The price of a “starter” M system will exceed the cost of a full frame Canon camera and two wide angle tilt/shift lenses, which will be a nice kit for architectural photography.

    Moving on to 2014 and came the M-P Typ 240 (I’ll call it the M-P from now on). Some cosmetic differences, sapphire glass LCD panel, new LED frame lines lever, increased internal memory to 2GB, the instantly recognizable Leica red dot on the front of the camera is gone and that’s about all that sets it apart from the M. Do I need one? Not really. Do I want one? Well, I bought one.

    The feel

    As with other Leica rangefinders, the M-P feels great and well built. That said, Leica rangefinders are not well known for their ergonomics and the M-P is no exception. Some slight improvement were made on the M and M-P with the thumb rest and that’s about it. Even that was a little too shallow to be effective in my opinion. I bought the Really Right Stuff BM 240 to be used with the M-P. It comes with an Arca Swiss compatible base plate, right angle plate and hand grip.

    The controls

    The controls of the M-P is kept to a minimum, just enough for the frequently used adjustments. At the front of the M-P, there are 2 buttons. The lens release button on the bottom left of the lens mount and a function button above it. By default, tis button is for exposure compensation. it's a two-handed operation though. You hold the button down and use the thumb dial to adjust exposure compensation. In the SET menu, you can switch exposure compensation to direct adjustment. This way, adjusting exposure compensation becomes a one-handed operation. You don't have to press and hold the button. Pressing the button now will magnify the scene in live view to aid focussing.

    On the M-P's top plate is the shutter speed dial, on/off switch, shutter release button and movie button. The shutter speed dial covers everything from 8 seconds to 1/4000th, including bulb and aperture priority modes. The on/off switch is used to select single, continuous or timer shooting. Shutter release button has a distinctive two-stage action. Half press to lock the exposure, full press to release the shutter. Takes standard screw-in mechanical cable release. The movie button..... well, it activates movie recording and I wish for it to be customised for other function.

    On the left side of the three inch LCD screen on the back of the M-P are 6 buttons.

    LV (live view) - Activate/deactivate live view.

    PLAY - Play back recorded photographs.

    DELETE - Delete recorded photographs.

    ISO - ISO adjustments (Hold this button down to call out the ISO menu and use the thumb dial to make adjustments).

    MENU - Calls out the M=P's six pages of menus.

    SET - Calls out image setting options like file format, white balance, ISO, etc.

    On the other side of the LCD screen are four directional buttons for navigating through the menus and scrolling in play back. These buttons surround an INFO button which will call ouy different sets on information during live view and review. It is also used as the select key in menus.

    The menus

    It’s simple and straight forward. Six pages in all and nothing gets buried too deep. I scrolled through the menu in a breeze and was surprised to find a few things I find useful which I didn’t expect the M-P to have.

    a) Horizon – The built-in dual axis leveler. Tried it out and it appears to be one of the most accurate and precise I’ve ever used! Perfect for lining up verticals and horizons with the EVF since I can’t use any hotshoe mounted bubble levelers anymore.

    b) Focus peaking – You can choose the colour of peaking. Comes in three flavors. Red, green or blue.

    c) Film mode and filters - Film mode is simple with three different selection: vivid colour film, smooth colout film and black & white. The black & white mode has five contrast filters and three different tonal selection. I initially thought that you can apply the film modes and filters onto the DNG files. Those files reviewed in-camera showed that the applied effects but in actual fact, those effects were not recorded in DNG so don't be fooled.

    The rest of the menu are pretty standard stuff such as bracketing, flash mode, settings for JPEGS, etc. If you are familiar with other cameras, the M-P shouldn’t be that foreign to you.

    The accessories

    a) Extra battery - A fully charged battery is good for about 300-350 shots, lasting for about 2 days on my M-P. That's ok for me but having an extra spare battery to switch around is good, as with all other cameras. So I bought one. Of course, at SGD$200 a pop, it carries the Leica price tag too.

    b) EVF 2 - As I've said earlier, having an electronic viewfinder in the M system changed the game. To me, this is a must-have since I use wide angle lenses most of the time. At SGD$650, it's overpriced and resolution is not that great but it's still a must-have. Leica's optical viewfinders are not cheap either.

    c) Really Right Stuff BM240 - I bought the complete three-part version which came with an Arca Swiss compatible baseplate (replacement for the original Leica brass plate), portrait orientation plate and handgrip. The portrait orientation plate and handgrip can be detached from the baseplate when you don't need them, saving some weight and bulk.

    d) Nikon AR-3 cable release - Found one of these tucked away in a dark corner of the house (aka haven't used it for god-knows-how-long) and it works with the M-P. So it gets a new life.

    e) Soft release button - Some say you gain an extra stop using these. Comes in many flavours and colours. small, medium, large, convex, concave, red, black, silver, green, pink, you name it. Bought a medium, concave one. It's tiny and doesn't stay on the camera well so I lost it within two days. I suggest getting a few of these if you find them useful since the plastic ones cost about SGD&10 each. Leica ones cost seven times more and there is no guarantee those will stay on your camera.

    f) Artisan & Artist cloth neck strap - These straps are very comfortable and quick to adjust. Perfect. Nuff said.

    The lens - Elmar M 24mm f/3.8 ASPH

    The lens which I have been using with the M-P is the Elmar M 24mm f/3.8 ASPH. This relatively inexpensive wide angle lens is well-built, compact and light. The focussing ring is well dampened and aperture ring has that firm click at every half stop. The lens produces excellent results across the frame. Details are well resolved at the corners. Some reviews suggest that this lens performs better than it's much more expensive sibling, the Summilux 24mm f/1.4. Curvilinear distortion is almost non-existent but I suspect Leica's lens profile has kept that under control. A metal screw-in hood is supplied with the lens. 24mm is wider than the rangefinder's viewfinder so you will need an external viewfinder to work out the compositions. I use the EVF 2.

    I've done a quick comparison between this lens and my PC-E Nikkor 24mm f/3.5(the bread and butter lens) on a D800E. The results in the centre of the frame are almost comparable. However, the Elmar really shines in the corners, giving better details and lesser chromatic abberation. This lens gives new meaning to "pocket power". If only Leica will start making lenses with movement. My only complaint is that the closest focussing distance is only 0.7m. However, a closer focussing lens would probably be larger(longer) too. The lens will take 46mm screw-in filters.
    Last edited by Kit; 11th November 2014 at 09:34 AM.

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    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: User experience - Leica M-P (Typ 240)

    Using the M-P

    I have been using the M-P for more than a month. Fearing that I won't get used to the rangefinder, I was using focus peaking initially. That has changed. More and more, I find myself using the rangefinder for focussing. At times, I need to find something in the frame which is easier to focus e.g. straight lines, text, etc, then re-compose the photograph. It's slower but I find the rangefinder to be more precise. There are even times when I was so engrossed with the rangefinder, I forgot to turn to the EVF to check for composition before I took the photograph. If I were to get 35mm and 50mm lenses in future, I might remove the EVF altogether and reply solely on the rangefinder and frame lines instead. However, in low light conditions or where there are no easy references, focussing with the rangefinder can be challenging.

    Some photographs.


    Going on a short trip to Taiwan this weekend with the camera. Will see if I can get some cityscapes there.

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    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: User experience - Leica M-P (Typ 240)


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    Moderator keithwee's Avatar
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    Default

    Nice sharing helps a lot to demystify Leica to people like me

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    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: User experience - Leica M-P (Typ 240)

    welcome

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    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: User experience - Leica M-P (Typ 240)

    Interesting bits - Leica fonts

    According to the discussion here http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-...sed-leica.html , the ubiquitous fonts you see on Leica cameras and lenses was specially created for them. The LG 1050 type fonts even made it's way into the camera's menu. Attention to details. Nice.

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    I admire your beautiful camera. And I like the photos you take with it; you're very skillful. I haven't set foot in Taiwan since 1977, that's so long ago. Thanks for sharing the photos.
    Last edited by macVince; 8th December 2014 at 08:33 PM.
    Hobbyist; Weekend SG Tourist

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    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: User experience - Leica M-P (Typ 240)

    thanks

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    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: User experience - Leica M-P (Typ 240)

    Dollars and sense - The value of a Leica

    Leica products are some of the most controversial photographic tools around. To many folks, Leicas' price tags are eye-popping, followed closely by jaw-dropping. Folks who like them think they are the best thing since sliced bread. In this day and age, their specifications look almost..... well, obsolete. Overpriced? That's irrelevant because everybody's perception of value is different and varies. Leicas are not (and probably will never be) marketed as something with a great bang-for-the-buck. Leicas were never designed to make the life of photographers easier. Gratification comes slowly. The M-P's simplicity means that the users are more involved in the photograph-making process and they only have themselves to blame when things go wrong. No more excuses. This is an intangible quality. Some people feel that Leica owners buy them just so they can feel good about it. Well, is feeling good a bad thing? I thought long and hard about a Leica and am glad I bought one. Even happier to know that both kidneys are still intact

    I have started a group of Flickr featuring architectural photographs taken with the M system. You folks are more than welcomed to join in!

    https://www.flickr.com/groups/2703607@N25/

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    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: User experience - Leica M-P (Typ 240)


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    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: User experience - Leica M-P (Typ 240)


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    Default Re: User experience - Leica M-P (Typ 240)

    Bought M-P yesterday. Ray from Leica Raffles Hotel is very friendly and knowledgable. My first Leica rangefinder. Learning how to focus. Most of my practise shots are out of focus. LOL. Below are some photos taken at Hanis.

    Carpark
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    Boxes
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    Cakes
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    Table
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    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: User experience - Leica M-P (Typ 240)

    Yeah, the RF needs a bit of getting used to especially in low light and wider apertures. I use the EVF with peaking mostly.

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    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: User experience - Leica M-P (Typ 240)

    or zone focussing in good light.

  16. #16

    Default Re: User experience - Leica M-P (Typ 240)

    Hello Kit,

    Thank you for the sharing. Took some shots during the day and most of them are in focus. Cheers

    Fountain at Raffles Hotel
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    Facade of one of the internal courtyards at Raffles Hotel
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  17. #17

    Default Re: User experience - Leica M-P (Typ 240)

    very nice! indeed it is a beauty to own this!!!

  18. #18
    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: User experience - Leica M-P (Typ 240)

    Quote Originally Posted by qx3007hi View Post
    Hello Kit,
    Thank you for the sharing. Took some shots during the day and most of them are in focus. Cheers
    Hope you are getting the hang of it

  19. #19

    Default Re: User experience - Leica M-P (Typ 240)

    Quote Originally Posted by caroland View Post
    very nice! indeed it is a beauty to own this!!!
    Thank you. Cheers

  20. #20

    Default Re: User experience - Leica M-P (Typ 240)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kit View Post
    Hope you are getting the hang of it
    Thank you. With more practice, should get the hang of the manual focus. Cheers.

    Below are some shots of buildings taken at Buona Vista in the morning using 50mm Summilux

    Rochester Mall
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    Star Vista
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