Leica M Typ 262: photography in its purest form

No auto focus, no video, no live view... Das Wesentliche

TODO alt text

For

  • Design
  • Purity
  • Exclusivity

Against

  • NO TECH...
  • Which IS the point...
  • But still...

It's 2016, and this is Leica's new camera. Looks familiar, doesn't it? The same red dot, the same Bauhaus-inspired design. But don't let the classic aesthetic fool you, this camera is cutting edge... in some areas.

In others? Not so much. Taking a step back from the M Typ 240 (which is still available) this new camera foregoes video recording and live view, instead, it focuses on capturing great still images.

How did we get on with the Typ 262? Let's find out shall we...

Design and Handling

I think the Leica M Typ 262 is a beautiful camera, it's sleek, it's simple, it's functional. It's also understated, which is useful for street photographers.

It's chunky and very solid, the Type 262 feels like a proper piece of German engineering. The camera is quite weighty at 600g, but thanks to a new aluminium top plate, that's lighter than previous brass-clad models.

Is it a problem Leica have moved from brass to aluminium? For some purists it may be, you won't get the beautiful patina effect from years of wear and tear. But the aluminium brings a cost saving. Personally, I don't have a problem with it.

Using the device is a pleasure, the dials and buttons are clicky, the focus ring (on the 35mm summicron) is lovely and smooth, and a new addition of a shutter cocking system is a big improvement over the M9 in terms of noise (although, don't expect electronic shutter-style silence).

Although there's no live view the rear of the camera is still taken up by a large LCD screen (you just can't focus and frame pictures using it).

Instead, the LCD is used for reviewing images and the menu system. Changing settings in the camera is reasonably simple, most features have dedicated buttons/dials (such as white balance, ISO, exposure comp, aperture andshutter speed) but more advanced features can be changed in the concise menu system.

The 3-inch screen is gloriously sharp and looks great.

The SD card slot and battery compartment are accessed by removing the bottom plate.

Image Quality

Leica has built its brand on exceptional image quality, so the Typ 262 won't disappoint.

The camera features a full-frame 24MP CMOS sensor, and while that isn't particularly outstanding these days (the Sony A7R II has 42MP) it can still capture great images thanks to Leica's amazing lenses and Maestro image processor.

Here are some JPEGs straight from the camera:

Verdict

We loved using the Leica M Typ 262. It's beautifully paired back, like a track-focused sports car it only has the essentials.

What really struck me is how the camera feels mechanical, more so than any other digital camera I've tried before.

There are, of course, downsides - especially if you're used to the most modern cameras with live view, WI-Fi, video etc.

But the minimalistic Leica is a tool that focuses on taking great images - and thanks to the missing features it comes in much more affordable than most other Leicas - a mere £3,950 (not including lens).

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