A new year brings with it new gear and one of the latest comes from one of the world’s most prestigious camera makers, Leica. The Leica M11 arrives as the next generation of M series cameras from the German name which debuted its very first M model as a 35-millimetre camera way back in 1954. Much like the iconic Porsche 911, the Leica M cameras retain the classic lines, craftsmanship and aesthetics of the original while evolving internally over time to meet the highest demands of contemporary photography.
This brings enthusiasts to the latest iteration in the M11, a model which combines the experience of traditional rangefinder photography with advanced camera technology. The result? A premium handheld camera that’s capable of delivering maximum flexibility to any type of photographer with an appreciation for rich design heritage.
It’s the inside that counts
Stefan Daniel, Executive Vice President Technology and Operations, says that the M11 is another milestone for the company thanks to innovations which primarily take place on the inside.
“Its inner workings are a completely new development, while the exterior remains true to the iconic Leica M design.”
Some of these new features include an exclusive triple resolution sensor, expanded ISO range, dual memory, extended battery life and a streamlined and intuitive menu system. The heart of the Leica M11 starts with the full-frame BSI CMOS sensor with Triple Resolution Technology. This allows raw image files in DNG format and JPEGs to be recorded at 60, 36 or 18 megapixels using the full sensor area.
For users who are after uncompromising image quality, the 60-megapixel option delivers exceptional results and detail resolution by exploiting the full optical potential of Leica’s latest APO Lenses for the M-System. This plays into the duality of the M11 where its lower resolutions can be selected to enable faster camera performance, extended burst lengths, and smaller files. Helping to boost a more natural colour reproduction is the addition of a new colour filter array.
The Leica M11 features a sensitivity range of ISO 64 to 50,000. Its Maestro III processor can deliver a fluid and responsive operation, even at the highest resolution and image quality. The model also marks the first time multi-field metering in rangefinder mode will be available, giving creative photographers a valuable tool to curate light.
A familiar look and feel
Details are everything in a Leica camera and the M11 faithfully pays homage to its predecessors while boasting a carefully optimised design focused on efficiency and ergonomics. The controls have been arranged in a unique layout around the new 2.3 million pixel high-resolution touch screen. The menu structure of the M11 meanwhile remains consistent with that of the Leica SL2 and Q2, unifying the acclaimed interface for a more user-friendly experience.
Dual identity, dual functionality
No one photographer is created the same, that’s why Leica will offer the M11 in two versions:
- The black-finished Leica M11 features a top plate made of premium grade aluminium with a scratch-resistant coating. This results in a body that is approximately 20 per cent (100 grams) lighter than its silver chrome counterpart. Weight is 530 grams with battery and 455 grams without.
- The silver-chrome M11 is a true nod to the past and features a classic brass top plate and weighs in at 640 grams.
Smarter storage, bigger battery life
Staying true to moving with the times as well, the M11 deliberately omits the traditional base plate to offer photographers easy direct access to the battery and SD card. Those with a penchant for misplacing SD cards no longer have a problem with the M11 being equipped with a permanent internal storage capacity of 64 gigabytes built in. This makes the new model the first M camera with the ability to save image files simultaneously onto two different storage drives.
Battery life isn’t overlooked as well with the ever-increasing demand for uninterrupted use. A 1,800 milliamp-hour battery stores 64 per cent more energy than before, and combined with the camera’s more efficient operation, allows for considerably longer shooting sessions with a single charge. This is further bolstered with the universal USB-C port which charges the camera’s battery using most USB-C chargers.
Extra connectivity and accessories
Apple fans aren’t left out in Leica’s latest creation. The M11 is already an Apple ‘Made for iPhone and iPad’ certified accessory and as such, offers unique abilities with the included Leica FOTOS cable. Other optional accessories include a new ergonomic handgrip which doubles as a tripod mount, where the Leica M11 can be attached to ArcaSwiss-standard tripod heads without the need for any additional equipment. More importantly its design means that it doesn’t obstruct access to the battery and SD card.
The new Leica M11 is now available with the body now retailing for A$13,500. Visit Leica for additional information.
Read next: On board Europe’s most scenic train trips