The Leica M Typ 240, a Much Improved M9

By Chee Peng Yap

Allow me to contribute my two cents worth on thoughts on M 240 after fiddling my M for two weeks since February 28, 2013*. Firstly, I gotten familar with it almost instantly after previous experiences of handling the M8 and M9. The first thing that impressed me is the much usable ISO range above 1,000. This allowed me to shoot handheld in the dark with my maximum ISO setting set at 3,200. On one of my earlier test shots of a building in the evening, the result of a handheld shot at 1/12th of a second at ISO 3,200 produced amazing clear and rich color — without any need to retouch in Lightroom.

The overall color is warmer due mainly to the white balance improvement with richer greens and reds. I’m talking RAW. I have not done any JPEG shots directly out of camera, so no comments on that. And I do not see why I want to do JPEG shots after paying for Leica glasses and a M 240.

Leica M Typ 240 |  Chee Peng Yap
Leica M Typ 240 | Chee Peng Yap

The EVF/live view saved me several times on focusing accuracy using M lenses, especially when shooting portraits. I can now pin point focus accuracy on the subject’s eyes. That was previously impossible.

Focus peaking together with magnification can be set to pop up automatically once the focusing dial is moved.

Upon one light tap on the shutter button, live view jumps back to full-frame. Honestly I love the feature. With EVF, I tend to not want to take my eyes off the electronic viewfinder. I have to conciously shut off EVF to force myself to use OVF for most general shooting that does not require shallow DOF.

For my general needs I don’t notice any difference in shutter lag over the M9. The LCD however is so much clearer and responding faster.

Downloading files, however, is still a pain. You have to remove the SD card each time until the multifunctional handgrip with USB port arrives.

I have no desire to use my 90mm APO Summicron ASPH now before my handgrip arrives as the slight hump on the back of the camera housing the dial is no replacement for the thumbs up attachment.

However with the handgrip I believe it will be sufficient grip for one hand to hold the camera while the other hand freely operates the camera with a longer lens attached.

I also need the R lens adapter to try out my R lens on the M 240. And I can only be more comfortable when having one more spare battery while I go shooting.

Overall, my M 240 produces images not much different from my M8 and M9. This 3D pop effect, this Leica look many talk about, is still clearly present. Once I really start looking for details, well then I do notice differences.

I’m not a black-and-white shooter, so richer color is a welcome feature for me. Besides, I can more more easily create more depth by adding tone in post-processing.

So far I didn’t encounter a single bug or freezing since I got the M. Yes, I am certainly happy with the camera. The new manual is much better, as is the self-thought understanding of setting up the camera (time, date, exposure meter, ISO, focusing aid, and so forth). The M is a much improved M9.

But then again, I can be happy with a Sony RX1 if I only require one lens.

I can be happy with Leica M9 if I ony need M lenses.

But… I wanted more. Therefore I’ve gotten the M 240.

* Chee Peng Yap, from Singapore, is world’s probably first owner of a commercially available Leica M Typ 240.