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Leica M Typ 240: Bottom Plate Design

For a $7000 camera, could Leica possibly print a manual in English-only instead of German + English so that the manual isn’t half an inch thick with English in the 2nd half?

Or at least number the English-language pages starting at page #1 instead of page #129. This inattention to my customer experience annoys immediately. Why should the quality of customer experience end where the manual begins?

Well, the reason I needed to read the manual at all is due to some operational surprises—a stunned disbelief that certain key operational features simply do not exist being the main thing I needed to flagellate myself with as part of the Leica experience.

Mounting on a tripod

Nikon has done its best to irk me with design decisions that cause me grief. But Leica?

When one mounts a camera plate (for tripod use), this screws through a hole into the camera itself.

Which means that to get to the card or battery on the Leica M Typ 240, you must unscrew the mounting plate in order to remove the bottom plate. Which means that if you want to shoot on a tripod, carry an allen wrench to change the battery!

It also means that every time I want to check a test series on the computer, I have to get out the allen wrench, remove the plate, then put it back on. Which means that the camera angle might change subtly each time, since the plate won’t necessarily orient exactly the same each time.

This isn’t an academic issue: out in the field it really means carrying an allen wrench and a spare allen wrench for use after the first one dropped into the rocks or creek or just lost itself somehow. Or you lost the shot just as the battery ran out. For that matter, it could mean losing the base plate or mounting plate or wrench, etcetera. By comparison on a Nikon, just pop the hatch, pop the battery insert new battery, you’re good in about 3 seconds.

Perhaps the optional Handgrip M provides a better alternative. But I nominate this as one of the worst physical designs of 2012 and 2013.

Leica M 240 bottom plage has a hole through which a screw goes into the camera body itself.
A camera mounting plate thus requires removal of the plate in order to access the card and battery

Aravind K writes:

I see that you've started your M240 review. I got mine late last week.

One of the major reasons I shot with the M9 was for operational reasons. I like the simplicity of the design and attention to what a photographer would want.

The M240 drives me bonkers with two major (to the way I shoot) regressions.

First, the insistence of pressing that teeny button on front to change EC (you could just scroll the wheel with the M9). Its so damned hard to change EC now. Second auto ISO in manual mode now just doesn't work.

In aperture priority, it works as it used to (camera picks shutter speed and ISO). But if you have the audacity to change the shutter dial from A to a shutter speed of your choosing, no more camera picking ISO anymore. This was one of the things that worked amazingly well with the M9 (and a few other cameras like Nikon's pro cameras and Pentax) and now they broke it. WTF? I'm wary to now see what else they've broken with the new M.

DIGLLOYD: there are a lot more issues than that. Already I like the M240 less than the M9 in its “quick” things, though that is a preliminary and very limited impression. And with crippled Live View (several things) and the tripod mounting, the argument for the M240 is seriously weakened. Yet there are positive things too, so how the balance nets out remains for me to sort out with usage.

Rob L writes:

Bob is not a subscriber to Guide to Leica.

I've heard you comment numerous times about how you don't like shooting with a tripod. It stifles spontaneity and creativity. Leicas are not meant to be shot on a tripod.

This is a camera designed for reportage photography. I understand that this is inconvenient for testing and evaluation but I find this diatribe about the baseplate to be inappropriate to this camera as well as the mirrorless options where you've made the same point. It feels like you have a bit of a prejudice against this camera already.

DIGLLOYD: I prefer to shoot handheld, but I shoot on a tripod a great deal. But I don’t know what I’d do if someone asked me to to do “reportage”. As for the remainder, it is not so nice to receive this kind of email.

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