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Leica M10 Monochrom, Leica M10-R and Lenses Reader Comment: Why Review Leica at All?

Ron G writes:

Why do you use your time to test Leica products? For instance, why continue to test Leica cameras in view of the "pimple" problems and "stitching" [sensor bifurcation] problems that you noted that persist across time. Especially as Leica appears to ignore you when you point out the problems.

Were it me, I'd dismiss the brand from consideration and use my time elsewise. Is there some reason that I am overlooking that makes continued reviews of Leica products worthwhile?

DIGLLOYD: I am a boutique business catering to a small group of photographers looking for insight into whatever the platform may be. Therefore, I do things that have a demand that fall into my areas of competence—it’s business*. And because I was hoping that the relatively unique Leica M10 Monochrom might make my M lenses useful again, even if I had to wait a year or two for a used one I could afford**.

I've gotten appreciative thank-yous from several users who upon seeing the issues, feel I have done them a terrific service, saving them $20K or more. But more importantly, they won't buy the wrong system for their goals of superb black and white quality and can thus put their money (a lot less of it) into something that will give them the superior results they are looking for. There is a great satisfaction to me in Serving readers that way. And I might be unique in being the only person on the planet with no axe to grind as to brand: I shoot 'em all, and I don't have my ego invested in a purchase (post-purchase rationalization), or a manufacturer to cater to, so as to be on the list for the next cool product (that’s the away it works 99% of the time in this industry!).

As to the image quality issues I discovered and document: the question presupposes a crystal ball: how could I possibly know in advance that I would find these issues? I did not want to find them, nor have all my images mangled by the pimples. Since at least a few readers state say some of them are the best they've ever seen anywhere (several are superb IMO), it is particularly frustrating. There is one image I am working on now that would print very large quite beautifully, but it is mangled by thousands of these things that could not be ignored in a large print. I’m not going to sink into anger, but the fact is that the M10M has destroyed some of my finest images for the purposes of large fine-art prints, and that hurts.

So yes, the Leica platform is worthy of being ignored because of a track record of rarely addressing issues, along with the failure to evolve the M platform meaningfully, either with camera body design or lenses—so much appeal could have followed a much more compelling evolutionary path ( even Erwin Puts is troubled by Leica’s path, but Roy P is far more eloquent on the matter). But so long as people care about Leica, I'll cover it on the same principle I started with 12 years ago: providing insight into camera systems so as to help people make an informed decision.

* By that argument, reviewing the Leica SL2 and the Leica 35mm f/2 APO-Summicron-SL should go onto my to-do list, but the haptics and operational headaches of the SL design make me unhappy about spending my time with it.

** I’m going to convert my Nikon D850 to monochrome very soon. My review of the Nikon D850M shows perfection in imaging quality and lenses like the Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/1.4 and Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon and many more are stunningly good on it—far superior to Leica M glass.

Spotlight on Eureka Dunes Summit
f5.6 @ 1/90 sec, ISO 160; 2020-12-21 15:08:59
Leica M10 Monochrom + Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon + filter B+W 090 Red
ENV: Eureka Dunes, altitude 3550 ft / 1082 m, 60°F / 15°C
RAW: pull 0.3 stops, +50 Shadows, -100 Highlights, +30 Whites, -30 Blacks, +50 Dehaze, USM {8,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]
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