A camera of transcendent quality and beauty

The Leica M10 is for those who believe photography is an art form

Leica M10 body, £5,850; Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 lens, £4,100
Leica M10 body, £5,850; Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 lens, £4,100 | Image: Hugh Threlfall

How will I convince you that spending nearly £6,000 on a Leica camera body alone (and a further £4,100 on the ideal lens) makes sense, when an iPhone 7 or a Samsung Galaxy S8 takes excellent photos, and about £500 will buy you a Huawei P10 with a Leica-designed camera onboard? I should mention, too, that the model of which I speak, the Leica M10, doesn’t even have autofocus, or video, but is the latest of Leica’s traditional (but digital) flagship cameras, with many elements of the physical design going back to the 1950s, and some to the Leica 1 from 1925. It is slimmer and the manual focusing is a bit easier, but otherwise it is minimally updated from the M9, incumbent since 2009.  

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So why would you go for it? Especially with the medium wide-angle lens I tested it with. Because top-of-the range Leica photography is an artform – there’s no other way to put it. Think, perhaps, just to get into the idea, of a Morgan, or a Linn record deck. So while the Leica will take photos of the highest order, with a quality I might describe pretentiously (although correctly) as technically crisp but artistically eloquent, the photos from a top-ranking DSLR will still look slightly better in some respects.

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Unless, that is, you are up to mastering the Leica, in which case the photos will almost sing. The reason for that is that the Leica, by way of its lack of features, will demand much more of you. Give a chimpanzee a Canon 5D and it will take some good frames, but it will fail dismally with a Leica. You will also have a machine of transcendent quality and beauty, which, re the £5,850-plus cited above, will not depreciate much either.

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