|M240, 21 SEM, ~f/8, 1/125s, ISO 200|
These were all hand held, all processed in Lightroom and most are landscape type subjects. Noise reduction and sharpening set to default. Many have some tonal work done to them but for all images you can click through to a G+ Album that will allow you to zoom to 100% and download the originals.
One of the first things I wanted to do was to get an idea of how much I could push shadows for difficult lighting situations like this one. Below is the frame as captured (but very slightly cropped).
|M240, 21 SEM, ~f/11, 1/15s, ISO 200|
To me, this is pretty clean and more importantly the newly lifted shadows actually contain information. Click through and zoom to 100% on the very darkest regions and there is a hint of structure in the noise. I don't find it objectionable given the circumstances, but others might. I also shot this image at 1/15s and though it isn't critically sharp, for 1/15s, its better than what I would achieve with a DSLR hand held.
|M240, 75 ASPH, ~f/8, 1/180s, ISO 200|
|M240, 75 ASPH, f/2, 1/1500s, ISO 200|
|M240, 21 SEM, ~f/11, 1/60s, ISO 200|
|M240, 21 SEM, ~f/11, 1/90s, ISO 200|
|M240, 75 ASPH, f/2, 1/350s, ISO 200|
Did I mention I like the way this sensor draws colors yet? :) The M9 had a unique way of rendering certain colors and its something I had gotten used to. At first I wasn't sure I liked what the new M was going as it felt like
|M240, 75 ASPH, ~f/2.8, 1/1500s, ISO 200|
|M240, 21 SEM, ~f/8, 1/90s, ISO 200|
|M240, 21 SEM, ~f/8, 1/180s, ISO 200|
|M240, 75 ASPH, ~f/5.6, 1.350s, ISO 200|
|M240, 75 ASPH, ~f/2, 1/500s, ISO 200|
|M240, 21 SEM, f/5.6, 1/25s, ISO 2500|
However, one thing completely infuriates me, and its the way in which Leica has now broken my low light workflow. Let me explain in detail. There are three variables to controlling light, aperture, shutter speed and ISO. The M user interface is brilliant, rather than having explicit modes, two of these variables can be set to "auto", which instructs the camera to use its meter to set the variable. Since meters aren't 100% reliable you then use exposure compensation to bias the meter reading. Since aperture is set on a ring on the lens, the two variables for which this applies to is shutter speed and ISO. Set shutter speed to A and ISO to auto and the camera picks both (subject to some other conditions you can specify). This is the way the M9 worked and so far the new M works this way as well.
Now your camera is in the following setting. Aperture set on ring, shutter speed set to A (auto) and ISO set to Auto. You now change shutter speed from A to one you specify yourself. What should happen? One variable, the ISO is still on Auto so the camera should set it using the meter, just like it did when shutter speed was on Auto right? Yes on the M9, a big NO on the M240. It just picks ISO 200. This is wrong, its broken, its a bug, and it needs to fixed by Leica in a firmware update ASAP.
Why does this bother me so? Because I always leave ISO on auto for hand held photography. It has no creative use to me. In bright light, I set the shutter speed to A and let the camera pick some suitable shutter speed, though it will always pick one that is at least faster than 1/focal length of lens. When the light gets low, sometimes I feel like I get away with a shutter speed faster than 1/focal length of lens. Or sometimes I feel like I need something faster (because of a moving subject). So I quickly just take the camera off A for shutter speed and pick something myself, trusting that the camera will still respect ISO set to Auto and pick a suitable ISO. The M9 did, it was brilliant. The M240 does not and its now a pain in the ass.
|M240, 75 ASPH, f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 200|
|M240, 21 SEM, ~f/11, 1/45s, ISO 200|
|M240, 21 SEM, ~f/8, 1/250s, ISO 200|
Overall, the M240 is in most ways a good step forward for the M digital rangefinder. If it weren't for the two major regressions I mentioned, I'd say the new M is absolutely better than the M9. If (hopefully when) Leica fixes these issues in a firmware update, things should be great. There is however room for improvement. An electronic first curtain shutter (a fully electronic shutter would be even better) really is needed in a future update.
There are several people who have reviewed the M240. Tim Ashley's review is a fairly detailed one and probably one of the more balanced reviews out there. There is also the newly posted pseudo-review by Mark Dubovoy. Mark hits the ergonomic nits on the mark and though I think the image quality is great, I'm not as enthusiastic as Mark.