Leica has announced the M11, the newest member of its M-series rangefinder line of cameras. The M11 maintains the traditional M-series form factor, but includes a variety of features and upgrades that should appeal to Leica aficionados.
The M11’s headline feature is a 60MP BSI CMOS sensor, featuring what Leica calls ‘Triple Resolution’ technology, allowing the camera to capture Raw or JPG images at 60, 36, or 18 megapixel resolution using the full sensor area.
The sensor in the M11 is covered by a new, extremely thin IR+UV filter, which is designed to provide even more effective correction to oblique rays of light. Additionally, a new color filter array promises to deliver improved, more natural color. The camera has a base ISO of 64 and ranges up to ISO 50,000, and Leica claims 15 stops of dynamic range.
On the surface, the M11 looks similar to previous M models, but does have some hardware changes. A new higher resolution 2.3M-dot touchscreen should provide a better user experience, and some controls have been rearranged for easier operation, and increased customization.
Possibly the most noticeable change from previous M cameras is that the traditional one-piece baseplate has been replaced with a more conventional battery compartment, providing direct access to the battery and SD card slot, similar to the Leica Q2. In addition to the SD card, the camera now includes 64GB of internal storage – a feature anyone who has left a memory card at home can appreciate
On the power side of things, a new 1800mAh battery promises 64% more battery power than on previous models, and the M11 also includes a USB-C port which can be used to charge the battery. A USB-C to Apple Lightning cable is included for iPhone users.
Perhaps the biggest decision potential buyers will need to make is color, which runs more than skin deep as the two models are built differently. The silver-chrome edition is built using a brass top plate and weighs 640g / 1.4 lbs, while the black version is built using an aluminum top plate and weighs in at a slightly more svelte 530g / 1.17 lbs.
In addition to the camera, Leica has also announced two accessories: a new Visoflex 2 electronic viewfinder features a 3.7M-dot display that tilts 90 degrees, and a new handgrip that can double as a tripod mount, attaching to Arca-Swiss heads without additional hardware.
Finally, Leica has pre-announced a future firmware update set to arrive in the second half of 2022. It will deliver improved connectivity, allowing the camera to be paired with the Leica FOTOS app to embed location data in photos and access images via Bluetooth.
The new Leica M11 – A Legend reinvented.
Wetzlar, January 13th 2022. The new Leica M11 combines the experience of traditional rangefinder photography with contemporary camera technology, delivering maximum flexibility to every photographer. Featuring an exclusive triple resolution sensor, expanded ISO range, dual memory options, extended battery life and a streamlined and intuitive menu system; the Leica M11 represents a new benchmark in digital photography as the most flexible M-System camera in Leica’s history.
At the heart of the M11 is a full-frame BSI CMOS sensor with Triple Resolution Technology. Raw image files in DNG and JPEG format can be recorded at 60, 36 or 18 megapixels, always using the full sensor area. The 60-megapixel option delivers unprecedented image quality and detail resolution, utilizing the full optical potential of Leica’s latest APO Lenses for the M-System – whereas the lower resolutions enable faster camera performance, extended burst lengths, and smaller files.
A special IR + UV cut filter comprised of two extremely thin, cemented layers of glass, achieves an especially effective correction of even the most oblique rays of incident light. With a new color filter array, the camera also offers an improved, more natural color reproduction.
While maintaining the iconic look of a traditional Leica M, the carefully optimized design of the Leica M11 is focused on efficiency and ergonomics. The controls have been arranged in a unique layout next to the 2.3 million pixels high-resolution touchscreen. The menu structure of the M11 remains consistent with the Leica SL2 and Q2, unifying the acclaimed interface for a more user-friendly experience.
The Leica M11 has a sensitivity range of ISO 64 to 50,000; it records at 14-bit color depth and has a dynamic range of up to 15 stops. With its Maestro III processor, the Leica M11 offers a fluid and responsive operation, even at the highest resolution and image quality settings. With the optional electronic shutter featuring a shutter speed of up to 1/16,000 of a second, photographers are empowered to work with wide open apertures, in bright light, without ND filters. The M11 marks the first-time multi-field metering in rangefinder mode will be available, offering photographers a valuable tool to curate light.
The black-finish variant of the Leica M11 features a top plate made of high-quality aluminum with a scratch-resistant coating. As a result, the body is approximately 20% (100 grams) lighter than its silver-chrome counterpart. By comparison, the silver- chrome M11 features a classic brass top plate and weighs 640 grams.
The deliberate omission of the traditional base plate is unique to the M11, offering photographers direct access to the battery and SD card. In addition to the SD card slot, the Leica M11 is equipped with a generous internal storage capacity of 64 gigabytes. This makes the M11 the first M model to save image files simultaneously onto two different storage media. The 1800mAh battery stores 64% more power than before, and combined with the camera’s more efficient operation, allows for considerably longer shooting sessions with a single charge. Additionally, the newly added universal USB-C port also serves to charge the camera’s battery, using most USB-C chargers.
Upgraded connectivity features for the Leica M11 will be available through a new firmware version in the second half of 2022. This will enable the new M11’s advanced connectivity capabilities which will elevate users’ mobile workflows and enhance the Leica FOTOS app with the possibility to embed location data, access images via Bluetooth connection, and allow increased transfer rates. The M11 is compatible with Apple products and accessories and offers unique abilities with the included Leica FOTOS cable.
With the evolution of the Leica M comes new accessories to enhance the rangefinder experience. The new Visoflex 2 electronic viewfinder features a 3.7-megapixel resolution display to provide outstanding image control in Live View mode. Encased in a metal exterior, the Visoflex 2 perfectly matches the M11 in terms of design and functionality. Full-frame viewing and the precise focusing of Leica lenses is supported by the Visoflex 2’s large diopter adjustment range of -4 to +3- and 90-degree tilt function. To improve ergonomics without obstructing access to the battery and SD card, photographers will have the option to complement their M11 with a newly designed handgrip. The new handgrip doubles as a tripod mount, where the Leica M11 can be attached to Arca-Swiss-standard tripod heads without the need for any additional equipment.
Leica M11: Witness the Future
“We are very proud of the new M11,” says Stefan Daniel, Executive Vice President Technology and Operations. “This camera is another milestone for Leica. Its inner workings are a completely new development, while the exterior remains true to the iconic Leica M design.”
“As we all know,” says Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Leica Camera AG, Wetzlar, “the iconic Leica M-System has accompanied dedicated photographers worldwide over decades, giving them a superior tool for witnessing their time and creating outstanding pictures. The new M11 will continue this legacy with outstanding technology, based on our experience developing cameras since 1925.