I had been interested in getting a Leica M for a few years now. I was attracted not only to the image quality, but also the look, size, and full-frame sensor featured in the camera. Ultimately I am glad that I waited until this point in my career for this camera. Had this been a few years ago, I would have been a bit overwhelmed. But at this stage, the Leica M Type 262 is a great fit for me.
A Raw Shooting Experience
The Leica M Type 262 is not trying to be anything more than a photography camera. No video mode, live view, wifi, etc. are included in the camera. The result is a minimal camera that does not get in the way of itself. Outside of the menus you can set your aperture and shutter speed, with quick buttons for White Balance and ISO. The primary Menu has only two pages while the Set menu has one. Needless to say, everything you need is readily accessible.
When planning on the purchase, I had debated between the 240 and 262 as my first Leica M. Ultimately the determining factor for me was the simplified experience of the newer 262 version. I wanted that raw experience that would also challenge me as a photographer. I say “challenge” as I knew (and can now confirm) that the Leica M would forced me to sharpen my skills.
The Leica Learning Curve
Much like the first pro-level camera a budding photographer picks up, the Leica M feels like the beginning of something new - especially for DSLR shooters. The feel of the body, the shutter sound, and the focus patch create a shooting experience that is very unique. Combining that with Leica lens quality, setting your aperture on the lens, and the simple menus equals a surprisingly simple camera that is a joy to use - where half of the joy comes from simply using the camera.
Making The Switch From Canon To Leica
I have been a Canon shooter since my first film class in college, and have been very happy with their cameras and lenses over the years. At this stage I am not looking at the Leica M to replace my Canon gear, rather give me a different tool to use. Both systems deliver a great photograph with different experiences. The task at hand will drive which camera is in my bag. Despite the size difference, the weight of the M 262 with a 50mm 1.4 Summilux lens is about as heavy as my Canon 5d with a 50mm 1.2 on it.
It Is All About The M
In a way, this is really a study on the Leica M system itself as opposed to the Type 262. The Type 240 provides the same base experience (though a different shutter sound) in a more full-featured package. For me, the 262 is the right fit in that it offers exactly what I wanted from it - and nothing more.