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We’ve completed another update to our Leica M10R review, and you should totally go check it out. The M10R is now being awarded the Editor’s Choice award and five stars. For sure, this has to be the most unique full-frame sensor camera we’ve tested. The 40MP sensor in this camera is present in no other brand’s cameras, which immediately makes the Leica M10R very unique. Then, there’s Leica’s ergonomics. Everyone on staff who tests cameras agrees that Leica M cameras are fantastic. It’s hard to hate how they feel. They feel like, well, actual cameras. The other day, a friend of mine even told me he’d prefer a Leica over the Playstation that he feels his Sony camera is. Alas, our review update doesn’t talk about ergonomics: it’s all about the image quality.
Before I go on, I want to give a special thanks to reader Erwin Rehn for reaching out to us about this. We try to update all our reviews when new firmware comes out. But the Leica M10R slipped through the cracks for us. And honestly, we haven’t tested it with a firmware update. So, anyway, thanks Erwin.
We updated our Leica M10R review because of Capture One 21 and the updates it provided. I personally worked on the update, but I ran my findings by Reviews Writer Brittany Smith, who finished up a few Leica M lens reviews. We compared our findings and saw the same thing.
The killer feature in Capture One 21 is the ProStandard ICC profiles. When editing RAW files from the Leica M10R, select the profile and then choose the Auto-tone curve. Your images will start to look a whole lot like slide film. In fact, Brittany said that they looked a whole lot like Fuji files. And I have to agree. Because of this, the RAW files are way better than what we’ve seen before. Further, the image quality is, again, incredibly unique.
The colors are awesome, but they also tend to backfire a bit. When I published the review, I found that the orange color channel was really odd. Separately, Brittany found the same issue. And it’s also really bad when it comes to skin tones.
Above is the original image that was in our Leica M10R review when the camera first launched. It didn’t have full Leica support back then, and the ProStandard Profiles weren’t there either. So the colors were a bit drabber than I’d normally expect from a Leica camera.
Above is the same image when the ProStandard profile is applied and the tonal curve is changed to Auto. Seriously, my lips aren’t that magenta, and my skin isn’t that orange. But that’s an easy fix for what it’s worth. And in many situations, you’ll probably really like what the colors can appear like.
Above is the same image with ProStandard, Auto curve, and the RNI Film 5 Kodak Portra style applied. This is much, much better. So essentially, the Leica M10R can give you colors and settings that you can’t get with other cameras. This adds even more to the uniqueness of the sensor (which, I’m very confident, isn’t a Sony sensor).
Above is an example of a situation where the colors might be a tad odd at first but can be edited. And indeed, the Leica M10R gives you bright, punchy colors that are unlike anything else out there. This further justifies the price of the camera. The sensor is unlike anything we’ve seen.
Here’s what I’m talking about with orange and the colors at times. In real life, that couch was Hermes orange. But this photo isn’t. You’ll have to work with it to get there. But otherwise, the colors are stellar. Take a look at some sunsets below. When I rendered these images, I was really pleased.
As far as dynamic range goes, the Leica M10R is again akin to slide film. That’s to say that if you know what you’re doing when you expose the photo, it will be fine in post-production. It’s going to reward you for doing the work in-camera. But for what it’s worth, other brands have a more versatile dynamic range. Still, it’s absolutely workable. Brittany and I both agree on this.
We’re moving onto high ISO output. And when these profiles are applied, Brittany described them to me as “grainy.” I agree when looking at a screen. The colors become a million times better with the profiles applied. But the grain is more pronounced, and it even introduced a small bit of color noise. Again though, it’s all totally workable. And more importantly, that’s not even the most fascinating part.
For the past few reviews, we’ve taken a break from our printer tests. Updating this review, though, showed me just how important doing those print tests are. The Phoblographer tests high ISO image quality by printing at 17×22 inches with an ISO 6400 photo for those who don’t know. (For the record, we print on a Canon Pro-1000 with Canon Pro Luster paper.) Nothing has given us really awful results in the past few years save for Micro Four Thirds sensors. And that’s also the case with the Leica M10R. Printed to 17×22 inches, the Leica M10R files look really, really pleasant. The grain isn’t very noticeable. This paper is both beautiful and shows the flaws a lot better than a matte paper would. And the prints are beautiful. I’d gladly submit these to a group showing with no second thoughts. But on the computer screen, again, you’ll see the flaws.
Before I finish this, I’ll continue with The Phoblographer’s 100% transparency statements. Leica is an advertiser this year, but those decisions don’t influence our reviews. The sponsored and presented content are clearly labeled. And any brand that tries to mess with our reviews faces a ton of pushback. It’s one of the reasons why we’ve stopped working with a few. So know that our findings aren’t done with advertising dollars in mind. I have no interest in tarnishing the 12-year history of this site and all that we’ve done.
In conclusion, I’ve given the Leica M10R an Editor’s Choice and five stars retroactively. Is it expensive? Oh yeah, it is! But you’re paying for some of the best ergonomics out there, an incredibly unique sensor, and access to incredible lenses. If you are considering buying one, head over to Amazon to do just that.
During this entire process, though, I was wondering about something a bit more. Many of the Leica M lenses are older. At the 40MP range, I wonder how many can really resolve the sensor fully. What’s more, I truly wonder what Leica may do about this in the future. When Nikon released the D800 years ago, they issued a statement about what lenses will resolve the sensor. Canon did the same with the Canon 5DS series. As a long-time Leica fan, I think this is a wonderful opportunity for Leica to reinvent the M system. It doesn’t need to be an autofocus system, but a hybrid EVF/OVF like Fujifilm could be useful. Rangefinders can be finicky and very hard to get in focus at f1.4. Further, Leica could start weather sealing M lenses now. When I’ve talked to Leica about this, they said that it wouldn’t make sense because the cameras and previous lenses aren’t sealed. But in my mind, thinking like that would’ve never given us the Leica M5 or any of the other cool innovations we got over the years from the company.
Please head to our Leica M10R review and check out our final thoughts. Many of you emailed me questions and thoughts when I first published the review. And if you’d like, you can shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.