The Leica M11 review has been updated and you can check it out right here. Leica was kind enough to send us a production camera unit, which we took in for testing again. The major updates come with significantly better support through Capture One 22. At the moment of writing, Lightroom hasn’t updated to provide this yet. However, the RAW File versatility and the high ISO output look a lot better with a production unit. In fact, we like it so much, we raised the score from four stars to five stars.
For your convenience, we’re publishing what we’ve amended in our Leica M11 review here for you.
Update February 2022: We’ve updated this review to include production sample images. To clarify our previous statements, throughout this review you’ll see mostly images from a pre-production camera. But the colors and most of the image quality adhere to what the final quality is. In our image quality section, we did more tests to show what the RAW files are capable of. Our review was updated to reflect that Capture One 22 provides full support for the RAW files.
RAW File Versatility Update February 2022
Leica issued the following statement to us:
“Capture One 22 (15.0.1) officially supports the Leica M11, while Lightroom does not officially support the camera at this time. Germany is aware of this and I will report back to you as soon as I have more details on the matter.”
For us, that’s exciting news. We’ve been using Capture One as our standard testing bed for a long time. All the manufacturers have recommended it to us over Adobe products.
The Leica M11 has RAW file versatility that changes. At the highest resolution DNG files, you get 14 stops of dynamic range. And with the medium and small DNG files, you get 15 stops of dynamic range. Despite this, even at ISO 6400, the high-resolution DNG files are still something to behold.
Above is an unedited photo of me shot at ISO 6400 by Josh, one of the owners of The Woodlot in Queens, NY.
Here’s the edited version in Capture One. If you’re a smart editor, you know this isn’t all that bad. A lot of us would be just fine converting this to a black and white and being content. Again, this is at ISO 6400 and I was able to push the RAW file a lot, so I’m pretty impressed.
However, we also have to keep in mind this is possibly the same sensor that’s in the Sony a7r IV. I say this because when I asked where the sensor came from, Leica didn’t tell us. So just through inference and deductive reasoning, we think it’s a Sony sensor. I went back to our Sony a7r IV review to compare and get an estimation. At the full resolution, the Sony a7r IV would do a similar job if we used and edited the same preset applied during our test. However, remember that the Sony a7r IV can give you 15 stops of dynamic range at the full resolution and the Leica can’t.
Here’s a medium DNG at ISO 6400 above. It’s a photo of Josh at his bar, The Woodlot.
Here’s the edited version above. It’s a minimal edit, and I think it looks very good if you’re not pixel peeping.
Here’s another medium DNG at ISO 1600. It’s already pretty good, but it gets better.
Above is the same photo with a slight edit for color. I like this more. Their skin isn’t as deep red and the overall atmosphere is still quite nice.
Here’s another photo above at ISO 1600 and the full resolution DNG.
Here’s the ISO 1600 full-resolution DNG edit. I think that, again, the Leica M11 did a good job. And personally, as the guy who tested the Leica M9 when it came out, this is what I want.
High ISO Update February 2022
Above is an unedited medium DNG at ISO 6400. In my eyes, this is very clean. Honestly, I could see a lot of Leica camera users wanting to shoot at medium DNG so that their lens output looks sharper. Specifically, I’m talking about looking at the scene as a whole. After a conversation with Roger Cicala at LensRentals, I’m being careful with my wording here. When I say “resolve the sensor” I mean that it’s not going to give satisfactory results compared to modern lenses when pixel peeping. But The Phoblographer doesn’t pixel peep. Older lenses can surely make a newer sensor look not too great if you’re pixel peeping.