I had fun with the last post, but now it’s time to get real. What should the purist, stripped-down expression of the Leica rangefinder experience be? Here’s a proposal:
- Lose the LCD display on the back of the camera. It makes it thicker and heavier than it has to be, so that it doesn’t feel like a film-based M-series camera in your hand.
- Replace the setting function of the LCD with either the LED display currently in the finder, or a B&W reflective LCD display on the left hand side of the top plate.
- The following functions are not supported: in-camera photo review, live view, EVF, video.
- The shutter speed dial no longer has positions for shutter speeds of 1 second and longer. Instead, there is a position labeled “L”. When the shutter speed dial is set in that position, the shutter speed can be set from 1 second to 300 seconds in half-stop intervals with the thumbwheel. The readout is either in the LED display in the finder or the LCD display on the top of the camera.
- With the extra real estate on the shutter speed dial obtained by dropping shutter speeds of one second or longer, make the A setting have five positions. The middle one, labeled “A”, works as the camera does now. “A-“ sets the camera for a one-stop underexposure, “A – – “ sets the camera for two-stop underexposure. Overexposure is set with “A+” and “A++”. There is just one metering mode: classic.
- When you turn on the camera, the ISO speed shows in the LED display in the finder, as in the current M240. Optionally, it also shows on the LCD display on the top of the camera. When the camera is displaying the ISO, the user can set the ISO with the thumbwheel. There is no ISO button.
- The M240 view/rangefinder is used as is.
- The on/off switch works the way it does on the M240, but there is no C setting.
- When the on/off switch is set to the self-timer setting, the delay can be controlled with the thumbwheel. The readout is in the LED display in the finder. Optionally, it also shows on the LCD display on the top of the camera.
- Formatting the memory card is performed by holding down the shutter release button when the camera is turned on.
- There are no controls at all on the back of the camera except for the thumbwheel.
- The default file format is raw DNG.
- The default WB is auto.
- Camera setup (should the defaults be unacceptable), photo review and selective deletion, and tethered operation are handled by Android and iOS apps connected to the camera using WiFi or Bluetooth. The camera’s WiFi /Bluetooth password is set at manufacturing to a unique string. If that’s too radical, use the M button to cycle through setup options, and the thumbwheel and shutter release to pick them.
The result is a camera that doesn’t do a lot, but what it does do it does superbly, with fluid and fast setting changes in all lighting conditions.