5 reasons why I love the Leica M11 camera and 5 reasons why I don’t

the Leica M11 is the latest in a long and venerable line of luxury cameras of the type typically purchased by people with abundant disposable income. They’re as much jewelry as they are photographic tools, but the M11 has some impressive capabilities that beg the question, should you buy one?

Why should you buy one:

Incredible image quality

There are few cameras on the market that can match the M11 in sheer resolution. This camera packs a whopping 60 megapixels (MP). That means it results in huge hard drive-hogging files, but Leica calls the M11’s sensor “triple resolution”, meaning it can also shoot at 36MP and 12MP while using the full sensor area.

An added benefit is that at lower resolutions the M11 gets better dynamic range. Another plus for image quality is the unique infrared and ultraviolet cut filter that helps the camera render more accurate colors. The result of all this technology is a camera capable of capturing the best photos possible.


A pleasure to use

Between the rangefinder design, the impeccable physical control dials and the small form factor, the Leica M11 is a fun camera to use. It immerses you in the art of photography without getting in the way like the bulky plastic monsters that make up the bulk of the modern camera market. Despite its beautiful design, it eliminates unnecessary distractions from your photography.

A continuous value

Where most digital cameras lose value as soon as you take them out of the box, a Leica M series camera can be sold years later after heavy use for a high percentage of its purchase price. initial. The M10, for example, which is now five years old, is still selling on eBay as much or more than it did in 2017, depending on its condition.

A factor in this longevity is the high build quality of the cameras in this series. They are built like reservoirs and are actually designed to age gracefully like fine wine. For example, brass ones are made in such a way that the exterior paint wears off over time, the camera develops a unique and attractive patina.

The Leica M11 with a lens attached.

street credibility

Carry the M11 anywhere and your fellow photographers will almost certainly go green with envy. Even if you’re not really a photographer, you can make up for a lot of your lack of skill or talent because people will assume anyone is willing to drop that much on a camera. must know what they are doing! Just walk into your local gallery with your handful of dull snapshots and your M11 hanging around your neck and you’ll surely become a hit in no time.

Fantastic lenses

Leica lenses are legendary – and for good reason. They are as close to optical perfection as possible. Not only are lenses such as the Leica APO-Summicron-M 50 f/2 ASPH among the sharpest ever made, with a distinctive character all their own, they are also surprisingly compact compared to lenses with focal lengths and similar apertures from other manufacturers.

A rear view of the Leica M11.

Why you shouldn’t buy one:

Absurdly expensive

There’s no candy about the fact that the Leica M11 costs you $8,995. Think of all the other things you could do with that kind of money. You can buy a used car or a high-end Nikon setup and have the cash to go on vacation with your new camera. That’s several thousand more than Nikon, Canon, or Sony’s most expensive new mirrorless cameras, and it doesn’t even include a lens.

Do you remember this Leica APO-Summicron-M 50 f/2 ASPH lens? Well, if you want this little beauty, be prepared to pay $8,995 again, because as expensive as Leica camera bodies are, they’re just the tip of the iceberg for what you should expect. to spend. However, if $18,000 for a new camera and lens scares you, you’re not the target market for the M11. If you’re seriously considering this camera, it’s probably to complement that shiny new Lamborghini you’ve parked in one of your garages.

A man inspects a Leica camera.

Lack of modern features

Despite that mind-boggling mountain of cash you have to shell out for the M11, it really is rather antiquated in many ways. There’s no in-body image stabilization, and there’s not even autofocus. While this camera exists in the luxury segment of the market, it’s one of the most basic cameras you can buy, and that no-frills style is exactly what Leica photographers want.

Unable to shoot video

When it comes to things Leica photographers have made it clear they don’t want, video is high on the list, and luckily for them the M11 doesn’t even give you the option to shoot video. This is a camera only, so look elsewhere if you plan on making movies.

The Leica M11 top plate and controls.

Pretentious and unnecessary

There’s no polite way to say this, but Leica cameras are cameras whose target audience is pretentious snobs. I have a right to say that, because if I were richer, I too would be a pretentious snob and Leica owner. Like a fancy watch, a diamond necklace, or lately – a Netflix subscription – the M11 is overpriced, and there are similar products that can do almost anything they can for a fraction of the cost.

Don’t kid yourself that you need the M11; it’s something you want, and as long as you recognize it, you can go ahead and enjoy this pretentious, useless and wonderful device.

You will be afraid to shoot with

The problem with buying very beautiful and very expensive items designed to perform a practical task is that you may well be reluctant to risk wear and tear, let alone damage and theft. If you’re stretching a tight budget to buy this insanely expensive camera, you might not be able to really enjoy it.

Well, should we have fun or not?

Ultimately, the Leica M11 is perfectly suited to its target audience of photographers who can afford an extremely expensive piece of art that is also capable of capturing wonderful photographs. Don’t get me wrong, this is an incredibly powerful camera capable of delivering unique and compelling images. However, for most hobbyists and professionals, more practical devices are available at a third of the price.

If you’re a Leica enthusiast, you’ve probably ordered the M11 before. If you’re someone with pockets deep enough that spending almost ten grand on a camera would be an impulse buy, you should buy the M11. If you’re a highly successful professional photographer who wants to add the ‘Leica look’ to your portfolio, you should buy the M11. If you are anyone other than this tiny fraction of the population, then you better buy almost any other camera.

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