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Leica M Typ 240 Review

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Never, up until a few weeks ago would I have thought that I would be an inductee into the “Cult of Leica”.


Not because I thought that the gear wasn’t capable…no it was more along the lines of “unobtainium”, the shiny thing that you think you could never gain, aspire or possess…with the Leica being out of the price range.


My desire for the continued journey into photography has lead me to seek things that are more toward the stills-centricity than hybrid or video. This culminated and was cemented when I hit upon a good deal on the Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D.


A humble camera by todays means, but a flagship in its 2004 release year. It’s meager 6mp CCD sensor, analog controls and copious buttons reminded me of the love I felt for photography back in the late 1990 and early 2000’s – not only of the “gear” but more of the process – thinking of or finding subjects, exploring depth of field, angles, expressions, gestures – all that and less of the technical aspects like aperture, shutter speed and ISO.


Looking at my dormant gear and checking on the state of Leica just for the hell of it, I realized that some of the Leica gear is now, on the used market, something that I could actually afford and experience. Yes, it may be years and years old, but the lesson learned from the Maxxum 7D experience showed me that age is less important as is capability of the photographer.


I reached out to some online friend for advice and landed on a used M Typ 240.


And thus, the journey begins!!


I’ve shot and enjoyed the true rangefinder experience in the past, albeit in film with the Kodak Signet 35 and my favorite Yashica Lynx 5000E.


Film and all that comes with it, as fun as it may be, is just not something that I wanted to pursue in a frequent shooter camera. In comes the Leica and the affordable options out there in the used market. Yes, let’s not quibble on the definition of affordable as that is subjective – however, looking at the prices of the M10 series and newer versus older models from M240 and lower, a strong case can be made for affordability.


Let’s take a journey together. We will not only look at the Leica experience on its own merits, but this will be, also, from a primarily DSLR and mirrorless shooters experience.


We also need to keep in perspective what this camera was designed to do and feed to its strengths and try to not make it out to be something it is not.


Disclaimer – sample images represent was is possible to get from this specific camera and lenses used. The images are not straight from camera JPG (unless otherwise noted) and have most likely been post processed in Lightroom or other software to get them to the vision I wanted.  All sample images taken with the Zeiss Planar 50mm f/2 ZM lens.  All product shots are copyright Leica-Camera.com


Tech Stuff




Picking up this body, you feel the quality construction right off the bat. It feels good in the hand. Like it was milled from a solid block of metal. There is no flex, creaking or perceived weakness in it’s construction. It is heavier than it looks.


While holding and using the camera as it comes from the factory, it does suffer from the “candy bar” feeling where the ability to hold it is slightly compromised. There is a small thumb rest by the rear dial, but I did not feel comfortable with that on it’s own. So, I enlisted in some assistance in the form of a Match Technical Thumbs Up. This device sits in the hot shoe and provides a thumb rest above the rear LCD and below the top plate. Being as solid as the camera itself, it feels natural and organic on the camera when in use.




Dials. There are basically 2 dials on the camera. A rear command dial and a top, clicky but free spinning shutter speed dial. The dials feel solid in operation and there is no fear of accidental bumping….at least I’ve not had that happen to me during my use.


Exposure compensation is possible when in aperture priority mode. You can have it setup 2 ways. First, but pressing the front function button and then turning the rear command dial. Second is going into the menu system and setting the option to adjust exposure compensation directly. I have opted to setup the camera with option 2.



The buttons are plentiful, yet none are there as to be superfluous. So far, I’ve found every button on the rear of the camera to be in a good location and useful in day to day operations. While an ISO dial would be preferable, the button and rear dial combo are adequate for the infrequent times changing ISO is needed. Would have been nice to be able to remap the rear command dial for ISO changes as well…but again a small quip/issue on my part. Remembering that different isn’t bad, just different!


Button size is just about perfect, as is the spacing. They have a very clicky feel to them – never mushy…but very satisfying.


The only button that I will never use, and again would love to be able to re-map is the “M” button on the top plate used to start and stop movie recording.




Shutter Release – The shutter release has a positive feel between locking in the exposure and actuating the shutter. It has a very soft feel down to focus actuation, then a positive stop. You can feel a positive click stop when exposure is locked and then just a little more pressure gives you an actuation of the shutter. I had no problems adjusting to it and did what I needed when I needed it. During the time of this review, the Ohio weather is cold an wet, so wearing gloves is common. Had zero issues handling this camera. The power switch sits around the shutter release. There are settings depending on how far you move the power switch to go from single exposure, the continuous, to delay. Delay time is set in the menu and cam be 2s or 12s.


I love soft shutter releases and my M240 is adorned with a Leica branded red concave soft release!


I have soft release on my Fuji X-Pro2 and one on my Nikon Df when I had it.


Rear LCD – There is one 3″ LCD display. I find it perfectly useful for menu operations and checking exposure and relative sharpness of the images. It is even useful with focus peaking for use in live view.



There is a hot shoe, but I can honestly say that I see myself rarely using it for flash. I may for some portraiture work, but honestly – the hot shoe will most often be occupied with the Match technical Thumbs Up for ergonomic purposes. The camera has no built in flash.



The viewfinder is optical and compared to more modern cameras is exquisitely good, honestly. The viewfinder is bright and beautiful. I was honestly surprised at how quickly I took to it. I thought that I would have issues with the framelines, the lack of data….but honestly speaking – there is enough information present to do the job and the frame lines are easy to see and easy to determine which ones are for your focal length of the lens attached.


The rangefinder patch is a good size and when you have something in focus, it just seems to “snap” into crystal clarity. While I do live the Yashica 5000E experience – this M 240 blows it away in every respect.

In day to day use, I’ve had no issues in framing images or with parallax with close subjects. Just a great experience overall!!


Weather Sealing

Honestly not sure about the weather sealing on this camera, but given it’s status at the time, I’m sure there might be some and it is probably well done…but I do not intend on bringing this into a downpour and I’ll let others take that chance to find out how weather sealed the M240 might be.


Lens Line Up
You have the entirety of the m-mount lineup as your native playground with the ability to adapt other mounts as well. If they are not rangefinder coupled, then you are going to be looking at zone focusing from the scales on the lens if present. Option 2 is to use the live view rear LCD and focus peaking.



Overall System Performance

Do not expect this camera to be a speed shooter. It is a rangefinder, after all and anything with wide open apertures and at close distances will require you to focus conscientiously. You do, however, have the option of zone focusing which will give you speeds faster than any autofocus.


System wise, I do see and feel some lag in operations of menus and image reviews. It is slight and honestly not a bothering thing to me…although I could see some people looking to change or review quickly it may be an issue. It is only when you try and access the menus too quickly after taking an image or when first powering on the camera.




Autofocus = NO SUCH THING

Manual Focus Is The Name Of The Game


Rangefinder focusing with cammed lenses is what you’ll want to use. Otherwise, adapted lenses that are not rangefinder coupled can be used via zone focusing or use of the rear LCD. As mentioned previously, there is a very satisfying “snap into focus” feeling to my eye when the rangefinder patch is overlayed properly.


It has made focusing very quick and efficient for me.


Battery and Battery Life
The Leica batteries are expensive. I’ve seen them go for between $125 and $225. However, I can say that battery life if excellent. In the first week, with all my experimentation, use of live view, rangefinder focus adjusting….the battery lasted an entire week with no fear of it being depleted.


I plan to get another battery sometime in the future, but given the current performance, not anytime soon. If I were going on an extended trip, I would have at least one backup.


Stabilization (IBIS/AS/VR)
As far as I know, there is no Leica rangefinder or rangefinder lenses that are equipped with stabilization. If that is a must have for you, then these rangefinders are not for you and you can look elsewhere.







For me, the size of a camera is important. There is a point of diminishing returns on size. You can only go so small before the controls are hard to reach and the camera is difficult to hold.


Feel in The Hand

I already mentioned that the camera feels solid. If a camera is too small it is hard to get to the buttons that are on the camera body. This camera feels very good to me. I did add a Match Technical Thumbs Up and a Leica concave soft release. This perfected the feel for me.


Image Quality
This is a much older camera system and the sensor does show that against a more modern counterpart. For color, I can tolerate up to ISO 3200, but prefer to stay at ISO 1600 and below. For monochrome shooting, I can run all the way up to max ISO of 6400.


I would not consider this camera one that I would choose as a first choice for low light shooting, but used within it’s limits you can find a place for it. You can also mitigate the use of high ISO by getting a faster prime lens.


Please, enjoy the image samples through out the review.








Final Thoughts
First, let me say that I did not NEED this camera. Leica has always been the “grail” camera – one that you possibly obsess over, never think you can get and look at to from afar.


Prices on used digital Leica rangefinders are at a good place, in my opinion, in 2023 – which is the year I purchased this excellent condition M240.


Feeling like a kid at Christmas – opening up the Leica packaging and getting that first feel of the camera was a grand experience for me.

The big payoff though is in the getting out and using the camera. Leica, even the M 240 that has video, live view – a few things that may put off a purist – is a stills shooters dream camera. All the things that you want, in a place that makes sense and is intuitive to use.


My major background is DSLR. Being used to through the lens viewing, having auto focus…I can say that it is not a situation where one is better than the other…but more of a “what kind of experience do you want” and “what kind of performance do you need” and use the gear accordingly.


I’m not going to replace my Nikon D500 and Z6 with a Leica for sport shooting…but I can see me using the Leica for all my street shooting and for portraiture work. Even landscape work and documenting street art – the Leica is fantastic at that.


If you ever thought about a Leica and you have the means, I highly recommend you checking them out via rental if you can or buying one used. While not for everyone – it is a situation where “if you get it, you get it”…and for me that was true once I got a chance to immerse myself into the ecosystem.


There will be upcoming reviews of the lenses that I have now for the Leica M 240 and that is a whole different animal!


Some additional images for your viewing pleasure!













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See my content here:

http://www.visualohio.com | BESTLIGHTPHOTO BLOG | 500px Profile & Pics


I shoot Nikon, Olympus, and Fujifilm

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Excellent review, Andrew. Gosh, is that GAS I feel bubbling up inside of me? :) 

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