Leica M10 Fast Start

Lesson 9/19 - Front Controls


Leica M10 Fast Start


Lesson Info

Front Controls

Let's take a look at the front of the camera. We have our viewfinder, we've talked about this. We also have our range finder window. One of the mistakes that I've made early on in using a Leica camera is getting my thumbprint and fingerprints on these and not rapidly cleaning them off. This will diminish your ability to manually focus. It's going to cloud it and cause it to be a little bit uneasy to see. It's not going to give you as much contrast if you have fingerprints on the front of these viewfinders. These do need to be kept clean and free of fingerprints for maximum clarity when focusing. There's a little tiny round window here. This is a brightness sensor to determine how much brightness there is. This is for the frame lines because the frame lines in the viewfinder are illuminated by an LED light. They used to have little windows on Leica cameras that would brighten up these frame lines so that you could see them, but now with LED lights, they can control the power of the LED ...

lights to balance out the lights that you're in. Under really bright conditions, it turns them on a little bit brighter so that they're easy to see in light levels that are high. When it gets down really low, you don't want to have super bright light levels in there because it's going to kind of destroy your night vision, and it's going to be very contrasty and hard to see, so it automatically dims. There are no controls that I know of for manually controlling this, other than blocking this window off. If you block it off, it's going to assume it's very dark and the light levels are going to go pretty low, as far as those frame lines that you're going to see. Next up, we have our frame selector over here. Remember, In is 28/90, the Middle is 50 and 75. Middle's kind of easy to remember because those are the middle focal lengths. Then 35 and 135 when you go all the way out. So if you want to preview what a different lens is going to look like, you can either push or pull that. When you mount your lenses, it automatically gets set in the correct place. At the top of the viewfinder is a little tiny red light. This is your self timer LED. This is going to let you know when your self timer is going to take its picture. We talked about the focus button. You'll use that in the live view mode. You'll press that to magnify your image in, so that you can see it more clearly, but as we saw, it's actually a dual purpose button. It also handles exposure compensation when live view is turned off. By pressing that button and turning the wheel on the back of the camera, you can control your exposure. This is about as close as we get to the sensor. As most of you know, it's got a 24 Megapixel sensor. It's a full frame sensor, it's a CMOS sensor. Some of the older Leica digitals, they were using a CCD. Kind of a big hub bub when they switched over with the M typ 240, when they started using the CMOS sensor, but that allowed us to use live view on the camera, and it's given us some new capabilities. We have our lens release, the silver button, and right in from that is a red dot on a retractable button. That is our lens alignment mark. We've got big red dots on our lenses and you're going to want to line those up as you mount your lenses. The focusing cam in here is what connects up with the back of the lens for focusing. This is a very, very highly calibrated device. It is machined to a tolerance of 10 microns, so its potential, now Leica does a great job of engineering and designing these things and testing them to make sure that they go out. I think that there's something like 81 different checks the camera goes through before it gets boxed and packaged but from time to time, things can fall out of alignment and you're going to need to send your camera to a Leica authorized facility for doing some sort of repair. They can go back and they can align the range finder properly, and they're going to be working with the focusing cam and the range finder system, which is a very complicated system. Please, do not try to pull your cameras apart and try to fix it yourself. You'll notice the shutter blades are colored and that's because this is how the camera does the metering system. There is a metering system on the bottom of the housing in there that is looking at light that is hitting those sensors, and it's basing its center weighted metering system off of those lights, the way that light is reflecting off of those lights. Next up, we have a little tiny window in here. This is the 6-Bit reader that can determine what lens is on your camera. This is something that changed when they went into digital, because we wanted to get additional metadata information onto the files, and we didn't know what lenses until we had some information. So at that time, they started making some changes on their lenses so that they could be read. What they do is they have a very simplistic 6-Bit coding system, which is basically white and black paint on your lens. If you have an older lens, there are people and companies that will do adapter kits so that you can add a 6-Bit code to your older lenses. Leica will do this themselves. They changed their lenses over in about with the release of the digital M8 camera. This is going to share information with the camera body, which will record it into the file. For instance, the focal length of the lens and the maximum aperture. But then it also brings over other additional information about the identity of that particular lens and its optical characteristics. How much vignetting it has, the color shading, optical imperfections, and it can fix this automatically with software in the camera. With the flash, it'll tell if its turned on and what sort of issues it might have. Each lens is going to have its own unique code. Even though it's a 50mm f/2, there's a variety of different 50mm f/2s, and they're going to have their own distinct codes. You can go on the Internet very easily and type in Leica 6-Bit codes and you can get a full listing of all the different codes that are available. If you do have an older lens that you want to correct for this, I've seen people that have used model airplane paint to do their own coding system in the lens to have this information in there because there are some things that are automatically corrected for, even on RAW images. You can use lenses that don't have 6-Bit codes. It's perfectly fine, it's just not going to add that information into the metadata.

Class Description

The Leica M10 appears to be a simple camera, but it’s a modern digital camera with unlimited capabilities. Join expert photographer John Greengo as he gives you all the information you need to understand this unique camera's capabilities.

John will discuss:

  • The all new menu system with a customizable favorites menu.
  • Recommended settings.
  • The camera’s traditional viewfinder and how it provides full exposure and focus information.
  • How to work with the Leica lenses.

The simple controls of the Leica M10 disguise many of the camera’s special capabilities. John will explain all of the highlights of this camera so that you’ll be able to capture the images you love. 


Guy Neal

I am migrating from the Leica Q to the Leica M10. Though I know my way around a Leica digital camera, the Leica M10 is my first rangefinder. I wanted someone to quickly walk me through the front/back/top/bottom of the M10. John Greengo was the perfect guide. This class is "as advertised - a "fast start" for those who prefer not to page through a fairly dense owner's manual. I especially appreciated that the lessons were broken into small chunks - so I could skip the lesson on the wifi setup, for example. And kudos to the person who prepares the amazing slide decks. While there are two dozen free Youtube videos that review the M10, they do not convey the helpful information you get in this excellent class.

Simon Johnson

John does a great job of going through every aspect of using the M10. There's not a dial, stitch button or menu item that isn't comprehensively covered. He uses simple, but effective graphics to explain what's happening. He also touches on the fundamentals of photography and throws in some tips and secrets. I can't imagine anyone doing a better job than John. I'm a Leica Q owner, that's just about to upgrade to an M10 so this course has been very useful indeed.