Leica M11 made official: a 60-megapixel photo sensor inspired by the world of smartphones

Leica has just launched its new full frame camera, the Leica M11. Equipped with a rangefinder, it is distinguished by its 60 megapixel sensor capable of grouping photosites together to better manage digital noise.

The Leica M11

The Leica M11 // Source: Leica

Five years ago, Leica launched the M10, a camera body equipped with a full frame sensor available since 2017 in many models: Leica M10-R, Leica M10-P and Leica M10 Monochrom. At the start of the year, the German manufacturer is finally turning the tables and has just presented its new camera, the Leica M11.

Logically, the Leica M11 succeeds the Leica M10 and therefore takes up its overall philosophy. We are again dealing with a hybrid camera equipped with a full frame 24 x 36 mm sensor with a rather compact and handleless chassis and a rangefinder, thanks to a remote optical sight. A system also used by Fujifilm on its X-Pro 3.

The main novelty of this Leica M11 actually comes from the definition of its photo sensor which goes from 24 megapixels on the Leica M10 to 60 megapixels on the Leica M11. Remember that in the meantime, the Leica M10-R and M10 Monochrom had made a leap towards 41 megapixels. This is one of the highest definitions for a full frame camera photo sensor with the Sony A7R IV and its 61 megapixel sensor. The Leica M11 takes the opportunity to integrate a backlit system to compensate for the reduction in the size of each photosite by better light management.

Pixel binning on a Leica camera

This 64-megapixel sensor will not only be used to take full-definition pictures, but can also take advantage of a function well known to smartphone users: pixel binning. Here, Leica will thus make it possible to use the M11 to capture 18 or 36 megapixel shots by grouping together different photosites in order to reduce digital noise on the final image. What allow, according to the manufacturer, to go from a dynamic range of 14 to 16 IL in 18 megapixel mode.

Speaking of digital noise, Leica announces a sensitivity range of 64 to 50,000 ISO, while the shutter can go up to 1/4000 s in mechanical mode and 1/16000 s in electronic mode. In bursts, however, the Leica M11 does less well than its predecessor with a maximum speed of 4.5 frames per second. For comparison, the recently launched Nikon Z9 can shoot up to 20 shots per second.

True to its photo specialization, Leica has not integrated a video mode into its Leica M11. It is therefore impossible to use it for filmed sequences.

The Leica M11 is already available. The case is offered in silver or black at a price of 8,350 euros without a lens. The body uses the M mount for its lenses and can therefore be compatible with Leica and Laowa lenses.

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