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The Leica M10-R is like an M10 Monochrom that actually takes 40MP color photos

Leica M10-R
(Image credit: Leica)

Leica has long been been blissfully unaware of things like global recessions, with its cameras continuing to live in their own ultra-premium world – and it's the same with the new Leica M10-R, a new rangefinder that takes the classic M10 series into high-resolution territory.

The M10-R is effectively a Leica M10 Monochrom only with a color version of its 40MP full-frame sensor. This resolution means it's a little more suited to subjects like architectural and landscape photography, or any street shooting where regular cropping is needed.

Naturally, the M10-R's ISO range is a little more limited than the M10 Monochrom, whose sensor lacks a color filter array or low pass filter, but still has an impressive range of ISO 100-50,000, making it a potentially strong performer in low light. 

Like its black-and-white only sibling, the M10-R also has a bulb mode that extends all the way to 16 minutes and a near-silent shutter that's been borrowed from the Leica M10-P.

Slightly more limited is its 2GB buffer memory, which is enough for up to ten successive 40MP shots, and the absence of autofocus, with the M10-R continuing the series' tradition of old-school rangefinder focusing. This involves bringing together two ghost images in the viewfinder – when they're lined up perfectly, your shot is in focus.

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Leica M10-R

(Image credit: Leica)
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Leica M10-R

(Image credit: Leica)
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Leica M10-R

(Image credit: Leica)

Camera-shaped tank

Of course, this focusing technique is all part of the charm of owning a Leica, as is the M10-R's incredible build quality.

Sharing exactly the same dimensions and weight (660g) as the M10 Monochrom, it has an all-metal, die cast magnesium body with similarly minimalist controls. There are just four controls on the top plate – a shutter, power switch, shutter speed dial and ISO dial – with aperture controlled using a lens ring.

On the back, you get a 3-inch, 1.036-million dot touchscreen and that optical viewfinder for rangefinder-style composing.

Of course, the big question with any Leica camera is a nervous 'how much'? Surprisingly, the Leica M10-R is slightly cheaper than than the even more niche M10 Monochrom, but still extremely pricey – you'll be able to buy one from 20 July 2020 for $7,400 (not including tax) / £7,100 / AU$11,200 (not including tax).

It's a tough figure for most people to justify these days, but in these days of negative interest rates perhaps buying a value-holding Leica makes more sense than stashing your savings in a current account. That's what you can tell yourself, anyway.