With the unveiling of the M9 Titanium, Leica seems to be moving in a new direction in the evolution of the M camera line. The industrial design has been broadened from a strict, Bauhaus, “form follows function” language to embrace post-millennial style influenced by automotive design. While I welcome a re-imagining and re-working of the M using modern materials and fabrication methods, I think it is important to preserve the identity of the M as an elegant tool of bulletproof reliability and unmatched photographic quality. If we’re going to re-work the M, please let us preserve the best qualities of the line, and improve it where we can. To that end, from the standpoint of an M8.2 user, I offer this ‘wish list’ for what I hope will evolve into the M10.
• High eye-point optical viewfinder
Lots of people wear glasses. Make it easier for everyone to see the frame lines and rangefinder spot.
• Ridged window frames
Small slightly raised ridges on the edges of the viewfinder and rangefinder windows to help keep fingers from smudging the glass, as seen on the M3. Alternately, a ridge that would signify the edge of the optical area, similar to that used on the viewfinder side of the M8, but for the rangefinder window.
• Quiet mode
An optional, significantly slower shutter re-arming cycle that would enable it to be nearly silent, similar to that employed on the Nikon F4. Perhaps offer this in a ‘professional’ model.
• Ergonomic improvements
Recessed buttons on the rear to prevent accidental presses.
• Weather proofing
Electronics have become a fact of life. I shouldn’t be afraid to use the camera in harsh conditions.
• Integral grip
Possibly like that employed in the Concept 3 design study for the M9 Titanium, or the small grip built into the Nikon F3.
• Oleophilic materials
The Apple iPhone uses oleophilic coatings on the glass to help prevent oil buildup. Using similar methods on the viewfinder windows and leatherette could provide a more easily maintained camera with a firmer grip.
Thank you for reading. I welcome your feedback and opinions. It is my hope that Leica will consider these humbly-offered suggestions.