Leica’s first full frame HDSLR – M240 video capable?

Dress designer: Maibritt Kokholm

Camerawork/picture editing: Johnnie Behiri
Camera assistant: Claudia Würtl
Additional camera work: Thorsten Overgaard
Camera assistant: Joy Villa 

Music kindly provided by The Music Bed.
Title by Holley Maher

Photos by:
Thorsten Overgaard, Claudia Würtl

Leica M240Leica M type 240- video review.
(Non of the written here is relevant to the photo section of this camera)

Deep into the 4th year of the HDSLR revolution Leica released the M 240, their full frame camera costing $6950.

Spending a day with the camera left me wondering, was Leica ever talking to any professional cameraman before implementing HD recording for this unit or just decided to “join a trend” without really meaning this camera to be a capable working video tool?.

In my opinion the video quality coming out of the camera is very disappointing and its operation in video mode is not easy/logical. I hope features/video quality can be enhance with a firmware update.

L9058485-970w-LR-2L9058495-970w-LR-2Let me start gentle and highlight the
M camera’s strengths:

  • Great battery life
  • Nice LCD screen
  • Useful good quality electronic viewfinder
  • Ability to control audio levels during video recording
  • Minimize moire and aliasing
  • Peaking (although not always very visible when you need it)
  • 4:2:2 color sampling

Leica M 240 videoLeica M 240 video 2DSC04021DSC03999Leica M 240 Olympus EMA-1Leica M 240 picture profilesDSC03991Weaknesses:

  • No dedicated video mode. Camera is always in photo mode looking at the 4:3 sensor.
  • There is no way to correctly frame your subject BEFORE hitting the video record button, only then the 16:9 bars will appear
  • Video compression is very visible without the ability to choose higher bit rate
  • Video quality is very disappointing. Fine details are lacking resolution
  • Up to 4 Gigs video files. Camera will record to the max file size limit OR 29 min. what ever comes first (In practice, there is no way to know when your recording time limit will hit as the camera is using variable compression encoding rate).
  • Limited frame rates, up to 25p in HD mode
  • No HDMI connector
  • No headphone jack
  • No mic input placed in the camera body
  • Severe rolling shutter
  • There is no way to connect the dedicated electronic viewfinder and the dedicated external mic adapter at the same time. They are both using the hot shoe mount and electronic plug. In practice, if you want to shoot with a viewfinder and connect external mic at the same time you can’t
  • No “flat” picture profile
  • Users who needs to use “shutter 50” will find out that the shutter wheel has none. They will have to place the shutter wheel between “30 to 60”. The LCD screen will then show S45 and only when hitting the record button it will change to s50…..
  • While working with the supplied EVF there is no way to adjust its brightness when looking inside it. The changes will happen in the menu only so you can not compare the differences within the finder.
  • Camera exposure in video mode is always “automatic”. You need to press the shutter release half way to get the “correct” exposure and then play with aperture on the lens.
  • No way to judge the correct exposure in video mode. The lack of HDMI and ability to connect an external monitor to overcome or help is not possible
  • Only the center of picture can be zoomed in as focusing aid. No way to “travel” inside the picture
  • No way to zoom-in while recording to check focus

 

Camera settings for this short test feature:

ISO: 800 indoor, outdoor 200 (native)
White balance set to Kelvin values
[email protected]

L9058546-970w-LR-2Picture profile: “Film Mode off” (for the entire video but sec 2:012:12 when I used smooth color film)
Contrast: Low
Saturation: Low
Sharpness: Off

Firmware version 1.1.0.2

NO color correction / sharpness applied.

Watch it on Vimeo

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George Furst
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George Furst

I really enjoyed the M 240 video. The focus, colors and saturation looked excellent to me but then I am no expert in this field. I also thought the theme and music fit the message being shared, some one in love with their profession and with a human face too. No pretention here. Well done. Since I live in Korea, this is a relief from the cold spring we are having here. Thank you for the wonderful show.

Tom Vantorre
Guest

Altough the video looks very nice, I really wonder if anyone would seriously consider buying this camera to shoot video with it. It’s like buying a Rolls Royce only to drive backwards with it, a boeing only to fly from Paris to Calais, a Rolex for a blind man.
Let’s face it, this is a fantastic stills camera, but nobody will use this as a video camera.
Why did they ad the extra feature? Why does a Porsche have a rearview mirror?

Wilbur Allen
Guest

Though Leica is excellent camera technology, this camera is totally illogical though logical in the camera’s progression. Secondly, there’s no mention on the camera’s sensitivity? I see 800 ISO in an image associated to the artical, but if this is the camera’s limit, for $6000, a Rolex would be my choice in the purchase between the two! D4

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[…] Cinema5D‘den Johnnie Behiri’nin çektiği videoda görebildiğimiz üzere Leica, HDSL devriminin üzerinden 4 yıl geçmesine rağmen olağanüstü fotoğraf makinelerine Video özelliğini ekleme konusunda sıkıntı yaşıyor. […]

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