Leica M – Can I get used to a split-image focus method?

Leica M10 as my first rangefinder camera  my biggest fear was whether or not I could get used to Leica M body’s focus mechanism. Unlike Fuji X-Pro2 camera with manual lens, Leica gives you the only option of focusing through a split-image focus method.

Let’s check out X-Pro2’s EVF focus mechanism. (focus peaking)

focus peaking
X-Pro2 focus peaking example screen – nothing is in focus
focus peaking
X-Pro2 focus peaking example screen – Object in focus is in blue color

Well, I was able to get used to this focus peaking method quite easily. But when I tried Leica M’s split-image focus method, I got very confused. So I decided to purchase external EVF device, VisoFlex.R0031144

VisoFlex mounted on Leica M10

The benefit of using VisoFlex(external EVF) is to make you easy to focus on anything. But downside of using it is to consume camera’s batter too fast. In order to use it, you have to put your camera in LV(Live View) mode at all times.

Also I found that in LV mode, your camera sensor is exposed to dusts. LV means your shutter is open until you shoot.

Well, neither (exposed to dusts, fast battery consumption) were sound good to me, so I practiced from the day one through a split-image focus method.

LeicaM10 Finder
Inside the Leica M10 finder


Contrary to my concern, it didn’t take long that I got used to this new focus mechanism. First off, I put my focus ring closer distance to my target object, then slowly circle focus ring until I see two objects coincide into one. In fact, this becomes quite fun.

Terrarosa Cafe
Terrarosa Cafe in South Korea

Under extreme light conditions, Leica M10 produces balanced image. With Lightroom or any post processing tools, you could decrease highlighted area to make more balanced image. The important thing is Leica M10 keep this data intact. So you could post process the image however you like.

More extreme light conditions

With natural light on the ground floor while downstairs have rather dark light. This maybe very challenging to most camera. But Leica M10 did an excellent work. In other words, it has the most wonderful dynamic range I’ve ever owned. (Among, Canon 6D, Fujifilm X-E1, X-T1, X-Pro2)

Once you get the hang of how to maneuver focus with a rangefinder camera, you can get wonderful images.

Don’t be afraid to use Leica M rangefinder camera!

You could find more Leica M10’s image at this link.


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