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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.

Mark Wilson

Mark is the Cameras Editor at TechRadar. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won the Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.