Leica M as a Filmmaker’s Tool

Leica revealed their new M series camera at Photokina 2012. It marks the first time video has been implemented on a Leica M, with a brand new full frame 35mm CMOS sensor developed in Europe by CMOSIS. What M shooters probably never thought they'd hear is how it might work as a filmmaker's tool!

EOSHD went along to interview Product Manager for the M-System Jesko Von Oeynhausen to find out what it means for filmmakers.

Key points of the interview include:

  • "To scale 24MP down to 2MP for 1080p we do not just line-skipping, we average pixels. It is not pixel binning or anything like that."
  • Moire shouldn't really be too much of an issue, despite there being no AA (anti-aliasing) filter in the Leica M (as with all digital M bodies).
  • The Leica M has full manual control in video recording mode ("Our intention is to give the videographer the most control possible.")
  • No HDMI output for video due to technical reason(s). Therefore no external monitor (just the EVF2) possible.
  • The Leica M has a rolling shutter and the "rolling shutter effect is not too bad."
  • Video recording is limited to 4GB files (~29 minutes) due to FAT filessystem on SDXC cards and European tax reasons.
  • The CODEC utilizes a 4:2:2 bitrate (40Mbs currently with plans to try going higher).
  • Focus peaking works (with concurrent zoom function).
  • Simulated exposure in live view with a half-press of the shutter.
  • The Leica M has a built-in mono microphone, and an optional stereo microphone adapter is available.
  • Manual audio control is possible, complete with on-screen levels metering.
  • Leica M video is "world friendly" supporting multiple resolutions (720/1080p) at both 24fps and 25fps. Don't expect 60fps.
  • There is a dedicated video recording button on the top plate (marked with an "M" for Movie).
  • You can turn off live view and shoot video using the optical VF and framelines as a sort of "stealth" mode.