Are you looking for the cheapest Leica M camera? You are in the right place. Because M cameras are so enduring, you can get some at a pretty nice price, so here are the 5 best you can get right now.

Hi, my name is Sven the Leicaphile and here are the 5 cheapest Leica M cameras you can get. Before diving in, let’s get a few things straight:

  • The cheapest Leica M cameras are the older ones, so you can only get them used
  • The Ms are pretty durable and even the earliest ones still hold up to this day
  • Make sure you get low shutter counts (they were used less)
  • Cheap is relative to Leica. Expect a price of about 1.5-3k

This is only digital cameras, if you want film, check out the cheapest Leica M film cameras.

Got it? Let’s look at the list of the cheapest Leica M cameras.

Cheapest Leica M camera

NameSensor SizeMegapixelsGet it here:
1. Leica M8APSH10 Check Price
2. Leica M240Full Frame24 Check Price
3. Leica M9Full Frame18 Check Price
4. Leica M262Full Frame24 Check Price
5. Sony A7cFull Frame24 Check Price

Let’s dive into each individual Leicas and see what’s great about them, with image samples when avaible.

1. Leica M8

The cheapest Leica M camera has a lot of quircks

leica m8 camera
Reasons to buyCons
+ Cheapest M
+ Rangefinder
+ Great when it works
– Base ISO only
– Light corner issue
– Crop factor
– Vertical issue
– Crappy screen

If you are looking for the cheapest Leica M camera this is it. It is the oldest Leica M digital camera so it is the cheapest. But this is where price isn’t everything, because while it does have the distinction of the cheapest Leica M camera, it also is the most problematic.

You’ll always have a 1.33x crop factor, you’ll be stuck at the base ISOs and you’ll have to avoid certain fabrics under certain light sources, and you’ll have to avoid light sources at the corner or you’ll have the dreaded green line that breaks images.

This is a lot of quirks, so as long as you don’t intent this to be your main camera but a for-fun camera, this is excellent. It is a true Leica with all the mojo that goes with it. And when it nails the images, it nails them hard with beautiful contrast, colors and pop.

There’s a lot to love even with all of the quirks. Image samples:

leica m8 sample image 1
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leica m8 sample image 2
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leica m8 sample image 3
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leica m8 sample image 4
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leica m8 sample image 5
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leica m8 sample image 6
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2. Leica M240

Overall the best and cheapest Leica M camera

leica m typ 240
Reasons to buyCons
+ Full frame
+ Supports viewfinder
+ Great IQ
+ Better ISO
– Still pricey

This is the follow-up to the M9 and when Leica started to confuse everyone with their “typ” cameras. This is the first Leica M with a CMOS sensor. And while a lot of people go for the M9 and the CCD sensor (it gives a certain look under certain conditions), there’s a few reasons to go for this instead, even if it is slightly more expensive.

First this supports the external electronic viewfinder and has live view. So you can finally see what the lens sees, like a mirrorless camera. The EVF is great because it allows you to shoot any non common focal length without having to drag multiple viewfinders.

Second, this has no sensor issues. The M9 had a sensor corrosion issue and when you get one you must make sure that the sensor was upgraded. Because you can simply get an M240 and know that it works vs making sure you get and M9 that has the upgraded sensor, the M240 is the cheapest Leica M camera without much quirks.

And the low light qualities are above the M9’s too, making it more attractive for most. Image samples:

Leica m typ240 sample image 1
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Leica m typ240 sample image 2
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Leica m typ240 sample image 3
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Leica m typ240 sample image 4
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Leica m typ240 sample image 5
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Leica m typ240 sample image 6
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3. Leica M9

Another of the cheapest Leica M cameras that is kind of special

leica m9 camera
Reasons to buyCons
+ Full frame
+ Great sensor
+ Special rendering
– Not too great at higher ISOs
– Must have upgraded sensors
– No EVF
– Vintage screen

Ah the M9. The biggest thing to know here is that there was a sensor issue, and that it has a special look to it. When this camera released there was sensor corrosion and people had to send their camera back so that it could be fixed.

That means if you get an M9, you must make sure that the sensor was upgraded. Get the serial number from the seller and give Leica a call to make sure because this can end up being an expensive paperweight.

Speaking of the sensor, this is a CCD sensor. This was an older, more power consuming technology before CMOS took over. The main draw here is that this does something to the images especially the colors, they are special.

Not every image is like this, I’ve seen tests where the M9 is indistinguishable from the M240, but some other tests where the M9 rendering was obvious. There’s a downside to this however, this lacks live view and the possibility of an electronic viewfinder.

While not as bad as the M8 in terms of ISO, the max ISO you’ll want to use is ISO800, which is a bit low considering this is a full frame. But the beautiful Bokeh and sharpness you can get from this camera really more than makes up for it. Leica M9 image samples:

leica m9 sample image 1
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leica m9 sample image 2
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leica m9 sample image 3
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leica m9 sample image 4
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leica m9 sample image 5
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leica m9 sample image 6
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4. Leica M Typ 262

The forgotten Leica

Leica m typ 262 camera
Reasons to buyCons
+ Full frame
+ Like M9 body
+ Higher ISO performance and battery life
+ Simple menu
– No live view
– No EVF possible

What’s great with the numbered Ms is that if one is missing, it’s hard to forget. Everyone knows there’s a camera between M8 and M10, but the “typ” cameras? Nobody knows what’s up with them.

Enter the lost Leica, because not a lot of people even knowns it exists, the Leica M262. This was billed as a budget M240, and sits between the M240 and M9. They took the M9 body and updated it, it is a CMOS sensor with better battery life, better ISO than the M9.

It has a 2 page menu system that takes simplicity to its maximum, and unlike the 240, there is no video capability, no live view nor the option to add an electronic viewfinder.

5. Sony A7c

An alternative to the cheapest Leica M camera

sony a7c camera edited
Reasons to buyCons
+ Full frame
+ NEW for the price of a used M8
+ Stellar with M adapter
+ Video, 10 FPS, a monster compared to Leica
– Not a Leica (duh)
– Doesn’t feel like a rangefinder

Woah a Sony on a list of the cheapest Leica M camera? If that sounds heretical, hear me out. If you really care about price, you can either get an M8 that is notorious for issues, or a clean, top-of the line Sony full frame camera with monster specs.

Normally the Sony A7 approached the DSLR look, but with the A7c, Sony returns to form by making it look like the older NEX cameras. No it does not feel or act like a rangefinder, but if you can close your eyes about that aspect, this is an amazing full frame camera that is capable of shooting really nice images with an M mount adapter.

If you want the cheapest Leica M camera, it’s the M8, but there’s lots of quirks. If you just want a camera that will shoot any situation without any limits, then the Sony A7c might be worth looking into even if it is not a Leica.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this article about the cheapest Leica M cameras. The cheapest is the M8, however because of quirks, the better buy would be the Leica M240. This is followed by the Leica M9 that has the CCD sensor but doesn’t support EVF. Another great find is the often forgotten M262 and if you want an alternative, the Sony A7c.

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