Hands on review: Leica and Zenit’s full frame Zenit M

Leica’s second, exceedingly unlikely, full frame mirrorless collaboration of 2018

The Zenit M, a full frame mirrorless rangefinder collaboration between Leica and Zenit

Early Verdict

No, you’re not in Bizarro World. Leica and Zenit really have made a full frame mirrorless rangefinder (modelled very much on the Leica M (Typ 240)) and bundled it with a 35mm f/1.0 lens that’s one of the fastest on the market. It’s as surreal as Marilyn Manson performing an operetta, yet it’s a flavour of Marmite that we quite fancy.


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    Its sheer Frankensteinian audacity

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    Leica styling and build quality

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    The Zenitar 35mm f/1.0 lens


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    The (Typ 240) is six years old

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    Manual focus isn’t for everybody

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    Rangefinder focus definitely isn’t for everybody

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Last year, we wrote a story about Zenit’s rumoured collaboration with a leading camera manufacturer – one that “would rival Leica’s offerings”. It seemed like fantasy then, but Photokina 2018 is apparently where even fantasies come true. 

After asking at the Leica stand, we were hurriedly pointed towards Zenit, where the improbable collaboration proved to be true: Zenit, a brand known for cheap and cheerful cameras, is working with Leica, a brand known for incredibly expensive cameras, on a full frame mirrorless body.

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.