When it was introduced in early 2002, the Leica M7 was the most functional and versatile of all M models to date. However, in the eyes of many purists the camera's combination of mechanics and electronics represented a misguided off-shoot of the evolutionary tree, which was rooted in the M3.
In terms of functionality, the M7 was a logical progression of the M6TTL. The electronically controlled shutter was its most significant improvement, representing a big step in the evolution of M photography: for the first time, M photographers were able to select only the required aperture, leaving it to the camera to determine the shutter speed. Although some M devotees felt that any kind of automation was a contradiction of the classic M experience, it enabled the photographer to concentrate entirely on the subject.
Should the battery fail – and with it the electronically controlled shutter – the two classic shutter speeds of 1/60 and 1/125 second can be activated mechanically. The fact that the M7 is still in production today is certainly a strong indicator of the camera's success.