Leica M9

Originally published: April 3, 2011

just got this camera yesterday and haven’t had a chance to shoot a lot with it yet. I will post a full review when I have had some more time with the camera. For now I will do a little bit of compare and contrast with the Leica M8 (Digital) and the Leica M7 (35mm film). The M9 is a superior camera in every way, It is certainly better then the M8 because it is full frame, upgrades the megapixels a bit, and also has an increased ISO range. Opening the box is a moment of pure ecstasy. After ripping through everything to get to the camera, I looked around and found out they put a bunch of other stuff in there other then the camera…who knew?

One cool improvement is in the battery charger. Of course this doesn’t change the function of the camera at all, but it sure makes it easier to travel with. For starters the charger is about 1/3 of the size of the previous charger which was quite large and bulky. But thats not all! It also has interchangeable cables, I didn’t look at them all yet but the coolest by far is the car charger cable. This means you can charge your Leica M9 (or Leica M8 since they use the same battery) anywhere! muahaha. Also I assume there is an adapter for European voltages either included or available for purchase which is convenient for my frequent jaunts to that particular continent.

Something that was probably there with the Leica M7, and Leica M8 that I didn’t notice is there is a signed card by someone who inspected the camera to make sure that it was in perfect condition.

Compared to the Leica M7: The M9 is slightly thicker then the M7. You only notice this when you put them in your hand. You can feel the difference. In that respect the M7 feels better, frankly then either digital M. However It is in no way a deterrent to using the camera. It just is and thats fine. This is probably the only advantage that the M7 markedly has. The Viewfinder on my M7 is a 0.58 viewfinder which is better when using wide angle lenses since it has some wider frame lines built in. The M9 is a hybrid viewfinder (0.66 I believe) and  doesn’t have some of the wide angle frame lines. This doesn’t affect the picture taken, however it does make framing a little easier with wider lenses. Of course the M9 is more versatile then the M7 since you don’t have to carry around any film, or ever have to change film. When you decide to switch ISO’s a quick visit to the back of the camera and the dedicated ISO button changes that in seconds. Also in my opinion, I think that the M9 is easier to use with gloves on then the M7. I used the M9 in the city after I bought it yesterday, and it was in the 30’s so I had gloves on and everything was very easy to use from the aperture ring of the lens, to the shutter speed dial as well as the back of the camera. All very impressive.

Compared to the M8: For starters, aesthetically speaking the black M8 has a Leica MP style leatherette grip, while the Black M9 has a more classic Vulkanit grip. If you were so enamored with the M8’s leatherette then you can opt for the Grey/Steel Grey version of the M9. It has this grip. I think this was a better choice for Leica because it can appeal to more people. It would be even better if you could have the choice of the M8/MP leatherette on either a Black or Steel Grey M9, options are good. Alas the world is not perfect and the M9 is not part of Leica a la carte. Otherwise the M9 comes out on top, it has a full frame sensor, which people said was impossible, It has a better ISO range and improved firmware. All leading to the conclusion that the M9 is a superior camera to its predecessor.While there is still debate about Leica M6 vs Leica M7, I don’t believe that there is any debate about the superiority of the M9.

 

UPDATE DECEMBER 24, 2010 AT 1:01 PM -

One thing I noticed is that the Leica M8 had a dedicated top LCD screen for battery and picture count, the M9 doesn’t have that you have to press the info button on the back of the camera and then the battery and picture count comes up on the back LCD.

 

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