Shooting with the Leica M9-P

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'Real World' Samples gallery

There are 30 images in this samples gallery - a mixture of default JPEGs and processed raw files. Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter / magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review), we do so in good faith, please don't abuse it.

Unless otherwise noted images taken with no particular settings at full resolution. Because our review images are now hosted on the 'galleries' section of dpreview.com, you can enjoy all of the new galleries functionality when browsing these samples.

Leica M9/M9-P Samples - posted May 5th 2012
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Leica M9-P

Comments

Total comments: 647
1234
European
By European (May 6, 2012)

To everyone criticising the M9, I hope you are all wearing 10$ Casios rather than any mechanical watch as otherwise you've overpaid for outdated tech that has worse performance. You may reply that you prefer the experience of wearing a mechanical watch, well that's how most photographers shooting Leica feel about their equipment.
Leica users seem to enjoy the experience of using their cameras more than most DSLR users do, same with real driving enthusiasts who prefer manual cars with no driver aids. Do you all laugh at them in a Lotus Elise because they don't have as many speakers as your Ford Focus?
And just so you LCD complainers understand... Leica don't think 'hey, we'll pass them off with a cheap LCD'', they secured the best screen available at the time of designing the camera considering the relatively small economies of scale. And I'd bet most Leica users have learnt to photograph without chimping every shot. I suppose 15 years ago you all shot Polaroid.
By the way, I don't have a Leica, I'd love one but have to settle for my Nikon D3.

12 upvotes
QuarterToDoom
By QuarterToDoom (May 6, 2012)

Shouldn't you be shooting film then?

8 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (May 6, 2012)

I actually wear a $300 Citizen watch, rather than a $12,000 Rolex. We probably will both agree that the $10 watch (or the $89 camera) is a piece of junk.

And the Citizen watch keeps much better time, is more reliable, is built like a tank, and doesn't require annual $400 "tune ups."

But the Rolex is much more impressive and is really nice jewelry.

You actually nailed it when you said it was about the experience rather than anything else. I own a Leica M3, and it really is an outstanding camera, but you really have to talk yourself into believing it is a better tool than a high grade modern digital camera.

That's the whole problem with the M9. It is essentially a fine film camera, that just happens to have a digital sensor. And it is not even a very good digital sensor. Every other aspect of the camera is still living back in the 1950s. They even went so far as to make you disassemble the camera base to get the memory card out to replicate the film camera experience.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
10 upvotes
Gully Foyle
By Gully Foyle (May 6, 2012)

@European
So you're telling me that a guy who drives a Lotus, wears a Rolex and shoots with Leica actually enjoys *more* than a guy with a Focus, a Casio and a PEN Mini (BTW, cheap quartz, even with a constant gain, is MUCH more accurate than your average $$$$ mechanical). Most probably the first guy has no idea on how to drive a Lotus, has no clue as to the looks of a Rolex calibre and has his Leica on display in his office, beside an eye-wateringly expensive whiskey. *That* particular type of purchaser is the one companies like Lotus, Leica, Rolex etc are counting on making big bucks. Propaganda (or in modern terms, marketing) feeding human vanity.

7 upvotes
sgoldswo
By sgoldswo (May 6, 2012)

People hate Leica M9's because they are expensive. That's sad.

All I can say is that the IQ is amazing, far beyond FF DSLRs, and the sensor gives an image quality that is unique. It doesn't have great low light performance, but it is amazing.

Hate it for being expensive if you like, but don't pretend that other digital cameras in a lower price bracket come close to its IQ.

2 upvotes
Gully Foyle
By Gully Foyle (May 6, 2012)

It so happens that the dpr comparison tool has lab shots of the M9. Please do compare it to the, say, 5D3 at base ISO (itself considered an expensive DSLR when compared to the D800).

You're right, it doesn't come close to the Leica IQ. It easily beats it. And I can't recall what lens they're shooting with... uhm sorry.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
8 upvotes
Neodp
By Neodp (May 6, 2012)

No they don't. Some M lenses are nice, but so are some, old F-Mount lenses. Which also, happen to be very cost effective. I can get more contrast, without paying $8000 for a body. I can use my XA, if I want the (pocket) rangefinder experience. Plus, any cheap tele kit zoom, can beat Leica, at telphoto, not to mention sports/kids.

Leica is cool, and all, I love cameras, and it's your choice. More power to you. It's NOT, a good value, nor do you get more, for paying ludicrous prices. The Fuji X100 beats it, where it lives. All things considered. Leica could do better. Lenses are first, and Leica is BA, with that. Just overpriced. Plain and simple.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
sgoldswo
By sgoldswo (May 6, 2012)

Good stuff. I'm happy for you that your slightly misfocused shots with a DSLR keep you happy. More seriously, the M9 sensor produces shots that are very, very different (and better) than CMOS sensored DSLRs.

To Neodp, not sure I quite understood all of it, but I own an X100, and if you think it matches the IQ of an M9 I wish I owned a camera shop and all the customers were like you...

Comment edited 10 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
SBoudreault
By SBoudreault (May 6, 2012)

"*That* particular type of purchaser is the one companies like Lotus, Leica, Rolex etc are counting on making big bucks. "
1- take driving lessons
2- take a Lotus on a race track
3- Apologize for your ignorance...

...4- replace driving by photography, Lotus & race track by M9 & street and move on to the next step :)

It's a different experience. An expensive one, for sure, but you need to try it. Just because a beef up Mustang can beat a Lotus doesn't mean the Lotus isn't an exceptional car. Same for the M9...

PS: a watch is a watch, that's something I don't get... I couldn't care less if one is more precise or loses a minute per month :)
Regards,
S.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
vin 13
By vin 13 (May 7, 2012)

I wouldn't mind trying one to see what the fuss is all about, but I swear by Casio watches, so Leica's most likely not for me!

0 upvotes
Rage Joe
By Rage Joe (May 7, 2012)

@sgoldswo

Try a D800 just for the heck of it. You might like it, and buy some good glass to go along.

0 upvotes
sgoldswo
By sgoldswo (May 7, 2012)

I have tried a D800, much like my A900, its big and so are the good lenses for it. The IQ doesn't do it for me. Don't get me wrong, its a great tool, and like my A900, has great croppability and unlike my A900 has great low light ability. Unfortunately I can't think of anywhere I'm going to go in the dark with a big, expensive DSLR... I'll keep my X-Pro1 for that.

Comment edited 44 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Rage Joe
By Rage Joe (May 7, 2012)

Just put a sturdy lens on your camera body and let them feel the full swing. Of course it's even better if you also have a stiff monopod with you while working during the darker times. I remember once in a taxi cab in Paris, when the guy tried to rob us. He didn't get lucky. ;)))

1 upvote
Gully Foyle
By Gully Foyle (May 6, 2012)

With all that fuss around rangefinders, X-Pro 1 and the upcoming M Leica (as this article suggests) I would really enjoy Nikon reviving their SP series. FF, of course!

3 upvotes
J Parker
By J Parker (May 6, 2012)

Leica obviously has its admirers -- and its critics. There are definitely many cameras that take comparable images at a fraction of the price. But how many of us who perceive Leica as being arrogant haven't turned up our own noses at people we feel use inferior equipment (i.e. those who use compacts instead of DSLRs)?

Ironically, Magnum Photographer Alex Majoli (who has used both Leicas and DSLRs) shot stories for Newsweek and National Geographic with neither -- he used a 5 megapixel compact that you could find on ebay today for about $100. It was with this point and shoot that he won both the U.S. National Press Photographers Association's Best of Photojournalism Magazine Photographer of the Year Award and the U.S. Overseas Press Club's Feature Photography Award.

Whether the camera costs $10,000 or $100 -- it's probably a good idea to develop our skills to the level where it doesn't matter which camera we choose.

10 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (May 6, 2012)

Having used (and enjoyed) an M3 for more than 30 years, I know what a RF is, but I think the cost of a current Leica M system cannot be justified. Any D7000 or 600D with a few cheap primes for Nikon or Canon would do a better job overall. The supposed great IQ of Leitz glass is usually wasted on handheld shooting at low speeds, one of the main uses of an M camera. I paid 500 USD 35 years ago for the M3+Summicron 35mm, a good inverstment. Would not pay more than 3000 USD dollars now for the M9 + same lens.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
13 upvotes
photomeme
By photomeme (May 6, 2012)

Only three 'likes' against 200+ comments.

Telling.

2 upvotes
Lea5
By Lea5 (May 6, 2012)

What do you expect? This is DPReview. 95% here never had a Leica in their hands or took just one photograph with it. Just look around in the forums, this is indeed telling. How many photographs of cats on the sofa? They don't even understand a Leica. So it's wasting time.

10 upvotes
QuarterToDoom
By QuarterToDoom (May 6, 2012)

By Lea5 (15 min ago)

What do you expect? This is DPReview. 95% here never had a Leica in their hands or took just one photograph with it. Just look around in the forums, this is indeed telling. How many photographs of cats on the sofa? They don't even understand a Leica. So it's wasting time.

Were poor confused amateur photographers. How could we understand photography with out first embracing the Leica experience.

5 upvotes
tinternaut
By tinternaut (May 6, 2012)

This was a most enjoyable read so thanks to DPR. My own view of the digital Ms is simple enough. A few years ago, I'd have given my right arm for one; not because of the function of the thing but because the form would have enabled me to take a no compromise approach on those business trips where space in my hand luggage was heavily constrained. As it was, there was a stark choice between a compact and a DSLR kit.

Fast forward a few years and an Olympus Pen with a pancake attached + additional lenses, EVF and spare batteries all fit comfortably in the front section of my laptop bag along with any none photographic things I need. Add to that I'm comfortable composing through the lens, often from edge to edge and for me personally, there would be little advantage for me in the rangefinder way of doing things.

Still, it's great to see a great European company thriving in a niche market and interesting to see what they do next (Sony FF sensor from D800e with live view perhaps)?

6 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (May 6, 2012)

Sure hope Leica doesn't make the 36MP and live mistake.

Sure hope Leica keeps that curved sensor array.

0 upvotes
tinternaut
By tinternaut (May 6, 2012)

You assume a degree of mutual exclusion there. I don't believe Leica would do anything that would compromise the performance of their optics (well, not unless they wish to commit industrial-ritual suicide.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (May 7, 2012)

tinternaut:

Right and a 36MP (probably Sony sensor) would be a problem. Though unlike Nikon lenses, the Leica lenses are good enough to work around some of the flaws in Sony.

The point was if you up the MP count, you have to do significant work on the curved lens array.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
opticaloptimum
By opticaloptimum (May 6, 2012)

@Rusticus
Before you buy a Fuji X-Pro 1 I suggest you check out the sharpness of its wide angle Fujinon lens.

0 upvotes
SKPhoto12
By SKPhoto12 (May 6, 2012)

You just have to close it stop or 2 and it is fine and the 2 other lenses are world class, wide open! They both give Leica glass a good run for its money.

2 upvotes
Viramati
By Viramati (May 6, 2012)

really

0 upvotes
sgoldswo
By sgoldswo (May 6, 2012)

To be fair the X-Pro1 35mm is very good indeed. It's only real issue is build quality. I fine the 60mm poor IQ wise, but it may just be my example.

0 upvotes
h2k
By h2k (May 6, 2012)

Would love to see more "multi point of view" articles like this about other cameras too, including less fancy ones.

Nice idea and a good supplement to the, let's say, rather stiff usual DPR tests.

Comment edited 40 seconds after posting
9 upvotes
locke_fc
By locke_fc (May 6, 2012)

I very much agree. This is a very refreshing approach, and highly informative too thanks to the multiple points of view

1 upvote
rusticus
By rusticus (May 6, 2012)

If I want something, then I'll buy the modern Leica named FUJI

4 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (May 6, 2012)

Fuji doesn't make a digital rangefinder.

3 upvotes
OliverNZ
By OliverNZ (May 6, 2012)

Or.....a Ricoh GXR with M mount......very promising!

0 upvotes
OneThird
By OneThird (May 6, 2012)

The closest thing to a Leica I have ever owned is my Panasonic Lumix ZS3. By setting the the maximum ISO to 800 and using intelligent auto exposure mode (iA), the images are gorgeous with more detail than my Nikon.

The point here is that low ISO performance is sometimes more important than high ISO performance. That is priceless. With that in mind, I rather get the D800E and save my pocket change for better glass. IMHO.

0 upvotes
Erik Johansen
By Erik Johansen (May 6, 2012)

Hmmm. I could buy me a Daimler or RR to take me to work. But is it wise when I have to pay for it with my own money?
The camera-world has moved on, and passed the Leica M in every detail....exept the price tag......
Even Fujinon and Zuiko are now very close on the optics.

I let the status hunters be happy with their red dot.....................

9 upvotes
Emacs23
By Emacs23 (May 6, 2012)

No. Still, the Leica M9 is a full frame. So it's much sharper anyway.

1 upvote
Erik Johansen
By Erik Johansen (May 6, 2012)

So? The only full frame out there?
You must have slept in the classroom for several years, together with Leica..;-)
Newer tecknology have made APS-C and even m4/3 better now.

My own Leica is a full frame. With a Fuji Reala it gives me results better than any of the later digital versions.

My older Fuji's and my Canon's don't........

Leica is simply not in the game of digital.
Even their fine optics is not updated to todays digital resolution.

0 upvotes
Prophotogo
By Prophotogo (May 6, 2012)

So how many pictures have you taken with a Leica then? Let me guess somewhere between 0 and none? Fuji lenses are not in the same league as Leica I have actually used both!

3 upvotes
Erik Johansen
By Erik Johansen (May 6, 2012)

Your guess is way off.
I have THE Leicas on my analog Leica's. I have Fujinon on my Hasselblad's. I have tried them on my digitals with modern sensors....none of them are stellar.
Fuji have redesigned their optics for the new digital, Leica has not (OK, they work on the old M-9 sensor).

Old reputation is'nt good enough today, sorry.

....and I newer guess what you are doing....dude.

4 upvotes
sgoldswo
By sgoldswo (May 6, 2012)

I think the Fujinon lenses sold with the X-Pro1 are close but don't surpass Leica lenses. Let me correct that, the 35mm and 18mm lenses are good, the 60mm is poor. I've tried Leica lenses on the NEX-7 and Xpro-1. You can (with some careful focusing) get some almost leica like results with the X-Pro1, but the NEX has a tendency to push out "flat" looking results.

To be clear, I don't think you can get full frame results with an APS-C sensor and I think the XF lenses are good, but my 35mm Summilux is a lot better.

1 upvote
Emacs23
By Emacs23 (May 7, 2012)

Erik, it's clear you have no idea. At all.
It's simple geometry task to prove with X times larger sensor lens can achieve only (1/X) details of one that uses with the first sensor to match the performance. But in reality it's much easier to design a lens with larger focal length that gives the same resolution. In fact, larger focal length lenses are usually sharper. For example, my Lux 50 ASPH gives more details and they are sharper with 16Mp NEX-5N sensor @ 100% view than my Lux 35 ASPH FLE with 24Mp NEX-7 sensor @ 100%. Both are stellar lenses, but this is physics, Lux 50 has ≈1.5 higher magnification, and artifical magnification of 35mm lens to match pixel size only will show shortcomings. Larger sensor ⇒ better best available IQ (please, stop talking a rot about Fuji XPro-1 IQ — it's quite mediocre in fact, with low color depth due to silly "innovative" color filter that I hope won't be used anymore). The fuji thing is called "IQ at high sensitivities". That's it.

2 upvotes
Rage Joe
By Rage Joe (May 7, 2012)

@Eric Johansen. But it's a really fine photorgraphic tool they say, the worse the better, and even finer in gold and green snakeskin limited edition :)))

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
Rage Joe
By Rage Joe (May 7, 2012)

@sgoldswo. You know, the poorer the dynamic range the less "flat looking" results you get out of the box :)

0 upvotes
SergeyMS
By SergeyMS (May 6, 2012)

Fantastic good pictures with 35 1,4. And 50 1,4. Especially in low light with long exposure and low ISO. But this article contains nothing about subject of it. Useless.

0 upvotes
vellocet
By vellocet (May 6, 2012)

I'd just like to say I'm not a Leica fanboy -- I own 3 "current" Leica M lenses but do not (yet) own any M bodies, film or digital. I love high quality optics and as such own a bunch of Zeiss ZE glass for my 5D2.

Is the M9 overpriced for what it is? Certainly, yes. On the other hand it also unique and fills a niche that no other digital camera currently can. Yes, there's the X100 and X Pro-1, and while they are decent facsimile's, they can't touch the overall package offered by the Leica (namely the mechanical rangefinder, full frame 35mm sensor, and world class optics). True, you can mount Leica glass on the X Pro, but unless you're already invested in the M system I don't see the point. The reason you pay top dollar for Leica glass is because it's the best, wide open and edge to edge, as well as build quality.

I currently own a Panny GX1 along with some m4/3 lenses, and I'm sorry but it just can't touch what a full frame digital camera is capable of delivering

0 upvotes
QuarterToDoom
By QuarterToDoom (May 6, 2012)

Not knocking the gear in any way but nothing in those photos indicates that they can't be taken with anything from P&S to the most expensive DSLR. I'd rather see an article to show what experienced photogs can do with a P&S camera.

6 upvotes
Sergiusbr
By Sergiusbr (May 6, 2012)

What matters is not just the final output (a photo) but the whole "individual photographic experience". I think that the authors were not just showing photos taken with a Leica gear but how photos are taken with a Leica gear with its pros/cons. For some people taking a picture with a Leica is not just taking a picture!
www.sergiodelucena.com/blog

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
QuarterToDoom
By QuarterToDoom (May 6, 2012)

By Sergiusbr (16 min ago)
>What matters is not just the final output (a photo) but the whole "individual photographic experience".

So you're saying it all about out being a poseur.

So is this like getting a loud muffler on my car and putting bunch of stickers on it to get the "race car driver" experience while driving in town from stop light to stop light?

>For some people taking a picture with a Leica is not just taking a picture!

Ok I can accept some like to pretend to be someone they are not.

Seems I have the wrong idea about photography. I now realize I must embrace the "mark" experience over the image results.

5 upvotes
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (May 6, 2012)

> I'd rather see an article to show what experienced photogs can do with a P&S camera.

+1000

3 upvotes
Rage Joe
By Rage Joe (May 7, 2012)

The Real Leica-Experience

@Sergiusbr "For some people taking a picture with a Leica is not just taking a picture!"

Yeah, why to bother to take pictures at all when you can spend your time having The Real Leica-Experience of feeling the snakeskin on your camera body :))!

1 upvote
Gesture
By Gesture (May 6, 2012)

Nice work by everyone, especially Amadou. Would like to see more articles like this. Frees up the staff from review "responsibility." And, yes, the reviews are a big responsibility, as they carry great weight in the photo community and impact buying decisions.

2 upvotes
photomeme
By photomeme (May 6, 2012)

What's really sad here is that dpreview never reviewed the Leica M9 or M9P. So they finally put together a kit near the end of the product's life cycle? An "experience" review, without a single technical test or data. Meh. This is not the dpreview I remember. Really lowers them in my estimation.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (May 6, 2012)

@photomeme,
Until I finish building my time machine, there's not much we can do about *not* reviewing a camera three years ago. As should be clear from both its title and length, this article was not intended as even a 'concise' camera review. At this point, we simply wanted to offer some 'in the field' experiences with a camera that many are speculating will be updated soon.
Over the past 12 months we have significantly expanded the types of original content on dpreview. So yes, things are a bit different (and we hope, of interest to more readers). But it's also worth noting that the 'dpreview you remember' put out fewer in-depth camera reviews than we do now.

Comment edited 59 seconds after posting
7 upvotes
SKPhoto12
By SKPhoto12 (May 6, 2012)

This is just stupid! They review the cameras the market uses and Leica has such a small market share that it is perfectly understandable that they have not done an in depth review.

4 upvotes
bobastro
By bobastro (May 6, 2012)

Fair enough, but even though it's not really relevant any more, there is plenty of Leica users who still can't understand why the review wasn't done -moreover, when there was a "preview" of the M9

0 upvotes
photomeme
By photomeme (May 6, 2012)

Diallo:

no one is asking you to 'fix' what happened two and a half years ago. there are others around you, and Phil Askey, who bear responsibility for neglecting the Leica M9 for so long. (your silly and uncalled for 'time machine' comment just demeans dpreview).

with so much leica expertise among your users, the errors and omissions from the article you did issue are disappointing. it's as if the site hasn't learned a thing about the crowdsourcing technologies that have been around longer than the M9.

2 upvotes
AnHund
By AnHund (May 6, 2012)

As far as I remember there was a full review of the M8, so why not the M9?

0 upvotes
photomeme
By photomeme (May 6, 2012)

What may have begun as a quick 'suck up' to Leica to get premium reviewer access to the new products seems to have gone a bit awry.

0 upvotes
rudymnv
By rudymnv (May 6, 2012)

@photomeme
In my opinion, main problem is that DPR doesn't know how to evaluate and give score to this cameras. In compared with modern feature-rich camera market, honest verdict would be almost impossible (there is no sentimental value to old technology in score charts). Being heavily overpriced for photos it's deliver, it lingers on niche market. Yet some people who can afford peace of mechanical art, pricey quality lenses, sure have great pleasure of taking photos with it. But in end, I believe that ultimately photo is more important then equipment or sentimental value...

However to be fair, if given a chance, I would feel great pleasure in handling those peaces of art, and taking some nice photos with them.

0 upvotes
KieranGee
By KieranGee (May 6, 2012)

Oh good lord how it irritates me to see people ripping on the DPReview guys for WHATEVER THEY BLOODY DO! Nothing is ever good enough for some people. If you do not like their content, do not visit the website. It really is that simple.
You do not need to whine and moan about how someone else chooses to do their job.
Does any member of the DPReview team come to your place of work and tell you that you aren't doing things properly? Doubt it. Then why do it to them?

3 upvotes
Christian_R
By Christian_R (May 6, 2012)

If Cartier-Bresson was alive today, he'd probably be counting the days until the release of the Panasonic Lumix GF3... ;)

2 upvotes
kewlguy
By kewlguy (May 6, 2012)

I kept saying that my Nikons and Canons were all that I needed and that my lenses are already the best there is - until I got a very good offering of a 'new' M9 - with near zero clicks at a used price - put a cheap Voigtlander 35/2.5 and suddenly I realized what the fuss is all about. My next lens was a 28 Elmarit ASPH - and to be honest at ISO 160 and 320, none of my FF DSLR could win in term of IQ including noise. When converting RAW, Leica lenses need much less sharpening, partly due to lack of AA filter of course - plus the beauty of CCD, noise remains the same when unsharp mask applied. The end result is a smoother image with great color rendition - and with the crispness I never got from my DSLRs. Horses for courses, of course. I still use my DSLRs - plus an M9 that I'd love to use whenever possible!

1 upvote
Gesture
By Gesture (May 6, 2012)

Rangefinder photography lets the world flow into your camera. Reflex photography captures it. There is a difference in vision, approach to life.

12 upvotes
Provia_fan
By Provia_fan (May 6, 2012)

Couldn't have put it better myself. After a decade of using SLRs both film and digital in the last two years I grabbed some Russian cheapies and it was a revelation, particularly in street photography.

1 upvote
xtoph
By xtoph (May 8, 2012)

i would have said "flow /through/ your camera" vs "slams it into a two-dimensional wall to leave an imprint in goo before sliding off in a heap," but yes, just so, and i suppose i could be overtaxing the metaphor...

1 upvote
John P.
By John P. (May 6, 2012)

After this article, I've decide to get this camera.

0 upvotes
Photozopia
By Photozopia (May 6, 2012)

Odd - it's had exactly the opposite effect on me. I can't see one example in the samples gallery that could not have been better taken by other (far cheaper) cameras/lenses.

2 upvotes
Viramati
By Viramati (May 6, 2012)

I wouldn't go by the samples shown here as I wouldn't really judge any camera be it a leica, nikon or canon by samples seen on the web unless they are full size DNG/RAW files that you can download and work on yourself. Don't get me wrong I am not criticising dpreview for the quality of their samples just sying it's not the way to judge a camera

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Photomonkey
By Photomonkey (May 6, 2012)

I agree that the images do not seem to be distinguishable from others but all images on the web, made by any camera, all look the same.
The photographers describe the act of using the camera as pleasurable. As a former Leica owner (M-4 50 2.0) I can vouch for the singular shooting experience.

0 upvotes
photomeme
By photomeme (May 6, 2012)

the quality of the images here reflects the skills and experience of the photographers.

they're in their first hours with the camera, and it shows.

0 upvotes
Photozopia
By Photozopia (May 6, 2012)

If the Leica M rangefinder series is so superior - why did Leica spend so many years producing SLRs* - or the new S model for that matter?

P.S. - this is a rhetorical question .... one that's been asked for around 40 years or so to my knowledge!

(*Minolta made most of them actually)

0 upvotes
Viramati
By Viramati (May 6, 2012)

It's not really that it is superior it is just different. You obviously do things with a DSLR that you can't with a Rangefinder. a rangefinder camera though has it's advantages and can be great for documentary, travel work etc. the leica M's are small and quiet and as such can be lees obtrusive. the lenses and M9 sensor are great for landscape work at low iso. In the end it is down to a way of working and personally I prefer the rangefinder way if you prefer an SLR or TLR thats fine. each to his own

0 upvotes
Provia_fan
By Provia_fan (May 6, 2012)

It's almost like asking if cars are so superior why does Honda make bikes :D

5 upvotes
Photozopia
By Photozopia (May 7, 2012)

Viramati/Provia_fan - I'm not questioning the availability of other formats ..... I was being sarcastic - i.e. 'if the rangefinder is so superior' .... according to Leica fanboys - in their justification of the M concept (particularly in it's flaws being referred to as 'assets') - why was there ever a need for an SLR?

Rangefinders were never much good for action photography, or long lenses .... and virtually any camera on earth can take a landscape picture.

Any good compact camera can beat a Leica for convenience - 'travel, documentary' etc. The Leica never excels at anything ....

Only it's lenses are now worthy of note. Leica plods a lonely furrow, as the world of technology moves on.

It's a redundant hypothesis ......

0 upvotes
cesaregal
By cesaregal (May 6, 2012)

Wedding, sports and birdwatching need a dsrl and fast AF lenses.
Yes, Leica lenses have better color rendition.
Fast AF Leica lenses with Nikon/Canon mount could be a solution.
But I don't know if Leica, Nikon and Canon agree.
Photographers agree in my opinion.

0 upvotes
0MR0
By 0MR0 (May 6, 2012)

you can replace the leica R lens mount to use it on your dslr (lei taxdotcom).
there are some nice picture on the internet :D
for example Nikon D3 + Leica 80mm Summilux-R f/1.4

0 upvotes
SKPhoto12
By SKPhoto12 (May 6, 2012)

True, and I have a 135mm Elmarit for my D700 and it works fine, BUT the IQ is no better than what I get from good Nikon glass every day and the "throw away rate" because of not quite sharp pic's is 5 times higher.

0 upvotes
Viramati
By Viramati (May 6, 2012)

Some of the reviewers here seem to really have little real experience of using the M9. for example changing iso is so easy.
1 press iso button
2. turn thumb-wheel
3. iso is changed
Couldn't be simpler
the leica must have the easiest and most uncluttered menu system of any digital camera I know

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
photomeme
By photomeme (May 6, 2012)

wow, that's a huge embarrassment for dpreview.

i hope they update to correct the error.

the site should have a more open approach. the leica forum would have been delighted to comment on a draft of this article. looks like they sure could have used it.

i thought phil askey was a leica fan (at least closeted).

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
OSAM
By OSAM (May 6, 2012)

Uh, my Nikons are no different. Press/hold ISO button on back or top of camera and scroll wheel left or right.

Oblivious troll is oblivious.

4 upvotes
645D
By 645D (May 6, 2012)

Last time I checked, my 3 year old Canon also has similar iso button, so not as easy as $9000 Leica?

2 upvotes
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (May 6, 2012)

@Viramati,
Read what we wrote (again). And read what you wrote. Our complaint is with having to press *and* hold a very small button with one hand while using your other hand to navigate the selection, whether via pressing an arrow or rotating a dial.
A not unreasonable expectation from a menu interface is that when you press and then release a button that brings up an entirely new screen menu, you can navigate through its options without having had to continue holding the button which called up the screen.

@OSAM,
While Nikon DSLRs have a somewhat similar default behavior, you have the option to remove the 'hold' requirement via the custom menu. On the D800, for example, even with the press and hold requirement, the ISO button sits atop the camera and the command dial is positioned so that it can be comfortably adjusted without removing your hand from the shooting position.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Viramati
By Viramati (May 6, 2012)

I did read what you wrote but the fact is that it is incredibly quick and easy to change iso with the M9 and i would go onto to say that really quicker to do it with the leica than when I had the D700. I mean what is slow about pressing and holding a button and rotating a wheel at the same time!!!!! I do it every day
I mean the camera is small as are all the buttons but not that small as say the X100 (now there is a camera where changing iso can be a pain)

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
photomeme
By photomeme (May 6, 2012)

remarkable, Diallo won't admit dpreview screwed up in its initial criticism of the iso control. the team spent so little time with the m9, they didn't understand the dial functionality.

0 upvotes
balico
By balico (May 8, 2012)

Speed of iso selection is no point when the camera starts to produce horrible noisy images from iso 800 anyway..

My old Canon G9 compact also produces bad noise above base iso, so never bothered turning it up. When you want to get an action shot at low light, you just know there is no option!

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
jwalker019
By jwalker019 (May 6, 2012)

I checked out an M9 at a local camera shop to see what all the fuss was about. It was a lovely experience: the camera is clearly a fine piece of work, the rangefinder experience is enchanting and the lenses are to die for. But it's also heavy like a brick, has no hand grip to speak of, and has a *very* noisy sensor which was outclassed even when it was released.

I just can't buy into the idea of an $8k camera (no matter how seductive the look and feel) with a fixed, antiquated sensor. Unless you simply have money to burn, it doesn't make sense with a device you'll need to upgrade every 2-3 years.

9 upvotes
photomeme
By photomeme (May 6, 2012)

It's CCD, not CMOS. Higher performance at base ISO (in this case, 160), which fits my primary applications.

I still keep a Nikon D200 among my gear, for exactly the same reason. Highest quality at base ISO.

Eyes are on Leica, with a big announcement next week, and another due at Photokina. A switch to CMOS may be coming, at least in the second announcement.

0 upvotes
starwolfy
By starwolfy (May 6, 2012)

I'm wondering how people shoot in their daily life and why they need so much high isos.
I have an even older and worse Iso performer M8 which is use at Iso320 maximum. I rarely feel the need to go up iso640.
If a camera was just about Isos...then I don't know how Cartier Bresson would have taken so beautiful shots for decades like he did with just a film camera.

2 upvotes
alanjdooley
By alanjdooley (May 6, 2012)

You need higher sensitvity in lower light -- night and indoor sports, etc., which Cartier Bresson didn't seem to shoot much of. I'm convinced that Bresson and Adams would have used and mastered digital equipment and software had it been avaikable in their era. It was -- and remains -- all about capturing and then reproducing the image.

Comment edited 38 seconds after posting
5 upvotes
starwolfy
By starwolfy (May 7, 2012)

I disagree. HCB was so obssessed by getting the picture right that he even refuse to crop any of his pictures. Now you say he would have jump on digital and so post processing? I don't think so, despite we will never get the answer to this question.

If people nowadays are amused and feel good with Iso 25000 well I'm happy for them. Photographers, with film cameras, didn't wait that high isos were inventing to start shooting at night tough.

If your thing is Sport phography...then I doubt a manual focus camera is something you should consider...even it has kickass crazy high isos...

0 upvotes
balico
By balico (May 8, 2012)

Cartier Bresson died in 2004 and was born in 1908, nuff said!

0 upvotes
Jun2
By Jun2 (May 6, 2012)

Love this article. M9-P and Leica lenses are out of my price range. But I can see it's very nice tool for photography.

2 upvotes
opticaloptimum
By opticaloptimum (May 6, 2012)

Those making negative comments about Leica nearly always overlook the superiority of Leica lenses.

3 upvotes
Priaptor
By Priaptor (May 6, 2012)

Those making negative comments have never used the camera. They talk, but have no experience. There is a reason WHY when you go to the Leica forum people show their pictures, which are gorgeous, whereas when you go to Canon/Nikon, etc forums they blather about equipment but rarely show their output.

I shed all that weight, have never been happier, do NOT in any way shape or form find the sensor "noisy" or antiquated. Now I can just concentrate on taking pictures, like the "good ole days".

Comment edited 26 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
Samtendo 64
By Samtendo 64 (May 6, 2012)

You can get excellent lenses from all manufacturers today, and this "superiority" is rendered useless by the hopelessly inferior sensor in the M9, after looking at these images in full size I now understand why Kodak went out of business...

"Those making negative comments have never used the camera. They talk, but have no experience. There is a reason WHY when you go to the Leica forum people show their pictures, which are gorgeous, whereas when you go to Canon/Nikon, etc forums they blather about equipment but rarely show their output."

This is hilarious, I just looked at the l-camera forum and basically all they talk about is "which colour should I buy", "what camera case fits my purse best" or "what SD-card does the M9 not destroy".

7 upvotes
stevielee
By stevielee (May 6, 2012)

Not true! Almost all of what you might describe as "negative comments" are directly related to the digital M-Series bodies obvious, and numerous technical shortcomings coupled with thier inexplicable corner cuttings of the few actual modern technical features that Leica does include: like having the cheapest quality, lowest resolution rear LCD on the market for almost any digital camera in 2012, nearly unacceptable buffer write speed just for a single "deliberate" shot..etc.
It's always been about Leica's glass, and not with their anachronistic, retro technical and hugely over-priced bodies.

1 upvote
sgoldswo
By sgoldswo (May 6, 2012)

Samtendo 64, yes the sensor is so hopelessly inferior I've taken the best photos I've ever taken with it... Don't make daft comments about a camera you've never used!

1 upvote
starwolfy
By starwolfy (May 7, 2012)

sgoldswo > You know...a M9 sensor is so inferior that we could even hardly call it a sensor...! The reason to that, reading all those comments, is simple: It doesn't have LOL clean 25 000 isos to shoot in a sunny day at Iso 6400...so obviously this sensor may be crap! Moreover...2FPS and slow buffer??? Whaha! With my Sony A57 I have 12FPS and a fast buffer so I can review each of my pictures instanltly without any delay when I take pictures of my cat lying on the Sofa in burst mode! This also helps me capture the decisive moments and get cat master pieces like HCB would have done in this modern age!!! Since it's obvious he would have been using a 5d MKIII at iso 100 000 with a 500mm F4 to do streephotography and avoid angry people noticing him taking their pictures.

0 upvotes
Kodachrome200
By Kodachrome200 (May 7, 2012)

its not the inability to go to 25,000 its the low res moderate dynamic range, and the inferior results at say iso 800 that are so damning on an 8000 dollar camera

0 upvotes
danaceb
By danaceb (May 9, 2012)

@starwolfy I bow to your comment, perfectly illustrates how pathetic a lot of the people ragging on M9s are. I'm kinda irked at DPreview for posting such rotten washed out examples to give air to their empty arguments, but i digress. The M9 can stand proudly among the new DSLR full frame; the pictures it outputs at settings real users use are still sublime years later.

@Kodachrome200

It still outputs superior dynamic range, color and microdetail than the best 35mm film ever did, and at iso 160-640 it still matches todays new full fram DSLRs in such matters. Grow up.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
roblarosa
By roblarosa (May 6, 2012)

About a year ago I got to shoot with an M9 for an afternoon. It was definitely fun to use and a great camera, but the cost is too prohibitive to be practical. It didn't impress me to the point where I just *had* to have one. Not at the current prices, anyway.

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Josh152
By Josh152 (May 6, 2012)

The only reasons to get an M9 is if you are in love with the rangefinder focusing or want a smallish camera and HAVE to have a 35mm equivalent sized sensor (even if it is a mediocre one). If you don't meet one or both those two requirements then there are much better choices at much lower prices.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (May 6, 2012)

"mediocre"? Not for low ISO work.

1 upvote
photomeme
By photomeme (May 6, 2012)

it's a class leader at base ISO.

1 upvote
stevielee
By stevielee (May 6, 2012)

And which "class" would that be? The upper "class leader" perhaps, but certainly not any kind of a IQ "Class leader" as compared to many of the far more modern and relevant digital compact camera offerings today - especially those that also allow Leica's still outstanding optics to be mounted on them.
The only thing that the M9 (P) is "leading" in -- is in $$$$$$$$$$$.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
5 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (May 6, 2012)

stevielee:

The only thing leading is your lack of appreciation for high quality optics.

1 upvote
photomeme
By photomeme (May 6, 2012)

seviewlee, sounds like you need to educate yourself about CCD vs. CMOS at low ISOs.

1 upvote
stevielee
By stevielee (May 7, 2012)

Nothing to "educate" myself about at all concerning an aging Kodak CCd vs one of Sony's state-of-the-art Exmor CMOS sensors - which just recently scored the highest overall sensor score ever measured on DXOMark. And FujiFilm's new version of the Bayer patterned CMOS sensor also handily trumps the increasingly anachronistic M9's inferior CCD in DR, Color Depth, and most dramatically in any ISO's higher than 400.

I suggest you "educate" yourself a little more about the differences between being dedicated to a particular brand for basically the brands sake and status -- and being dedicated to attaining the best overall imaging IQ that's possible from any camera in 2012. And here's a wee hint to start your woefully deficient "education" out with: it's certainly not coming from of a 3 year old 7-8K +++ hand-tooled jewelry accessory from Europe ...

2 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (May 7, 2012)

stevielee:

So far those back illuminated Sony sensors are not being used in ff or apsc sensored cameras.

Big deal the M9 doesn't shoot real well over ISO800. Tell me did the first serious (1999) Canon and Nikon DSLRs shoot well over ISO100? A 1999 Leica M lens sure beats any Nikon lens for colour in 2012. When oh when will Nikon catch up to Leica?

The sensor in the next iteration of the digital M will be better than that in the M9, that's all that matters.

Stop citing DXO, and start looking at full resolution prints and raw files.

0 upvotes
yslee1
By yslee1 (May 6, 2012)

So, how much did Leica pay for this advertorial?

4 upvotes
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (May 6, 2012)

"So, how much did Leica pay for this advertorial?"

The same amount as Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Ricoh, Samsung and every other camera maker whose products we cover; $0.

5 upvotes
SKPhoto12
By SKPhoto12 (May 6, 2012)

Certainly zero! They would never pay for an article like this that honestly shows the shortcomings of the Leica.

5 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (May 6, 2012)

What we have here is an exceptionally well made obsolete product.

I actually own and love a Leica M3, but the rangefinder design just doesn't cut it anymore. In it's day, it was the ideal compact 35mm camera. Today, the MILC cameras do it better, and at a much more reasonable cost.

Frankly, I'd rather have my Olympus EP1 and $9,500 in my pocket than a brand new Leica M9 plus lens. In many respects the EP1 will outperform the M9, but it just won't have the same prestige or status.

Lets be honest for a moment. If this very same Leica M9 had a Samsung badge on it, then no one would pay more than $800 to buy it.

This isn't about photography, it's about jewelry.

35 upvotes
Josh152
By Josh152 (May 6, 2012)

I wish some one would release an $800 digital rangefinder. There are many people who like the idea of using a rangefinder camera but just can't afford or can't justify paying Leica's ridiculous price. Especially considering much of the tech in the Leica like the LCD and sensor for example are well below the quality you can get in other, less expensive cameras.

3 upvotes
boarderphreak
By boarderphreak (May 6, 2012)

You take the EP1, I'll stick with the M9, thanks. And it most definitely IS about photography.

3 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (May 6, 2012)

Josh152:

You can try for an APSC sensored Epson R-D1, R-D1s, R-D1x, but not for $800.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (May 6, 2012)

Marty4650:

Really you can see what's just about to enter the picture on the Olympus viewfinder?

0 upvotes
Viramati
By Viramati (May 6, 2012)

It sure as hell ain't about jewellery the leica is a bout pure photography and is a pure Photographers camera. My M9's are working cameras and and I sold all my Nikon gear as I never used it anymore. to say and Ep-1 will out perform a M9 is absurd

3 upvotes
boarderphreak
By boarderphreak (May 6, 2012)

Furthermore, I'd say if Samsung could make the M9 and sell it for $800, I'd buy it. But alas...

0 upvotes
inframan
By inframan (May 6, 2012)

Viramati - it's probably a whole lot easier to sell Nikon than Leica gear & get a good price in today's market, so financially that was probably a very good move.

Now please define for us what the heck is "pure" photography? Versus what?

9 upvotes
photomeme
By photomeme (May 6, 2012)

Leica accomplished a remarkable engineering feat, tying these lenses mirrorless to a contemporary digital sensor, without antialiasing filter, with low artificating (a bit of moire, besting the D800E just released). that puts them way ahead of all competitors in mirrorless.

it's the industry's most impressive miniaturization.

it's sensor Achilles Heel is higher ISO. But more important, for many applications, is class leading base ISO for full frame.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
liquid stereo
By liquid stereo (May 6, 2012)

Exactly. I would love to see how well a Samsung or Panasonic M9 would sell. Like a brick.

0 upvotes
starwolfy
By starwolfy (May 6, 2012)

Weirdly I am from the young generation and starting photogtraphy with all those new tools like mirrorless camera.
MILC was a good opportunity for me to try manual oldies lenses.
The experience was so great to me that I decided to buy one of the only 100% manual focus dedicated camera out here: a Leica M8.
The simplicity and the raw approach of this camera was so great to me that I sold all my other gear since. I even bought a M3 cuz the M8 made me to want to try film camera.
This randefinder approach is amazing for me and I could not go back to anything else.
I feel these Leica camera are saving me from consumerism. I am not into the high iso race, nor the pixel war, I am just shooting without feeling any need for an upgrade...and happy with the idea I'll maybe keep my lenses foreover...and this for the first time in my Life.

0 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (May 6, 2012)

@ Viramati...

Please note, I didn't say the Ep-1 will out perform a M9 in everything. What I said was "in many ways."

And here are just a few of those ways:

* It is a lot smaller and lighter
* It is around $7,000 cheaper
* You can buy lenses for it without having to sell a kidney
* It has liveview
* It can take video
* It has 7 kinds of AF, the M9 has exactly none
* You won't have to take it apart to change a battery or card
* It can shoot in 4 different aspect rations. The M9 is only 3:2
* It can shoot above ISO 2500
* You can buy lenses for it longer than 135mm
* It has IBIS
* It has a larger LCD screen
* It has a faster continuous drive rate
* It has 3 metering modes vs. 1 for the M9
* It will do WB bracketing
* It will do AE bracketing
* It actually produces MUCH better jpegs
* It can be triggered by a remote control

On the other hand, the M9 lets you see "what's outside the frame" in case you ever need to do that, and it really is a nice piece of jewelry.

Comment edited 26 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
rikyxxx
By rikyxxx (May 6, 2012)

But the Leica M9 outperforms a Ep-1 in picture quality and has got the best MF system ever created.

For some people those 2 things are more important than your "ways".

2 upvotes
villagranvicent
By villagranvicent (May 6, 2012)

I was just about to buy it now on Ebay an M8 body until I took a few pictures with my GF1/20mm @1.7 and saw how good that $550dlls combo is... oh, I also got the VF1 to complete my poor´s man X1 kit :)))

0 upvotes
xtoph
By xtoph (May 8, 2012)

nothing against the 'mirrorless' options and i am glad they are here. many of them are a bargain, and no sensible person argues you cannot make truly great photos with them.

but they simply don't let you operate them with the speed and precision of a rf. af is fine if you want to cede control over the moment of exposure to the camera; i do not. and i can focus my m6 or m9 faster and more accurately than my 5d2.

the rf is not 'obsolete'; it is different. it is the only way you can see outside your frame in a vf. it is the only way you can frame and focus your picture while looking at a natural view of the world, not a flat, projected version on your focussing screen. you don't have to like or care about the difference, but plenty of other people do.

and enough already with the 'jewelry' cracks. we all know that some people buy cameras--many brands, leica included--for status. it doesn't follow that everyone who buys one does so for prestige.

2 upvotes
ralphdaily
By ralphdaily (May 6, 2012)

This is the most beautiful samples gallery I've seen on DPR. Really, really well done.

1 upvote
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (May 6, 2012)

I agree, some samples are really good. Mainly Scott apparently knows well how to take photos.

And its Leica..

0 upvotes
johnparas11zenfoliodotcom
By johnparas11zenfoliodotcom (May 6, 2012)

So i want to have this leica... And reading the comments of the users... Can i just turn off the Af, and not use the video of my DSLR, ..put the dslr on manual mode...

Say my nikon d90 or d40x... Put a 20 or 24 0r 50mm prime...

Will i also, stop and take time to focus on what i am photographing?

Will such exercise give me the same feeling? Hhhmm...

1 upvote
Bevardis
By Bevardis (May 6, 2012)

Will cutting off the roof of your Golf give the same feeling as driving Lambo convertible? Hhmmmm

DSLRs are terribly useless for manual focus because of terrible viewfinders (tiny and dark- top of the line 1Ds has a worse viewfinder than £10 Olympus OM 10. Try it!). RF is even more different.

1 upvote
Dave Oddie
By Dave Oddie (May 6, 2012)

Bevardis, I suggest you have a look through a Sony A77 or 65 EVF and try manual focusing through one of those. With the focus peaking feature and also the ability to magnify the image for manual focusing I reckon these cameras are the best cameras for manual focusing bar none. I have owned OM4's (100% f.o.v optical finder with interchangeable screens) , OM10's and used range-finder cameras and manual focusing my Sony A77 is easier than any of them.

Comment edited 24 seconds after posting
1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (May 6, 2012)

johnparas11zenfoliodotcom:

Nikon lenses are crap compared to Leica Ms, yes really.

1 upvote
SKPhoto12
By SKPhoto12 (May 6, 2012)

Yes and ignorance is bliss!

0 upvotes
SKPhoto12
By SKPhoto12 (May 6, 2012)

Of course it does! I shoot manually with my D700 and Nikon lenses all the time. It works great and the results are amazing. Give me an M9 inside a church and it is lost, because even with a fast lense it is useless after 800 ISO. My D700 produces perfectly usable pictures at A4 size at 6400 ISO.

2 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (May 6, 2012)

SKPhoto12:

For colour Nikon lens can't touch Leica Ms. So it's a trade, or you can get Zeiss lenses for that high ISO Nikon church work.

0 upvotes
Ah Pek
By Ah Pek (May 6, 2012)

How can the M9 be good with such a low DxO score??? Apparently DxO is the authority on IQ.

1 upvote
Revenant
By Revenant (May 6, 2012)

Your eyes is the authority on IQ. If you like the quality of the images coming out of your camera, then it's a good camera.

2 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (May 6, 2012)

DxO doesnt count fact that it doesnt have AA and it does have ability to fully use Leica M lens (theres nothing else that has FF sensor and can use M lens). Mainly those lens make up for that lack of higher sensor quality. On other hand on base ISO, I cant find that CCD sensor lacking. :) CCD sensor and especially those without AA have few special abilities.. (unfortunate side-effect is moiré .. but apparently as Fuji showed, it can be done without AA and without moiré, I wouldnt mind if future Leica had Fuji modified sensor).

1 upvote
photomeme
By photomeme (May 6, 2012)

the tests are designed for antialias filter equipped bayer sensors.

0 upvotes
liquid stereo
By liquid stereo (May 6, 2012)

Because when you spend $8,000 + lenses, objectivity goes out the window. DxO is an objective metric.

4 upvotes
sgoldswo
By sgoldswo (May 6, 2012)

Because there are lies, damn lies and statistics...

You need to use your eyes to test IQ, not someone else's test or equation.

0 upvotes
Zvonimir Tosic
By Zvonimir Tosic (May 6, 2012)

Homemade organic bread baked in wood-fired oven is also much more expensive than a normal white bread from the supermarket. Supermarket white slices better, doesn't crumble as much, packs quicker, has a more prescribed shape.
But the homemade bread is hand made from start to finish — not machine made — and does taste better.
And isn't that the whole point, to have more choice, rather than not have more choice? So, like it or not, the world of photography really needs a camera like Leica M. And to paraphrase Voltaire, if there wasn't a Leica M, we'd need to invent one.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
9 upvotes
Imagemaven
By Imagemaven (May 6, 2012)

I have been a photographer for some 35 years. There is no one perfect tool/camera. There is only the camera for the job that you need it for be it a commercial job shooting architecture or the style you shoot as an artist. I have taught,( as well as worked as well as exhibited for the past 20 years), and as a teacher I have sent students to the Museum of Modern Art's permanent exhibit and have asked them to find the photo which is perfect. The answer is always the same, either they are all perfect none. What makes them perfect is the artists vision what makes them imperfect is you can always find some technical issue. I also when asked by a student what camera to buy give the same answer, use the one that feels as if it is one with you. Years ago some would complain about Nikon because they felt it focused and the f stop ring went backwards.
Kertesz used 2 1/4, leica, Olympus, and Polaroid and always created great works. Gene Smith used borrowed Minoltas, and created great works.

3 upvotes
apil_ua
By apil_ua (May 6, 2012)

I'd like to see a review of leica lenses separately from a camera and also comparison to similar lenses from other vendors (though not only MTF charts).

is it only mirrorless cameras that can be used with rangefinder lenses?
in this case it look like unfortunately there are no full-frame mirrorless cameras currently available, to make such comparison comprehensive.

In any case, I bet nobody could see a difference between the leica and other full-frame camera equipped with a good prime lens.

Though I think other mirrorless cameras are good candidates for replacing overpriced leica bodies (if only it makes any sense).

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (May 6, 2012)

Nikon and Canon lenses are crap compared to Leica M lenses.

Even Japanese made Zeiss readily beat what Nikon and Canon can do.

1 upvote
FlashInThePan
By FlashInThePan (May 6, 2012)

Sure, HowaboutRAW, and you are basing your comment on?

This is exactly the OP's point... need for a methodical comparison between Leica and other lenses.

Sometimes, you know, a red dot is just a red dot.

2 upvotes
sgoldswo
By sgoldswo (May 6, 2012)

I'm not sure I would call all Nikon and Canon lenses "crap". They do make some good lenses. They make a lot of (relatively) bad ones as well.

I know that putting a Leica lens on my NEX-7 will improve the flat output no end. Popping a summilux on my x-pro1 will give excellent results. Using Zeiss lenses on my A900 also gives me great results...

Leica lenses do give impressive results. That doesn't make them intrinsically better in every way, but they are better than equivalents in many ways. In any event, whether it's better or not, the sensor has a unique signature that I think is superior to current CMOS FF sensors.

To the comment about Cosina made Zeiss lenses, I have some sympathy because many of the Zeiss lenses are top draw in quality and cost a lot less than Leica lenses, but also a lot less than top draw canon and Nikon lenses as well. They are quirky lenses with focus shift issues (C Sonnar 50 etc), but they give great bang for the buck.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (May 7, 2012)

FlashInThePan +sgoldswo:

Well let's see FlashInThePan, I'm basing my comment on experience of using Leica M lenses and ostensibly high quality Nikon lenses. And Nikons are crap for color, real crap compared to Leicas and Japanese made Zeiss too.

sgoldswo:

No of course Leica Ms are not better than Nikon lenses in every way, but the color from Leicas and also those Japanese made Zeiss easily bests Nikon. Samsung NX series lenses best Nikon too. Now if you want a really fast autofocus setup get a a Nikon D4 and a Nikon zoom, again assuming colour doesn't matter.

I have not used a Fuji X Pro1, but it sure reads like those lenses easily best Nikon for color too.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
AnHund
By AnHund (May 6, 2012)

Wow, about 3 years after its release and no real review of the M9 yet?

Pictures in the gallery are nice :-)

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
JacquesBalthazar
By JacquesBalthazar (May 6, 2012)

I have been using Ms since the early Nineties (M6), and l lusted for one for 15 years before that. It was really "outdated" at the time. Objectively, the Leica M was seen by many as "outdated" already in the Sixties... So you either look at it that way, or accept that the M's concept is in a place and time of its own. I accept that. The big problem with the M these days is not its "outdated" core design, as that design (optical rangefinder, mechanical precision, modus operandi) is precisely why people love it, but the big problem is the sensor.

In the film days, the M's excellence was upgraded every time Kodak, Fuji or Agfa came out with a new film. From the Tri-X of the early days to the Velvia or Portra of the end of the millennium, things just got better and better, even if you were using a 1956 M3.

In this century, the M's superb construction and wonderful mechano-optical engineering is plain overkill in view of sensor obsolescence.

16 upvotes
Mal_In_Oz
By Mal_In_Oz (May 6, 2012)

Jacques, your last point about sensor obsolescence makes a lot of sense to me. Why spend so much money on a tool that cannot grow with technological improvements?

I think at Leica body prices, you should expect interchangeable sensors.

8 upvotes
Bevardis
By Bevardis (May 6, 2012)

Even worse, why pay so much for camera with a sensor that is terribly outdated? A 2nd hand DSLR for $300 will outperform it. I am not a technology and shoot a 7year old design camera, but this is just atrocious.

4 upvotes
Prophotogo
By Prophotogo (May 6, 2012)

Like I said you are totally missing the point! You don't understand anything about Leica M ownership!
Go and try one out, hold one and use one.
Oh the sensor is not outdated, it is capable of recording a lot more than most DSLR as it does not have an Anti-aliasing filter, Nikon have only just thought of the idea with their D800e! perhaps they are old?

0 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (May 6, 2012)

Jacques is absolutely right.

The Leica M's were designed to be used for 50 years or more. My 1955 M3 still works as great as the day it was brand new.

This is a throwback to when fine cameras were something that lasted for decades. Like grandfather clocks, or pianos.

Today we have digital photography with rapidly improving technology. Why would anyone buy a camera built to last 50 years when you will want a better sensor in 5 years?

I suppose if you have money to burn, then it just doesn't matter. You will buy the best, then replace it whenever you feel the need to, with no regard for value or cost.

When the Leica M8 was announced 5 years ago, people preordered them for $4,500. Today you can find them selling on ebay for as little as $1,700.

8 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (May 6, 2012)

Bevardis:

A $300 camera with a better sensor than the Leica M9, not. At low ISOs the M9 competes with the D3s.

1 upvote
photomeme
By photomeme (May 6, 2012)

Marty4650, the M series is designed for constant carry and hard and tumble use. while not weather sealed, they can take a remarkable beating. 50 years of use in 2 years, that's the life of many a leica photographer. I carry it at least 20-30 times more often than i've ever carried a DSLR, and to placed I'd never bring the heavy equipment.

0 upvotes
Thomas Kachadurian
By Thomas Kachadurian (May 6, 2012)

The E-M5 is the new M9.

3 upvotes
rich12
By rich12 (May 6, 2012)

No, it isn't. Not even close.

3 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (May 6, 2012)

If you remove AA and use 25mm f1.4 Panasonic - Leica. Then maybe you can sometimes get closer to that.

But otherwise no. Sensor size is at work here.

0 upvotes
QuarterToDoom
By QuarterToDoom (May 6, 2012)

>By Mescalamba (51 min ago)

So you're saying those sample images can't be done with an EM5?

0 upvotes
Warfie 35
By Warfie 35 (May 6, 2012)

Buahahahaaha... are you a Steve Huff "I want to believe" follower? Actually E-M5 is far away from any rangefinder camera, of any age, and its "touch and shoot" appeal is also far away from any idea about photography that live in the M9.

0 upvotes
Theoria
By Theoria (May 7, 2012)

-

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
DaveCS
By DaveCS (May 6, 2012)

You guys can continue to b*tch, moan and complain about the brand (regardless of which camera brand you're complaining about) - I'm going out to shoot my film cameras.... :)

7 upvotes
AntnioGM
By AntnioGM (May 6, 2012)

One may like it. One may hate it.
But, it still is the greatest design in photography. I'd love to have one, but at the price it costs, it's impossible.
Very good article. Indeed, shooting with a rangefinder is quite different from shooting with a reflex, but in the end, what really counts are the lenses and above all, the photographer.

3 upvotes
opticaloptimum
By opticaloptimum (May 6, 2012)

I would love an M9-P. I am prepared to accept the limitations to get the superb Leica lenses. Just look on Fred Miranda reviews to see all the comments about having good or bad copies of Canon lenses (even their professional L series lenses).

A secondary advantage over most DSLRs is the small size of the Leica bodies and lenses.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
3 upvotes
PaulChapman
By PaulChapman (May 6, 2012)

When I went looking for a new camera I tried DSLRs...but rejected the concept as it is too big and heavy and "in your face" for travelling with. I went down the M43 route and since progressed to an M9...a mix of M9 and M43 plus fast manual primes makes my perfect travel set up...and it is always there. You can't take photos if the camera is too big to carry with you. APCS is no good for this as the form factor is too close to FF.

0 upvotes
SuisseNikon
By SuisseNikon (May 6, 2012)

after seeing the samples I must admit I really don't get the appeal

0 upvotes
boarderphreak
By boarderphreak (May 6, 2012)

Check out La Vida Leica - http://lavidaleica.com

Lots of articles, reviews, M system information, discussions, etc.

0 upvotes
snake_b
By snake_b (May 6, 2012)

Some of the funniest things I read from Leica purists include how Leica images are unique. Hell, it's not even that hard to PP and make anything look like anything else. I've seen people do this even on the Leica forum, fooling people by using other brands and stripping the EXIF.

3 upvotes
FTW
By FTW (May 6, 2012)

If you remove the exif and take a NEX file, a Samsung NX200 and a Leica and run all of them with the same lens by adapter, I bet what you want that resized at same image size, no Leica user will ever be able to say what has been shot with a Leica. I made the test with the NEX-7 against the D3X. The owner was somewhat "choked" to find out that the 1200$ gadget made the same good picture as the big pricey thing.

3 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (May 6, 2012)

It wouldnt be that hard if all samples would be shot wide-open with fast lens. :D

NX10/11 was quite close to Leica with Leica lens. Especially in colors. NX200 is bit different.

Otherwise theres plenty of photos from NEX and Leica M lens and it doesnt look like Leica M9 photos. :D

0 upvotes
sgoldswo
By sgoldswo (May 6, 2012)

@FTW You can make great photos with any brand of camera, but the CCD in the M9 has its own signature, particularly for wide-open shots with fast lenses. If you ran your test with a Sony or Samsung APS-C with the lens wide open you could spot the difference easily from the depth of field difference. If you stopped them down you would still see the difference, because the output from the M9 is so sharp and has exceptional 3D pop. It might well be difficult to see the difference stopped down compared to other full frame cameras. But I can live with that!

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Damo83
By Damo83 (May 6, 2012)

For me it's not a matter of comparing the pictures between cameras, like for like, but rather than process in obtaining the picture. It's a different experience. For those who don't know or are confused, grab a rangefinder and try it out.

0 upvotes
KonstantinosK
By KonstantinosK (May 6, 2012)

Oh Lord
Won't you buy me a Leica M9?
My friends all shoot Nikons
I must better them
I don't want a Canon
There's much leakin' shine
Oh Lord
Won't you buy me a Leica M9?

5 upvotes
Rawmeister
By Rawmeister (May 6, 2012)

Next verse - Everybody sing it....
Oh Lord it's a con job
Who needs it anyways
Lets just move on and
save for rainy days
Prove that a theif draw could
be a better thing
And I'll give you my Canon
with price that did not sting

0 upvotes
liquid stereo
By liquid stereo (May 6, 2012)

If one doesn't have the disposable income to "afford" this, its probably for the best to leave it be.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Prophotogo
By Prophotogo (May 6, 2012)

Funny how after every Leica review comes all the negative Leica bashing comments and always be people who have never used or even held a Leica, why?

If someone calls a Leica M body "archaic" they have zero idea what Leica is about they simply look at the price and try to match it against a Nikon or Canon DLSR.

Someone else said "buy a D4" why? can you really not see the point of Leica M ownership? lugging a D4 around for the day is the opposite!

Like I said all the Weekend Warriors and wannabe pros will always knock Leica as they can't afford or justify them, so if you have zero knowledge about something then why do you comment? I know zero about brain surgery so i won't comment on that and knock it!

Truth of the matter is that Leica M use is the most purest and rewarding in photography, the fact that it does not have Live View, Face Recognition and a host of other useless features is welcome and might even make you concentrate on actually taking a decent picture!

4 upvotes
snake_b
By snake_b (May 6, 2012)

Real pros aren't even "knocking" Leica. They're just knocking Leica by shooting with Canon or Nikon, Pentax, et al.

8 upvotes
FTW
By FTW (May 6, 2012)

I always welcome a simple tool with low amount of gadgets. But, first of all i look at the result and then at the price. For me a Leica could be a good tool, good material, but still it is absolutely too expensive. Not everyone has the budget to buy a tool for that price. A Sony NEX-7 has been tested to compete in picture quality with most of the full-frame cameras and is a tool that can be used manually with adapters in the same way you use a Leica. And for 1200$ it is affordable. A Leica might lose less in value, but this doesn't cares me anyway. Between 1200 and 6 to 7000 there is some difference I would not pay for. But, this again is a choice to do. If you have money to throw away, you don't care anyway. I do not have it, and even respecting a Leica, I would not enumerate negative points of it, all cameras have some and everyone sees that in a different way.

1 upvote
FTW
By FTW (May 6, 2012)

Relating any negative point to a Leica user would be as effective as criticizing Allah to a Muslim. I buy a camera every 5 to 6 years and I make my choice on flexibility, image quality and price for sure and here I went for a NEX-7. Compared to a Leica, it is less expensive and can compete with it in picture quality without any problem. You are right when you say that some bash a product they never uses. For the rest you defend Apples against oranges. I have some big monsters too, but I prefer to carry the gadget around anyway. If a car need an airco and a radio can be a subject of an endless discussion, so is life-view and face tracking. No one forces you to use it anyway.

1 upvote
AnHund
By AnHund (May 6, 2012)

Sorry guys, but the NEX7 cannot compete with FF cameras or the M9 - FF is in a different league than APS-C - well, it can, but only on price :-) That said almost any camera can make quite decent or good images in perfect light.

1 upvote
jtan163
By jtan163 (May 6, 2012)

Why is the Lecia M the purest form of photogtraphy?
Why not wet plates and pin holes?
Or view a camera?
Why is the M9 pure?
Granted unlike most digital camera it does not have a lot of features, which might make it a less fiddly process. But you can engage manual mode, including manual focus on lots of cameras and do with out all of the fancy bells and whistles.
Granted an optical viewfinder and small size are attractive, but I still don't see those that combination (and it is only that combination that makes a M9 unique these days) makes the M9 more "pure".
It's this condescending bulls, from those who can afford them to those who can't which really gives me the sh1ts.
Sure I can see the benefits, but I am not so blind as to think that those benefits constitute mystical purity.
What's is more I am rational enough to know that there are things the M series does not do well.
So please, what is it about the M series that make them photographically pure? What is photographic purity?

2 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (May 6, 2012)

Its one of purest in digital photography. But if someone wants everything manual, theres always quite a bit of medium format bodies and some digital backs to play with..

0 upvotes
QuarterToDoom
By QuarterToDoom (May 6, 2012)

>By Prophotogo (4 hours ago) Funny how after every Leica review comes all the negative Leica bashing comments and always be people who have never used or even held a Leica, why?

You wouldn't be saying that if you eve used an Olympus E-1.

1 upvote
photomeme
By photomeme (May 6, 2012)

what's hilarious is the accusation that leica photographers are the ultimate gear heads. most of what you're reading here are attacks based on gear stats, with an almost pure focus on the sensor.

it's all about high ISO. the ultimate gear head delusion.

even on that front, bottom line, no competitor has come close to leica's CCD at base iso in a full frame mirrorless camera in almost three years.

0 upvotes
nologo
By nologo (May 8, 2012)

jtan163 - The m8, m9, and rD1 are the only digital cameras I'm aware of that are designed to be manual focus cameras only, and through an optical finder. Because of this it brings them much closer in design philosophy to a fully mechanical film camera, hence, "purity"

0 upvotes
Graystar
By Graystar (May 6, 2012)

It's amazing how every article on the Leica follows the same pattern...gushing praise followed by a laundry list of issues.

"It's almost as if...you have to think about the photo you are making"

"forces me to consider options before pressing the shutter button"

What...are you checking your brain in at the door when you pick up an SLR? To me that sounds like a personal problem...not any sort of advantage of a Leica.

14 upvotes
sgoldswo
By sgoldswo (May 6, 2012)

No, it's just that every DSLR out there today is a desperately unintuitive product that is over complex and a pain to use. That's unfair, but of course so is your comment..

1 upvote
Damo83
By Damo83 (May 6, 2012)

Not sure if you've used a rangefinder. I use one – a medium format film type. And, speaking from experience, because the camera and its controls are so analogue and due to the nature of the focussing mechanism I do in fact feel more involved in the scene. The closest analogy that I can think of is that the DSLR I use is more like a modern car with lots of bells and whistles whereas a rangefinder (particularly a simplified one) is a manually controlled vehicle. You just feel more connected to the road/scene.

1 upvote
Tom Caldwell
By Tom Caldwell (May 6, 2012)

Well, if the lenses are mouth watering, but the camera body, though well built, is archaic with bottom plate and low res lcd, poor high iso performance, poor handling in some areas, confusing menus, etc. then there is a cheaper, modern design that is also well made and handles manual Leica M mount lenses very well. Smaller too, and cheaper. It is called a Ricoh GXR with A12 mount for LM lenses. Seems that the Ricoh covered all the bases that consistently bothered the test panel.

Nobody noticed?

How about they each be given a Ricoh GXR-M and try a re-run? Sorry that it only has an aps-c sensor.

1 upvote
shigzeo ?
By shigzeo ? (May 6, 2012)

The Ricoh is very nice indeed, but if you are watering for a Leica camera, you probably are familiar with, and love, the rangefinder system. The GXR is as far removed from a rangefinder focusing system as an SLR is. It is small and light and robust, but it isn't the same thing. And, it is a crop sensor, so those lenses you bought to work at a specific focal length, are no longer the same lenses.

2 upvotes
SKPhoto12
By SKPhoto12 (May 6, 2012)

May I remind you that the M8 also is a crop sensor?

0 upvotes
BobYIL
By BobYIL (May 6, 2012)

What's a Rolex for?

Telling the time? Too expensive...

Telling the time precisely as it's inscribed on its bezel "Superlative Chronometer"? Hardly... Any quartz Casio sold on the corner for 50 bucks tells it more precisely..

So what's it for then? A Rolex seen on a wrist gives messages about the wearer 99.9% of the other watch brands fail to do.

Comment edited 36 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Nikonworks
By Nikonworks (May 6, 2012)

As I said below:

Just one big horrible Ego Trip.

Camera - Watch, same thing, as meaningful as the next wave to hit the beach.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
snake_b
By snake_b (May 6, 2012)

Gotta agree.

0 upvotes
slncezgsi
By slncezgsi (May 6, 2012)

You do have a point. But some people just appreciate the 'tools'. For the reason you mentioned I chose a mechanical watch from mostly unknown brand. I did not want to be 'labelled' as 'that guy wears XYZ watch, he surely is a snob' - I just appreciate it (I know it is not as precise as quartz watch and costs more, though less than a ROlex :) ).

So - if I actually had the cash and bought an M9 (or M10 or whatever comes) I would probably just have the Leica logo and engravings blacked out .

Comment edited 8 minutes after posting
1 upvote
jtan163
By jtan163 (May 6, 2012)

Well Rolexes are robust - the average Casio less so.

The Vietname era photo journalist Tim Page wrote about a Rolex he lost in a pond in a hotel in what I think was then Saigon. He came back 20 years later and the pond was drained and there was his Rolex. Which still worked after a wash off and a wind/shake.

Not the least bit confident a Casio will do that. Not even a GShock.

My commercial diver friend also uses one. Same reason I believe.
Durability, robustness, water resistance, reliability.

That said, most people who wear them have any need for that level of durability, but there are at least demonstrable advantages with a Rolex over a Casio.

Less confident that that is the case with a Leica M9 over many digital cameras available these days.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
QuarterToDoom
By QuarterToDoom (May 6, 2012)

>By jtan163 (1 hour ago) Well Rolexes are robust - the average Casio less so.

I use to own a Rolex Date Just until while doing stream surveying I had to put my hand into the stream to dig out bugs living under the soil for sampling. Well the seal on the "Rolex" leaked water into the casing. Just couldn't handle the cold.

My $300 Sector did just fine in the same cold water.

0 upvotes
amatoer
By amatoer (May 6, 2012)

Thanks for the article. Although it is also far above my camera budget, as most european made equipment is, I found it an interesting article. It only increased my lust for this camera, despite some of the irrelevant shortcomings. Only find it a pity that the shutter sound is louder than in the filmdays. Same goes for my Pen; too loud.
I found some of picture samples to be very good actually and satisfying for such a camera, although I know I can sometimes also get some good photos with my cheap Ixus. But that is also irrelevant
Funny how some people react, just because they are not willing to or able to pay for or appreciate qualities, that for some others mean a lot.

1 upvote
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