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Infrared pollution tests

Fairly early in our testing of the M8 we noticed the now-infamous UV/IR sensitivity issue. Because image sensors are sensitive to light outside the visible spectrum, manufacturers need to use filters over the sensor to remove infrared and ultra-violet light in order to maintain correct color. Unfortunately the one used in the M8 turned out to be too weak in practical use, resulting in color inaccuracies such as black artificial fabrics being rendered as purple. Leica's solution to this was to provide screw-on UV/IR lens filters for M8 owners; this does work, but it's a rather clunky solution.

With the M9, Leica has addressed the IR problem with a redesigned sensor cover filter, which is now thicker and made from a different material. To demonstrate the difference this makes compared to the M8 we created a simple test scene lit by 800W tungsten lamps (which of course produce lots of infrared, so this is a pretty tough test). The contrast is stark - the M9 renders the scene correctly where the M8 fails.

Leica M9 Leica M9, with lens UV/IR filter
Leica M8, no UV/IR filter Leica M8, with UV/IR filter
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Nikon D3X

This key point from this comparison is that the color rendition of the M9 is at least as good as that of the M8 with a lens filter fitted (and arguably better) - it's certainly a vast improvement over the M8 with no filter. Furthermore, adding the lens filter to the M9 (to screen out any residual IR) makes only a small difference, which indicates that the new sensor cover glass is very efficient. The M9 also holds its own very well against the two mainstream full frame DSLRs in this comparison, the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and the Nikon D3X; there are slight differences between these three cameras, but at this level it's just nitpicking (all will look fine in normal use).

We've now also shot many hundreds of real-world pictures with the M9, and haven't seen a single problem which could be attributed to UV / IR pollution. Suffice to say that, to all intents and purposes, this unfortunate episode has been confined to the history books.

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Total comments: 21

Here we are, having just observed the announcement of the M246, the expected replacement for the M240 is being discussed, and we're still short full reviews of the M9 and the D4. :)

Comment edited 43 seconds after posting

I have a vision problem that causes not double but quintuple images. So for me, an excellent auto focus system is the only bridge between me and photography. I do not read it any where, does this mean the Leica M9 do not have this feature?
Thank you all and i do welcome suggestions.


No AF. Keep your money for something else.


Thank you boy, ;)


dear dp review.
Isnt it about time the actual review was published...I mean 3 years is a fair ol time to wait.

inevitable crafts studio

guys if you need an m9 review, just read the m8 review, and add the information of this preview as it covers the differences of those two.

i dont know whats the big deal about that, if some of you want to buy a 7k camera, why on earth would you base that on a review site anyway? ^^

i personally find the looks of the m9 ugly, i would like to have an m9 in an m8 body, i cant understand why they made this ugly cutout next to the viewfinder

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote

Leica is all about the glass, the digital version of the cameras and the sensor are below canon and nikon


What are you waiting for? It must be a very short review. Something like "It is the best camera"" (on every of the 25 pages), ""100% Platinum award!" at the end. And thats all.

Luta M

The best M9 review I have found so far is written by Danish photographer and writer Thorsten Overgaard:
I'm keeping a blog about my experiences with the M9 here:
There's some reviews on it as well, but the main thing about the blog is to show that it is possible to switch from a DSLR to a rangefinder and that it is fun, but hard work.


Well, thank You for introducing Scientology to dpreview !

Overgaard is an avid messiah all over the world.


Tom C.Ruise

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
inevitable crafts studio

his photos are not really an advertise his business^^ while the characteristics of the glass is clearly visible in some shots, the compositions are boring to extremely boring ..

this guy shoots like a tourist with a very expensive camera, that should be in the hands of a gifted unwealthy photog in my opinion

1 upvote
inevitable crafts studio

oh and he is in scientology, well that explaines A LOT hehe

there is not one single gifted artist in this moronic club, at least i dont know any


dpreview is waiting for the M10 to be previewd ;-)


Yes.. should be a review by now. Probably not too many users but a lot of people that would really like to read it anyway. Need some Leica lens reviews too.

Jason Butler

2 years later and still no proper REVIEW. I've noticed a trend here at DPreview lately: lots of PREVIEWS but few REVIEWS. Lazy.


I Noticed that there is a Leica M9 Prizedraw cometition or whatver call you them



I wonder why we have never had a full test of the M9, just a preview?


Same here. Now they've come out with something so incredibly different in the form of the P model.


There's not much good to be said about the sensor I guess...

inevitable crafts studio

i guess the reasons are more that the m9 is essentially an m8 with upgraded sensor, and that potential m9 buyers do not go to dpreview to decide if they gonna buy it or not ^^

this is no mFT or slr where you could judge whether buying the panasonic 400€ version or the olympus 399€ version.

so anyone that wants an m9 allready owns another m, and knows whats in the box, also, i guess if you want to spend 7k on a camera body, the least thing you gonna do is visit a review site^^

at least for me, whespending that much money, i go to a shop and review it myself

Wang Man

I started with the M4, then the M6, now with the M9.
If you did not start early with Leica M cameras, you will find the M9 old school, manual focus, aperture setting, etc. I skipped the M8 and M8.2 because they did not have a full frame sensor.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
Total comments: 21