Shooting with the Leica M9-P
1 Shooting with the Leica M9-P
|The Leica M9-P with the Summilux-M 50mm/1.4 lens.|
In light of the speculation surrounding the upcoming Leica press event in Berlin - expectation is high for an M10 announcement - a few of us here in dpreview's Seattle office took the opportunity to shoot briefly with the Leica M9-P and a selection of current M lenses. In this article we'll share our experiences using the Leica rangefinder system, not in the context of our normal studio tests and analyses, but out in the real world as a photographic tool.
Working with a rangefinder system
As anyone who's ever shot with a Leica M - or any rangefinder camera for that matter - can tell you, doing so is a vastly different photographic experience than shooting with an SLR. Setting manual focus via a 'focussing rectangle' located in the center of the optical viewfinder means that you'll often be using a focus-recompose technique or relying on zone focusing with the lens stopped down to a relatively narrow aperture.
And unlike the 'tunnel-vision' of an SLR, a rangefinder lets you look beyond the scene, with framelines superimposed in the viewfinder.
Seen through the viewfinder, the outer framelines shown here represent a 35mm field of view. These are paired with 135mm field of view framelines visible towards the center of the image.
With a rangefinder you turn the focus ring of the lens until objects in the the center 'focussing rectangle' (shown here in white) appear in perfect alignment in the viewfinder.
Experienced rangefinder shooters can work surprisingly quickly even without all of the electronic focusing aids and multiple metering modes that come standard on other modern cameras. Seeing beyond the edges of the 'frame' allows you to anticipate action and for many, triggers a much more critical sense of composition, in which more options are likely to be considered before releasing the shutter.
The Leica M9-P
The M9-P is a subtle revision of the Leica M9, which is itself the second generation of Leica digital rangefinders. Both cameras are identical in operation, image quality and in nearly all other technical specifications. The only significant hardware difference is an updated scratch-resistant rear LCD on the M9-P with an anti-reflective coating to reduce glare. In a nod to shooters who prefer discretion when carrying around a $8,000 camera, the M9-P also sees the removal of the famed red dot and the 'M9' moniker from the front camera plate.
|The Leica M9-P with (from left) the Summicron 90mm/2.0, Summilux 50mm/1.4, Summilux 35mm/1.4 and Super Elmar 21mm/3.4 lenses.|
The design and form factor of the M9-P hews closely to the template Leica has embraced since the start of the M series back in 1954. The M9 and M9-P are Leica's first full frame digital rangefinders. They feature an 18MP CCD sensor that forgoes an anti-aliasing (AA) filter. In theory, the omission of an image-softening AA filter should translate into greater detail resolution. The downside is that without this filter, the sensor is more prone to color moiré artifacts.
|A focal-plane shutter with metal blades...||...sits in front of an 18MP full frame CCD sensor.|
Of course, a big draw of any Leica rangefinder is its compatibility with the highly regarded (and very expensive) collection of Leica M-mount lenses. Known for their uncompromising optical standards and robust build quality, these lenses have gained a sterling reputation through the work of photographers such as Cartiér Bresson, Elliott Erwitt and Sebastião Salgado, to name but three. The M9 and M9-P provided M lens owners the long-awaited opportunity to use these optics with the field-of-view they were designed for, on a Leica digital rangefinder.
Handling and operation
The M9-P features a minimalist external control layout that gives you access to critical shooting parameters and nothing more. The viewfinder is largely free of electronic data, save for the shutter speed when in Aperture-priority mode, a temporary confirmation of any exposure compensation adjustment and over/under-exposure indicators in manual mode.
The camera's external controls fall nicely in hand. Build quality is exceptional, with a magnesium alloy frame and solid brass top and bottom plates adding welcome stability without feeling unnecessarily heavy. The camera's compact size means it can fit in a small shoulder bag, and its light weight - compared to a full frame DSLR - means that you won't need to to visit a chiropractor after a day spent walking with the camera around your neck. A bright viewfinder allows for quick and accurate focus even in low light. Engraved depth of field markings on the lenses make zone focusing relatively simple.
The M9-P embodies nearly all of the traits that make film-era Leica M models such great analog cameras. Concessions to the needs and conveniences related to digital camera use, however, are few and far between. The user interface design is where we struggle most with the M9-P. Every other 4-way controller we've ever seen includes an 'OK' button at its center. Here there is nothing but what looks to be a placeholder for a button that was going to go there at some point. Instead, you're forced to continually confirm settings with the 'Set' button which is rather inconveniently placed on the opposite side of the camera body. And the awkward process of adjusting ISO, in which you must continue holding the ISO button while using the 4-way controller or dial to navigate the choices, never ceased to be frustrating.
|Both the M9 (shown here) and the M9-P continue the Leica M tradition of a removable base plate. Users will become all too familiar with its removal, as both the SD card and the battery are housed beneath it.|
Also on the list of things we'd love to see improved upon in an M9-P successor is a higher resolution rear LCD screen. The 230k dot resolution of the M9-P is quite low by current standards and makes critical image evaluation virtually impossible. The camera is also rather slow in writing to the SD card, which means a delay in reviewing images even in single-shot mode. And removing the entire bottom plate cover just to get to the SD card can lose its charm rather quickly.
May 5, 2015
Apr 19, 2015
Apr 14, 2015
Apr 30, 2015
|Autumn by valenttin|
from Harvest Festivals
|Cardinal, Male by paul katinas|
from A Big Year - birds
|.. by Amar Vignesh|
from Unintentional Blur
|Freeze Time by WhistlerOne|
|Sir Mick Jagger by HetFotoAtelier|
from - Concerts : When The Lights Come On -
"With only a few hundred of these lenses still in existence, and the inability to get them serviced and repaired if damaged, one can only assume that finding one of these will only become more and more difficult as time goes on..."
Google's Pixel 2 might have the 'world's highest rated smartphone camera', but the phone's display is causing serious headaches for the company. From 'dull' colors to reports of burn-in and blue tint, some troubling reports are haunting the tech giant this week.
The WiBotic PowerPad is a three-foot by three-foot landing pad that, according to its makers, is capable of charging almost any drone wirelessly.
Hear what Adobe director of product management Tom Hogarty and Lightroom product manager Sharad Mangalick have to say about the new Lightroom CC, and the future of Lightroom Classic CC.
Phase One has released a new, 15-preset Film Styles Pack for Capture One users that gives you a total of 45 different analog 'Styles' to choose from—33 in color and 12 in black & white.
"Everyone was wearing essentially the same outfits, doing the same poses, and felt like they needed 37 versions of each pose. As irritated as I was by this, it wasn’t what annoyed me the most."
With features like full-sensor-width 4K recording, Nikon has made its most video-friendly DSLR to date in the D850. That said, there's a difference between offering a feature and implementing it well.
If you're set on investing in a seriously capable compact, no doubt these two cameras will be on your list. Here's how they square up.
Adobe's experimental Project 'Deep Fill' is an incredibly powerful and impressive, AI-powered version of Content Aware Fill. Watch the demo to see this amazing tool in action.
LEE has released a new series of Reverse ND filters that are most opaque in the middle and become progressively clearer towards the top. This makes them ideal for capturing scenes where the sun is close to the horizon.
A former New York Times photographer is suing both the newspaper and its photography director Michele McNally for over $500,000 for age discrimination and unfair classification as a freelancer for nearly a decade.
"CPS Platinum members will now enjoy next-day service, with equipment serviced and shipped the business day after an estimate is approved. For repairs that will take longer, Canon will offer next-day loaner equipment."
Irix is introducing a new filter system called the Irix Edge 100. The ultra-light, ultra-thin system is build specifically for wide angle lenses like Irix's own 15mm F2.4.
After conducting a series of safety tests, the FAA is recommending that all airlines ban cameras and other electronics with Lithium Ion batteries from checked baggage. The agency believe the risk of a catastrophic fire and explosion is too great.
The Pixentu jackets keep you and your gear warm and dry, offering useful features like lens and tripod pockets, in addition to some quirky ones like an extended hood to protect your camera from the rain.
Adobe gave the audience at MAX a sneak peek at some exciting new technology its developing. It's called Adobe Cloak: a highly capable Content Aware Fill-like feature for video editors.
Earlier today, Flickr moved its photo book printing service over to a third party services, and stopped offering any wall art options entirely.
The patent details a flipping rear LCD screen so large, Canon has had to hide the rear dial and several buttons underneath.
We've added a selection of extra images to our Nikon D850 gallery. As part of the process of rounding off the review we made sure a number of us had shot the camera in a variety of situations, we've added those shots to the gallery to give a broad cross section of how the camera performs.
Wiral LITE is an affordable, easy-to-use cable cam system that can do things a portable slider simply can't do, and go places no slider would dare go.
Not happy with the recent demise of Lightroom as a stand-alone, subscription free service? Macphun's got your back... or they will in 2018.
Once connected to a PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone, Pholio automatically searches through the device storage and backs up all images and videos—complete with auto-tagging and intelligent search capabilities.
The 360 Round uses eight horizontally positioned camera pairs and one upward-pointing single lens to capture and livestream panoramic 4K 3D content.
Introduced just three years ago, the Samsung NX1 was both a technological tour-de-force and a great camera to use, earning one of the highest scores we've ever awarded and winning our 2015 Innovation Award. But its short-lived run in the photo world leaves us wondering what could have been.
The Fujifilm X-E3 is styled like a classic rangefinder, but features a built-in touchscreen, AF joystick, and electronic viewfinder – truly an old school meets new type of camera. Lay some eyes on our sample gallery to see how it performs in the real world.
Like it or not, Adobe is embracing a cloud-centric, AI-rich future with the introduction of Lightroom CC. And that's a great thing, though you may not see it now, argues Rishi Sanyal.
The announcement of a more cloud-integrated Lightroom product sees the death of the company's standalone version. This need to make payments in perpetuity (whether you choose Lightroom Classic or CC), chips away at the idea that your Lightroom library is a long-term solution, argues Richard Butler.
The XPro-C 2.4GHz wireless flash trigger that Godox released for Canon users last month now has a Nikon equivalent—the aptly named XPro-N. Sony, Fujifilm and MFT versions are in the works.
In the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, camera and lens maker Sigma is extending its standard product warranty to cover damage caused by these three natural disasters.
The F4 Plus can can capture 360° stills, videos and broadcast livestream footage at 8K resolution... that's 7680 x 3840 pixels!