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Leica M9 Review


Kudos to CR guy for reviewing the Leica M9 on his own Canon site!

I had similar experiences, albeit with the much cheaper Fuji X-Pro 1.
All I shoot is street so my 5D MK3 isn't getting much love recently - it's just not the right tool for the job.

There's also a definite lack of sharpness compared to the Fuji with every L (or other lens ) I have.
I think CR guy noticed the same thing with the Leica.
The lack of AA filter definitely has a positive effect, so maybe if Canon's new MP monster has a 'E" variant like the D800, they'll be back on par.

However, the size and weight are the main factors for me...

I have my sights on the new 24 MP Leica M, perhaps in the New Year when the reviews are out...


Actually, I'm here for the Canon rumors, but if you like fine cameras ... this may digress more than the orginal post.

Most of my shooting is done with my Canons, 5D3, 5D2, s100, and I recently added an EOS M. FWIW, it's not perfect, one hopes they'll do a firmware update,  but as part of my weight slimming for travel it's going to fit nicely with the really nice sensor.

But I've been a Leica fanatic for years, since the early 60s when I bought and sold in relatively short order an M3, too costly to take the brutal beating my gear got. Replaced with Nikon RF. I've collected cameras for years and try to use them or at least exercise them, assuming I've gotten them back into working order. There is a feel to the old Leica screw mounts that makes you forget the tiny dual finder windows that is just so nice, solid and jewel like, something I wish I was capable of building a ripoff into a decent walkabout. I have a rare LN IIIg, about twenty other earlier, (several iiic Red Dials will be sold eventually), an M6TTL  and for a little over a year, an M-9-P in black.

The m-9 was a gift to myself and from my wife during travel for a successful investment. Bought it with a 35mm f/2 sum micron and added a CV Nokton 50mm f/1.1 after we came home. The same day I bought the Fuji x100. Love them both, different cameras. I already owned a 40mm Nokton f/1.4, nice lens.

I don't take the Leica everywhere, but while it's not as versitile as the DSLRs,  in many ways it's my favorite camera, in part because I like the tactile sense of reverting to form, manual focusing, etc. which forces the old discipline on me. Like many old manual focus people, rather than complaining about autofocus systems, I've just remembered that there are times you're better off to do it manually.

Your comments about image quality are dead on. I've only used a couple of the vintage lenses on it and have a couple on the way that should suit it better than some LTM. But the lens I've really enjoyed with it is the non-Leica Nokton which just this wonderful feel to images, wide open or stopped, and as good as it is with color, it's so damn good with B&W. It's not the highlights bokeh, which is great, as it is the slightly out of focus areas off the primary plane. Bought the expensive camera, choked on a lot of new Leitz glass and, frinstance I prefer the older 90mm f/2 Leica lens.

The 5D3 has a lot less in the way than did the original 5D or 5D2. But the Leica 18mp M9 image is so close to the feel of a finely processed b&W image or color. Despite a stomach turning price that has made it known in Europe as the Dentist's camera (only they can afford them) or for people with more money than brains, it's still a beautiful instruments. My wife was stunned at the quality of images from the old Leica CM f/2.4 prime, I carried as a walkabout in film's fading days.

Having grown up on Tri X as a general film 50 years ago, the Leica's not pushing the ISO limits doesn't leave me feeling crippled. The Nokton makes up for some of it. The 5D3 sometimes pushes you to push the edges, it works well in low light. The much reputed speed of RFs was more associated with using WA lenses that left you some latitude focusing, especially in good light. Yet we love the damned things --especially for street shooting. That's a place where the x100 works well, especially its newest firmware.

When you get down to it, the big Canons and Nikons, probably dslrs generally, call attention to themselves such that it takes real stealth to capture something candid. Not so hard with Leica, but easier with the x100, the small unobtrusive lens. The smaller cameras, e.g. the s100 and their kin, sometimes fill the gap despite not being especially fast at locking in the image.

I'd think this was all nostalgia were it not for this. The Leica imaging is everything it should be. I'm looking at the new Leica and thinking I might end up buying another. What the hell, I've been buying lenses for it. The body can't be that much.. can it. The M9 is just great .. other than just asking to be mugged in some places.

Back to Canon.


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