Leica M9 Camera Review

Leica M9 Digital Rangefinder 18MP

I’ve used the Leica M9 since 2010, and I’m still using one today (my 1st was stolen).  After replacing my Leica M8 (which felt like a prototype in comparison), the Leica M9 gives everything you could want from a digital rangefinder – certainly if you are comparing it to the previous M system.  The focusing mechanism is quick and very accurate, even down to F1.4 (once you learn the lens).

I use the M9 primarily for street photography with the 21mm Summilux, and as a backup body when photographing weddings, where the 75mm Summilux is generally mounted to the camera. I find this setup draws better than the Nikon ever will for portraits and details.

Because of the small size of the camera, I find that it is far less intrusive than other professional DSLR bodies on the market, and as a result people are far more receptive to it.  The shutter is quiet (but could be quieter), and the shutter can be be fired and then the re-cocking mechanism halted until the button completely released. I use this discrete option at almost every wedding during the vows, and I think it’s a great feature which the Leica M8 simply didn’t offer.

The biggest down side to the M9 (for me) is the sensor at high ISO. Because I like to photograph with available light at weddings, I find that the M9 stops being useful after the speeches or once the light starts to drop. The M9, although it has very high ISO sensitivity in the menus – it stops being professionally useful at ISO 800.  I find this very limiting, and is why the Leica M(240) suddenly allows me to use the M system as a primary tool at weddings – which is fantastic!

Battery life isn’t great – I typically use 1.5 batteries (Leica branded ones)  at a wedding and this will make around 400 images.

I have had the camera’s operating system crash on me a few times, and yes – I’ve lost the shot. To restart the camera, the baseplate needs to be removed and then the battery, which is far from ideal. This has never happened with the Nikon camera, but it is also a problem on the Leica M(240)!

The M system is wonderful, I love it. It is not as predictable or as reliable as the DSLR, but when it gets it right, it blows the DSLR away!  With a DSLR you ‘take’ a photograph – with the Leica M system you make a photograph.

Here are a few examples of people & street photography from this amazing camera:

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Here are some examples form weddings I have photographed with the Leica M9:

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