Feeds
90%
Leica M9

Leica M9 rangefinder camera

The money shot

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The M9 has a sensitivity range between 160 and 2500 ISO, plus a Pull80, which works by manipulating a 160 ISO exposure to obtain the look of an 80 ISO shot. I was pleasantly impressed with the M9 noise performance. Despite not having ultra high-speed options my test showed very good results across its ISO range.

Leica M9

A full-frame sensor, multiple lenses but no DSLR bulk

Noise only starts appearing at 1600 ISO but it is still beautifully controlled and images have a smooth look and good level of detail. At 2500 ISO there is certainly some fuzziness in the shadows and overall noise becomes more visible. Still, the M9 manages to keep colours pretty much consistent throughout the entire ISO range.

Sports, fashion and wildlife photographers would find the M9’s 2fps continuous shooting speed unacceptable but they are not the target market for this camera. However, in normal shooting, there is almost no delay between shutter release and image capture, reinforcing the reportage nature of this camera.

Leica lenses are always state of the art, blissfully free from almost all optical aberrations, elegantly designed and incredibly sharp – current M-series range here. The Summicron-M 35mm f/2 ASPH I tested the M9 with is all of the above. It is a fast, high contrast, middle-range wide angle, which is wonderfully small and compact for its focal length. With a focusing range of 0.7m to infinity, it is not suitable for close-up detail shots but in other respects proved to be a very versatile lens.

Verdict

RH Recommended Medal

With its large price tag and basic photographic features this camera will not appeal to all photographers. But considering it is all hand-made and it can mount the world’s best available optics, the cost is not outrageous. Thanks to its rangefinder system and purist approach the Leica M9 delivers a truly unique photographic experience. Currently, it is surely one of the greatest digital cameras ever produced and is certainly one I would give my right arm to own. ®

Catherine Monfils is a professional photographer specialising in portraiture, lifestyle and fashion.

More Camera Reviews…

Hasselblad
CFV-39
Samsung
NX10
Canon
Powershot G11
Olympus
PEN E-P1

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

90%
Leica M9

Leica M9 rangefinder camera

Classic camera, refined for digital photography, yet retains its appealing simplicity.
Price: Body-only (£4950), review 35mm f/2 Summicron-M ASPH lens (£2065) RRP

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.