Outstanding issues:

Should I buy a camera for $ 7,000? What If camera costs $ 1400 now? I definitely want an electric car for myself, but is it worth it? These questions may have diametrically opposite answers, and they will all be correct. For me, this is akin like choosing to buy Apple products or coffee from Starbucks.

Leica M9

I think it is pleasant for a human to live surrounded by beautiful and more than that – it`s necessary. I think this is the top of emotional choice: sometimes choosing beauty instead of practicality. Thereby confirming that beauty is also our need as food or sleep. Expert in marketing have know a lot about it.. Beauty is our gift, if it is consciously or it is our problem in the unconscious choice.

Thinking about, I tend to believe that such expensive camera is not always a luxury. I have a lot of examples with the same cameras, when people saved up much more than 5 months to buy camera (I saved up 5 months). So I derived a simple rule: if you really something wants more than a year, then obviously this is no longer a luxury, but it’s necessity. The camera is a tool, and the tool must be suitable for the person who uses it. Yes, I have a phone that has an amazing camera, but for me it’s not enough. No matter how many pixels there are – physically impossible to provide a large sensor into the phone. I would be satisfied with the phone with a mount for lenses from cameras. But tech progress and profit do not always overlap. I needed a small 35mm digital camera that you can always carry around and sometimes change lenses. It’s all. Do you know many such cameras? I’m know two : Sony A7 / 9 series and Leica M. Unfortunately, Sony is a crime against ergonomics, plus its autofocus lenses are huge. C’est La Vie.

Leica m9 и Fujifilm X-pro1

Yes, many will say that digital devices are quickly becoming obsolete. But, unlike a smartphone, most important thing in the camera is the sensor, which is it doesn’t quickly become obsolete. Until now, I have not met a touchscreen smartphone that would respond to fingers with ordinary gloves. In my Leica there is no Wi-Fi, but as it turned out, the problem was solved by a simple memory card reader that connects to a smartphone. Not so fast, but the problem is gone. There is also an aspect that my eyes doesn’t see much difference between 18.5 megapixel photo from 24 megapixel or more. But I immediately recognize the photos taken on Kodak Ektar film, or those photos that have gone through Photoshop. Well, the “editor” is more important than the camera? I have a Fuji X-Pro1 whith huge number of functions, except … Wi-Fi. This is a wonderful camera, but annoying is the abundance of buttons that I accidentally pressed frequently. Crop factor for most old and new lenses changes the actual focal length. But if to be honest – X-pro1 is still good. The camera will remain with me forever.

Leica M9

М9 – this is a 35mm digital rangefinder interchangeable lens camera.

Leica M9

The main reason why I put up with a camera whis only manual focus is because the M lenses have excellent sizes, and autofocus like the Contax G2 has sunk into oblivion. By the way, there is still an aspect of manual control: I really do not want those times when the car will not have manual control, and there will not even be a steering wheel. Autofocus – as an additional option, but not as a choice without a choice.

Remark: I use a fountain pen, because I use the pen only to draw and to design postcards. Although the fountain pen seems to be archaism? The writing pen itself in any of its forms is archaism. The wristwatches are also archaic, but I use them, because in the cold the smartphone should not be taken out, and in the summer in bright sunlight the smartphone has a problem with the screen. After all of this I am grateful to Leica, the old Zorki camera and fountain pen, because thanks to them I have a choice. And yes, they are all beautiful, and it’s more pleasant for me to live that.


The heart of the M9 is the Kodak CCD 18.5 megapixel sensor. Normal to use ISO speed 640/800 coupled with the dynamic range it’s quite enough and in which case the M9 has the maximum ISO 2500. I really see the M10 sencor as a truly breakthrough Leica M, but its price has gone beyond low Earth orbit. Yes, and the ability to shoot with high ISO speed is a thorn in it side of speed and very expensive Leica lenses. In fact, for zone focusing (a-la everything in focus), it is better that there is a high ISO value, since you need to slow the aperture.
After rolling evaluation:

The working speed ISO with acceptable noise is up to 800, and for monochrome jpg it’s up to 1600.
Single and continuous shooting jpg + raw is optimal to 3 frames in a row with a short break. Otherwise, the camera will freeze for a while to chew on the pictures.

A little bit at ISO 600:


Leica m9

A little bit at ISO 800:


And a little bit at ISO 1600:


ISO 2500 +1 The darkest place that I found:

Leica M9

Monochrome jpg gives much less digital noise than transfer to B & W photo with raw without additional settings. This is partly why I shoot B & W jpg + raw mode. Color jpg is like Ektachrome E100VS / E100G film and I like it. Many photographers that I know edit raw right away, but the availability of a profile a-la film for me it is a nice bonus.

Leica m9


Further less significant characteristics of the camera will go, such as the ability to brew coffee or the built-in clock.

Leica M9

Focusing whith on a very bright spot rangefinder rectangular shape. Frames, like 50 years ago, aren’t illuminated with a battery, and so you can see frames when the camera is not on (be sure to remember that it is not turned on if you suddenly need to take a picture of something).

Leica M9

The frames in this camera are for all themes and are divided into three switch positions on the front of the camera: 35-135, 28-90 and 50-75 mm. The viewfinder itself has an increase 0.68x.
Remark: unfortunately, the main set of frames for me is made up together with 75mm which are distracting, because they are located very close to each other. Maybe it would be more convenient: 28-75 (still, such focal lengths are not for me), 90-135, since for normal focusing you need a magnifier at least 1.4x, and also 35-50 as the main focal lengths for fans of Leica. BUT, still modern electronic frames, one for each focal length would be more logical and that’s it.

Leica M9

Mode switch and swich turn on / off the camera. For me, this decision is doubtful, since it is easy to overshoot and put on a another mode, although the inclusion of the self-timer has a distinctive click. Next to the last and main switch settings on the camera – the shutter speed dial – classic of the genre.

Leica M9

The sound of the shutter release is similar to the creation of the spell “pshk-vzhhh.” As if the process of photographing is a magical ritual, the result of which is the creation of something unusual and magical, which, by the way is not so far from the truth. More seriously the sound is loud and a bit strange. This is not a Leica film.

Leica M9

In M9 there is no slot for the second memory card, moreover, to remove / insert a memory card and the battery you need to remove the bottom cover of the camera – Leica is true to tradition.

Leica M9

But in the M9 on the side there is a USB connector, which disappeared in next leica M. And you will not remove the plug protecting this connector even with soap. No wifi here .


As it should be there is a 2.5 ”screen on the back of the camera. The screen is small and it inherited from the M8. The screen has a very small resolution and it is difficult to understand exactly whether the focus is caught. If I like the screen size, then its resolution is terrible. On the other hand, I use the screen only to check if I’ve broke the horizon.

Leica M9

The menu is so simple and comfortable like the perfect gas. The camera can automatically set only the shutter speed, ISO and white balance. By experience, in a room with bright artificial lighting it is better to manually set the white balance value.


In order not to describe for a long time what is not in M9, it is easier to say that M9 is like a film M7, but instead of a film there is a sensor. Is that there is a slow continuous shooting, self-timer (which was up to the M4, well, in the M5 too) and shutter speeds shorter than 1/1000. It’s All.

The camera weighs a little more than a pound and wider than film ancestors, but it is tolerable. There are protective pads near the ears under the belt. The form factor is a rounded brick, which means nothing superfluous, but if you use the zonal focusing method and hold the M9 with one hand, then there will be difficulties in the grip. I use thumb up device.

Leica M9

Summarizing a result like many people before me, I can say that the M9 is a niche camera. It’s true. I conclude that the high price of the Leica M makes it possible for such a camera to exist at all in our time. And the fast fall prices for digital cameras gives me the opportunity to buy it. Thanks.

P.S. Ah yes, M9 can’t to brew coffee.

P.P.S. Although, once I forgot to turn off the camera and put it in my bag, where due to the crampedness in the subway I accidentally pressed shutter button. The camera took 10 shots and was very hot…

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