Leica M9

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On September 9 2009, Leica presented the M9, the first full-frame digital rangefinder camera. It features an 18 megapixel Kodak CCD sensor and accepts most Leica M lenses made since 1954. The M9 is Leica's second generation digital rangefinder camera.


Background

The Leica M system was introduced in 1954 with the arrival of the Leica M3. Since then changes have been incremental rather than revolutionary. Leica seems to be slow or reluctant to introduce new features, even when they have become commonplace with all of its competitors. For example, the 2002 Leica M7 was the first M to have aperture priority automatic exposure, a feature commonly found in other cameras since the early 1980's.
The first digital Leica M was the M8 which has a smaller sensor lacking an infra-red blocking filter. This means images can suffer from discoloration from the invisible part of the light spectrum when shooting, for example, synthetic fabrics, especially with flash lighting. The M9's sensor is full-frame and has no disturbing sensitivity to IR[1]

Viewfinder

The M9 has a viewfinder magnification of 0.68x, similar to the M8 but less than what had become the standard in analog M's; 0,72x. Framelines are mirrored in in pairs, the combinations are the same as on the M7: 35-135, 28-90 and 50-75. The rangefinder has a 69,25mm [2] base, the same as other M cameras.

Screen

230,000 pixels 2.5" color LCD.

Lenses

  • All lenses with M-Mount since 1954 by Leica
  • Carl Zeiss ZM series
  • Voigtländer M-Mount lenses
  • All 39mm Screw-Mount lenses with use of adapter

Digital

  • Image Sensor: 5270 x 3516 pixels (18.5 Megapixel) CCD chip, active area approx. 23.9 x 35.8 mm 5212 x 3472 pixels (18 Megapixel)
  • Resolution: Adjustable, DNG™: 5212 x 3472 pixels (18 Megapixel), JPEG: 5212 x 3472 (18 Megapixel), 3840 x 2592 (10 Megapixel), 2592 x 1728 (4,5 Megapixel), 1728 x 1152 (2 Megapixel), 1280 x 846 pixels (1 Megapixel).
  • Data Formats: DNG™ (raw data), choice of uncompressed or slightly compressed (by non-linear reduction of color depth), 2 JPEG compression levels.
  • File Size: DNG: 18 MB (compressed)/36 MB (uncompressed), JPEG: approx. 2–10 MB.
  • Color Space: Adobe® RGB, sRGB.
  • Storage Medium: SD cards up to 2GB/SDHC cards up to 32GB.
  • Sensitivity Range: ISO 80/19° to ISO 2500/35°, adjustable in 1/3 ISO increments, with aperture priority A and manual exposure setting, choice of automatic control or manual setting, automatic control with snapshot profile.

Notes

  1. Leica Fotografie International, issue 7/2009 september october, p27.
  2. LEICA M9/M9-P Technical data (PDF, 143KB), found on Leica company webpage