With all the discussion of the new M9 and the logical comparisons to the M8 s, it seems that evaluations of image quality are "all over the place". Normally I rely on the proven equipment testers like Sean Reid for not only the details but also the practical discussions of how you might perceive the result. e.g. can t be seen unless you print big.
Some things we know for sure just from the press release. The Leica glass will be great and since some have used the lenses on film ..even the edge sharpness etc has been evaluated to death. Plus the quality of the individual M lenses is so good that differences between lens A and lens B ..can only be in the eye of the beholder. You would have to be one fine photographer and a processing guru before the M glass could be considered an issue.(IMHO).
The new sensor though offers significantly more MP (18 verse 10)..so we know that if the IQ per pixel is the same (and we didn t make the pixels smaller so you could guess this to true) , you can make larger prints with less grain/noise . Or you can crop your image down to the size of the M8 sensor and have the same IQ. At the same size image the M9 should show more detail resolution (or is this not true).
The real differences would seem to be in three areas (I am asking ):
(1)dynamic range which varies by the ISO utilized. If you are happy with using 640 on the M8 then your images aren t requiring the full DR potential. I mention this because you need both the best DR possible and how it changes with increasing ISO. The practical ISO limit could be viewed as that point where dynamic range goes below you needs. This is why I never want to use the M8 above 320 even if you can massage out enough grain to have an acceptable image.
(2)color saturation....what I understand as the 16bit magic(again asking). Its not only the saturation but the ability to see the fine shading of color in .e.g. a red scarf .
(3) NOISE... the description of that grainy look you get when you pump up the ISO. I really don t know where the clumpy stuff that appears when part of an image is underexposed goes in this discussion.....is it noise or just lack of dynamic range . I just know it happens frequently at high ISOs and I rarely see it at 160 or 320.
I understand that the CPU used in the M9 is better and we have new firmware to process the output of sensor.
These appear to quite subtle differences. Of the test images I have seen ..they look great and a little better than the M8 . Like someone said maybe closer to the DMR. To make any sense out of the results I believe we need side by side comparisons ...with an expert description.
I intended this post as an open ended series of observations..maybe worthy of insights from the forum.