# Thread: M8 vs M9 Sensor comparison

1. ## M8 vs M9 Sensor comparison

Hi all

Im doing some research about a possible upgrade and I was wondering how the sensors compare , looking at the sensor size difference it appears that the M9 has 80% more resolution, but also 80% more area, so wouldnt the respective pixel/square MM be comparable?

area of sensors

m8 : 18 x 27 = 486 sq mm
m9 : 23.9 X 35.8 = 855.62 sq mm

MPixel : M8 : 10.3 vs M9 : 18.5 (which is approx 80% larger)

80% larger of 486 sq mm is..........874.8 sq mm quite close

I do know that of course a newer sensor has better technology re: IR filters and higher ISO

but looking at the actual numbers, Im thinking I might be better off with some additional lenses instead of a new camera body. Which will guarantee that my M8 will die right afterwards

2. ## Re: M8 vs M9 Sensor comparison

Resolution is linear measurement, not an area measurement. So the difference in resolving power would be the square root of the pixel resolutions divided by each other. You are getting a 34% increase in resolution.

The area of the sensor will effect the field of view, depth of field, and the system MTF. Your lenses will not have to work as hard with a larger sensor.

3. ## Re: M8 vs M9 Sensor comparison

Robert,

Have you thought about trying to do pseudo* near IR or near UV?

*No real near IR is possible with the M8

4. ## Re: M8 vs M9 Sensor comparison

Hi Dude,
It will be interesting to see the replys as I am in the same boat. Jean at Leica Boutique in Montreal was of the opinion that there was not that much differernce and suggested I was just as well off with a used M8 and an extra lens.

Prices might come down depending on May 10 announcement and the 800E is also looking like an alternative considering one could pretty much buy one for the difference in proce between M8 and M9.

I think the proof is in the prints and would love to hear from those that have printed with both - is there a enough of a differerence up to 24 x 16 to justify an M9?

5. ## Re: M8 vs M9 Sensor comparison

Without quoting all the technical foofawraw, my 1st-order estimate was that if I shot a photo with an M9 and cropped it to the area of the M8 sensor, I'd end up with the same number of pixels as the M8 and about the same overall dynamics. On that basis, I was interested in the M8.2.

However, in the end I bought the M9 because I wanted the same format I had with the M4-2 and the M9 has enough other detail refinements that it was worth going that route for me.

6. ## Re: M8 vs M9 Sensor comparison

Good points Godfrey , I fear with my financial situation a M8u will have to be it for me Im afraid . Im just trying to convince myself of that

7. ## Re: M8 vs M9 Sensor comparison

Originally Posted by dude163
Good points Godfrey , I fear with my financial situation a M8u will have to be it for me Im afraid . Im just trying to convince myself of that
If I didn't have the money for an M9, I'd have no problem at all enjoying an M8.2. If I couldn't afford an M8.2, an M8 would do fine. If I couldn't afford that.... well, I've kept on doing photography with far less expensive cameras anyway so I'd just wait until I could afford something. ;-)

8. ## Re: M8 vs M9 Sensor comparison

I know many saw it different but personally I allways liked the M8 and never saw it as a flawed product.
The step from the M8 to M9 meant to me:
Some room for bigger prints.
Improved noise in the range higher than 640 ISO.
No crop factor. No UV/IR filters (no big deal).
But if the resolution is enough and if you dont plan to shoot over ISO 640 I would say one gets the same IQ with the M8 which you can get with the M9.
I think for B&W the M8 is even a little bit better suited.
If I couldnt afford the M9 I would be happy with the M8.

9. ## Re: M8 vs M9 Sensor comparison

The M8 had been for a year when I bought mine (now 4 1/2 years old) and 15K images later, it has never missed a beat.

I am extremely happy with it's performance, and when this new M10, and the subsequent drop in prices for M9's happens, I will have to think long and hard about whether it makes sense to trade up.

The UV/IR filters are only a problem in night photography with extremely bright lights in the image. For daylight shooting I have never had a problem.

For B&W work, there probably is no better digital camera than a M8/8.2.

10. ## Re: M8 vs M9 Sensor comparison

I recently bought another M8, I've had 3 to date and loved them all, the file quality I get from the M8 is for me significantly better than what I ever got from the full frame 5D or D700. I was seriously considering getting an M9 and tried one out, but when looking at the Raw files from the M9 I didn't get the same feel, I expected them to be brilliant but found them full of moire and lacking the signature I get from the M8 files. Not sure if anyone else has found the same thing, I might be out on my own with this one.

11. ## Re: M8 vs M9 Sensor comparison

Between the M9 and M8, "Pixel-Peeping"- the M8 image looks "crisper".

The IR absorbing glass filter is thicker on the M9, which is the reason that it does not need an IR reflecting filter in front of the lens. I've read other users attributing the crisper images of the M8 to it's filter being thinner than that of the M9.

12. ## Re: M8 vs M9 Sensor comparison

Originally Posted by HenryFool
but found them full of moire and lacking the signature I get from the M8 files.
I agree with you about the moire. The M9 seems much more susceptible to it than the M8 (which is odd because they both have the same pixel pitch and use the same lenses). The M8 files do also seem a hair sharper at the pixel peeping level. All told, however, I prefer the M9 for its full frame compatibility with my film Leicas and for the 'soft' release mode.

13. ## Re: M8 vs M9 Sensor comparison

Hmmm - not convinced about the moire . . it's so rarely a problem that I doubt it's easy to get a handle on what's 'worse'
I didn't get the feeling that the M9 files were less sharp - but I can see the logic with the stronger filter.
I think the M9 has slightly better high ISO, but I agree, if you don't mind the crop factor and you don't need the resolution. . . .

I do think the M8 is better at black and white . . . . but the M9 isn't bad.

I guess that isn't helpful at all!
all the best with your decision

14. ## Re: M8 vs M9 Sensor comparison

Helpful for me! Confirmed the choice to keep and use both cameras.

15. ## Re: M8 vs M9 Sensor comparison

What is the consensus around ISO?
I only shoot the M8 @ 640 in a pinch, though 320 is perfectly fine to my eye in prints.

Is the M9 a 1 stop bump? 2?
For people who have owned both - what were your relative ISO comfort points?

16. ## Re: M8 vs M9 Sensor comparison

sweet! new lenses it is

17. ## Re: M8 vs M9 Sensor comparison

I kinda like the "defects" that come with the M8's sensor... I find that the images it makes are almost as nice and have the feel of nicely exposed, developed, and scanned film. A guy I met described it as a "the most film-like digital camera" he's ever used. It's got a certain grit to it. I find that the M9 is almost too perfect... too clean. I feel like your vintage lenses would be better suited to an M8 :P If only it were a full frame sensor huh?

18. ## Re: M8 vs M9 Sensor comparison

Originally Posted by jonoslack
Hmmm - not convinced about the moire . . it's so rarely a problem that I doubt it's easy to get a handle on what's 'worse'
I'm surprised you think this, Jono. I see moire (the classic 'stripe' variation and other lesser or worse manifestations) all the time. I wouldn't describe it as a problem (otherwise I wouldn't have bought an M9P earlier this year) but nor would I describe it as a rare occurrence (I probably see moire-ish artifacts of some kind in 20+% of my files).

19. ## Re: M8 vs M9 Sensor comparison

Originally Posted by Vivek
Robert,

Have you thought about trying to do pseudo* near IR or near UV?

*No real near IR is possible with the M8
I think you mean with the M9. The M8 is more sensitive to IR.

With the M9 you can shoot with large aperture lenses in IR during the day, and with a tripod if slower than F/2.0. I do this regularly.
eg.

Subtle, but the glasses are black framed in visible light.
Colour is below.

20. ## Re: M8 vs M9 Sensor comparison

Originally Posted by sjg284
Is the M9 a 1 stop bump? 2?
For people who have owned both - what were your relative ISO comfort points?
The M9 certainly has a good stop's worth in terms of lower noise but I get the impression that this is at the cost of a little detail. I routinely use up to around ISO 1000 (even higher if necessary for personal stuff) on the M9. With the M8, I used to see ISO 640 as the upper comfort point.

21. ## Re: M8 vs M9 Sensor comparison

I have no reservations using ISO 2500 on the M9. Lightroom 3 has a much improved noise processor for raw images on both the M9 and M8.

M9, ISO 2500, 50/1.1 Nokton:

On my M8, a late production camera, I am comfortable with ISO 1250.

22. ## Re: M8 vs M9 Sensor comparison

Originally Posted by thrice
I think you mean with the M9. The M8 is more sensitive to IR.

With the M9 you can shoot with large aperture lenses in IR during the day, and with a tripod if slower than F/2.0. I do this regularly.
eg.

Subtle, but the glasses are black framed in visible light.
Colour is below.

Daniel, I meant the M8. It is pseudo near IR. Even if you expose it for hours (with suitable filters, of course), anything over 700nm is unlikely to register and if any red is there through the filter used, that gets registered.
However, aside from these numbers and the nitpicks over the spectral regions (), the key is that the M8 allows for some creative expressions. That is what I was suggesting to Robert- to expand the use of his M8 with what it can already offer.

The lovely example you posted are the norm.

23. ## Re: M8 vs M9 Sensor comparison

False color, near Ultraviolet example.

Leica M8 false color UV by Vivek Iyer, on Flickr
Leica M8, ISO200, Industar 50/2.8, f/2.8, 1s, Baader U 2" filter

24. ## Re: M8 vs M9 Sensor comparison

The M8 has a thin IR absorbing filter over it's Silicon CCD sensor, but quite a bit of Near IR leaks through, compared with other cameras. The sensor itself is sensitive out to 1100nm. A quick test taking a picture of a Wii game LED bar with and without an IR cut filter over the lens gives a quick indication of how sensitive that the M8 is to near IR. It also shows how effective the IR CUT (Hot Mirror) filter over the lens is in eliminating the IR contamination. The LED's used in the Wii controller are ~900nm.

25. ## Re: M8 vs M9 Sensor comparison

Leica M8 WITH Leica UV/IR filter over lens, C-Sonnar 50/1.5 wide-open, 1/4th second exposure.

Leica M8 WITHOUT the UV/IR filter over lens, C-Sonnar 50/1.5 wide-open, 1/8th second.

I've used a Wratten 88A filter with the M8, just to see what happens. Reasonable (near) IR results. But I have two full-spectrum cameras, the most used being a modified Olympus EP2.

Just to add: The M9 without the IR Cut filter over the lens has some IR sensitivity, but much lower than the M8 used without the cut filter. The M9 shows more IR leakage than the M8 used with the IR cut filter over the lens.

26. ## Re: M8 vs M9 Sensor comparison

For the comparison- Leica M9, 5cm f1.5 Sonnar, no Hot Mirror Filter. 1/4 second wide-open.

SO: Some IR leakage, much less than the M8 w/o filter. After seeing this, I don't mind leaving the Hot Mirror filters on the fast lenses for the M9.