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Thread: M9 - Convince me !

  1. #1
    drxcm
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    M9 - Convince me !

    I'm just about to pull the trigger on an M9 but can't help feel a little concerned about a few of the things I've read here and there on the net..

    Could some M9 owners put my mind at rest and convince me that this camera is 'worth it' ...

    A few of my concerns - in order on most concerning to me to least..

    1. Dust magnet
    2. Battery life
    3. Shutter lag
    4. Slow processor

    I'm either thinking of an M9, or holding out and getting a 24 lux and an M8 to tide me over to the M9.2 or whatever it will be..

    Any comments and opinions most welcome!

    Cheers,
    Stuart

  2. #2
    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    Your list 1-3 have been no issue at all for me at all. Sure the zoom/preview could be faster but it's hardly a game stopper.

    I'm sure there are plenty of reasons to worry about an M8 -> M9 change but I don't think that these are the significant ones. Now if we were talking costs, availability, lens line up changes, finish differences or M8 resale then maybe ...

  3. #3
    13ud1
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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    The greatest plus of the M9 is its size. This is a portable full frame camera. This advantage is far bigger than all the flaws combined.

  4. #4
    canon5dshooter
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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    drxcm, do you have any idea where to actually find an M9?

  5. #5
    drxcm
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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    As far as lens line up I have a 35 cron ASPH and 50 lux pre-asph, also the Nokton 50 1.1

    My current body is an M6 and I also use a Lumix GH-1 for my digi stuff.

    I've also been eyeing up the 5d Mk2 and the D700, but am wary of these because of size, and the fact I have no lenses for them...

    My local dealer has an M9 coming in in 3 days for me...

  6. #6
    disambiguated
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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    Quote Originally Posted by drxcm View Post

    1. Dust magnet
    100% bogus - absolutely not a problem at all.

    2. Battery life
    100% bogus - I'm getting great battery life out of the M9, better than the M8.2, so far.

    3. Shutter lag
    100% bogus - it's instantaneous.

    What kind of kooks/liars/idiots are you listening to, heh?

    4. Slow processor
    This is true when it comes to zooming in to do pixel-peeping. Quite frankly, it's actually sort of an inadvertently useful form of behavior modification, as it discourages pixel-peeping, which in turn encourages actual photography, heh.

    ;>

  7. #7
    Senior Subscriber Member Mike Hatam's Avatar
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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    Quote Originally Posted by drxcm View Post

    A few of my concerns - in order on most concerning to me to least..

    1. Dust magnet
    2. Battery life
    3. Shutter lag
    4. Slow processor

    Cheers,
    Stuart
    Stuart - of the four issues you listed, the first three are not an issue for me at all.

    I have cleaned my sensor (using compressed air) about three times in the 3 months that I've owned the M9, but it's no more of an issue than any other camera I've owned.

    Battery life is decent, but you'll want an extra battery in your kit.

    Shuter lag? Haven't had any issues at all with that.

    Now, the fourth one on your list is an issue for me. The slow processor makes the camera feel sluggish on playback, when formatting cards, etc. Hopefully Leica will make improvements in firmware on this issue.

    Mike
    Mike Hatam
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  8. #8
    Super Duper
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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    Hi Stuart

    I too am thinking of picking up an M9 and maybe two lenses (50 and either a 75 or 90) to complement my Cambo/P45+. I need a better than decent full frame 35mm camera that I can count on to provide the IQ for large prints.

    I’ve been silently visiting the M9 threads here and on Leica’s website till now. I’ve seen various posts concerning the four items on your lists and like the others who have responded feel certain the first 3 have no concern and if the processor is slow, it can and will be fixed in a firmware update.

    This comes not from an owner but has a fellow traveler on the way to buying his first Leica. I’d buy it today if one was available and finances were right.

    Don
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  9. #9
    Super Duper
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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    Hi All,

    As Mike has expressed >>>"Now, the fourth one on your list is an issue for me. The slow processor makes the camera feel sluggish on playback, when formatting cards, etc. Hopefully Leica will make improvements in firmware on this issue."<<<

    I feel exactly the same way while extensively working with a loaned M9... and that issue and issue alone for my kind of work has been bothersome and was quite surprising. There are certain types of Pro shoots where extensive chimping/review is an absolute necessity becuase of ever changing and difficult stage lighting and movement and also in order to quickly move onto another shooting vanatge point..... and it's important in both these instances to determine if the required neccessary shots have been captured without issue. I may be wrong but if it's processor speed, I'm not sure how a firmware can resolve this by itself..but I may be wrong in this regard.

    For many this isn't an absolute requirement (both fast review and zooming of an image and also fast formats etc.) and so for those instances it's more of a nuisance with the M9...which otherwise is an extremely fine and capable camera. I also wouldn't necessarily put the current and last of the M8's and M8.2's far below an M9, even for the most critical of applications. It too is a fine performing camera. Each has its place and capabilities.

    Dave (D&A)

  10. #10
    2x2
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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    ... I feel exactly the same way while extensively working with a loaned M9... and that issue and issue alone for my kind of work has been bothersome and was quite surprising. There are certain types of Pro shoots where extensive chimping/review is an absolute necessity becuase of ever changing and difficult stage lighting and movement and also in order to quickly move onto another shooting vanatge point..... and it's important in both these instances to determine if the required neccessary shots have been captured without issue. I may be wrong but if it's processor speed, I'm not sure how a firmware can resolve this by itself..but I may be wrong in this regard.

    For many this isn't an absolute requirement (both fast review and zooming of an image and also fast formats etc.) and so for those instances it's more of a nuisance with the M9...which otherwise is an extremely fine and capable camera. I also wouldn't necessarily put the current and last of the M8's and M8.2's far below an M9, even for the most critical of applications. It too is a fine performing camera. Each has its place and capabilities.

    Dave (D&A)
    Firmware can't fix the slow processor problem. Only a faster processor can do that.
    Another problem the slow processor will cause is an excessive amount of time the camera needs to clear the buffer. (One doesn't need to be a machine gunner to need the continuous shooting mode from time to time.)

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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    Quote Originally Posted by 2x2 View Post
    Firmware can't fix the slow processor problem. Only a faster processor can do that.
    Another problem the slow processor will cause is an excessive amount of time the camera needs to clear the buffer. (One doesn't need to be a machine gunner to need the continuous shooting mode from time to time.)
    Firmware improveents can definitely increase card reading times which is at the heart of chimping speed. I expect the next M9 firmware to solve this problem.

    As to shutter lag, a long thread on LUF indicates the M9 has a lag of 100ms compared to an M8 with 80ms. This may be detectable by some, but in my experience absolutely doesn't interfere with timing my shots. On the other hand, I much prefer the shutter of my M7 which is not only much faster (15ms I believe), but much smoother. The reason for the longer delay in the digital shutters is that the sensor is being prepared for each shot as part of the cycle of events when releasing the shutter.

  12. #12
    2x2
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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    Quote Originally Posted by innerimager View Post
    Firmware improveents can definitely increase card reading times which is at the heart of chimping speed. I expect the next M9 firmware to solve this problem.
    Happy waiting. (Don't hold your breath, though.)

  13. #13
    Senior Member Amin's Avatar
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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    Quote Originally Posted by innerimager View Post
    Firmware improveents can definitely increase card reading times which is at the heart of chimping speed. I expect the next M9 firmware to solve this problem.
    I've never seen a firmware update do this for any camera. More likely this will be on the list of incremental upgrades for the M9.2, along with the sapphire LCD cover, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by innerimager View Post
    As to shutter lag, a long thread on LUF indicates the M9 has a lag of 100ms
    Even without comparing to M8, that is a pretty disappointing figure, no? Shutter lag is often cited as a strength of rangefinder cameras compared to SLRs. 100ms?? A Canon Rebel XS, currently selling for $409 (with lens), has a shorter shutter lag than that.

    These are minor disappointments though, at least to me. If not for the price, I'd be on a list somewhere for an M9.

  14. #14
    tonyroth
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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    Quote Originally Posted by 2x2 View Post
    Happy waiting. (Don't hold your breath, though.)
    You should be more careful in your statements. I spoke with a Leica product manager who told me he personally was acting as a field Q/A for the lastest firmware awaiting release. He said that virtual all memory card issues have been corrected as well as replay magnification and number of shots that can be taken before requiring pause for the buffer to catch up has been increased by about 2 frames. From my perspective, this would address 95% of the processor issues associated with the camera, the principal one being the replay magnification issue.

    To the original poster, given that your first 3 concerns are not real issues, in my opinion, you should be fine IF what I was told by this Leica rep bears out.
    Last edited by tonyroth; 20th December 2009 at 17:37.

  15. #15
    2x2
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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    Quote Originally Posted by tonyroth View Post
    You should be more careful in your statements. I spoke with a Leica product manager who told me he personally was acting as a field Q/A for the lastest firmware awaiting release. He said that virtual all memory card issues have been corrected as well as replay magnification and number of shots that can be taken before requiring pause for the buffer to catch up has been increased by about 2 frames. From my perspective, this would address 95% of the processor issues associated with the camera, the principal one being the replay magnification issue.

    To the original poster, given that your first 3 concerns are not real issues, in my opinion, you should be fine IF what I was told by this Leica rep bears out.
    BS. They said similar things about the M8.
    The slow processor is the weakest link. Read any review (other than the ones written by fanboy's) and you'll hear the same thing over and over.
    Most $2000 DSLRs have a processor that can run circles around the one in the M9. IMO, the M9 is as half cooked as the M8 was. Just a lot more expensive.

    PS: I do have a M8. And I love Leica but I won't be buying the M9 because it's not worth the money. Rather will buy a D3X with the money I put aside.
    Let's see what the M9.2 or whatever they'll call it, will have in store (don't care for Sapphire glass, though). Wouldn't be surprised if we'll see at next year's Photokina (10 month from now) a new version of it, probably with the Maestro processor and sensor that goes with it. (Won't hurt S2 sales by then anymore.)

  16. #16
    Senior Member atanabe's Avatar
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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    Quote Originally Posted by drxcm View Post
    . . .

    A few of my concerns - in order on most concerning to me to least..

    1. Dust magnet
    2. Battery life
    3. Shutter lag
    4. Slow processor

    I'm either thinking of an M9, or holding out and getting a 24 lux and an M8 to tide me over to the M9.2 or whatever it will be..

    Any comments and opinions most welcome!

    Cheers,
    Stuart
    As a former M8 owner and current M9 owner, I was skeptical about laying out the extra $$$ for the M9. After using a loaner M9 for a couple of days I found that it did make enough of a difference to spend the money.
    1. No more a dust magnet than the M8, clean with an Arctic Butterfly daily just like any other camera.
    2. I used the M9 for a four day workshop in Bangkok and had it with me constantly so for a real world battery life I can attest that I got the equivalent of 8 gb of dng shots per battery - the camera was on for about 18 hours of the day.
    3. Shutter lag - didn't affect me
    4. Slow processor, yeah the buffer fills up after 6 continuous frames which can be frustrating when you have to machine gun. Trying to wean myself from chimping, too many things happening around me to keep on checking to see if my exposure is right, just got to trust your technique.

    If you are a true rangefinder shooter, then going to a heavier DSLR/lens combo will slow you down faster than the processing speed. In the end it is a personal decision that you and you alone will have to make.

    Regards,
    Al
    Al Tanabe my website https://www.altanabe.com

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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    M9 - Convince me:

    21 Summilux, 35 Summilux, 50 Summilux: all captured with FF sensor. You're concerns aside (which are all valid), I think the biggest reason to buy a M9 is to have the glass. Just my two cents.

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  18. #18
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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    I believe it was Mark Tucker (http://www.marktucker.com/) who once said:

    "if I've got a truck load of lights, plenty of time and a big budget, it's MF w/ a DB

    if I've got a limited budget, but have to get the shot, it's 35mm

    if it's for me, it's a Leica"

    That sort of nails it for me. I shoot professionally, so I couldn't do without MF/LF and 35mm, but there is something about a RF camera that I love. A Leica RF is not something you buy because you need it. I almost never take a rangefinder to a pro shoot. It's something one does for the passion. If it is simply a tool, the idiosyncrasies are going to drive you nuts. Stick with 35. If you absolutely have to get the shot, stick with 35. If you want to impress the neighbors, stay with 35.

    I believe there are way too many people jumping on the M9 bandwagon because it's the latest/greatest thing to have. Given what many are trying to do, it's not the right camera.

    It's like I tell my students (I teach a college level architectural photography course): Depending on photography to pay your bills is a difficult endeavor at best. If you have a choice, I'd recommend another career path. If it's something you "have" to do, then do it with 110%. If you "have" to go with a RF, Leica is the best solution. If it's not something you are passionate about, stick with 35. It's a much easier way to go.

    Truth be known, Mark Tucker could take a cell phone camera and make pictures that would make all of us oh and ahh. It's not the camera folks....

  19. #19
    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    I own an M8 and will eventually purchase an M9. I made the decision recently after looking at some prints made by Michael Reichmann that were shot with the M9. Really lovely. In his words: "It's what the M8 should have been."

    One big factor to consider is that the lenses will be truer to the traditional focal length than they are on the M8. Depending on whether you want/like that change may help you decide between an M8 and 9.

    As for all the other minute details... I just can't get to excited about things like shutter lag races. I've not heard anyone complain that they were missing the decisive moment because of the lag. Maybe I'm too old and slow to notice the difference, but 100 milliseconds doesn't sound "slow" to me.

  20. #20
    Super Duper
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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    Hi All,

    First what James wrote above couldn't be truer....and in my opinion many of his points often get overlooked when discussing equipment that one wants, needs or uses.

    TRSmith, I have no doubt both what you observed or saw in Michael Reichmann's prints using the M9. What I wonder about is the possibly of any M8 prints (especially large format) your might have saw and also their its impact on you. I've done some comparisons in large format sizes myself with both cameras and putting aside color bit depth, 16 vs 8 (or 14 bit) and other image defining characteristics etc.....the increase in approx 30% overall resolution is important but not night and day for many subjects. In fact for most at normal viewing distances, people would be hard pressed to discern much difference unless they examined quite closely (sometimes too close)...and then again if that is what they focused on (no pun intended)..then the image itself may have not carried the impact that it should have.... in deciding to make it into such a large print.

    It's the image that should first sweep one away. I must add that those extra pixels are nothing to sneeze at and often do play an important role with certain types of images...but I believe Michael Reichmann and many others could bring out large format prints made on the M8, not say a work, and even discerning individuals would find them as lovely as those from the M9 made by the same individual. The M9 is a tool that has made and offers incremental improvement in image quality and size vs. the M8 and although is impressive, doesn't eclipse the M8/M8.2 by leaps and bounds. Instead it offers additional flexibility in the area of printing and some other applications.

    Think of the computers we are all using. Unless one has just purchased the absolute latest model with the fastest processor and amenities, it probably lacks in some area when compared to the best. Does it get the job done in any lesser way? Once you have the results, is the final priduct that much less than if done on the latest desktop? Sometimes the answer is "Yes"...and thats valid...but more often than not, if just one generation removed, the answer is probably no. We use and work harder to make a slightly lesser model work with little loss or impact or as much as is possible.

    No one doubts (including myself) what a RAW image from the Nikon D3 (12M pixels) can do. Many have printed 24x36" prints that are truly stunning by most any standard and the M8 can basically match the D3. Again its always subject dependent and how many more pixels would really improve the image and print at this size. AGain all great cameras and little by litle, the bar is always going to be raised.

    Just my thoughts. We're all lucky to have such choices!

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 21st December 2009 at 08:24.

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    D&A:

    It is exactly for the subtle reasons you list that I say I will someday purchase an M9. I love my M8 and will keep it until it crumbles. But those little extras in the M9, while not earth shatteringly better, are enough to make me want one.

    Could a photographer make delightful images with an M8 and never bother with the added expense of an M9? Certainly! Many do. And it's one of the reasons posters are asked to label the shots they include in the thread for digital M images—it's pretty hard to tell a difference at screen resolution.

    But for the little bit extra the M9 gives in color and resolution along with the real difference in lens focal length (the two lenses I now own will virtually become four if I have a choice of bodies on which to mount them) that I will, someday, spring for an M9.

  22. #22
    Super Duper
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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    Hi TRSmith,

    I'm in complete agreement with you and thats why for certain applications (of mine), I too will eventually turn to the M9 more so than the M8. It's that extra bit of difference that can "make the difference"...but only in certain circumstances and I believe it's not all that often, no matter how demanding the requirements are when it comes to comparing the M8 to an M9. Even when comparing large format prints substantially larger than A2, there often is only a subtle difference at best (of course subject dependent).

    As for doubling the number of focal lengths of two lenses into four.... by using an M8 along side and M9....somewhat true but not quite like using a Nikon D3 (full frame) and Nikon D300 (1.5x crop) side by side with lenses. There is the issue of UVIR filter use (or not use)when using M8 and M9 simultaniously and because the crop factor is 1.3 rather than the 1.5 in the NIkon example above, there is generally more overlap of apparent focal lenth...but of course it's dependent on the lenses one is using (but I understand your point). I think sometimes, regardles of brand, the evolutionary changes one finds in a just released upgraded camera, is often overstated. As fine a camera as the Nikon D2x was at the time, the D3 was a revolutionary and tremendous step forward. I'm not certain I can personally say the same thing comparing a M8 vs. an M9...although the changes depending on ones application, can be significant at least for certain endevors.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 21st December 2009 at 09:58.

  23. #23
    drxcm
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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    Well, thanks to all the posters - I'm convinced.

    In fact, I just walked in the door with a nice new black M9.

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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    Quote Originally Posted by drxcm View Post
    I just walked in the door with a nice new black M9.
    Nice! You must tell us YOUR impression. But we'll give you an hour to play with it before you must report.

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    Subscriber Member mwalker's Avatar
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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    you won't regret it... thats for sure
    Mike

    website under construction

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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    Quote Originally Posted by drxcm View Post
    I'm just about to pull the trigger on an M9 but can't help feel a little concerned about a few of the things I've read here and there on the net..

    Could some M9 owners put my mind at rest and convince me that this camera is 'worth it' ...

    A few of my concerns - in order on most concerning to me to least..

    1. Dust magnet
    2. Battery life
    3. Shutter lag
    4. Slow processor

    I'm either thinking of an M9, or holding out and getting a 24 lux and an M8 to tide me over to the M9.2 or whatever it will be..

    Any comments and opinions most welcome!

    Cheers,
    Stuart
    1. This one is not really true. I have shot my M9 EVERY day for the last 70 days and have no dust issue. Use a rocket blower 2x per week and it will stay clean.

    2. I get about 300 shots per charge.

    3. Lag? Does not affect me at all.

    4. Yes, it is slow, but so is an M7.

    Best digital (IMO) on the market for IQ.
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  27. #27
    drxcm
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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    Haven't had much of a chance to play yet, but have briefly tested the camera and will say that I have what seems to be a perfect copy.

    One thing that is immediately noticeable - coming from an M3 and an M6TTL, I have to say that the shutter release has a rough, cheap feel to it. Certainly not the silky smooth travel that the film M's have. A minor detail. Similarly the dial on the back seems a bit more plasticky and rough in its travel than I would have expected. In comparing to my Canon 20d and my friends 5d the controls feel much 'cheaper'.

    The body is extremely compact and light for a full frame camera however, and I am totally happy so far.

    More opinions after I have shot with it a little...

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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    Quote Originally Posted by drxcm View Post
    ...the dial on the back seems a bit more plasticky and rough in its travel than I would have expected. In comparing to my Canon 20d and my friends 5d the controls feel much 'cheaper'.
    If it's the same dial as my M8, I don't have the same impression. I have used 5D and other DSLR's and agree that it doesn't rotate as easily, and I would like it to turn more easily, but I don't thinks the quality feels any less (or more) than the others. Again, I do find it harder to turn. Better design would have been appreciated by me.

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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    Quote Originally Posted by tom in mpls View Post
    I would like it to turn more easily, , I do find it harder to turn.
    A clear sign that it has not been used enough!

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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    I think Daniel, Tim and James Klotz are really going down the right track here. The M9 is the closest experience yet to using a film M (this is a very good thing), and it is much easier to use in conjunction with film M's. It is full frame, so if you just want your standard two lens kits on a film and digital body, you do not need to bring four lenses. When you switch between cameras, the framelines are the same, your lenses draw the same on each camera, and you do not need IR filters, so you don't need to fuss with taking filters on and off. Shooting with the film M's, the cameras just tend to disappear -- I notice that the M9 seems to do this better than the M8 did for me -- the shutter is quieter (at least than the original one), the viewfinder is essentially identical to the M7 -- especially the framelines. This makes a huge difference for me.

    If you like shooting with rangefinders and want a digital camera, this is the best game in town. If you also like shooting film, then I recommend it even more highly -- the whole shooting process is really streamlined when your 35mm is a 35mm on film and digital, the framelines are the same, and you don't need any special filters. Also, the ability to shoot without IR filters opens up a lot more lenses to be used more easily, and the wide angles are a lot easier to deal with -- a 21mm lens is really wide again, rather than a moderate wide.

    This is also ignoring the gains that the M9 has made in high ISO and resolution. Overall it is just more appropriate heir to the film M's. I don't really feel that it is competing with the high meg SLR's -- they offer more flexibility, much larger and heavier systems, mostly inferior lenses (mostly...there are always exceptions), and more technical prowess. It is the old rangefinder versus SLR debate.
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  31. #31
    drxcm
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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    The M9 is the closest experience yet to using a film M (this is a very good thing).
    After spending a day or two with the camera, this is absolutely true.

    I'm thrilled, what a wonderful camera.

  32. #32
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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    I must say that the procerssor is notably slower than the M8 - but then that may be due to the larger files and the fact that it uses 16bit vs 8bit (with log mapping) in the M8. It CAN hold up taking shots in sequence. Happened more than once in first 100 shots.

    The shutter does not have lag, and may be quieter than the M8, but I find the "click....whrrrrrrr." really annoying. It is why I kept my M8 and did not go to the M8.2.

    I am getting poor battery life, mostly running down when off (go figure) and the new charger doesnt get to 100% (more like 70%.

    The IQ is great, but for me so was the M8. The 18/ vs 10MP and the non IR cut filter business are good ( I have a profile, and never had more than 1-2 Pix per 1000 with only small magentaissues anyway !),

    ...so I guess I am happy enoughwith the M9 . But I was just as happy with the M8!

    If faced with the buy decision today I would likely just have kept the M8. If you find a good one, buy it!

    Regards
    Victor
    Last edited by gogopix; 26th December 2009 at 08:43.

  33. #33
    Member beamon's Avatar
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    Re: M9 - Convince me !

    Quote Originally Posted by gogopix View Post
    I am getting poor battery life, mostly running down when off (go figure) and the new charger doesnt get to 100% (more like 70%.
    Victor
    That shouldn't be, Victor. Sounds like a battery issue rather than a problem with the charger. If it has undercharged from the beginning, and you can borrow another battery and find that it fully charges with your charger, then ask for a replacement battery.
    Roger
    Leica M6, M8.2 & assorted Leica glass

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