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Thread: I placed a deposit on an M9... Second thoughts

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    I placed a deposit on an M9... Second thoughts

    I've gone through a spate of DSLRs recently with the conclusion that a DSLR will do for my more specific shoots, and professional photos. However I needed something to fill the void for travel. I wanted something high quality but smaller.

    The Leica is just what I wanted as it's simple, it's something that needs mastering and therefore learning, plus it's a very classy thing to behold and doesn't look out of place anywhere so I won't worry about its value.

    However, I mentioned I had agreed to buy one on another Leica forum and was amazed that Leica owners are trying to stop me buying the M9! They're saying they have their problems, one has been back to Leica three times etc etc. If I was on a Sony forum etc, I could kind of understand this but for people that are owners or have owned these cameras, I was quite shocked to see they're telling me to steer clear.

    I see this as a very professional forum with very good opinions from my previous posts. I'm buying the Leica from a store, used but with 12 months Leica warranty, however I still don't want something that has to go away and I miss taking it on a trip anyhow.

    I tried a Sony A7r but didn't get on with it. I didn't like the EVF as it felt very point and shoot, but may have to go down this route as it seems to be the current trend. I see Fuji cameras are currently being compared to the M9 quite often, but are they really comparable? The RX1r looked like an option too but if I didn't like the A7r, I doubt I'll like the other.

    Basically, I want something high quality, with good edge to edge sharpness and image quality in a travel friendly package. Does it exist yet or do I need to wait for new products.

    ANY recommendations you have would be great. If I hear good things of the M9 on here I may well still go for that as I like the idea of it obviously.

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    Re: I placed a deposit on an M9... Second thoughts

    Any camera can develop faults. Leica is no exception.

    The M9 is a discontinued product. However if you buy from a reputable dealer, who can give you a reasonable warranty, you should be ok.

    As to the output quality of the M9 ( or the current ME ) you can visit numerous sites/photogs and see the work displayed there.

    Rangefinder is something one gets to learn with usage. Some like it, some don't.
    If you can try one, it would be the best. Maybe rent a ME and see if it suits your
    style of photography.

    ' Classy ' is not what should determine your reason for getting into the Leica M series.

    Best of luck with your decision.

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    Senior Member MaxKißler's Avatar
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    Re: I placed a deposit on an M9... Second thoughts

    I jumped into the cold water and got myself an M9 about half a year ago. So far I'm being very happy with it. Image quality is outstanding if you use the "right" lenses (the most expensive lenses are not necessarily the best ones in regards to IQ or "draw" but this is a very personal thing). However you need to understand its quirks and shortcomings.
    Some M9s are very picky when it comes to SD cards. Sometimes they won't recognize that there is a card in the slot so you shoot and and fill up the buffer but lose the images captured because you need to reset the camera. If this happens formatting the SD card (the time consuming way) helps.

    Also it is a camera that requires some learning to get the best out of it both artistically aswell as technically.

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    Re: I placed a deposit on an M9... Second thoughts

    cons for a RF:
    you need good vision to set focus (astigmatism is problematic)
    on longer lenses, only the center area of the view finder is relevant, 90mmm is pushing it
    on wider than 28mm lenses, the VF doesn't see full frame, requiring a secondary finder
    no aperture info collected by the camera (for exif data)
    rf focus system can require re-calibration; and you want all your lenses to focus properly
    have to remove the base to access card and battery
    you have to keep you fingers and smudge off the rf windows
    no pc socket (can put one in the flash bracket)


    pros:
    it is a rf, and a classy one
    has a very nice weight/feel, control set, with minimal foo-foo (no smile detection, eg.)
    super slick shutter action
    nice size, not like a giant ham you stick in a subject's face.
    can use a Luigi baseplate that has pop open doors for card and battery
    thumb's-up is great gripping aid
    fantastic image quality and lenses available,
    lenses hold their value (camera might not)

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    Senior Member JohnBrew's Avatar
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    Re: I placed a deposit on an M9... Second thoughts

    Buying from a dealer with a 12 months warranty is almost fool-proof.
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    Re: I placed a deposit on an M9... Second thoughts

    Do it, and don't look back.

    Liked the M9 so much - I bought an MM to go-with.
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    Re: I placed a deposit on an M9... Second thoughts

    If you have not used a rangefinder, and specifically a Leica M rangefinder, you need to do that first. It is a completely different way of both seeing and shooting compared to TTL viewing.

    The idea is to lessen distractions of what the image will look like in favor of what the image is about. You do NOT see the effects of a wide angle lens or a telephoto lens … just the taking area framed in the finder window … and as the lenses get longer the frame area gets smaller.

    During the life span of the M9 I had three of them … two black M9s which I used for paying work, then one Chrome M9P when I semi-retired. Zero issues with any of them. No SD card issues, no freeze ups, nothing. I now use a Leica M Monochrome which is basically a M9 with a B&W sensor. Zero issues

    I'd ask what the shutter count is on the one you want to buy … and/or ask if the dealer can determine how old the camera is. When the M9 was first produced there were some sensors that cracked, and the SD card malfunction seemed to be a sporadic problem.

    a Leica 1 year warranty makes it an easier decision IMO.

    - Marc

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    Re: I placed a deposit on an M9... Second thoughts

    That's a pretty good warranty, but the shutter count should be considered regardless. I owned an M9, and really like the photos, but hated the shutter. The rangefinder needs to be calibrated and the RF does take a little practice. Lenses are...well, an investment so to speak.

    For a travel friendly combo...
    I would seriously consider the Sigma DP Merrill's. The DP1, DP2 or the amazing DP3 all have the 46MP Foveon sensors with medium format digital quality. Take a look at the Sigma DP Merrill thread to see what I mean. The B/W photo's IMO, are on par with the Leica MM. All three of these cameras can be had for the price of one Leica lens. For travel, i'd shoot with the DP2 for a more normal FL. Before anyone gets their undies in a bunch, you need to shoot with this camera, it's not all tricked out, but for image quality it can't be matched. It's AF too.

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    Senior Member KeithL's Avatar
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    Re: I placed a deposit on an M9... Second thoughts

    I'm using Hasselblad medium format digital, Leica M and M9-P. If I really had to choose only one of the three to keep it would be the M9-P.
    http://www.keithlaban.co.uk
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    Re: I placed a deposit on an M9... Second thoughts

    I should add, if I had to choose between advice given on l-camera-forum or on GetDPI I'd choose here every time.
    http://www.keithlaban.co.uk
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    Re: I placed a deposit on an M9... Second thoughts

    Thanks guys. I've decided to still go with the M9. The store I'm buying from will give me 12 months warranty, but also lend me a camera if mine has to go back at all. As long as the store is there, it sounds like I'll have excellent service, and it know this from the experiences of others too :-)
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    Re: I placed a deposit on an M9... Second thoughts

    Although Leica digital rangefinders have their quirks which is often a bit more than found on Japanese mass produced cameras, on the whole, they've kbeen a joy to use and for the purpose of superb files and image capture, I find little to complain about. I realize some individual bodies had issues but for the most part all my digital rangefinders from the early days of the original MM have operated and performed flawlessly.

    As Marc and others have suggested, it takes time to get used to the rangefinder way of shooting which is quite different than a DSLR. As a travel camera it's especially rewarding. Also as sugested6, carefully picking out those lenses that give the look or perform for your needs or applications, most definitely enhances the experience. Let us know how it goes.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 7th February 2014 at 10:09.

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    Re: I placed a deposit on an M9... Second thoughts

    Congrats on your decision.

    I've used M8/9 bodies for travel and general photo purposes for some 6 years. Very high level of satisfaction, with one exception being higher iso performance often needed for my club and acts shooting. Image quality, portability, and pleasure in use are first-rate. Despite less than good vision, I have managed the art of focusing an RF through practice and work-arounds.

    I acquired a Monochrom after saving for some time to improve my club shooting at the ever-darker venues I frequent. So I'm over-invested in digital M's, but the results are pleasing to me, so that's my rationalization.

    At some point, I may migrate to mirrorless EVFs, maybe sooner than expected seeing the A7/A7r bodies are so strong and adaptive. For now I like the M9 for travel: small bag, 1 or 2 of 3 lenses at most, freedom, great fun to use, all the quality I need.
    Last edited by MCTuomey; 7th February 2014 at 08:47.

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    Re: I placed a deposit on an M9... Second thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by w44neg View Post
    Thanks guys. I've decided to still go with the M9. The store I'm buying from will give me 12 months warranty, but also lend me a camera if mine has to go back at all. As long as the store is there, it sounds like I'll have excellent service, and it know this from the experiences of others too :-)
    Excellent - congratulations.
    As Marc says - a rangefinder is quite a different beast and teaches a whole new way of photography. Some love it, some don't. I just love being able to see around the subject - I love the fact that I 'feel' I'm in complete control, and I love rangefinder focusing too.

    One thing I would suggest - practice and practice focusing with the RF - it's a real skill, and one that needs continual practice to keep an edge - just messing about in the house will do - but focusing - then checking you've nailed it - then again. It'll pay real dividends in the end.

    I hope you enjoy as much as I enjoy my M

    all the best

    Just this guy you know
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    Re: I placed a deposit on an M9... Second thoughts

    I've not exactly had great luck with my M9. I purchased it new but it's been back to Leica multiple times for major repairs. Average time in the shop each time is seven weeks. It currently is in the shop and has been there four weeks. I think in the just over a yer it's been away 25 weeks.

    I suggest looking at the problem / complaint section of RFF. Decide if it's worth the risk. There have been many issues. IMO it's a crap shoot.

    When it work it's beautiful at lower ISO. when it doesn't it's a pain.

    My honest evaluation as a professional of many decades, If I could only have one camera it would be My Nikon D800. My M9 would be last choice.
    Last edited by DDudenbostel; 7th February 2014 at 11:44.

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    Re: I placed a deposit on an M9... Second thoughts

    Thanks for all the views. There's always so much contrast between opinions it amazes me.

    Last week, I purchased a Fuji X system camera. So far, I have an 18mm f2, 23mm f1.4, 60mm f2.4 and a 35mm f1.4 on the way.

    The 23mm and 60mm will be used the most I think, with the other lenses being free from Fuji and I'll possibly sell them. There's a 10-24mm (15-36mm equivalent) on the way which will cover my wide angle needs as well.

    The camera is amazing. My only issue is the want of a Leica still remains. It seems to be a brand that really gets under your skin, no matter how much you want to see sense and completely avoid the whole system!

    I'm absolutely positive I will find the Fuji better. The lenses are commended by Leica owners for their IQ, there's better low light performance, I have the X-Pro1 which is as close to an RF as I'll get, the lenses use fantastic aperture rings etc... But I'll still most likely try an M9 alongside it soon :-D

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    Re: I placed a deposit on an M9... Second thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by w44neg View Post
    Thanks for all the views. There's always so much contrast between opinions it amazes me.

    Last week, I purchased a Fuji X system camera. So far, I have an 18mm f2, 23mm f1.4, 60mm f2.4 and a 35mm f1.4 on the way.

    The 23mm and 60mm will be used the most I think, with the other lenses being free from Fuji and I'll possibly sell them. There's a 10-24mm (15-36mm equivalent) on the way which will cover my wide angle needs as well.

    The camera is amazing. My only issue is the want of a Leica still remains. It seems to be a brand that really gets under your skin, no matter how much you want to see sense and completely avoid the whole system!

    I'm absolutely positive I will find the Fuji better. The lenses are commended by Leica owners for their IQ, there's better low light performance, I have the X-Pro1 which is as close to an RF as I'll get, the lenses use fantastic aperture rings etc... But I'll still most likely try an M9 alongside it soon :-D
    I think you will probably hang on to the 35mm 1.4

    As far the Leica is concerned - get the monochrome - I know someone that did

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    Re: I placed a deposit on an M9... Second thoughts

    Funny, I'm saving my pennies for an M9. I have the Monochrom which I think is the best thing since sliced bread (better actually, unless we're talking pumpernickel), but occasionally I want color.

    Last year I bought a Canon 6D and glass for an upcoming trip and for those things that a rangefinder isn't suited to (macro, long telephoto) and am quite satisfied with it, but every time I use it I just wish it was a Leica.
    "A fella, A quick fella, might have a weapon under there. I'd have to pin his head to the panel." The Gyro Captain

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    Re: I placed a deposit on an M9... Second thoughts

    You might consider a new or demo ME instead of an M9.
    JAAP
    http://www.jaapvphotography.eu
    The colours of my generation are black and white.

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    Senior Member MaxKißler's Avatar
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    Re: I placed a deposit on an M9... Second thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by jaapv View Post
    You might consider a new or demo ME instead of an M9.
    Why is that?

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    Re: I placed a deposit on an M9... Second thoughts

    I suppose the security of the two year warranty.

    FWIW, I recently needed to buy an additional colour digital M and bought a new M-E instead of an ex-demo M240 which was offered to me. The M9 might now be more than four years old but it still does everything I want from a camera in this class and I felt no need to spend the (modest) extra to obtain the M240.

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