on October 23, 2012
First things first: The Leica M-E is the current revision of the venerable M9 - other than the absence of a USB port and frame preview lever, it's *physically* identical to the M9.
The rangefinder paradigm is admittedly not for everybody but if you ever fell in love with shooting 35mm film on a Contax or a Zeiss Ikon, the M-E might be just the perfect digital camera for you!
The body is solid and the build quality is unequaled. A perfect fit in the hand with just the right amount of heft, it's great to know that highly engineered objects of this kind of precision and quality are still being made! The M-E costs a bundle but is worth every penny. It's even $1500 cheaper than the M9.
I shot Canon gear for *years* and finally, after a few months with the Leica M9, I decided to sell off my 5DmkII and all my Canon "L" lenses. I'm still very happy with my decision! The Leica, a spare battery and three lenses all fit in a *tiny* camera bag that only weighs a few pounds - compared to the bag I used to lug my DSLR around in, this is practically effortless, plus it's much more discrete to carry as well as shoot.
The compactness of the M9 and M-E is unrivaled and the M lenses are simply phenomenal - extremely sharp, even in the corners (where my Canon L glass didn't fare so well) and even with wide angle lenses shot at wide open apertures. The 50mm and 35mm Summicrons are excellent partners for this camera.
The CCD sensor in the M9 and M-E bucks the CMOS trend and certainly affords this camera a unique image signature. Overall, I've found it to be very film-like.
If size and image quality are paramount, and you like using a rangefinder with manual focus, maybe the Leica M series is a good fit for you. Certainly worth trying. Though a good photographer can take a good picture with just about any camera, a superb one like this certainly makes it easier and requires much less post-processing.
on February 24, 2013
I used a Leica M-3 for a day in 1963, and never forgot how it made photography fun. After years of taking photos for newsletters and web pages using film SLRs and point-and-shoot digital cameras, I came across a review of the Leica M9 and loved everything about it except the price. Then I happened on a review for the Leica M-E, $1500 less and all the good stuff of the M9. Amazon had one in stock and I have been using it for just over a week.
It has FAR exceeded my expectations! It is easy to focus (even wearing trifocals), it is small and well-balanced (with a 35 mm Summilux lens), and I am already producing images that blow away anything I have done in years. Leica has been described as the "thinking person's camera" and while I don't find it overly "fussy," I do think it takes me back to 1963 when I took the photos I wanted to take--no deadlines, no stress!
I know it is not cheap, but I'm looking forward to years of photographic FUN!
on January 16, 2013
The price point, lack of the frameline lever and usb port, and paint color, are the main differences I see in what essentially is an M9.
I use two 6-bit lenses with it: 28mm Elmarit ASPH, and a 50mm Summicron. Image quality is superb, especially when shooting in DNG. You can also shoot JPG only or a combo of JPG + DNG, very handy if you want to shoot black and white in JPG but have a DNG color back up. Only thing is you must have a backup storage solution. The files are high quality and large.
Still getting to know the camera and what it can do. I switched from being a canon user (16 years) to this because it was much simpler. Had a Canon t2i and didn't use half the features on it, especially video.
If you are looking for a camera that goes back to basics (shooting stills, manually focusing), this is it, or a used M9. I thought of getting a used M9 but a few extra hundred meant a warranty with a new camera, plus a free download of Adobe Lightroom (which is awesome).
If you want the rangefinder experience brought to a current level, get the new M, which has LiveView, 24megapixels, a much better screen in the back, new ergonomics, and shoots video. It will cost $7K as opposed to $5.5K.
My only criticisms are the screen in the back could be better, resolution-wise, and of course, Leica is expensive.
Otherwise, it's exactly what I wanted in a camera. Love it.
on January 4, 2013
1. It goes with me everywhere. It is small and solid and a joy to shoot with. It gets taken where I would not take my D4.
2. It is a new experience because it is a rangefinder camera and I focus it manually. I have one lens, a 35mm f/2 Summicron, so that is what I shoot with. It is liberating not to worry about what lens to use. I hope to get another lens, a 90mm f/2 Summicron, but at $3995 it will be a while (if I can find one).
3. I have used small, lightweight Japanese cameras, but they do not have the feel of quality or the full-frame image sensor of the Leica ME (which is a Leica M9 minus a USB port, a viewfinder preview lever and about $1000 in price.)
I would certainly recommend it to a friend who wanted to get back to photo basics with a digital camera and had deep pockets. I love it!
on May 13, 2015
TWO (perhaps 3) differences between this and the Leica M9. 1) USB cable connectivity 2) BrightLines selector 3) Color
That's all. Save yourself $1500 and get this over the M9.
Let's be honest - if you need lines to see which lens you should be using, you're not really using your camera as much as you should.
It's nice to be able to connect via USB - but for me - I like the opening of the base, and taking the SD card out - I treat it like film. Only take it out when I am done shooting - rather than plug in and keep uploading the new pics.
color - well, it has a gunmetal grey top, but that's fine. I have a blck leather body case and it shows character.
The camera is built extremely sturdy and you can see it's built to last.
The strap that comes with this camera - well, I HATED it. The plastic pieces were too tight and broke as I tried to move them. So I now have a beautiful leather strap which is much better. I was surprised this didn't come with a better strap though. It was kind of like throwing a piece of string in to the box. It felt cheap and nasty anyway.
The screen on the back is the worst quality EVER! but you don't buy a Leica to look at the back of the screen very often - for menus it's great - other than that - I don't use it.
But yes. I love my Leica ME and although a tiny bit heavier than I initially thought, it hangs from my neck with no issues.
The packaging was sweet - you can see they tried to make an experience. I was just still disappointed with that damn strap!! But 5 stars nethertheless!
on December 28, 2012
So I've shot Nikon at work for 15 years, and I recently bought a Canon 5D mark II for video, but I LOVE my Leica M-E.
It's compact but the images have a film quality that I really enjoy. Not only do the images stack up to the Canon and Nikon the rangefinder is really enjoyable to shoot.