I am not an easy grader, and am a perfectionist. A perfectionist forced to compromise. I give Leica M9 a solid 8 out of 10; maybe 8.5 out of 10. Certainly not higher. Some dumb compromises in Leica M9: e.g. cheap screen. Why not sapphire screen like M8.2? Leica claims they wanted to meet a specific price target. Come on, the person who pays $7,000 for the body alone, will pay a couple of hundred dollars more for a better screen. Since I have no respect for such short comings, I prefer to rate Leica lower rather than higher. Now, bear in mind - i heart Leica tremendously.
So far I have had a few leica M6 cameras, M7, R something, M8.2 and now M9. Multiple lenses. Oh, also the lovely D-Lux 4. M9 is by far the best leica camera I have had. In fact, the best digital camera I have owned. It has its quirks. But leica owners tend to be a quirky bunch too (and I mean that with utmost respect).
First, i have to tell you that it took me roughly seven months to receive my leica. While I was waiting, and getting impatient, bought a Nikon D700, multiple lenses, and then a D3S. It is a bit embarrasing and difficult to travel with the Nikons. Too loud and draw too much attention to themselves, everyone thinking I am a professional photographer. I hate that as I am just a humble street photographer. It is the speed of D700 and D3S that I miss in my Leica M9.
Leica M9 body feels great. Like a beautiful mechanical watch. I bought the grey one. Frankly the faux leather on it, feels a bit too ice-y cold, and a bit cheap. Maybe if i were to do it over, i would have gotten the black body. Maybe not....everyone has those!
The battery life is short. You need an extra battery with you for a long day trip with lots of shooting.
So easy to use the camera. Menu items down to bare essentials. The camera is light, easy to carry, does not draw any attention to itself or to you, unless people in the know see that and envy you. My biggest problem with Leica cameras and the M9 is that I like to take lots of candid street shots. Like on a recent trip to San Francisco I witnessed an arrest in the tenderloin area (what on earth was I doing in one of the worst streets in the country? well...they have amazing Thai restaurants there).... I could have taken 20 nice pictures with my D3S. With Leica I did 20 shots, and one or two came fine but not great. Even my D-Lux 4 is better in that sense. Mainly because of the lack of auto-focus. Some swear by leica hyperfocal focusing. Well, they are ahead of me for sure.
So if you have the time, and only care about taking pictures of not moving subjects, then Leica is great. So grandma shots should be fine. If you want to take pictures of your child or grand kid running at the speed of light or even an old tire-less VW, then pull out your iphone.
Exaggeration aside, you will not regret buying Leica M9, unless they come with 9.2 immediately after your purchase. You will forget the high price tag. The colors are lively, the black and whites are gorgeous and you do not break your back by carrying a heavy camera.
Leica is a great camera but is not enough as your only camera. You need a D-Lux 5 or a nikon/canon type as well....I am happy for you that you do not have to wait as long as I did to receive yours. Many camera shops seem to have them in stock now. A friend of mine bought his on Amazon and received it within one day from his order. Not bad.
Best wishes to you whatever camera you go with.
118 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?