Remember the Leica M8? I wrote an honest review of the M8 on Amazon and got flamed by Leica enthusiasts. My main concern with the M8 was the smaller than full frame sensor (18 mm x 27 mm) and its extreme IR sensitivity. I fully expect to get flamed for this review. I was not able to rent an M9 in my home city, Milwaukee. 6 months on a waiting list and an AmTrack ride I did get my rental from a well known photo shop in Chicago (with insurance!). So here goes. The full frame sensor on the M9 boasts a resolution of 18 Megapixels WITHOUT an anti-aliasing filter. Files are in the DNG format. Both Canon and Nikon use full frame sensors with resolutions of 25 Megapixels BUT they DO use anti-aliasing filters. In theory less processing (i.e. no anti-aliasing filter) can can yield better images. Without an AA filer images could be suseptable to moire patterns. But there were none visible with the M9. The question is this. Is the picture quality of the Leica quantifiably better than its competitors? I rented my M9 with a Leica 35mm f/2 ASPH lens. I shot numerous interiors, cityscapes and a few portraits. The quality of the images were excellent. But it's really impossible to distinguish Leica images from those of any other full framed brands. Handling and controls were excellent. The M9 seems to be about the same size as the old M8 so it's really small for a full framed 35mm camera. Controls are very similar between the M8 and M9. Leica removed a LCD counter from the top panel if I remember correctly. One thing about the camera is that it's auto exposure but manual focusing. I admit to being slow at manual focusing. This is a big disadvantage with action photography. BOTTOM LINE: This is a high quality digital camera built like a tank. If you are a long time Leica film camera enthusiast and already own Leica lenses then the M9 may be for you. If you are starting from scratch consider this. The M9 body will cost you $7000. A 35mm F2 Asph lens is another $3000. Is it worth the money? $10,000? Are you kidding? For me the answer is no. I am quite sure others will disagree. ; )
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