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Mark Peters : September 7th 2009 - 18:45 CET

Leica M9

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LeicaLeica M9 digital system camera : Following information is unofficial but edited from a Leica M9 brochure that is published around the Internet. The new Leica M9 is the world’s most compact digital system camera with a full-frame CCD sensor. The CCD sensor is developed specifically for the Leica M9 - that is capable of capturing the full 35-mm format (24x36 mm) in high resolution. With its 18 Megapixel sensor in full-frame 35 mm format and cutting-edge image-processing system, the Leica M9 is dedicated to capturing images of the very highest quality. The new Leica M9 has a closed, full-metal housing, crafted from a high-strength magnesium alloy, and its top deck and bottom plate machined from large blocks of brass, provide perfect protection for its precious inner mechanisms.
Leica M9

Leica M9 - M-System history
In 1954, the launch of the Leica M-System, with its combined viewfinder and coupled rangefinder, opened up vast new horizons in reportage and artistic photography. Unsurpassed image quality was, is, and always will be the key founding principle of Leica. With the launch of the Leica M8 in 2006, a new era in the history of rangefinder cameras began: the M-System went digital. Then, in 2009, Leica set a further milestone in digital photography with the Leica M9: The M9 is the first ever rangefinder camera with a full-frame 24 x 36 mm sensor, and is also the smallest full-format digital system camera the World has ever seen. It is no exaggeration to state that the Leica M9 is the most significant new Leica since the landmark Leica M3 of 1954.

Shutter release of the Leica M9
In operation, the shutter of the Leica M9 system camera is very quiet. An extremely low noise level when cocking the shutter is ensured by a sophisticated motor and gearing system. In discreet mode, the shutter is only cocked after the photographer‘s finger is lifted from the shutter release button. When shooting handheld at long exposure times, or whenever extreme steadiness is essential, slight pressure on the shutter release button in ‘soft release’ mode is sufficient to trigger the Leica M9. In addition to these advantages, the fact that the combination of camera and lens is significantly more compact than any other full-frame camera system contributes to the fact that photographers are frequently unnoticed and often simply blend into the background. The perfect situation for a street photographer.


ISO settings on the Leica M9
The Leica M9 camera’s sensitivity ranges from ISO 80 to ISO 2500. Low noise levels and finely detailed images are achieved throughout the sensitivity range, even at the highest ISO settings. Very low image noise characteristics, an extremely bright viewfinder/rangefinder, low-vibration shutter and the availability of super fast lenses make the Leica M9 the perfect camera for available-light photography.

Automatic functions on the Leica M9
The Leica M9 digital system camera aids photographers with automatic functions, but it never dictates how to shoot or interferes with the picture-taking process. Depending on the light level, the automatic ISO shift function increases the sensitivity of the camera as soon as the shutter speed falls below a hand-holdable value. At the same time, it also limits the shift to a maximum value determined by the photographer. This means that correct exposure without camera shake and the lowest possible sensitivity is always available to guarantee the best possible image quality in all situations. In addition, the Leica M9 also offers automatic exposure bracketing with a user-selectable number of shots and exposure increments.

Leica M9 review

Leica M9 lenses
The CCD image sensor in the Leica M9 was specifically designed and developed for this camera - and offers full 35-mm film format without any compromises. All M lenses mounted on the M9 offer the same exact angle of view they had when shooting film material and therefore can now be used to an optimum effect. In other words, all the outstanding characteristics of Leica M lenses are now fully maintained for digital photography as well. In short, the high resolution and superior image quality of the Leica M9 has the ability to fully exploit the enormous potential of M lenses.

Leica M9 review
At this moment the above written information is edited from an ‘official’ Leica brochure, at least so it seems. Numerous articles, links and blog-posting already have been published on the Internet so we decided to follow instead of waiting in our chair for the ‘official’ outcome. These leaks happen so frequent that it becomes almost like a standard for media agencies, distributors and others. When we receive the complete official information we will come back to you for more detailed information. As soon as we receive a full production Leica M9 test sample, we will publish a photo gallery with high resolution pictures, followed by an extensive Leica M9 review.

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