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firoze

M9 buying advice

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Hello,

 

I am a long time Leica user, having owned two M3's, M6, R7, and various Digiluxes. Currently I use a X Vario. 

 

I am being offered a M9 at USD 3400. The seller will supply documentation proving the sensor has been replaced. Shutter count is approx 13000 (I checked by converting the Unique ID Hex number). By checking online via the serial number, it seems the camera is a late 2011, or 2012 model. I tested the camera with my own SD card, taking about 50 photos with a 50 Summarit, and a 35 Summiux. As far as I can tell, the camera in a perfect mechanical condition. The rangefinder is accurate, the shutter release is excellent, and metering is good. Cosmetically, the bottom edges are brassed, but the factory plastic covering on the bottom plate is still on so the rest of the bottom plate should be fine. There is light scruffing/brassing on other parts of the camera.

 

My question is, should I buy this camera, which with a new 50 Summarit would cost USD 5200, or buy, at USD 5500, the M 262 Oberwerth Set (if I can get one) which consists of a M 262 + 50 Summarit + Oberwerth bag?

 

The common sense says buy the M 262 Set, but I love the look of the photos from the M9, they are gorgeous! Simultaneously with the M9, I also took photos with a MP-240, and while the files from the 240 are excellent, I think the files from the M9 are special.

 

I will not be using the M9 much at high ISO, so that is not a concern. Nor is the lesser buffer or writing speed a concern. 

 

I would very much appreciate your opinions on this.

 

Thank you in advance.

Firoze

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If you are leaning toward the M9, remember the early replacement sensors were the same as the originals and risk the same issues. From the introduction of the different supplier for the sensor they are supposedly issue free. My advice would be to go for a M9 with the latest replacement sensor. Remembering of course that some with original sensor are trouble free to now and may never develop problems, as will the early replacement batch. Your judgement and call. Good luck with finding a good one, it is a great camera and you will not regret given you don't 'need' high ISO performance.

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I paid USD 1,700 for a lightly used M9 with new sensor from a MN dealer. Just FYI.

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You can lose almost every dime a used M digital.  Buy something new or almost new.

 

Sensor replaced with what.  ?  Check firmware for latest sensor.

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If you are leaning toward the M9, remember the early replacement sensors were the same as the originals and risk the same issues. From the introduction of the different supplier for the sensor they are supposedly issue free. My advice would be to go for a M9 with the latest replacement sensor. Remembering of course that some with original sensor are trouble free to now and may never develop problems, as will the early replacement batch. Your judgement and call. Good luck with finding a good one, it is a great camera and you will not regret given you don't 'need' high ISO performance.

Thank you for your advice. In general are the M9’s reliable aside from the sensor issue? Would there be anything particular to check before buying it, as side from ensuring it has the latest generation replacement sensor? I’ve already checked that the rangefinder focuses accurately, and the shutter seems fine. I will do more tests of the shutter at different shutter speeds before buying it. Anything else to check?

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I paid USD 1,700 for a lightly used M9 with new sensor from a MN dealer. Just FYI.

USD 1700 is a bargain price. When did you buy it, if I may ask? From what I see on eBay and various Leica dealer websites, good condition M9’s are priced at USD 3000 and above. Or am I wrong?

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You can lose almost every dime a used M digital.  Buy something new or almost new.

 

Sensor replaced with what.  ?  Check firmware for latest sensor.

Is it possible to check whether the camera was updated with latest generation replacement sensor via the firmware?

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Is it possible to check whether the camera was updated with latest generation replacement sensor via the firmware?

 

Do you know when the sensor replacement took place? That could potentially be an indication of the type of sensor used. 

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Do you know when the sensor replacement took place? That could potentially be an indication of the type of sensor used.

 

I’m not sure when the sensor was replaced. I’ll have to ask the seller.

 

One thing that comes to mind is that from what I’ve read on this forum, most M9’s (but not all) that were sent to Leica for sensor replacement came back fully refurbished cosmetically. Since this M9 has bronzing and scruffing, it is possible that either the sensor was replaced some time ago, or Leica did not refurbish it cosmetically. I’ll ask the seller about this.

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Unless you can verify with either the seller or Leica that the sensor is the latest one, I wouldn’t touch the thing. You’ll have to add another $1k for the sensor replacement when (likely, not ‘if’) it starts to rot.

$3400 for a non-MP version without clarity re: sensor version is not prudent. Pico’s $1700 gamble would be worth the gamble.

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Check firmware for latest sensor.

 

I'm not sure that firmware version tells us anything. I have two M9s, one with new sensor and an original and they can (and do) run under the same recent firmware.

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3400 $ for just M9 is insane price. Next to ripoff.

If you have 5000$.. : Get new Leica. It might be still possible to find one under 6000$, I hope.

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I’m not sure when the sensor was replaced. I’ll have to ask the seller.

 

One thing that comes to mind is that from what I’ve read on this forum, most M9’s (but not all) that were sent to Leica for sensor replacement came back fully refurbished cosmetically. Since this M9 has bronzing and scruffing, it is possible that either the sensor was replaced some time ago, or Leica did not refurbish it cosmetically. I’ll ask the seller about this.

 

I'm not so sure about the good-will refurbishment. My M9 came back without no refurbishment. I sent it to Leica Wetzlar in March 2016 for circuit board problems. It came back with the new corrosion-free sensor and new firmware, but with all the familiar brassing. That said, when a couple of years prior to that I sent in my M9 for shutter problems, it did come back with apparently a new LCD and button/dial panel assembly. 

 

You may also get an indication of the sensor type by going into the hardware info menu. Do the button dance and see how it is as per this very useful thread: 

 

https://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/272556-determining-new-sensor-m9/

 

Of course, the only way to be sure is to ask Leica directly. I did send them an email about the sensor type after I got it back, as I spotted the new firmware and saw nothing in the service log besides a vague phrase: adjust sensor. 

Edited by Rus

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@james.liam, @pico, @Ko.Fe, @Rus,

 

Thank you all for your helpful replies. I agree $3400 is a high price, on the other hand I have not seen online any significantly lower prices. Probably the prudent thing to do would be to buy the M262 Set with 50 Summarit + bag for USD 5500. However, if I do decide to buy the M9, I will certainly ascertain from Leica that it has the latest sensor. Thanks again to all.

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Hello Firoze,

 

In your shoes, I'd go for M(type 262) + Summarit.

 

I know quite well M9 since new (almost 9 years released now remember 09.09.09 ?).

Technologie progressed since then, even in Leica conservative habit.

 

When I take a Monochrom (M9 CCD) after using newer M for a while, I do admit that using more modern Leica M is more in phase with our habit.

My Monochrom has sensor replaced and M9 CCD never replaced.

I used to be happy M8/M9 user and happy to have used them on their days, but modern M are better for me now (for pleasure of use of course, I don't sell my jobs !).

 

My wife has my ex-M9, and she asks me why the LED goes blinking for that long after exposure.

Even batteries get old and not reliable so no way to buy second hand or after market which would be worst.

 

After all, you are the master to choose any one.

Anyway, have fun&pleasure whichever your choice.

Edited by a.noctilux

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Batteries are freely available. But even my original M8 batteries from 2006 hold their charge. I sold my M240 and kept the M9, IMO the better camera. Certainly the better sensor as long as you keep the ISO down.

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Unless you can verify with either the seller or Leica that the sensor is the latest one, I wouldn’t touch the thing. You’ll have to add another $1k for the sensor replacement when (likely, not ‘if’) it starts to rot.

$3400 for a non-MP version without clarity re: sensor version is not prudent. Pico’s $1700 gamble would be worth the gamble.

You don’t A replacement sensor carries a five year guarantee against corrosion to the best of my knowledge.

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You don’t A replacement sensor carries a five year guarantee against corrosion.

He isn’t clear as to when the sensor was replaced. Doesn’t one need that date to assure warranty? But if it’s simply the first type and is not corroded at present, once 5 years passes and it becomes so, he needs to pay for the replacement. Especially since corrosion isn’t always readily apparent.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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No, you don’t need the date, as it is recorded by Leica. If a sensor does not corrode in five years it is unlikely to do so later.

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No, you don’t need the date, as it is recorded by Leica. If a sensor does not corrode in five years it is unlikely to do so later.

Is that a verifiable fact?

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