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M9 with original sensor - still worth a shot?


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Hello all!

I've been having some fun reading a lot about the old legendary CCD sensor. So much so I actually searched for a used one, and one with the original sensor (with some corrosion though far from the worst) came up for sale at around $1500. While I don't think the price is too bad, but I'm not sure if it's a dumb move to get it. Currently M9 with new sensor seem to go for around $2500+, it doesn't seem to far from adding expenses to send it to Kolari for replacement cover glass, or maybe I'll sell it to someone who're on a budget when a nice new sensor M9 came up for sale some time in the future.

I kinda love what I got from the M240 (sample attached) and in comparison the M10 RAWs (from various different sources) don't seem to give me the same results. But the curiosity got the better of me so hopefully I'll get some opinions here.

 

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I can now confirm that ACS in the UK charge £550 + VAT to replace corroded sensor glass on the M9 / M9M Happy days.. I am sending mine tomorrow.

I'm still running 2 x M9s professionally. Great cameras and I have no complaints with them nor the images that they produce. Mine are to be kept until failure whenever that may be.

Please keep us informed how it goes.

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It's a moot point on price.  The question is do you want to pay, eventually, $2,500 for an M-9?  There is that fellow in Miami who can fiddle in PP and get the M-240 to look like the M-9.  The M-9 has a smaller sensor, 18MP vs 24MP, and not as many bells and whistles.  It is an older camera.  I have both.  I usually use the M-9.  But understand that is my narrow prejudice.  YMMV

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2 hours ago, boojum said:

It's a moot point on price.  The question is do you want to pay, eventually, $2,500 for an M-9?  There is that fellow in Miami who can fiddle in PP and get the M-240 to look like the M-9.  The M-9 has a smaller sensor, 18MP vs 24MP, and not as many bells and whistles.  It is an older camera.  I have both.  I usually use the M-9.  But understand that is my narrow prejudice.  YMMV

Thanks for the input! To my eyes the M240 colors don't look all that much different than M9 but it's the way it handle the tonal transitions seems interesting. I'll wait for one with new sensor with the right price to show up then. Cheers! 

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$1500 for an M9 with a corroded sensor is a bit high IMO. That said, I seldom see them much cheaper than that. Under $1k with little or no visible corrosion would be okay and use it as is until intolerable. If the corrosion is manageable and the cost is under $1000 then it's a decent user camera that can either be fixed later by a third party or discarded.

About a year ago I bought an M9 for well under $1000 that showed a couple of minor spots that basically looked like some minor dust on the sensor. I ended up giving it, along with a 7A 35mm f2 to a friend and colleague of mine, a young professional photographer. I told him to run it until the wheels fall off and he's making great use of it.

But $1500 for a corroded M9? No way.

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4 hours ago, 84bravo said:

$1500 for an M9 with a corroded sensor is a bit high IMO. That said, I seldom see them much cheaper than that. Under $1k with little or no visible corrosion would be okay and use it as is until intolerable. If the corrosion is manageable and the cost is under $1000 then it's a decent user camera that can either be fixed later by a third party or discarded.

About a year ago I bought an M9 for well under $1000 that showed a couple of minor spots that basically looked like some minor dust on the sensor. I ended up giving it, along with a 7A 35mm f2 to a friend and colleague of mine, a young professional photographer. I told him to run it until the wheels fall off and he's making great use of it.

But $1500 for a corroded M9? No way.

That's the kind of info I wish to hear, a fair price for a corroded sensor M9. Now I've found another seller with a nice silver M9 with new sensor, and interested to trade with my silver M240. I'm doing a lot of research right now, I hope it's not an awful decision to make as both camera seems to price similarly nowadays (with the M9 sometimes cheaper but harder to find a silver one).

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I kinda arrive a conclusion that it's inconclusive that the CCD renders better. I've downloaded more M9 samples (especially with the new sensor) and matching the rendering is pretty straight forward once I understood how to "crush" the dynamic range.

 

......And a classic look if desire with one button.

 

I guess I really shouldn't waste time on gears and go out to shoot more. 😂

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Posted (edited)

M9 series are out of sensors and processors boards. Within five years after production was ended of M-E 220.It is not a camera which is worth of 2500+. Well, if you are not ready to accept Leica Camera AG kindness and get trade of not functioning, not serviceable camera for new one under price of used. Or just accept what you pay 2500+ for camera which has no support on two major parts. Also  nobody  knows if shutters and screens are still available. Maybe, but for how long...

The whole legendary CCD rendering isn’t worth of 2500+ for camera which is out of support. IMO. 

 

Edited by Ko.Fe.
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5 hours ago, Ko.Fe. said:

M9 series are out of sensors and processors boards. Within five years after production was ended of M-E 220.It is not a camera which is worth of 2500+. Well, if you are not ready to accept Leica Camera AG kindness and get trade of not functioning, not serviceable camera for new one under price of used. Or just accept what you pay 2500+ for camera which has no support on two major parts. Also  nobody  knows if shutters and screens are still available. Maybe, but for how long...

The whole legendary CCD rendering isn’t worth of 2500+ for camera which is out of support. IMO. 

 

You're absolutely right, after a long thoughts, I keep asking myself if I really want to spend on something that's potentially near it's end of life, parts can fail and no longer be replaced.

Fortunately I had a brief test on M9 and I'm glad I did. In short I didn't like it as much as I thought, and the shortcoming of the sensor which was immediately obvious. I'll open another topic to share my experiences some other day.

Edited by Casey Jefferson
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Well I decided to post here instead, I think there were plenty of topics covering the very discussion. I'll just add some that didn't get mentioned too often. (Disclaimer - I didn't bring M240 along as I don't want to fuss too much about it, I went with instinct instead)

Embedded color profile (in LR) - this is probably what contributes 95% of the M9 look. If you compare both cameras nowadays, LR by default will load Adobe Color profile on both hence they don't look all that different. Choosing the legacy embedded profile instantly give you the filmic colors. It's not without problems though, when lights get low, it'll look murky on shadows due to narrower dynamic range, and I did saw the infamous magenta cast on skin tones.

Nailing focus - the RF patch on M9 was a weird sensation. I never thought shooting with RF is difficult until the M9, it just didn't give a clear cue like my M240, like the images never actually line up perfectly - calibration issues?

Sharpness - I tried my 35/2 asph v1 on it and I'm familiar with it being slightly soft wide open, and the fine details was subtly different on M9 - instead of fuzzy details, it has gentle edges, which indeed has a very filmic look. Probably due to the way CCD renders? Lower resolution?

In the end I decided that working around the limits isn't worth the money and effort anymore when we can have the newer CMOS leica's. I hope my conclusions can help those who're still looking for M9 in 2021.

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2 hours ago, Casey Jefferson said:

Well I decided to post here instead, I think there were plenty of topics covering the very discussion. I'll just add some that didn't get mentioned too often. (Disclaimer - I didn't bring M240 along as I don't want to fuss too much about it, I went with instinct instead)

Embedded color profile (in LR) - this is probably what contributes 95% of the M9 look. If you compare both cameras nowadays, LR by default will load Adobe Color profile on both hence they don't look all that different. Choosing the legacy embedded profile instantly give you the filmic colors. It's not without problems though, when lights get low, it'll look murky on shadows due to narrower dynamic range, and I did saw the infamous magenta cast on skin tones.

Nailing focus - the RF patch on M9 was a weird sensation. I never thought shooting with RF is difficult until the M9, it just didn't give a clear cue like my M240, like the images never actually line up perfectly - calibration issues?

Sharpness - I tried my 35/2 asph v1 on it and I'm familiar with it being slightly soft wide open, and the fine details was subtly different on M9 - instead of fuzzy details, it has gentle edges, which indeed has a very filmic look. Probably due to the way CCD renders? Lower resolution?

In the end I decided that working around the limits isn't worth the money and effort anymore when we can have the newer CMOS leica's. I hope my conclusions can help those who're still looking for M9 in 2021.

We’ll done, I think you made the right decision - an M9 is not for you. 

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4 minutes ago, Marac said:

Owning an M9 or M9M is like owning a classic old Jag, take it out on Sunday for a few shots, clean it and put it back.

Not for everyone.

Indeed, much like film - it has charms that will only reward those who take the trouble to get the best out of them.

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I've got 3 M9s and use them for most of my general photography. I chose M9 because I prefer the look of the illumination window over the newer models without it. I live with and work with the limitations of the older tech and am fully aware of the eventual demise of the cameras (they all have second gen replaced sensors) and will cross that bridge when I get to it. I agree with others though M9s aren't for everyone especially if you are used to the newer models and their layout M240 seems to be the best "affordable" option for digital Leica but they will soon be the "old" model likely to die after all they are digital. Shoot what you are happy with and enjoy it while it lasts, make the difficult decisions when you have to.

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Shot 100 000+ images on mine...most of them professionally. It had 3 different sensors in its life-span (first two were pre-2015) . If I could have afforded to keep it alongside my SL2, I would have, probably. I re-sold it very well, but I kinda wish I could have done without parting with it.

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4 hours ago, Casey Jefferson said:

Well I decided to post here instead, I think there were plenty of topics covering the very discussion. I'll just add some that didn't get mentioned too often. (Disclaimer - I didn't bring M240 along as I don't want to fuss too much about it, I went with instinct instead)

Embedded color profile (in LR) - this is probably what contributes 95% of the M9 look. If you compare both cameras nowadays, LR by default will load Adobe Color profile on both hence they don't look all that different. Choosing the legacy embedded profile instantly give you the filmic colors. It's not without problems though, when lights get low, it'll look murky on shadows due to narrower dynamic range, and I did saw the infamous magenta cast on skin tones.

Nailing focus - the RF patch on M9 was a weird sensation. I never thought shooting with RF is difficult until the M9, it just didn't give a clear cue like my M240, like the images never actually line up perfectly - calibration issues?

Sharpness - I tried my 35/2 asph v1 on it and I'm familiar with it being slightly soft wide open, and the fine details was subtly different on M9 - instead of fuzzy details, it has gentle edges, which indeed has a very filmic look. Probably due to the way CCD renders? Lower resolution?

In the end I decided that working around the limits isn't worth the money and effort anymore when we can have the newer CMOS leica's. I hope my conclusions can help those who're still looking for M9 in 2021.

I agree. Nice (and important) observation.

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