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Thinking about getting an M9...


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1 hour ago, cokashi232 said:

...Is it just me or does the CCD just feel more magical?...Besides the Sensor upgrade, any reason not to go this route?...

1) No; it's not just you who prefer's CCD over CMOS; plenty of folks here feel much the same. Personally I don't feel that files from the CCD are more 'magical'; just a bit different.

2) No; not really. Obviously it's older tech. in an older camera body - with all the caveats which go with that situation - and with a smaller sensor* (etc.) than later models but I was perfectly happy with my own M9-P and certainly didn't feel that it 'lost out' noticeably in terms of IQ over anything which has come out subsequently. I also happen to prefer - by a long way - the more simplistic nature of 'The M9 Generation' over much of the useless (for my way of shooting) features which have appeared in the majority of the newer models.


* EDIT : No It Isn't!...(see following posts)...Brain-Fart-Time, I'm afraid. Apologies!

Edited by pippy
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There is nothing “magical” about the CCD. It’s different technology to CMOS and hence renders differently. Only you can decide whether you prefer one or the other and each have other advantages.

IMO an M9 with the newest sensor is a great camera but only you know which features you need.

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Do you like to frame in very tiny window (90) or in misleading window of 50-75? This is M is all about or your have to get M3.

Your Q should support most common sense focal length via smart crop, 35 and 50.

But I prefer my late M-E 220 from late 2015 over any Q.  Because here is no point in tele with any M (IMO).

If I would want to have it longer than Q... SL is no brainer. While CCD is valid excuse for M9 sensor, tele is not.


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My opinion is biased because I purchased (2) m9s this year. Both certified by Leica with replaced sensor. I use one as my daily driver and one as my back-up should anything go wrong. M9 CCD sensor is real. It's a joy to use. I've used various bodies digital and analog. I've had m240 and m262 in the past and never enjoyed or bonded with them. M9 is different.  

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I have 3 M9s I use them for my personal photography and as daily carry. I kinda think of them as digital film cameras in so much as I use them on 160 ISO 90% of the time and if I go up ISO I don't really go past 800. I like the slower approach the dated tech gives me and I love the output of the sensor, I recently posted this snapshot sooc jpg (just downsized for the forum) 21mm Elmarit because I literally didn't need to do anything with it.

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IMO the M9 (or variant) is as close as you get to film shooting with a digital camera, no bells and whistles or insane ISO performance not even a chimping screen just up my photographic alley.

Edited by Topsy
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For my €0.02 (no refunds) the M9 can have a lovely tonality to the pictures, that helps the subject stand out.

People often talk of the M9 (or CCD) colours, and no argument here, people can find different words for the same things or even have different things they like.. but for me there's a certain nuance to some M9 shots that doesn't come across with other cameras I have or have had.

It's not every shot mind you!

Also the M9 colours aren't (IMHO) particularly true to life but they can (again - not every shot, sometimes they just garish) evoke a willing suspension of disbelief in the viewer

Luckily for any perspective M9 first timer, there's plenty of DNG samples on the 'net to download and play with, that's not as good as shooting your own of course, but far better than looking on IG, flickr etc and getting an opinion from other peoples edits

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  • 4 weeks later...

M9 images can have a sparkle in the whites that I can't seem to get with any other camera, no matter what I do with Lightroom. There's something in the colours, too. Maybe there's a trick to it, but I can't figure it out. The M9 is my preferred camera for personal and some paid work. I even tried a M11 a few weeks ago, and as technically good as the images were, the colours and white 'sparkle' weren't like the M9.

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  • 7 months later...

The M9 has a slightly higher IR sensitivity compared to the newer M’s. This may explain the special look . Not sure if the magic people talk about is more or less with filter. I shoot most color shots with the UV/IR filter on the M9, and I find the results better, more natural.
How does the M9 compare with for example the M10 when shooting both with UV/IR filter?

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FWIW… I think it’s a bit to do with the colours (depending on which RAW app you use, and in LR which profile you use) which can be quite cool and blue compared to more modern cameras. Particularly with adobe and the ‘embedded’ profile from Leica, which has very pure (not yellow) greens and quite purple-y red (red has a lot of blue in it)

But most of all I think it’s the far lower DR compared to modern cameras.

It’s a bit hard for me to explain what I mean…

So scene X that one is photographing has a certain amount of light and dark values, and seeing as this is real life these values are independent of the camera.

Now we all know that if we clip data whilst photographing it, it turns white or black. But just before it clips (especially highlights) it kinda glows brightly and shines.

As the M9 is capable of capturing less data than a modern camera parts of its images that look quite dull on a higher DR camera look shinier and more alive on the M9 because although the irl luminance values are the same, on the M9 the (say) sky or shiny red car is (say) only 8% away from clipping but on the higher DR modern camera the same object is (say) 23% away from clipping so looks quite flat in comparison 

(all % figures are completely made up)

As a shitty analogy 

Riding a motorbike down some very twisty country lanes at 50mph feels much more rewarding on a bike with a small engine, the throttle is pinned, the engine is on song and it all feels alive. Riding the same road at the same speed on a big engined motorbike feels dull, the engine’s barely ticking over.

Of course with the ‘big engined’ modern DR camera we need to play with the contrast in post to get some sparkle back, while with the big engined motorbike to get the sparkle back we’d end up serving serious jail time for trying to take curves on the motorway at 150mph 😅

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Great camera but getting a bit old and needs to be considered if buying one. I still have mine, repaired cover glass.

The M10 will offer a CMOS sensor still fixable by Leica and has a lot more DR to play with. I cannot afford one but I don't think I'd buy a new Leica again if I'm honest.

I have an M9M and a CL that I use a lot more than the M9. The CL, to me, is the perfect little camera for daily use. The M9 is a camera I treat as a special day out camera, like taking the old Jag out for a spin.

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