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M9 focus accuracy


Pedro

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I used to have an M8 (my only experience with Leica) & 90mm f2, 35mm f2.

 

Had focus problems with both lenses that I had to send back to the factory to be adjusted.

 

I end up losing tolerance for this lack of quality and selling the whole system and changing to a Nikon D3 with several pro lenses including Zeiss.

 

Now, I still miss the Leica. Is anyone experiencing any focus accuracy issues with an M9 body?

 

Thanks, Pedro

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Beats me too, what have I missed?

 

This question of easier focusing has beaten me too... I had not yet red of this when happened that, into a shop, I could put my hands on a M9 : well, my true first impression that I felt when put my eye on the VF and spotted something into the shop was "strange.. looks to focus better" : I had not my M8 with me, so I couldn't make a direct comparision, but now I see that others feel the same; reasoning about, maybe they have slightly changed the hue of the RF projected image to have a slightly better contrast... but if so, is strange they hadn't declared this modification.

 

Well, anyway this is not so related to the problems that the OP suffered... unless they have modified something in the QC process of the RF assembly, I think it could happen that some adjustement would be necessary for some M9... and of course, if is the LENS that needs calibration, this has nothing to do with M9 in itself.

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No, and focussing is easier than on the M8.

 

Jaapv I hate to say this but lately you have been coming up with some real doozy replies.

Just how id the M9 easier to focus then the M8. They use the same range/viewfinder at the same magnification and the rangefinder patch is the same size.

Please explain why you think the M9 is easier to focus then the M8.

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LCT had some chart showing the difference in focusing accuracy required but apart from that I have absolutely nok idea.

 

Fact is that all lenses I've tried 90, 90, 50, 50, 35, 21 has been in focus. Not a single problem though I had read about the adjusting M8 and M8.2 and also have had my fun with the DMR and R lenses.

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This question of easier focusing has beaten me too... I had not yet red of this when happened that, into a shop, I could put my hands on a M9 : well, my true first impression that I felt when put my eye on the VF and spotted something into the shop was "strange.. looks to focus better" : I had not my M8 with me, so I couldn't make a direct comparision, but now I see that others feel the same; reasoning about, maybe they have slightly changed the hue of the RF projected image to have a slightly better contrast... but if so, is strange they hadn't declared this modification.

 

Well, anyway this is not so related to the problems that the OP suffered... unless they have modified something in the QC process of the RF assembly, I think it could happen that some adjustement would be necessary for some M9... and of course, if is the LENS that needs calibration, this has nothing to do with M9 in itself.

 

First bold:

This could be true and the reason they may not of declared it was to stop M8 owners demanding this better rangefinder.

 

Second bold:

I think the QC on the M8 RF was lacking. I've had 4 M8's over the 2.8 years I've owned them and all but the chrome one I have now didn't focus that well. Not that the camera didn't focus but the rangefinder patch TO the viewfinder image, the overlay, just didn't seem to be completely clear. On the chrome one I have left I have no problem getting good focusing with any lens I own, even the 75, 90 and 135, at any distance and that is without using a VF magnifier.

On the 2 black M8's I had, the first one was the worst. The vertical alignment was off and could not be totally corrected. If it was adjusted for close up it was off at distance. If it was adjusted for distance you got a double image close up. That is why Leica USA replaced that camera. The replacement black M8 was better then the first but still not as good as the chrome ( I know the color of the top and bottom plates has nothing to do with this). I always seemed to hunt more with the black M8's. I put this off to RF assembly and QC or just that the M8 RF was not the best Leica ever made.

So maybe they updated some of the parts to make function better.

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Well, anyway this is not so related to the problems that the OP suffered... unless they have modified something in the QC process of the RF assembly, I think it could happen that some adjustement would be necessary for some M9... and of course, if is the LENS that needs calibration, this has nothing to do with M9 in itself.

 

I am just trying to evaluate the risk of getting back into Leica. If the quality control has not improved its not for me.

 

Two years ago when I had the M8 and visited this forum I clearly noticed I wasn't the only one complaining about focus problems. Many M8 users were experiencing back / front focus issues (strangely this problem did not seem to affect the film forum).

 

However, nowadays seems that the complaints have stopped. Maybe its because quality control has improved justifying a return to Leica.

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When it comes to focussing wide-opened and ultrasharp lenses for a digital sensor I think the most common reason for not getting the results one exspects is human misfocussing. Of course I don't know the OP's lenses nor his camera, so of course a problem of lens or/and rangefinder cannot be ruled out.

 

I was sure that my 75m Summicron was misfocussing. First I was sure it had backfocussing, then it was front-focussing, than again back... This made me suspicious, and when I try hard, use the 1.4-magnifier and first of all avoid to wear my bifocal glasses it is just spot on.

 

When the M9 is said to focus better, couldn't it just be out of the reasons which were discussed in depth here:

http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/leica-m9-forum/98987-request-m9-m8-bokeh-dof-comparison.html ?

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(strangely this problem did not seem to affect the film forum).

 

However, nowadays seems that the complaints have stopped. Maybe its because quality control has improved justifying a return to Leica.

 

 

I think the bigest reason you don't hear about it much in the film forum is because with film there is always a lag between when the shot is take to when it is developed and then either scanned, look at on a computer monitor and inkjet printed or wet printed. Also film is more forgiving then digital. Film has thickness and curve to it. Digital sensor is Flat Flat Flat, or is supposed to be.

 

Then again with film cameras they use a piece of ground glass at the film plane and do real-time rangefinder adjustments. If the RF says the image is in focus and they look at the ground glass and see it isn't then they adjust it so it is. With digital they look at it on a computer screen.

It now seems Leica has implement a computer program that does all the visual analysis of the image for true focus and probably tell the tech what has to be moved and how much.

This new system has probably greatly improved the focus accuracy of the RF. Especially it the tech had a bad night with a few to many schnapps.

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Jaapv I hate to say this but lately you have been coming up with some real doozy replies.

Just how id the M9 easier to focus then the M8. They use the same range/viewfinder at the same magnification and the rangefinder patch is the same size.

Please explain why you think the M9 is easier to focus then the M8.

 

Whatever yo do on an M8, in the end you magnify pictures by a factor of 1.33 when compared with M9 where you simply don't.

Whatever focusing error you get on the rangefinder -and you get an error- this error is also magnified.

Its like using on the same M8 one 50mm lens and then one 75mm. The 75mm is more prone to lose focus

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Ed, I find it rather annoying if I report a remark by a senior Leica employee that you come out accusing me of a doozy idea. I would suggest that Leica knows better than you.

Well in the post I was replying to you didn't state any of that and I hadn't read any of the other replies. Your "The M9 is easier to focus then the M8" response just left me wondering how can that be.

 

Sorry if I have upset you.

 

We all have some doozies every now and then.

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Whatever yo do on an M8, in the end you magnify pictures by a factor of 1.33 when compared with M9 where you simply don't.

Whatever focusing error you get on the rangefinder -and you get an error- this error is also magnified.

Its like using on the same M8 one 50mm lens and then one 75mm. The 75mm is more prone to lose focus

 

 

Not true. The M8 does not magnify anything. It does capture a smaller image for each focal length lens then a full frame camera does.

100% on screen of a M8 image is the same as 100% on screen for a M9 image. Just that the M8 image has less width and height.

 

If anything the M9 image would show focus inaccuracies more then the M8 because on a M9 to capture the same area as a M8 image you would use a longer lens.

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Not true. The M8 does not magnify anything. It does capture a smaller image for each focal length lens then a full frame camera does.

100% on screen of a M8 image is the same as 100% on screen for a M9 image. Just that the M8 image has less width and height.

 

If anything the M9 image would show focus inaccuracies more then the M8 because on a M9 to capture the same area as a M8 image you would use a longer lens.

 

I took Diogenis to mean that if you want similar image capture you are going to have to change lenses to account for roughly a third (from between m8 and M9). So use the 50 to 75 comparison and 50 is going to be easier to focus than 75 (generally) regardless of camera. This might account for human error like with shutter speed or amount of image that the focus patch covers.

 

I guess you could take an M9 and use a single lens to take a single image. Duplicate the image. Crop one of the images to match m8's crop and compare the images viewing at equal sized images. Wouldn't human focus error show up on a cropped image that has been enlarged to match the dimensions of the FF. I don't have an M9 to try out but this could be done on any camera just as a self-check to see how steady your hands are in focusing.

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Uhm... Shootist & Dionegis debate approaches dangerously to the disputed problem of M9 vs. M8 DOF.... ;) (and Uiwer already scratched it....).

 

What I meant when I said I noticed that M9 seemed to focus better is that the FOCUSING ACTION, i.e. RF alignement in the VF, seemed to me "easier" : of course this wouldn't mean at all that the image (and moreover a printed one) will result with a more precise focus: about this, my simple idea is that, globally, a bigger sensor means a more critical focus' precision.

Edited by luigi bertolotti
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