Test Drive: Leica M9

A few weeks ago, I got to sit down with a photographer-friend and place my hands on one of the hard-to-get, hard-to-afford Leica M9 cameras. I’ve been a Leica shooter since the late 1990s, and currently use two M6TTLs with 28/2, 50/1.4 and 90/2 lenses. Because I have serious doubts as to whether or not I’ll be able to ever afford a digital M-camera, I was excited to see what kind of files my lenses would produce on this camera. Suffice to say, I wasn’t disappointed. I’ve got over 10 years of film-based experience, in knowing that Leica M-lenses contribute to great images, but it was just neat to see them in pixels.

The M9 has a control layout similar to what I was used to with my Leica D8/DMR, so that was neat. What’s always been special to me about Leica cameras is that they are NOT feature-laden. A Leica camera, to my experience, is about the sharpest lenses around, mounted on a dependable, “bare bones” sort of a camera – a reliable shutter, an easy-to-use viewfinder, and dependable mechanics. The M9 fits all these expectations; I just wish it was even moderately more affordable.


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