The Leica M9 came out in 2011, wow, it has already been 6 years.
A digital Leica won’t solve your life problems
I thought buying a digital Leica M9 would solve all my life problems in photography. It didn’t.
I got a used Leica M9 in 2011 for around $5,000 USD, and it was awesome. I enjoyed the rangefinder experience, with fully manual focusing, and the optical viewfinder. Zone focusing was good for street photography.
Of course it soon collected dust on my shelf like all my (other) cameras. Regardless, I think it was a great camera.
What I don’t like about Leica M9
Things that suck about it:
- Worst LCD screen I’ve seen. If you shoot above ISO 800, the lcd images look very pixelated. But this doesn’t happen to the real files.
- Buffer and write speeds are slow. If you take 6 photos in a row, the camera will freeze for a second or two, before you can shoot again.
- Color photos don’t look good above ISO 400.
What I like about Leica M9
Good things about it:
- Full frame: You can use normal M mount lenses on it, without annoying crop factor.
- True, manual focus, with optical viewfinder. Less technology than most modern digital cameras. Good to slow down, to zen out.
- Still looks cool. I prefer the Leica M9-P (without the Leica logo). Or you can just put black gaffers tape over the logos.
Leica M8 makes good black and white files
I also think the Leica M8 is great for black and white photos. These are cheap now too. Just buy one with a used Voigtlander lens for an economic value digital rangefinder.
Leica rotting sensor
The Leica M9series has an issue with a rotting sensor issue. So if you buy a used one, make sure it was serviced by Leica in Germany.
Where to buy?
I would use eBay with a reputable seller. Or buy in Japan. Or on Craigslist. Or the Leica Forum, or the Rangefinder Forum.
Why Buy Leica M9 now?
It’s at the bottom of the digital product depreciation cycle. I don’t think it will get cheaper. Prices have stabilized, and the M9 is very cheap compared to M240 and Leica M10.
So if you want a digital rangefinder experience, the Leica M9 is the best bang for the buck.
Also, I think the digital files on the M9 (CCD SENSOR) has better colors and film grain simulation compared to the newer M240 and M10 (CMOS SENSOR).
How to shoot Leica?
Read LEICA MANUAL.